|George Washington-class submarine|
USS George Washington (SSBN-598) at sea.
|Succeeded by:||Ethan Allen|
5,400 tons light|
5,959–6,019 tons surfaced
6,709–6,888 Approx. tons submerged
|Length:||381.6 ft (116.3 m)|
|Beam:||33 ft (10 m)|
|Draft:||29 ft (8.8 m)|
1 S5W PWR|
2 geared turbines at 15,000shp
20 knots (37 km/h) surfaced|
+25 knots (46 km/h) submerged
|Range:||unlimited except by food supplies|
|Test depth:||700 ft (210 m)|
|Capacity:||112 (Crew Only)|
|Complement:||Two crews (Blue/Gold) each consisting of 12 officers and 100 men.|
16 Polaris A1/A3 missiles|
6 × 21 inches (530 mm) torpedo tubes
The George Washington class was a class of nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines deployed by the United States Navy. The Navy ordered a class of nuclear-powered submarines armed with long-range strategic missiles on 31 December 1957, and tasked Electric Boat with converting two existing attack submarine hulls to ballistic missile-carrying boats to quickly create the deterrent force. To accomplish this conversion, Electric Boat persuaded the Navy in January 1958 to slip the launch dates for two Skipjack class fast attack submarines, the just-begun Scorpion (SSN-589) and the not-yet-started Sculpin (SSN-590). On 12 February 1958, President Dwight D. Eisenhower authorized funding for three ballistic missile submarines.
The George Washingtons were essentially Skipjacks with a 130 foot (40 m) missile compartment, inserted between the ship's control/navigation areas and the nuclear reactor compartment. In the case of the lead ship, USS George Washington (SSBN-598), that was literally the case: the keel already laid by Electric Boat at Groton, Connecticut for Scorpion was cut apart and extended to become the keel for George Washington. Then Electric Boat and Mare Island Naval Shipyard began construction of one other boat each from extended plans. President Eisenhower authorized construction of two more submarines on 29 July 1958. Newport News Shipbuilding and Portsmouth Naval Shipyard began work immediately.
The George Washingtons carried the Polaris A1 missile on their patrols until 2 June 1964, when the George Washington changed out her missiles for Polaris A3s. The last member of this class, USS Abraham Lincoln (SSBN-602) swapped out her A1s for A3s on 14 October 1965.
In the early 1980s, to make room within the limitations imposed by SALT II for the Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines, George Washington, USS Patrick Henry (SSBN-599), and USS Robert E. Lee (SSBN-601) had their missiles removed and were reclassified as attack submarines, a role in which they served for several years prior to being decommissioned by 1986.
Submarines of the George Washington Class:
- USS George Washington (SSBN-598)
- USS Patrick Henry (SSBN-599)
- USS Theodore Roosevelt (SSBN-600)
- USS Robert E. Lee (SSBN-601)
- USS Abraham Lincoln (SSBN-602)
- "SSBN-598 George Washington-Class FBM Submarines". Federation of American Scientists. http://www.fas.org/nuke/guide/usa/slbm/ssbn-598.htm. Retrieved 2012-10-18.
- "Missile Submarines of the Cold War". California Center for Military History. http://www.submarinehistory.com/FleetBallisticMissileSubmarines.html. Retrieved 2012-10-18.