The Navy announced on July 15 that the next two Virginia-class attack submarines will be named the USS Minnesota and the USS North Dakota.
The selection of Minnesota, designated SSN 783, honors the state’s citizens and their continued support to our nation’s military. Minnesota has a long tradition of honoring its veterans of wars past and present. The state is proud to be home to 46 Medal of Honor recipients that span from the Civil War to the Vietnam War.
This will be the third ship to bear the state name. The first USS Minnesota, a sailing steam frigate, was commissioned in 1857 and served during the Civil War, remaining in service until her decommissioning in 1898. The second Minnesota was commissioned in 1907. On December 16, 1907 she departed Hampton Roads as one of the 16 battleships of the Great White Fleet sent by then-President Theodore Roosevelt on a voyage around the world. She continued her service through World War I, and was decommissioned in 1921.
The selection of the North Dakota, designated SSN 784, honors the state’s citizens and veterans and their strong military support and heritage from the Frontier Wars through the Cold War and currently the war on terrorism. Seventeen North Dakotans have received the Medal of Honor for actions in combat, including Master Sgt. Woodrow W. Keeble who posthumously received the Medal of Honor during a White House ceremony on March 3, 2008. This is the second ship to bear the name North Dakota. The first ship, the Delaware-class USS North Dakota, was in service from 1910 through 1923.
These next-generation attack submarines will provide the Navy with the capabilities required to maintain the nation’s undersea supremacy well into the 21st century. They will have improved stealth, sophisticated surveillance capabilities and special warfare enhancements that will enable them to meet the Navy’s multi-mission requirements.
North Dakota and Minnesota will have the capability to attack targets ashore with highly accurate Tomahawk cruise missiles and conduct covert long-term surveillance of land areas, littoral waters or other sea-based forces. Other missions include anti-submarine and anti-ship warfare; special forces delivery and support; and mine delivery and minefield mapping.
The Virginia-class is 7,800-tons and 377 feet in length, has a beam of 34 feet, and can operate at more than 25 knots submerged. It is designed with a reactor plant that will not require refueling during the planned life of the ship reducing lifecycle costs while increasing underway time.