Benjamin Franklin-class submarine
|Operators:||United States Navy|
|Preceded by:||James Madison-class submarine|
|Succeeded by:||Ohio-class submarine|
|Type:||Nuclear-powered Ballistic Missile Submarine|
Surfaced: 7,325 long tons (7,443 t)Submerged: 8,251 long tons (8,383 t)
|Length:||425 ft (130 m)|
|Beam:||33 ft (10 m)|
|Draft:||28 ft 6 in (8.69 m)|
|Test depth:||1,300 feet (400 m)|
|Complement:||Two crews of 14 officers and 126 enlisted|
|Armament:||16 Polaris A3 or Poseidon C3 or Trident I C4 missiles, 4 × 21 inch (533 mm) torpedo tubes, 13 torpedoes|
The Benjamin Franklin-class submarine was a group of US ballistic missile submarines that were in Navy service from the 1960s–2000s. The class was an evolutionary development from the earlier 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" that were the Navy's main contribution to the nuclear deterrent force through the late 1980s. This class and the James Madison class are combined with the Lafayettes in some references.
The Benjamin Franklin-class submarines were built with the Polaris A-3 ballistic missile, and in the early 1970s were converted to carry the Poseidon C-3 missile. During the late 1970s and early 1980s, six boats were further modified to carry the Trident I (C-4) missile, along with six James Madison-class boats. These were Benjamin Franklin, Simon Bolivar, George Bancroft, Henry L. Stimson, Francis Scott Key, and Mariano G. Vallejo.
Due to the loss of USS Thresher (SSN-593) in April 1963, this class was designed to SUBSAFE standards and its equipment was similar to the Sturgeon class fast attack submarines (SSNs). Previous US SSBNs except the George Washington class had equipment similar to the Thresher class SSNs.
This class can be distinguished by the fairwater planes' location halfway up the sail; the Lafayettes and James Madisons had the fairwater planes in the upper front portion of the sail.
Two submarines of this class were converted for delivery of up to 66 SEALs or other Special Operations Forces each. 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 classification symbols. They were equipped with dry deck shelters to accommodate SEAL Delivery Vehicles or other equipment.
The Benjamin Franklins were decommissioned between 1992 and 2002 due to a combination of SALT II treaty limitations as the Ohio class SSBNs entered service, age, and the collapse of the Soviet Union. USS Kamehameha was decommissioned on 2 April 2002, the last ship of the Benjamin Franklin class to be decommissioned.
The sail of George Bancroft is preserved at the Naval Submarine Base King's Bay, Georgia. James K. Polk's sail is on display at the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Mariano G. Vallejo's sail is preserved at Mare Island, California, where she was built.
Boats in class
Submarines of the Benjamin Franklin class: (Submarines marked with * indicate Trident C-4 ballistic missile conversions.)
|Name and hull number||Builder||Laid Down||Launched||Commissioned||Fate|
|Benjamin Franklin (SSBN-640) *||General Dynamics Electric Boat||25 May 1963||5 December 1964||22 October 1965||Decommissioned 23 November 1993. Disposed of through Ship-Submarine Recycling Program, 1995|
|Simon Bolivar (SSBN-641) *||Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Co.||17 April 1963||22 August 1964||29 October 1965||Decommissioned 8 February 1995. Disposed of through Ship-Submarine Recycling Program, 1995|
|Kamehameha (SSBN-642)||Mare Island Naval Shipyard||2 May 1963||16 January 1965||10 December 1965||Decommissioned 2 April 2002. Disposed of through Ship-Submarine Recycling Program, 2003|
|George Bancroft (SSBN-643) *||General Dynamics Electric Boat||24 August 1963||20 March 1965||22 January 1966||Decommissioned 21 September 1993. Disposed of through Ship-Submarine Recycling Program, 1998|
|Lewis and Clark (SSBN-644)||Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Co.||29 July 1963||21 November 1964||22 December 1965||Decommissioned 27 June 1992. Disposed of through Ship-Submarine Recycling Program, 1996|
|James K. Polk (SSBN-645)||General Dynamics Electric Boat||23 November 1963||22 May 1965||17 April 1966||Decommissioned 8 July 1999. Disposed of through Ship-Submarine Recycling Program, 2000|
|George C. Marshall (SSBN-654)||Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Co.||2 March 1964||21 May 1965||29 April 1966||Decommissioned 24 September 1992. Disposed of through Ship-Submarine Recycling Program, 1994|
|Henry L. Stimson (SSBN-655) *||General Dynamics Electric Boat||4 April 1964||13 November 1965||20 August 1966||Decommissioned 5 May 1993. Disposed of through Ship-Submarine Recycling Program, 1994|
|George Washington Carver (SSBN-656)||Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Co.||24 August 1964||14 August 1965||15 June 1966||Decommissioned 18 March 1993. Disposed of through Ship-Submarine Recycling Program, 1994|
|Francis Scott Key (SSBN-657) *||General Dynamics Electric Boat||5 December 1964||23 April 1965||3 December 1966||Decommissioned 2 September 1993. Disposed of through Ship-Submarine Recycling Program, 1995|
|Mariano G. Vallejo (SSBN-658) *||Mare Island Naval Shipyard||7 July 1964||23 October 1965||16 December 1966||Decommissioned 9 March 1995. Disposed of through Ship-Submarine Recycling Program, 1995|
|Will Rogers (SSBN-659)||General Dynamics Electric Boat||20 March 1965||21 July 1966||1 April 1967||Decommissioned 12 April 1993. Disposed of through Ship-Submarine Recycling Program, 1994|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Benjamin Franklin class submarines.|
- 41 for Freedom Fleet Ballistic Missile submarines
- Fleet Ballistic Missile
- List of submarines of the United States Navy
- List of submarine classes of the United States Navy
- Gardiner and Chumbley 1995, p.612.
- Benjamin Franklin class at NavSource.org
- Friedman, Norman (1994). U.S. Submarines Since 1945: An Illustrated Design History. Annapolis, Maryland: United States Naval Institute. pp. 199–203, 244. ISBN 1-55750-260-9.
- Kamehameha at NavSource.org
- "Heritage Park". National Museum of Nuclear Science & History. Retrieved 2012-08-17.
- Gardiner, Robert and Chumbley, Stephen (editors). Conway's All The World's Fighting Ships 1947-1995. Annapolis, USA: Naval Institute Press, 1995. ISBN 1-55750-132-7.
- Polmar, Norman. The Ships and Aircraft of the U.S. Fleet: Twelfth Edition. London:Arms and Armour Press, 1981. ISBN 0-85368-397-2.
- US Naval Vessel Register - List of SSBN BALLISTIC MISSILE SUBMARINE (NUCLEAR-POWERED) Class vessels
- This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.