The U.S. Navy just tested a new delivery system for supplying submarines while underway at sea—by drone. In a video released by the Navy, a large quadcopter-type drone seen hovering above the deck of a ballistic-missile submarine. A small payload, not much larger than a small backpack, dangled from a line attached to the drone. Despite the gentle rolling of the submarine’s hull, the drone successfully made the drop. The video description read:
“An unmanned aerial vehicle delivers a payload to the Ohio-class ballistic-missile submarine USS Henry M. Jackson (SSBN-730) around the Hawaiian Islands. Underway replenishment sustains the fleet anywhere/anytime. This event was designed to test and evaluate the tactics, techniques, and procedures of U.S. Strategic Command’s expeditionary logistics and enhance the overall readiness of our strategic forces.”
If you do the math, the Ohio-class boats may be the most destructive weapon system created by humankind. Each of the 170-meter-long vessels can carry twenty-four Trident II submarine-launched ballistic-missiles (SLBMs) which can be fired from underwater to strike at targets more than seven thousand miles away depending on the load.
As a Trident II reenters the atmosphere at speeds of up to Mach 24, it splits into up to eight independent reentry vehicles, each with a 100- or 475-kiloton nuclear-warhead. In short, a full salvo from an Ohio-class submarine—which can be launched in less than one minute—could unleash up to 192 nuclear-warheads to wipe twenty-four cities off the map.
US MILITARY TECHNOLOGY – U.S. Navy’s submarine news, America’s intent in the aftermath of the Chinese tests was to signal U.S. strength with just the right amount and kind of potential force.
Nuclear-powers rarely go to battle with each other, but that doesn’t mean they don’t threaten to do so.
Indeed, military posturing is an integral part of what Forrest Morgan, an analyst for the RAND Corporation, called “crisis stability.” In other words, “building and posturing forces in ways that allow a state, if confronted, to avoid war without backing down.”
Long-range heavy bombers are some of the best forces for crisis stability, Morgan wrote in a 2013 study for the U.S. Air Force. Bombers are powerful, mobile and visible — perfect for signalling strength and intent.
On the other hand, the U.S. Navy’s submarine-launched cruise-missiles are less effective — even counterproductive — for crisis stability because they’re invisible most of the time.
America’s Ohio-class ballistic-missile submarines are some of the quietest, stealthiest submarines in the world. The Ohio submarines represent America’s ace in the hole, megatons of nuclear-firepower quietly patrolling the world’s oceans, ensuring that any nuclear-attack on the United States will not go unpunished. In addition to the fourteen ballistic-missile submarines, four have been converted to missile carriers, capable of unleashing more than 150 conventionally armed cruise missiles against the most heavily defended of targets.
For years at a time, man and woman of the US Navy’s “Silent Service” live on board the world’s most advanced boats…fast-attack nuclear submarines! In this video, I take you on a personal tour of the fast-attack submarine USS Columbia (SSN-771) known as the “Last Slider”. Time is money on these warships so we had to film in just one take! Special Thanks to the men of the USS Columbia!
This work, Touring USS Columbia (SSN 771), by PO2 Johans Chavarro, was provided and approved by the U.S. Department of Defense.
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