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NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive


Ship's patch on left courtesy of Don McGrogan, BMCS USN (ret.), Decal on right by unlimiteddetails.com

California (SSN-781)


Virginia Class Attack Submarine: Named USS California (SSN-781) on 30 January 2008; Construction began at Northrop Grumman Newport News. Keel laid 1 May 2009. Christened on 6 November 2010 & Commissioned on 29 October 2011.

Specifications:Power Plant: One S9G pressurized water reactor, 29.84MW (40,000hp), one shaft with pumpjet propulsor, Improved Performance Machinery Program Phase III one secondary propulsion submerged motor. Displacement, 7,800 tons submerged. Length: 377 feet. Draft: 32 feet. Beam: 34 feet. Speed: 25+ knots submerged. Depth: Greater than 800 feet. Horizontal Tubes: Four 21" Torpedo Tubes, Vertical Tubes: 12 Vertical Launch System Tubes, Weapons: 38 weapons, including: Vertical Launch System Tomahawk Cruise Missiles, Mk 48 ADCAP Heavyweight Torpedoes, Advanced Mobile Mines, Unmanned Undersea Vehicles, Special Warfare: Dry Deck Shelter. Advanced SEAL Delivery System. Sonars: Spherical active/passive arrays. Light Weight Wide Aperture Arrays. TB-16, TB-29, and future towed arrays. High-frequency chin and sail arrays. Countermeasures: 1 internal launcher (reloadable 2-barrel) 14 external launchers. Crew: 113 officers and men.


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California416kCalifornia (SSN-781) under construction, June 2008.Photo courtesy of nn.northropgrumman.com. & submitted by Bill Gonyo.
California270kPDF of the California's (SSN-781) keel laying ceremony. Photo by S. Dale Hargrave. PDF courtesy of Ron Reeves.
California686k Overall view of California's (SSN-781) keel laying ceremony. Congressman Bobby Scott of Virginia's 3rd Congressional District is at the podium. Photo by S. Dale Hargrave.
California258kMrs. Donna Willard (wife of Admiral Robert Willard), Authenticator and Ship's Sponsor, chalks her initials on a plate which will later be attached to the ship. Photo by S. Dale Hargrave.
California433kThe ship's sponsor, Donna Willard, authenticated California's (SSN-781) stern unit by chalking her initials onto a metal plate. Her initials were then welded onto the plate by Newport News welder Scott Hallinger (left). The plate will be permanently affixed to the submarine prior to its delivery to the Navy.Photo # 189-6147 by Rick Thompson / nn.northropgrumman.com.
California368kCalifornia (SSN-781) keel laying and authentication ceremony participants included (left to right) Newport News welder Scott Hallinger; Adm. Kirkland Donald, director of Naval Nuclear Propulsion; U.S. Rep. Robert "Bobby" Scott, (D-Va.); General Dynamics Electric Boat President John Casey; Sector Vice President and General Manager of Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding-Newport News Matt Mulherin; California's Prospective Commanding Officer, Cmdr. Kevin Kinslow and the ship's sponsor, Donna Willard. Photo # 189-6146 by Rick Thompson / nn.northropgrumman.com.
California164kUnit 2B-5 for the submarine California (SSN-781), is offloaded from Sea Shuttle at Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding-Newport News, 11 February 2010. Photo # 57384128 Photo by Chris Oxley. Photo courtesy of Northrup Grumman Public Affairs.
California279kNewport News, Va., 8 April 2010 - Mrs. Donna Willard (center), ship's sponsor of the Virginia-class submarine California (SSN-781), visited Newport News on 22 March to check on the ship's construction progress. Willard, the wife of Adm. Robert F. Willard, commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, is pictured with Bob Bolden (left) of the VCS Construction Management Dept. and Cmdr. Kevin Kinslow (right), commanding officer, pre-commissioning unit, California. Photo courtesy of Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding via Bill Gonyo.
California1.0mNorthrop Grumman Shipbuilding sector accomplished the "pressure hull complete" milestone on the California (SSN-781) on 13 May 2010. "Pressure hull complete" signifies the hull sections being joined to form a single unit. It is the last major milestone before the ship's christening and launch later this year at the company's Newport News, Va. shipyard. Photo courtesy of Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding via Bill Gonyo.
California111kCmdr. Dana Nelson, Officer-in-Charge of Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) California (SSN-781) departs through the side boys following a change of charge ceremony at The Mariners' Museum 7 June 2010. During the ceremony, Nelson assumed command of the eighth Virginia-class submarine from Cmdr. Kevin Kinslow. Photo # N-8750E-103 by Ricky Thompson, Northrup Grumman Public Affairs via Bill Gonyo.
California380kNorthrop Grumman Corporation hosted a tour and christening briefing for Mrs. Donna Willard, the sponsor of California (SSN-781) on 22 September During the visit, she met with ship's crew, & shipbuilders and toured the christening site. Mrs. Willard is the wife of Adm. Robert F. Willard, the Commander of the U.S. Pacific Command. "This was a very exciting day for me," said Willard. "To be able to spend time with the crew of California and see a completed submarine ready to be put in the water was very special. The enthusiasm of the crew should make all of us as Americans very proud. I am very honored to be the sponsor of California and look forward to the christening." Photo # 8866 by Chris Oxley. Photo courtesy of Northrup Grumman Public Affairs via thesubreport.com.
California169k"California is 86 percent complete and approaching the construction milestone of launch this fall," said Bob Bolden, construction director at Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding-Newport News. "Launching the ship signifies the boat is ready to go in the water and begin a series of waterborne tests. During this time, the ship's systems and compartments are transitioning over to Ship's Force in support of sea trials next year."
"We're excited Mrs. Willard could return to the shipyard so quickly. She's an enthusiastic and excited sponsor," added Bolden. "Our shipbuilders are proud to show off their high-quality craftsmanship and the beginning preparations for the ship's upcoming christening on November 6."
Photo # 8867 Ricky Thompson. Photo courtesy of Northrup Grumman Public Affairs.
California363kCalifornia's (SSN-781) Bow Cover. Photo # DCS10-755-28 courtesy of Northrup Grumman Public Affairs & submitted by Bill Gonyo.
California609k Donna Willard, sponsor of the submarine California (SSN-781), christens the submarine as Jackalyne Pfannenstielm, center, assistant Secretary of the Navy for Energy, Installations and Environment, and Mike Peters, president of Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding, look on 6 November 2010. Photo # N-8750E-101 Ricky Thompson. Photo courtesy of Northrup Grumman Public Affairs.
California366kHard Hats prevail on the deck of the California (SSN-781), moored with two lethal weapons parked on her bow. Photo # 9131 courtesy of Northrup Grumman Public Affairs via Bill Gonyo.
California452kCrew members on the submarine California (SSN-781) celebrate their move-aboard 9 May 2011 in the galley. California will be the first submarine to be delivered by Newport News Shipbuilding under the company's new name.Photo courtesy of Huntington Ingalls Industries via Bill Gonyo.
California401kThe Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) California gets underway from Naval Station Norfolk on 9 September 2011 to conduct weapons systems acceptance trials. U.S. Navy photo # N-OV802-222 by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class William Jamieson, courtesy of navy.news.mil via Robert Hurst.
California483kThe Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) California gets underway from Naval Station Norfolk on 9 September 2011 to conduct weapons systems acceptance trials. U.S. Navy photo # N-JB219-300 by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Danna M. Morris, courtesy of navy.news.mil via Robert Hurst.
California858kCalifornia Christening Media Day, setting up before the rush.Photo courtesy of Northrup Grumman Shipbuilding courtesy of Bill Gonyo.
California277kCalifornia Christening on 29 September 2011. Photo courtesy of Northrup Grumman Shipbuilding courtesy of Bill Gonyo.
California385kCalifornia's Prospective Commanding Officer, Cmdr. Kevin Kinslow and the ship's sponsor, Donna Willard at the christening. Photo courtesy of Northrup Grumman Shipbuilding courtesy of Bill Gonyo.
California493kSailors assigned to the attack submarine Pre-Commissioning Unit California (SSN-781) board the boat as they "bring her to life" during a commissioning rehearsal ceremony the day before the submarine is commissioned. U.S. Navy photo # N-XK202-067 by Chief Mass Communication Specialist John Osborne, courtesy of navy.mil.
Photo added 10/30/11.
California641kMachinist Mate 3rd Class Johnathon Beadle, assigned to the attack submarine Pre-Commissioning Unit California (SSN-781) renders honors during morning colors the day before the Navy's newest Virginia-class submarine is commissioned at Naval Station Norfolk, 28 October 2011. U.S. Navy photo # N-PN306-027 by Lt. Cmdr. Jennifer Cragg, courtesy of navy.mil. via Ron Reeves.
Photo added 10/30/11.
California692k World War II submarine veteran Joe Cox, right, passes the long glass to set the first watch during the commissioning ceremony for the California (SSN-781) at Naval Station Norfolk. U.S. Navy photo # N-FC670-232 by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Shannon E. Renfroe, courtesy of navy.mil.
Photo added 10/30/11.
California372kApproximately 2,500 people attend the commissioning ceremony for the attack submarine California (SSN-781) at Naval Station Norfolk. U.S. Navy photo # N-NY820-057 by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Eric C. Tretter, courtesy of navy.mil.
Photo added 10/30/11.
California213kCmdr. Dana Nelson, commanding officer of the attack submarine California (SSN-781), Mrs. Donna Joy Willard, ship's sponsor, and Master Chief Kevin Bond, chief of the boat, prepare to bring the ship to life during the commissioning ceremony for the attack submarine California at Naval Station Norfolk, 29 October 2011. U.S. Navy photo # N-NY820-147 by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Eric C. Tretter courtesy of navy.mil.
Photo added 10/30/11.
California541kSailors assigned to the attack submarine California (SSN-781) rush to "man their ship and bring their ship to life" during the boat's commissioning ceremony at Naval Station Norfolk. U.S. Navy photo # N-JB219-147 by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Danna M. Morris, courtesy of navy.mil.
Photo added 10/30/11.

There is no DANFS History currently available for California (SSN-781) at the Haze Gray & Underway Web Site, the main archive for the DANFS Online Project.
Crew Contact And Reunion Information
Not applicable to this ship.
Additional Resources and Web Sites of Interest
The VIRGINIA Class America's Next Submarine
The Virginia Class—A New Submarine for the 21st Century
SSN-774 Virginia-class NSSN New Attack Submarine Centurion
NSSN VIRGINIA CLASS ATTACK SUBMARINE, USA
HISTORIC SUBMARINE DOCUMENTARY AND TRAINING FILMS
Making a Submarine - General Dynamics
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