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Retrofitted USS Pittsburgh relaunched

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Friday, Aug. 16, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

The USS Pittsburgh, a Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine, took to sea after an 11-month retrofitting that finished early and under budget, the Navy announced on Thursday.

The project will extend the life of the boat — whose motto is “heart of steel” — by three to four years, said Gary Hildreth, spokesman for the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. The $82 million project began Sept. 5 and included maintenance work and systems certifications that occupied the equivalent of more than 100,000 workdays, according to the Navy.

At 362 feet long, the USS Pittsburgh would extend a foot beyond each end zone at Heinz Field. It launched in December 1984 and was commissioned nearly a year later.

About 40 of the nuclear-powered Los Angeles-class submarines remain in service. Designed to hunt Soviet ballistic missile submarines during the Cold War, they've been in service since 1976.

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