Northrop Grumman Corporation reached a milestone by launching the Virginia-class submarine New Mexico (SSN 779) at the company’s Shipbuilding sector in Newport News, Va, on Jan. 22.
‘“Launching a ship is always a proud moment for the shipbuilders and crew,” said Becky Stewart, vice president of submarine programs for Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding. “Our Virginia-class team has done an excellent job of achieving this milestone and furthering our efforts to deliver New Mexico eight months ahead of schedule.” On January 15, shipbuilders used a transfer car system to move the 7,800-ton New Mexico out of a construction facility to a floating dry dock. Two days later, they submerged the floating dry dock and successfully launched New Mexico into the James River. Once in the water, tugboats moved New Mexico to the shipyard’s submarine pier where final outfitting and testing will take place. New Mexico is the sixth ship of the Virginia class. With improved stealth, sophisticated surveillance capabilities and special warfare enhancements, it will provide undersea supremacy well into the 21st century. The ship’s construction began March 2004, the keel was authenticated on April 12, 2008, and the ship’s sponsor, Cindy Giambastiani, christened the ship during a ceremony held Dec. 13, 2008. New Mexico is scheduled for delivery in Aug. 2009.