The Navy welcomed the 21st Virginia-class submarine into the fleet over the weekend, the service announced Monday.
USS Montana (SSN-794) is the third of the Block IV Virginia-class submarines to deliver to the Navy from Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Newport News Shipbuilding. It is the second naval war vessel to bear the name of Montana, the other being the former USS Montana (ACR-13), which was decommissioned in 1921.
Cmdr. Jon Quimby will lead Montana as its commanding officer. The submarine is 377 feet long, with a 34-foot beam, according to a Department of Defense news release announcing the commissioning. Montana can dive to at least 800 feet. Its crew will be approximately 136.
The submarine will provide next generation stealth, surveillance and special warfare capabilities, Under Secretary of the Navy Erik Raven said during the commissioning ceremony.
“She will strengthen our nation’s ability to keep the peace or restore it through decisive action,” Raven said. “This powerful boat and her crew will protect our sea lanes, strengthen our maritime dominance and deepen our relationships with our allies and partners.”
The submarine’s namesake represents the state and its American Indian tribes, Raven said. The ship’s sponsor is former Secretary of the Department of the Interior Sally Jewel and its maid of honor is Mariah Gladstone, a member of the Blackfeet nation.
“The Montana big sky spirit will carry our vigilantes of the deep through many challenges and missions ahead even when its crew cannot see the sky,” Raven said.
The Block IV submarines are expected to make 15 deployments while having three planned availabilities, according to a Navy news release on the commissioning.
The fast-attack submarines are core to the Navy’s mission and Montana‘s design will help the Navy compete with other powers, executive officer Lt. Cmdr. Chris Jessel said during the commissioning.
“Montana‘s adaptability makes it highly responsive to the changing mission requirements and provides the nation with the capabilities required to be the decisive factor in in any conflict,” Jessel said.
HII delivered Montana back in March, USNI News previously reported. The submarine is the 10th Virginia-class boat HII has delivered to the Navy.
Construction on Montana began in 2015 and took five years. It was christened in 2020. Montana completed sea trials in February and underwent final testing in March.
The submarine represents the best of American ability, said Jennifer Boykin, president of Newport News Shipbuilding.
It’s “American manufacturing at its finest,” Boykin said. “American ingenuity in all its splendor. And American protection like none other.”