DefenceTalk reports USS North Dakota SSN 784 Commissioned. Excerpts:
USS North Dakota (SSN 784) officially became the Navy’s newest addition to the submarine force following a commissioning ceremony held Oct. 25, at Naval Submarine Base New London.
North Dakota is the 11th Virginia-class attack submarine to join the fleet, and the first of eight Block III Virginia-class submarines to be built. The Block III submarines are being built with new Virginia Payload Tubes designed to lower costs and increase missile-firing payload possibilities.
The 10 current Virginia-class submarines have 12 individual 21-inch diameter vertical launch tubes able to fire Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles (TLAMS). The Block III submarines being built will have two-larger 87-inch diameter tubes able to house six TLAMS each.
As the most modern and sophisticated attack submarine in the world, the submarine can operate in both littoral and deep ocean environments and presents combatant commanders with a broad and unique range of operational capabilities. North Dakota will be a flexible, multi-mission platform designed to carry out the seven core competencies of the submarine force: anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, delivery of special operations forces, strike warfare, irregular warfare, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and mine warfare.
The submarine is 377 feet long, has a 34-foot beam, and will be able to dive to depths greater than 800 feet and operate at speeds in excess of 25 knots submerged. It will operate for 33 years without ever refueling.
TIL the word littoral.