Many regard U.S. submarines with nuclear weapons as the summit of any military power. The sheer destructive potential they dive into deep waters is enough to send chills down your body. For one, they are not to be trifled with.
The United States government keeps a tight leash on these destructive machines, and the sailors are patriotic and honorable. Yet, their presence is comforting and trembling, especially when you think of a nuclear Armageddon.
We will take you around the U.S. submarines with nuclear weapons in this short time. Although vague, you will learn of their features and have adequate knowledge of their capabilities.
So, without further ado, lets us delve into the carriers of the most destructive weapon in the world.
U.S. Submarines with Nuclear Weapons – Superior Power
There are always two sides to a coin, which applies to this subject. While we focus on all the evil nuclear missiles can wreak, it still has good sides, especially in good hands.
For many years, U.S. submarines with nuclear weapons have served as deterrents for conflicts. Although the chances of the United States government ordering their use are slim, countries tremble at their presence alone.
Having recognized the destructive power of these weapons, the United Nations formed the Treaty for the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. It came into effect in 1970 and holds indefinitely.
This treaty aims to prevent nuclear weapons and their supporting technology. It also promotes cooperation in the non-destructive use of nuclear energy, sometimes ensuring disarmament.
A few nations remain nuclear-capable, including the United States of America. However, many regard the U.S. as the gold standard in nuclear power because of how advanced the nuclear-capable submarines are.
Now, we will look at the U.S. submarines with nuclear weapons.
Ohio Class and the United States Nuclear Power
The Ohio class is among the most powerful submarines in the world, not only because of the warheads they carry. They also have the capabilities and advanced stealth technology to pierce into undetected enemy waters.
The United States Ohio Class submarines consist of 14 ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) and four cruise missile submarines (SSGNs). All the SSBNs are part of the U.S.’s nuclear deterrent triad with the air force and intercontinental ballistic missiles.
Their payload is quite heavy also, accounting for about half of the nation’s strategic thermonuclear warheads. During regular patrols, these submarines have no targets for the missiles. However, that can change in a split second if there is conflict.
The total payload for the Ohio Class is up to 24 Trident II missiles. With that in mind, let us take a closer look at these U.S. submarines with nuclear weapons:
1. USS Ohio
The USS Ohio is the leading SSBN with a hull designation of SSGN-726. It can fire guided missiles and is currently the fourth vessel in the U.S. fleet to carry the name Ohio.
This underwater vessel began life as an SSBN before converting to an SSGN.
2. USS Michigan
The USS Michigan is another guided missile submarine in the U.S. fleet. It had a similar conversion as the USS Ohio, from a ballistic missile submarine to a guided missile class.
General Dynamics Corporation constructed this submarine through its Electric Boat Division. Its ability to deploy 24 Trident II missiles with nuclear warheads makes it one of the deadliest U.S. submarines with nuclear weapons.
3. USS Florida
The USS Florida, with the designation SSBN-726, also received conversion into a cruise missile submarine. Still a product of General Dynamics, its construction began in 1976.
4. USS Georgia
The USS Georgia launched on November 6, 1982, with its commissioning coming two years later. Again, it started as a ballistic missile submarine before being embedded in the guided missile submarine fleet.
5. USS Henry M. Jackson
The USS Henry M. Jackson prides itself on being the only submarine without a state name. Instead, it takes its identity from U.S. Senator Henry M. Jackson. This vessel joined the U.S. submarines with nuclear weapons in 1984.
6. USS Alabama
The USS Alabama joined the Ohio Class as its sixth member. It is a product of General Dynamics, commissioned into service on May 25, 1985, in New London. Nevertheless, construction began in 1980.
7. USS Alaska
The USS Alaska remained a ballistic missile submarine after its commissioning in 1986. It launched a year before that, in 1985, and took three years to construct.
8. USS Nevada
The USS Nevada joins the USS Alaska as one of the U.S. submarines with nuclear weapons commissioned in 1986. It shares a similar construction start date with the latter and is quite a powerhouse for the naval fleet.
9. USS Tennessee
The USS Tennessee has a special place in the history of U.S. nuclear submarines. It was the first to launch the Trident II ballistic missile. However, its journey wasn’t smooth, as the first submerged missile launch failed in four seconds.
10. USS Pennsylvania
Like all other U.S. submarines with nuclear weapons on this list, the USS Pennsylvania benefits from the longevity of nuclear power. Its construction began in 1984, although the contract was awarded two years earlier.
11. USS West Virginia
The USS West Virginia joined the fleet in 1990 as the 11th of the 18 Ohio class submarines. Its construction began just three years earlier, with a 1989 launch date.
12. USS Kentucky
The USS Kentucky is an Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine named after the state of Kentucky. It takes power from a single nuclear reactor and can reach a speed of 20 knots despite its size of 560 ft.
The USS Kentucky has 24 launch tubes for the Trident I and II missiles while defending itself with MK-48 torpedoes. This submarine has, since its commission, taken part in 91 strategic patrols for deterrent.
13. USS Maryland
The USS Maryland is an undetectable launch platform for the U.S. government in its strategic deterrence national strategy. It is a unique vessel in the fleet that began active service in 1992.
14. USS Nebraska
The USS Nebraska carries and is capable of launching Trident ballistic missiles. Hence, it is part of the U.S. submarines with nuclear weapons. Many consider it the most survival part of the nuclear deterrent fleet.
The USS Nebraska has completed 62 deterrent patrols and has a service life of 42 years.
15. USS Rhode Island
This U.S. submarine has capabilities for undetectability and survivability. It can quickly respond with targeted ballistic missile launches.
The USS Rhode Island launched in 1993, although its construction began in 1988. It is the third in the U.S. naval fleet to carry the name of Rhode Island.
16. USS Maine
16th on this list of U.S. submarines with nuclear weapons is the USS Maine. It can carry 24 nuclear-armed Trident ballistic missiles, making it a deadly vessel as a foe. I’d keep my distance if I were you.
17. USS Wyoming
The USS Wyoming’s commission came in 1996 and is the fourth in the naval fleet to carry the name. Its construction began in 1991 and took five years to be commissioned into service.
This vessel has a length of 560 ft and can reach a submerged speed of 20 knots. It has 24 missile launch tubes and four torpedo tubes. In addition, it has a crew strength of 134 people, including 13 officers and 121 enlisted.
18. USS Louisiana
The last and the 18th vessel in the U.S. submarines with nuclear weapons is the USS Louisiana. It is nuclear powered and carries the Trident ballistic missiles.
The USS Louisiana can reach speeds of over 25 knots and has a test depth of 800 ft. It can carry 20 Trident (D5) ballistic missiles and supports a 155-man crew, including 15 officers and 140 enlisted.
Most of the capabilities and technology in U.S. submarines with nuclear weapons stay secret. That is because of the highly sensitive payload they carry.
Nevertheless, you can expect advanced stealth and radar systems with defensive weaponry. Although the United Nations prohibits using nuclear weapons, these submarines are a deterrent.
They have no targets while on patrol but can quickly receive commands through secure communication lines.