Christening in Newport News Saturday for submarine John Warner

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Associated Press & 13News Now

Posted on September 5, 2014 at 7:28 AM

Updated Friday, Sep 5 at 6:46 PM

NEWPORT NEWS (AP) — The nation's largest military shipbuilder is set to christen the Virginia-class attack submarine named for former U.S. Sen. John Warner.

Huntington Ingalls Industries is hosting a ceremony Saturday in Newport News.

Warner is set to attend the event. His wife, Jeanne, is the ship's sponsor and will smash a bottle of sparkling wine across the submarine's bow.

USS John Warner honors the senator's years of service in the Navy and Marine Corps. He served as Secretary of the Navy before entering politics in 1978.

Warner served half of his Senate career as either the chair or ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.  Warner retired in 2009 after serving 30 years in the U.S. Senate.

The submarine will have enhanced stealth, sophisticated surveillance capabilities and special warfare enhancements.

"The christening of the future USS John Warner is not only a celebration of a dedicated sailor, Marine and public servant, but also of what has been accomplished in building this powerful warship - of the hard work of the thousands of shipyard workers, engineers, and defense craftsmen who contributed, and of what the future holds for the USS John Warner and the crew who sail aboard her," said Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus.

The Navy says Virginia-class submarines weigh 7,800 tons and are 377 feet in length, have a 34-foot beam, and can operate at more than 25 knots submerged. They are designed with a reactor plant that will not require refueling during the planned life of the ship reducing lifecycle costs while increasing underway time.

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