Shakespeare famously wrote, “What’s in a name?”, implying names are mere signifiers that don’t alter substance.
But when it comes to ships and other nautical vessels, names are important and carry significance and historical gravitas. Take, for instance, the Navy’s newest submarine: the USS Indiana (SSN 789). Named by the Secretary of the Navy in 2012, the fast-attack submarine will be commissioned on Sept. 29 in Port Canaveral, Florida.
The USS Indiana will be the 16th Virginia-class sub to join the fleet (Virginia-class subs have the capability to attack targets on shore with cruise missiles, can conduct long-term surveillance, and assist with special forces delivery and support).
This is not the first U.S. Navy ship to be named after Indiana, but it is the first submarine to bear the name. For more on the history of ships named after our state, read this 2016 BizVoice® article.
Here’s more on the USS Indiana, from the U.S. Navy:
Diane Donald, wife of retired Adm. Kirkland H. Donald, is the ship’s sponsor.
Designed to operate in both coastal and deep-ocean environments, Indiana will present leadership with a broad and unique range of capabilities, including anti-submarine warfare; anti-surface ship warfare; strike warfare; special operation forces (SOF) support; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; irregular warfare; and mine warfare missions.
Indiana is a part of the Virginia-class’ third, or Block III, contract, in which the Navy redesigned approximately 20 percent of the ship to reduce acquisition costs. Indiana features a redesigned bow, which replaces 12 individual Vertical Launch System tubes with two large-diameter Virginia Payload Tubes each capable of launching six Tomahawk cruise missiles, among other design changes that reduced the submarines’ acquisition cost while maintaining their outstanding warfighting capabilities.
Indiana has special features to support SOF, including a reconfigurable torpedo room which can accommodate a large number of SOF and all their equipment for prolonged deployments and future off-board payloads. Also, in Virginia-class SSNs, traditional periscopes have been replaced by two photonics masts that host visible and infrared digital cameras atop telescoping arms. Through the extensive use of modular construction, open architecture and commercial off-the-shelf components, the Virginia class is designed to remain at the cutting edge for its entire operational life through the rapid introduction of new systems and payloads.