USS South Dakota submarine christened

GROTON, Conn. (KEVN) - A historic moment was captured for South Dakota Saturday.

Navy officials and other dignitaries from around the nation christened the new USS South Dakota (SSN 790) submarine in Connecticut. South Dakota Senator Mike Rounds and Governor Dennis Daugaard were two of the guest speakers.

This boat is the third U.S. Navy vessel to be named after South Dakota and is the first underwater vessel to bear the state's name. A World War II battleship was also named South Dakota.

The South Dakota and 13 other Virginia class subs are replacing the Los Angeles Class submarines (considered the backbone of the Navy submarine fleet) as they retire.

The Virginia class has several innovations that significantly enhance its warfighting capabilities with an emphasis on littoral (close to shore) operations.

Virginia class SSNs have a fly-by-wire ship control system that provides improved shallow-water ship handling. The class has special features to support special operations forces, including a reconfigurable torpedo room which can accommodate a large number of special ops forces and all their equipment for prolonged deployments and future off-board payloads.