Difference Between SSN and SSBN

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: August 26, 2022


Difference Between SSN and SSBN Difference Between SSN and SSBN

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When ammunition is discussed, nations thinking about bolstering their military might have a lot of preparation to do in anticipation of an innovation or a detected danger. The list will likely start with chemical weapons, nuclear weapons, and missiles. But, first, we examine the two central submarines that the militaries of the world's superpowers, including the United States, Russia, France, China, and others, have access to. As they are recognized for their extreme destructive potential, the modern submarines SSN and SSBN may be a reliable power supply. The Submersible Ship Nuclear (SSN), often known as the swift assault submarine, is also known as the Submersible Ship Ballistic Missile Nuclear (SSBN).

SSN and SSBN, two assault submarines, are comparable. What sets the two apart from one another is their respective designs and primary goals. People believe that submarines are a reliable source of energy. It's because their propensity for destruction is widely recognized. Nuclear submarines are at the top of the list of weapons for nations looking to strengthen their defense in case of danger. The SSN and SSBN receive their power from nuclear reactors. Most people refer to the SSN as a rapid attack submarine. Nuclear reactors are used to power the SSN and SSBN. The N that stands for nuclear in their respective acronyms, SSBN and SSN, is perhaps the two's most glaring similarities. The principal tasks that each of these two is intended to perform are the main differences between them.


SSN (Submersible Ship Nuclear) and SSBN are different because SSN (Submersible Ship Nuclear) is made to track down and destroy submarines and quickly detect any surface weapons with cruise missiles. On the other hand, the SSBN (Submersible Ship Ballistic Missile Nuclear) is a submersible ship that can fire nuclear-tipped fast missiles or ballistic missiles. Submarines of the SSN class are designed to aggressively seek out and obliterate enemy ships, submarines, and other targets. These ships have cutting-edge sensors, weapons, and weapon delivery systems. Before hostile submarines attack friendly naval troops or commercial vessels, the SUN's main task is to locate and sink them. Aside from that, The SSN may launch uncrewed vehicles (such as underwater drones) for information-gathering missions or carry cruise missiles against terrestrial targets.

Submersible Ship Ballistic Missile Nuclear is referred to as SSBN. The main objective of an SSBN submarine is to safeguard a nuclear force's second-strike capability by offering a secure location from which ballistic missiles may be fired when necessary. They have received training to combat hostile commerce ships, submarines, and other naval ships. They can also be employed to attack tactical targets on land and large plates.

Difference Between SSN And SSBN in Tabular Form

Table: SSN vs. SSBN
Parameters Of Comparison
Refers to
SSN is an abbreviation for Submersible Ship Nuclear.
Submersible Ship Ballistic Missile Nuclear is known by the abbreviation SSBN.
launched in
The SSN was launched in December 1959.
The USS Nautilus was the first SSBN deployed at sea in 1955.
Due to its desire to eliminate adversarial ships, SSN is prone to confrontation.
SSBN keeps its location a secret from other vessels and submarines.
A multifunctional assault submarine is the SSN.
The SSBN launches tactical assaults.
The use of-range SSN is used to eliminate close attackers.
To launch long-range missiles, SSBNs are utilized.
It is war-prone because it seeks to eradicate the ships of the foe.
It doesn't reveal its whereabouts to other vessels or submarines.
it is an all-purpose assault submarine in general.
It launches calculated assaults.

What Is SSN?

The SSN is an attack submarine with nuclear propulsion that can perform various tasks. SSN is the U.S. Navy's designation for submarines. The major warfighting component of the U.S. Navy's submarine fleet, the SUN's job is to track down and sink adversarial ships and submarines. The ship is armed to complete its mission and can deploy sonar, torpedoes, missiles, and mines to locate, track, and kill hostile ships. The SSN can also deploy cruise missiles from torpedo tubes or Vertical Launch Systems to strike land targets (VLS). While the Submersible Ship Nuclear is conveniently a size of a decently sized football field, the Submersible Ship Ballistic Missile Nuclear is the size of two football fields.

The SSN is used to perform attacks against attackers in close proximity, while the SSBN is used to launch missile attacks at a far distance. The SSBN maintains its location a secret from other ships or submarines when the SSN engages in combat while the war-prone are searching for and attacking the opponents.

These are intended to locate and eliminate the SSBN, the aggressor aggressiveness, and the surface weapons with cruise missiles. These submarines also strike specific targets on land by launching quick missiles from torpedo tubes. The cruise missile with explosives deployed to assault the attackers on the coasts is indeed carried by the submarine ship nuclear. The Submersible Ship Nuclear also performs surveillance and intelligence missions to assist in highly classified activities. While the Submersible Ship Nuclear is conveniently a size of a decently sized football field, the Submersible Ship Ballistic Missile Nuclear is the size of two football fields. The SSN is used to perform attacks against attackers in close proximity, while the SSBN is used to launch missile attacks at a far distance. The SSBN maintains its location a secret from other ships or submarines when the SSN engages in combat while the war-prone are searching for and attacking the opponents.

SSN Background

USS Los Angeles (SSN-688), commissioned on November 11, 1976, was the first vessel of this class. Between 1976 and 1996, Groton, Connecticut's General Dynamics Electric Boat Division, produced 62 Los Angeles-class submarines for the American Navy. When these boats reached their 30-year life expectancy, the majority of them were decommissioned. Instead, the United States Navy employs a class of nuclear-powered swift assault submarines (SSNs) known as the Seawolf class. They are the most essential assault submarines the American Navy has ever had. The Virginia class began in 2004 and consisted of 30 boats and has replaced the former category.

Design and SSN Assignment

The SSN is a general-purpose, nuclear-powered assault submarine. Submarines in the U.S. Navy are classified with the letter SSN. Nuclear power is represented by the N and a submarine by the S.S.The SSBN and hostile aggressiveness may both be tracked down and stopped by the SSN. With the aid of cruise missiles, they can also quickly identify any surface warheads. These submarines are also used to strike specific targets on land by launching quick missiles from torpedo tubes.

Advantage Of SSN

A nuclear submarine can stay below for months at a time without refueling, and they have a 25-year lifetime. Therefore their benefits over a conventionally powered SSK include substantially longer endurance and faster speeds. In addition, SSNs do not need to surface regularly for air like other SSKs, which would damage their stealth. Some of the most recent conventional submarines aim to achieve the following benefits: Stirling engines do not require running the large (and noisy) pumps associated with the cooling circuits of pressurized water reactors. They are thus quieter than nuclear submarines and can cruise underwater for up to two weeks like diesel/electric vessels (and theoretically LOX-powered vessels).

Disadvantage Of SSN

An SSN's main drawbacks are the costs and technical difficulties involved in constructing and maintaining a nuclear power plant. In addition, because some nations have a policy against accepting nuclear-powered ships, nuclear submarines can have political drawbacks. Decommissioned nuclear submarines must also be dismantled and their radioactive material stored for a long time.

What Is SSBN?

Only strategic operations are carried out with the SSBN. In a nuclear attack, the submarine frequently submerges under the water and establishes an undetected position. One of the SSBN's armaments is the Tomahawk cruise missile. The missile can detect and destroy targets, including aircraft carriers, coastal targets, and land-based infrastructure, with pinpoint precision. Thanks to its many warhead possibilities, it may be employed against any target. Depending on how it is configured, the Tomahawk cruise missile ranges over 1,000 miles. Ballistic missile submarines of the Navy, sometimes known as "boomers," are used as covert launchers for intercontinental missiles. They have been created especially for discrete and accurate nuclear weapons delivery. The SSBN is a designation for a nuclear-powered, ballistic missile-carrying submarine in the U.S. Navy. The letters S.S. stand for "submarine," B for "ballistic missile," and N for "nuclear powered." The submarine is referred to as a "boomer" in nautical terminology.

Up to 24 multiple, independently targeted submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) may have been carried simultaneously by each of the 14 Ohio-class SSBNs. However, each submarine has had four missile tubes permanently disabled following the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty and can now only carry a maximum of 20 missiles. The Trident II D5 missile, which offers more excellent range and accuracy than the now-out-of-service Trident I C4 missile, is the strategic weapon used by the SSBN.

Development and Designation  Of SSBN

SSBNs are developed primarily for prolonged deterrence patrols. For example, the Ohio-class submarines include three large-diameter logistics hatches that enable sailors to quickly move supply pallets, equipment replacement modules, and mechanical components, boosting operational availability. This shortens the time required for maintenance and replacement.

The Ohio-class architecture enables the submarines to operate for at least 15 years without a significant refit. The submarines typically sail for 77 days before returning to port for 35 days of repair. Each SSBN has two crews, Blue and Gold, who alternately operate the submarines and patrol with them. By doing so, the strategic availability of the SSBN is increased, the number of submarines needed to satisfy strategic requirements is decreased, and adequate crew training, readiness, and morale are made possible.

The SSBN Range

The Ohio class SSBN has a submerged speed of 25 knots and can cruise at sea for up to 70 days straight. Its 155 sailors and officers make up its crew. Twelve missile launchers were installed in the class's first five boats, compared to sixteen in later ships.

Main Differences Between SSN And SSBN in Points

  • While SSBN is meant to fire long-range missiles, SSN is used to dispatch close-range invaders.
  • The SSN is a versatile assault submarine. In contrast, SSBN conducts strategic strikes.
  • Although the USS Nautilus was the first SSBN to sail at sea in 1955, the SSN was launched in December 1959.
  • SSN stands for Submersible Ship Nuclear in its entirety, whereas SSBN stands for Submersible Ship Ballistic Missile Nuclear.
  • SSN is prone to wear since it tries to destroy rival spacecraft. On the other hand, the SSBN conceals its whereabouts from other submarines.
  • SSBNs can carry long-range missiles. Whereas SSNs are typically employed in close-quarters attacker attacks
  • Submersible Ship Nuclear is referred to as SSN, while Submersible Ship Ballistic Missile Nuclear is referred to as SSBN. Each of them is an assault submarine. The two are different from one another in terms of their layout and primary purposes.SSNs are also employed to carry out highly-classified missions like surveillance and information gathering. While the SSBN primarily conducts strategic assaults.


The main differences between them are the fundamental duties they must do. Although the submarine's mission profile is unknown, the ballistic missile's main objective is to find nuclear weapons. They have several noise-canceling features, as well as equipment installed on vibration-damping mounts, and they are intended to be silent. SSNs (Submersible Ship Nuclear) are quick attack submarines due to their instantaneous speed and long endurance. A type of submarine called the SSBN (Submersible Ship Ballistic Missile Nuclear) was created to battle other naval craft, such as hostile submarines and merchant ships.

Unlike cruise missile submarines, ballistic missile submarines are designed to attack other submarines. They are experts at engaging in a naval action with commercial ships and hostile submarines. They are also intended for use against tactical targets on land and big vessels. While this submarine's mission profile is to avoid detection, the ballistic missile's primary duty is nuclear detection. They are built with sound-reducing features, propulsion systems, and gear installed on vibration dampening mounts. They are made to be stealthy.


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"Difference Between SSN and SSBN." Diffzy.com, 2023. Mon. 27 Mar. 2023. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-ssn-and-ssbn-935>.

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