Navy's newest submarine to be named USS Washington

EVERETT, Wash. - The Navy's newest submarine under construction will be named USS Washington, in honor of Washington state, U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen announced Friday.

The nuclear-powered Virginia-class attack submarine will be the first U.S. naval vessel named for Washington state since the World War II-era battleship USS Washington was decommissioned in 1947.

Larsen, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, praised the Navy's decision to name the submarine, designated SSN-787, in honor of Washington state, home to several important naval bases and facilities.

"With the Puget Sound one of the Navy's largest and most important homes for the fleet, the name USS Washington is a fitting homage to our state's strong and time-honored legacy of service," Larsen said. "It's been more than 50 years since a Navy ship has borne the name Washington in honor of our state. I'm glad that will now change."

Larsen also said it is "coincidental ... but fitting" that the new USS Washington is designated the 787.

"From the Boeing Everett factory to the shipyards in Virginia where the Washington is now under construction, that number stands as a symbol of pride and of the strength of our state, our workers and our service members," he said.

The Virginia class submarine is the first U.S. Navy warship designed from the keel up for the full range of mission requirements in the post-Cold War era.

When completed, USS Washington will be 377 feet long and displace 7,800 tons. It will be able to operate at more than 25 knots submerged and can dive to a depth greater than 800 feet. The vessel will be armed with Mark 48 advanced-capability torpedoes, Tomahawk land attack missiles and unmanned underwater vehicles.

It is designed with a reactor plant that will not require refueling during the planned life of the ship, reducing life cycle costs while increasing underway time. Construction began on the submarine in September 2011.

The first two vessels to bear the name USS Washington in honor of the state were a Tennessee-class armored cruiser (ACR-11) launched in 1905. She was renamed USS Seattle in 1916 and retired in 1946.

The second was a 35,000-ton North Carolina class battleship (BB-56), launched in 1941, decommissioned in 1947 and scrapped in 1961. That USS Washington conducted wartime operations in the Atlantic and in the South Pacific.