Chief of Naval Operations
Submarine Warfare Division

Fast Attack Submarines

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The U.S. Navy's Fast Attack submarines exemplify a truly multi-mission platform - from open ocean Anti-Submarine Warfare to surveillance and intelligence gathering in the preparation/prevention of regional crises. They are agile assets for Battle Group and Joint Task Force Commanders. Their protective cloak of stealth and unlimited endurance allows them to maneuver with impunity, even in the most sensitive forward areas. They can transit at high speeds, undetected, independent of sea state, and arrive on station ready for action. And they are lethal... against enemy submarines, surface ships, and critical targets ashore.

At present, there are 55 Fast Attack submarines. Twenty-eight fast attack submarines are assigned to the Atlantic Submarine Force. Twenty-seven fast attack submarines are assigned to the Pacific Submarine Force.

The backbone of the Navy's attack submarine force is the Los Angeles (SSN 688) class submarine. Los Angeles class submarines are fast and heavily armed. These submarines can carry 25 torpedo tube launched weapons - MK 48 torpedoes and Tomahawk Cruise Missiles. The last 23 submarines of the Los Angeles class, called"Improved 688s" (I688s), are quieter, incorporate an advanced combat system and are configured for under-ice operations - their diving planes were moved from the sail to the bow and sail strengthened for breaking through ice. The I688s also have twelve vertical launch tubes for Tomahawk Cruise Missiles.

The Seawolf (SSN 21) class is the U.S. Navy's most advanced attack submarine design. Originally intended as a class of 29 submarines, the end of the Cold War and budget constraints led to a restructuring of the class to three submarines. The Seawolf is significantly quieter than any Los Angeles class submarine, faster, has more torpedoes tubes and can carry more weapons - up to 50 torpedoes or missiles, or 100 mines.

The USS Seawolf (SSN 21) was christened on June 24, 1995. Remarks by President Clinton and Secretary of the Navy Dalton concerning the christening ceremony can be found here.

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