NEWPORT NEWS, Va., Nov. 8 (UPI) -- The U.S. Navy's eighth Virginia class nuclear submarine was christened over the weekend at a Northrop Grumman facility in Virginia.
Northrop and the U.S. Navy said work on the USS California is about 90 percent complete and sea trials are planned for next spring.
The 7,800-ton submarine is being built under a teaming arrangement between General Dynamics Electric Boat and Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding-Newport News. It is 377-feet long, has a 34-foot beam, will be able to dive to depths greater than 800 feet and will operate at speeds in excess of 25 knots submerged.
The California is designed with a nuclear reactor plant that won't require refueling during the planned life of the ship, reducing lifecycle costs and increasing underway time.
Construction on the California began in 2006. The vessel was designed to excel in anti-submarine warfare; anti-ship warfare; strike warfare; special operations; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; irregular warfare; and mine warfare missions.