2Outline Mission of the Submarine Force History Operations/Mission PlatformsCombat Systems
3Mission of the Submarine Force As stated by the CNO's Submarine Warfare Division, the U.S. Submarine Force has several goals:to maintain its role as the world's preeminent Submarine Forceto aggressively incorporate new and innovative technologies to maintain dominance throughout the maritime battlespaceto promote the multiple capabilities of submarines and develop tactics to support national objectives through battlespace preparation, sea control, supporting the land battle and strategic deterrenceto fill the role of the Joint Commanders' stealthy, full spectrum expeditionary platform.
4HistoryThe first military submarine was the American-built Turtle (1775). Designed and built by the patriot David Bushnell, the hand-powered, egg-shaped device accommodated a single man. It is thought to be the first submarine capable of independent underwater operation, and the first to use a screw for propulsion
5HistoryDuring the American Civil War, confederate forces revived the submarine concept. On February 18, 1864, the Confederate States Submersible, the CSS Hunley, performed the first successful military submarine mission when she sank the USS Housatonic, just off Charleston Harbor. Hunley performed her submerged attack against Housatonic using a spar torpedo
6HistoryU-boats (German submarines) were central to the German naval strategy during the first World War. In fact, a torpedo fired from a German U-boat sank the ocean liner RMS Lusitania (May 7, 1915), which directly precipitated entry of the U.S. into WWI.
7HistoryFollowing WWII, the Cold War redefined the mission of the submarine. Against the rising threat of nuclear war with the Soviet Union, several critical design improvements transformed the U.S. submarine fleet.Most notably, these improvements included:The tear-dropped hull shape. First developed for conventional diesel-electric submarines, the tear-dropped hull allowed much greater submerged operating speeds and higher propulsion efficiencyNuclear powered propulsion. Due in large part to the efforts of ADM Hyman Rickover (USNA ‘22), “Father of the Nuclear Navy,” the Naval Nuclear Power Program was born.
8HistoryWith the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Cold War ended. However, despite the heavy demands of the Cold War, the U.S. has only lost two nuclear powered submarines. In contrast, the Soviets lost a total of nine submarines during the Cold War. The two lost nuclear powered U.S. submarines are:USS Thresher (SSN-593). Thresher was lost on April 10th 1963, during a deep diving sea-trial off the coast of Massachusetts. Exact details of her loss remain unclear.Scorpion (SSN-589). Scorpion was lost in May, 1968, returning to Norfolk from Rota, Spain. The conditions of her loss are much less clear than for Thresher. However, based on acoustic evidence, scientists working for the U.S. Navy have proposed she suffered either a collision or an inadvertent weapon detonation.
9Operations/MissionPeacetime Operations: Peacetime deployment of submarines helps demonstrate U.S. interest in particular regions and supports U.S. national defense by providing a flexible forward presence. The stealth advantage offered by submarines gives the President the ability to demonstrate interest in a specific region at a specific time.Strategic and Conventional Deterrence: Both strategic ballistic missile submarines (SSBN) and fast attack submarines (SSN) participate in the mission of deterrence. The primary role, peacetime or otherwise, of the SSBN continues to be nuclear deterrence. Under the doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD), our constantly present nuclear strike capability dissuades other nuclear powers from launching nuclear attack against the United States. Additionally, as a conventional deterrent, the SSN provides an ever-present, though rarely seen, asset that can exert pressure on any would-be threat with minimal risk to U.S. forces.
10Operations/MissionIntelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR): Attack submarines perform a broad spectrum of surveillance and intelligence roles. Some examples of ISR missions include stealthy interception of enemy cell phone communications and gathering intelligence on foreign port operations. The submarine’s ISR capability stems from its stealth; a submarine can enter an area and watch and listen without being counter-detected.Special Operations: SEALs and other small-unit special operations forces (including joint forces) operate in conjunction with the submarine force. The dive chambers on SSNs and SSGNs have the ability to “lock-out” special operators while submerged. SSNs and SSGNs can also externally carry special operations equipment, such as the Dry Deck Shelter/SEAL Delivery Vehicle, rigid-hull inflatable boats (RHIBs), and other munitions and supplies. In short, submarines form the ideal platform for inserting, supporting, and extracting small special operations units when surprise or secrecy is essential.
11Operations/MissionPrecision Strike: Submarines fire the Tomahawk Land Attack Missile (TLAM), either from torpedo tubes or from vertical launch systems (VLS), to perform the critical job of precision strike. The TLAM provides high accuracy and a standoff attack range of more than 650 miles. The execution of this role by submarines has greatly expanded since the recent conversion of four SSBNs into SSGN submarines that act as formidable TLAM strike platforms. Each SSGN can carry up to 154 Tomahawk cruise missiles, the equivalent capacity of an entire Carrier Strike Group.Sea Denial: Preventing enemy use of the seas – be it warship activity or merchant shipping – has always been and continues to be an important mission for submarines. Submarines can perform sea denial missions in a variety of scenarios, from general war against a major maritime power, to blockages of specific enemy ports. Attacks against enemy surface ships or submarines can be part of a war of attrition or such attacks can be directed against specific isolated targets.
13Fast Attack Submarines (SSN) Fast Attack submarines are designed to:Seek and destroy enemy submarines and surface shipsConduct precision strike with Tomahawk cruise missilesProject power ashore by delivering and supporting Special Operation ForcesCarry out Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) missionsSupport Carrier Strike GroupsEngage in mine warfare.
14Fast Attack Submarines (SSN) There are three classes of SSNs now in service. They are:Los Angeles class (SSN SSN 773). Los Angeles class boats are the backbone of the submarine force with forty-five now in commission. Thirty-one of the Los Angeles class are equipped with 12 Vertical Launch System tubes for firing Tomahawk cruise missiles.Seawolf class (SSN SSN 23). Commissioned on July 19, 1997, USS Seawolf (SSN 21) represents the first in a class of boats that are exceptionally quiet, fast, well armed, and equipped with advanced sensors.Virginia class (SSN SSN 784). The Navy is now building the next-generation SSN, the Virginia (SSN 774) class. Five of the planned thirty are already in service. The Virginia class has several innovations that significantly enhance their capabilities with an emphasis on littoral operations.
18Ballistic Missile Submarines (SSBN) Since the 1960s, strategic deterrence has been the SSBN’s primary mission, providing the United States with its most survivable and enduring nuclear strike capability. There is only one type of SSBN in service, the Ohio class submarine.“Boomers,” as SSBNs are often called, serve as a virtually undetectable launch platform for intercontinental ballistic missiles. They are designed specifically for stealth and the precision delivery of nuclear warheads. Ohio class SSBNs have the capability to carry up to 24 submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs), each having multiple independently-targeted warheads.
20Guided Missile Submarines (SSGN) The first four of the Ohio-class SSBNs were converted into guided missile submarines (SSGN). Ohio class SSGNs provide the Navy with an unprecedented combination of precision strike and special operation mission capability within a stealthy, clandestine platform.The SSGN conversion includes the installation of vertical launching systems in a configuration dubbed “multiple all-up-round canister.” On each SSGN, 22 of the 24 missile tubes hold 7 Tomahawk cruise missiles, for a total capacity of 154 TLAMs. If the maximum number of TLAMs were loaded, one Ohio class SSGN would carry an entire Carrier Strike Group's equivalent of cruise missiles.
22Combat Systems Weapons Mk-48 and Mk-48/ADCAP(ADvanced CAPability) Torpedoes: The Mk-48 is the principal heavyweight Anti-Submarine and Anti-SUrface ship torpedo in the U.S. inventory. It is an acoustic-homing torpedo, having its own onboard SONAR to seek and destroy enemy contacts.UGM-109 Tomahawk Cruise Missile: The Tomahawk Land Attack Missile (TLAM) is an all-weather, long range, subsonic cruise missile used for land attack warfare. U.S. submarines can launch the Tomahawk cruise missile either from a standard 21" diameter torpedo tube, or from a Vertical Launch System (VLS, used by the improved Los Angeles class, Virginia class, and SSGN submarines).
23Combat Systems Weapons Trident II (D5) Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile (SLBM): Trident II (D5) missiles are deployed in Ohio- class SSBN submarines, each carrying up to 24 missiles. The Trident II (D5) is a three-stage, solid-propellant ballistic missile with a range of more than 4,000 nautical miles. Trident II is launched by the pressure of expanding gas within the launch tube. Each missile carries multiple nuclear warheads, housed in multiple independent re-entry vehicles (MIRVs), which launch from the missile and are independently targeted.
24Combat Systems Sensors SONAR: Unless it is using its periscope, a submerged submarine has no optical window to the outside world. To locate contacts, to locate the ocean floor, and for targeting purposes, a submarine uses SONAR (SOund NAvigation and Ranging). SONAR is similar to RADAR, but it relies on acoustic signals rather than electromagnetic signals. SONAR can function in two modes:In active SONAR, the submarine emits a pulse of sound. The pulse travels through the water, reflects off the target and returns to the submarine. Onboard computers interpret the reflected pulse to determine the bearing and range to a contact. (used less frequently)Passive SONAR involves passively listening to sounds -- like the noise generated by a merchant's engines, or the noise of another submarine's screw chopping through the water. (constantly employed)