The Trident I C-4 submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) was deployed with the U.S. Navy Fleet of strategic submarines from 1979 to 2004.
Trident I SLBMs began their initial operational capability (IOC) in 1979. That meant that Trident I deployment started before the Ohio-class SSBNs were ready.
Lafayette class deployment
So, Trident I missiles were added to existing Lafayette-class SSBNs. Specifically, 6 submarines of the James Madison sub-class and 6 submarines of the Benjamin Franklin sub-class.
These submarines were first made for Polaris/Poseidon SLBMs and conversion was required. The Lafayette submarines converted to carry the Trident I C-4 missiles were:
- USS James Madison (SSBN-627)
- USS Daniel Boone (SSBN-629)
- USS John C Calhoun (SSBN-630)
- USS Von Steuben (SSBN-632)
- USS Casimir Pulaski (SSBN-633)
- USS Stonewall Jackson (SSBN-634)
- USS Benjamin Franklin (SSBN-640)
- USS Simon Bolivar (SSBN-641)
- USS George Bancroft (SSBN-643)
- USS Henry L Stimson (SSBN-655)
- USS Francis Scott Key (SSBN-657)
- USS Mariano G Vallejo (SSBN-658)
These submarines were based on the Polaris Missile Facility Atlantic at Charleston, South Carolina.
By 1982, the number of Trident I SLBMs on Lafayette-class submarines reached its peak of 192 missiles, which equaled 1,536 W-76 thermonuclear warheads. That same year, Ohio-class SSBNs designed for Trident started to be commissioned.
From 1982, the number of Trident I SLBMs on Lafayette-class submarines stayed at 192 missiles. This meant there were 1,536 warheads. This number stayed the same for ten years. But in 1992, it dropped to 176 missiles or 1,152 warheads. By 1993, all submarines of the Lafayette class were decommissioned.
Ohio class deployment
The initial eight ships of the Ohio class, stationed at the Strategic Weapons Facility Pacific in Bangor, Washington, were configured to carry 24 Trident I (C4) SLBMs. These submarines were:
- USS Ohio (SSBN-726)
- USS Michigan (SSBN-727)
- USS Florida (SSBN-728)
- USS Georgia (SSBN-729)
- USS Henry M. Jackson (SSBN-730)
- USS Alabama (SSBN-731)
- USS Alaska (SSBN-732)
- USS Nevada (SSBN-733)
From the ninth Trident submarine, specifically the USS Tennessee (SSBN-734), every new SSBN was fitted with the Trident II missiles. These Trident II configured submarines were based at the Strategic Weapons Facility Atlantic at Kings Bay, Georgia.
In 1993, Ohio-class boats had 192 Trident I missiles or 1,536 warheads.
At the beginning of the 2000s, the U.S. Navy converted the four oldest C4-capable Ohio submarines to a conventional (non-nuclear) role and the other four to carry D5 missiles. By 2004, all Trident Is were not in use anymore.
SSBNs and SLBM Launchers
The table below details the Trident C4 deployment from 1979 to 2004 (as of December 31):
W-76 Warhead deployments
The table below details the W-76 warheads deployment in Trident C4 missiles between 1979 to 2004 (as of December 31):
- United States Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missiles (SLBM)
- Ohio-Class (SSBN-726) Ballistic Missile Submarines
- Trident I C-4 (UGM-96)
- Trident II D-5 (UGM-133A)
- Evolution of the U.S. Sea-Based Nuclear Missile Deterrent: Warfighting Capabilities by George J. Refuto, 2011