New Virginia-class sub to be named for Rickover

3:24:00 AM
WASHINGTON, -- Navy Secretary Ray Mabus announced Friday that an upcoming Virginia-class attack submarine will be named for the late Hyman G. Rickover, the admiral known as the father of the nuclear Navy.

Virginia class submarines are built in a teaming arrangement between General Dynamics Electric Boat of Groton, Conn. and Newport News Shipbuilding, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries. The two yards take turns delivering them to the Navy.

The Hyman G. Rickover will be delivered by Newport News.

It will be the second Virginia-class boat named for an individual. The first is the John Warner, named for the former Virginia senator. It was christened in September at Newport News.

Although Virginia-class submarines are being built at a rate of two per year, Rickover won't make an appearance for several years.

After the John Warner, the next Virginia-class submarine will be the Illinois. That will be followed by Washington, a boat that marked a keel-laying at Newport News in November.

According to Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington will be followed by the Colorado, Indiana, South Dakota, Delaware, Vermont, Oregon, a submarine with an as-yet-undetermined name, then the Rickover.

A previous submarine has carried the Rickover name, and is familiar to the region's Navy community.

The Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine, USS Hyman G. Rickover (SSN-709) was commissioned in July 1984 and was home-ported in Norfolk. It was was inactivated in December 2006.

Rickover, who died in 1986, was known for being brilliant and blunt. His obituary in The New York Times noted his distaste for military protocol and tradition, and his tendency to bypass the chain of command to achieve his goals.

An engineer by training, he was responsible for the development of USS Nautilus, the world's first nuclear-powered submarine. He began formulating his ideas for a nuclear Navy just after World War II. He was trained in nuclear power at Oak Ridge, Tenn., and worked within the Bureau of Ships to explore the possibility of nuclear ship propulsion, according to his bio at Naval History and Heritage Command.

A few years later, the Times noted, his propensity for circumventing red tape was displayed when he was chosen to head the Naval Reactors Branch under the Atomic Energy Commission. At the time, he also headed the Nuclear Power Division in the Navy's Bureau of Ships.

"Wearing both hats, the captain sometimes wrote letters to himself asking for certain things; he would then answer his letters in the affirmative. Thus there was virtually always agreement between the Navy and the Atomic Energy Commission," the Times said.


Block IV Virginia-class nuclear attack boat (SSN-774) after the father of the nuclear submarine  Adm. Hyman Rickover, according to a Friday announcement from the Department of Defense.


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