NEWPORT NEWS, Va. --- The second Virginia-class submarine, PCU Texas (SSN 775), returned to Newport News after successfully conducting alpha sea trials, May 17.
The sea trials were conducted to ensure all systems are functioning properly prior to the commissioning of the boat. The objective is to run all operating systems to the fullest extent of their capabilities.
“We operated her through the full range of her maneuvering, diving and speed capabilities," said Capt. John J. Litherland, Texas’ prospective commanding officer. "She performed exactly as she is supposed to – no surprises. That is what we were looking for on these initial sea trials.”
Texas’ commissioning will bring new technologies to the fleet and an overall benefit to the Navy.
“The Texas brings some amazing new capabilities to the Navy,” said Litherland, “revolutionary new techniques in quieting that would make her one of the quietest submarines in the oceans.”
The process of introducing a new ship to the fleet faces many obstacles along the way. “It’s a very long process building a new submarine," Litherland said. "In the Texas case, many of my crew have been here over four years preparing to bring the Texas to the fleet. With many of the new technologies come challenges, but we worked through all those and in the end succeeded.”
Training is a crucial part of making the sea trials a success. “Taking a ship to sea for the first time is tough, but the crew’s training was evident," Adm. Kirkland H. Donald, director of Naval Nuclear Propulsion said. "They did a remarkable job, and I was very proud to be with them for the trials. We are a step closer to delivering a great ship to the fleet.”