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NEWS | March 10, 2015

Navy Lays Keel for PCU Colorado

By Team Submarine Public Affairs

QUONSET POINT, R.I. - The U.S. Navy held a keel laying ceremony for the Virginia-class submarine Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Colorado (SSN 788) at General Dynamics Electric Boat, March 7.


The initials of the submarine's sponsor, Ms. Annie Mabus, were welded onto a steel plate that will be permanently affixed to the submarine. Ms. Mabus is the daughter of Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus.


"Colorado’s keel laying is a special day for our Navy, the state of Colorado, and our shipbuilding partners," said Rear Adm. David Johnson, Program Executive Officer for Submarines. "This event marks the first major construction milestone for the submarine and helps forge a special bond between Ms. Mabus and, her submarine and her crew that will last for years to come."


Colorado began construction in March 2012 and is on track to continue the Virginia-class program's trend of delivering submarines early to their contract delivery dates, within budget, and ready for tasking by the Fleet.


Colorado is the fourth ship to bear the name of the state. Colorado is also the 15th submarine of the Virginia class and the fifth of the eight ship Block III construction contract. Virginia-class submarines are built under a unique construction contract betweenjointly by General Dynamics Electric Boat and Huntington Ingalls Industries-Newport News Shipbuilding. So far, 28 Virginia Class Submarines have either been delivered, are in construction, or are under contract.


In addition to Colorado’s keel laying, other Virginia-class milestones this year include the christening of USS PCU Illinois (SSN 786), the commissioning of USS John Warner (SSN 785), and the keel laying of PCU Indiana (SSN 789).


Ships of the Virginia Class embody the commitment by the Navy and industry to reduce costs without decreasing capabilities through a multi-year procurement strategy, continuous improvements in construction practices and cost-reduction design changes. These submarines excel in littoral and open-ocean environments and collect intelligence critical to irregular warfare efforts with advanced intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities. Their inherent stealth, endurance, mobility, and firepower directly enable them to support five of the six Maritime Strategy Core Capabilities - sea control, power projection, forward presence, maritime security, and deterrence.