The U.S. Navy’s Newest Submarine Is Here

The U.S. Navy’s Newest Submarine Is Here

The Virginia-class USS Oregon and its crew will be “vital to our undersea mission” the secretary of the navy said


The USS Oregon is the U.S. Navy’s second Block IV Virginia-class fast attack submarine.

The United States Navy explained in an announcement that its newest Virginia-class submarine has been commissioned. The fast-attack USS Oregon's is also the U.S. Navy’s newest submarine of any class.


"There is no doubt the importance this boat, named after the great state of Oregon, will play in the future of our nation's security," Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro said. "This crew is vital to our undersea mission, and I look forward to all of their successes."

The USS Oregon is “the third U.S. Navy ship launched to bear the name Oregon, but is the first in more than a century,” the U.S. Navy explained in a statement, elaborating on the new submarine’s storied heritage.

“The first was a brig in service from 1841 to 1845. The second was an Indiana-class battleship commissioned in 1896, serving in the Spanish-American War, and ultimately decommissioned for the final time in 1919.”

The Navy’s statement explained that the USS Oregon is “377 feet long, has a 34-foot beam, and will be able to dive to depths greater than 800 feet and operate at speeds in excess of 25 knots submerged.” In addition, it has a crew of “approximately 136 Navy personnel.”

The USS Oregon is just the second of the Navy’s Block IV Virginia-class submarines to enter U.S. Navy service. The Virginias are multi-mission submarines that can perform a wide gamut of missions for the Navy, including mine warfare, intelligence collection, and surveillance and reconnaissance, as well as irregular warfare, anti-surface warfare against ships, other submarines, and land targets, and the delivery of special operations forces.

Given the Virginia’s nuclear propulsion, the Navy emphasized the submarine’s ability to “operate anywhere, at any time, and contribute to regional stability and the preservation of future peace.”

Though the U.S. Navy is readying for the future Constellation-class submarines, that class of submarines will not enter service until the 2030s, replacing the Navy’s aging Ohio-class boomers, tasked with carrying the United States’ nuclear sea-based weapons.

And while the Virginia-class is by no means the Navy’s newest submarine design, continuous upgrades and the incorporation of new technologies into the Virginia-class design has ensured that each of the submarine blocks is progressively more capable than its predecessors.

Though not the newest class of submarines the United States Navy has in service, given the Virginia’s continuous upgrades and improvements, they are still a potent, under-sea force to be reckoned with and one that would weigh heavily on an adversary’s mind.

Caleb Larson is a multimedia journalist and defense writer with the National Interest. A graduate of UCLA, he also holds a Master of Public Policy and lives in Berlin. He covers the intersection of conflict, security, and technology, focusing on American foreign policy, European security, and German society for both print and radio. Follow him on Twitter @calebmlarson

Image: Reuters.