Huntington Ingalls Industries’ [HII] Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS) finished initial sea trials on the newest Virginia-class submarine, the future USS Delaware (SSN-791), the company said Aug. 31.

The Delaware spent three days at sea to prove all of its systems, components and compartments while in the final stage of construction. The trials had the vessel submerge for the first time and perform high-speed maneuvers on the surface and underwater.

The future USS Delaware Virginia-class submarine returns to Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Newport News Shipbuilding after its first sea trials. (Photo: HII)
The future USS Delaware Virginia-class submarine returns to Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Newport News Shipbuilding after its first sea trials. (Photo: HII)

The company started construction on the submarine in September 2013. SSN-791 is now scheduled to undergo a round of acceptance trials before delivery later this year.

Delaware performed well during sea trials, which is a testament to the skill and craftsmanship of the incredible team of shipbuilders who are working to uphold our high standards of quality. We look forward to continuing our testing program to deliver the submarine to the U.S. Navy later this year,” Dave Bolcar, Newport News’ vice president of submarine construction, said in a statement.

In a February earnings call, HII president and CEO Mike Petters noted income was down partly due to a drop in NNS from lower performance on the Virginia-class program. This caused $20 million in higher costs in the fourth quarter of FY 2018.

He specifically said costs were higher than expected for SSN-791 as the final Block III submarine and for the future USS Montana (SSN-794), the first vessel in the Block IV buy (Defense Daily, Feb. 14).

Petters said the submarine team “recognize how they got here and they recognize the approach to get through it.”