Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Newport News Shipbuilding division has authenticated the keel of the US Navy’s 21st Virginia-class attack submarine, Montana (SSN 794).
Former Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell chalked her initials on to a steel plate, while Mariah Gladstone, a member of the Blackfeet Nation in Montana, performed a Native American blessing.
Jacob McNulty, a Montana-born welder at Newport News, traced Jewell’s inscription on the plate, which signified that the keel of Montana is “truly and fairly laid”. The steel plate will be permanently affixed to the submarine.
Construction of Montana began in May 2015. The boat is 46 per cent complete and is expected to be delivered in late 2020.
Montana will be the third of 10 Block IV Virginia-class submarines.
The submarines are built under a US$17.8 billion contract awarded in April 2014 with General Dynamic Electric Boat as prime contractor.
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