In a momentous ceremony, the United States Navy recently commissioned its 22nd Virginia-class fast-attack submarine, the USS Hyman G. Rickover (SSN 795), at a shipyard in Connecticut.
This event marks the addition of a cutting-edge vessel to the Navy’s formidable submarine fleet. It pays tribute to Admiral Hyman G. Rickover, a visionary leader whose contributions to naval propulsion technology have had a lasting impact.
Admiral Rickover: The Father of the Nuclear Navy
The USS Hyman G. Rickover is named in honor of Admiral Rickover, a towering figure in the history of the US Navy.
Admiral Rickover’s service spanned over six decades, and his enduring legacy as the “Father of the Nuclear Navy” is a testament to his pioneering work in naval propulsion.
He played a pivotal role in harnessing the power of atomic energy for naval applications and collaborated closely with the US Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), pushing the boundaries of technology to enable nuclear submarine propulsion. His efforts culminated in the USS Nautilus (SSN 571) commissioning in 1955, the world’s first nuclear-powered submarine and a game-changer in naval warfare.
A Celebration of Excellence and Innovation
During the commissioning ceremony, Vice Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Lisa Franchetti emphasized the significance of this event.
“Adm. Rickover’s impact on our Navy was more than that of a visionary leader; it was that of a consequential leader. This commissioning not only honors his legacy but also celebrates our Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program’s 75 years of excellence,” said Franchetti.
In many ways, the USS Hyman G. Rickover reflects Admiral Rickover’s unwavering commitment to excellence. It is unmatched in its pursuit of innovation and sets the standard for the future of submarine technology.
The Virginia-Class Submarine Program
The USS Hyman G. Rickover belongs to the esteemed Virginia-class submarine program, which seeks to modernize and revitalize the US Navy’s submarine fleet. This initiative is vital for replacing the aging Los Angeles-class submarines, which were first introduced in the 1970s.
As a Block IV Virginia-class submarine, the USS Hyman G. Rickover boasts advanced features, including enhanced stealth, sophisticated surveillance capabilities, and special warfare enhancements, aligning perfectly with the Navy’s multi-mission requirements.
The development history of the Virginia-class submarines mirrors the evolution of naval warfare. The Cold War era prompted the US Navy to seek a new class of submarines capable of replacing the aging Los Angeles-class while remaining cost-effective and flexible for various missions. Launched in the early 2000s, the Virginia-class submarines were designed with the modern battlespace in mind.
Their modular design has enabled easier upgrades and maintenance, while their advanced sonar systems, stealth capabilities, and the capacity to launch torpedoes and guided missiles have made them formidable adversaries. Over the years, these submarines have undergone multiple upgrades to adapt to emerging threats, solidifying their role as indispensable assets in the US Navy’s arsenal.
The Future of Submarine Warfare
The USS Hyman G. Rickover enters service with a suite of next-generation surveillance technologies, special warfare enhancements, and improved stealth, ensuring that it remains at the forefront of naval warfare. This addition to the Virginia-class fleet represents the United States Navy’s commitment to maintaining its undersea supremacy well into the 21st century.
The Virginia-class program has ambitious plans, with over 60 submarines planned under the initiative. These submarines, in various configurations, are currently active internationally, contributing to the security and defense of the United States and its allies.
The production of Virginia-class submarines is a collaborative effort led by General Dynamics Electric Boat and Huntington Ingalls Industries Newport News Shipbuilding, two of the most prominent names in the shipbuilding industry.
A Tribute to Excellence
The commissioning of the USS Hyman G Rickover is not just a naval tradition – it is a tribute to the indomitable spirit of a leader who shaped the course of naval history. It also symbolizes the United States Navy’s unwavering commitment to innovation, excellence, and preparedness.
🍾 Tune in today at 10:00 a.m. EST for the USS Hyman G. Rickover commissioning!
SSN 795 is the second nuclear-powered fast-attack submarine named in honor of the "Father of the Nuclear Navy."
— U.S. Navy (@USNavy) October 14, 2023
This momentous occasion highlights the role of Admiral Hyman G. Rickover, a man who believed in the potential of nuclear power for naval propulsion when it was still in its infancy. His vision and determination laid the foundation for the modern nuclear Navy, which continues to safeguard national interests and global security.
Admiral Rickover’s legacy lives on in the USS Hyman G. Rickover, a vessel that carries his name and his commitment to excellence. As Admiral Franchetti aptly remarked during the ceremony:
“Much like Adm. Rickover himself, this boat is unmatched in its pursuit of excellence. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for this crew.”
The commissioning of the USS Hyman G Rickover (SSN 795) is a testament to the enduring impact of a visionary leader and a symbol of the US Navy’s dedication to maintaining its supremacy beneath the waves, ensuring the nation’s security and defense for generations to come.