Military Wiki
USS Chicago (SSN-721)
USS Chicago (SSN-721) returns from Desert Storm.jpg
USS Chicago returning from Desert Storm
Career (US)
Name: Chicago
Namesake: The City of Chicago, Illinois
Ordered: 13 August 1981
Builder: Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company, Newport News, Virginia
Laid down: 5 January 1983
Launched: 13 October 1984
Commissioned: 27 September 1986[1]
Homeport: Apra Harbor, Guam
Status: in active service, as of 2022
Badge: USS Chicago SSN-721 Crest.png
General characteristics
Class & type: Los Angeles-class submarine
Displacement: 5759 tons light,
6162 tons full,
403 tons dead
Length: 362 ft (110 m)
Beam: 33 ft (10 m)
Draft: 31 ft (9.4 m)
Propulsion: one S6G reactor

Surfaced:20 knots (23 mph; 37 km/h)

Submerged: +20 knots (23 mph; 37 km/h) (official)
Complement: 12 officers, 98 men
Sensors and
processing systems:
BQQ-5 passive SONAR, BQS-15 detecting and ranging SONAR, WLR-8 fire control RADAR receiver, WLR-9 acoustic receiver for detection of active search SONAR and acoustic homing torpedoes, BRD-7 radio direction finder
Armament: 4 × 21 in (533 mm) bow tubes, 12x Vertical Launching System tubes, 27 Mk48 ADCAP torpedo reloads, Tomahawk land attack missile block 3 SLCM range 1,700 nautical miles (3,100 km), Harpoon anti–surface ship missile range 70 nautical miles (130 km), mine laying Mk67 mobile Mk60 captor mines
Motto: We Will[2]

USS Chicago (SSN-721) is a Los Angeles-class submarine, the fourth ship of the United States Navy to be named for the city of Chicago, Illinois. The contract to build her was awarded to Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company in Newport News, Virginia on 13 August 1981 and her keel was laid down on 5 January 1983. She was launched on 13 October 1984 sponsored by Mrs. Vicki Ann Paisley, wife of Melvyn R. Paisley assistant Secretary of the Navy, and commissioned on 27 September 1986, with Commander Robert Avery in command.

Ship's History

Early in 1996, an RQ-1 Predator aerial reconnaissance drone was successfully controlled from Chicago. The drone reached altitudes up to 6000 meters (20,000 ft) and ranged up to 185 kilometers (100 nmi.) from the submarine, which was operating at periscope depth.

In the summer of 2005, Chicago tested the Virtual Periscope, a system that would allow submerged submarines to observe the surface above them without having to come to a shallower depth, as is required by traditional periscopes. A small camera mounted on the sail of the submarine uses the surface of the ocean as a lens, collecting light from above the surface and refracting it below. High-speed signal processing software assembles an image of what is on the surface. The system's resolution does not allow ship identification, only indicating that something is on the surface. Objects 30 meters (100 feet) tall can be seen at about a distance of 1600 meters (one mile). Sufficient light is available when a camera is shallower than 30 to 60 meters (100 to 200 feet).

On 15 March 2010 the sub's Captain, Commander Jeff Cima, was relieved of command after facing an Admirals's Mast. The mast found that Cima had been drunk and had acted in an "unbecoming" manner during a visit with NROTC midshipmen at Cornell University on 10 March 2010. Cima was temporarily replaced by Captain James Horten.[3]

After completing a two-year maintenance and upgrade period at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard in October 2011, Chicago arrived in April 2012 at her new homeport, assigned to Submarine Squadron 15, based at Joint Region Marianas on the island of Guam.[4]

The current commanding officer of the USS Chicago is CDR Nick Tilbrook.[5]


The USS Chicago has earned multiple awards in its service life. Chicago has been awarded many unit awards, including the Navy Unit Commendation, three Meritorious Unit Commendations and four Navy "E" Ribbon Submarine Squadron Battle 'E's.

Further, the Chicago has been awarded several campaign and service awards, including the Navy Expeditionary Medal, National Defense Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, two Southwest Asia Service Medals, three Sea Service Ribbons, Kuwait Liberation Medal (Saudi Arabia),and the Kuwait Liberation Medal (Kuwait)

Further, one of the barracks buildings at Recruit Training Command is named after the Chicago.

In Fiction

USS Chicago plays a prominent role in Tom Clancy's novel Red Storm Rising.

USS Chicago is seen deploying elements of Task Force 141 in the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 mission "The Only Easy Day... Was Yesterday".


Further reading

  • Chicago (Submarine (nuclear-powered) : SSN-721), and Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company. Chicago Launching of SSN721, October 13, 1984. Newport News, Va: Newport News Shipbuilding, Tenneco Co, 1984. OCLC 690001032
  • Chicago (Submarine (nuclear-powered) : SSN-721). Welcome Aboard, USS Chicago SSN 721. United States: s.n, 1993. OCLC 689994981
  • Genat, Robin and Genat, Robert. Modern U.S. Naval Submarines. Osceola, WI: MBI Publishing Company, 1997.

External links

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