Oct. 15 (UPI) -- Huntington Ingalls announced Thursday that it has transferred the Montana submarine to the floating dry dock at Newport News in advance of the vessel's planned November launch.
Earlier this month, the vessel was transported out of Huntington Ingalls' construction industry using a transfer car system, according to the shipbuilder.
"Moving Montana to the floating dry dock is an important accomplishment for the 10,000 shipbuilders who, through the teaming agreement with General Dynamics Electric Boat, have collaborated to get us to where we are today," said Jason Ward, Newport News' vice president of Virginia-class submarine construction.
"It signifies that the submarine is prepared to start the next and final stage of its construction before going to sea," Ward said.
The Montana is the Navy's 21st Virginia-class attack submarine, and was christened by former Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell Sept. 12 in front of a virtual audience.
Construction of the 7,800-ton Virginia class sub began in 2015 and is nearly 85% complete.
It was previously scheduled to be delivered to the Navy in late 2020, but Huntington Ingalls now expects to deliver the vessel late next year.