The Navy’s newest fast-attack submarine, USS Indiana (SSN 789), will be commissioned at the Navy Port at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Port Canaveral, Florida, Sept. 29, 2018. It will be the sixteenth Virginia-class submarine to join the fleet.
Indiana will be the third U.S. Navy ship, and first submarine, to be commissioned with a name honoring the state of Indiana. Diane Donald, wife of retired Adm. Kirkland H. Donald, is the ship’s sponsor.
Designed to operate in both coastal and deep-ocean environments, Indiana will present leadership with a broad and unique range of capabilities, including anti-submarine warfare; anti-surface ship warfare; strike warfare; special operation forces (SOF) support; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; irregular warfare; and mine warfare missions.
Indiana is a part of the Virginia-class’ third, or Block III, contract, in which the Navy redesigned approximately 20 percent of the ship to reduce acquisition costs. Indiana features a redesigned bow, which replaces 12 individual Vertical Launch System tubes with two large-diameter Virginia Payload Tubes each capable of launching six Tomahawk cruise missiles, among other design changes that reduced the submarines’ acquisition cost while maintaining their outstanding warfighting capabilities.
Indiana has special features to support SOF, including a reconfigurable torpedo room which can accommodate a large number of SOF and all their equipment for prolonged deployments and future off-board payloads. Also, in Virginia-class SSNs, traditional periscopes have been replaced by two photonics masts that host visible and infrared digital cameras atop telescoping arms. Through the extensive use of modular construction, open architecture and commercial off-the-shelf components, the Virginia class is designed to remain at the cutting edge for its entire operational life through the rapid introduction of new systems and payloads.