The US Navy's New Columbia-Class SSBN
Posted: Wed Sep 27, 2017 11:29 pm
http://www.defenseone.com/technology/20 ... f=d-skyboxThe Trident subs — formally, the Ohio class of fleet ballistic missile submarines — are enormous: at 560 feet, each one is nearly two football fields long. Some 155 sailors and other personnel call them home for months at a time. On any given day, several of these 14 “boomers” are at sea. The idea: keep a portion of the nuclear arsenal safe, ready to strike back if the U.S. comes under nuclear attack. Each missile can deliver its multiple warheads more than 4,000 nautical miles. Each boomer carries the equivalent of roughly 600 Hiroshimas.
But the fleet is getting along in years. The oldest — USS Henry M. Jackson (SSBN 730) — was launched in 1983, the same year ABC aired its made-for-TV nuclear armageddon film, “The Day After.”
Thirteen other Ohio subs have entered service since then, with the last arriving in 1997. Built to serve for 30 years, the Ohios have since received upgrades that will allow them to serve a half century. But even that deadline is nearing. The Jackson is due to retire in about a decade, with the rest following, one by one, until 2040.
So the U.S. Navy is developing a replacement. Even if it comes in on time and on budget, it will be the country’s third most-expensive weapon system ever.