SSBN 728 Florida
The keel of the USS FLORIDA was laid on the occasion of the nation's Bicentennial, July 4, 1976, at General Dynamics' Electric Boat Division. The ship was unnamed at the keel-laying ceremony and remained that way until January 19, 1981, when the Secretary of the Navy officially assigned it the name FLORIDA.
The initial ship's crew formed the precommissioning unit on July 8,1980. The first shipboard watches were stationed on February 14,1981 to support the operational control transfer of engineering systems to ship's force control.
On November 14, 1981, the FLORIDA was launched. Following a year of construction and testing, the ship's nuclear reactor was initially taken critical on November 13,1982. The ship went into service and the crew moved onboard on January 21, 1983. FLORIDA commenced initial builders' sea trials on February 21, 1983 and was subsequently delivered to the Navy on May 17, 1983 - 43 days ahead of schedule. The ship was commissioned on June 18, 1983.
Both crews successfully completed the demonstration and shakedown operations, each culminated by the successful launch of a Trident C-4 missile. FLORIDA transited the Panama Canal in February and arrived in Bangor, Washington on 25 March 1984. She completed her first strategic deterrent patrol on July 25, 1984. As of November 1994, FLORIDA has successfully completed 38 strategic deterrent patrols.
The FLORIDA has won four Submarine Squadron Battle Efficiency awards (1988, 1989, 1991, and 1999) and in 1991 was selected as the top ship in the Pacific Fleet by receipt of the MARJORIE STERRETT BATTLE SHIP FUND AWARD.
In January 2000, the Florida Gold won the Engineering E
In January 2001, the Florida Gold won the Battle "E" and the Engineering E
On October 1, 2002 the USS Flowirda was placed "In Commission, In Reserve".
The Florida is currently slated to begin a RCOH and a conversion to SSGN in late 2003 at Norfolk. As part of the pre-conversion preperations the Florida will take part in Giant Shadow, a naval exercise off the coast of Florida, that will be the first test of a Trident submarine launching Tomahawk cruise missiles. The exercise is scheduled to take place in January 2003.
Two Tomahawk missiles were successfully launched from a missile tube of USS Florida, in demonstration and validation (DEMVAL) tests in mid-January 2003 in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of western Florida. The successful launches provided confirmation that a key element of the planned conversion of SSBNs to SSGNs - the delivery of conventional weapons from the submarine's missile tubes - will work.
The first launch on January 14, 2003 was of an instrumented Tomahawk Block III missile configured with an MK 106 Rocket Motor Assembly to obtain a boosted energy profile similar to the Tactical Tomahawk missile currently in development. The unarmed missile was launched vertically from one of the submarine's missile tubes and transitioned to cruise flight, flying its planned mission at the Eglin Air Force Base C Range using global positioning satellite navigation, with recovery occurring at Eglin.
A second launch on January 16 was also successful. While very similar to the first test, instead of launching a Tactical Tomahawk-type missile, the second test launched an unarmed instrumented Block III missile configured with an MK 111 Rocket Motor Assembly to obtain a normal Block III missile boosted energy profile.
For both tests the missile was placed within a Multiple All-Up-Rounds Canister (MAC) in such a configuration that it was similar to the tightly packed cluster of Tomahawk All-Up-Rounds (AURs) planned for SSGN Trident tubes. An instrumented test vehicle was collocated in the Trident launch tube to measure the effect of nearby launches on adjacent missiles.
The SSGN at-sea DEMVAL test is being followed by and coordinated with the Giant Shadow experiment in late January 2003 in the Bahamas. The experiment, the first Limited Objective Experiment under the Chief of Naval Operations Sea Trial initiative, includes an Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance and Nuclear-Biological-Chemical Force Protection Mission Experiment in support of special operations forces utilizing the same submarine.
The SSGN at-sea DEMVAL test and Giant Shadow experiment demonstrate the advantages of the Sea Trial process, the key enabler for achieving the Navy's Sea Power 21 vision.
These and future demonstrations will integrate war gaming, experimentation, and exercises into rapid concept and technology development that will deliver improved capabilities to the Fleet as swiftly as possible.
On August 27, 2003 at around 10:15 AM a fire broke out on the USS Florida, near the reactor compartment. According to the Nofolk Virginian-Pilot on August 28, 2003 the fire was put out in 10 minutes and there was no damage to the submarine. The reactor was not in operation, as it is currently undergoing a refueling complex overhaul. The cause of the fire was not known.
On Feb. 10, 2005, USS Florida (SSGN 728) undocked, thereby achieving a major milestone in the overhaul and conversion process for the guided-missile submarine (SSGN) program. The milestone was achieved one week ahead of the scheduled date of Feb. 16. Florida was the second of four ballistic missile submarines (SSBN) being converted into state-of-the-art, multimission, guided-missile submarines. Florida's conversion was, as of then, more than 49 percent complete, and the boat was scheduled to return to the fleet April 1, 2006.
The State of Florida
Florida, with its year-round vacation climate and every resource conducive to recreation, enjoys a well deserved reputation as the Sunshine State.
With a population of more than seven million, the Sunshine State enjoys a thriving tourist industry, playing host to more than 21 million visitors a year. Florida boasts more than 4,846,000 acres of recreation lands, including the unique Everglades National Park, largest in the state. The state's beautiful sandy beaches stretch 1,200 miles along the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico, forming the longest coastline of any state except Alaska.
While tourism is indeed a major business in the state the economy boasts other important industries as well. The citrus fruit industry, for example, provides the country with its main supply of oranges, grapefruits, limes and juices. Other large industries in the state include food products, paper and pulp, lumber, printing and publishing, fabricated metals, tobacco, transportation equipment, sand, clay, glass products, fishing, mining, cellulose products, plastic, fertilizers, industrial chemicals and electronic tubes. Florida ranks high as a port state, too. There are 13 major ports for oceangoing vessels and no point in the state is more than 100 miles from deep water.
Predictably, it was from the sea that Florida was discovered. Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon first touched its soil on April 2nd, 1513. He named it after the Spanish word for Easter (Florida), some say because he first sighted the land on Easter Sunday. In 1565, another Spaniard, Pedro Menenedez de Aviles, established the first permanent settlement at St. Augustine on the east coast. Florida remained under Spanish rule until 1763, when for political reasons Spain abandoned it to Great Britain. Britain then retroceded Florida back to the Spanish in 1783, bowing to pressure to surrender many American possessions. Florida remained under Spanish sovereignty until 1821, when it was turned over to the United States. Florida became a US. territory in 1822, and then a state in 1845.
Today, Florida draws international attention with Port Canaveral, for years one of the major elements of the US. space and missile development programs. The state also has close ties with the submarine service. One fast-attack nuclear submarine carries the name Jacksonville. Additionally, the nation's Trident missile submarines conduct some of their initial operations off Florida's eastern coast.
Tallahassee, in the northern part of the state, is the capital.
The First Florida
The first FLORIDA was a survey sloop that served on survey duty off of the southern coast between 1824 and 1831. The second, a 214-foot sidewheel steamer, operated from 1861-67. She saw Civil War Service as a unit of the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron patrolling the coasts of South Carolina, Georgia and Florida.
The Second Florida(s)
At least two ships named FLORIDA were part of the Confederate Fleet during the Civil War. One was 171-foot blockade runner, the other a 191foot cruiser that captured an impressive 37 Union ships.
The Third Florida
The third predecessor was a steam frigate first named WAMPANOAG, then renamed FLORIDA in 1869. She was sold in 1885.
The Fourth Florida
The fourth, a 252-foot monitor (#9), served from 1901-1922 as a training vessel and submarine tender.
The fifth FLORIDA, (BB 30), a 521-foot, 21,000-ton battleship, was commissioned in 1911. Part of Battleship Division 9 during World War I, she served with the British Grand Fleet, performing convoy duty. Following the war, she served as a training ship, then was scrapped under the terms of the London Naval Treaty of 1930.
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