Defining stealth, speed and firepower Submarines

America’s Naval submarines and their crews play a number of roles in both war and peace time: attack, surveillance, commando insertion, research, and nuclear deterrence. Through all this, the Navy has found individuals to serve proudly in the “Silent Service,” where standards are high and victories are often kept secret.

In order to carry out their missions, submariners are equipped with some of the most high-tech equipment in the world, from special mini-subs for inserting SEAL teams into hostile target areas to ballistic missiles to advanced computers and sonar equipment.

Attack Submarines

Attack submarines (SSNs) are designed to:

  • Seek and destroy enemy submarines and surface ships
  • Project power ashore with Tomahawk® cruise missiles and special operation forces (SOF)
  • Carry out intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions
  • Conduct irregular warfare (IW) missions
  • Engage in mine warfare

Learn more about Attack submarines in America’s Navy

Los Angeles Class

The Los Angeles class is the backbone of the submarine force with 45 ships now in commission.

Propulsion: One nuclear reactor, one shaft
Length: 360 feet (109.73 meters)
Beam: 33 feet (10.06 meters)
Displacement: Approximately 6,900 tons (7011 metric tons) submerged
Speed: 25+ knots (28+ miles per hour, 46.3+ kph)
Crew: 143
Armament: Tomahawk® missiles, VLS tubes (SSN 719 and later), MK48 torpedoes, four torpedo tubes

Seawolf Class

The Seawolf-class submarine is a multi-mission vessel designed to be exceptionally quiet, fast and well-armed, with advanced sensors.

Propulsion: One nuclear reactor, one shaft
Length: SSNs 21 and 22: 353 feet (107.6 meters); SSN 23: 453 feet (138.07 meters)
Beam: 40 feet (12.2 meters)
Displacement: SSNs 21 and 22: 9,138 tons (9,284 metric tons) submerged; SSN 23: 12,158 tons (12,353 metric tons) submerged
Speed: 25+ knots (28+ miles per hour, 46.3+ kph)
Crew: 140
Armament: Tomahawk® missiles, MK48 torpedoes, eight torpedo tubes

Virginia Class

The Virginia class is the Navy’s next-generation SSN. Built to excel in a wide variety of missions, these vessels specialize in anti-submarine and surface ship warfare, special operations force missions, strike missions and more.

Propulsion: One nuclear reactor, one shaft
Length: 377 feet (114.8 meters)
Beam: 34 feet (10.4 meters)
Displacement: Approximately 7,800 tons (7,925 metric tons) submerged
Speed: 25+ knots (28+ miles per hour, 46.3+ kph)
Crew: 134
Armament: Tomahawk® missiles, 12 VLS tubes, MK48 ADCAP torpedoes, four torpedo tubes

Ballistic Missile Submarines

Strategic deterrence has been the sole mission of the fleet ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) since its inception in 1959. These subs can launch many nuclear missiles even after a sneak attack and can remain hidden underwater for months at a time. They’re also armed with torpedoes for self-defense.

Ohio Class

The Ohio-class submarine replaced aging fleet ballistic missile submarines built in the 1960s and is far more capable. Ohio-class Trident ballistic missile submarines provide the sea-based “leg” of the nuclear deterrence-triad. They have the capability to carry up to 24 Trident II (D5) submarine launch ballistic missiles with multiple, independently-targeted warheads.

Propulsion: One nuclear reactor, one shaft
Length: 560 feet (170.69 meters)
Beam: 42 feet (12.8 meters)
Displacement: 16,764 tons (17,033.03 metric tons) surfaced; 18,750 tons (19,000.1 metric tons) submerged
Speed: 20+ knots (23+ miles per hour, 36.8+ kph)
Crew: 155
Armament: 24 tubes for Trident II submarine-launched ballistic missiles, MK48 torpedoes, four torpedo tubes

Learn more about fleet ballistic missile submarines in America’s Navy

Guided Missile Submarines

The first four Ohio-class submarines were converted to guided-missile submarines (SSGN) with an additional capability to transport and support Navy special operations forces:

USS Ohio (SSGN 726)
USS Michigan (SSGN 727)
USS Florida (SSGN 728)
USS Georgia (SSGN 729)

Learn more about Guided Missile Submarines in America’s Navy

Deep Submergence Rescue Vehicle

Deep Submergence Rescue Vehicles (DSRVs) perform rescue operations on submerged, disabled submarines of the U.S. or foreign navies. They’re designed for quick deployment in the event of a submarine accident. They are also transportable by truck, aircraft, ship, or specially configured attack submarine. DSRVs have room to carry 24 crewmen from a damaged sub.

Size: 49 feet long by 8 feet wide, displacing 38 tons submerged; crew of four
Propulsion and Speed: Electric motors w/silver/zinc batteries; 4 knots (5 miles per hour)

Learn more about DSRVs in America’s Navy