USS Ohio (US, 1979)

USS Ohio (US, 1979)

Nuclear propulsion was first used by the U.S. Navy for powering submarines in the mid-20th century.



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Submarines are watercraft capable of long-term underwater operation. They appeared in large numbers at the beginning of the 20th century. Although they are also used for research and rescue tasks, they are primarily used for military purposes.

Initially, submarines were powered by steam engines. Submarines used in World War I were already powered by petrol engines on the surface and electric engines when submerged. The use of nuclear power emerged in 1954 with the American Navy being the first to use it. There are three basic types of nuclear submarines: ballistic missile submarines, cruise missile submarines and attack submarines. There are of course several other, special types.

Modern submarines have a torpedo shape and virtually unlimited range. Only the conning tower, the rudders and the propeller protrude from the hull.

The USS Ohio, commissioned in 1981, is a ballistic missile submarine. It is 170 m (560 ft) long and 13 m (42 ft) wide, and it has a displacement of 18,700 tonnes. This enormous submarine is powered by a nuclear reactor, which can accelerate her to a speed of nearly 50 km/h (31 mph). The submarine is operated by a crew of 155. The sonar and navigation instruments are located at the front of the hull. Torpedo tubes are located in the front below, while Trident II ballistic missiles with nuclear warheads are located at the center, near the crew's quarters. The nuclear reactor, turbine, generator and diesel engine are at the back.

Named after the 17th U.S. state and having passed on that name to an entire class of submarines, this great watercraft will hopefully remain in service in the U.S. Navy for many years to come.

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