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SSN (X)

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In my latest at 1945 I think some thoughts about the Navy’s next generation submarine:

To some extent, the SSN(X) will represent a throwback to the Seawolf class, a group of boats designed to carry the fight on the high end against Soviet submarines in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Arctic. Requirements for this mission include high speed, low acoustic signature, and large magazine capacity for torpedoes and other weapons. While the Virginias sacrificed some of these characteristics in order to manage cost and maintain multi-mission capabilities, the new boats will be genuine hunter-killers. 

The Russia-Ukraine War doesn’t hold a lot of lessons for thinking about submarine warfare, beyond perhaps the observation that anti-submarine warfare is difficult and complex because the Ukrainians don’t seem to have tried to do it at all. Investing in a new class of submarines obviously involves taking on some technological risk (transparent oceans, Unmanned Undersea Vehicles, etc.) but at the same time it’s hard to make the case that the Navy won’t need to invest in submarines moving forward.

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