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Published May 03, 2012, 12:35 AM

USS North Dakota Submarine to be World's Most Advanced

FARGO – When the USS North Dakota deploys in 2014, it will be the most advanced submarine in the world, its executive officer says.

By: Helmut Schmidt, Forum Communications

FARGO – When the USS North Dakota deploys in 2014, it will be the most advanced submarine in the world, its executive officer says.

“We own the seas. And she is certainly the most capable submarine in the world. Nobody can match her,” Lt. Cmdr. Jeremiah Minner said.

Minner gave a presentation on the capabilities of the Virginia-class nuclear attack submarine Wednesday at the Ramada conference center. The event was sponsored by the Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber of Commerce.

Minner has taken part in exercises on older attack submarines and Virginia-class submarines, “and the Virginia, hands down, is unmatched,” he said.

It will be the replacement for the aging Los Angeles class attack submarines, he said, which have been the workhorse of the U.S. fleet.

Minner said the commanding officer and the chief of boat have visited North Dakota, and he expects more of the sub’s 134 crewmen will visit here.

Minner has served on an Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine and two other Virginia-class boats, the USS Texas and the USS Mississippi.

He grew up in Denver, Colo., but now he and his wife and two children live in Groton, Conn. It’s there that he and some of the crew are working with the engineers, technicians and tradesmen of General Dynamics Electric Boat to inspect and test the boat’s systems as it’s built.

He said the 377-foot boat is more than 50 percent completed and will be put together in four “super modules,” sections weighing 2,000 tons apiece.

Currently, the sub is designated PCU North Dakota, meaning pre-commissioning unit, he said.

Part of the boat is being built in Quonset Point, R.I., part in Norfolk, Va., and part in Groton. The workload is heavy for the 63 crew members already with the boat, he said.

“That’s something we were very, very upfront with the crew about,” he said. “We spend a lot of hours on the boat.”

Unlike their predecessors, Virginia-class submarines are as stealthy and highly capable in shallow water as in deep water, Minner said. They also can easily move from arctic waters to the tropics.

He said the three primary missions of the submarine will be surveillance and reconnaissance, anti-ship warfare, and anti-submarine warfare. But the submarine is also designed to carry out special operations missions, laying mines and attacking land-based targets, he said.

This is the second Navy vessel to carry the state’s name.

The first USS North Dakota (BB-29), was a 20,000-ton Delaware-class battleship that served from 1910 to 1923.

Virginia-class submarines displace 7,800 tons. They can operate at more than 25 knots submerged, which is about 29 mph.