USS Jimmy Carter

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Jimmy Carter returns to NSB Kitsap, 2017
Jimmy Carter's profile
United States
NameUSS Jimmy Carter
NamesakeJimmy Carter
Ordered29 June 1996
BuilderGeneral Dynamics Electric Boat
Laid down5 December 1998
Launched13 May 2004
Christened5 June 2004
Commissioned19 February 2005
HomeportBangor Annex of Naval Base Kitsap, Washington
MottoSemper Optima ("Always the Best")
Statusin active service
General characteristics
Class and typeModified Seawolf-class submarine
  • 7,568 tons light
  • 12,139 tons full
  • 1,569 tons dead
  • 138 m (452.8 ft) overall
  • 128.5 m (421.6 ft) waterline length
Beam12.1 m (39.7 ft)
Draft10.9 m (35.8 ft)
  • 1 S6W PWR 220 MW (300,000 hp), HEU 93.5%[1][2]
  • 1 secondary propulsion submerged motor
  • 2 steam turbines 57,000 shp (43 MW) [2][3]
  • 1 shaft
  • 1 pump-jet propeller
Speedgreater than 25 knots (46 km/h)[6]
Complement15 officers, 126 enlisted
Armament8 × 26.5 inch torpedo tubes, sleeved for 21 inch weapons[4] (up to 50 Tomahawk land attack missile/Harpoon anti-ship missile/Mk 48 guided torpedo carried in torpedo room)[5]
Diagram of Jimmy Carter, showing added features

USS Jimmy Carter (SSN-23) is the third and final Seawolf-class nuclear-powered fast-attack submarine in the United States Navy. Commissioned in 2005, she is named for the 39th president of the United States, Jimmy Carter, the only president to have qualified on submarines.[7] The only submarine to be named for a living president, Jimmy Carter is also one of the few vessels, and only the third submarine of the US Navy, to be named for a living person. Extensively modified from the original design of her class, she is sometimes described as a subclass unto herself.[citation needed]



The contract to build Jimmy Carter was to the Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics Corporation in Groton, Connecticut on 29 June 1996, and her keel was laid on 5 December 1998. Original schedules called for Jimmy Carter to be commissioned in late 2001 or early 2002. Electric Boat was awarded an $887 million extension to the Jimmy Carter contract on 10 December 1999 to modify the boat for testing new submarine systems and classified missions previously carried out by USS Parche.[8] During modification, her hull was extended 100 feet (30 m) to create a 2,500-ton supplementary middle section which forms a Multi-Mission Platform (MMP). This section is fitted with an ocean interface for divers, remotely operated vehicles (ROVs), and special operation equipment; ROV handling system, storage, and deployment space for mission systems, and a pressure-resistant passage between the fore and aft parts of the submarine to accommodate the boat's crew.[9][10][11]

Jimmy Carter was christened on 5 June 2004, and the ship sponsor was former First Lady Rosalynn Carter. One result of the changes was that Jimmy Carter was commissioned more than six years after USS Connecticut and almost four months after the commissioning of USS Virginia, the first of the Virginia-class subs.

Jimmy Carter has additional maneuvering devices fitted fore and aft that allow her to keep station over selected targets in odd currents. Intelligence experts speculate that the MMP may find use in missions as an underwater splicing chamber for optical fiber cables.[12][13][14][15]


On 19 November 2004 Jimmy Carter completed alpha sea trials, her first voyage in the open seas. On 22 December, Electric Boat delivered Jimmy Carter to the US Navy, and she was commissioned 19 February 2005 at NSB New London.

Jimmy Carter began a transit from NSB New London to her new homeport at the Bangor Annex of Naval Base Kitsap, Washington on 14 October 2005 but was forced to return when an unusually high wave caused damage while the submarine was running on the surface. The damage was repaired and Jimmy Carter left New London the following day, arriving at Bangor the afternoon of 9 November 2005.

In April and September 2017 Jimmy Carter returned twice to her homeport at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, flying a Jolly Roger flag, traditionally indicative of a successful mission.[16]



See also[edit]


  1. ^ Alan Kuperman; Frank von Hippel (10 April 2020). "US study of reactor and fuel types to enable naval reactors to shift from HEU fuel". IPFM Blog.
  2. ^ a b "Validation of the Use of Low Enriched Uranium as a Replacement for Highly Enriched Uranium in US Submarine Reactors" (PDF). June 2015. p. 32. Retrieved 20 November 2021.
  3. ^ "S6W Advanced Fleet Reactor". Retrieved 23 January 2023.
  4. ^ Schank, John F.; Cesse, Cameron; Ip, Frank W.; Lacroix, Robert; Murphy, Mark V.; Arena, Kristy N.; Kamarck; Lee, Gordon T. (2011). "Learning from Experience: Volume II: Lessons from the U.S. Navy's Ohio, Seawolf, and Virginia Submarine Programs".
  5. ^ "Attack Submarines - SSN". United States Navy Fact Files. United States Navy. Retrieved 13 November 2021.
  6. ^ "The US Navy -- Fact File". Archived from the original on 3 July 2007. Retrieved 5 July 2007.
  7. ^ "Lieutenant James Earle Carter, Jr., USN". Naval History & Heritage Command. United States Navy. Retrieved 22 March 2021.
  8. ^ Zimmerman, W. Frederick (2008). SSN-23 Jimmy Carter: U.S. Navy Submarine (Seawolf Class). Nimble Books. p. 1. ISBN 978-1-934840-30-6.
  9. ^ RADM Davis, J. P. USS JIMMY CARTER (SSN23): Expanding Future SSN Missions, Undersea Warfare, Fall 1999, pp. 16-18.
  10. ^ PCU Jimmy Carter Christened at Electric Boat Archived 17 November 2015 at the Wayback Machine, U.S. Navy, Story Number: NNS040609-07, Release Date: 6/9/2004
  11. ^ The Navy's underwater eavesdropper, Reuters, 19 July 2013
  12. ^ "New Nuclear Sub Is Said to Have Special Eavesdropping Ability". The New York Times. Associated Press. 20 February 2005. Retrieved 30 June 2009.
  13. ^ Zorpette, Glenn (January 2002). "Making Intelligence Smarter". IEEE Spectrum. IEEE. 39 (1): 38–43. doi:10.1109/6.975021. ISSN 0018-9235.
  14. ^ Neil Jr. (23 May 2001). "Spy agency taps into undersea cable". ZDNet News. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 30 June 2009.
  15. ^ "Jimmy Carter: Super Spy?". 21 February 2005. Archived from the original on 3 February 2007. Retrieved 30 June 2009.
  16. ^ Wetzel, Gary (17 September 2017). "America's Most Secret Spy Sub Returned To Base Flying A Pirate Flag". Gizmodo.
  17. ^ Rowley, Eric (22 January 2008). "Pacific Northwest Sub Crews Win Battle "E"". Retrieved 30 June 2009.
  18. ^ "This secretive U.S. Navy submarine went on a dangerous mission". 4 March 2016. Retrieved 23 November 2019.
  19. ^ "The mystery of the USS Jimmy Carter and Mission 7". 11 March 2021. Retrieved 25 March 2023.

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