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Pearl Harbor getting fourth new Virginia-class attack submarine

By Star Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 1:27 a.m. HST, Jan 14, 2014

Pearl Harbor will be getting a fourth new Virginia-class attack submarine this summer, U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa said in a news release issued Monday afternoon.

"I am encouraged by the Navy's announcement that the USS Mississippi will change its homeport to Pearl Harbor in July 2014," said Hanabusa, a member of the House Armed Services Committee.

Hanabusa said in the release that the Mississippi is moving to Hawaii from Groton, Conn.

"This change follows the previously announced intention by the Navy to move 60 percent of its fleet to the Pacific, and ensures that Hawaii will continue to play a key role in our national rebalance to the Asia Pacific region," she said.

The change, along with the planned moves to Hawaii of the destroyers John Paul Jones and Preble "will put the number of ships homeported here at 31 by mid 2014," Hanabusa said.

More than 130 sailors operate the 377-foot-long Virginia-class submarines, which are capable of diving to depths greater than 800 feet and operating at speeds in excess of 28 mph when submerged.

However, submarine captains say the question no longer is how fast and deep a submarine can dive, but how slow and shallow it can go in the littorals, or near seas, where a lot of foreign diesel subs operate.

Virginia-class submarines are capable of very precise slow-speed ship control.

The Mississippi will join the North Carolina, Hawaii and Texas in Hawaii. Pearl Harbor is the sole Pacific home for Virginia-class subs, which cost more than $2 billion. Pearl Harbor also has 15 Los Angeles-class subs. 

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