NEWPORT NEWS, Va., May 25 (UPI) -- The U.S. Navy's 10th Virginia-class submarine has reached "pressure hull complete" status in its construction by Huntington Ingalls Industries.
All sections of the Minnesota's hull have been jointed together by workers at HII's Newport News Shipbuilding division into a watertight unit, two months ahead of schedule.
"This is a key milestone in the construction of the submarine," said Jim Hughes, vice president of submarines and fleet support for NNS. "Our shipbuilders and our partners at Electric Boat have put a lot of hard work into this boat, and it shows.
"Construction progress on Minnesota is two months ahead of where USS California, the last Virginia-class submarine delivered by NNS, was at pressure hull complete. The accelerated progress is due to an increase in work prior to hull completion in a more cost-efficient environment, resulting in a reduction in both the time and cost to complete the work."
Construction of the Minnesota (SSN 783) is 81 percent complete and the vessel will be delivered to the Navy next year. Work on building the submarine started in 2008 in collaboration with General Dynamics Electric Boat.