Monday, August 03, 2015

U.S. NAVY - Ballistic Missile Subs

"How many ballistic missile submarines does the U.S. really need?" PBS NewsHour 7/31/2015


SUMMARY:  The Navy's formidable fleet of nuclear-armed submarines is approaching the end of its lifespan, and there’s growing debate over how many are needed and how to pay for them.  Jamie McIntyre, national security correspondent for Al Jazeera America on special assignment for the NewsHour, got a rare behind-the-scenes look at one of the most powerful weapons ever built.

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  During the 1980s and ’90s, the U.S. Navy built a fleet of nuclear-armed submarines.  Their mission?  Deter an attack against the United States, and, if that failed, fight a nuclear war.

Those submarines are now approaching the end of their life spans.  The Navy plans to build replacements, but there’s growing debate over how many are needed and how to pay for them.

Veteran Pentagon reporter Jamie McIntyre, who is now national security correspondent for Al-Jazeera America, has been on special assignment for the “NewsHour.”  His report was produced in partnership with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

MAN:  Man battle stations, missile.  Spin up all missiles.

MAN:  Sound the general alarm.

JAMIE MCINTYRE (NewsHour):  If America’s strategy of nuclear deterrence ever fails, the beginning of the end might look something like this.

The U.S. Navy’s ballistic missile submarines are all part of the Ohio class, named for the first submarine of the design, the USS Ohio.  They have only one mission:  to lurk silently, deep beneath the ocean, ready to rain nuclear devastation on virtually any target anywhere any time on orders of the president.

Submerged just off the coast of Hawaii, the 180-man crew of the USS Pennsylvania demonstrated for the PBS NewsHour an abridged version of what it practices every week the sub is at sea.  The submarine’s video screens display only unclassified data.

MAN:  We have a verified and correct launch order directing the launch of missiles 7, 3, and 5.

JAMIE MCINTYRE:  And the Navy reviewed our footage to ensure nothing was compromised.  What we saw was a mock doomsday scenario.

No comments: