U.S. Nebraska ballistic missile submarine returns from first strategic deterrent patrol since 2013
On July 12, the Blue crew of the Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine USS Nebraska (SSBN 739) return home to Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor following their first strategic patrol since 2013.
According to the press service of the U.S. Navy, the Nebraska ballistic missile submarine recently completed a 41-month Engineered Refueling Overhaul (ERO) to extend the life of the submarine for another 20 years.
“Nebraska’s return to strategic service represents an important milestone in the life of the ship,” said Capt. Nicholas Tilbrook, Commander, Submarine Squadron 17. “When the decision was made to extend the Ohio-Class submarines from a 30-year ship life to 42 years, midlife refueling overhauls became an important part of that strategy. During the lengthy shipyard period, extensive maintenance is accomplished in addition to refueling the reactor. Numerous critical pieces of equipment and systems are refurbished, replaced or modernized so the submarine’s reliability and operational capabilities at the completion of the overhaul are increased. It is vital that our Ohio-class SSBNs continue their tremendous track record of operational reliability, unmatched stealth, and peerless strategic systems until the Ohio-class follow-on, the Columbia-class, comes online in the 2030s.”
After completing the overhaul, the ship and both crews successfully completed three major certifications. The first was the command and control exercise, which demonstrated the crew’s ability to execute the mission and accomplish all required tasking. The second major certification was the Demonstration and Shakedown Operations (DASO), which validated both the ship’s strategic systems and the crew’s ability to effectively operate the strategic weapons systems. During this certification, Nebraska successfully launched two D5 Trident missiles off the coast of San Diego. Finally, the Nebraska crews completed a nuclear weapons acceptance inspection, which certified that the crew could safely, securely, and effectively maintain the strategic weapons system.