SSN 640 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN class
|Sources and Resources
Originally commissioned as ballistic missile submarines, the two remaining members of this class of submarine have been converted to special operations attack submarines, with a capacity for carrying and delivering special operations forces added.
The ‘boomers’ converted to dual DDS carriers are huge compared to STURGEON SSNs. On the SSBN the SEALs and crew can be berthed without ‘hot racking’ - three men sharing two bunks on a rotating basis. Enough exercise equipment can be loaded for the SEALs (and crew) to maintain the physical conditioning required for mission success. Mission planning, briefings, and operations can be conducted with minimum crew disruption. Submarine crew training and casualty drills can be conducted with minimum impact on the SEALs. Both the submarine crew and SEAL teams can better maintain operational proficiency.
USS KAMEHAMEHA (SSN 642) is a BENJAMIN FRANKLIN class fleet ballistic missile submarine, built in 1965, recently completed conversion to a drydeck shelter/swimmer delivery platform. USS KAMEHAMEHA is now a very capable attack submarine with extensive modifications to enable her to conduct missions in support of special warfare operations.
In March of 1994 USS JAMES K. POLK (SSN 645) completed a 19-month conversion from ballistic missile submarine to attack/special warfare submarine at Newport News Shipbuilding. She then changed homeports to Norfolk where she was a mainstay at Submarine Squadron SIX. As the only dual dry-deck shelter submarine in the U.S. Atlantic Fleet, POLK made three deployments to the Mediterranean Sea. The submarine held its inactivation ceremony 08 January 1999 at Naval Station Norfolk after nearly 33 years of service.
The inactivation of the POLK leaves the KAMEHAMEHA (SSN 642) as the Navy's only former ballistic missile submarine equiped with Dry Deck Shelters (DDSs).
Specifications Return to Top
|Displacement||8,250 tons submerged|
|Speed||25+ knots submerged|
|Depth||Greater than 800 feet|
|Horizontal Tubes||Four Tubes|
|Vertical Tubes||12 Vertical Launch System Tubes|
|Special Operations||2 Dry Deck Shelers
2 SEAL Delivery Vehicle [SDV]
|Unit Operating Cost
|~$13,000,000 [source: [FY1996 VAMOSC]|
Ships Return to Top
|Kamehameha||SSN 642||Mare Island NSY||Pearl Harbor||01 Aug 1962||12 Dec 1965|
|James K. Polk||SSN 645||Electric Boat||Norfolk||01 Nov 1962||16 Apr 1966||08 Jan 1999|
Sources and Resources Return to Top
- USS James K. Polk deactivated Navnews for 02/99
- USS JAMES K. POLK (SSN 645) INACTIVATES 6 JANUARY 1999
- USS Kamehameha deploys for six months Navywire 01 June 1999 - USS Kamehameha (SSN 642), capable of deploying Special Operations Forces, departed May 28 for a six-month deployment.