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The U.S. Navy is preparing to commission the most advanced nuclear powered submarine in the world! And it will bear the name U.S.S. Illinois. It’s the latest in the Navy’s most sophisticated class of fast attack subs. In tonight’s Cover Story, WGN’s Nancy Loo brings us an exclusive, first inside look.

In the small coastal town of Groton, Connecticut, sits a big piece of Illinois.  Construction of the U.S.S. Illinois has been underway for over a year. The Navy and government contractor building this almost 3-billion dollar sub are fiercely protective of the state of the art hardware and software. What right now looks like a maze of pipes, tubes, and wires, is becoming an essential part of our National security. And each crewmember must learn every inch of the sub and how to fix it if necessary. In one of the most extensive tours ever granted aboard a U.S. nuclear sub under construction, the crew of the Illinois show and tell us what they can.

The champagne christening will most likely happen in October.  The commissioning is expected in December. The U.S.S. Illinois will be based in Hawaii. The Illinois based commissioning committee hopes to raise 800-thousand dollars to cover ceremonies ahead of the maiden voyage.  We hope you will share this story and find out how you can help by clicking the links below.

Producer Pam Grimes, and photojournalists Mike D’Angelo and Joe Lynn contributed to this report.

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