SSBN-598 George Washington-Class FBM Submarines
The USS George Washington (SSBN 598) was the world’s first nuclear powered ballistic missile submarine. Arguably, it can be considered the submarine that has most influenced world events in the 20th Century. With its entry into service in December 1959 the United States instantly gained the most powerful deterrent force imaginable, a stealth platform with enormous nuclear firepower.
These first nuclear-powered submarines armed with long-range strategic missiles were ordered on 31 December 1957, with orders to convert two attack submarine hulls to missile-carrying FBM Weapon System ships. With some compromise in delivery schedules, the Navy agreed in January 1958 to slip the launch dates for two hunter-killer Skipjack types of fast attack submarines, the just-begun attack submarine Scorpion (SSN-589) and the not-yet-started USS Sculpin (SSN-590).
The first two are essentially of the hunter-killer type with a missile compartment inserted between the ship's control navigation areas and the nuclear reactor compartment. The keel of the first of these two ships had already been laid at Electric Boat, Groton, Connecticut, as the "Scorpion" and it was actually cut apart in order to insert the new 130 ft missile compartment ("Sherwood Forest"), thus extending the ship's length. At other shipyards, three more ships of the same type were built, making a total of five. The term SSBN means Ship Submersible Ballistic (Nuclear) with the "Nuclear" referring to the ship's propulsive power.
On 2 June 1964, the USS George Washington (SSBN-598) returned to Charleston, South Carolina, to off-load missiles in preparation for overhaul at General Dynamics, Electric Boat Division, shipyard in Groton, Connecticut. This ended the initial deployment of the first FBM submarine, with POLARIS A1's, which began in November 1960. Finally on 14 October 1965, the USS Abraham Lincoln (SSBN-602) returned to the U.S., completing her initial deployment. She was the last of the first five SSBNs carrying the POLARIS A1 to return to the U.S. for overhaul. This marked the official retirement of the POLARIS A1 missile from active fleet duty. These first five boats were being refitted to carry POLARIS A3 missiles. In the early 1980s SSBN-598 George Washington, SSBN-599 Patrick Henry and SSBN-601 Robert E Lee had their missiles removed and were reclassified as attack submarines, a role in which they served for several years prior to decommissioning.
General Dynamics Electric Boat Division;Power Plant:
Newport News Shipbuilding,
Mare Island Naval Shipyard,
Portsmouth Naval Shipyard
S5W Pressurized Water Nuclear TractorLength:
2 geared turbines at 15,000 shp to one shaft
Light: 5,400 tonsSpeed:
Surface: 5,959-6,019 tons
Submerged: 6709-6888Approx tons
20 knots surfaced,Test Depth:
25 knots submerged
16 tubes for Polaris missiles
6 torpedo tubes