Ohio class submarine: Underwater King, can carry 24 Trident SLBM

The “most powerful weapon” of the US Navy is not nuclear-powered aircraft carrier with a displacement of up to 100,000 tons, nor a large amphibious assault ship with multiple combat capabilities, but a strategic nuclear powered ballistic missile submarine that rarely makes public appearances.

How big is the strategic dominance and deterrence of the US Navy’s strategic missile submarines? On the 15th of this month, the Ohio-class “Nevada” strategic nuclear submarine in active service of the US Navy deliberately showed a picture and said hello in a certain waters in the West Pacific, which aroused great attention and vigilance from neighboring countries including Russia. Ohio class nuclear submarines 24 × Trident II D5 SLBM with up to 12 MIRVed W76 or W88 (475 ktTNT) nuclear warheads each.

Trident II D5 SLBM
Trident II D5 SLBM

The U.S. Navy currently has at least 18 such “powerful weapons”, all of which are capable of carrying 24 Trident submarine-launched ballistic missiles to lurk in the deep sea. According to the official data provided by the U.S. Navy, the Trident II submarine-launched ballistic missile has a projectile length of 13.4 meters, a diameter of 2.12 meters, and a launch weight of 58.5 tons. This type of missile can carry 8 nuclear warheads with a yield of 475,000 tons, and can easily destroy nearly 200 medium and large cities in a single salvo. Because it is launched from the extremely hidden seabed and uncertain waters, any country’s air defense weapons can be exhausted, it’s really hard to intercept ballistic missiles.

The Ohio-class strategic missile nuclear submarine is a type of nuclear-powered submarine developed by the U.S. Navy since the mid-1970s. Equipped with a 24-tube SLBM vertical launch system. Currently, a total of 18 Ohio-class nuclear submarines are in service with the U.S. Navy. However, because the first few Ohio-class strategic nuclear submarines have been in service for a long time and their hulls are aging, they are no longer able to undertake the mission of strategic nuclear deterrence. Therefore, the first four ships of the Ohio-class strategic nuclear submarine have been converted into cruise missile nuclear submarines carrying conventional guided missiles.

Don’t look at the obvious gap between the United States and Russia in the development of land-based intercontinental missiles, but it does not mean that the United States does not have the ability and level to develop land-based intercontinental missiles, and even strategic missile nuclear submarines and submarine-launched ballistic missiles with more demanding technical requirements are Land-based nuclear weapons with relatively low technical requirements that can be easily developed are not a problem for the United States, but the strategic focus of the United States and Russia is different. 

But in the long run, the submarine-based nuclear combat force is indeed more stealthy, sudden and lethal than the land-based nuclear force. This is also the year when the 14 Ohio strategic nuclear submarines are in their prime, and the U.S. Navy has quietly One of the main reasons for shifting energy and focus to the development of the next-generation strategic missile submarine “Columbia” class, is it not acceptable to have such a strategic vision and courage?

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