Ballistic missile submarine

Ballistic missile submarine

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A ballistic missile submarine is a submarine
Submarine
A submarine is a watercraft capable of independent operation below the surface of the water. It differs from a submersible, which has more limited underwater capability...

 equipped to launch ballistic missile
Ballistic missile
A ballistic missile is a missile that follows a sub-orbital ballistic flightpath with the objective of delivering one or more warheads to a predetermined target. The missile is only guided during the relatively brief initial powered phase of flight and its course is subsequently governed by the...

s (SLBMs
Submarine-launched ballistic missile
A submarine-launched ballistic missile is a ballistic missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead that can be launched from submarines. Modern variants usually deliver multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles each of which carries a warhead and allows a single launched missile to...

).

Description



Ballistic missile submarines are larger than any other type of submarine, in order to accommodate SLBMs such as the Russian R-29 or the American Trident
Trident missile
The Trident missile is a submarine-launched ballistic missile equipped with multiple independently-targetable reentry vehicles . The Fleet Ballistic Missile is armed with nuclear warheads and is launched from nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines . Trident missiles are carried by fourteen...

. Although some early models had to surface to launch their missiles, modern vessels typically launch while submerged at keel depth
Keel depth
Keel depth is the depth of water from the water surface to the keel of a submarine, its deepest part. The keel establishes a commonly defined reference point to measure to....

s of usually less than 50 meters (164 feet).

Purpose


Ballistic missile submarines differ in purpose from attack submarines and cruise missile submarines; while attack submarines specialise in combat with other naval vessels (including enemy submarines and merchant shipping), and cruise missile submarines are designed to attack large warships and tactical targets on land, the primary mission of the ballistic missile is nuclear deterrence. Accordingly, the mission profile of a ballistic missile submarine concentrates on remaining undetected, rather than aggressively pursuing other vessels. Ballistic missile submarines are designed for stealth
Stealth technology
Stealth technology also termed LO technology is a sub-discipline of military tactics and passive electronic countermeasures, which cover a range of techniques used with personnel, aircraft, ships, submarines, and missiles, to make them less visible to radar, infrared, sonar and other detection...

, to avoid detection at all costs. They use many sound-reducing design features, such as anechoic tiles on their hull surfaces, carefully designed propulsion systems, and machinery mounted on vibration-damping mounts.

Ballistic missile submarines equipped with nuclear warheads serve as the third leg of the nuclear triad
Nuclear triad
A nuclear triad refers to a nuclear arsenal which consists of three components, traditionally strategic bombers, ICBMs and SLBMs. The purpose of having a three-branched nuclear capability is to significantly reduce the possibility that an enemy could destroy all of a nation's nuclear forces in a...

. The invisibility and mobility of submarines offer both a reliable means of deterrence against an attack (by maintaining the threat of a second strike
Second strike
In nuclear strategy, a second strike capability is a country's assured ability to respond to a nuclear attack with powerful nuclear retaliation against the attacker...

), and a surprise first-strike capability - particularly given the range of the weapons they carry.

United States


SSBN is the United States Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

's hull classification symbol
Hull classification symbol
The United States Navy, United States Coast Guard, and United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration use hull classification symbols to identify their ship types and each individual ship within each type...

 for a nuclear-powered, ballistic nuclear missile-carrying submarine. The SS denotes a "submersible ship", the B denotes "ballistic missile," and the N denotes "nuclear powered." In US naval slang, ballistic missile submarines are called "boomers".
They operate on a "Gold" and "Blue" two-crew concept.
The current fleet of ballistic missile submarines in the United States Navy consists of Ohio class submarine
Ohio class submarine
The Ohio class is a class of nuclear-powered submarines used by the United States Navy. The United States has 18 Ohio-class submarines:...

s.

United Kingdom


In Britain, they are also known as SSBNs. (Ballistic missile submarines are referred to as "boomers".) The two crews are called "port" and "starboard" crew. Britain's
nuclear deterrent is the Vanguard SSBN, which replaced the Resolution class submarine
Resolution class submarine
The Resolution-class submarine armed with the Polaris missile was the United Kingdom's primary nuclear deterrent from the late 1960s to 1994, when they were replaced by the Vanguard-class submarine carrying the Trident II.-Background:...

. A new project is under way to replace the Vanguard class submarine, under the designation Trident replacement.

France


The French Navy
French Navy
The French Navy, officially the Marine nationale and often called La Royale is the maritime arm of the French military. It includes a full range of fighting vessels, from patrol boats to a nuclear powered aircraft carrier and 10 nuclear-powered submarines, four of which are capable of launching...

 commissioned her first ballistic missile submarines as SNLE, for Sous-marin Nucléaire Lanceur d'Engin (lit. "nuclear-powered device-launching submarines"). The term applies both to ballistic missile submarines in general (for instance "British SNLE" occurs ) and, more technically, as a specific classification of the Redoutable class
Redoutable class submarine
The Redoutable class submarine is a ballistic missile submarine class of the French Marine Nationale . In French, the type is called Sous-marin Nucléaire Lanceur d'Engins , literally "Missile-launching nuclear submarine"...

. The more recent Triomphant class is referred to as SNLE-NG (Nouvelle Génération, "New Generation").

The two crews used to maximise the availability time of the ships are called 'blue' and 'red' crews.

Soviet Union


The Soviets called this type of ship RPKSN which is translated as "Strategic Purpose Missile Cruiser Submarine". This designation was applied to the Typhoon class
Typhoon class submarine
The Project 941 or Akula, Russian "Акула" class submarine is a type of nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine deployed by the Soviet Navy in the 1980s...

. Another designation used was PLARB which translates as "Nuclear Submarine with Ballistic Missiles". This designation was applied to smaller submarines such as the Delta Class.

Active classes


France
French Navy
The French Navy, officially the Marine nationale and often called La Royale is the maritime arm of the French military. It includes a full range of fighting vessels, from patrol boats to a nuclear powered aircraft carrier and 10 nuclear-powered submarines, four of which are capable of launching...

    • Le Triomphant class
      Le Triomphant class submarine
      The Triomphant class of ballistic missile submarines of the French Navy is the active class of four boats that entered service in 1997, 1999, 2004, and 2010...

       People's Republic of China
      People's Liberation Army Navy
      The People's Liberation Army Navy is the naval branch of the People's Liberation Army , the military of the People's Republic of China. Until the early 1990s, the navy performed a subordinate role to the PLA Land Forces. Since then, it has undergone rapid modernisation...

    • Type 092
    • Type 094 Russia
    • Typhoon class
      Typhoon class submarine
      The Project 941 or Akula, Russian "Акула" class submarine is a type of nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine deployed by the Soviet Navy in the 1980s...

    • Delta III and Delta IV classes
      Delta class submarine
      The Delta class is a class of submarines which formed the backbone of the Soviet and Russian strategic submarine fleet since its introduction in 1973...

       United Kingdom
      Royal Navy
      The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...


} United States
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...


}

Undergoing sea trials

India
Indian Navy
The Indian Navy is the naval branch of the armed forces of India. The President of India serves as the Commander-in-Chief of the Navy. The Chief of Naval Staff , usually a four-star officer in the rank of Admiral, commands the Navy...

    • Arihant class submarine 1 is in trials 4 under development in Visakhapatnam shipyard Russia
    • Borei class submarine
      Borei class submarine
      The Borei class is a class of nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine produced and operated by the Russian Navy. The class is intended to replace the Delta III, Delta IV and Typhoon classes now in Russian Navy service...


Planned

People's Republic of China
People's Liberation Army Navy
The People's Liberation Army Navy is the naval branch of the People's Liberation Army , the military of the People's Republic of China. Until the early 1990s, the navy performed a subordinate role to the PLA Land Forces. Since then, it has undergone rapid modernisation...

    • Type 096 submarine
      Type 096 submarine
      The Type 096 submarine is a new class of SSBN rumored to be in development for the Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy . Little information exists about the project. Some sources suggests that the new submarine will carry 24 SLBMs. It will be the successor to the Type 094 SSBN currently under...

       United Kingdom
      Royal Navy
      The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

    • Vanguard-class replacement class
      British replacement of the Trident system
      The British replacement of Trident is a proposal to replace the existing Vanguard class of four Trident ballistic-missile armed submarines with a new class designed to continue a nuclear deterrent after the current boats reach the end of their service lives...

       United States
      United States Navy
      The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

    • SSBN-X future follow-on submarine
      SSBN-X future follow-on submarine
      The SSBN-X Future Follow-on Submarine is a future United States Navy submarine designed to replace the Trident missile-armed ballistic missile submarines.-Overview:...


Retired classes


  France
French Navy
The French Navy, officially the Marine nationale and often called La Royale is the maritime arm of the French military. It includes a full range of fighting vessels, from patrol boats to a nuclear powered aircraft carrier and 10 nuclear-powered submarines, four of which are capable of launching...


 /  SovietUnion
Soviet Navy
The Soviet Navy was the naval arm of the Soviet Armed Forces. Often referred to as the Red Fleet, the Soviet Navy would have played an instrumental role in a Warsaw Pact war with NATO, where it would have attempted to prevent naval convoys from bringing reinforcements across the Atlantic Ocean...

 / Russia
  • Zulu class
    Zulu class submarine
    The Soviet Navy's Project 611, NATO reporting name Zulu class, were one of the first Soviet post-war attack submarines. They were roughly as capable as the American GUPPY fleet-boat conversions. They were a contemporary of the Whiskey class submarines and shared a similar sonar arrangement...

     (diesel powered)
  • Golf class
    Golf class submarine
    Project 629, also known by the NATO reporting name of Golf class, were diesel electric ballistic missile submarines of the Soviet Navy. They were designed after six Zulu class submarines were successfully modified to carry and launch Scud missiles...

     (diesel powered)
  • Hotel class
    Hotel class submarine
    The Hotel class is the general NATO classification for a type of nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine that was originally put into service by the Soviet Union around 1959. The Soviet designation is Project 658.-Design:...

  • Hotel II class
    Hotel class submarine
    The Hotel class is the general NATO classification for a type of nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine that was originally put into service by the Soviet Union around 1959. The Soviet designation is Project 658.-Design:...

  • Yankee class
    Yankee class submarine
    The Yankee class is the NATO classification for a type of nuclear-powered submarine that was constructed by the Soviet Union from 1968 onward. 34 units were produced under Project 667A Navaga and Project 667AU Nalim...

  • Yankee II class
    Yankee class submarine
    The Yankee class is the NATO classification for a type of nuclear-powered submarine that was constructed by the Soviet Union from 1968 onward. 34 units were produced under Project 667A Navaga and Project 667AU Nalim...

  • Delta I class
    Delta class submarine
    The Delta class is a class of submarines which formed the backbone of the Soviet and Russian strategic submarine fleet since its introduction in 1973...

  • Delta II class
    Delta class submarine
    The Delta class is a class of submarines which formed the backbone of the Soviet and Russian strategic submarine fleet since its introduction in 1973...


United Kingdom
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...


  United States
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...


External links

  • Video showing various SSBNs in action.