What to know about the USS Iowa, the first Navy submarine named after the Hawkeye State

The USS Iowa, set to be christened June 17, is a Virginia-class nuclear attack submarine. Here's what to know about the first U.S. Navy sub to bear the Hawkeye State's name.

  • It's under construction at General Dynamics Electric Boat in Groton, Connecticut, with the reactor and power unit constructed at the Huntington Ingalls Industries shipyard in Newport News, Virginia.

  • It's the 24th of 37 planned Virginia-class submarines.

  • Length: 377 feet.

  • Beam: 34 feet.

  • Weight: 7,800 tons.

  • Speed: More than 25 knots (28 mph).

  • Maximum depth: More than 800 feet.

  • Propulsion: pump jet instead of a traditional propeller for quieter movement. Virginia-class submarines are capable of stealthy operation even in near-shore waters, with sophisticated sensors for monitoring potential threats.

  • Range: Virtually unlimited. The nuclear reactor that powers the USS Iowa is built to power the ship for the its entire 30+-year lifespan, without refueling.

  • Crew: 15 officers, 117 enlisted.

  • Torpedoes: four tubes.

  • Missiles: 12 Tomahawk cruise missiles with a range of more than 1,200 miles.

  • A dry deck shelter allows divers to enter and exit the sub while it's submerged.

  • It's one of two Navy attack subs built to accommodate female crew members.

  • It's expected to enter service in early or mid-2024.

Petty Officer First Class Flynn Davis holds a patch for the USS Iowa next to a shoulder patch for the submarine's pre-commission unit during a visit to the Iowa City Veterans Administration Hospital in 2019.

Previous USS Iowas

Two battleship have borne the USS Iowa name. The first, launched in 1896, remained in service for various periods through 1919. It was deliberately sunk as a target-practice ship in 1923. The second, launched in 1942, operated at various times from 1942 to 1990 and is now a floating museum at the Port of Los Angeles. Between those two, construction of a third USS Iowa began in 1920, but the ship was scrapped under a treaty meant to prevent a post-World War I arms race.

An interesting parallel

Christie Vilsack with husband Tom at a 2019 campaign event in Des Moines.

Former Iowa first lady Christie Vilsack will christen the new Iowa. Her husband is current U.S. Secretary of Agriculture and former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack. The second Iowa was christened by U.S. second lady Ilo Wallace. Her husband, Vice President Henry A. Wallace, an Iowa native raised in Des Moines, had previously served as agriculture secretary, as had his father.

Ilo Wallace, wife of U.S. Vice President Henry A. Wallace.

This article originally appeared on Des Moines Register: Here's what to know about the US Navy's new USS Iowa submarine