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Ohio-class SSGN-726

The Clinton Administration's Nuclear Posture Review was chartered in October 1993, and the President approved the recommendations of the NPR on September 18, 1994. As a result of the NPR, US strategic nuclear force structure will be adjusted to 14 Trident submarines -- four fewer than previously planned -- carrying 24 D-5 missiles, each with five warheads, per submarine. This will require backfitting four Trident SSBNs, currently carrying the Trident I (C- 4) missile, with the more modern and capable D-5 missile system. The four boats that will be withdrawn from the strategic nuclear role will be dedicated to other missions. The Navy has a limited window of opportunity to conduct the conversion prior to inactivation of the Tridents scheduled to start in FY '03.

At an investment of about $400M/ship (not including replacement cores) the Navy would acquire a modified Trident capable of carrying 154 Tomahawk missiles as well as Special Forces.

One or more of the retiring Ohio class SSBNs might be modified to carry large VLS battery of Tomahawk, with each 40-foot-deep Trident missile tube replaced by cylinders containing seven Tomahawks apiece. One Trident SSGN would provide about an additional Battle Group's equivalent of Tomahawk cruise missiles during a crisis.

Trident SSGN also provides the CINCs and Battle Group commander a large SOF contingent (4 platoons) capable of carrying out a sustained and continuous level of effort of Special Forces missions. Each boat could carry up to 66 SEALs or other commandos, and a minisub currently under development would be affixed to the bow. However, there are not many missions in which such a large force of SEALs would play a significant role.

The existing DOD guidance calls for a force of 50 attack submarines, although some studies have called for raising the number of subs to as many as 72. Existing plans are sufficient to meet the goal of 50 boats, although higher numbers would require modification to these plans. According to Navy secretary Richard Danzig, as of October 1999 the Joint Chiefs of Staff were studying options for increasing the size and capability of the submarine force. The three options under review include by converting older Ohio-class SSBN submarines to so-called SSGNs at a cost of $420 million; refueling and extending by 12 years the service life of perhaps eight Los Angeles-class (SSN 688) subs at a cost per copy of $200 million; or building new Virginia-class (SSN 774) subs at a rate of at least four over the next five years, at a cost of roughly $2 billion per boat. The FY2000 Defense Authorization bill requires the Navy to study converting four of the oldest Tridents to the new SSGN configuration.


Builders: General Dynamics Electric Boat Division.
Power Plant: One S8G nuclear reactor, output of 60,000 hp
core reloaded every nine years
two geared steam turbines,
one shaft
Length: 560 feet (170.69 meters)
Beam: 42 feet (10.06 meters)
Displacement: Surfaced: 16,764 tons
Submerged:18,750 tons
Speed: Official: 20+ knots (23+ miles per hour, 36.8 +kph)
Actual: 25 knots submerged speed
Operating Depth: Official: "greater than 800 feet"
Actual: greater than 1,000 feet
Crew: 15 Officers, 140 Enlisted
Armament: 154 Vertical Launch tubes for Tomahawk
four torpedo tubes
Sensors: BQQ-6 Bow mounted sonar
BQR-19 Navigation
BQS-13 Active sonar
TB-16 towed array
Unit Operating Cost
Annual Average
~$50,000,000 [source: [FY1996 VAMOSC]
Date Deployed: USS Ohio conversion post-2000

Boat List

Boat Name Builder Base FY
Launch Commission Stricken
SSBN-726 Ohio GD-EB PAC 1974 10 Apr 76 7 Apr 79 11 Nov 81 2023
SSBN-727 Michigan GD-EB PAC 1975 4 Apr 77 26 Apr 80 11 Sep 82 2024
SSBN-728 Florida GD-EB PAC 1975 9 Jun 77 14 Nov 81 18 Jun 83 2025
SSBN-729 Georgia GD-EB PAC 1976 7 Apr 79 6 Nov 82 11 Feb 84 2026

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Maintained by Robert Sherman
Originally created by John Pike
Updated Tuesday, October 26, 1999 6:53:03 AM