The Ohio Class Ballistic Missile Submarines (SSBN), U.S Navy's primary strategic weapon, provides the sea-based leg of the Triad of U.S. strategic forces with the 18 Trident SSBNs each carrying 24 missiles. By virtue of their patrol posture, these submarines are highly survivable; they are also extremely flexible, capable of rapidly retargeting their missiles, should the need arise, using secure and constant at-sea communications links. They are the largest submarines to be built by the United States. The USS Ohio made the first operational patrol of this class in the fall of 1982. The 18th and final ship of this class to be built will be delivered to the Navy in 1997. OHIO Class submarines can carry either the Trident I (C-4) or Trident II (D-5) missiles. In addition, these submarines are fitted with four torpedo tubes for MK 48 torpedoes which, along with countermeasure devices, provide defense against hostile ASW forces.
The most important defensive feature of these submarines is their stealth - they are among the quietest nuclear-powered submarines ever built. This inherent feature of the Ohio Class coupled with other characteristics makes these ships the most survivable element of the nuclear Triad. Two complete crews - designated Blue and Gold - are assigned to each Ohio Class submarine. While one crew is at sea operating the submarine, the other is conducting training, attending schools, being evaluated in shore-based simulators and enjoying leave. By alternating the Blue and Gold crews, with a brief turnover period, the submarines can be kept at sea for considerably longer than with a single crew. The nominal operating schedule is 77 days at sea followed by a 35 day turnover/replenishment/refit period.
Ohio Class Submarines are specifically designed for extended deterrent patrols. To speed the time in port for crew turnover and replenishment, three large logistics hatches are fitted to provide large diameter re-supply and repair openings. These allow the rapid transfer of supply pallets, equipment replacement modules, and even machinery components, significantly reducing the time required for replenishment and maintenance. The OHIO design and modern maintenance concepts permit the submarines to operate for over 12 years between major shipyard availabilities.
1/350 scale model