Attack submarines are fast and agile, able to maneuver silently in enemy territory and create chaos for enemy fleets. Several SSNs are carry Swimmer Delivery Vehicles within external chambers called Dry Dock Shelters, also equipped with chambers called Dry Deck Shelters and Swimmer Delivery Vehicles, which work together to allow on-board Navy Seals to exit submerged submarines and make silent dashes toward land or floating targets.
The Silent Service: Virginia Class
The second category is the backbone of Naval strategic deterrence and the third component of the nuclear triad: ballistic missile submarines SSBNs. According to the U. Navy, SSBNs are intended to function as an undetectable launch platform for intercontinental missiles and as assurance for the precise delivery of nuclear warheads. The third category of undersea war craft, the guided missile submarine SSGN , is characterized by immense firepower and Special Operations Forces abilities. In the end, then, the 72 ships of the U. Submarine Force are powerhouses of stealth, speed, and destructive capability.
This provides the Navy with crucial flexibility and precision when it comes to countering external threats. Multiple foreign states—Russia and China in particular—are concerned about the access submarines provide for U. As a result, these countries are working tirelessly to eliminate the gap between their own naval abilities and those posed by American submarines.
Also working to counter US submarine dominance is Russia.
While the Russian Navy has been historically notorious for its low funding, high oil revenues in recent years have given Russia the opportunity to start modernizing its military. The Russian fleet also has over 20 diesel powered submarines SSKs. Right now the answer is yes; in a decade, however, all may not be so cut and dry.
Over the next 20 years, US submarine presence will decline far below the level necessary for achieving current security objectives. Even afterwards, the number of SSNs will not have reached current levels by the s.
Ohio Class (Silent Service, book 5) by H Jay Riker
Vice Adm. The Navy will attempt to reduce the impact of their loss by adding extra missiles and missile tubes to future attack submarines, but this would reduce the number of submarines. Overall, it would simply amount to a Band-Aid over a bullet wound. Simply extending the lives of current SSNs cannot fully compensate for the reduced number of new ships being built or guarantee continued dominance over Russia and China.
The Submarine Force is not as invincible as has long been thought; in actuality, it is at a crucial point in its development. The submarine that will take the reins from the s is the Virginia -class submarine. While it carries the same weapons as a , the Virginia -class subs also feature new technology, including new periscopes, the use of fiber-optic cables instead of hydraulics to control the diving planes, and improved sonars.
This was a very highly-capable vessel that was cut at three vessels in favor of the cheaper Virginia -class vessels.
USS Seawolf was capable of diving to feet, and carried eight torpedo tubes. The Seawolf can carry up to 50 weapons in its torpedo room, much more than a or a Virginia. It is the fastest submarine in the United States fleet. It also is capable of under-ice operations, and clearly outclasses any other submarine in the world.
USS Parche was used for many dangerous missions, including Operation Ivy Bells, in which Soviet undersea cables were tapped, providing an intelligence bonanza until a spy compromised the tap.
Near the end of the Cold War, the force was over 80 submarines. The decline in the last 20 years has created gaps in coverage.
Navy plans call for a force of attack submarines by , a further reduction from the present level of 53 submarines. Meanwhile, according to a report by Globalsecurity. While dual-crew arrangements could increase the operations tempo, it would also add to the wear and tear on the subs.