See inside the US's first nuclear-armed submarine, which could fire a nuclear missile powerful enough to wipe out New York City

Business Insider | Feb 14, 2018, 12.18AM IST


Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

Nuclear deterrence is a dangerous job.

  • The USS Growler was the US Navy's first attempt to create a submarine that could a nuclear missile.
  • The submarine was commissioned from 1958 to 1964. It now rests in New York City at the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum.
  • The submarine was integral as a nuclear deterrent during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.

The USS Growler, along with sister ship the USS Grayback, was the US Navy's first attempt to create a purpose-built submarine that would act as a nuclear deterrent.

Commissioned in August 1958, it was the second and final of the ships in the Grayback class, which were unusual due to the fact that they were diesel-electric submarines equipped with Regulus I nuclear cruise missiles. The missiles were powerful enough to wipe out New York City, along with parts of New Jersey, Long Island, and Westchester.

The US Navy shifted its nuclear deterrence program shortly after towards nuclear-powered submarines and submarine-launched ballistic missiles. The submarines became obsolete by the mid-1960s with the commissioning of the George Washington class of nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines in December 1959.

With an operating range of about 300 miles, the sub operated close to the Soviet Union's shores during its time, putting it squarely in harm's way.

We recently got a chance to tour the historic sub as it was docked at New York's Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum, where it has laid since 1989. Climb aboard for a closer look:

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