USS South Dakota submarine readying to join U.S. Navy Fleet

SIOUX FALLS, South Dakota (AP)—A $2.6 billion submarine named for the state of South Dakota is getting ready to join the U.S. Navy fleet.

The 377-foot (115-meter) USS South Dakota will be commissioned on Feb. 2 at the Navy base in Groton, Connecticut, the Argus Leader reported. The vessel will be the 17th Virginia-class attack submarine to join the fleet and the first submarine to be commissioned with the name South Dakota.

The submarine force’s primary role is to stay forward-deployed, undetected and ready to deliver a warfighting capability when needed, said Craig Liddy, the ship’s commanding officer, in a video interview released by the Department of Defense.

The Defense Department recently released footage of the submarine ahead of its commissioning ceremony next month, including photographs of the ship’s sailors and a tour of the vessel. Some rooms on the ship are decorated with images of South Dakota cities and wildlife, a state license plate and stickers from Deadwood bars.

The last ship named after the state of South Dakota was the BB-57, a World War II-era battleship that won numerous honors in combat before it was decommissioned in 1947. Parts of the battleship are on display at the USS South Dakota Battleship Memorial in Sioux Falls.

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