USS Bremerton (SSN 698) enters Dry Dock 2 at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard for scheduled maintenance on Oct. 7, 2009. (U.S. Navy/ Liane Nakahara)

A surge in demand for attack submarines and the lengthening of Virginia-class subs to carry more missiles has the Navy examining building its first new dry dock at Pearl Harbor since World War II or creating a 650-foot floating dry dock to better maintain its Pacific-based undersea fleet.

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The Virginia-class attack submarine USS Virginia in 2004. Two new Virginia-class attack submarines will be named for the USS Arizona and USS Oklahoma, Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly announced on Dec. 23, 2019. (U.S. Navy photo)

Navy ships named USS Arizona and USS Oklahoma will return to active duty with the announcement by Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly that two new Virginia-class attack submarines will be named after American heroes of the greatest generation who perished on the famed Pearl Harbor battleships.

The move brings back into service the hallowed ship names 78 years after both were badly damaged in the surprise Japanese attack on Dec. 7, 1941. Most of the Navy casualties that day came from losses on those two ships.

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Advances in technology are making the nuclear deterrence mission of ballistic missile submarines increasingly challenging.

Foreign adversaries, China and Russia in particular, are designing increasingly sophisticated submarines that show they "are definitely catching up to us," said Capt. Chester Parks, commanding officer at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay.

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America's largest military shipbuilding company has been accused of falsifying tests and certifications on stealth coatings of its submarines "that put American lives at risk," according to a complaint filed in federal court last month.

Huntington Ingalls Industries, which spun-off from Northrop Grumman in 2011, "knowingly and/or recklessly" filed falsified records with the Navy claiming it had correctly applied a coating, called a Special Hull Treatment, to Virginia-class attack submarines which would allow the vessels to elude enemy sonar, the Sept. 26 complaint alleges.

Instead, the complaint said, Huntington Ingalls' Newport News Shipbuilding facility in Virginia took shortcuts that allegedly "plagued" the class of submarines with problems, and then retaliated against the employee who spoke up about the issues.

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The Virginia-class fast-attack submarine USS California is photographed during sea trials in the Atlantic Ocean, June 30, 2011. (U.S. Navy/Chris Oxley)

GROTON, Conn. -- Defense Secretary Mark Esper, a month into the job, toured Electric Boat on Tuesday, including a walkthrough of the Navy's newest attack submarine, USS South Dakota, which is undergoing a major upgrade to make the already stealthy submarine even quieter in response to continued advancement by China and Russia in their undersea fleets.

Esper's focus of late has been on China, which is increasingly staking a claim in the Indo-Pacific region, and which recently tested multiple anti-ship ballistic missiles. He told a crowd at the Naval War College in Newport earlier in the day that the Pentagon is looking at ways to increase its presence in the region.

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(KCNA via Reuters)

SEOUL/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspected a large, newly built submarine, state news agency KCNA reported on Tuesday, potentially signaling continued development of a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) program.

Kim inspected the operational and tactical data and combat weapon systems of the submarine that was built under "his special attention", and will be operational in the waters off the east coast, KCNA said.

It said the submarine's operational deployment was near.

"The operational capacity of a submarine is an important component in national defense of our country bounded on its east and west by sea," Kim said.

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