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Los Angeles class

Nuclear-powered attack submarine

Los Angeles class submarine

The Los Angeles class has proved to be an exceptionally good ASW platform

 
 
Country of origin United States
Entered service 1976
Crew 133 men
Diving depth (operational) 450 m
Diving depth (maximum) 750 m
Dimensions and displacement
Length 110.34 m
Beam 10.06 m
Draught 9.75 m
Surfaced displacement 6 082 tons
Submerged displacement 6 927 tons
Propulsion and speed
Surfaced speed 18 knots
Submerged speed 32 knots
Nuclear reactors 1 x ? MW
Steam turbines 2 x 26 MW
Armament
Missiles 12 x external tubes for Tomahawk missiles
Torpedoes 4 x 533 mm torpedo tubes for 26 torpedoes or missiles

 

   Comprising the largest number of nuclear-powered vessels built to one design, the Los Angeles class couples the speed advantage of the elderly Skipjack class with the sonar and weapons capability of the Permit and Sturgeon classes. A total of 62 of these boats were built. The lead boat, SSN-688 Los Angeles, was laid down in 1972 and was commissioned with the US Navy in 1976. The last boat, SSN-773 Cheyenne, was commissioned in 1996. By 2019 a total of 30 boats of the class have been retired with 32 boats remaining in service. Some more boats will be decommissioned in the near future due to their age.

   The significant increase in size is mainly the result of doubling the installed power available by the fitting of a new reactor design, the S6G pressurized-water reactor based on the D2G reactor fitted in the nuclear-powered cruisers of the Bainbridge and Truxtun classes. Reactor refueling takes place every 10 years.

   The boats originally carried the BQQ-5 passive/active search and attack sonar system. From the USS San Juan (SSN-751) onward, the BSY-1 system was fitted. The USS Augusta and the USS Cheyenne were both fitted with a BQG-5D wide-aperture flank array. All boats have the BQS-15 active close-range high-frequency sonar for ice detection. Other sensors include a MIDAS (Mine and Ice Detection Avoidance System) first fitted in the San Juan, and all the boats from this onward were fitted with sound-reducing tiles and hydroplanes relocated from the fin to the forward part of the hull.

   Thanks to its electronic systems, the class has proved to be an exceptionally good anti-submarine warfare platform although, on one occasion on the first out-of-area Alpha I deployment, the Soviet boat was easily able to outrun a trailing Los Angeles class boat off Iceland just by using its superior underwater speed. Against more conventional Soviet-designed nuclear-powered boats the success rate of detection and tracking was quite high. The advanced BQQ-5 system on one occasion acquired and held contact with two Soviet Victor class SSNs for an extended time.

  The class features a very potent weapons array including the Tomahawk Tactical Land Attack Missile (TLAM) with a range between 900 and 1 700 km. Current versions of the missile are the TLAM-C version, which can carry a single 454 kg warhead and the TLAM-D which carries a submunition payload to 900 km. The standard unitary high explosive warhead can also be replaced by a 318 kg shaped-charge warhead. In order to overcome the problem of limited weapons stowage, all boats from the USS Providence (SSN-719) onward are fitted with a vertical launch system in which the launch tubes for the TLAMs are placed outside the pressure hull behind the sonar array. Although the Tomahawk is nuclear-capable, such weapons are not now deployed on a routine basis.

   Furthermore, the boats can also carry the 533 mm Mk.48 active/passive homing torpedo with a wire-guidance option. This guidance is suitable for ranges up to 50 km in the active mode or 38 km in the passive mode. The torpedo has a 267 kg warhead. A total of 26 Mk.48 torpedoes can be carried by the Los Angeles class boat though another load is 14 torpedoes and 12 tube-launched Tomahawk land attack cruise missiles. These are fired out of four tubes placed amidships in the vessel.

   The Los Angeles class boats saw action during operations in Iraq, Kosovo and Afghanistan. Furthermore, the boats have also continued their under-ice operations, and in mid-2001, the USS Scranton (SSN-756) surfaced through the Arctic ice cap.

   The Los Angeles class was succeeded by Virginia class boats. The Virginia class was designed as smaller, less expensive and more versatile alternative to the advanced but extremely expensive Seawolf class. At least 38 Virginia class nuclear-powered attack submarines are planned. The lead boats was commissioned in 2004.

 

 

 
Los Angeles class submarine

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Los Angeles class attack submarine

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Los Angeles class attack submarine

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Los Angeles class attack submarine

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Los Angeles class attack submarine

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