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The Ohio class is named after the lead submarine of this class, the USS Ohio (SSGN-726) formerly designated SSBN-726. The 14 Trident II SSBNs together carry approximately fifty percent of the total US strategic warhead inventory. The exact number varies in an unpredictable and classified manner, at or below a maximum set by various strategic arms limitation treaties. Although the missiles have no pre-set targets when the submarine goes on patrol, the platform, when required, is capable of rapid targeting using secure and constant at-sea communications links. The Ohio class is the largest type of submarine ever constructed for the U.S. Navy. Two Russian classes of submarines have larger total displacements: the Soviet-designed Typhoon class, which has more than twice the total displacement, and the Russian Federation's newest class of ballistic missile submarines, the highly advanced Borei class, which has roughly a 25% greater total displacement, but is shorter by 3 feet.

Ohios were specifically designed for extended deterrence patrols. Each submarine is complemented by two crews, Blue and Gold (standard practice for US FBMs), with each crew typically serving 70-90 day patrols. To decrease the time in port for crew turnover and replenishment, three large logistics hatches are fitted to provide large diameter resupply and repair openings. These hatches allow sailors to rapidly transfer supply pallets, equipment replacement modules, and machinery components, significantly reducing the time required for replenishment and maintenance. The class design allows the vessel to operate for over fifteen years between major overhauls. The boats are purported to be as quiet at their cruising speed of 20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph) as previous subs were at a dead crawl of 6 knots (11 km/h; 6.9 mph), although exact information remains classified.