Hugh Lessig, Daily Press, May 31

 

 

A Virginia-class submarine that encountered a problem early in sea trials has been delivered to the Navy after passing its final at-sea test with flying colors, Newport News Shipbuilding announced recently.

The future USS Washington was delivered to the Navy after earning the highest Figure of Merit score to date from the Navy on any new construction Virginia-class boat, the shipyard said in a May 26 news release.

Back in March, the Washington had encountered “a material issue” during its first round of sea trials that required a return to port, the Navy said. The boat had already missed a September 2016 date and was scheduled to be commissioned March 25. The problems were not related to the submarine’s integrity or nuclear propulsion plant.

But the boat performed well in a follow-up run, allowing it to proceed to acceptance trials. That brought in the Navy’s Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV), which inspects and assesses the condition of Navy ships.

The Figure of Merit is INSURV’s scoring method, and a Newport News vice president said in a statement he was “very proud” of the ship and crew.

“We absolutely recognize our Navy’s increasing need for mission-ready submarines, and we are committed to doing everything we can to support that demand,” said Matt Needy, vice president of Virginia class submarine program and fleet services.

The Newport News shipyard, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries, builds nuclear-powered submarines in a teaming arrangement with General Dynamics Electric Boat of Groton, Conn.