Ten of the Deadliest Attack Submarines in the World

What are the best attack submarines in the world? Can you really call a war machine great? Shut up and tell me which ones are the best! Ok, let’s find out. Using an analysis of the vessel’s offensive capability, stealth and other features we’ll explore some of the most advanced machines in the world. Yeah right, they have to look the business too!

Designed and built to hunt and destroy hostile submarines and ships, they are the wolfs of the sea. They must have great sonar in order to detect their prey. Combined with this, attack submarines need to close on their targets with the minimal chance of detection. Clearly, once they’ve struck, they need to clear the area equally as stealthily. Who knows what anti-submarine ships or aircraft are skulking around. Some of the more modern hunters have cruise missile payloads for both ships and land-based targets. To be most effective a great submarine must combine these attributes.

The following are our selection of ten of the greatest attack submarines in the world. Feel free to add your suggestions in the comments. Now I’m in the mood to watch The Hunt for Red October.

Attack Submarines:  Seawolf Class (USA)

Entered Service: 1997
Diving Depth: 487m
Weaponry: Mk. 48 Torpedoes, Sub-Harpoon anti-ship missiles and Tomahawk cruise missiles

Arguably the best attack submarine in the world. The US Seawolf is a very expensive but highly advanced weapon of war. They were designed and built to restore lost technological superiority after the mid-1980’s. Their primary perceived victims were the Typhoon and Akula class submarines.

Initially, 12 vessels were planned for construction but only 3 were actually realized. All three are currently still in active service. After this time the US Navy switched to the cheaper Virginia Class subs. These subs are exceptionally quiet even at high speeds. Most ships need to travel at less than 5 knots to avoid detection but this class can cruise at speeds of 20 knots and still avoid detection. These vessels can operate at greater depths than existing subs and under the polar ice caps. A pretty formidable submarine by all accounts.

[Image Source: Wikimedia Commons]

Attack Submarines: Virginia class (USA)

Entered service: 2004
Diving depth: over 250 m
Weaponry: Mk.48 torpedoes, Sub-Harpoon anti-ship missiles, Tomahawk cruise missiles.

The successor to the Los Angeles class of subs, the Virginia Class was designed as a smaller, cheaper and more versatile alternative to the Seawolf Class. This class incorporates newly designed anechoic coating, isolated deck structures and a new propulsion system to provide a low acoustic signature. Its noise level is equivalent to, apparently, the Seawolf Class.

These killers are fitted with 12 vertical launch tubes for Tomahawk cruise missiles. They also come equipped with 4 533 mm torpedo tubes. Amazingly, these boats can even be used for special-ops with built in navy SEAL staging areas.

[Image Source: Wikimedia Commons]

Attack Submarines: Astute class (United Kingdom)

Entered service: 2010
Diving depth: over 150 m
Weaponry: Spearfish torpedoes, Sub-Harpoon anti-ship missiles, Tomahawk cruise missiles.

First commissioned by the Royal Navy in 2010, the Astute Class of Nuclear-powered submarine is an impressive boat. Seven of them are planned for construction and they will replace the aging Swiftsure class of subs. They are significantly stealthier and more heavily armed than their predecessors the Trafalgar class.

Fitted with six 533 mm torpedo tubes they can fire Spearfish torpedoes, Sub-Harpoon anti-ship missiles and Tomahawk cruise missiles.

[Image Source: Wikimedia Commons]

Attack Submarines: Graney class (Russia)

Entered service: 2013
Diving depth: Around 300 m
Weaponry: various torpedoes, anti-ship and cruise missiles.

The Russian project 885 Yasen (code named Graney Class by NATO) are the latest Russian nuclear-powered subs. The lead vessels, Severodvinsk, had her hull laid in 1993 but the project stalled due to funding problems. The project was only recently re-commissioned in 2013 by the Russian Navy. Russia apparently has 6 of these planned for construction and they are intended to replace the older Akula class.

These vessels have 24 vertical launch tubes for cruise missiles and 8 650 mm torpedo tubes for anti-ship missiles and torpedoes.

[Image Source: Wikimedia Commons]

Attack Submarines: Sierra II class (Russia)

Entered service: 1992
Diving depth: Around 400 m
Weaponry: Torpedoes, SS-N-15 Starfish or SS-N-16 Stallion anti-submarine missiles, SS-N-21 Samson cruise missiles

The successor to the ill-fated Alfa class the Sierra II series have two light and strong titanium hulls. The Sierra class can operate at great depths, have reduced radiated noise levels and increased resistance to torpedo damage. Those sneaky Soviets had Titanium technology far more advanced than the West at the time. It required fewer passes to achieve a successful weld. Construction was very expensive for the hulls and these boats were few in number.

Despite their high operating costs, the Russian Navy still maintains these vessels.

[Image Source: Wikimedia Commons]

Attack Submarines: Improved Los Angeles class (USA)

Entered service: 1988
Diving depth: 450 m
Weaponry: Mk.48 torpedoes, Sub-Harpoon anti-ship missiles and Tomahawk land attack cruise missiles.

Although aging in comparison to the Seawolf and Virginia class, the US Navy currently operates around 4o of these subs. They have proved to be exceptionally good ASW platforms. These improved vessels are much quieter, around 7 times, than their predecessors. This class of subs sports a very potent weapon array indeed. Dedicated vertical launch tubes fire Tomahawk missiles much like its newer alternatives. This class is also capable of operating under ice.

[Image Source: Wikimedia Commons]

Attack Submarines: Akula class (Russia)

Entered service: 1986
Diving depth: Around 300 m
Weaponry: Torpedoes and missiles

One of the more famous attack submarines, the Akula class first launched in the late 1980’s. They marked a drastic improvement on Soviet submarine design, they were much quieter and had better sensors than their forerunning SSN’s. So much so, in fact, that it performed better than Western nations expected. The Akula II class became the first Russian subs to actually be quieter than the latest US attack subs at the time.

These boats have four 650 mm torpedo tubes and four 533 mm tubes. They make up around half of the Russian fleet of subs.

[Image Source: Wikimedia Commons]

Attack Submarines: Soryu class (Japan)

Entered service: 2009
Diving depth: Around 250 m
Weaponry: Type 89 torpedoes, Sub-Harpoon anti-ship missiles.

First commissioned in 2009, The Soryu class actually have diesel-electric powered propulsion systems. They also sport air-independent propulsion systems that allow them to stay submerged for long periods of time without surfacing to charge batteries. This increases their submerged endurance to weeks from days. They also have enhanced stealth and operational capabilities. They do suffer range and endurance compared to their rival nuclear-powered attack submarines.

The Soryu class have hydrodynamic designs and are fitted with anechoic coating. Their interiors also sport sound isolation for the loader components of its systems. The Sorya also lacks vertical launch systems and have a relatively limited payload compared to other ships on this list.

[Image Source: Wikimedia Commons]

Attack Submarines: Ohio class (USA)

Entered service: 2006
Diving depth: 300 m
Weaponry: Mk.48 torpedoes, Tomahawk cruise missiles

Originally designed to carry intercontinental ballistic missiles, the four eldest of the Ohio class were converted between 2002 and 2008 to carry cruise missiles instead.  The Ohio, Michigan, Florida and Georgia had their Trident 2 missiles replaced with smaller Tomahawk cruise missiles. Each converted ship is now capable of carrying around 154 of these missiles.

These boats also come equipped with 533 m tubes for torpedoes. They also have lockout chambers and can even carry special forces personnel.

[Image Source: Wikimedia Commons]

Attack Submarines: Oscar II class (Russia)

Entered service: 1986
Diving depth: 500 m
Weaponry: Various torpedoes and anti-ship missiles. P-700 Granit (SS-N-19 Shipwreck) cruise missiles.

Known to the Russians as Project 949A Antey, NATO designates this class as the Oscar II. Oscar II’s are the third largest subs in terms of displacement and length. Only the Soviet Typhoon and American Ohio class are longer. IT’s interesting to note that the Oscar II is probably the most capable of existing Russian submarines.

Only 4 remain out of a planned 19, only 11 were actually built. By modern standards, they are far from being the stealthiest vessels. They are, however, heavy hitters being built to take out US aircraft carriers. These subs come equipped with 650 mm and 533 mm torpedo tubes that can launch torpedoes and anti-ship missiles.

[Image Source: Wikimedia Commons]

Via Military Today

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