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USS Los Angeles (SSN-688)

Nuclear-Powered Attack Submarine (1976)

Naval Warfare

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The USS Los Angeles was part of one of the largest submarine groups constructed during the Cold War.

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 04/30/2021 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.
The nuclear-powered USS Los Angeles (SSN-668) attack submarine represented the lead ship of the largest group of vessels constructed for the United States Navy during the Cold War, totaling 62 boats in the Los Angeles-class. The class was purposefully designed for anti-submarine operations centered on countering Soviet boats that - in the event of all out war - would more than likely be targeting important US naval carrier battle groups. Built and launched between 1976 and 1996, the class continues to serve in force as of 2013 and was led by its first in class - the USS Los Angeles (SSN-688).

At its core, the USS Los Angeles was categorized as an "attack submarine" and, as such, the vessel was appropriately armed with several primary weapon types to accomplish her offensive-minded task. This included four 21" bow-mounted torpedo tubes supporting the Gould Mark 48 torpedo series. Tomahawk cruise missile and Harpoon anti-ship missile capability was also a part of the Los Angeles' forte as were a host of onboard defensive suites - Mk 60 captor naval mines, Mk 67 Mobile naval mines and the Emerson Electric Mk 2 torpedo decoy system among others. Electronics of the SSN-688 consisted of a BPS-15 surface search radar and several types of passive/active search and attack low-frequency sonar systems. Additionally, the class could also call upon a sonar array, the MIDAS suite and a TB-18 passive towed-sonar array.

The USS Los Angeles was powered by a single S6G pressurized, water-cooled nuclear reactor (based on the D2G) which, in turn, drove 2 x turbines developing 35,000 horsepower to a single shaft at the stern. An auxiliary motor provided an additional, on-call 325 horsepower output. Maximum submerged speed (though still classified) was estimated to be approximately 30 knots with a surface speed nearing 25 knots. Range was essentially unlimited due to the nuclear-nature of the drive system.

As designed, the Los Angeles took on a conventional modern submarine appearance with a well-contoured, tubular hull tapered at both ends for hydrodynamic efficiency. The sail was set ahead of midships and contained the requisite optics, sensor and communications masts. At the stern as a dorsal and ventral rudder assembly with outboard stabilizers added. The multi-blade propeller was the extreme aft of the vessel. The boat displaces at 5,700 tons on light load and 6,070 tons when full. Dimensions included a running length of 362 feet, a beam of 32 feet, 10 inches feet and a draught of 30 feet, 10 inches. The Los Angeles was officially tested to depths of 950 feet. Its crew complement was typically 134 personnel made up of 13 officers and 121 enlisted.

The USS Los Angeles was first laid down in 1972 by Newport News Shipbuilding, launched in 1974 and officially commissioned in 1976 after the west coast city of Los Angeles. She made her homeport at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii during her tenure. As the Los Angeles-class holds a pedigree dating back to the Cold War 1970s, many of her class have already been retired as of this writing (2013). It is noteworthy that the Los Angeles-class as a whole became the second most expensive submarine class in USN service after the Seawolf-class. Due to the changes offered to later models of the Los Angeles class, original batch boats are designated "688" while "VLS" represents USS Providence through USS Newport News and "688I" covered USS San Juan through USS Cheyenne.

The USS Los Angeles was removed from USN service on February 1st, 2010 and officially decommissioned on February 4th, 2011. Her name was struck from the Naval Register a few days prior on February 2nd, 2011.


Service Year

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United States

Destroyed, Scrapped.

Newport News Shipbuilding - USA
Los Angeles-class

USS Los Angeles (SSN-688); USS Baton Rouge (SSN-689); USS Philadelphia (SSN-690); USS Memphis (SSN-691); USS Omaha (SSN-692); USS Cincinnati (SSN-693); USS Groton (SSN-694); USS Birmingham (SSN-695); USS New York City (SSN-696); USS Indianapolis (SSN-697); USS Bremerton (SSN-698); USS Jacksonville (SSN-699); USS Dallas (SSN-700); USS La Jolla (SSN-701); USS Phoenix (SSN-702); USS Boston (SSN-703); USS Baltimore (SSN-704); USS City of Corpus Christi (SSN-705); USS Albuquerque (SSN-706); USS Portsmouth (SSN-707); USS Minneapolis-Saint Paul (SSN-708); USS Hyman G. Rickover (SSN-709); USS Augusta (SSN-710); USS San Francisco (SSN-711); USS Atlanta; USS Houston (SSN-713); USS Norfolk (SSN-714); USS Buffalo (SSN-715); USS Salt Lake City (SSN-716); USS Olympia (SSN-717; USS Honolulu (SSN-718); USS Providence (SSN-719); USS Pittsburgh (SSN-720); USS Chicago (SSN-721); USS Key West (SSN-722); USS Oklahoma City (SSN-723); USS Louisville (SSN-724); USS Helena (SSN-725); USS Newport News (SSN-750); USS San Juan (SSN-751); USS Pasadena (SSN-752); USS Albany (SSN-753); USS Topeka (SSN-754); USS Miami (SSN-755); USS Scranton (SSN-756); USS Alexandria (SSN-757); USS Asheville (SSN-758); USS Jefferson City (SSN- 759); USS Annapolis (SSN- 760); USS Springfield (SSN- 761); USS Columbus (SSN- 762); USS Santa Fe (SSN- 763); USS Boise (SSN- 764); USS Montpelier (SSN- 765); USS Charlotte (SSN- 766); USS Hampton (SSN- 767); USS Hartford (SSN- 768); USS Toledo (SSN- 769); USS Tucson (SSN- 770); USS Columbia (SSN- 771); USS Greeneville (SSN- 772); USS Cheyenne (SSN- 773)

National flag of the United States United States
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Submerged Attack
Traveling under the surface to search, track, and / or engage or reconnoiter areas.
Maritime Patrol
Active patroling of vital waterways and maritime areas; can also serve as local deterrence against airborne and seaborne threats.
Fleet Support
Serving in support (either firepower or material) of the main surface fleet in Blue Water environments.

361.0 ft
110.03 m
32.0 ft
9.75 m
30.0 ft
9.14 m

Installed Power: 1 x S6G pressurized water-cooled nuclear reactor feeding 2 x turbines producing 35,000 horsepower to a single shaft; 1 x auxiliary motor producing 325 horsepower.
Surface Speed
25.0 kts
(28.8 mph)
Submerged Speed
30.0 kts
(34.5 mph)
Essentially Unlimited

kts = knots | mph = miles-per-hour | nm = nautical miles | mi = miles | km = kilometers

1 kts = 1.15 mph | 1 nm = 1.15 mi | 1 nm = 1.85 km
4 x 21" bow tubes for Gould Mk 48 torpedoes (26 x Mk 48 torpedoes).
Tomahawk (TLAM-C/TLAM-D) surface-to-surface cruise missiles.
Harpoon surface-to-surface anti-ship missiles.

Supported Types

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Graphical image of an aircraft anti-ship missile
Graphical image of an air launched cruise missile weapon

(Not all weapon types may be represented in the showcase above)

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