In Oct. 2018, the U.S. Navy commissioned its 16th Virginia-class submarine – its most lethal attack submarine to date.
The latest incarnation of USS Indiana (SSN 789) is the third submarine of the same name, and the third vessel to adopt the state’s name.
With redesigned features and innovative technology, it is now the most modern of the Navy’s submarine fleet.
The USS Indiana is 7,800-ton submarine is 377 feet in length – 26 yards longer than a football field. It’s also 34 feet in width, and capable of operating in various environments with numerous capabilities.
“Indiana is 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 (SOF), strike warfare, irregular warfare, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, and mine warfare,” according to a Navy press release.
A regular crew of 140 is expected on the submarine, but it can hold up to 200 members during special operations. It is capable of Special Forces support, with a torpedo room that can be reconfigured to host additional personnel and equipment for special deployments.
Its features include “a redesigned bow, which replaces 12 individual Vertical Launch System (VLS) tubes with two large-diameter Virginia Payload Tubes (VPTs) each capable of launching six Tomahawk cruise missiles, among other design changes that reduced the submarines’ acquisition cost while maintaining their outstanding warfighting capabilities,” the Navy statement said.
The Indiana carries Mark 48 Advanced Capability torpedoes, each weighing 2,000 pounds and capable of traveling 50 mph. They are considered among the world’s most feared torpedoes. The USS Indiana can hold up to 24 of these torpedoes.
Check out the sub’s torpedo room:
Another fascinating feature about this naval marvel is that it features its own nuclear reactor plant that never requires refueling. Not only does this reduce downtime, but it also reduces costs throughout the life of the submarine.
The submarine’s periscope isn’t a bulky mast that takes up the control room as movies portray – it’s actually digital. Sailors operate the “photonics mast periscope” using a controller that resembles an Xbox controller. The images are transmitted to monitors in the control room where they rotate through different images.
The commissioning ceremony took place at Port Canaveral, and it was the first time a submarine was commissioned at Canaveral.
“USS Indiana, and her sisters of the Virginia class, will maintain our edge in the undersea environment,” said Director of Naval Reactors, Adm. J. Franklin Caldwell Jr. at the commissioning. “Soon Indiana will deploy her stealth, endurance and her flexibility to travel silently under our oceans protecting our nation. She will be collecting intelligence, preparing for battle, and, if necessary, striking from the deep without notice to defend our nation.”