SSGN Force Reaches Historic Milestone

Story Number: NNS100611-13Release Date: 6/11/2010 2:33:00 PM
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By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Gretchen M. Albrecht, Commander, Submarine Group 9

BANGOR, Wash. (NNS) -- The Submarine Force announced it has achieved another first with all four guided-missile submarines (SSGN) deployed for the first time simultaneously June 10.

Although the West Coast SSGNs, USS Ohio (SSGN 726) and USS Michigan (SSGN 727), and East Coast SSGNs, USS Florida (SSGN 728) and USS Georgia (SSGN 729), have previously been underway at the same time, this milestone marks the first time all four SSGNs have been forward deployed away from their homeports.

"I think it is remarkable they are all deployed at once because back in the mid 90's this was just a power point presentation," said Rear Adm. Frank Caldwell, Commander, Submarine Group 9.

"We have transitioned from an idea on paper to an actual capability to the nation. Their capabilities are revolutionary in what a typical submarine can do because they can carry multiple Tomahawk missiles, special operating forces, improved sonar processers, and a battle management center. It is truly one of the most capable platforms in the Navy today."

Through stealth, speed, agility, payload and persistence, the SSGNs remain a lethal deterrent force capable of precision strike, special operations, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance. It is with these capabilities, the SSGNs have accomplished numerous exercises and missions with Naval Special Warfare, experimented with unmanned aerial vehicles, and completed several theater security cooperation engagements with foreign countries enhancing international relationships and partnerships. As the SSGNs operate in the world's oceans their forward presence continue to provide maritime security and power projection.

"Four SSGNs capable of carrying and launching a combined total of 616 Tomahawk cruise missiles and deploying up to 264 Special Operation Forces, are forward-deployed in position to identify and respond to diverse threats on short notice and with scalable force," said Capt. Tracy Howard, commander, Submarine Squadron 16 in Kings Bay, Ga. "Additionally, with each SSGN possessing the firepower of multiple surface ships, deployed SSGNs provide the Navy and theater commanders with tremendous flexibility with respect to the deployment and redeployment of other assets."

The submarines deploy for approximately 12 months, with some deployments lasting up to 15 months. While deployed from its homeport, U.S. Navy bases in Diego Garcia and Guam provide ideal locations for crew exchanges and Voyage Repair Periods. Maintenance periods and crew exchanges occur approximately every three months and allow the SSGNs to maintain a continuous presence in the areas of operation for 70 percent of the year.

"The transformational capabilities (of the SSGN) are impressive and provide the combatant commander a significant increase in war fighting ability, and options for resolving and deterring conflict," said Capt. John Tammen, commander, Submarine Squadron 19 in Bangor, Wash.

Ohio, the first of the SSGNs to be converted, was the first to deploy Oct. 14, 2007 and Georgia, the last SSGN conversion, began its maiden deployment Aug. 6, 2009. A key element of the Navy's future fighting force, the four SSGNs have completed seven successful deployments and a combined 1,995 days underway.

New capabilities are constantly being added to the SSGN and the mission continues to expand. The SSGN will continue to be a powerful submarine asset needed to execute and accomplish the maritime strategy and Navy's goals.

"The submarine force has always been on the forward edge and has always been innovative in the way we use our platform, and this has taken innovation to a whole new level," said Caldwell.

"The ship by itself is nothing but a big piece of metal and electronics, but it is the people who bring the submarine to life. It is the people who make this platform so capable by taking the submarine and fully employing it in challenging situations, and they deliver fabulous results."

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