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Fast Attack Submarines (SSNs)

Swift, Silent and Deadly, these boats are the most lethal weapons in the Navy's inventory. Capable of a wide variety of missions, these boats are Forward Deployed, responsive and ready for action.
When a crisis is brewing, the first question the President really asks is "Where are the Submarines?"


New London, CT - The home of the Submarine Force!
Norfolk, VA - The largest Navy port in the U.S.
San Diego, CA - Small port, but great beaches!
Pearl Harbor, HI - Need we say more?

Guam - Truly tropical


The most versatile platform in the Navy, the Fast Attack Submarine is the first on the scene in any major world event. Major categories of operations include:
Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW)
Anti-Surface Warfare (ASUW)
Strike Warfare
Battle Group Support
Special Warfare
Special Operations

Undersea Warfare

The traditional role of the modern Attack Boat, Anti-Submarine Warfare remains the basis of every Submariner's training. Using their inherent stealth, the modern attack submarine is the only effective ASW platform. Submarines, ours and theirs, use the environment to their best advantage, and only a platform operating in the same environment stands a chance of finding a modern submarine.
Sensors used include the BQQ-5 and BSY-1 sonar processing systems, coupled with both a bow mounted spherical array sonar as well as twin towed array sonar arrays. The combination of multiple arrays makes the modern fast attack submarine a very lethal opponent.
The premier ASW weapon in the United States inventory is the Mk-48 Advanced Capabilities (ADCAP) heavyweight torpedo. This tube launched weapon has been significantly modified to counter latest generation submarines.
The Russian Navy continues to operate a very advanced fleet of submarines. Latest generation Akula SSNs are quieter than the most advanced western submarine. Soon to be launched, the Severodvinsk SSN will be even quieter, as will their 4th Generation SSBN. In June of 1995, the Deputy Commander of the Russian Navy laid down the ASW challenge, "We will learn to find your submarines." This challenge has been taken up by the United States Submarine Force.

Anti-Surface Warfare

 The traditional role of the submarine since WWI, the stalking and sinking of surface ships remains a basic skill of the submariner. With their ability to loiter and observe surface ship operations, the mere possibility that a submarine is in the area is enough cause the surface ship commanders ulcers to flare up.
The sensors used are the same as for ASW, with the addition of the traditional periscope approach.
In addition to the Mk-48 standard and ADCAP torpedoes, the Submarine Commanding Officer has other weapons at his disposal including mines.   In addition, the Navy is developing new weapons that can be launched from the submarine platform including the ATACMS (Army Tactical Missile).

Strike Warfare

A relatively new mission for the United States Submarine Force, strike warfare has become a cornerstone of the force. The addition of the Submarine launched Tomahawk missile has made an already potent weapons platform even more devastating. The range of the Tomahawk allows the submarine to strike deep into any potential adversary's territory, while the stealth of the submarine allows the U.S. to preposition a solid weapons load without pre-alerting the adversary. Most submarines are capable of firing the tube launched variant of the Tomahawk, but the latest Los Angeles class submarines are equipped with 12 vertical launch missiles.


Battle Group Support

The wheel has come full circle for this mission. When initially designed, the 688 class submarine was to act primarily as a Battle Group escort. But her main missions continued to be ASW, and the Battle Group Support role was all but forgotten. In recent years, each CVBG has been assigned one or more submarines to act as both ASW platforms and in wider support roles. This makes for a very exciting deployment as the Carrier Battle Group Commanders and Submarine Commanding Officers learn what incredible interoperability the forces enjoy. Communications remain the biggest challenge, but every CVBG Commander feels much better if he knows that a submarine is protecting the depths.

Special Warfare

The submarines stealth allows the U.S. to insert and extract various Special Warfare Teams, including SEALs, USMC Force Recon, USA Rangers and other specialized groups. All submarines are capable of these missions, but some submarines are specially modified.
The simplest modification is the installation of a Dry Deck Shelter, which carries two Swimmer Delivery Vehicles (SDV), small submarines to carry SEALs on their missions. Other submarines have been extensively modified to carry even more SDVs and larger contingents of Special Warfare personnel.








Click here for a great video shot of a 688 conducting an emergency blow (2,036KB .avi file)

- This page last updated 10/22/2003 -

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