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41 for Freedom
Typical FBM Submarine
"41 for Freedom" Fleet Ballistic Missile (FBM) submarines
Class overview
Operators:  United States Navy
Succeeded by: Ohio class
Built: 1 November 1958 to 20 March 1965
Completed: 41
Active: 0
Lost: 0
Retired: 41
Preserved: 0
General characteristics
Length: 381–425 ft (116–130 m) (depending on class)[1]
Beam: 33 feet (10 m)[1]
Draft: 31 feet (9.4 m)[1]
Speed: 20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph)[1]
Test depth: In excess of 400 ft (120 m)[1]
Complement: 14 officers, 140 enlisted[1]
Armament: 4 × 21 inches (533 mm) bow torpedo tubes
16 × SLBMs depending upon class and vessel:[2]
UGM-27 Polaris
UGM-73 Poseidon
UGM-96A Trident

41 for Freedom refers to the US Navy Fleet Ballistic Missile (FBM) submarines from the George Washington, Ethan Allen, Lafayette, James Madison, and Benjamin Franklin classes. These five classes of ballistic-missile submarines were limited by the 1972 SALT I Treaty which limited the number of American submarine-launched ballistic missiles to 656 missiles, thus totaling forty-one submarines, hence the nickname "41 for Freedom".[3]


The "41 for Freedom" nuclear-powered submarines were armed with intermediate-range SLBMs (IRBMs) to create a deterrent force against the threat of nuclear war with any foreign power threatening the United States during the Cold War.

The US Navy created a new submarine classification for these boats: SSBN. The first of the "41 for Freedom" submarines to be completed was George Washington, which was commissioned on 30 December 1959. The last of these submarines to be commissioned was Will Rogers which was commissioned on 1 April 1967. These 41 were superseded by the submarines of the Ohio class.

Kamehameha was decommissioned on 2 April 2002, the last boat of the original "41 for Freedom" submarines, and the oldest submarine in the US Navy. Almost 37 years old, she held the record for the longest service lifetime of any nuclear-powered submarine.

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Jane's Fighting Ships, 1971–72
  2. Jane's Fighting Ships, 1985–86
  3. "Nuclear-powered Ballistic Missile Submarines". Fast Attacks and Boomer: Submarines in the Cold War. National Museum of American History. 2000. Retrieved 2012-01-30. 

External links

From the Federation of American Scientists:

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