Friday, February 19, 2010

Florida Begins Second Deployment

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (AW/SW) Kimberly Clifford, Commander, Submarine Group 10 Public Affairs

KINGS BAY, Ga. (NNS) -- The guided-missile submarine, USS Florida (SSGN 728) (Blue) departs for its second SSGN deployment Feb. 16.

Florida will deploy for approximately one year before returning to its homeport of Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Ga.

The blue and gold crews will alternate manning Florida for approximately 3-month periods during the year deployment. The crews will conduct a "crew swap" in Diego Garcia, while the submarine will undergo a voyage repair period.

The submarine was commissioned in 1983 as a ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) and successfully completed 61 strategic deterrent patrols before its conversion to a guide missile submarine (SSGN) in 2003.

Florida's maiden SSGN deployment began in April 2008 and lasted for 13 months. During the deployment, Florida achieved numerous milestones for a SSGN, including the first SSGN to operate in the Mediterranean Sea, the first Trident-class submarine to transit the Suez Canal, Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, and Strait of Hormuz. Florida is the largest submarine ever to operate in the Persian Gulf and visits to Gibraltar, Jebel Ali, Souda Bay, and Diego Garcia.

As a SSGN, Florida remains a lethal deterrent force. The submarine is configured to perform precision strike, joint special operations forces operations, operational preparation of battle space, SSGN/SSN consort operations, carrier and expeditionary strike group operations, and future payloads experimentation.