The Navy’s future attack submarines for the 2030s will be bigger, faster, more autonomous, networked and stealthier than the existing Virginia-class attack boats because greater size will allow for more advanced quieting technologies to be built into the boats.
Slated to emerge in the 2030s, a new SSN (X) class of attack submarines may be closer in size to the Navy’s much larger new Columbia-class of nuclear-armed ballistic missile submarines, according to quotes from BWXT CEO Rex Geveden cited in a report from the U.S. Naval Institute.
The Columbia class is planned to displace about 20,000 tons – whereas the current Virginias displace about 8,000 tons. The Columbia-class hulls are about 42-feet in diameter, while the Virginias are 36-feet wide, the report says.
“A wider hull for submarines can improve characteristics like stealth, allowing ship designers to build in more sound-deadening technology and allow room to develop systems to increase a boat’s speed, but it is more expensive to build,” the USNI report states.
Will it be the stealthiest, most lethal attack submarine ever to exist? That … is the Navy plan.