Tuesday, March 18, 2008

SSGN Class Marks First – Entire Class at Sea Simultaneously

Sailors aboard the nuclear-powered guided-missile submarine USS Georgia (SSGN 729) get their first look at their new home as the submarine makes her final approach through the South Georgia inland passage of the Atlantic Intracostal Waterway before mooring at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay in Kings Bay. The submarine was the fourth Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) to undergo conversion to a guided-missile submarine (SSGN). Georgia will provide joint war fighters transformational strike and special operations forces capabilities. With the conversion now complete, Georgia is ready to be homeported in its homestate before being used in its new role. Georgia will have an official return to service ceremony in March to commemorate the end of her conversion process. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kimberly Clifford)

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The Navy's newest class of modern guided-missile submarine, the Ohio-class, reached a significant milestone March 11, when all four submarines in the class were underway at the same time.

Since completing the conversion process from ballistic-missile submarines (SSBN) to guided-missile submarines (SSGN), the four submarines in the class, USS Ohio (SSGN 726), USS Michigan (SSGN 727), USS Florida (SSGN 728), and USS Georgia (SSGN 729), have been undergoing modernization and maintenance availabilities, training, certification and testing in preparation for their first deployments. Ohio is now deployed in the Pacific Ocean taking part in Exercise Foal Eagle involving U.S. Navy forces and the South Korean military.

"It is a banner day for the submarine force," said Rear Adm. William Hilarides, Program Executive Officer for Submarines. "Five years and four months after we began work on Ohio we have all four of the SSGNs at sea. The unique partnership between Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility, and General Dynamics Electric Boat delivered these four SSGNs on time and on budget despite a compressed and pressurized schedule."

"While this is the first time all of our SSGNs will be at sea around the world, it surely is not the last," said Hilarides.

Hilarides also noted that when the ships finish their post-conversion testing, that an average of 2.6 SSGNs will be forward deployed at all times.

"This event marks a great milestone for the SSGN program office," said Capt. Mark Bock, SSGN program manager (PMS 398). "It is a fitting tribute to the dedication of the submarine force and the men and women of this office. As we begin to stand down the program office, this moment in time allows the SSGN team, past and present, to reflect back on what has been achieved here."

Along with the capability to carry and support up to 66 Special Operations Forces personnel and deploy with up to 154 Tomahawk cruise missiles, the SSGNs also bring to bear a host of advanced sensors and weapons systems that make it a truly unique platform. The SSGN's size, open layout and adaptability allow it to carry payloads that—as future technologies come to fruition—can be inserted and integrated into the platform relatively easily.