USS Jimmy Carter

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US Navy 050812-N-1550W-019 The Sea Wolf-class attack submarine USS Jimmy Carter (SSN 23) departs Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay for a one-night underway that included an embark by former President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosa.jpg
Jimmy Carter departs NSB Kings Bay, 11 August 2005
United States
Name: USS Jimmy Carter
Namesake: Jimmy Carter
Ordered: 29 June 1996
Builder: General Dynamics Electric Boat
Laid down: 5 December 1998
Launched: 13 May 2004
Christened: 5 June 2004
Commissioned: 19 February 2005
Homeport: Bangor Annex of Naval Base Kitsap, Washington (state)
Motto: Semper Optima ("Always the Best")
Status: in active service
Badge: USS Jimmy Carter SSN-23 Crest.png
General characteristics
Class and type: Modified Seawolf-class submarine
  • 7,568 tons light
  • 12,139 tons full
  • 1,569 tons dead
  • 138 m (452.8 ft) oa
  • 128.5 m (421.6 ft) wl
Beam: 12.1 m (39.7 ft)
Draft: 10.9 m (35.8 ft)
Propulsion: One S6W reactor
Speed: 25 knots (46 km/h; 29 mph)+
Complement: 15 officers, 126 enlisted

USS Jimmy Carter (SSN-23) is the third and final Seawolf-class, nuclear-powered, fast-attack submarine in the United States Navy. She is named for Jimmy Carter, the 39th President of the United States; and as of her naming, Carter was the only President to have qualified in submarines, having served as an Officer for Communications, Sonar, Electronics, Weapons, and Supply while on board USS Pomfret.[1] Jimmy Carter is one of the few ships of the United States Navy (and only the third submarine) to have been named for a person who was alive at the time of the ship's naming, and the only submarine to be named for a living former president.



The contract to build Jimmy Carter was awarded 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, but on 10 December 1999, Electric Boat was awarded a US $887 million extension to the Jimmy Carter contract to modify the boat for testing of new submarine systems and highly classified missions previously carried out by USS Parche.[2] During modification, her hull was extended 100 feet (30 m) to accommodate a 2,500-ton supplementary middle section 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.[3][4][5]

Jimmy Carter was christened on 5 June 2004. 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 the first of the Virginia-class subs, USS Virginia.

Jimmy Carter is roughly 100 feet longer than the other two ships of her class, USS Seawolf and USS Connecticut. This is due to the insertion of an additional section known as the Multi-Mission Platform (MMP), which allows launch and recovery of ROVs and Navy SEAL forces. The MMP features a fairing over a wasp-waist shaped passageway allowing crew to pass between the fore and aft sections of the hull while providing a space to store ROVs and special equipment that may need to launch and recover from the submarine.[6]

Jimmy Carter has additional maneuvering devices fitted fore and aft that will allow her to keep station over selected targets in odd currents. Past submarines outfitted this way[citation needed] were used to tap undersea cables and to intercept communications of foreign countries. Intelligence experts speculate that the MMP may find use in similar missions as an underwater splicing chamber for optical fiber cables.[7][8][9][10]


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 November 2010 Jimmy Carter was revealed as the first US asset to provide intelligence after the North Korean bombardment of Yeonpyeong. Reports indicated that a UAV from the boat was used shortly after the incident.[11]

In 2017 Jimmy Carter returned to her homeport at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, flying a Jolly Roger flag, traditionally indicative of a successful mission.[12]



See also


  1. ^ "Lieutenant James Earle Carter, Jr., USN". Naval History & Heritage Command. United States Navy. 19 October 1997. Retrieved 2008-06-18.
  2. ^ Zimmerman, W. Frederick (2008). SSN-23 Jimmy Carter: U.S. Navy Submarine (Seawolf Class). Nimble Books. p. 1. ISBN 978-1-934840-30-6.
  3. ^ RADM Davis, J. P. USS JIMMY CARTER (SSN23): Expanding Future SSN Missions, Undersea Warfare, Fall 1999, pp. 16-18.
  4. ^ PCU Jimmy Carter Christened at Electric Boat, U.S. Navy, Story Number: NNS040609-07, Release Date: 6/9/2004
  5. ^ The Navy’s underwater eavesdropper, Reuters, July 19, 2013
  6. ^ Davis, USN, RADM John P. (Fall 1999). "USS Jimmy Carter (SSN-23): Expanding Future SSN Missions". Undersea Warfare. U.S. Government Printing Office. 2 (1). Archived from the original on 2 May 2012. Retrieved 30 June 2009.
  7. ^ "New Nuclear Sub Is Said to Have Special Eavesdropping Ability". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Associated Press. 20 February 2005. Retrieved 2009-06-30.
  8. ^ Zorpette, Glenn (Jan 2002). "Making Intelligence Smarter". IEEE Spectrum. IEEE. 39 (1): 38–43. doi:10.1109/6.975021. ISSN 0018-9235. Retrieved 2009-06-30.
  9. ^ Neil Jr. (23 May 2001). "Spy agency taps into undersea cable". ZDNet News. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 2009-06-30.
  10. ^ "Jimmy Carter: Super Spy?". 21 February 2005. Archived from the original on 3 February 2007. Retrieved 2009-06-30.
  11. ^ "Yeonpyeong - Navy Notes 24 Hours Later".
  12. ^ Wetzel, Gary (September 17, 2017). "America's Most Secret Spy Sub Returned To Base Flying A Pirate Flag". [Gizmodo]].
  13. ^ Rowley, Eric (22 January 2008). "Pacific Northwest Sub Crews Win Battle "E"". Retrieved 2009-06-30.

External links

  • Naval Vessel Register entry for USS Jimmy Carter
  • Navy Commissions USS Jimmy Carter, from the Navy's Commander Submarine Group Two website
  • USS Jimmy Carter: Expanding Future SSN Missions
  • World War II Submarine Veterans History Project
  • USS Jimmy Carter (SSN-23)
  • NavSource Online: USS Jimmy Carter (SSN-23)
  • USS Jimmy Carter Multi-Mission Platform, in PDF format
  • James Bamford Inside the National Security Agency (Lecture) American Civil Liberties Union KUOW-FM PRX NPR 24 February 2007 (53: minutes)
  • Big Brother Is Listening by James Bamford The Atlantic April 2006
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