Cruise missile submarine

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"SSGN" redirects here. For the Special Service Group of Pakistan, see Special Service Group Navy.
USS Florida, an Ohio-class submarine

A cruise missile submarine is a submarine that can launch cruise missiles (SLCMs). The US Navy hull classification symbols for cruise missile submarines are SSG and SSGN - the SS denotes submarine, the G denotes guided missile, and the N denotes nuclear-powered. Early cruise missile submarines had to surface to launch their missiles. Later designs launch missiles from underwater, using either torpedo tubes or vertical canisters.

U.S. Navy[edit]

USS Grayback (SSG-574) preparing to launch a Regulus II missile

The U.S. Navy's first nuclear deterrent patrol submarines were five submarines equipped with the Regulus missile: USS Tunny (SSG-282), USS Barbero (SSG-317), USS Grayback (SSG-574), USS Growler (SSG-577) and USS Halibut (SSGN-587). Tunny and Barbero were modified World War II Gato-class submarines, while Grayback, Growler and Halibut were custom-made launch platforms. These ships were redesignated with the removal of the Regulus missile from service in 1964.

From 2002 to 2008 the U.S. Navy modified the four oldest Ohio-class submarines - USS Ohio, Michigan, Florida, and Georgia - into SSGNs. The conversion was achieved by installing vertical launching systems (VLS) in a "multiple all-up-round canister" (MAC) configuration in 22 of the 24 missile tubes, replacing one Trident missile with 7 smaller Tomahawk cruise missiles. The 2 remaining tubes were converted to lockout chambers for use by special forces personnel. This gave each converted sub the capability to carry up to 154 Tomahawks. The large diameter tubes can also be modified to carry and launch other payloads, such as UAVs or UUVs although these capabilities have not yet been fully implemented. In addition to generating a significant increase in stand-off strike capabilities, this conversion also counts as an arms reduction against the START II treaty[1][2] because it reduces the number of nuclear weapons that are forward-deployed. USS Florida launched cruise missiles against Libyan targets as part of Operation Odyssey Dawn in March 2011.

Russian/Soviet Navy[edit]

The Russian/Soviet Navy has operated the following classes of cruise missile submarine (these are NATO reporting names):

Other navies[edit]

The Collins class submarines of the Royal Australian Navy, which can launch Sub-Harpoon anti-ship missiles, use the SSG designation.

The Israeli Dolphin class submarine fleet is alleged to carry both nuclear armed Popeye Turbo SLCMs with a range of at least 1,500 km (930 mi) as well as Sub-Harpoon missiles.[3][4]

The Kilo-class submarine used by several navies around the world including the Indian Navy, Russian Navy and the People's Liberation Army Navy is equipped to carry the Klub-S Cruise Missile with a strike range of 300KM.

The Royal Navy deploys Tomahawk missiles for land-attack on all its present fleet submarines (the Trafalgar and Astute classes), although these are multi-roled boats rather than having land attack as a primary role. Formerly, some submarines (e.g. of the Swiftsure class) also carried Sub-Harpoon anti-ship missiles.

See also[edit]

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