About the Keel Laying Ceremony
During the keel laying ceremony, Ship’s Sponsor Diane Donald will authenticate the keel by chalking her initials onto a metal plate. Her initials will then be welded onto a plate that will be permanently affixed to the ship.
Laying the keel is the symbolic beginning of building the ship, originating from the large structural beam (or keel) that serves as the foundation or spine of the ship’s hull. Although modular construction techniques mean that the ship is no longer built from the bottom up, the keel laying is still celebrated as a momentous event in the ship’s construction.
Built for America
Designed to meet the Navy’s requirements in a post-Cold War era, the 377-foot-long submarines are capable of submerged speeds of more than 25 knots and can stay submerged for up to three months at a time.
Meet the Shipbuilders
The 4,000 Newport News shipbuilders working on Indiana (SSN 789) include engineers, riggers, welders, coatings specialists, electricians, and many other trades and professions.