SALT LAKE CITY — Navy Secretary Ray Mabus is scheduled to be in Salt Lake City next week to name the next Virginia-class attack submarine the USS Utah.
The submarine will be the second Navy ship to bear the state's name. Japanese torpedos sunk the battleship USS Utah during the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.
A naming ceremony at the state Capitol is slated for Tuesday at 10 a.m.
The Navy names Virginia-class submarines for states, and Mabus considered the new submarine's registry number, SSN 801, when deciding the name. The number is the telephone area code for much of the Wasatch Front.
Mabus also takes into account how many ships the state has had in the past and how the name helps the Navy and Marines connect to the state, said Lt. Eric Durie, Navy spokesman.
All those factors make USS Utah a natural fit, Durie said.
The Navy has contracted with General Dynamics Electric Boat and Huntington Ingalls Industries to build the USS Utah in Groton, Connecticut. The submarine is expected to be finished in 2022.
The nuclear-powered submarines weigh 7,800 tons and are 377 feet long. They have the capability to attack targets on shore with Tomahawk cruise missiles and conduct covert, long-term surveillance of land areas or sea-based forces. They are designed with a reactor plant that doesn't require refueling for the life of the ship.
Virginia-class submarines are replacing the older Los Angeles class, many of which have already been decommissioned, including the USS Salt Lake City in 2006. The Navy decommissioned a cruiser named USS Salt Lake City in 1946.
The only currently active Navy ship with a name connected to Utah is the USS Santaquin, a tug boat at the Guantanamo Bay naval station. Named for the city in Utah County, it launched in 1973.