USS New Mexico (SSN-779)

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USS New Mexico (SSN-779).jpg
The christening of New Mexico on 13 December 2008.
Name: USS New Mexico
Namesake: The State of New Mexico
Ordered: 14 August 2003
Builder: Newport News Shipbuilding
Laid down: 12 April 2008
Christened: 13 December 2008
Launched: 18 January 2009[1]
Commissioned: 27 March 2010[2]
Homeport: Groton, Connecticut
Motto: Defendemos nuestra tierra (Spanish: "We defend our land")[3][4]
Status: In active service with Submarine Development Squadron 12
Badge: USS New Mexico SSN-779 Crest.png
General characteristics
Class and type: Virginia-class submarine
Displacement: 7,900 tonnes (7,800 long tons)
Length: 377 ft (115 m)
Beam: 34 ft (10 m)
Propulsion: S9G reactor
Speed: 25 knots (46 km/h)+
Range: Essentially unlimited distance; 33 years
Complement: 130

12 × VLS (BGM-109 Tomahawk cruise missile)

4 × 533mm torpedo tubes (Mk-48 ADCAP torpedo)

USS New Mexico (SSN-779), a nuclear powered Virginia-class attack submarine, is the second ship of the United States Navy to be named for the 47th state. She is the second of the Virginia Block II submarines to enter service. From March–April 2014, she participated in the ICEX 1-14, becoming the second Virginia-class submarine to surface at the North Pole. The homeport of New Mexico is Groton, Connecticut at Naval Submarine Base New London.[5]


Construction was awarded to Northrop Grumman Newport News in Newport News, Virginia on 14 August 2003. She is the Navy's sixth Virginia-class submarine, has one million parts and 140 shipboard systems.[6] She was built by a joint agreement between General Dynamics Electric Boat (GDEB) and Northrop Grumman Newport News (NGNN).[6] Construction began in January 2004 at the Electric Boat Corporation, Groton, Connecticut and Quonset Point, Rhode Island facilities, for the construction of the straight sections.[6][7] The individual components were shipped to Newport News for final assembly.[6] Her keel was laid down on 12 April 2008, and on 18 May 2008 the final hull welds were completed.[8] She was christened on 13 December 2008, with Cindy Giambastiani, the boat's sponsor and wife of ADM Edmund Giambastiani. Representative Heather Wilson, 1st District-New Mexico, was present as the keynote speaker.[9]

The boat was launched on 18 January 2009 and was originally scheduled for delivery in August 2009.[1][10] The date of delivery was pushed back to November and the scheduled commissioning date was postponed to early 2010 after mechanical problems were found with her torpedo room weapons-handling system.[11] New Mexico completed builder's trials at the end of November 2009[12] and was delivered on 29 December 2009, four months ahead of the contract delivery date.[13] She was commissioned on 27 March 2010.[14]

Operational history[edit]

In February 2012, New Mexico rendezvoused with Royal Navy submarine HMS Astute (S119) underwater in the Atlantic Undersea Test and Evaluation Center, Bahamas, for a series of war games. Present on-board each submarine were the head of the Royal Navy, Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope and the head of the United States Navy, Admiral Jonathan W. Greenert in an historic underwater meeting between the leaders of both navies.

Ship's crest[edit]

The crest of New Mexico was designed by Emilee Sena, a senior at St. Pius X High School in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Her winning design was chosen by the crew of New Mexico out of 180 submissions from schools throughout the state.[15][16]

The design incorporates an image of a New Mexico sunset, representing the beauty that makes New Mexico the "Land of Enchantment". The Sandia Mountains are shown at the time of the day when they demonstrate why they are called the Sandias–their pink shade. The red in the upper right corner represents the red in the US flag, symbolizing valor and the blood that has been sacrificed in battle. The blue in the lower left corner represents the blue of the American flag, symbolizing justice, vigilance, and perseverance. The Zia symbol represents the state flag, as well as the prominence of the sun in New Mexico. The shape of the emblem is unique because it reflects the influence of the Native American people in New Mexico, the shape is a design that can be commonly found in Native American art, such as blankets and pots.[15][16]

The naval dolphins on the sides are symbols for naval submarines. They shine with a white color because they represent the white on the American flag. This color symbolizes purity and innocence. The submarine in the center represents what USS New Mexico is, a Virginia-class submarine. It has a bow wave in front of it because it is in motion. The people on top of the ship are naval officers, holding a flag. The bird along the hull is a roadrunner (Geococcyx), the state bird of New Mexico, known as a fast, agile, and fearless hunter. The gold in the border symbolizes courage, prosperity, wisdom, and confidence: perceived qualities for members of the Navy.[15][16]

There is a nuclear symbol in the bottom left corner for two purposes, one to represent that the Virginia-class submarines are nuclear submarines and that a lot of nuclear development has taken place in New Mexico at Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) and Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), and so this honors the people that have, and will contribute to the growth of nuclear advancements.[15][16]

In honor of those who serve aboard the New Mexico, the football players of New Mexico State University wore the crest on the back of their helmets for the 2010 football season.[17]


This article includes information collected from the Naval Vessel Register and various press releases.

  1. ^ a b Frost, Peter, "Submarine New Mexico Launched", Daily Press, 23 January 2009.
  2. ^ "USS New Mexico (SSN-779) | Website of Submarine USS New Mexico". Archived from the original on 24 July 2011. Retrieved 30 December 2009.
  3. ^ Ceremony of commissioning of USS New Mexico (SSN-779)
  4. ^ The ship's commissioning ceremony
  5. ^ Adams, Kathy, and Lauren King, "Navy Brings New $2.3 Billion Submarine To Life in Norfolk", Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, 28 March 2010.
  6. ^ a b c d Construction Status Archived 19 January 2008 at the Wayback Machine – USS New Mexico – New Mexico Council, Navy League of the United States.
  7. ^ NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive: New Mexico (SSN-779) – NavSource Naval History
  8. ^ "'Pressure Hull Complete' for Northrop Grumman-Built New Mexico Submarine" – Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding – 19 May 2008
  9. ^ "Photo Release – Northrop Grumman Christens Sixth Virginia-Class Submarine, New Mexico (SSN 779)" (Press release). Northrop Grumman Corporation. 13 December 2008. Retrieved 13 December 2008.
  10. ^ "USS New Mexico & Navy’s Submarine Acquisition Program" Archived 24 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine – USS New Mexico website – (PDF)
  11. ^ McCabe, Robert, "New Mexico Sub Commissioning Delayed", Virginian-Pilot, 4 September 2009.
  12. ^ Cavas, Christopher P., "New submarine on sea trials", Navy Times, 3 December 2009.
  13. ^ Frost, Peter, "Northrop Grumman delivers New Mexico sub to Navy[permanent dead link]", Daily Press, 30 December 2009.
  14. ^ Frost, Peter, "Navy Prepares To Commission Newport News-Built Sub New Mexico", Daily Press, 26 March 2010.
  15. ^ a b c d Contest Archived 22 March 2008 at the Wayback Machine – USS New Mexico website
  16. ^ a b c d "Albuquerque student's crest design to grace USS New Mexico"Associated Press – (c/o Santa Fe New Mexican) – 17 January 2007
  17. ^ NMSU Football to honor USS New Mexico

External links[edit]