Benjamin Franklin-class submarine
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|Builders:||General Dynamics Electric Boat
Newport News Shipbuilding
Mare Island Naval Shipyard
|Operators:||United States Navy|
|Preceded by:||James Madison|
|Length:||425 ft (130 m)|
|Beam:||33 ft (10 m)|
|Draft:||31 ft (9.4 m)|
|Armament:||4 × 21 in (530 mm) torpedo tubes
16 × vertical tubes for ballistic missiles
The Benjamin Franklin-class submarine was an evolutionary development from the James Madison class of fleet ballistic missile submarine. Having quieter machinery and other improvements, they are considered a separate class. A subset of this class is the re-engineered 640 class starting with USS George C. Marshall (SSBN-654). The Benjamin Franklin class, together with the George Washington, Ethan Allen, Lafayette, and James Madison classes, comprise the "41 for Freedom."
The Benjamin Franklin-class submarines were built with the Polaris A-3 ballistic missile, and later converted to carry the Poseidon C-3. During the late 1970s and early 1980s, selected units were further modified to carry Trident-I (C-4) ballistic missiles.
Two submarines of this class were converted for delivery of special warfare units ashore. In the early 1990s, to make room for the Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines within the limits set by the SALT II strategic arms limitation treaty, the ballistic missile tubes of USS Kamehameha (SSBN-642) and USS James K. Polk (SSBN-645) were disabled. Those boats were redesignated special operations attack submarines and given attack submarine (SSN) hull numbers.
USS Kamehameha was decommissioned on 2 April 2002, the last ship of the Benjamin Franklin class to be decommissioned.
Submarines of the Benjamin Franklin class: (Submarines marked with * indicate Trident C-4 ballistic missile conversions.)
- USS Benjamin Franklin (SSBN-640) *
- USS Simon Bolivar (SSBN-641) *
- USS Kamehameha (SSBN-642)
- USS George Bancroft (SSBN-643) *
- USS Lewis and Clark (SSBN-644)
- USS James K. Polk (SSBN-645)
- USS George C. Marshall (SSBN-654)
- USS Henry L. Stimson (SSBN-655) *
- USS George Washington Carver (SSBN-656)
- USS Francis Scott Key (SSBN-657) *
- USS Mariano G. Vallejo (SSBN-658) *
- USS Will Rogers (SSBN-659)
Media related to Benjamin Franklin class submarines at Wikimedia Commons
- http://www.submarinehistory.com/FleetBallisticMissileSubmarines.html California Center for Military History