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Under Way On Nuclear Power

Under Way On Nuclear Power

Work on nuclear marine propulsion started in the 1940s, and the first test reactor started up in USA in 1953. The first nuclear-powered submarine, USS Nautilus, put to sea in 1955.

This marked the transition of submarines from slow underwater vessels to warships capable of sustaining 20-25 knots submerged for weeks on end. The submarine had come into its own.

Nautilus led to the parallel development of further (Skate-class) submarines, powered by single pressurised water reactors, and an aircraft carrier, USS Enterprise, powered by eight Westinghouse reactor units in 1960. A cruiser, USS Long Beach, followed in 1961 and was powered by two of these early units. Remarkably, the Enterprise remained in service to the end of 2012.

By 1962, the US Navy had 26 nuclear submarines operational and 30 under construction. Nuclear power had revolutionised the Navy.

The technology was shared with Britain, while French, Russian and Chinese developments proceeded separately.

After the Skate-class vessels, reactor development proceeded and in the USA a single series of standardised designs was built by both Westinghouse and GE, one reactor powering each vessel. Rolls Royce built similar units for Royal Navy submarines and then developed the design further to the PWR-2.

Russia developed both PWR and lead-bismuth cooled reactor designs, the latter not persisting. Eventually four generations* of submarine PWRs were utilised, the last entering service in 1995 in the Severodvinsk class.

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Japanese Self-Defense Oyashio Class Submarine Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force Oyashio Class Submarine (1:700 Scale)

The Oyashio is a class of Japanese diesel-electric submarine operated by the JMSDF. The submarines entered service in the late 1990s. The submarines are larger than the earlier Harushio class submarines, to make room for a flank sonar array.

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USS Seawolf Class Attack Submarine - USS Seawolf (SSN-21) USS Seawolf Class Attack Submarine - USS Seawolf (SSN-21) (1:700 Scale)

The Seawolf class attack submarine (SSN) was the intended successor to the Los Angeles class, ordered at the end of the Cold War in 1989. At one time, an intended fleet of 29 submarines was to be built over a ten-year period, later reduced to twelve.

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USS Seawolf Class Attack Submarine - USS Jimmy Carter SSN-23 USS Seawolf Class Attack Submarine - USS Jimmy Carter (SSN-23) (1:700 Scale)

The Seawolf class attack submarine (SSN) was the intended successor to the Los Angeles class, ordered at the end of the Cold War in 1989. At one time, an intended fleet of 29 submarines was to be built over a ten-year period, later reduced to twelve.

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Ticonderoga Class Guided Missile Cruiser - USS Ticonderoga (CG-47) Ticonderoga Class Guided Missile Cruiser - USS Ticonderoga (CG-47) (1:1250 Scale)

USS Ticonderoga (DDG/CG-47), fifth to bear the name, was a guided-missile cruiser, homeported in Pascagoula, Mississippi. The "Tico" was the lead ship of her class. The United States Navy built the first Aegis cruisers using the hull and machinery designs of Spruance-class destroyers. Ticonderoga was ordered as a guided missile destroyer, but redesignated as a cruiser before she was laid down.

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USS Virginia Class Attack Submarine - USS Virginia (SSN-774) USS Virginia Class Attack Submarine - USS Virginia (SSN-774) (1:350 Scale)

USS Virginia (SSN-774) is a United States Navy attack submarine, the lead boat of her class and the tenth vessel of the Navy to be named for the Commonwealth of Virginia.

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British Astute Class Attack Submarine - HMS Astute British Astute Class Attack Submarine - HMS Astute (1:350 Scale)

HMS Astute is the lead ship of her class of nuclear-powered submarines. Astute was ordered from GEC's Marconi Marine (now BAE Systems Submarine Solutions) on March 17th, 1997. She was laid down on January 31st, 2001, 100 years to the day since the keel was laid down for HMS Holland 1, the first Royal Navy submarine.

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Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy Type 092 XIA Class Ballistic Missile Submarine Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy Type 092 XIA Class Ballistic Missile Submarine (1:350 Scale)

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Russian Navy Typhoon Class Ballistic Missile Submarine Russian Navy Typhoon Class Ballistic Missile Submarine (1:700 Scale)

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Russian Navy Oscar II Class Cruise Missile Submarine Russian Navy Oscar II Class Cruise Missile Submarine (1:700 Scale)

The Project 949 (Granit) and Project 949A (Antey) Soviet Navy/Russian Navy cruise missile submarines (NATO reporting names: Oscar-I and Oscar-II respectively).

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People's Liberation Army Navy Surface Force Liaoning Class Nuclear-Powered Aircraft Carrier - Liaoning (CV-16) People's Liberation Army Navy Surface Force Liaoning Class Nuclear-Powered Aircraft Carrier - Liaoning (CV-16) (1:700 Scale)

The Liaoning (16), is the first aircraft carrier commissioned into the People's Liberation Army Navy Surface Force. It is classified as a training ship, intended to allow the Navy to practice with carrier usage.

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US Navy Enterprise Class Nuclear-Powered Aircraft Carrier - USS Enterprise (CVN-65), Mediterranean Sea, 2001 US Navy Enterprise Class Nuclear-Powered Aircraft Carrier - USS Enterprise (CVN-65), Mediterranean Sea, 2001 (1:700 Scale)

USS Enterprise (CVN-65), formerly CVA(N)-65, is a retired US Navy aircraft carrier. She was the world's first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier and the eighth United States naval vessel to bear the name.

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