:: OHIO CLASS (1979-1996) ::

Ohio class ballistic missile submarine SSBN 726 (1979) High resolution picture

The Ohio class, launched between 1979 and 1996 for the United States Navy, still represents in 2016 the most powerful group of SSBN ever built. They were designed around the advanced ballistic missile Trident II D-5, which has an operational range of 12000 kilometers. However the first eight vessels in the class were fitted with the earlier type Trident I C-4, which has a range of 7900 kilometers and eight reentry vehicles fitted each of them with a 100-kiloton warhead. The units of the Ohio class carry 24 ballistic missiles, instead of the habitual sixteen, being among the longest submarines ever built. Following the common practice of North American design, the hull was made very clean in contrast with the contemporary Soviet submarine, which featured numerous free-flood holes. Also the casing housing the missiles blends almost perfectly with the rest of the hull, which improves both speed and stealth.

Another "interesting" feature of the Ohio class is its exorbitant cost: 1800 millions of dollars per unit in 1985. Eventually, of the 24 units planned only eighteen were completed, being in service all of them as 2016 goes by. This means that the older units are already over 30 years old and a replacement is becoming imperative, even if the cost is astronomical. On its day, the high cost of the Ohio class had to be assumed as well in view of the rapid progress that the Soviet SLBM were experimenting. But when the Cold War ended, things changed much. There existed plans for the retirement of the four oldest units. However, these vessels were eventually reconverted into cruise missile submarines (SSGN), as it had been done as well with some Soviet SSBN in the 1980s.

Ohio class: 18 units - SSBN/SSGN 726 Ohio, SSBN/SSGN 727 Michigan, SSBN/SSGN 728 Florida, SSBN/SSGN 729 Georgia, SSBN 730 Henry M. Jackson (ex Rhode Island), SSBN 731 Alabama, SSBN 732 Alaska, SSBN 733 Nevada, SSBN 734 Tennessee, SSBN 735 Pennsylvania, SSBN 736 West Virginia, SSBN 737 Kentucky, SSBN 738 Maryland, SSBN 739 Nebraska, SSBN 740 Rhode Island, SSBN 741 Maine, SSBN 742 Wyoming, SSBN 743 Louisiana

Type: Nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine

Length: 170.7 meters

Beam: 12.8 meters

Draught: 10.8 meters

Displacement (surfaced): 16600 tonnes

Displacement (submerged): 18700 tonnes

Propulsion: 1 x shaft, 2 x steam turbine, 1 x nuclear reactor General Electric S8G 220 megawatt, 60000 shaft horsepower

Speed (surfaced): 12 knots (22.2 kilometers/hour)

Speed (submerged): 25 knots (46.3 kilometers/hour)

Range: Theoretically unlimited; 60 days of endurance

Operational depth: 240 meters

Complement: 133-155

Armament (as SSBN): 24 x Trident I C-4 or Trident II D-5 SLBM, 4 x 533-millimeter torpedo tube, 10 x torpedo Mk 48

Armament (as SSGN): 154 x Tomahawk SLCM (22 x 7), 4 x 533-millimeter torpedo tube, 10 x torpedo Mk 48

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