Nuclear Attack Submarines. During the Cold War, one of the main tasks of fast attack submarines (SSNs) became finding and tracking Soviet submarines. Construction & Anatomy: Submarine Anatomy
Nuclear Ballistic Missile Submarines. From 1960 to 1966 the U.S. Navy launched a total of 41 boomers, called the "41 for freedom." Every SSBN has two full crews, Blue and Gold.


In the 1950s, the U.S. Navy developed two distinct types of submarine to take advantage of the new capabilities of nuclear power: fast attacks and boomers. The Navy officially designated fast attacks as SSN, for submarine (nuclear propulsion). The official designation for boomer is SSBN, for ballistic missile submarine (nuclear propulsion). Boomers are also known as fleet ballistic missile submarines.

Despite significant differences, fast attacks and boomers have many basic features in common. All submarines must enclose much more of their machinery and equipment within their hulls than surface ships. That is why they are so cramped. A submarine has only about one-third the living space per person that a destroyer of the same tonnage has.


Click the diagram segment above to view a comparison of U.S. submarine classes

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Soviet Submarines. Like the U.S. Navy, the Soviet Navy found German submarine innovations of compelling interest.

HY-80 steel, stronger than high-tensile alloy formerly used, allows a submarine's pressure hull to withstand increased operating depths.


In the 1950s, the U.S. Navy developed two distinct types of submarine to take advantage of the new capabilities of nuclear power: fast attacks and boomers. The Navy officially designated fast attacks as SSN, for submarine (nuclear propulsion). The official designation for boomer is SSBN, for ballistic missile submarine (nuclear propulsion). Boomers are also known as fleet ballistic missile submarines.

Despite significant differences, fast attacks and boomers have many basic features in common. All submarines must enclose much more of their machinery and equipment within their hulls than surface ships. That is why they are so cramped. A submarine has only about one-third the living space per person that a destroyer of the same tonnage has.