WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Senators Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) and John Thune (R-S.D.) and Representative Kristi Noem (R-S.D.) have received word from the Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus, Jr., that he is granting their request to name a Virginia class attack submarine the USS South Dakota. In March, the delegation wrote to Secretary Mabus requesting the designation. This is the third USS South Dakota.
“This designation is a fitting tribute for all those South Dakotans who have served our nation. This submarine will represent our state all over the globe and will help ensure our nation’s military remains the strongest in the world. I want to thank Secretary Mabus for his quick response to the delegation’s request and for continuing the strong tradition of the USS South Dakota, including the battleship that served extensively during the Second World War,” said Johnson.
“This is exciting news for South Dakota and I appreciate Secretary Mabus’s favorable response to our request,” said Thune. “The Navy’s designation, which follows in the tradition of the decorated World War II battleship USS South Dakota, is a tribute to those who have served from our great state, and will serve as a symbol of our state and our nation’s power for many years to come. This submarine naming represents a great source of pride for all South Dakotans.”
"Over the years, thousands of South Dakotans have answered the call to serve our country, and this is an honor the brave men and women of our state deserve," said Rep. Noem. "I'm grateful to Secretary Mabus for his swift and favorable response and am glad a South Dakota namesake will be a part of the continued defense of our great nation."
Aside from the USS South Dakota, the Secretary also announced the naming of four additional Virginia class submarines: the USS Illinois, the USS Washington, the USS Colorado, and the USS Indiana.
“Each of these five states serve as home to military bases that support our national defense and provide men and women that volunteer to serve their country,” Mabus said. “I look forward to these submarines joining the fleet and representing these great states around the world. Prior ships that have carried the names of these five states stood as defenders of freedom on the water. Now these states will represent the latest and greatest technology ever assembled to submerge below the surface and project power forward.”
These next-generation attack submarines will provide the Navy with the capabilities required to maintain the nation's undersea supremacy well into the 21st century. They will have enhanced stealth, sophisticated surveillance capabilities and special warfare enhancements that will enable them to meet the Navy's multi-mission requirements.
These submarines will have the capability to attack targets ashore with highly accurate Tomahawk cruise missiles and conduct covert long-term surveillance of land areas, littoral waters or other sea-based forces. Other missions include anti-submarine and anti-ship warfare; mine delivery and minefield mapping. They are also designed for special forces delivery and support.
Each Virginia-class submarine is 7,800-tons and 377 feet in length, has a beam of 34 feet, and can operate at more than 25 knots submerged. It is designed with a reactor plant that will not require refueling during the planned life of the ship, reducing lifecycle costs while increasing underway time. The five submarines will be built by Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding in Newport News, Va., in partnership with General Dynamics/Electric Boat Corporation.
The letter from March requesting the designation is attached.