US nuclear submarines used to be broken down into two types: attack subs, mostly USS Los Angeles class, and ballistic missile submarines largely USS Ohio class called “Boomers“.
With the end of the Cold War that changed, and now the US fleet is becoming populated with Seawolf and Virginia Class subs.
Both vessels are among the most technologically advanced creations ever built, crammed with cutting edge electronics and crew accommodations; all within a 300-foot-long tube, filled with 100 sailors, and submerged beneath the sea for several months at a time.
Nuclear submarines are an innovation that changed warfare, and here we look at two the newest vessel types in the US fleet.
The USS Seawolf, the first of its class, was launched in 1995 and designed to replace the Los Angeles class of nuclear attack subs
The USS Connecticut, second in the Seawolf class, is 353 feet long and weighs 9,137 tons fully loaded
The USS Connecticut has made numerous journeys to the arctic circle and allows for unique access to the expansive ice fields
In 2004, the Connecticut was attacked for 40 minutes by a very curious polar bear
The USS Jimmy Carter was the final sub of the Seawolf class and is named after the only President to qualify in submarines
The USS Virginia is the first in its class, designed to be a cheaper alternative to the larger Seawolf class
The USS Texas, like other Virginia-class subs, has an advanced photonics mast to remove the need for a cumbersome periscope
The USS Hawaii, the third Virginia class sub, has 12 vertical launch missile tubes and four torpedo tubes
The reactor on the USS North Carolina — fourth in the Virginia-class — is an S9G pressurized water nuclear reactor designed by GE’s Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory
The USS New Hampshire was the first of the second production block of the Virginia subs — it was the first to be built in four sections instead of ten, saving $300 million per boat
Like the rest of the subs in the Virginia class, the USS New Mexico doesn’t have a propeller, it has a pump-jet propulsor to stay stealthier
The USS Missouri was built by General Dynamics Electric Boat, one of the two shipbuilders sharing construction duties for the Virginia-class subs
The USS California — the most recent sub to fully enter service — was constructed by the other shipbuilder working on the project, Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Newport News Shipbuilding
The USS Mississippi was just commissioned in June 2012, is the most recent addition to the submarine fleet, and should enter service soon — here it is right before the christening ceremony in Pascagoula
Now, see what a Virginia-class sub looks like “under the hood”
Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/the-12-most-advanced-nuclear-submarines-in-the-us-fleet-2012-9?op=1#ixzz25RRIyVBr