MONTANA is Launched – Commissioning into the Navy Fleet a Step Closer (posted 3/3/21)

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MONTANA (SSN 794) afloat. (Photo: Matt Hildreth/ HII)

The future USS MONTANA (SSN 794) has been launched in Newport News, Virginia.

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The Virginia-class submarine Montana (SSN 794) has been launched into the James River and moved to Newport News Shipbuilding division’s submarine pier for final outfitting, testing and crew certification. (Photo : Ashley Cowan/HII)

The nuclear-powered fast attack submarine will be completed pier-side while crew training continues toward sea trials this year. The boat’s commissioning into the Navy fleet is likely in early 2022.

In its news release, Huntington Ingalls Industries announced that the 7800-ton Virginia-class submarine was launched into the James River at the company’s Newport News Shipbuilding division.

Captain Michael Delaney, commanding officer of the MONTANA, has visited the state multiple times with crew members. Said Delaney about the launch, “Our exceptional young sailors want all Montanans to know that in their training and the fulfilling of their operational responsibilities, they are energized by the support they feel from Big Sky Country. The same will be true when they are eventually deployed aboard the USS MONTANA in defense of our nation.”

Delaney said that crew members who have visited various parts of the state to get to know her people, history, culture, and economy have been tremendously impressed by the Montanans they’ve met. Said Delaney, “We’re all committed to making Montana proud as we work toward taking the state’s namesake warship to sea for the first time later this year.”

Montanans are actively supporting the commissioning and crew of the MONTANA through the USS Montana Committee, a Montana nonprofit corporation with a number of responsibilities. Included are building a support relationship between the crew and Montanans for the boat’s 30-year service life and providing certain enhancements to the warship, including an onboard Montana history and culture display being developed with the Montana Historical Society.

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New SSN 794 ship’s bell previewed at christening September 12, 2020. (Photo: Matt Hildreth/ HII)

The Committee will be doing informational presentations around the state this year with a unique submarine-sized ship’s bell cast as a replica of the one aboard the first and only other USS MONTANA, an armored cruiser commissioned in 1908. The bell will be presented to the boat and its crew at the future USS MONTANA’s commissioning.

According to Huntington Ingalls Industries, until launch the MONTANA had been in a floating dry dock following transfer from a construction facility in October. The dry dock was submerged and the submarine was moved by tugboats to the shipyard’s submarine pier for final outfitting, testing and crew certification.

“For our shipbuilders, launching MONTANA signifies five years of hard work, commitment and dedicated service,” said Jason Ward, Newport News’ vice president of Virginia-class submarine construction. “We look forward to executing our waterborne test program, and working toward sea trials and delivering the submarine to the Navy.”

Through the teaming agreement with General Dynamics Electric Boat approximately 10,000 shipbuilders, as well as suppliers from all 50 states, have participated in MONTANA’s construction since the work began in 2015. MONTANA is approximately 92% complete.

For a fascinating time-lapse video of the MONTANA launch produced by Huntington Ingalls Newport News Shipbuilding, click here.

The full Huntington Ingalls release is available at: https://newsroom.huntingtoningalls.com/releases/montana-ssn-794-launched.

For more information on the USS Montana Committee, or to request a presentation on the future USS MONTANA, please use the contact page of the www.ussmontanacommittee.us website.