US Navy Unveils Its Stealthiest and Most Tech-Laden Sub

The US Navy’s newest and most formidably-innovative attack submarine yet–the USS South Dakota, Virginia-Class has—is newly-launched and ready for action.

(Shown left: Artist’s rendering of the USS South Dakota launching missiles.)

Many of the new technological additions have been used in prototype format for many years on US Naval ships. Among the upgrades are new ways to quiet the engine, a hull-mounted acoustic array (sonar) that will enable submarines to develop extraordinarily detailed tactical pictures, and “stealth” coating materials for the hull.

Collectively, the US Navy is calling these upgrades “acoustic superiority.”

In addition to installment on the Virginia Class submarines, these advancements will be also be integrated on the US Navy’s next generation of nuclear-armed vessels (Columbia-Class).

The USS South Dakota and her crew.

The Virginia Class submarines will also be aided by another upgrade: Drones. Also designed to use sonar and sensors nearly identical to those installed on the “mother” submarine (just in miniature form), they will be used to conduct reconnaissance, oceanographic information, search for mines–as well as be able to destroy enemy submarines and ships.

Like the US Air Force drones, the Naval drones will be controlled by a single operator.

The recent upgrades come from the United States wanting its Navy to remain ahead of technological advancements made by China and Russia to their navies. Chinese SSBNs (which stands for “Ship, Submersible, Ballistic [missile], nuclear-powered”) are now able to patrol with nuclear-armed JL-2 missiles, which can strike targets more than 4,500 nautical miles away.

At least four Russian Oscar II-Class, nuclear-powered guided missile submarines (SSGNs) have been with 3M-54 caliber supersonic cruise missiles, available in in land-attack, anti-ship, and anti-submarine variants.

Additionally, both Russia and China are working on hypersonic weapons; these missiles could travel as much as five times the speed of sound. This is faster than current US ships could hope to defend against, which is why the US is working to upgrade not only its Navy, but its Air Force and ground vehicles used by the Marines and Army.

What do you think about these new upgrades?

Do you think the United States can and will maintain its military superiority?

What other improvements do you think the US needs for its military?

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