Good morning, I am absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity to talk to you for a few moments this morning. I bring greetings from the Pacific Northwest where there is much excitement in the Submarine Force. As they have for more than 20 years, SSBNs are still operating out of Bangor. In the past year both MAINE and LOUISIANA have come to Bangor. In addition, USS JIMMY CARTER, SSN 23 has arrived to much fanfare. Soon, her sister ships, CONNECTICUT and SEA WOLF will arrive. But I have to say that the most exciting thing to happen to the Pacific Northwest is the arrival of the SSGN. By next year, SSGNs will be operating out of Bangor and deploying forward in support of the global war on terrorism. Today, I would like to talk about two aspects of the SSGN. First, I will describe what a magnificent ship we have built and second, I will introduce to you the can do spirit of the crew.
Each time we present dolphins to a sailor on board OHIO, we read an exciting passage from tales of war patrols past from heroes of the Submarine Force. I am always in awe of the exploits of these heroes and their submarines. These readings allow us to reach across history and connect with our past Submarine Force heroes and to put our current missions in perspective. These submarine heroes fought their ships aggressively to prevail in our country’s past battles. Their War Patrols were stuff of which legends were made.
Submarine warfare has changed dramatically since the days of WWII. With the advent of the SSGN, the future of submariner has even more changes in store over the next few years. Today, I would like to take you into the future, although not so many years away as you might think, to a future War Patrol for USS OHIO SSGN 726.
My presentation today will show you a hypothetical SSGN patrol in support of the global war on terrorism that took place from April to July 2009. This war patrol will demonstrate many of the SSGN capabilities as defined in the SSGN Concept of Operations.
Shown is the nominal deployment cycle for the SSGN. The SSGN will maintain a 15 month cycle. The cycle will start with a I 00 day maintenance period in Bangor followed by transit into theater, 4 missions and 3 crew change outs in theater. During the crew change outs voyage repairs will be made by fly away teams from Bangor as supported by the tender. Highlighted is the start of the most recent Blue Crew patrol. OHIO was initially loaded out in Bangor and modifications were made to that load out in Guam as the new missions were further defined.
Having two crews and only 1 boat, the Blue crew certified for the mission in the trainers at Trident Training Facility. Submarine squadron 19 certified the crew in ASW, ASUW, shallow water operations, ISR, Strike, special operations and all aspects of basic submariner. The initial SOF certifications were completed at the start of the 15 month cycle. A refresher qualification was completed by selected portions of the crew and SDVT 1 in Pearl Harbor during the in port training period.
The ship returned from its previous patrol with the Gold crew in outstanding material condition. A fly away team from Bangor made minor repairs to several components. Most of the refit was occupied with load out for the mission and training with the Special Operating Forces.
Tomahawk load out was completed in Bangor and at Indian Island, before the Gold crew patrol.
A flexible payload module was loaded in Guam. The module is capable of handling several types of weapons. OIIlO’s was loaded with 3 AIM 9 anti air missiles in case of an air threat in theater.
Nine hundred gallons of gas was loaded topside in designated SO F storage facilities. This gas would be capable of supporting more than 30 missions/sorties. This capacity allows OHIO to plan for multiple sorties and backups, giving the Special Operating Forces much more flexibility than previous classes of subs.
Eight missile tubes were loaded out with SOF canisters. Total capacity is more than 2 – 18 wheel trailers. As part of this load out, more than 6,000 cubic feet of SOF ammunition was loaded. Missile tubes 5 and 6 were specially modified with magazine sprinkler systems to hold this ammunition. Due to the design of the missile tubes, the Special Forces can access their gear and munitions from internal to the ship. The canisters were loaded in Pearl and flown into theater and then loaded on OHIO in Guam. The munitions canisters were loaded with equipment in Guam after the canisters were loaded on the ship.
OHIO deployed initially from Bangor with 2 dry deck shelters. One was off loaded and replaced with the Advanced Seal Delivery Vehicle in Guam due to mission requirements .
Pictures of the ASDS being loaded on a Los Angeles Class submarine can give an appreciation for its size.
The SSGN can carry one of each vehicle topside. Note that the first I 0 tubes are blocked when the vehicles are loaded. Tomahawks could be loaded under the ASDS but in OHIO’s case, the tubes were loaded with SOF gear to support multiple sorties.
Before OHIO left Bangor, a large diameter UUV was loaded. This UUV was specially designed to search and map mine fields. The UUV is linked back to OHIO’s navigation and fire control systems to allow for remote identification of minefields.
The OHIO was converted to carry an additional 66 racks for support of additional SOF for 90 days as well as a surge capacity of up to I 02 people. Additionally, there are over 25 permanently installed pieces of exercise gear for maintenance of optimum muscular and cardiovascular fitness.
There is an enormous capacity for weapons, personnel and experimentation on the SSGN. Not only a storehouse for weapons, but the embarked staffs and additional support personnel give the SSGN endurance and multi mission capability.
- Tubes 3 to I 0 – Fully loaded Special Operating Forces Canisters
- Tubes 11 to 14 and 18 to 23 – Fully loaded multiple all up round canisters (70 Tomahawks)
- Tube 15 – Flexible payload module with AIM 9 missiles
- Tube 16 – UUV
- Tube 17-UAV
- Tube 24 – Chemical-biological facility
- 26 Combat Rubber Raiding Craft
- 39 Outboard Motors
- 66 additional special forces
- 20 from SDV team 1
- 30 Seals from various Seal teams
- 16 Advanced elements of Special Operating Command Pacific Staff (Core elements of the Joint Special Operations Task Force)
- Crew of USS OHIO – 160
- CO – Major Commander
- 160 Strong
- 4 man IT division to support 5 separate LANs
- Horizontal and vertical FT divisions
- Specially trained missile technician division to support new missile tube missions
- 10 man LOC/SOF division drawn from several other divisions
- SSN/SSBN/SSGN NECs and skill sets
- 50% married
- 30% married with children
The ship departed Guam fully ready for all mission areas and loaded out to stay on station up to 90 days.
The small Pacific island of OWAHU is suspected of harboring a terrorist cell closely aligned with radical extremist groups and country Orange. Satellite imagery indicates a possible chemical weapons facility on the southern coast of the island. Additionally, national assets indicate that the facility is being supplied by country orange.
Commander’s intentions that define our goals for the mission.
- Conduct covert surveillance in the vicinity of Owahu.
- Launch SOF missions to the island to confinn the presence of chemical weapons and a link to country Orange
- Prepare the battle space for future missions and potentially major combat operations
The ship transited to the areas of interest while continuing to rehearse with the special forces and practice all mission areas.
The ship conducted a covert surveillance in the vicinity of the island of OW AHU and determined the following information. (see slide with map) Most of this info was such that it could not be gathered by other national means. This not only set us up lo launch our SOF missions but provided valuable data back to the combatant commander. The large diameter UUV worked better than advertised and we ended up with an amazingly accurate map of the local minefield as we attempted to layout SOF mission execution points .
Our large volume and storage capacity provided the SOF mission commander with flexibility to change the sortie plan as the threat, sea state and weather changed. We launched more than 20 sorties against the island.
We worked in conjunction with airborne assets on one occasion to lay unattended ground sensors(UGS). The UGS provided us a network of sensors and a continuous flow of information.
One evening, there was no visual or ESM threat so we surfaced to conduct CRRC ops and fly a drone that the Special Forces brought for more airborne reconnaissance.
On one occasion the ASDS penetrated the harbor for nighttime photos.
On one occasion we lost depth control and had to conduct a break away for the SDV team and the embarked seals.
While conducting the SOF missions, the embarked elements of the Joint Special Operating Task Force planned future missions and maintained continuous communications with the rear element.
- On board analysis confined chemical weapons facility
- Local intelligence coupled with national assets confirmed that country Orange supplied now materials and trmspor1cd the chemical weapons from Owabu
- JSOTF Comaumder and 20 additional staff lo embark and direct operations against Owahu and prepare for operations against Onmgc
Following confirmation of the weapons facility, OHIO came off station to embark the remaining elements of the Joint Special Operating Forces Task Force (JSOTF) including Anny General Jones, the Special Operating Forces Commander, PACOM.
With the national com- mand authority to conduct the Tomahawk strike, the JSOTF coordinated a 20 missile strike and battle damage assessment. Special Operating Forces re- maiden on the beach to assess damage to the faciity and to gage enemy response .
Following the strike, OHIO’s goals were to recover the Special Forces ashore, monitor the local response and to monitor the response from country Orange.
Initially, the JSOTF was unable to call in any air assets for the surveillance of country Orange, so the decision was made to launch OHIO’s long range UAV. The UAV was launched from OHIO’s missile tube and provided surveillance for 18 hours until additional air assets could be brought to bear.
As the additional airborne assets were made available, the JSOTF established a network of forces to continue the surveillance. These assets extended OHIO’s range of influence over 500 miles and made her a true force multiplier.
As we recovered the final SOF team, country Orange assets, in the form of an ASW helicopter, and SSK and Frigate came into the area in response to the attacks. As the final team made their way back to OHIO, they were engaged by the helicopter. OHIO responded by launching an AIM 9 missile from her flexible payload module and destroyed the helicopter.
Seeing the destruction of the helicopter, the frigate raced towards the last position of the helicopter so OHIO was forced to take out the frigate with one well placed ADCAP. There was no further encounter with the Orange SSK.
OHIO then prepared to transition back to Guam and hand off the battle space to MICHIGAN who relieved us on station.
- Launched several more Tomahawk strikes against targets on Owahu
- No encounters with the Orange SSK
- Turnover of the battle space and situational awareness to others in the network of forces
- Relieved on station by Michigan
- Returned to Guam for reload and crew swap out
SSGN tough a new term for a new breed of warriors
- Combination ofSSN/SSBN skill sets
- SOF/Divers/SDVT teamwork
- Can do spirit to operate first of a kind equipment
- First of a kind lock out chamber operations
- SSGN volunteers
Our mission was a complete success. The SSGN operated on station, independent when needed and in consort with a network of forces when needed. We took into theater an entire JSOTF staff which executed a strike mission in conjunction with Special Forces missions and transitioned to major combat operations. We carried out traditional submarine operations as well as large volume tomahawk and SOF strike and even anti air operations. Finally, OHIO provided control for an entire network of forces while maintaining her covert status in theater. SSGN – a new era in submarine operations.