On Saturday, the U.S. Navy will christen a new Virginia-class nuclear attack submarine (similar to the USS Indiana, pictured, the USS Massachusetts. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Navy
May 5 (UPI) -- The U.S. Navy is preparing to christen a new Virginia-class nuclear submarine, the USS Massachusetts, on Saturday.
The christening ceremony will take place at 11 a.m. EDT in Newport News, Va. The secretary of the Navy has not selected the date and location of commissioning.
The ship's sponsor, Sheryl Sandberg, of the Sandberg Goldberg Bernthal Family Foundation, will break a bottle of sparkling wine across the ship's bow, in keeping with Navy tradition.
Navy Undersecretary Erik Raven will deliver remarks at the ceremony, along with U.S. Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., General Dynamics Electric Boat President Kevin Graney, and Vice Admiral Scott Conn, deputy chief for warfighting requirements and capabilities.
The Virginia class of nuclear attack submarines first entered active service in 2000 with the Block I version. Since then, the Navy has produced subsequent models, Block II-IV.
The USS Massachusetts will be the 22nd Virginia-class nuclear submarine to enter U.S. Navy service and will be the fourth Block IV version of the submarine to enter service.
In typical characteristics of the Virginia class, the subs are about 377 feet long, displacing about 7,800 tons when submerged. The subs can carry crews of more than 130 and reach speeds of more than 25 knots.
Typical armaments include Tomahawk missiles and Mark 48 torpedoes.
The Australian Navy is planning to acquire three Virginia-class nuclear submarines from the United States pending congressional approval.