- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 10, 2015

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - A Navy attack submarine named for North Dakota could be deployed within two months, its senior enlisted sailor says.

Construction of the $2.6 billion USS North Dakota began in March 2009. It was commissioned in late October at a Navy base in Connecticut.

Master Chief Petty Officer Tim Preabt - the only crew member who is a North Dakota native - told North Dakota lawmakers during a visit Monday that the sub has been out to sea for several months of testing.

“We’re going through a test cycle right now before the boat is deployed,” he said. “North Dakota performed very well according to all of the testing and sea trials we did.”

The 377-foot-long submarine with a crew of nearly 150 can launch cruise missiles, deliver special forces and carry out surveillance. It is the first Navy vessel in a century to be named for the state.

“The capabilities of the boat allow it to operate anywhere in the world undetected,” Preabt said.

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