VIDEO: HII christens submarine New Jersey

Written by Nick Blenkey
Approximately 1,800 guests celebrated the christening of New Jersey (SSN 796) at Newport News Shipbuilding.

Approximately 1,800 guests celebrated the christening of New Jersey (SSN 796) at Newport News Shipbuilding.

The Navy’s 23rd Virginia-class submarine, pre-commissioning unit New Jersey (SSN 796) was christened Saturday. The ceremony took place at Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Newport News Shipbuilding division.

“The christening is a Navy and shipbuilder tradition that celebrates the hard work and dedication of the women and men who are building this magnificent submarine, readying her for the next phase of construction, which includes launch, testing, sea trials and delivery to the Navy,” said Jennifer Boykin, president of Newport News Shipbuilding. “We commemorate these American builders during a challenging time in our nation’s history.”

The ship’s sponsor, Susan DiMarco, performed the traditional honor of breaking a bottle of American sparkling wine across the submarine’s bow during the ceremony. She is a New Jersey resident, retired dentist and wife of former Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson.

“As citizens today, we are more divided and disconnected from one another than at any time in our last 50 years, but the efforts that went into building New Jersey say otherwise,” DiMarco said. “In order to complete this great ship there must have been vital partnership and purpose. As a country, we are cooperative, generous and tenacious, and we can work together on exceptional ideas.”

The New Jersey is the 11th Virginia-class submarine to be built by Newport News Shipbuilding and is first submarine designed with a modification for gender integration. Construction began in March 2016 and is 82% complete.

The company reached the pressure hull complete milestone in February, meaning that all of the ship’s hull sections were joined to form a single, watertight unit. This was one of the last major milestones before the christening.The submarine is scheduled to be delivered to the U.S. Navy in late 2022.

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