BOISE, Idaho — The USS Idaho, a New Mexico-class battleship, has been under construction for nearly two years in an effort to make it a Virginia-class, nuclear-powered attack submarine.
Completion is expected to happen next summer, at which point crews will christen the submarine and commission it into active service in 2023.
The new version of the USS Idaho will cost about $2.6 billion and should serve for three decades.
Once completed, it will be the first Navy ship to be named after Idaho in more than 100 years.
To commemorate the construction, a contingent of the submarine's crew has been given the chance to take a tour of Idaho over the last week. Three members of the 135-member crew are Idaho natives.
The tour began in Boise and continued east into Idaho Falls, where the crew stopped to visit the Idaho National Laboratory. The crew then went through Pocatello, back to Idaho Falls, and into Twin Falls and Nampa before landing back in Boise.
Since Wednesday, the crew has been learning all about the Gem State, getting to know Idaho and establishing a bond between the citizens and sailors.
The sailors told KTVB they learned about Idaho's long, historic connection to the United States Navy.
Although the Gem State is landlocked, four USS Idaho's have made their way through U.S. waters over the years. The last one was a New Mexico class battleship commissioned in 1919.
Additionally, the Farragut Naval Training Station was built in 1942 on the shores of Lake Pend Oreille near Athol. Lake Pend Oreille is home to the Navy's Acoustic Research and is called the most valuable body of water for the Navy.
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