Ethan Allen-class submarine

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USS Ethan Allen
Class overview
Builders: General Dynamics Electric Boat[1]
Newport News Shipbuilding[1]
Operators:  United States Navy
Preceded by: George Washington-class submarine
Succeeded by: Lafayette-class submarine
Built: 1959–1960 [1]
In commission: 1961–1992 [1]
Completed: 5 [1]
Retired: 5 [1]
General characteristics
Type: Ballistic Missile Submarine
Displacement: approx. 7,900 tons submerged [2]
Length: 410 feet 4 inches (125.1 m)[2]
Beam: 33.1 feet (10.1 m)[2]
Draft: 29 feet 10 inches (9.1 m)[2]
Propulsion: S5W reactor - two geared steam turbines - one shaft [1]
Speed: 16 knots (30 km/h; 18 mph) surfaced, 21 knots (24 mph; 39 km/h) submerged
Test depth: 1,300 feet (400 m)
Complement: 12 Officers and 128 Enlisted (two crews Blue and Gold) [2]
Armament: 16 fleet ballistic missiles, 4 × 21 in (530 mm) torpedo tubes [2]

The Ethan Allen class of fleet ballistic missile submarine was an evolutionary development from the George Washington class. The Ethan Allen, together with the George Washington, Lafayette, James Madison, and Benjamin Franklin classes comprise the "41 for Freedom."

Rather than being designed as Skipjack class attack submarines with a missile compartment added, the Ethan Allens were designed from scratch as Fleet Balistic Missile (FBM) submarines carrying the Polaris A-2 missile. In the early and mid-1970s, they were upgraded to Polaris A3s. Because they could not be modified to carry the larger diameter Poseidon missile,[3] in the early 1980s they were refitted as SSNs (attack submarines) — fire control systems were removed and the missile tubes were filled with concrete. Two were further converted to carry SEALs, accommodating 67 troops each. The Ethan Allen class submarines were decommissioned between 1983 and 1992.[4] All have now been broken up.


Submarines of the Ethan Allen class:[1][5]

In fiction[edit]

In the Tom Clancy novel Hunt for Red October, Ethan Allen (by now old and ready to be broken up), is detonated near the Red October in order to convince the Soviets that the fictional Typhoon had been destroyed.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "SSBN-608 Ethan Allen-Class FBM Submarines" from the FAS
  2. ^ a b c d e f "USS Ethan Allen (SSBN 608)" from the navysite
  3. ^ Polmar, Norman (1981), The Ships and Aircraft of the U.S. Fleet (12th ed.), London: Arms and Armour Press, p. 22, ISBN 0-85368-397-2 
  4. ^ Gardiner, Robert; Chumbley, Stephen, eds. (1995), Conway's All The World's Fighting Ships 1947-1995, Annapolis, USA: Naval Institute Press, p. 612, ISBN 1-55750-132-7 
  5. ^ California Center of Military History

External links[edit]