Port Canaveral will be the center of attention on the Space Coast this Sept. 29 when the U.S. Navy welcomes the latest nuclear-powered, fast-attack submarine into its powerful fleet. Thousands of spectators – including numerous senior military personnel, government officials, business and community leaders, and other dignitaries – are expected for the commissioning here of the USS Indiana (SSN 789). The formal Saturday commissioning ceremony is scheduled for 10 a.m., with a reception and ticketed tours of the magnificent new vessel immediately following.
Named for the state of Indiana, this next-generation sub will help the Navy maintain the nation’s undersea supremacy. As the 16th Virginia-class fast-attack submarine in the fleet, it features enhanced stealth technology, sophisticated surveillance capabilities, and special warfare enhancements for meeting multi-mission requirements.
The Indiana will be able to attack on-shore targets with highly accurate Tomahawk cruise missiles and conduct covert, long-term surveillance of land areas, littoral waters, or other sea-based forces. Other potential missions it can handle include anti-submarine and anti-ship warfare; mine delivery; and minefield mapping. The ship also is designed for special forces delivery and support.
Weighing 7,800 tons and measuring 377 feet in length, the “Hoosier Boat” will be able to operate at more than 25 knots submerged. It is designed with a reactor plant that will not require refueling during the planned life of the ship, reducing lifecycle costs while increasing underway time.
The highlight of the 9/29 commissioning event at Port Canaveral revolves around a centuries-old tradition observed by navies around the world. It will occur when the commissioning pennant is hoisted at the Indiana’s masthead. At that moment, the ship will “come alive” under Navy command and its crew of approximately 130 will ceremonially run aboard.
In addition, the USS Indiana subsequently will be open Sept. 29 for public tours. A day earlier, a USS Indiana Commissioning 5K road race will take place. The Friday race begins at 7 a.m. in front of Port Canaveral’s Exploration Tower and follows a course out to the Canaveral Lock and back.
Also in conjunction with the weekend’s commissioning activities, a prayer service is scheduled for 8 a.m. Sunday (Sept. 30) in Port Canaveral’s Jetty Park.