Secretary of State Al Jaeger shared this article he found in today’s FORUM.


Navy accepts delivery of PCU North Dakota

GROTON, Conn. – The U.S. Navy recently accepted delivery of the submarine PCU North Dakota, which when commissioned will be designated SSN 784.

The North Dakota is the 11th ship of the Virginia class.

The North Dakota is the first of eight Virginia class Block III ships. About 20 percent of the North Dakota was redesigned to lower costs and make it better suited to a wider array of missions.

Among the changes are a redesigned bow that replaces 12 individual missile launch tubes with two large tubes, each capable of launching six Tomahawk cruise missiles.

Last week, the North Dakota successfully completed Alpha, Bravo, and Board of Inspection and Survey trials, which evaluate the submarine’s seaworthiness and operational capabilities.

During the trials, the crew took the submarine to test depth, conducted an emergency surfacing, and tested the submarine’s propulsion plant.

The Navy postponed the North Dakota’s original May commissioning date because of quality issues with vendor-assembled and delivered components that required unplanned work in dry dock to correct. Added certification work was also needed on the sub’s redesigned bow.

The North Dakota will be commissioned Oct. 25 in Groton.

The acronym PCU stands for pre-commissioning unit. It’s the designation used for a ship or submarine before it is officially commissioned.

About these ads


Our very sharp-eyed Vice Chairman Bill Butcher found these photos of USS NORTH DAKOTA during her successful sea trials.  She is a BEAUTIFUL boat!!







If you previously signed up for an invitation to attend the commissioning of USS NORTH DAKOTA you do NOT have to sign up again.  This current extension until August 31st is just to add those people who did NOT sign up for an invitation before the postponed May 31st commissioning date.

The last day to sign up to request an invitation is DEFINITELY August 31st!!


I found this article in this morning’s issue of the Undersea Warfare News about the parts that caused the postponement of the original May 31st commissioning date.

North Dakota Attack Boat Investigation Complete 

Sam Grady, USNI, Aug 15

Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) has concluded an investigation into questionable third party components of its latest Virginia-class attack boat — North Dakota (SSN-784) — clearing the way for the submarine to commission in late October, NAVSEA told USNI News on Thursday.

“To date, all necessary inboard and outboard components have been inspected and all required repairs have been completed,” read a statement provided to USNI News.

NAVSEA inspected 58 components — mostly in the bow and stern sections — of the $2.6 billion attack boat and conducted an unspecified number of repairs, according to the statement.

“These components included stern planes and rudder rams, retractable bow plane cylinders, hydraulic accumulators, high pressure air charging manifolds, torpedo tube interlocks and shaft/link assemblies, weapons shipping and handling mechanisms, and other miscellaneous parts,” NAVSEA statement.

“The submarine was certified for sea trials and is tracking towards the Aug. 31 contractual delivery date.”

NAVSEA said other Block III Virginias would also be inspected. Neither the Navy nor Virginia-class prime contractor — General Dynamics Electric Boat —would identify the vendor to USNI News.

Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) — responsible for most construction of the bow and stern sections — referred comment on the program to NAVSEA and Electric Boat.

The commissioning delay and investigation are rare missteps in what is arguably the Navy’s best-run shipbuilding program in decades.

North Dakota is the first of the Block III boats. The revised design feature 40 percent of the bow retooled to accommodate a new water-backed Large Aperture Bow (LAB) sonar array and the addition of two Multiple All Up Round Canisters that can each hold six Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles (TLAM).

The redesign was led by Electric Boat and constructed by Newport News as part of the teaming agreement between the two yards for the Virginia-class construction.

Despite the delay, North Dakota will most likely still deliver ahead of its 66-month construction schedule.

The final Block II boat— USS Minnesota (SSN-783) — delivered 11 months early.

NAVSEA’s full Thursday statement to USNI News follows:

The commissioning of PCU NORTH DAKOTA (SSN 784) was postponed from May to address material issues with vendor-assembled and delivered components.

To date, all necessary inboard and outboard components have been inspected and all required repairs have been completed.

There were a total of 58 components investigated aboard PCU NORTH DAKOTA (SSN 784).

These components included stern planes and rudder rams, retractable bow plane cylinders, hydraulic accumulators, high pressure air charging manifolds, torpedo tube interlocks and shaft/link assemblies, weapons shipping and handling mechanisms, and other miscellaneous parts.

The submarine was certified for sea trials and is tracking towards the August 31 contractual delivery date. The commissioning is scheduled for October 25. All other Block III submarines are being inspected and any issues found will be adjudicated.


Classification: UNCLASSIFIED


Just wanted to report that the ship successfully completed both Alpha and Bravo Sea Trials.  We pulled in to the Shipyard around noon today [Wednesday, August 13th] from Bravo trials.  The crew performed very well during the underways.

We completed a very complex test agenda, stressing the ship to near its limits to ensure our systems operated as designed.  The material condition of the ship was great.  The crew was ecstatic to get underway for the first (and second) time.  It was great to see the crew excited about being underway and doing the things that they have trained so hard for over the last couple of years.  We still have a lot of work to do before the ship is delivered to the Navy around the end of the month.  I am very proud to be their Captain and can’t wait to go to sea again with my crew.




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.


Our USS North Dakota Committee has been working with Satrom Travel (701-258-5000) to provide travel and hotel opportunities for the October 25th commissioning of USS NORTH DAKOTA (SSN-784).  Here are several links for your consideration.

This first one is for a tour through Hartford CT

USSND Commissioning_Hartford Package

This next one is for a tour through New York NY

USSND Commissioning Oct 25_LGA 6d5n NONELKS

This last link is for hotel rooms at the Marriott Hotel where our committee’s events are being held.

USSND Commissioning Oct HOTEL ONLY


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 180 other followers