Home » Budget Industry » VIDEO: Attack Submarine USS Colorado Commissions

VIDEO: Attack Submarine USS Colorado Commissions

Nuclear attack boat Colorado (SSN-788) sits pierside on March 17, 2018. US Navy Photo

Nuclear attack submarine USS Colorado (SSN-788) commissioned during a Saturday morning ceremony at the Naval Submarine Base New London in Groton, Conn.

Construction of Colorado started in 2012 and is the 15th Virginia-class fast attack submarine, and the fifth Virginia-class Block III submarine to be built. Colorado will be the fourth U.S. Navy ship commissioned named for the state of Colorado.

“USS Colorado is a true marvel of technology and innovation, and it shows the capability that our industrial partners bring to the fight,” said Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer in a press release. “Today’s world requires undersea platforms designed for dominance across a broad spectrum of regional and littoral missions, and I am confident Colorado will proudly serve in defense of our nation’s interests for decades to come.”

 Lt. Anthony Matus uses an Xbox controller to maneuver the photonic mast aboard the USS Colorado (SSN-788). (Navy photo)

Lt. Anthony Matus uses an Xbox controller to maneuver the photonic mast aboard the USS Colorado (SSN-788). (Navy photo)

The Block III Virginia-class submarines have a redesigned bow with two large-diameter 87-inch Virginia Payload Tubes, each capable of launching six Tomahawk cruise missiles. Block III hulls include the eight ships purchased between Fiscal Years 2008 and 2013. Three more Block III hulls are being built, according to the service.

The Virginia Payload Tubes simplify construction, reduce acquisition costs, and due to their added volume provide for more payload flexibility than the smaller 12 individual Vertical Launch System tubes in earlier built Block I and Block II Virginia-class submarines, according to the Navy.

Artist’s conception of the redesigned Block III Virginia-class bow.

Other Block III improvements include the traditional air-backed sonar sphere was replaced with a water-backed Large Aperture Bow (LAB) array, reducing construction and maintenance costs while providing enhanced passive detection capabilities, according to a Navy

Construction of ten Block IV submarines is underway, with a focus on making several small-scale design changes to increase the lifecycle of the submarine’s components. Doing so is expected to increase the availability of the Block IV submarines, compared to earlier blocks. The Navy plans for Block IV submarines to undergo three depot maintenance availabilities and 15 deployments during their service lives. Currently, the ratio of depot availabilities to deployments is 4:14, according to the Navy.

Colorado (SSN 788) Commanding Officer, Cmdr. Reed Koepp (left) and Executive Officer, Lt. Cmdr. Stephen Col stand in the boat’s sail on Jan. 12, 2018. US Navy Photo

Earlier this week, the Navy announced sub builder General Dynamics Electric Boat was awarded a $696.2 million contract modification for long-lead materials for the first of the Virginia-class Block V attack boats. These will be longer than previously built Virginia-class subs, to accommodate four Virginia Payload Module tubes, which will each contain seven Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles (TLAMs). The Virginia Payload Module tubes are similar to the Virginia Payload Tubes, the Navy stated, because using a proven design should minimize both cost and design risks.

  • Ed L

    okay those uniforms have to go

    • El Kabong


      I could barely see those sailors!

      Standing on that 7800 ton submarine…. 😉

    • Ctrot

      But what if the skipper needs to lead a shore party into a hostile jungle? He’s got to have some digital green cammies to wear!

  • William Sager

    The Vertical Launch system kind of makes the Colorado one third of the way to a ballistic missile submarine.

    • draeger24

      TOMAHAWKS are not “ballistic”. They are tactical missiles.

      • David Flandry

        Yes, but. With a 20 or 30 KT warhead it will take out most non-hardened military targets, and any city.

        • draeger24

          not the point.

  • Western

    I remember a time when photographs of the sail and masts were classified. X-Box controller? Sigh.

  • Matthew Schilling

    When I include the next Virginia class to be commissioned, the USS Indiana, the three newest Virginia class boats needed 6 months more from Launched to Commissioned than the great sequence of nine boats that preceded them. And, next year, the South Dakota will make that four in a row requiring the new, longer time span of three years.
    A 30 month timeline produces 6 boats for every 5 boats produced by the longer timeline. Is there any hope of getting back to producing a Virginia class sub in 30 months?

    • Sir Bateman

      I thought South Dakota was supposed to commission sometime this summer or fall?

      • Matthew Schilling

        Indiana is supposed to be commissioned later this year. I couldn’t find a date for South Dakota.

  • Rogerjb

    I hope we build a lot of Virginia Class and a lot of SLBM subs. The Russians and Chinese make me nervous.