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Shipyard to christen Navy submarine USS New Jersey

The $3 billion sub is about 82% complete. It's set to join the Navy fleet in late 2022.

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. —

The ceremony is set to begin at 11 a.m. on November 13. To watch it, click here.

Virginia's largest industrial employer is about to reach another important milestone.

On Saturday, at Newport News Shipbuilding, they'll christen the Navy's newest and most technologically advanced attack submarine: the future USS New Jersey.

When she is eventually commissioned, hopefully in 2022, the New Jersey will be the 23rd Virginia-class submarine, and the 11th to be delivered from Newport News Shipbuilding.

The 377-foot-long nuclear-powered vessel was said to be 82% complete on Nov. 12.

The Navy can't wait to get another Virginia Class sub in its arsenal.

"Our biggest advantage over the legacy subs like the Los Angeles-class, really, it's the stealth, and our ability to operate quietly in all different parts of the world, in all different types of water against different adversaries," said the commanding officer, CDR Carlos Otero.

This submarine will even be different than its 22 Virginia-class predecessors.

"What's unique about New Jersey is, it's actually the first ship constructed for gender integration with a modification from the start, so, this will allow for gender-neutral crews to support the defense of the country," said Jason Ward, Newport News Shipbuilding vice president.

The New Jersey has been under construction since March 2019. The 4,000 shipbuilders who worked on it are happy to reach the christening.

"It's an amazing milestone for us," said Foreman Patrick Veloso. "I love it when we get to this point, you know, we take a lot of pride in this." 

"It's pretty special growing up near the Battleship New Jersey, I've seen that," said engineer Nicholas Panagotopulos. "Seeing the new New Jersey is pretty special and cool."

The $3 billion Virginia-class submarines are built jointly (two per year) in a special partnership between Newport News Shipbuilding and General Dynamics Electric Boat in Groton, Connecticut.

Meanwhile, labor contract talks between Newport News Shipbuilding and the United Steelworkers Local 8888 continue, with the current agreement set to expire at midnight Sunday.

A spokesman for the union told 13News Now: "Negotiators for the union and the company are still locked in tough, tense and prolonged negotiations."

The spokesman added: "The union's bottom line hasn't changed: equity for essential shipbuilders now."