The Navy accepted delivery of the future USS Colorado (SSN 788), the 15th submarine of the Virginia-class, Sept. 21.

The submarine's sponsor is Annie Mabus, daughter of the 75th Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus.

The ship began construction in 2012 and is scheduled to commission in spring 2018. This next-generation attack submarine provides the Navy with the capabilities required to maintain the nation's undersea superiority.

"Colorado's delivery brings another Block III Virginia-class submarine to the fleet within budget. The submarine's outstanding quality continues the Program's tradition of delivering combat ready submarines to the fleet," said Capt. Mike Stevens, Virginia-class submarine program manager. "The Colorado is the most capable Virginia-class submarine bringing advanced capabilities and technology to the Navy fleet."

Colorado is the fifth Virginia-class Block III submarine. Block III submarines feature a redesigned bow with enhanced payload capabilities, replacing 12 individual vertical launch tubes with two large-diameter Virginia Payload Tubes, each capable of launching six Tomahawk cruise missiles. This, among other design changes, reduced the submarines' acquisition cost while maintaining their outstanding warfighting capabilities.

The submarine will be the fourth U.S. Navy ship to be commissioned with the name Colorado. The first Colorado was a three-masted steam screw frigate that participated in the Union Navy's Gulf Blockading Squadron that fought in the Second Battle of Fort Fisher with then-Lt. George Dewey serving as her executive officer.

In the early years of the 20th Century, the second Colorado (ACR-7) was a Pennsylvania-class armored cruiser that escorted convoys of men and supplies to England during World War I. The third ship of her name, the lead ship of the Colorado class of battleships (BB-45), supported operations in the Pacific theater throughout World War II, surviving two kamikaze attacks and earning seven battle stars.

Virginia-class submarines are built to operate in the world's littoral and deep waters while conducting anti-submarine warfare; anti-surface ship warfare; strike warfare; special operation forces support; intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; irregular warfare; and mine warfare missions. Their inherent stealth, endurance, mobility, and firepower directly enable them to support five of the six maritime strategy core capabilities - sea control, power projection, forward presence, maritime security, and deterrence.

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