USS Ohio returns as new sub on a new mission

The booming sounds of a 19-gun salute rang through the pier at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor on Tuesday, marking the official return to service of the recently converted USS Ohio.

Now dubbed a “Tactical Trident,” the Ohio underwent transformation from a fleet ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) to a modern guided missile submarine (SSGN). Surpassing its former capability of carrying 24 Trident ballistic missiles as an SSBN, the Ohio is now equipped to carry 154 Tomahawk cruise missiles which have a 1,500-mile range.

Adm. Edmund Giambastiani Jr., vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the second highest ranking officer in the nation, described Ohio’s new capabilities as the “poster children” in what the Quadrennial Defense Review refers to as the capabilities of the future.

He spoke of its forward deployed deterrence and unmatched flexibility and adaptability.

“It’s transforming instead of a transformation,” he said. “It’s not simply a one-time deal.”

The Ohio will serve as a test bed for future submarine payloads with experimentation in unmanned undersea vehicles, submarine-launched unmanned aerial vehicles, undersea and submarine-launched weapons systems and undersea sensors, according to the Navy.

The Ohio is now equipped to carry up to 102 special operation forces (SOF), including Navy Seals.

As part of the Ohio’s conversion, 22 of its 24 missile tubes were retrofitted with Tomahawk launchers with the remaining two converted into lock-in/lock-out chambers to be used by SOF. As an SSGN, the Ohio is now capable of carrying two submersibles known as Advanced Seal Delivery Systems, two dry deck shelters, or one of each.

“We progressed from a PowerPoint view graph to this finished product in less than three years,” said John Casey,

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