About the USS Providence SSN-719


USS Providence (SSN-719), a 688 or Los Angeles-class submarine, is the fifth ship of the United States Navy to be named for the city of Providence, Rhode Island.  The contract to build her was awarded to the Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics Corporation in Groton, Connecticut on 16 April 1979 and her keel was laid down on 14 October 1982.  She was launched on 4 August 1984 sponsored by Mrs. William F. Smith, and commissioned on 27 July 1985, with Captain E. Morrow in command.



SSN-719 slides down the building ways into the

Thames River in Groton, CT on 14 October 1984.



USS Providence is met by the tugboat C-Tractor at the entrance

to the Thames River in New London, CT.


USS Providence is 362 feet in length, 33 feet across (beam), and displaces 6,082 tonnes (5,986 long tons) surfaced and 6,927 tonnes (6,818 long tons) submerged.  It is powered by a S6G Pressurized Water Reactor (PWR) capable of propelling the submarine at greater than 20 knots submerged and is capable of diving to depths in excess of 800 feet.


Armament includes four 21-inch torpedo tubes capable of launching any combination of Mk48 ADCAP torpedoes, Tomahawk land attack missile block 3 SLCM with a range of 1,700 nautical miles, Harpoon anti–surface ship missile with a range of 70 nautical miles, and Mk67 mobile and Mk60 captor mines.  Providence was also the first Los Angeles class submarine to be equipped with the Tomahawk Missile Vertical Launch System (VLS) with twelve additional vertical launch tubes installed in the bow.


02-03-020          02-03-021b

A Tomahawk cruise missile is launched from USS Providence

during the opening days of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003.


The typical crew of USS Providence consists of 12 officers and 98 enlisted personnel.  The submarine is capable of distilling its own fresh water from sea water by use of stills and reverse osmosis equipment and can create breathable air by use of an oxygen generator, which through electrolysis splits water molecules into its constituent Hydrogen and Oxygen atoms, dumping the excess hydrogen overboard.  Atmosphere control equipment – Carbon Monoxide/Hydrogen (CO/H2) Burners and Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Scrubbers help maintain the internal atmosphere.  Food really become the only limiting factor on how long the Providence can remain at sea.


Providence has been deployed numerous times to almost every region of the globe, including the North Atlantic, the Mediterranean Sea, the Arabian (Persian) Gulf, the Pacific Ocean, and under the Arctic Ice Cap.



Operation Iraqi Freedom – April 2003

The submarine tender USS Emory S. Land AS-39 moored at Soudha Bay, Crete.

Moored alongside the Land are (from left to right) USS Boise SSN-764,

USS Newport News SSN-750, USS San Juan SSN-751

and USS Providence SSN-719, the Red Sea Wolf Pack


USS Providence SSN-719 has been awarded many prestigious unit awards, including multiple Armed Forces Expeditionary Medals, Navy Expeditionary Medals, Meritorious Unit Commendations, Naval Unit Commendations, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary and Service Medals, and the prominent Battle E on several occasions.


As of 2017, Providence is based out of US Naval Submarine Base New London, Groton, CT.



How a Nuclear Submarine Works:



A typical naval nuclear-powered propulsion plant.


A naval nuclear propulsion plant is basically just a high-tech steam engine which, instead of coal or wood burning to heat water, uses a uranium core to heat water into high-pressure steam which in turn spins both a turbo generator (TG) to provide power and a main engine (ME) to produce propulsion.


Water in the Primary Loop (shown in red in the above diagram) is circulated through the Reactor Core where it picks up heat from the fission of the uranium fuel.  That heat is transferred by conduction to the water of the Secondary Loop (shown in blue and gray) inside the Steam Generator.  At no time do the Primary Coolant or Secondary Coolant ever mix.  The Pressurizer maintains the Primary Coolant at a nominal pressure to prevent it from flashing to steam and exposing the core elements.


The steam generated in the Steam Generator enters the Engine Room.  Some of the steam is used to spin the Turbo Generators, which produce all the electrical power used by the submarine and to recharge the submarine’s batteries.  The rest of the steam is used to spin the Main Engine turbines.  After either turbine, the steam passes through the Main Condensers, which use sea water to cool the steam back into water, which in turn is pumped back to the Steam Generators and reused.


The ME’s connect to the Reduction Gears, which lower the torque from high RPM’s to low RPM’s.  The Reduction Gear is connected to the main propeller shaft through a Clutch, which can disconnect the shaft from the gears and allow the shaft to be connected to the battery powered Emergency Propulsion Motor (EPM) in an emergency, such as a reactor scram.


On its way through the aft hull of the submarine, the shaft passes through the Thrust Block.  This in turn is connected directly to the interior of the submarine hull and is the point where the actual thrust of the screw is transferred to the hull, producing forward momentum, so the screw does not actually press against the hull itself, causing friction, noise and wear.


The submarine Battery, a DC storage battery, provides emergency power in case of loss of electrical power through a reactor casualty or loss of the Turbo Generators.  Power from the Battery can be used to directly power the EPM and, through the DC to AC Motor Generators, the reactor Coolant Pumps.  The Battery is meant as a temporary solution until the submarine’s Emergency Diesel Generator can be started, which required the submarine to be at periscope depth or on the surface.


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US Naval Vessels named Providence through History:


Five vessels of the United States Navy have been named Providence, after the city of Providence, Rhode Island.


          Sloop  The 12-Gun Continental Sloop Providence.

~ The first Providence was a 12-gun sloop originally named Katy.  Katy was purchased by Rhode Island on 31 October 1775.  Late in November, Katy sailed for Philadelphia carrying seamen enlisted by Commodore Esek Hopkins in New England for continental service.  Arriving 3 December 1775, Katy was immediately taken into Continental service and renamed Providence.  On 10 May 1776, John Paul Jones assumed command of Providence with temporary rank of Captain.  The British seized Narragansett Bay in December 1776 and Providence with other American vessels there retired up the Providence River.  In February 1777, under LT Jonathan Pitcher, Providence ran the British blockade.  She was destroyed by her crew, with other American vessels in the Peneobscot River in Maine, 14 August 1779, to prevent her falling into the hands of the British.



           The 28-Gun Frigate Providence.

~ The second Providence, a 28-gun frigate, built by Silvester Bowes at Providence, RI, by order of the Continental Congress, was launched in May 1776.  After being blockaded in the Providence River for more than a year, the new frigate, under the command of Captain Abraham Whipple, ran the British blockade on the night of 30 April 1778.  Part of Commodore Whipple’s Squadron, on 23 November 1779 she sailed from Nantasket Roads, first cruising eastward of Bermuda, arriving at Charleston, SC on 23 December 1779 to defend the city.  Providence, with the other ships of the Squadron, remained for the defense of Charleston and was one of the ships taken by the British when that city fell on 12 May 1780.  She subsequently served in the British Navy as HMS Providence until sold in March 1783.


          Gundalow The Continental Army Gundalow Providence.

~ The third Providence was a gundalow built at Skenesboro, NY, by the Continental Army for Brigadier-General Benedict Arnold's fleet on Lake Champlain in 1776.  This Providence fought in the Battle of Valcour Island on 11 October 1776.  After the battle, their ammunition nearly exhausted, the Americans retreated towards Crown Point, with the enemy in pursuit and the next morning, 12 October, Providence, being badly damaged, was sunk at Schuyler's Island by her own crew to prevent capture.


During the year 1776 there were three vessels named Providence all serving the Continental Forces at the same time.


          ProvCruise02 The Guided Missile Cruiser USS Providence CLG-6.

~ The fourth Providence (CL-82) was laid down 27 July 1943 by Bethlehem Steel Co., Quincy, MA, launched 28 December 1944 and commissioned on 15 May 1945.  Reclassified CLG-6 on 23 May 1957, Providence commenced conversion to a guided missile light cruiser at Boston in June 1957.  During conversion, Providence was provided with modern missiles, command ship facilities and a nuclear weapons capability.  She was recommissioned 17 September 1959.  This Providence served with distinction during the Vietnam Conflict before being decommissioned on 31 August 1973.


          photo-5 The Fast-Attack Submarine USS Providence SSN-719.

~ The fifth and current Providence (SSN-719) is a Los Angeles-class nuclear-powered attack submarine launched on 4 August 1984 and commissioned on 27 July 1985.  She is still in active service with the US Atlantic Fleet as of 2017.



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