Last updated: 25 May 2021
The Navy's ballistic missile submarines, often referred to as "boomers," serve as an undetectable launch platform for submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs). They are designed specifically for stealth and the precise delivery of nuclear warheads.
Each of the 14 Ohio-class SSBNs originally carried up to 24 SLBMs with multiple, independently-targeted warheads. However, under provisions of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, each submarine has had four of its missile tubes permanently deactivated and now carry a maximum of 20 missiles. 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.
The COLUMBIA Class SSBN is the nation’s future Sea Based Strategic Deterrent, is the Navy’s number one acquisition priority, and will provide the most survivable leg of the Nation’s strategic triad. It replaces the currently serving OHIO Class SSBNs and must be constructed and delivered on schedule beginning in FY2027 to meet United States Strategic Command requirements.
Representing a generational recapitalization of the SSBN force, COLUMBIA class will ensure continuous sea-based strategic deterrence into the 2080s. The COLUMBIA class will be the largest, most capable and most advanced submarine produced by our nation.
General Characteristics Ships:
USS Henry M. Jackson (SSBN 730) Bangor, Washington
USS Alabama (SSBN 731) Bangor, Washington
USS Alaska (SSBN 732) Kings Bay, Georgia
USS Nevada (SSBN 733) Bangor, Washington
USS Tennessee (SSBN 734) Kings Bay, Georgia
USS Pennsylvania (SSBN 735) Bangor, Washington
USS West Virginia (SSBN 736) Kings Bay, Georgia
USS Kentucky (SSBN 737) Bangor, Washington
USS Maryland (SSBN 738) Kings Bay, Georgia
USS Nebraska (SSBN 739) Bangor, Washington
USS Rhode Island (SSBN 740) Kings Bay, Georgia
USS Maine (SSBN 741) Bangor, Washington
USS Wyoming (SSBN 742) Kings Bay, Georgia
USS Louisiana (SSBN 743) Bangor, Washington
Point of Contact
Naval Sea Systems Command
Office of Corporate Communications (SEA 00D)
Washington, D.C. 20376