UNITED STATES - 19 MAY 2011 NEWPORT NEWS, Va --- Newport News Shipbuilding, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII), will host a keel laying ceremony May 20, for the new submarine USS Minnesota (SSN 783), the third U.S. Navy ship named for the North Star state. Ellen Roughead, wife of Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead, will serve as the ship's sponsor and keel authenticator for the ceremony. Roughead will authenticate the keel by chalking her initials onto a metal plate. Her initials are then welded onto the plate, which will be permanently affixed to the ship. Minnesota will be the 10th of a projected 30 Virginia-class submarines. Construction began in February 2008 and her name was announced July 15, 2008. The name Minnesota was selected to honor the state's residents and their continued support of the U.S. military. The state is home to 46 Medal of Honor recipients spanning the Civil War to the Vietnam War. HII designs, builds and maintains nuclear and non-nuclear ships for the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard and provides after-market services for military ships around the globe. Minnesota is being built under a teaming arrangement between HII and General Dynamics Electric Boat. Upon completion, the submarine will be 7,800-tons and 377-feet long, which is slightly longer than a football field. She has a 34-foot beam, will be able to dive to depths greater than 800 feet and will operate at speeds in excess of 25 knots submerged. Minnesota is designed with a nuclear reactor plant that will not require refueling during the planned life of the ship, reducing lifecycle costs and increasing underway time.