After reports of successful hypersonic missiles tests by the United States and seemingly North Korea as well, people might have forgotten about the U.S.’s old yet respected guided missile armed Ohio class submarines.
The Ohio class of submarines was assigned in the early 1980s, 18 built between 1981 and 1997.
They were commissioned to substitute the aging 41 for Freedom-class of submarines. They were designed as nuclear-powered ballasting missile submarines, and during the construction, they were the largest to have ever been built.
In the early 2000s, four of the SSGNs were transformed to guided missile submarines after the 1994 Nuclear Posture Review, which recommended that the U.S. only have to have 14 SSBN submarines to meet its strategic needs.
The Department of Defense since then permanently lowered the Ohio-class submarines’ submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) capacity. The 24SLBMs were reduced to 20 to comply with the U.S. – Russia strategic nuclear arms control limits established by the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.
Ohio-Class Submarine Is One To Beat
Interestingengineering.com reports each SSGN can carry a complete of not lower than 154 Tomahawk missiles and a complement of torpedoes as well. In the future, its extraordinary capability to bring destruction from afar will include some hypersonic missiles that are at this time under development under the Conventional Prompt Strike (CPS) program.
These missiles are capable of striking targets with equal precision and rage like the existing guided missiles. But these missiles have unbelievable speed. Such missiles are expected to speed to their targets at close to five times the speed of sound. Essentially, the speed of intercepting and countering missiles will be very tricky.
New Hypersonic Strike Weapons To Be Deployed by 2025
The U.S. Navy is looking into deploying the new hypersonic strike weapons by 2025. Information regarding the number of new missiles that will fit in an Ohio-class submarine silo is still unavailable, but we can assume it’s between two or three.
Suppose all the 20 silos of each of the four submarines were equipped in this manner. There are 44 and 66 missiles per submarine.
The Tomahawk is still very important in many possible circumstances, and a mixed load is likely to be carried out. And if this is true, then the new missile would neither increase nor decrease the firepower of the Ohio-class submarine, but it would increase its potency and versatility.
Other Nations Developing Own Submarine Fleets
Nations like Russia and China are also developing their own hypersonic missiles for their submarine fleets.
Russia is currently testing its new 3M22 Zircon missile, which can travel at Mach 8. These missiles will possibly supply Russia’s Pr. 855M Severodvinsk-II Class submarines and possibly upgraded Oscar-II class boats.