:: LOS ANGELES CLASS (1974-1995) ::

Los Angeles class attack submarine SSN 688 (1974) High resolution picture

The Los Angeles class comprises 62 nuclear-powered attack submarines launched between 1974 and 1995 for the United States Navy. This class has the doubtful honor of being one of the most costly military projects in History; the first unit costed 221.25 millions of dollars while the two units built in 1981 costed 495.8 millions each. This class has been undoubtedly a successful project, but also a very criticized one due to its cost and complexity. It is alleged that many sacrifices have been made to achieve the very high speed. At least they were in that time the most sophisticated SSN in service, capable of launching the long-range cruise missile Tomahawk. From SSN 721 onwards this weapon is carried in vertical launchers to leave space for additional torpedo reloads.

The hull is extraordinarily clean and so is the small sail, forming so a cell optimized for high speed. But the position of the non-folding hydroplanes in the sail has been criticized because it would render impossible to emerge through a thick ice cap, so in the late units of the class those have been returned to their more habitual position in the bow. The propulsion plant includes geared turbines, even if gearing is a prime source of noise in nuclear submarines. For some reason the more silent alternative of a turbo-electric drive system was discarded for this class. The late units of the class have been fitted with anechoic tiles to further reduce noise emissions, a practice which was new in North American submarines but had been adopted in the British and Soviet counterparts some time ago.

Los Angeles class: 62 units - 31 units Flight I (SSN 688 to SSN 718); 8 units Flight II (SSN 719 to SSN 725, SSN 750); 23 units Flight III (SSN 751 to SSN 773)

Type: Nuclear-powered attack submarine

Length: 109.7 meters

Beam: 10.1 meters

Draught: 9.9 meters

Displacement (surfaced): 6000 tonnes

Displacement (submerged): 6900 tonnes

Propulsion: 1 x shaft, 2 x steam turbine, 1 x nuclear reactor General Electric S6G 150-165 megawatt, 35000 shaft horsepower

Speed (surfaced): 20 knots (37 kilometers/hour)

Speed (submerged): over 30 knots (55.5 kilometers/hour)

Range: Theoretically unlimited; 90 days of endurance

Test depth: 290 meters

Complement: 127

Armament: 4 x 533-millimeter torpedo tube, 20 x torpedo/missile reload (Mk 48 antisubmarine torpedo, SUBROC antisubmarine rocket, Tomahawk long-range cruise missile, Sub-Harpoon antiship missile, Mk 67 mobile mine, Mk 60 CAPTOR mine), 12 x Tomahawk SLCM in vertical launcher (Flight II and Flight III only)

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