Skip to comments.Boomers Readied for Littoral, Special Warfare (ballistic missile subs go after terrorists)
Posted on 12/06/2002 10:44:07 AM PST by pabianice
The US Navy has twelve aircraft carriers in various states of readiness and repair. Unfortunately, as highly publicized recent problems with ships (USS John F. Kennedy and USS Detroit, to name two) and aircraft (EA-6B, F-14, and S-3B) have shown, the US Navy is currently stretched beyond its ability to meet the commitments set for it after September 11, 2001.
The Navy is addressing the problem in part by changing its ship mix. The Navys four oldest Ohio-class Trident ballistic missile submarines are about to be converted to carry 166 Tomahawk cruise missiles in place of eachs 24 nuclear ballistic missiles. This transformation is part of a $4 billion Congressional authorization to reshape the US four oldest Trident-class subs to, in the words of one Navy official, modern street fighters. Or, to think of them another way, firepower extenders getting a lot of whistling death to a hot spot quickly. Conversion of the four older Tridents will leave fourteen others still on nuclear attack deterrence duty.
The converted Ohio-class boats are to be equipped with the Tactical Tomahawk Weapons Control System (Lockheed Martin Management and Data Systems, Valley Forge, PA), developed for Burke-class destroyers and Ticonderoga-class cruisers, as well as the Multiple All-up-round Canisters (MAC), from Northrop Grumman (Annapolis, MD). Originally designed to manage up to 128 missiles, the TTWCS will require only a software modification to adapt it for SSGN use, according to CAPT Brian Wegner, SSGN Program Manager.
Full article at www.navlog.org: "US Navy Converts Boomers to Cruise Missile Subs"
(Excerpt) Read more at navlog.org ...
Not sure about the cost factor, but the Boomers represent a strategic advantage, since they are not as vulnerable as a surface ship.
A nuclear sub doesn't show up on enemy coastal radar, it just pops up and shoots.
IIRC ULCC ships shrugged off Exocet hits during the first gulf war...fill 'em up with, hell, bags of ping-pong balls and they'd be pretty tough to sink- mount scads 'n' scads of tomahawk missiles, a bunch of CIWS...maybe even advanced 8" guns...automate the hell out of it...slow, but somewhat less expensive, difficult to kill...
any navy types care to comment?
Possibly, but surface ships can be spotted by commercial satellites. Submarines are much harder to spot, so they can surprise their enemies.
It might be cheaper but the Boomers allow a whole lot of stealthy firepower in one package. Surface ships, planes and land vehicles are, potentially, more vunerable than subs.
It would certainly be cheaper to build a new surface ship to do this than to build a new submarine to do this, but as long as the submarines are already here and we're paying their operation costs and crews and support, etc., this might be a more "bang for the buck" way to use a few of them than to just have them waiting around for a full-scale nuclear war that may never come.
Hi Chief! I know you fired while submerged using ICBMs, I wasn't sure how cruise missiles would be deployed. Can they be fired while submerged?