A submarine under construction will be named the USS Illinois, the Secretary of the Navy announced today.
One of five Virginia-class attack submarines being built in Newport News, Va., the USS Illinois would be the second ship named after the state, according to the U.S. Department of Defense.
Construction on the sub began March 2, 2011 and it is scheduled to begin sea trials in 2016. It will cost about $2.7 billion to build, according to Navy spokeswoman Lt. Katie Cerezo.
The first USS Illinois was a battleship completed by the Newport News Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co. on Feb 10, 1897, according to Navy records. It was launched on Oct. 4, 1898 and commissioned on Sept. 16, 1901.
The ship saw service in World War I and was assigned to the New York Naval Reserve in 1924. That's where it stayed for more than 30 years. The ship was renamed Prairie State in January 1941 to allow the state's name to be used for a proposed new battleship. It was sold for scrap to Bethlehem Steel on May 15, 1956. The battleship was never completed.
The other states getting their names on subs are Indiana, Colorado, South Dakota and Washington.
Illinois is being recognized because of the Recruit Training Command at Naval Station Great Lakes in Lake County. Every enlisted sailor in the Navy begins his or her career there.
The new USS Illinois is being built by Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding in partnership with General Dynamics/Electric Boat Corp., according to the Defense release. The submarine will be 377 feet long and will weigh 7,800 tons and will be able to operate at more than 25 knots submerged.
The Virginia-class submarine is able to attack onshore targets with Tomahawk cruise missiles, can conduct surveillance, attack other submarines and ships, and deliver and support special forces, Defense officials said.
The Navy has another submarine with an Illinois connection – the USS Chicago. It's a Los Angeles-class nuclear-powered attack submarine. It is the fourth USS Chicago.
Another ship with ties to Illinois is the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, which launched in 1988 as Nimitz-class carrier.
A Navy ballistic missile submarine had been named after Lincoln as well. That ship launched in 1960, was decommissioned in 1981 and was scrapped in 1994, according to Navy records.