First Lady in NK Monday to Lay Keel for New Sub Built in Quonset
The USS Illinois is being built at Electric Boat's manufacturing facility in North Kingstown. Michelle Obama will be the submarine's sponsor, forming a ceremonial link to the ship and its crew.
The $2.7 billion submarine is being sponsored by the first lady — her initials welded to the submarine in a tradition shared by other first ladies.
Obama will also meet the crew and their families.
The USS Illinois is supposed to begin sea trials in 2016, according to the Chicago Tribune, and will be used for surveillance and attacks.
The submarine will weigh 7,800 tons, run 377 feet in length and can operate at more than 25 knots submerged. It also features a nuclear reactor plant that won't require refueling during the ships planned lifetime.
The selection of Illinois, designated SSN 786, is the second ship to bear the state name and is home to the Navy’s one and only Recruit Training Command in Great Lakes where every enlisted sailor begins his or her service.