U.S. Navy’s Nuclear Submarine

The United States Navy SSBN Class nuclear submarines are one of the most technologically advanced in the world. United States Navy Ohio Class Nuclear missile submarines spend months at a time submerged in classified patrol areas, are considered the most ‘survivable’ of the so-called nuclear triad. The United States Navy maintains 14 Ohio-class nuclear missile submarines. Each ‘boomer’ carries 20 Trident D-5 missiles, and each Trident packs up to twelve nuclear warheads, each six times more powerful than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. The next generation submarine, known as SSBN(X), will enter service in 2031 with a host of new improvements. One item high on the Navy’s wish list is a nuclear fuel supply that will last the lifetime of the submarine, allowing the Navy to avoid a costly and time-consuming refueling job two decades into the ship’s tenure. The Navy also wants an electric drive propulsion system, which will be much quieter than current mechanical drive systems. SSBN(X) will be slightly larger than the existing submarines, displacing 20,815 tons, compared to 18,750 tons for the Ohio Class subs. It will have a beam of 43 feet, making it a foot wider than the Ohio class and nine feet wider than the Virginia class attack submarines.