Illinois helps U.S. Navy prepare for launch of new submarine. The capital ship, which will be called the “U.S.S. Illinois” when it enters commissioned service, is in the final stages of being fitted out on the East Coast and is expected to be launched later in 2015. Chicago business leaders are helping train two key members of the crew – the culinary specialists who will man the submersible boat’s tiny galley.
Physically slightly smaller and with smaller crews than the armored battleships that were once the backbone of the U.S. Navy, an attack submarine like the “U.S.S. Illinois” is in some ways even more heavily armed. A crew of 145 to 150 men will sail on a six-month tour of duty, much of which will be spent submerged. Modern technology even allows submarines to communicate with naval headquarters while deep under water. Although the “Illinois” is only 370 feet long, the “silent service” believes that American submarines serve as the ultimate deterrent to potential enemy action.
The “Illinois” will be the first U.S. Navy capital ship to bear this name since an obsolete battleship commissioned in 1897. Efforts to build a new American super-battleship in the 1940s to carry on the heritage of the Prairie State did not survive the end of World War II in 1945. The Aurora-based U.S.S. Illinois Commissioning Committee is leading fundraising efforts to properly celebrate two separate events: the new vessel’s approaching launch and its commission.