United States Navy (USN) will soon welcome its 30th Virginia-class nuclear-powered attack submarine.

The keel-authentication ceremony of the future nuclear fast attack submarine USS Arizona (SSN 803) was held at General Dynamics (GDEB) Electric Boat’s Quonset Point Facility in Rhode Island last week, led by USN officials and GDEB representatives.

According to the Navy, the SSN 803 submarine is “the first US naval vessel to bear the name Arizona since battleship USS Arizona (BB 39) was sunk during the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.” The epoch-defining raid from the Japanese forces that fateful morning bombarded the harbor and sunk several moored vessels, including the battleship Arizona, which burned for two days and lost more than 1,100 of her crew.

“The boats in this class are the most advanced attack submarines ever designed. Their stealth, firepower, and maneuverability are superior to every other attack submarine force in the world,” said Rear Adm. Jonathan Rucker, Program Executive Office, Attack Submarines. “Additionally, Arizona will be the first of the Virginia-class equipped with the Virginia Payload Module, enabling the submarine to deliver an even wider variety of capabilities.”

Rucker stressed the crucial role of “building, operating, and maintaining” the Virginia-class submarines in ensuring that the Navy’s ability will be able to keep up to “an ever-shifting global threat environment, and to maintaining peace and the free operation of our sea lanes.

Following the Navy’s keel laying tradition, the ship’s sponsor, Nikki Stratton, welded her initials onto a steel plate which will then be permanently mounted in a place of honor on the completed vessel. Nikki is the granddaughter of Donald Stratton, a Seaman First Class who served on battleship Arizona and a survivor of the 1941 attack. After suffering from severe burns, Donald was honorably discharged the following year. However, he reenlisted in 1944 and returned to the Western Pacific aboard the destroyer USS Stack (DD-406) and saw action in the Philippines, New Guinea, and the Battle of Okinawa in Japan. After retiring, Donald spent the rest of his life honoring those lives lost in the Pearl Harbor attack and other battles until his death in February 2020 at age 97.