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Photo: The Virginia-class attack submarine USS Missouri (SSN 780).

U.S. Navy Fact Sheet

Attack Submarines - SSN

Description
Attack submarines are designed to seek and destroy enemy submarines and surface ships; project power ashore with Tomahawk cruise missiles and Special Operation Forces; carry out Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions; support battle group operations; and engage in mine warfare.

Background
With the number of foreign diesel-electric/air-independent propulsion submarines increasing yearly, the United States Submarine Force relies on its technological superiority and the speed, endurance, mobility, stealth, and payload afforded by nuclear power to retain its preeminence in the undersea battlespace.

The Navy has three classes of SSNs in service. Los Angeles (SSN 688)-class submarines are the backbone of the submarine force with 41now in commission. Thirty Los Angeles-class SSNs are equipped with 12 Vertical Launch System tubes for firing Tomahawk cruise missiles.

The Navy also has three Seawolf-class submarines. Commissioned on July 19, 1997, USS Seawolf (SSN 21) is exceptionally quiet, fast, well-armed, and equipped with advanced sensors. Though lacking Vertical Launch Systems, the Seawolf class has eight torpedo tubes and can hold up to 50 weapons in its torpedo room. The third ship of the class, USS Jimmy Carter (SSN 23), has a 100-foot hull extension called the multi-mission platform. This hull section provides for additional payloads to accommodate advanced technology used to carry out classified research and development and for enhanced warfighting capabilities.

The Navy is now building the next-generation attack submarine, the Virginia (SSN 774) class. The Virginia class has several innovations that significantly enhance its warfighting capabilities with an emphasis on littoral operations. Virginia class SSNs have a fly-by-wire ship control system that provides improved shallow-water ship handling. The class has special features to support special operation forces including a reconfigurable torpedo room which can accommodate a large number of special operation forces and all their equipment for prolonged deployments and future off-board payloads. The class also has a large lock-in/lock-out chamber for divers. In Virginia-class SSNs, traditional periscopes have been supplanted by two photonics masts that host visible and infrared digital cameras atop telescoping arms. With the removal of the barrel periscopes, the ship’s control room has been moved down one deck and away from the hull’s curvature, affording it more room and an improved layout that provides the commanding officer with enhanced situational awareness. Additionally, through the extensive use of modular construction, open architecture, and commercial off-the-shelf components, the Virginia class is designed to remain state of the practice for its entire operational life through the rapid introduction of new systems and payloads.

As part of the Virginia-class’ third, or Block III, contract, the Navy redesigned approximately 20 percent of the ship to reduce their acquisition costs. Most of the changes are found in the bow where the traditional, air-backed sonar sphere has been replaced with a water-backed Large Aperture Bow (LAB) array which reduces acquisition and life-cycle costs while providing enhanced passive detection capabilities. The new bow also replaces the 12 individual Vertical Launch System (VLS) tubes with two 87-inch Virginia Payload Tubes (VPTs), each capable of launching six Tomahawk cruise missiles. The VPTs simplify construction, reduce acquisition costs, and provide for more payload flexibility than the smaller VLS tubes due to their added volume.

 
Point Of Contact
Office of Corporate Communication (00D)
Naval Sea Systems Command
Washington, D.C. 20362
 
General Characteristics, Virginia class
Builder: General Dynamics Electric Boat Division and Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc. - Newport News Shipbuilding.
Date Deployed: USS Virginia commissioned October 3, 2004
Propulsion: One nuclear reactor, one shaft
Length: 377 feet (114.8 meters)
Beam: 33 feet (10.0584 meters)
Displacement: Approximately 7,800 tons (7,925 metric tons) submerged
Speed: 25+ knots (28+ miles per hour, 46.3+ kph)
Crew: 132: 15 officers; 117 enlisted
Armament: Tomahawk missiles, twelve VLS tubes, MK48 ADCAP torpedoes, four torpedo tubes.
Ships:
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USS Virginia (SSN 774), Portsmouth, NH
USS Texas (SSN 775), Pearl Harbor, HI
USS Hawaii (SSN 776), Pearl Harbor, HI
USS North Carolina (SSN 777), Pearl Harbor, HI
USS New Hampshire (SSN 778), Groton, CT
USS New Mexico (SSN 779), Groton, CT
USS Missouri (SSN 780), Groton, CT
USS California (SSN 781), Groton, CT
USS Mississippi (SSN 782), Groton, CT
USSMinnesota (SSN 783), Norfolk, VA
North Dakota (SSN 784), No homeport - Construction began March 2009. Christened 2 November 2013.
John Warner (SSN 785), No homeport - Construction began March 2010
Illinois (SSN 786) - Construction began in March 2011.
Washington (SSN 787) - No homeport, construction began in September 2011
Colorado (SSN 788) - No homeport, construction began in March 2012.
Indiana (SSN 789) - No homeport, construction began September 2012.
South Dakota (SSN 790) - Under contract.
Delaware (SSN 791) - Under contract.
 
General Characteristics, Seawolf class
Builder: General Dynamics Electric Boat Division.
Date Deployed: USS Seawolf commissioned July 19, 1997
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: 14 Officers; 126 Enlisted
Armament: Tomahawk missiles, MK48 torpedoes, eight torpedo tubes.
Ships:
USS Seawolf (SSN 21), Bangor, WA
USS Connecticut (SSN 22), Bangor, WA
USS Jimmy Carter (SSN 23), Bangor, WA
 
General Characteristics, Los Angeles class
Builder: Newport News Shipbuilding Co.; General Dynamics Electric Boat Division.
Date Deployed: Nov 13, 1976 (USS Los Angeles)
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: 16 Officers; 127 Enlisted
Armament: Tomahawk missiles, VLS tubes (SSN 719 and later), MK48 torpedoes, four torpedo tubes.
Ships:
USS Los Angeles (SSN 688), Pearl Harbor, HI
USS Philadelphia (SSN 690), Groton, CT
USS Memphis (SSN 691), Portsmouth, NH
USS Bremerton (SSN 698), Pearl Harbor, HI
USS Jacksonville (SSN 699), Pearl Harbor, HI
USS Dallas (SSN 700), Groton, CT
USS La Jolla (SSN 701), Pearl Harbor, HI
USS City of Corpus Christi (SSN 705), Pearl Harbor, HI
USS Albuquerque (SSN 706), San Diego, CA
USS Portsmouth (SSN 707), San Diego, CA
USS Minneapolis-St. Paul (SSN 708), Pearl Harbor, HI
USS Hyman G. Rickover (SSN 709), Norfolk, VA
USS Augusta (SSN 710) - Decommissioned February 11, 2009
USS San Francisco (SSN 711), San Diego, CA
USS Houston (SSN 713), Pearl Harbor, HI
USS Norfolk (SSN 714), Norfolk, VA
USS Buffalo (SSN 715), Pearl Harbor, HI
USS Salt Lake City (SSN 716), San Diego, CA
USS Olympia (SSN 717), Pearl Harbor, HI
USS Honolulu (SSN 718), Pearl Harbor, HI
USS Providence (SSN 719), Groton, CT
USS Pittsburgh (SSN 720), Groton, CT
USS Chicago (SSN 721), Guam
USS Key West (SSN 722), Guam
USS Oklahoma City (SSN 723), Guam
USS Louisville (SSN 724), Pearl Harbor, HI
USS Helena (SSN 725), Norfolk, VA
USS Newport News (SSN 750), Norfolk, VA
USS San Juan (SSN 751), Groton, CT
USS Pasadena (SSN 752), San Diego, CA
USS Albany (SSN 753), Norfolk, VA
USS Topeka (SSN 754), Portsmouth, NH
USS Miami (SSN 755), Portsmouth, NH - Commenced inactivation September 27, 2013
USS Scranton (SSN 756), Norfolk, VA
USS Alexandria (SSN 757), Portsmouth, NH
USS Asheville (SSN 758), San Diego, CA
USS Jefferson City (SSN 759), San Diego, CA
USS Annapolis (SSN 760), Groton, CT
USS Springfield (SSN 761), Groton, CT
USS Columbus (SSN 762), Pearl Harbor, HI
USS Santa Fe (SSN 763), Pearl Harbor, HI
USS Boise (SSN 764), Norfolk, VA
USS Montpelier (SSN 765), Norfolk, VA
USS Charlotte (SSN 766), Pearl Harbor, HI
USS Hampton (SSN 767), San Diego, CA
USS Hartford (SSN 768), Groton, CT
USS Toledo (SSN 769), Groton, CT
USS Tucson (SSN 770), Pearl Harbor, HI
USS Columbia (SSN 771), Pearl Harbor, HI
USS Greeneville (SSN 772), Pearl Harbor, HI
USS Cheyenne (SSN 773), Pearl Harbor, HI
 
Last Update: 6 December 2013