The United States Navy is preparing to commission the newest vessel in its submarine fleet, the USS Colorado.

The vessel USS Colorado (SSN 788), is a Virginia-class attack submarine and is the 15th Virginia-class submarine to join the fleet. Colorado has a redesigned bow, two large-diameter Virginia Payload Tubes, each able to launch six Tomahawk cruise missiles and other design changes that reduced cost without losing any warfighting capabilities.

The US Navy says Colorado is the most modern and sophisticated attack submarine in the world. It is designed to carry out the seven core competencies of the submarine force: anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, delivery of Special Operations Forces (SOF), strike warfare, irregular warfare, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and mine warfare.

The USS Colorado is the fourth Navy vessel to carry the name. Listed are the three previous vessels with the Colorado name.

  1. USS Colorado steam screw frigate launched in 1856 and commissioned in 1858.
  2. USS Colorado Pennsylvania-class cruiser commissioned in 1903.
  3. USS Colorado battleship served the Navy from 1923 to 1947.

The crest of the USS Colorado Virginia-class submarine was designed by Navy Ensign Michael Neilson from Arvada, Colorado who was a student at the Navy’s Nuclear Power Training Unit in Ballston Spa, New York at the time his design was chosen. He has since received orders to report for duty aboard the USS Colorado.

Courtesy US Navy

Each element of the crest has a significant meaning.

  • The mustang symbolizes the unbridled determination of Coloradans and the crew of the submarine.
  • The snow-capped Rocky Mountains symbolize the mighty and majestic nature of submarines.
  • The submarine itself rests on the water transiting forward into the unknown.
  • The seven stars pay tribute to USS Colorado (BB 45) which were awarded to the ship for exemplary service in World War II.
  • Terra Marque Indomita simply translated means 'untamed by land and sea.'

The USS Colorado will be commissioned on March 17, 2018, at the Naval Submarine Base New London located in Groton, Connecticut.