The Navy envisions its next-generation nuclear-powered attack submarine to be the “ultimate apex predator,” according to officials.
Known as the SSN(X), the future platform will combine the Virginia-class submarine’s acoustics and sensors, the Seawolf-class’ payload and speed and the Columbia-class’ projected operational availability, said Rear Adm. Bill Houston, director of the undersea warfare division in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations.
“It really needs to be ready for … major combat operations,” he said during a panel discussion hosted by the Navy League in July. “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.”
The team hopes to allow for plenty of time to conduct research, development, test and evaluation for the program, he said.
“It takes a significant amount of time and effort for that RDT&E to develop this apex predator,” he said. “It’s a daunting task, but the team is more than capable of doing it.”
The Navy wants to begin procuring the new class of subs beginning in fiscal year 2031, according to the Congressional Research Service.