The United States Navy announced Wednesday that it will commission its newest "fast attack" submarine called the USS John Warner (SSN 785) during a ceremony on Saturday. The event is scheduled to take place at 10 a.m. EDT at the Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia.

The submarine is named after John William Warner, an American Republican politician who served as the secretary of the Navy from 1972 to 1974. The USS John Warner is the 12th Virginia-class fast attack submarine, and will showcase improved stealth and surveillance capabilities, as well as special warfare enhancements.

“The commissioning of USS John Warner marks the beginning of what is expected to be 33 years of distinguished service for this great submarine,” Secretary of Navy Ray Mabus said in a statement.

According to the Navy, the USS John Warner has the capability to attack targets on land with highly accurate Tomahawk cruise missiles. The submarine can also conduct long-term surveillance of both land and sea-based forces. 

Virginia_class_submarine An artist's rendering of a Virginia-class attack submarine. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The USS John Warner, which reportedly completed an initial round of sea trials in May, can also be used in several other missions, including anti-submarine and anti-ship warfare, mine delivery and minefield mapping, the Navy said.

The Virginia-class submarines weigh 7,800 tons and are 377 feet long. These submarines have a beam of 34 feet and can operate at more than 25 knots under water. They are built with a reactor plant that will not require refueling during the submarine’s projected 33-year lifespan, the Navy said.

"Their inherent stealth, endurance, firepower, and sensor suite directly enable them to support five of the six maritime strategy core capabilities - sea control, power projection, forward presence, maritime security, and deterrence," according to the Navy.