Hoosiers help build new Navy submarine named Indiana

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The U.S. Navy’s newest attack submarine will be commissioned this weekend and it shares a name with the Hoosier state. 

The USS Indiana will be the first submarine and the third U.S. Navy ship named Indiana. Vice President Mike Pence called it “the most advanced submarine to ever serve America.”

It’s no coincidence that more than 100 Indiana companies supplied parts or helped build the ship, including Thomas & Skinner Inc. in Indianapolis. 

“I can’t go into necessarily a lot of detail because it’s secret,” Thomas & Skinner President Ed Richardson said. 

The company makes magnets … and not the kind you stick on your fridge. 

“When ships and other weapon systems are nuclear-powered, that’s where our magnets are used,” Richardson said. “We’ve been in other submarines as well.”

The USS Indiana could launch Tomahawk missiles. It’s designed for both coastal and deep ocean environments. 

The U.S. Navy said the ship can lead the way when it comes to anti-submarine warfare, special operations support, surveillance and intelligence. 

U.S. Navy Capt. Jesse Zimbauer, the ship’s commanding officer, said, “My commissioning committee says Indiana builds things and grows things.” 

“A lot of the steel was made in Indiana. Cable — I would say over half the cable I have on board — is made just to the east of Indianapolis.” 

Some of the shipyard engineers are from Indiana and graduated from Purdue University. 

Last fall, a group of Navy sailors visited Thomas & Skinner to meet the staff. Some of the employees have served in the armed forces. 

“We take a lot of pride in all the products we make but to know that it’s helping our armed forces protect our country makes it especially good,” Richardson said. 

The commissioning ceremony will be 10 a.m. Saturday at Port Canaveral, Florida. It will be livestreamed at navy.mil.