Converting Old Subs for New Uses

By Palmer, William | Sea Classics, October 2003 | Go to article overview

Converting Old Subs for New Uses


Palmer, William, Sea Classics


Carderock Division engineers are utilizing their knowledge and expertise in submarine design to help convert four Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines to perform a new mission: Act as an undersea platform from which Tomahawk missiles and other payloads can be launched and as an underwater base from which Special Forces personnel can conduct their operations.

Under the proposed schedule, four Ohio-class submarines - USS Ohio (SSBN-726), USS Michigan (SSBN-727), USS Florida (SSBN-728), and USS Georgia (SSBN-729) - will undergo the conversion. USS Florida has already tested via a limited objective experiment (LOE) named Giant Shadow - the first LOE under the Sea Trial subset of the Sea Power 21.

Dan Dozier, the Division's Director of Submarine Programs, states "the decision to convert these four submarines demonstrates the US Navy's commitment to transforming today's force to deliver tomorrow's warfighting capabilities in a cost effective manner. Furthermore, using USS Florida as the demonstration platform from which to conduct the Giant Shadow experiment is a creative approach to evaluate new technologies for value to the warfighter."

The 24 missile tubes on the submarines, formerly home to Trident intercontinental ballistic missiles, are now slated to contain 154 Tomahawk missiles, seven missiles per tube, giving an unprecedented volume of guided missile firepower that can be launched from one submarine. Two of the missile tubes are being converted to lock-out chambers to support submerged diver lock-in/lock-out operations for Special Operating Forces (SOF). In alternate configurations, the tubes can be converted to support both strike missions (98 Tomahawks) and SOF, with at least 66 Special Operations Forces personnel and their equipment including ordnance. The SSGN is capable of hosting a combination of side-by-side dry deck shelters or advanced SEAL delivery systems. The SOF teams would launch their missions from the lock-out chambers, dry deck shelter, or ASDS. …

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