Staff, Kitsap Sun
15 March 2016
The USS Kentucky departed Sunday from Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor for its first strategic deterrent mission since 2011.
The Ohio-class ballistic-missile submarine recently completed a 40-month refueling overhaul to extend its life for 20 years.
After completing the overhaul, the ship and crew had to pass three major certifications. The first was the command and control exercise, to demonstrate the crew's ability to perform tasks needed to complete the mission.
The second were demonstration and shakedown operations to determine whether the crew could operate and maintain the weapons systems. During this certification, the Kentucky launched two D5 Trident missiles off the coast of San Diego.
The final hurdle was the nuclear weapons acceptance inspection that certifies the crew can safely maintain the strategic weapon system.
The Kentucky, which was commissioned in July 1991, has completed 91 strategic deterrent patrols.
Ohio-class submarines were designed with a 30-year service life. They've been extended to 42 years to fill the gap while the next generation is built.