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SSBN - Fleet Ballistic Missile Submarine

  • SSBN Fleet Ballistic Missile Submarine
SSBN Fleet Ballistic Missile Submarine

Manufacturer: General Dynamics Electric Boat Division

Service: USN

Armament: 24 tubes for Trident II submarine-launched ballistic missiles, MK48 torpedoes, four torpedo tubes

Propulsion: One nuclear reactor, one shaft.

Speed: 20+ knots

Crew: 15 Officers, 140 Enlisted

Since the 1960s, the Ballistic Missile Submarine has been the U.S. Navy’s primary contribution to America’s strategic nuclear “triad” -- which includes U.S. Air Force strategic bombers and ground-based ballistic missiles. The so-called “boomers” are some of the stealthiest ships in the U.S. inventory and regularly embark on top secret, six-month deployments to maintain a survivable nuclear deterrent.

The 14 Ohio-class SSBNs can carry up to 24 submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) with multiple independently-targeted warheads. However, under the New Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty, each submarine will have four of its missile tubes permanently deactivated in the coming years. The SSBN’s strategic weapon is the Trident II D5 missile, which provides increased range and accuracy over the now out-of-service Trident I C4 missile.

SSBNs are specifically designed for extended deterrent patrols. To decrease the amount of time required for replenishment and maintenance, Ohio-class submarines have three large-diameter logistics hatches that allow sailors to rapidly transfer supply pallets, equipment replacement modules and machinery components thereby increasing their operational availability.

The Ohio-class design allows the submarines to operate for 15 or more years between major overhauls. On average, the submarines spend 77 days at sea followed by 35 days in-port for maintenance. Each SSBN has two crews, Blue and Gold, which alternate manning the submarines and taking them on patrol. This maximizes the SSBN’s strategic availability, reduces the number of submarines required to meet strategic requirements, and allows for proper crew training, readiness, and morale.

Ships in class:

USS Henry M. Jackson (SSBN 730), Bangor, WA USS Alabama (SSBN 731), Bangor, WA USS Alaska (SSBN 732), Kings Bay, GA USS Nevada (SSBN 733), Bangor, WA USS Tennessee (SSBN 734), Kings Bay, GA USS Pennsylvania (SSBN 735), Bangor, WA USS West Virginia (SSBN 736), Portsmouth, VA USS Kentucky (SSBN 737), Bangor, WA USS Maryland (SSBN 738), Kings Bay, GA USS Nebraska (SSBN 739), Bangor, WA USS Rhode Island (SSBN 740), Kings Bay, GA USS Maine (SSBN 741), Bangor, WA USS Wyoming (SSBN 742), Kings Bay, GA USS Louisiana (SSBN 743), Bangor, WA