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Today, the U.S. Navy's quartet of converted Ohio class nuclear-powered guided-missile submarines, or SSGNs, are among America's most powerful, in-demand, and flexible weapons. These giant and secretive submarines are known for their ability to carry up to 154 Tomahawk land-attack cruise missiles and dozens of special operations frogmen into contested territory to ply their quiet trade, but really, they are much, much more than that.

A decade and a half ago, the U.S. Navy was testing incredible new capabilities that it would subsequently integrate into its four yet to be converted SSGNs, including one highly elaborate, but obscure proof of concept exercise that solidified the SSGN concept for the seagoing service. Here is the story of how these vessels came to be and the highly unique, if not exotic capabilities, from drone mothership to command and control center, they possess. 

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Category: Science