First Lady Michelle Obama to christen nation’s newest sub in Groton on Saturday

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Virginia_class submarine

GROTON – First Lady Michelle Obama is scheduled to break the traditional bottle of champagne over one of the newest subs in the Navy’s fleet.

On Saturday, Oct. 10, First Lady Michelle Obama take part in the christening ceremony for the submarine Illinois on the Thames river at Electric Boat.

The company said the Illinois (SSN-786) is the 13th ship of the Virginia Class submarine.   Mrs. Obama, the ship’s sponsor, will  christen the submarine by breaking a bottle of sparkling wine against its hull. Prior to commissioning, the vessel is designated as a PCU, (Pre Commissioning Unit.)

According to the Navy, the 377 foot long submarine will displace 7,800 tons of water. It can dive to depths greater than 800 feet and operate at speeds in excess of 25 knots while submerged. Construction started on the submarine in March 2011 and it is expected to be delivered in August 2016.

Elected officials and U.S. Navy leadership also will participate in the event. A live webcast of the event will be shown starting on Saturday at 10:30 a.m.