The change in leadership in the US may not change the country’s policy towards China in light of its advances in the South China Sea as Washington remains wary of Beijing’s hostile moves and prepares for a potential maritime clash.
While the US Navy already has a plethora of modern class warships, fighter aircraft, and submarines at their disposal, there is a need for constant modernization to counter Beijing’s undoubted expertise in mass espionage and subsequent reverse engineering of Western aircraft, tanks, ships, and other defense equipment.
Now, despite the Pentagon already boasts of the Seawolf Class and the Virginia Class modern submarines in their military arsenal, its Navy still feels the need to push for a more futuristic batch of submarines which will enable them to stamp its authority over the bullish People’s Liberation Army and other forces across the globe.
In order to fulfill that mission, the US Navy has initiated work on a new generation of attack submarines known as the SSN(X) with a host of features never been seen before in any other submarine.
The new class of submarines is touted be even larger than the existing fleet of Virginia-class attack submarines, with newer weapons, quieting technology, undersea attack drones, sonar, communications networking, and a host of other modern unclassified features.
Expected to arrive in the 2030s, the new submarines which will have a much larger weapons load and service life than the Virginia-Class are expected to boast a larger diameter as well.
According to Rex Geveden, the Chief Executive of one of the major vendors working on nuclear propulsion for the submarines, BWX Technologies –
“We do expect it will be a larger type of submarine, probably in the size class of the Columbia, but there’s not much more to tell than that. But we’re working with our Navy customer in what that would look like and how we could take that into production,” said Geveden.
According to Navy weapons developers, there is a lot of work being planned for the latest attack submarine, with emphasis put on enhancing its abilities in order for it to carry out long-range precision strikes, delivering Special Operations Forces on secret high-risk attack missions.
Moreover, the submarine will also be able to conduct ISR missions while networking with platforms and most importantly, operate undetected in high-threat waters.
According to sources talking to the National Interest,
“While there is secrecy about the technical details of the project, the submarines will have new coating materials to make the submarines stealthier, new antennas for longer-range, more accurate undersea surveillance missions and new “quieting” engine propulsion technology, among other things.”
The US Navy has also Special Operations Forces (SOF) Optimization analysis of alternatives in order to engineer the attack submarines well suited for clandestine undersea SOF missions. They are set to include targeted attack operations, forward intelligence gathering, or high-risk surveillance missions.
Moreover, the newest submarines will be engineered keeping in mind the increasing use of underwater drones, with the armed services working towards building an entirely new fleet of UUVs that will be capable of destroying mines, conducting lower risk forward surveillance, delivering supplies, and even firing weapons.