The Navy won’t begin buying its next-generation attack submarine until 2034, but researchers are already hard at work on two key components of the SSN(X) program: an electric drive system for quieter operations, and the ability to control multiple unmanned underwater vehicles at once for extended influence.
These attack boats will operate through the end of the 21st century and perhaps into the 22nd century – and Program Executive Officer for Submarines Rear Adm. Michael Jabaley believes there will still be a place for submarines in naval operations as long as the boats can keep up with changes in the operating environment.
“There’s been a lot of discussion about the future of submarines and the future of stealth and the future of anti-submarine warfare – and we take all of that into account and still firmly believe there’s a significant role for the submarine in the United States Navy well into the heart of this century and beyond,” Jabaley told USNI News in a March 3 interview.
“Now, that said, there are a lot of things that are happening that require some fundamental changes to what we consider an attack submarine to be. And some of it we’re already doing” as the office works through the design of the upcoming Ohio Replacement Program ballistic missile submarine.