USS Oklahoma SSN-802

A photo illustration shows the future Virginia-class attack submarine USS Oklahoma (SSN-802).  Illustration by Mass Communication Spc. 1st Class Paul L. Archer/Courtesy

We’re proud to hear that one of the U.S. Navy’s latest attack submarines will be named the USS Oklahoma.

Last week, acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly announced the USS Oklahoma and the USS Arizona will be the first of the Block V Virginia-class nuclear attack submarines, due to be delivered in 2025.

These are substantial ships.

Earlier this month, The Maritime Executive reported that the Block V submarines will be 460 feet long. That’s the equivalent of more than 1½ football fields. They will displace 10,200 tons. That’s more than six times the combined weight of every player in the Football Bowl Subdivision.

The subs are capable of speeds over 25 knots and can dive to a depth greater than 800 feet. They carry Mark 48 advanced capability torpedoes, Tomahawk land-attack missiles and unmanned underwater vehicles.

It’s significant that Oklahoma and Arizona receive the naming honors simultaneously. The battleships USS Oklahoma and USS Arizona were the two deadliest targets during the Dec. 7, 1941, Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

Since then, no ship has borne either states’ name, although the USS Oklahoma City, a Los Angeles-class submarine, was commissioned in 1988 and is currently in service.

“It is my fondest wish that the citizens of the great states of Arizona and Oklahoma will understand and celebrate our Navy’s desire to memorialize the 1,177 heroes who perished in USS Arizona (BB-39) and the 429 more in USS Oklahoma (BB-37) in Pearl Harbor, on Dec. 7, 1941,” Modly said in a press release.

The USS Oklahoma will be built for war, but has a mission of peace: projecting American strength on the seas with such overwhelming capacity that no foe will be willing to challenge our nation or its allies.

Oklahoma should be proud to share its name with the new submarine. We wish the USS Oklahoma and its future crews Godspeed, calm seas and safe passages home.

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