The Undersea Warfare News this morning brought us GREAT news! USS NORTH DAKOTA completed her first trip to sea successfully completing her Alpha Sea Trials testing her propulsion and engineering, and she submerged for the first time. Her commissioning is set for Saturday, October 25th at the naval base in Groton CT. Here is the article from Seapower Magazine:
Submarine North Dakota Completes First Voyage
Seapower Magazine, 6 Aug 2014
GROTON, Conn. – The nation’s newest and most advanced nuclear-powered attack submarine, North Dakota (SSN 784), returned to the General Dynamics Electric Boat shipyard Tuesday following the successful completion of its first voyage in open seas, called alpha sea trials, the company said in an Aug. 6 release. North Dakota is the 11th ship of the Virginia class, the most capable class of attack submarines ever built. Electric Boat is a wholly owned subsidiary of General Dynamics.
North Dakota’s alpha sea trials included a range of submarine and propulsion-plant operations, submerging for the first time, and high-speed runs on and below the surface to demonstrate that the ship’s propulsion plant is fully mission-capable.
The sea trials were directed by U.S. Navy ADM John M. Richardson, director, Naval Nuclear Propulsion. Also participating in the sea trials were VADM William H. Hilarides, commander, Naval Sea Systems Command; RADM David C. Johnson, program executive officer for Submarines; RDML Kenneth Perry, commander, Submarine Group Two; CAPT Darlene Grasdock, supervisor of shipbuilding in Groton; and Jeffrey S. Geiger, president of Electric Boat. North Dakota is commanded by CAPT Douglas Gordon.
“The crew and shipbuilders worked together as one unit to take this submarine to sea and put it through its paces,” said Jeffrey Geiger, president of Electric Boat. “It was an outstanding effort by everyone involved, and demonstrates the commitment of the Navy and industry team to sustain the success of the Virginia-class submarine program. I appreciate the contributions made by the Navy personnel, shipbuilders and suppliers who made it happen.”
Electric Boat and its construction teammate, Newport News Shipbuilding, already have delivered 10 Virginia-class submarines to the Navy: USS Virginia (SSN 774), USS Texas (SSN 775), USS Hawaii (SSN 776), USS North Carolina (SSN 777), USS New Hampshire (SSN 778), USS New Mexico (SSN 779), USS Missouri (SSN 780), USS California (SSN 781), USS Mississippi (SSN 782) and USS Minnesota (SSN 783). Eight other submarines of the class are under construction.
In May, the U.S. Navy underscored its commitment to an advanced and adaptable submarine force by awarding Electric Boat a contract valued at $17.6 billion for the construction of 10 additional Virginia-class submarines.
Virginia-class submarines displace 7,800 tons, with a hull length of 377 feet and a diameter of 34 feet. They are capable of speeds in excess of 25 knots and can dive to a depth greater than 800 feet, while carrying Mark 48 advanced capability torpedoes and Tomahawk land-attack missiles.