George Washington class submarine

The George Washington class was a class of nuclear-powered
Nuclear power
Nuclear power is the use of sustained nuclear fission to generate heat and electricity. Nuclear power plants provide about 6% of the world's energy and 13–14% of the world's electricity, with the U.S., France, and Japan together accounting for about 50% of nuclear generated electricity...

 ballistic missile submarines deployed by the United States Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

. The Navy ordered a class of nuclear-powered submarines armed with long-range strategic missiles on 31 December 1957, and tasked Electric Boat
Electric boat
While a significant majority of water vessels are powered by diesel engines, with sail power and gasoline engines also remaining popular, boats powered by electricity have been used for over 120 years. Electric boats were very popular from the 1880s until the 1920s, when the internal combustion...

 with converting two existing attack submarine hulls
Hull (watercraft)
A hull is the watertight body of a ship or boat. Above the hull is the superstructure and/or deckhouse, where present. The line where the hull meets the water surface is called the waterline.The structure of the hull varies depending on the vessel type...

 to ballistic missile
Ballistic missile
A ballistic missile is a missile that follows a sub-orbital ballistic flightpath with the objective of delivering one or more warheads to a predetermined target. The missile is only guided during the relatively brief initial powered phase of flight and its course is subsequently governed by the...

-carrying boats to quickly create the deterrent force. To accomplish this conversion, Electric Boat persuaded the Navy in January 1958 to slip the launch dates for two fast attack submarines, the just-begun
and the not-yet-started . On 12 February 1958, President
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States, from 1953 until 1961. He was a five-star general in the United States Army...

 authorized funding for three ballistic missile submarines.

The George Washingtons were essentially Skipjacks with a 130 feet (39.6 m) missile compartment, inserted between the ship's control/navigation areas and the nuclear reactor compartment. In the case of the lead ship, , that was literally the case: the keel already laid by Electric Boat at Groton, Connecticut
Groton, Connecticut
Groton is a town located on the Thames River in New London County, Connecticut, United States. The population was 39,907 at the 2000 census....

 for Scorpion was cut apart and extended to become the keel for George Washington. Then Electric Boat and Mare Island Naval Shipyard
Mare Island Naval Shipyard
The Mare Island Naval Shipyard was the first United States Navy base established on the Pacific Ocean. It is located 25 miles northeast of San Francisco in Vallejo, California. The Napa River goes through the Mare Island Strait and separates the peninsula shipyard from the main portion of the...

 began construction of one other boat each from extended plans. President Eisenhower authorized construction of two more submarines on 29 July 1958. Newport News Shipbuilding and Portsmouth Naval Shipyard
Portsmouth Naval Shipyard
The Portsmouth Naval Shipyard , often called the Portsmouth Navy Yard, is a United States Navy shipyard located in Kittery on the southern boundary of Maine near the city of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. It is used for remodeling and repairing the Navy's ships...

 began work immediately.

The George Washingtons carried the Polaris A1 missile on their patrols until 2 June 1964, when the George Washington changed out her missiles for Polaris A3s. The last member of this class, swapped out her A1s for A3s on 14 October 1965.

In the early 1980s, to make room within the limitations imposed by SALT II for the ballistic missile submarines, George Washington, , and had their missiles removed and were reclassified as attack submarines, a role in which they served for several years prior to being decommissioned by 1986.

See also

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