NEWPORT NEWS, Va., March 7 (UPI) -- The 14th Virginia-class submarine being constructed for the U.S. Navy has been christened the USS Washington (SSN 787) at Newport News Shipbuilding.
The christening occurred Saturday at the company's shipyard in Virginia.
Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, speaking at a christening ceremony, highlighted the award of 10 Virginia-class submarines in a Block IV construction contract, the largest shipbuilding contract in U.S. Navy history, and the building cost savings associated with it.
"Many things have allowed us to bring the cost down," Mabus said, "so many efficiencies by these shipyards. By giving them stability -- by Congress allowing us to do this 10-ship buy at the same time so they can make the investments, employ the skilled workers, buy the materials that they need to build not just one submarine, but all 10 -- it's good for our shipbuilders, it's good for the shipbuilding industry, it's good for America's Navy, and it's good for America."
The USS Washington will be the seventh Virginia-class submarine delivered to the Navy by Newport News Shipbuilding, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries. Construction of the ship started in September 2011, marking the beginning of the two-submarines-per-year build plan between Newport News and General Dynamics Electric Boat.
"Today's ceremony marks a new chapter in the life of this submarine, which embodies years of hard work by a team committed to continuous improvement and extending its record of deliveries ahead of schedule and under budget," said Jeffrey Geiger, president of General Dynamics Electric Boat. "Largely because of the Virginia-class program's success, we are in the midst of a sustained period of increased submarine production."
The submarine is scheduled for delivery later this year.