A new submarine joined the U.S. Navy’s fleet during a ceremony at Norfolk Naval Station in Norfolk, Virginia Saturday.
Though the USS John Warner had been tested during sea trials, it is virtually new to the U.S. Navy. The huge submarine is made of steel and stealth and is 7,800 tons and 337 feet long. The submarine is worth $2 billion.
Cmdr. Daniel Caldwell, a 22-year Navy veteran and captain of the USS John Warner told CNN, “The shiniest and coolest thing I’ve ever seen in my military career. It’s going to make whatever I do next anti-climactic.”
The Warner is the 12th attack submarine in the Virginia class. The features of the Warner class include a photonic mast and infrared and high-definition video capabilities.
In the command center, video information is fully displayed on a large screen alongside a joystick that controls the commands.
The submarine is also armed with 12 Tomahawk cruise missiles. Like a revolver chamber, the missiles will be launched from two bays that are located in the front of the sub.
According to USNI News, the ship is equipped with MK48 torpedoes that can be shot out from the sides of the ship.
In front of the command center is an area where two sailors can pilot the submarine. Caldwell said that having two sailors driving a sub instead of four shows how far technology has come.
“Every mission that we do, we’re just better at it than previous classes of submarines,” Caldwell said.
Even though Caldwell is very confident in the ship and the mission, he still worries about the tasks that may come to him and his 135-person crew.
Caldwell said, “We do some pretty complicated missions in some parts of the world that are pretty unforgiving environments to operate in. You gotta make sure that the crew is ready to go do the mission you are assigned – and be ready to change focus quickly when threats change.”
The speakers on Saturday marveled at the sub, stating that it was under budget, delivered early and with the highest readiness score of any other sub in its class.
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Johnathan Greenert said that one of the most successful weapons programs at the Pentagon is the Virginia-class sub programs.
Greenert called the USS John Warner, “the most high-tech, it is the most lethal warship pound for pound that we have in our inventory.”