Navy lays keel for submarine Illinois - FOX 29 News Philadelphia | WTXF-TV

Navy lays keel for submarine Illinois

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

A keel-laying ceremony was held by the U.S. Navy for Pre-Commissioning Unit Illinois at General Dynamics Electric Boat on June 2.

First Lady Michelle Obama sponsors the submarine and had her initials welded onto the steel that will forever be placed on the sub’s hull.

"The Navy and the submarine force are honored to have the First Lady serve as the sponsor for the future USS Illinois," said Capt. David Goggins, Virginia-class program manager. "The event marks the first major construction milestone for the submarine and helps forge a special bond between Mrs. Obama, her submarine and her crew that will last for years to come."

In March 2011, Illinois began construction and is continuing the Virginia-class program’s trend of delivering subs early to their contract delivery dates.

"Illinois' keel laying is a special day for our Navy, the state of Illinois and our shipbuilding partners," said Rear Adm. David Johnson, program executive officer for submarines. "Building Illinois is a team effort and the skill and commitment of the entire shipbuilding team is evident in the first-time quality and operational successes of these front-line platforms."

Illinois is named after the 21st state and is the second Navy ship to do so.

Virginia-class submarines are built to dominate the world’s deep waters and fight all types of warfare.

For more information, visit Naval Sea Systems Command.

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