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Navy to Commission Submarine South Dakota > U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE > News Release View

The Navy will commission its newest fast attack submarine, the future USS South Dakota (SSN 790), during an 11 a.m. (EST) ceremony Saturday, Feb. 2, at Naval Submarine Base New London in Groton, Connecticut.

The principal speaker will be U.S. Senator Mike Rounds of South Dakota. The submarine’s sponsor is Mrs. Deanie Dempsey, wife of the 18th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey. She will give the order to “man our ship and bring her to life!” in a time-honored Navy tradition.

“USS South Dakota enters service during a period of dynamic security challenges,” said Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer. “I am confident USS South Dakota and its crew will ensure our Navy and nation remain safe and strong, and proudly serve our nation’s interest for decades to come.”

USS South Dakota, a Virginia-class submarine designated SSN 790, is the third ship to bear the state’s name. The first South Dakota was an armored cruiser commissioned Jan. 27, 1908. The ship served in a convoy escort role during World War I before being renamed Huron June 7, 1920.  She was decommissioned following seven years of service in the Pacific on June 17, 1927. The second ship was a battleship commissioned March 20, 1942. She saw service in a number of important World War II battles including Santa Cruz, Guadalcanal, Philippine Sea, and Okinawa, earning thirteen battle stars over the course of the war. South Dakota was present at Tokyo Bay when the Japanese surrendered and was later placed out of commission on Jan. 31, 1947.

USS South Dakota is the 17th Virginia-class attack submarine and the seventh Virginia-class Block III submarine. Virginia-class submarines are built to operate in the world’s littoral and deep waters while conducting anti-submarine warfare; anti-surface ship warfare; strike warfare; special operation forces support; intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; irregular warfare; and mine warfare missions. 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.

Live Stream of USS South Dakota Commissioning Ceremony:

Five Things to Know About USS South Dakota (SSN 790)

  1. Namesake: USS South Dakota is named after the 40th state added to the Union.
    The submarine is the third ship to be christened “South Dakota.” The first USS South Dakota (ACR9/CA 9) was launched in 1904. Assigned to the Armored Cruiser Squadron, Pacific Fleet, South Dakota cruised off the west coast of the United States through August 1908. It was then sent on a cruise to Samoa and later operated in Central and South American waters. It returned home in 1912 and was placed in reserve at Puget Sound Navy Yard. The second USS South Dakota (BB 57) was commissioned March 1942 and assigned to Task Force 16 centered on the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CV 6). South Dakota conducted blockade operations against Japanese forces approaching Guadalcanal, where they engaged Japanese carrier forces in the Battle of Santa Cruz. BB-57 saw action in the Battle of Savo Island, Battle of Philippine Sea, Okinawa, Iwo Jima, and other Japanese strongholds earning 13 battle stars.
  2. Sponsor: Deanie Dempsey, wife of former Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman and retired Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, is the ship’s sponsor and will be in attendance for the commissioning.
    Deanie spent several decades of service in support of the Army, before becoming a champion for all of the services in her role as the chairman’s spouse. In that capacity, she has engaged in countless activities in support of military families, coached and mentored military spouses of all services, participated in dozens of private and charitable organizations, traveled the world representing the United States military, hosted visits to the United States by the spouses of foreign military leaders, and coordinated the family support activities of the White House and Department of Defense.
  3. Size/Endurance: 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 while displacing approximately 7,800 tons submerged. It will operate for over 30 years without ever refueling.
  4. Capability:  South Dakota is the seventh Block III submarine of the Virginia-class.
    The Virginia class has been improved to enhance littoral operations. The class has special features to support Special Operations Forces, including a reconfigurable torpedo room which can accommodate a large number of SOF and all their equipment for prolonged deployments and future off-board payloads. The class also has a large lock-in/lock-out chamber for divers. Traditional periscopes have been replaced by two photonics masts that host visible and infrared digital cameras atop telescoping arms. The Block III submarines have replaced the 12 individual Vertical Launch System (VLS) tubes with two 87-inch Virginia Payload Tubes (VPTs), each capable of launching six Tomahawk cruise missiles. The VPTs simplify construction, reduce acquisition costs, and provide for more payload flexibility than the smaller VLS tubes due to their added volume.
  5. Missions: South Dakota 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; strike warfare; irregular warfare; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; and mine warfare.

Walking Tour of the USS South Dakota:

U.S Navy Fact File on the USS South Dakota:

Unmanned Systems
Unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV)
MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned air vehicles (FIRE SCOUT)
Flying-Swimmer (Flimmer) UAV/UUV
MQ-4C Triton
Shipboard Autonomous Firefighting Robot (SAFFiR)
Aircraft, Fixed Wing
C-2A Greyhound logistics aircraft
C-9 Skytrain logistics aircraft
C-12 Huron logistics aircraft
C-20 Gulfstream logistics aircraft
C-37A (Gulfstream V) and C-37B (Gulfstream 550)
C-130 Hercules logistics aircraft
C-40A Clipper logistics aircraft
E-2 Hawkeye Early Warning and Control Aircraft
E-6B Mercury airborne command post
EA-6B Prowler electronic warfare aircraft
EA-18G Growler Airborne Electronic Attack Aircraft
F-5N/F Adversary aircraft
F-16A/B Fighting Falcon Fighter
F/A-18 Hornet strike fighter
F-35C Lightning II
Learjet 35/36
NU-1B Otter
P-8A Poseidon Multi-mission Maritime Aircraft (MMA)
P-3C Orion and EP-3 Aries
S-3B Viking detection and attack of submarines aircraft
T-2C Buckeye jet trainer
T-6A Texan II Turboprop trainer
T-6B Texan II Turboprop Trainer
T-34C Turbomentor training aircraft
T-38 Talon supersonic trainer
T-39D radar-navigational trainer
T-39N/G Sabreliner training aircraft
T-44 Pegasus trainer
T-45A Goshawk training aircraft
TC-12 Huron trainer
U-6A Beaver all-purpose utility transport
RQ-2A Pioneer Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)
RQ-8A and MQ-8B Fire Scout Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)
X-26A high performance glider
Aircraft, Rotary Wing
HH/UH-1N Iroquois helicopter
CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter
CH-53K King Stallion
H-3 Sea King helicopter
MH-53E Sea Dragon Helicopter
MH-60 Seahawk Helicopter
MH-60R Seahawk
MH-60S Seahawk
TH-57 Sea Ranger Helicopter
TH-6B helicopter
VH-3D Sea King helicopter
V-22B Osprey Tilt Rotor Aircraft
VH-60N Night Hawk helicopter
Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Training Targets
MK 30 Mod 1 Anti-Submarine Warfare Target
MK 30 Mod 2 Anti-Submarine Warfare Target
MK 39 Expendable Mobile Anti-Submarine Warfare Training Target (EMATT)
Guns, Weapon Systems
AEGIS Weapon System
AGM-154 Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW)
Air and Missile Defense Radar (AMDR)
AN/AES-1 Airborne Laser Mine Detection System (ALMDS)
AN/BPS-15/16 Radar
AN/SPQ-9B Radar Set
AN/SQQ-34 Aircraft Carrier Tactical Support System (CV-TSC)
AN/SQQ-89(V) Undersea Warfare / Anti-Submarine Warfare Combat System
AN/USQ-T46 Battle Force Tactical Training (BFTT)
AN/UYQ-100 Undersea Warfare Decision Support System (USW-DSS)
CEC – Cooperative Engagement Capability
CMS – Countermine System
Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM)
Littoral Combat Ships – Mission Modules
Littoral Combat Ships – Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Mission Package
Littoral Combat Ships – Mine Countermeasures Mission Package
Littoral Combat Ships – Surface Warfare Mission Package
Open Systems Architecture (OSA)
SeaRAM Close-In Weapon System (CIWS) Anti-Ship Missile Defense System
Surface Electronic Warfare Improvement Program (SEWIP)
MK 15 – Phalanx Close-In Weapon System (CIWS)
MK 38 – 25 mm Machine Gun System
MK 46 – 30 mm Gun Weapon System
MK 41 – VLS
MK 45 – 5-inch 54/62 Caliber Guns
MK 53 – Decoy Launching System (Nulka)
MK 60 Griffin Missile System (GMS)
MK 75 – 76 mm/62 Caliber Gun
MK 46 – Torpedo
MK 48 – Heavyweight Torpedo
MK 50 – Torpedo
MK 54 – Torpedo
MK 110 57 mm Gun
US Navy Mines
AN/ASQ-235 Airborne Mine Neutralization System (AMNS)
AN/DVS-1 Coastal Battlefield Reconnaissance and Analysis – (COBRA)
AN/SPS-49(V) Radar Set
AN/SPS-67(V) Radar Set
AN/SPS-73(V)12 Radar Set
AN/SPS-74(V) Radar Set
Mine Countermeasures Unmanned Surface Vehicle (MCM USV)
AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range, Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM)
Harpoon Missile
AGM-88 HARM Missile
AGM-114B/K/M Hellfire Missile
AGM-65 Maverick Guided Missile
Penguin Anti-Ship Missile
AIM-54 Phoenix Missile
RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM)
Seasparrow Missile (RIM-7)
AIM-9 Sidewinder Missile
SLAM-ER Missile
Standard Missile
Tomahawk Cruise Missile
Trident II (D5) Missile
Vertical Launch Anti-Submarine Rocket ASROC (VLA) Missile
Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron (The Blue Angels)
Navy Rank Structure
Navy Seabees
Navy Seals
Task Force Simulation and Modeling
Attack Submarines – SSN
Fleet Ballistic Missile Submarines – SSBN
Guided Missile Submarines – SSGN
Undersea Rescue Command (URC) Assets
Submarine Rescue Diving and Recompression System (SRDRS)
Large Scale Vehicle – LSV 2
Surface Ships
USS Constitution
Aircraft Carriers – CVN
Amphibious Assault Ships – LHD/LHA(R)
Amphibious Command Ships – LCC
Amphibious Transport Dock – LPD
Cruisers – CG
Destroyers – DDG
Dock Landing Ship – LSD
Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF)
Landing Craft, Air Cushion (LCAC)
Ship to Shore Connector (SSC)
Landing Craft, Mechanized and Utility – LCM/LCU
Littoral Combat Ship Class – LCS
Mark V Special Operations Craft
Mine Countermeasures Ships – MCM
Patrol Coastal Ships – PC
11 Meter Naval Special Warfare Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB)
Riverine Command Boat
Yard Patrol Craft – YP
Mark VI Patrol Boat
Underwater Search and Recovery Equipment
CURV 21 – Remotely Operated Vehicle
Deep Drone 8000 – Remotely Operated Vehicle
Magnum ROV – Remotely Operated Vehicle
MINIROVs – Remotely Operated Vehicle
Orion – Towed Side Scan Sonar
Shallow Water Intermediate Search System – Towed Side Scan Sonar
Towed Pinger Locator 25

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Rich Mitchell

Rich Mitchell is the editor-in-chief of Conservative Daily News and the president of Bald Eagle Media, LLC. His posts may contain opinions that are his own and are not necessarily shared by Bald Eagle Media, CDN, staff or .. much of anyone else. Find him on twitter, facebook and

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