The Ohio-class fleet ballistic missile submarine (SSBN), also known as "Trident" submarines, provides the sea-based leg of the triad of the United States strategic deterrent forces. The 18 Trident SSBNs (each carrying 24 missiles), carry around 50 percent of the total U.S. strategic warheads. (The exact number varies in an unpredictable and highly classified manner below a maximum set by various strategic arms limitation treaties.) Although the missiles have no pre-set targets when the submarine goes on patrol, the SSBNs are capable of rapidly targeting their missiles should the need arise, using secure and constant at-sea communications links.
The first eight Ohio-class submarines were originally equipped with 24 Trident I C-4 ballistic missiles. Beginning with the ninth Trident submarine, USS Tennessee (SSBN 734), all new ships are equipped with the Trident II D-5 missile system as they are built, and the earlier ships are being retrofitted to Trident II. Trident II can deliver significantly more payload than Trident I C-4 and more accurately.
The Ohio-class submarines are specifically designed for extended deterrent patrols. To decrease the time in port for crew turnover and replenishment, three large logistics hatches are fitted to provide large diameter resupply and repair openings. These hatches allow sailors to rapidly transfer supply pallets, equipment replacement modules and machinery components, significantly reducing the time required for replenishment and maintenance. The class design and modern main concepts allow the submarines to operate for 15+ years between overhauls.
- Builders: General Dynamics Electric Boat Division.
- Power Plant: One nuclear reactor, one shaft
- Length: 170.69 meters (560 feet)
- Beam: 12.8 meters (42 feet)
- Displacement: 17,033 tons surfaced; 19,000 tons submerged
- Speed: 20+ knots
- Crew: 15 Officers, 140 Enlisted
- Armament: 24 tubes for Trident I and II, MK-48 torpedoes, four torpedo tubes.
- USS Ohio (SSBN 726)
- USS Michigan (SSBN 727)
- USS Florida (SSBN 728)
- USS Georgia (SSBN 729)
- USS Henry M. Jackson (SSBN 730)
- USS Alabama (SSBN 731)
- USS Alaska (SSBN 732)
- USS Nevada (SSBN 733)