for Submariners

by Hamilton 1:1 Communications, LLC

Lafayette Class
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SSBN-616 Lafayette-Class FBM Submarines



The USS James Monroe (SSBN-622) on 9 January 1968 became the first submarine with POLARIS A2's to enter overhaul and to receive POLARIS A3 capability.


In 1974 the SSBN Extended Refit Program (ERP). was initiated. Previously, an operational SSBN was scheduled to undergo an overhaul approximately every 7 ½ years, which resulted in taking it off line for almost 2 years. To increase the SSBNs at sea effectiveness, it was decided to initiate a program to accomplish some preventive/corrective maintenance (mini-overhaul) on SSBNs at its normal refit site. This was done by extending a normal 32-day refit/upkeep between patrols to provide a 60-day extended refit period. This was to be conducted at 4-year and 7 ½ year intervals after initial deployment or overhaul of a SSBN. The time between overhauls was then extended to 10 years versus the 7 ½ years. The first SSBN to undergo ERP was the USS James Madison (SSBN-627); the ERP was conducted at the Holy Loch, Scotland, tender refit site in September- November 1974.


Lockheed commenced the TRIDENT I (C4) program in November of 1973 with the missile's IOC date established as 1979. The first of the new Ohio-Class submarines was authorized in 1974 but would not be available until 1979. Thus the Navy decided to borrow a page from the Extended Refit Program (ERP) book and a C3 to C4 SSBN "backfit" program was initiated in mid- 1976. Five additional SSBNs 629, 630, and 634 underwent a "pierside backfit" while three other SSBNs (627, 632, and 633) were backfitted during their normally-scheduled second shipyard overhauls.


On 10 June 1985, the White House announced the decision to dismantle a ballistic missile submarine to remain within the SALT II ceiling on MIRVed missiles. USS Sam Rayburn (SSBN-635) was selected to fulfill this requirement and was deactivated on 16 September 1985, with missile tubes filled with concrete and tube hatches removed.

The USS Daniel Webster (SSBN-626) was the last Lafayette Class submarine built. She was originally built with diving planes mounted on a "mini-sail" near the bow leading to her nickname "Old Funny Fins". This configuration, unique to US submarines, was an attempt to reduce the effect of porpoising. While successful, the "mini-sail" required to contain the operating mechanism reduced hydrodynamic efficiency and lowered her overall speed. During a mid-1970s overhaul, these unusual planes were removed and standard fairwater planes were installed. (See images below)


The USS Sam Rayburn was converted into a training platform - Moored Training Ship (MTS-635). The Sam Rayburn arrived for conversion on February 1, 1986, and on July 29, 1989 the first Moored Training Ship achieved initial criticality. Modifications included special mooring arrangements including a mechanism to absorb power generated by the main propulsion shaft. USS Daniel Webster (SSBN 626) was converted to the second Moored Training Ship (MTS2 / MTS 626) in 1993. The Moored Training Ship Site is located at Charleston, SC. The USS Sam Rayburn is scheduled to operate as an MTS until 2014 while undergoing shipyard availabilities at four year intervals.

Boats Built


General Dynamics Electric Boat Division.
Mare Island Naval Shipyard,
Portsmouth Naval Shipyard,
Newport News Shipbuilding
Power Plant:
S5W nuclear reactor
Two geared steam turbines,
15,000 SHP, one shaft
425 feet (129.6 meters)
33 feet (10.06 meters)
light: 6,650 tons,
standard: 7,250 tons,
submerged: 8,250 tons.
16-20 knots Surfaced,
22 -25 knots Submerged.
Test depth:
1,300 feet
13 Officers,
130 Men
16 tubes for Polaris or Poseidon,
4 - 21" Torpedo Tubes (All Forward),
MK 14/16 Anti-ship Torpedo,
MK 37 Anti-Submarine Torpedo,
MK 45 ASTOR Nuclear Torpedo,
MK 48 Anti-Submarine Torpedo.