National Security Science Podcast

Nuclear Warhead Ohio-Class Submarine Patrol

Episode Summary

Ohio-class submarines disappear into the ocean for 70 days at a time, carrying 155 sailors, 24 nuclear-armed missiles, and more hot sauce than your local taqueria. Retired Naval officer Mark Levin gives a firsthand account.

Episode Notes

The National Security Science podcast is a spin-off of National Security Science magazine at Los Alamos National Laboratory. We bring you stories from the Lab’s Weapons Program—stories that show how innovative science and engineering are the key to keeping America safe. Or, as we like to say, better science equals better security.

In this episode, Naval officer-turned-Laboratory employee Mark Levin recounts his time on board the USS Nebraska. "I order one prolonged blast on the ship’s whistle and we are underway, embarking on a 10-week strategic deterrence mission. Carrying 24 Trident II D5 submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) armed with Los Alamos–designed nuclear warheads, the Nebraska will prowl the depths of the ocean, its exact location unknown to everyone but its crew. Our mission is to remain hidden at sea with our SLBMs, so as to deter a nuclear attack on the United States by demonstrating to other countries that the United States has an assured second-strike capability—a survivable system for carrying out a retaliatory nuclear attack."

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Photo for this episode's artwork: U.S. Department of Defense


Previous title: Salt Life: Go on patrol with an Ohio-class submarine that's ready to launch nuclear warheads at a moment’s notice.