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Courtney Sails Aboard The USS Connecticut, Visits West Coast Shipyards

April 24, 2017
Press Release

NORWICH, CT — Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02) traveled to San Diego last week to meet with the Director of Surface Warfare, Vice Admiral Tom Rowden, for an embarkation onboard the USS Connecticut (SSN 22) Seawolf-class submarine and to tour the BAE Systems and General Dynamics NASSCO shipyards to learn about critical maintenance issues and shipbuilding capacity.

For high-resolution photos from Courtney’s visit aboard the USS Connecticut, click here

“The trip was a great opportunity to learn more about naval facilities and partnering shipyards on the west coast and to meet the captain, officers, and crew aboard the USS Connecticut which is 1 of only 3 Seawolf-class submarines ever built,” said Courtney. “Being one of the only Seawolf submarines, the Connecticut has special features including faster speed, deeper diving ability, and greater firepower than any other attack submarine in our fleet. It had been a while since Connecticut’s namesake ship had a visitor from the state so I brought them a few special treats including Connecticut shaped chocolate bars from our own Munson's Chocolates, a pennant from the University of Connecticut, and a basketball signed by Geno Auriemma and the record-setting 2017 UConn women’s basketball team. It was great visiting with Commander Brian Taddiken of the USS Connecticut and his crewmembers, many of whom hail from Connecticut and have served at the Groton SUBASE.

“I also had the opportunity to tour operations at two local shipyards in the San Diego area to learn about critical maintenance needs for our fleet. These stops came at an opportune time because we are considering options for decreasing or eliminating the serious maintenance backlog for a range of ship classes that has developed over the past several years. I have been advocating for the use of private shipyards such as Electric Boat and others in San Diego to help the public yards catch up on outstanding work. This idea has been positively received by many Navy officials and the shipyards themselves who have spare capacity. While more ships are ultimately needed in the long-term, the most immediate action we can take to improve the Navy’s posture is ensuring the ships we already own are out executing the missions needed to secure our nation – not tied up to the pier awaiting maintenance.”

USS Connecticut (SSN 22)

The USS Connecticut is the second of three active Seawolf Submarines.  The USS Connecticut (SSN 22) is one of the fastest, stealthiest, and most powerful submarines in the world. Constructed by Electric Boat, the keel was laid in September 1992. The Connecticut was launched in September 1997 and commissioned in December 1998.  The boat’s motto is “Arsenal of the Nation.”

Connecticut underwent a prolonged maintenance cycle from 2004 to 2007 at Naval Submarine Base New London. Upon conclusion of the 2007-2008 deployment, the homeport shifted from Naval Submarine Base New London to Kitsap Naval Base in Bremerton, Washington to be co-located with the other two boats in the Seawolf-class where it has been homeported since January 2008. 

Connecticut has conducted patrols in support of the Global War on Terrorism, an ICEX to the Arctic in 2011, as well as numerous other deployments in support of national tasking.

Seawolf Class

The Seawolf Class (SSN 21-23) was originally conceived, designed and constructed as the follow on fast attack submarine to the Los Angeles Class. Design work began in 1983 and construction began in 1989. The Seawolf was intended to combat the threat of large numbers of advanced Soviet submarines (Typhoon Class SSBN and Akula Class SSN). 

Seawolf Class submarines are constructed of a stronger steel than other SSNs, allowing them to have a greater depth capacity.  Additionally, they are larger, faster, and significantly quieter. They are equipped with 8 torpedo tubes and can carry up to 50 Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles (TLAMs).  These boats are considerably more expensive than their successors, the Virginia-class.  ($3 billion per unit at delivery vs $2.6 billion for Virginia class at delivery)

The Seawolf Class was originally conceived as a 29 boat class but due to the “peace dividend” and their significant per unit cost the class was limited to three boats in 1995. These boats are 353 ft. long and have a 40 feet beam. They displace more than 9,000 tons submerged (more than Virginia class).