Navy Opens State-Funded Simulator Facility at Connecticut Sub Base
Connecticut officials are pointing to the new submarine bridge training simulator at Naval Submarine Base New London as an important investment in ensuring the future of an installation which has been targeted in past BRAC rounds.
The Navy paid for the interactive simulator that will be used to train officers and submariners in navigation, but the state gave the Navy $2.5 million to build the facility housing the trainer. The Navy held a ribbon-cutting for the Naval Submarine School’s new facility last week.
The Navy is excited about the project as well. “I was holding [onto the railings], knowing that it’s not going anywhere, but it’s just so real to life, it’s remarkable,” Capt. Dave Roberts, the school’s commanding officer, told WTNH.
The state offered to build the facility in 2010 at the same time it also offered to pay $740,000 to construct a training kitchen for culinary specialists. The previous year the state gave the Navy $7.7 million to build a diver support facility and a new boiler at the installation located in Groton. Since 2005, the state has spent $11 million to support the base.
Connecticut’s investments in the sub base’s infrastructure and training capabilities are intended to raise its military value and are part of a larger state initiative to invest in a facility that provides unique capabilities to the Navy and a massive economic impact for Connecticut.
More recently, the state paid $680,000 to the towns of Groton and Ledyard to purchase land on the northern and southern borders of the base to prevent incompatible development in the future. State and local officials held a ceremony to transfer the money prior to last week’s ribbon-cutting.
While the state’s investment to mitigate encroachment was significantly smaller than its other contributions on behalf of the sub base, that funding may have more significant long-term impacts, said Bob Ross, executive director of the state’s Office of Military Affairs.
The next projects the state is considering to support the sub base will focus on energy efficiency and lowering its operating costs. Ross told 360 the state is looking at combinations of alternative energy production, storage capacity and improved distribution systems. It also is studying the potential to consolidate Navy offices to reduce their energy footprint and demolish aging buildings that have prohibitive energy costs.
Ross’s office is working on the effort with the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and the University of Connecticut’s Center for Clean Energy. ”We are expanding our collaborations within our partnership with the Navy,” he said.