Skip to comments.American SSGNs Prowl The Pacific
Posted on 07/14/2010 4:17:47 PM PDT by ErnstStavroBlofeld
In the last month, three of the four American SSGNs (former ballistic missile subs each now carrying 154 cruise missiles and SEAL commando teams) appeared in the Pacific and Indian oceans (the Philippines, South Korea and Diego Garcia). Some through this was a message for China, but, in fact, the SSGNs go where the potential trouble is. When questioned, U.S. Navy officials responded that, for the first time, all four SSGNs were operating at sea, in locations distant from their bases. Two years ago, the U.S. Navy completed the conversion of the last of four Ohio class ballistic missile submarines (SSBN), to cruise missile submarines (SSGN). Each of these boats now carries 154 Tomahawk cruise missiles, and provides space (for living, working and training) for 66 commandos (usually SEALs) and their equipment.
The idea of converting ballistic missile subs, that would have to be scrapped to fulfill disarmament agreements, has been bouncing around since the 1990s. After September 11, 2001, the idea got some traction. The navy submariners love this one, because they lost a lot of their reason for being, with the end of the Cold War. The United States had built a powerful nuclear submarine force during the Cold War, but with the rapid disappearance of the Soviet Navy in the 1990s, there was little reason to keep over a hundred U.S. nuclear subs in commission. These boats are expensive, costing over a billion each to build and over a million dollars a week to operate. The four Ohio class SSBN being converted each have at least twenty years of life left in them. The conversions weren't cheap, each one cost over $400 million.
Despite the increase in stand-off strike capabilities, this conversion counts as an arms reduction against the START II treaty
:: snort ::
They carry 66 SEALs?
Each boat could carry up to 66 SEALs or other commandos, and a minisub currently under development would be affixed to the bow
Seems like an excellent idea to me. A whole bunch of SEALS can probably do what it took a battalion to do fifty years ago... with some high-precision ordnance that they can call in at a moment’s notice.
These are BIG boats with a lot of room. The conversion is awesone. complete electronics refit and modernization. Seven packs of Tomahawks fitted in all of the tubes except two Those two were outfitted for SEAL access which can include locking onto their new mini-sub which has a fifty mile to the target range.
These vessels send a direct message to the chiComms, particularly regarding Taiwan. They are also very useful in standoff capabilities against WOT targets of opportunity, like AL Quida camps or command locations. They are also very capable if needed for the Mullahs in Iran.
Jeff, it is good to see you back.
Here's a couple of pics:
Anyhow, the intent is to ultimately have some type of mini sub like the ASDS that can attach itself to the hatch over one of the two old Trident tubes converted for SEAL use so the SEALs can travel in a dry environment to the coast. Currently the SEALs are test driving a commercial mini-sub piloted by two, but only carry only up to 6 SEALs and only has a range to target of ten miles (much more dangerous for the $2 billion dollar mother sub). This is the S301 mini sub built by Submergence Group LLC.
The Navy already has leased one or more and is testing the at Pearle Harbor. Here's a pic:
Any of these mini subs are actually affixed aft of the sail, over one or the other of the lockout chambers created from those two former Trident tubes. Here's a pic of the Ohio with dry lockout units attached:
Thanks...I love these Navy threads.
A lot of messaging going on in the Western Pacific, by both sides. Weve pointed to the recent Chinas PLA Navy live fire exercises in the East China Sea.
Now, we learn from Times Mark Thompson that three former strategic missile submarines converted to carry Tomahawk cruise missiles (SSGNs) surfaced on the same day, June 28, in the Philippines Subic Bay, in Pusan, South Korea and at the naval base on Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean. Each converted boomer holds up to 154 Tomahawk cruise missiles.
As Thompson writes, the alarm bells must have sounded that day in Beijing:
In all, the Chinese military awoke to find as many as 462 new Tomahawks deployed by the U.S. in its neighborhood. Theres been a decision to bolster our forces in the Pacific, says Bonnie Glaser, a China expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. There is no doubt that China will stand up and take notice.
Of course U.S. officials denied that any messaging was intended, but they did make sure news of the SSGN deployments showed up in the Hong Kong based South China Morning Post, on July 4; the same day some analysts expected China to test its DF-21D anti-ship ballistic missile.
RIMPAC, the Rim of the Pacific war games also began on Wednesday off Hawaii. For all the attention focused on the Levant and the Gulf, its good to see these encouraging signs that at least some in the military understand that the real strategic competition of this century will play out in the Western Pacific.
Dont miss Craig Hoopers excellent post on how to turn the Navys surface ships into conventional missile carrying strike ships equivalent to the SSGNs.
I know the last Sea Wolf class, the Jimmy Carter (yuk!), was completely rebuilt and lengthened to have the ability for two teams as well. So we have the four Ohio SSGNs, the Greenville, the Jimmy Carter, and so far seven Virginia class boats with more coming online all the time (30 are planned). That's 13 subs capable of putting a total of 18 teams on hostile shores any where in the world, any time.
OBTW, in addition to the torpedoes and the SEAL team, the Virginias also can carry up to 16 Tomahawk cruise missiles to launch from it’s 12 vertical launch missile tubes.
Yes she was...among other critical reasons (particularly manufacturing), that is one of the major reasons you see these Virginia boats coming in ahead of schedule and under budget and then integrating through trials so well.
And then they took that very nice boat and ran into a bunch of stuff. Some boats get a reputation early for those kind of things. The Hammerhead, Jacksonville and San Juan were all hard luck boats.
Some cities don't even want a ship named after them and have no relationship with the crews. The people of Greeneville were awesome. Real patriotic small town southern folks. Ironically, my wife's uncled lived there.
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