HII hosts a keel laying ceremony for the Virginia-class submarine Arkansas

Huntington Ingalls Industries’ (HII) Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS) division has is conducted keel authentication ceremony for the Virginia-class submarine Arkansas (SSN 800).

The vessel is sponsored by six women from the Little Rock Nine, a historic group of the first African-American students to attend the all-white Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas during desegregation.

At the ceremony, NNS honored all nine members, including three men.

The Little Rock Nine made history in 1957 with their response to the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision. They called racial segregation in public schools unconstitutional.

NNS President Jennifer Boykin said, “Their courageous spirit will always be an inspiration to Arkansas and its team. This group changed our country’s history forever, and their submarine will help ensure that their legacy lives on.

“The courage and resilience of the Little Rock Nine ignited the fires of change and demonstrated the power of blending diverse perspectives and backgrounds. We use this power every day at the shipyard. Our diversity allows us to push our own boundaries, reach new heights, and build each boat even better than the last. Arkansas will be a testament to that strength.”

NNS welders engraved six sets of Little Rock Nine initials onto the metal plate.

Arkansas is the 27th Virginia-class high-speed submarine under contract with General Dynamics Electric Boat.

Vice Admiral William Huston, Commander of Naval Submarine Forces, said: “With advances in sound suppression, acoustic sensors and weapon delivery systems, the Arkansas will traverse the world’s oceans and seas as an apex predator. Representing our asymmetric advantage in the subsea domain, Arkansas will be unmatched.”

The unit’s pre-commissioning commanding officer, Commander Adam Kanke, said, “It is an incredible honor for the crew to begin building relationships with our namesake state of Arkansas, as well as the ship’s sponsors.

“The story of the Little Rock Nine demonstrates the power of resilience in the face of adversity. I find the relationship with the ship’s sponsors to be very appropriate because persistence is an important indicator of success in the art of submarine warfare.’

NNS is a shipyard that can design and build nuclear powered submarines.

The advanced capabilities of the Virginia-class submarines will increase firepower, maneuverability and stealth.

This Arkansas milestone came after delivery USS Montana (SSN 794), in launch New Jersey (SSN 796), and progress on Massachusetts (SSN 798) to NNS earlier this year. HII hosts a keel laying ceremony for the Virginia-class submarine Arkansas

Back to top button