fighting ships of the world



GEORGE WASHINGTON nuclear powered ballistic missile submarines (1959 - 1961)

George Washington 1959

George Washington 1963

George Washington 1979

No Name Yard No Builder Laid down Launched Comm Fate
SSBN598, 11/1981- SSN598 George Washington (ex-Scorpion) 152 Electric Boat, Groton 1/11/1957 9/6/1959 30/12/1959 attack nuclear-powered submarine 11/1981, stricken 1/1985
SSBN599, 10/1981- SSN599 Patrick Henry 153 Electric Boat, Groton 27/5/1958 22/9/1959 11/4/1960 attack nuclear-powered submarine 10/1981, stricken 12/1985
SSBN600 Theodore Roosevelt (ex-Scamp)   Mare Island N Yd, Vallejo 20/5/1958 3/10/1959 13/2/1961 stricken 12/1982
SSBN601, 3/1982- SSN601 Robert E. Lee 547 Newport News SB 25/8/1958 18/12/1959 16/9/1960 attack nuclear-powered submarine 3/1982, stricken 11/1983
SSBN602 Abraham Lincoln   Portsmouth N Yd, Kittery 1/11/1958 14/5/1960 8/3/1961 stricken 2/1981


Displacement standard, t


Displacement normal, t

5959 / 6709

Length, m

113.9 wl 116.4 oa

Breadth, m


Draught, m


No of shafts



2 sets General Electric geared steam turbines, 1 Westinghouse S5W nuclear reactor

Power, h. p.


Max speed, kts

16 / 22

Fuel, t


Endurance, nm (kts)

practically unlimited


16 Polaris A-1 SLBM (UGM-27A), 6 - 533 Mk 59 TT (bow, 12)


BPS-12 radar, BQS-4, BQR-2 sonars



Diving depth operational, m



Ship project history: The first US ballistic missile submarines, these vessels were converted from Skipjack class attack submarines under construction, by the addition of a 39.6m missile section amidships; they have the S5W reactor and the six bow torpedo tubes of the earlier submarines, but reportedly with much reduced torpedo loads. All were converted from Polaris A-1 to A-3 missiles, but could nor accommodate Poseidon; they were deactivated in 1980-81 to make way for the Ohio class.

    Several alternative proposals for future use were made. For example, up to eight cruise missiles can be accommodated in a single Polaris tube. Beginning late in 1980, the missile sections of Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln were physically removed, both units decommissioned, where they remained on the Navy List in two pieces. Missile tubes on other three submarines were filled with cement, and missile fire control system removed.

Modernizations: 1966, George Washington, Patrick Henry, Robert E. Lee; 1967, Theodore Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln: - 16 Polaris A-1 SLBM (UGM-27A); + 16 Polaris A-3 SLBM (UGM-27C)

1981, George Washington, Patrick Henry; 1982, Robert E. Lee: - 16 Polaris A-3 SLBM (UGM-27C)

Naval service: No significant events.

George Washington

Ivan Gogin, 2015