A Virginia-class attack submarine will be called the USS Arkansas, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced Wednesday.
Virginia-class subs have enhanced stealth and surveillance capabilities. They can attack targets ashore with Tomahawk cruise missiles and engage in anti-submarine and anti-ship warfare, mine delivery and minefield mapping. They also can deliver special forces.
The 377-foot sub will weigh 7,800 tons, according to a press release from the Navy. It can operate at more than 25 knots submerged and will be powered by a nuclear reactor that will not have to be refueled over the life of the ship.
It will be built by General Dynamics Electric Boat (GDEB) and Newport News Shipbuilding. Construction begins in 2018, with the sub joining the fleet in 2023.
This will be the fifth naval vessel to be called the USS Arkansas, according to the Navy press release. The first was a screw steamer in the Civil War. The second, commissioned in 1902, was a monitor with a single gun turret. The third was a battleship commissioned in 1912. The fourth was a nuclear-powered guided missile cruiser that was commissioned in 1980 and decommissioned in 1998.