NEWPORT NEWS, Va., Dec. 13, 2008 -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) christened today the sixth submarine of the Virginia class, New Mexico (SSN 779), at the company's Shipbuilding sector in Newport News, Va.
The ship's sponsor, Cindy Giambastiani performed the traditional honor of breaking a bottle of American sparkling wine across the submarine's hull. Mrs. Giambastiani is the wife of Admiral Edmund P. Giambastiani, USN (ret), 7th Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
"When I look at this amazing submarine, I can't help but think of those three words -- duty, honor and country -- and especially the first: duty," said Mrs. Giambastiani. "It's what calls people to service ... it's also what calls the men and women of Northrop Grumman and Electric Boat to build the safest, highest-quality and most technologically advanced ships in the world for the United States Navy."
"Tradition is an important part of our heritage as shipbuilders ... it says so much about our professionalism, our commitment to quality and our sense of accountability," said Mike Petters, president of Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding. "No matter whether our job title is welder, manager, foreman, vice president, construction superintendent or president, first and foremost we are shipbuilders."
U.S. Rep. Heather Wilson, who represents New Mexico's first district, served as the keynote speaker for the ceremony.
Other ceremony participants included U.S. Rep Robert Wittman, (R-Va.); New Mexico's Prospective Commanding Officer, Cmdr. Mark A. Prokopius; Ms. Allison Stiller, deputy assistant secretary of the Navy for ship programs; Rear Adm. William Hilarides, Program Executive Officer for Submarines; Vice Adm. John Donnelly, commander, Submarine Force; Adm. Giambastiani; and John Casey, president, General Dynamics Electric Boat. Guests included Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding and General Dynamics Electric Boat employees who are building New Mexico, and their families; family and friends of the New Mexico crew; U.S. Navy personnel; and government officials.
"Building great ships is a team sport, and we are certainly proud of our teammates: the shipbuilders of the Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding-Newport News and General Dynamics Electric Boat," said Adm. Kirkland H. Donald, director of Naval Nuclear Propulsion. You continue to set high standards of craftsmanship and efficiency that set you apart as leaders in both the shipbuilding community and in your local communities as well."
The ship's construction began March 2004 and the keel was authenticated during a ceremony held, April 12, 2008. New Mexico is named for "The Land of Enchantment." Upon delivery to the Navy in 2009, it will be the most modern and sophisticated attack submarine in the world, providing undersea supremacy well into the 21st century.
Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding will launch New Mexico into the James River early next year. Once the ship is in the water, it will be moved to the submarine pier where final outfitting and testing will take place.
Northrop Grumman Corporation is a global defense and technology company whose 120,000 employees provide innovative systems, products, and solutions in information and services, electronics, aerospace and shipbuilding to government and commercial customers worldwide.
CONTACT: Lauren A. Green Northrop Grumman Ship Building (757) 380-3581 Lauren.Green@ngc.com