The submarine is arguably one of the most strategically important vessels in modern military. With the ability to traverse hundreds or even thousands of miles while completely submerged, it can reach critical areas undetected. Furthermore, they can be equipped with a wide variety of weapons, allowing countries to exert their military might from the depths of the ocean.
In an effort to strengthen our nation’s military edge, the United States Navy has announced plans to build a Virginia-class submarine featuring next-generation acoustic stealth technology.
In its report titled “The Emerging Era in Undersea Warfare,” the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments revealed that the US military’s competitive edge over countries like China and Russia is growing smaller and smaller. As explained by the report’s authors, competitors are pursuing their own technologies to expand their submarine capabilities. As a result, the Navy must invest heavily into new research and development for undersea warfare to remain the world’s dominant military power.
“America’s competitors are likely pursuing these technologies while also expanding their own undersea forces. To sustain its undersea advantage well into this century, the US Navy must accelerate innovation in undersea warfare by reconsidering the role of manned submarines and exploiting emerging technologies to field a new ‘family of undersea systems’,” wrote the report’s authors.
This has prompted the Navy to develop a new Virginia-class attack submarine, dubbed the USS South Dakota (SSN-790). For obvious reasons, we still don’t know much about the specifications or technology powering the Navy’s latest submarine. However, reports have hinted towards acoustic superiority, which essentially means that it can operate undetected in or near hostile waters. Acoustic superiority could also mean that the USS South Dakota (SSN-790) is better equipped at detecting hostile forces’ activity from far away.
In addition to the tactical military advantage they offer, there are other reasons why the US military should invest in developing new submarine technology. Submarines, for instance, are excellent at gathering intelligence about hostile forces. They can operate undetected, collecting valuable information and intelligence about other countries’ forces. Submarines are also a major deterrent, often deterring hostile forces from engaging. And the use of acoustic superiority will only enhance these capabilities, allowing for better and more powerful submarines in the Navy’s fleet.
What do you think of the US military’s decision to develop a new attack submarine with acoustic superiority?