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Re: PCU CALIFORNIA (SSN 781) christened November 6, 2010

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  • Phelps Hobart
    ... From: Norb Smith To: Phelps Hobart Sent: Monday, November 08, 2010 6:02 PM Subject: Re: USS CALIFORNIA (SSN 781) christened November 6, 2010 Phelps, Thanks
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 8, 2010
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      ----- Original Message -----
      From: Norb Smith
      Sent: Monday, November 08, 2010 6:02 PM
      Subject: Re: USS CALIFORNIA (SSN 781) christened November 6, 2010

      Thanks so much for sending the enclosed info on the Christening Ceremonies of USS CALIFORNIA (SSN 781), and for calling this morning - greatly appreciate it!
      In addition to Dan and Kathleen Branch, Doug Crawford and Ed Petrin from the Santa Barbara Council attended as well.  I understand from talking with them that they're pressing for Santa Barbara to be the ship's Adopted Council.
      CDR Dana Nelson told me that he's planning the Commissioning Ceremony for late October 2011.
      I picked up some extra copies of the program that was distributed to the attendees last Saturday, and I will mail them to you as soon as the pace slows down this week.  I don't remember if you gave me your home address, so I'd be grateful if you could send it to me.  Thanks!
      I'll be at Arlington Cemetery tomorrow, attending the burial of one of our Council's WW II vets, and then I have a Council meeting to conduct on Wednesday evening, deposit the proceeds on Thursday, and pay the bills on Friday, and also write the press release.  I'll try to get those documents mailed to you as soon as I can.
      Again, thanks a million for clueing me in last Friday on the Christening Ceremony.  The wheels got turned very fast, and I was not only able to attend, but given VIP treatment as well!
      Hope all is well!
      Warmest Regards,
      Norb Smith
      Williamsburg-Yorktown Council

      ----- Original Message -----
      Sent: Monday, November 08, 2010 9:25 AM
      Subject: PCU CALIFORNIA (SSN 781) christened November 6, 2010

      Thanks a million for the great timely collection of news stories about the christening of PCU California. It was an honor to be there, along with Kathleen and Dan Branch, and the president and three members from the Santa Barbara Council.
      It was a very well coordinated two days of events. Hats off to Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding as hosts, and for their recognition of Navy League of the United States. Michael Petters, NGC-Shipbuilding president introduced Dan Branch from the podium at the beginning of the Christening Ceremony, and he introduced the president and board members of the Santa Barbara Council the evening before at the Sponsor's Reception and Dinner. Governor Schwarzenegger's Press Release on Saturday morning was the icing on the christening cake.
      We each met and congratulated the CO - Commander Dana Nelson, XO, Chief Of The Boat and many of the crew, Donna (Sponsor) and Admiral Willard...and we thanked and had our pictures taken with Miss California.
      Doug Crawford

      J. Douglas Crawford

      Navy League of the United States

      Senior Director Corporate Development & Board Member - SBNL 402 E. Gutierrez, Santa Barbara, CA 93101 P: 805.879.1777 F:775.371.0105

      In our sleep we don’t think about the enemies that the men and women who wear the uniform deter, the friends they reassure, and the freedom in trade they guarantee.

      Yet, we rest at night protected by the security they provide.


      Photos 22 September 2010
      "California is 86 percent complete and approaching the construction milestone of launch this fall," said Bob Bolden, construction director at Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding-Newport News. "Launching the ship signifies the boat is ready to go in the water and begin a series of waterborne tests. During this time, the ship's systems and compartments are transitioning over to Ship's Force in support of sea trials next year."
      "We're excited Mrs. Willard could return to the shipyard so quickly. She's an enthusiastic and excited sponsor," added Bolden. "Our shipbuilders are proud to show off their high-quality craftsmanship and the beginning preparations for the ship's upcoming christening on Nov. 6."
      Northrop Grumman Corporation hosted a tour and christening briefing for Mrs. Donna Willard, the sponsor of California (SSN-781) on 22 Sept. During the visit, she met with ship's crew, & shipbuilders and toured the christening site. Mrs. Willard is the wife of Adm. Robert F. Willard, the Commander of the U.S. Pacific Command. "This was a very exciting day for me," said Willard. "To be able to spend time with the crew of California and see a completed submarine ready to be put in the water was very special. The enthusiasm of the crew should make all of us as Americans very proud. I am very honored to be the sponsor of California and look forward to the christening."

      Cmdr. Dana Nelson, Officer-in-Charge of Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) California (SSN-781) departs through the side boys following a change of charge ceremony at The Mariners' Museum 7 June 2010. During the ceremony, Nelson assumed command of the eighth Virginia-class submarine from Cmdr. Kevin Kinslow.
      This was the ceremony I, Teddy, and Norb Smith attended. We were the only Navy Leaguers present.

      Some additional information and graphics may be found at this interesting website:

      USS California Christened  

      Best California blog by the top California blogger. ... The USS California, the Navy's newest nuclear-powered submarine was christened today at the Virginia shipyard ...


      The Virginia Class—A New Submarine for the 21st Century
      by Patrick Connor


      You’ve probably heard about the U.S. Navy’s newest nuclear powered submarine, USS Seawolf (SSN 21). Perhaps you read about her in the newspapers, or read the articles in the Fall 1997 issue of Deckplate, or watched the documentary on cable television’s The Learning Channel. But have you heard anything about the Navy’s next generation submarine, the Virginia Class attack submarine?

      The Next-Generation Submarine

      The Virginia Class submarine will provide the U. S. Navy the capabilities required to maintain the nation’s undersea supremacy well into the 21st century. It will have improved stealthiness, sophisticated surveillance capabilities, and special warfare enhancements to meet the Navy’s multi-mission requirements.

      This next-generation submarine is the first U.S. submarine class to be designed for battlespace dominance across a broad spectrum of regional and littoral missions as well as open-ocean, “blue water” missions. It will achieve the right balance between core military capabilities and affordability.

      The construction contract for the first four Virginia Class submarines was awarded on September 30, 1998, to Electric Boat Corporation, with Newport News Shipbuilding serving as the major subcontractor. Under the construction contract, and consistent with a unique teaming plan, the shipbuilders will alternate final assembly and testing of the four ships. Newport News will build the bow, stern, sail, and selected forward modules for each submarine, while Electric Boat will build the hull cylinders, the engine room modules, and the command and control system module. Both shipbuilders will fabricate reactor compartments for the ships they assemble. This construction teaming plan is shown in the pictorial below.


      The first of the new fast attack submarines, SSN 774 is named USS Virginia.

      Multi-Mission Operations and Operational Flexibility

      The Virginia Class submarine is being designed for multi-mission operations and enhanced operational flexibility. Seawolf Class quieting is being incorporated in a smaller hull, while military performance will be maintained or improved.

      The Virginia Class submarine is being engineered for maximum design flexibility. Its responsiveness to changing missions and threats, and the affordable insertion of new technologies, ensures that it will continue to be the right submarine well into the 21st century. Integrated electronic systems with Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS) components facilitate state-of-the-art technology introduction throughout the life of the Virginia Class submarine and avoids unit obsolescence.

      The Command, Control, Communications, and Intelligence (C3I) electronics packages also promote maximum flexibility for growth and upgrade. Coupled with the Modular Isolated Deck Structure (MIDS) and open-system architecture, this approach results in a significantly lower cost, yet more effective command and control structure for fire control, navigation, electronic warfare, and communications connectivity.



      The Virginia Class submarine’s sonar system will be state-of-the-art with vastly increased signal processing power than today’s attack submarine! The system will be able to process and distribute data received from its spherical bow array, high-frequency array suite, dual towed arrays, and flank array suite. The Virginia Class submarine C3I prime contract was awarded to Lockheed Martin Federal Systems, Manassas, Virginia, in April 1996. This system, through its extensive use of COTS and open system architecture, is a pace setter on achieving breakthroughs in system affordability and flexibility. This innovative approach will achieve new performance standards while minimizing risk, and promoting new levels of extended contractor responsibility and participation in the maintenance and upgrade of the system over its life-cycle.

      The sail configuration houses two new photonics masts for improved imaging functions, an improved electronics support measures mast, and multi-mission masts that cover the frequency domain for full-spectrum, high data-rate communications. The sail is also designed for future installation of a special mission-configurable mast for enhanced flexibility and warfighting performance.

      The Virginia Class Ship Control System (SCS) provides all the control and monitoring functions for maneuvering and controlling ship dynamic operations. Included in the technology strategy for the SCS is fly-by-wire. Similar to advanced aircraft, fly-by-wire architecture is a control system which relies on redundant electronic data buses operated by a fault tolerant set of processors to control the operator’s commands to the control surfaces actuators. This replaces the past exclusive use of hydraulic controls between the ship control station and control surfaces.

      The Virginia Class submarine will be armed with a variety of weapons, including the most advanced heavyweight torpedoes, mines, Tomahawk cruise missiles, and Unmanned Undersea Vehicles (UUVs) for horizontal launch. In addition, Tomahawk missiles will be carried in vertical launch tubes. The submarine also features an integral Lock-Out/Lock-In chamber for special operations, and can host Special Operations Forces underwater delivery vehicles.

      Reducing Costs

      Reducing acquisition and life-cycle costs is a major objective of the Virginia Class submarine design and engineering process. Substantial cost avoidance is being achieved through the application of concurrent engineering design/build teams, computer-aided design and electronic visualization tools, system simplification, parts standardization, and component elimination. These innovations ensure that the ship will be affordable in sufficient numbers in order to satisfy America’s future nuclear attack submarine force level requirements. The end result is an extremely versatile weapon system at a nearly 30 percent reduction in follow ship cost.

      The Virginia Class Submarine Program Office is applying the lessons learned from successful Government and industry programs of similar scope and complexity to improve producibility and lower costs. Integrated Product and Process Development (IPPD) teams are bringing the combined experience of the shipbuilders, vendors, designers, engineers, and ship operators to bear on the ship design. The early involvement of production personnel on these teams ensures an excellent match between the design and the shipbuilder’s construction processes and facilities, allows a smoother transition from design to production, and reduces the number of engineering change orders typically required during lead ship construction. The ship is designed using a state-of-the-art digital database, which allows all members of the IPPD teams to work from a single design and provides three-dimensional electronic mock-ups throughout the design process.

      In order to provide cost-effective production of Virginia Class submarines, a co-production (teaming) arrangement has been established utilizing the combined strengths of Electric Boat Corporation and Newport News Shipbuilding. This co-production arrangement fits with each company’s independent objective of maintaining its technological skills, operational capacity, facilities, and other strengths in the design and construction of submarines, while offering the Government the best combination of performance, cost, and delivery. Cost effectiveness is realized through an integrated ship’s construction workscope split that allows for steeper learning curves at each shipyard, more efficient rollover of trades, and reduced second yard planning efforts.

      These efforts, along with strong support from Navy and shipbuilder management, will result in an affordable submarine that satisfies all operational needs.


      The military performance of the Virginia Class submarine will be comparable to that of the Seawolf Class, with significant improvement in littoral warfare capabilities and considerably less cost. It will surpass the performance of any current projected threat submarine, thus ensuring U.S. undersea dominance well into the next century. And the develop-design-build process that the Virginia Class submarine program has created will be the role model for future Navy design efforts..

      Patrick Connor is the Assistant for Technical Requirements in the Procurement Branch of the Virginia Class Attack Submarine Program.

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