Skip to comments.The first Fleet Ballistic Missile submarine, USS George Washington (SSBN-598)
Posted on 06/09/2012 4:58:21 PM PDT by moonshot925
On 9 June 1959, USS George Washington (SSBN-598), the first US Navy nuclear powered fleet ballistic missile submarine, was christened and launched at Groton, Connecticut.
George Washington carried 16 Polaris A1 SLBMs. Each Polaris A1 carried a 600 kiloton thermonuclear warhead with a range of 1,200 nautical miles and an accuracy of 1,800 meters CEP.
What was shocking was how fast it could go under water. Playing war-games with it at sea, my destroyer was barely able to keep up with it at times - mostly could not.
Now that the Navy is working on the next generation of a ballistic missile submarine the OHIO Class replacement submarine with Electric Boat at the lead, its pretty humbling looking at the innovation in submarine design.
She was the first of the Forty-One For Freedom. They cut a Skipjack Class fast attack boat in half during Construction and slipped in a missile compartment. The missile compartment was even rated for deeper depths than the rest of the boat. We all reviered her, but nobody wanted to serve on her. Too antiquated! And who would want a boat that had been cut up like that?
I served on two others, the 654 and the 657. I commissioned one, but never got my ‘plank’ when she was decommissioned and scrapped. All forty-one have been decommissioned and scrapped, now, but I’ve still got the memories.
As one friend put it, “I know I will never be better than I was then.”
1800 meter CEP?
Talk about orders of magnitude improvement over the years...
All 5 George Washington class boats swapped out their Polaris A1’s with Polaris A3’s from June 1964 to October 1965.
The Polaris A3 had a range of 2,500 nautical miles, accuracy of 910 meters CEP and payload of three 200 kiloton W58 warheads.
The British also deployed the Polaris A3 to their Resolution class submarines starting in October 1967.
“1800 meter CEP?”
SLBMs, and ballstic missiles in general, were not accurate at that time. This is before advanced guidance systems. They were not good for hardened targets like missile silos but they were great for soft targets like bomber bases and population centers.
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