The Navy is investigating adding an anti-ship missile to its submarine force — bringing it inline with the majority of the world naval submarines, the director of Naval Reactors said on Wednesday.
In response to a question from the audience at the 2015 Naval Submarine League Symposium, Adm. Frank Caldwell said the Navy was exploring adding the capability to the fleet.
“For this audience, I’ll tell you we are considering that and we are taking some some steps to delivering that kind of capability to our submarine force and I can’t really say anymore than that,” he said.
The U.S. submarine fleet did use the UGM-84A Harpoon anti-ship missile but that Harpoon variant was retired in 1997. The current primary attack submarines is the anti-ship weapon is Mk 48 heavy torpedo and is limited in its range relative to anti-ship missiles developed and deployed with foreign navies.
In particular, Russian and Chinese submarines field a variety of anti-ship missiles with ranges that far exceed the Mk-48s.