The US Navy has big plans for a new class of attack submarines – Coming soon: the SSN(X) attack submarine. With that, the U.S. Navy appears to be ramping up the technology and weaponry for this new underwater weapon of war. “We are looking at the ultimate apex predator for the maritime domain,” Vice Adm. Bill Houston, who is now the head of Naval Submarine Forces, Submarine Force Atlantic, and Allied Submarine Command, said of the new program at a Navy League event this past summer.
According to military and defense writer Benjamin Brimelow at Business Insider, “the new submarine is dubbed SSN(X), indicating that the design is not yet determined, but Houston said the boats would take the best features of the Navy’s three previous sub designs: the Seawolf- and Virginia-class attack submarines, or SSNs, and the still-in-development Columbia-class ballistic-missile submarines, classified as SSBNs.” Houston noted that “we’re taking what we already know how to do and combining it together.”
The new work on SSN(X) is coming at a time when the United States is confronting increased competition with China and its fast-growing navy forces, which the Pentagon has mentioned is the largest on the planet. SSN(X) “really needs to be ready for major combat operations,” Houston said. “It’s going to need to be able to go behind enemy lines and deliver that punch that is going to really, really establish our primacy. It needs to be able to deny an adversary ability to operate in their bastion regions,” he continued.