Hell in a Handbasket noted a Strategy Page entry about the upcoming Silent Hammer exercises which are a proof-of-concept test of the Navy’s new Cruise Missile Submarine (SSGN) plan. MO mentioned SSGNs here.

Noted is the USS Georgia, one of four Ohio-class ballistic missile subs slated to be converted to SSGNs instead of being decommissioned. The Georgia and the USS Virginia, the Navy’s newest attack sub, will participate in Silent Hammer, performing Special Forces operations and other covert missions. Go check out the posts for some good info.

One thing to keep in mind, though, is that the Georgia has NOT yet undergone the SSGN conversion process. Exactly how the Navy is simulating the new capabilities, I’m not sure. In exercise Giant Shadow last year, a rubber raft was used to simulate the nifty high-tech ASDS mini-sub.

In any event the Georgia will not begin her year-long refueling process, which takes place before the SSGN conversion, until next spring. The Ohio recently finished her refueling and began the conversion. The USS Michigan took the spot of the Ohio on the refueling slip. The conversion takes two years after the completion of refueling.

Recently, the captains of all four SSGN-bound subs met to discuss the future of their commands.

Also, joining Rear Adm. Williams was Rear Adm. Paul Sullivan, Commander Submarine Force, U. S. Pacific Fleet, who presided over a redesignation ceremony for the USS GEORGIA and the USS MICHIGAN, which changed their status from SSBN to SSGN.

“Congratulations on achieving this Navy milestone. The task in front of you is not easy. There is a lot of hard work ahead for the SSGN crews. A lot is expected of this program and there are still unknowns and challenges ahead but the character of our Sailors are formed during these challenges,” said Sullivan while Sailors from USS MICHIGAN and USS GEORGIA symbolically switched their headgear from ballcaps with the SSBN logo to SSGN.

I’m not exactly sure why the Michigan and Georgia changed status already. I guess since they will no longer perform their ballistic missile sub mission, they’re guided missile subs. Whatever floats your boat. So to speak.

Also, it seems to me that proof-of-concept work should have been done before the billions of dollars had been budgeted and conversion work already begun. But maybe that’s just me.