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USS Delaware enters Navy fleet without commissioning ceremony

USS Delaware enters Navy fleet without commissioning ceremony
The Virginia-class submarine USS Delaware was commissioned by the U.S. Navy, despite the absence of a traditional ceremony. Photo by Ashley Cowan/Huntington Ingalls Industries/U.S. Navy

April 6 (UPI) -- Although a weekend ceremony was canceled, the submarine USS Delaware was officially commissioned by the U.S. Navy.

The traditional public commissioning ceremony at Wilmington, Del., was scheduled for Saturday and postponed due to concerns of public health safety, but the Virginia-class submarine nonetheless entered the Navy's fleet.

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The ship's sponsor, Jill Biden, sent congratulations, saying "I know this submarine and her crew of courageous sailors will carry the steadfast strength of my home state wherever they go."

The USS Delaware, 377 feet long, is the 18th submarine in the Virginia series.

The submarine class is made up of nuclear-powered fast-attack vessels built for anti-sub and anti-surface operations. They are armed with torpedoes and Tomahawk cruise missiles, and are capable of mine-laying operations.

The Virginia-class is expected to gradually replace the Los Angeles-class attack submarine, whose design dates to the 1970s. The submarine has faced a number of redesigns and upgrades to simplify construction and reduce operating costs.

The Delaware's keel was laid at Virginia's Huntington Ingalls Industries in April 2016, and it was delivered to the Navy in a christening ceremony in October 2018.

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