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Patrol Combatants
ballistic missile submarines  (SSBNs)  deliver  ballistic missile attacks against assigned targets from either a submerged or surfaced condition. Nuclear   propulsion has    turned    the    submersible    ship    into    a    true submarine     that     no     longer     requires     frequent replenishment  of  fuel  and  supplies.  (Examples:  (1) The  Nautilus,  our  first  SSN,  steamed  over  62,000 miles without refueling; (2) during a test, the Seawolf remained   submerged   for   60   days;   (3)   the   Triton traveled  around  the  globe  under  water,  remaining submerged  for  83  days.)  The  submarine’s  crew  does not depend on the earth’s atmosphere for air. Units of air-revitalization equipment clean the air continuously.  Electrolytic  oxygen  generators  permit the   submarine   to   extract   its   own oxygen   from seawater. In July 1960 USS George Washington (SSBN-598) successfully  launched,  for  the  first  time,  a  Polaris guided missile from under water. This shot radically changed the old concept of submarine warfare, which was simply  to  sink  enemy  ships  or  submarines  with torpedoes. Now nuclear-powered, high-speed submarines  are  able  to  cruise  for  months  at  a  time. They  can  launch  an  effective  attack  against  targets on   shore   while   remaining   virtually   immune   to retaliation.  All  sub-marines  now    being  built  have nuclear propulsion. The  oldest  SSBNs  are  being  decommissioned  or converted  to  fulfill  SSN  duties.  Other  SSBNs  are being converted to carry Trident missiles. The newest SSBN   class,   the   Ohio   class,   carries   Trident   II missiles.   The   Ohio   class   is   the   largest   undersea 134.112 Figure 19-9.-Two Ohio-class SSBNs under construction and a Los Angeles-class SSN being launched. 19-10

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