An attack submarine is a powerful, stealthy naval vessel designed for warfare beneath the ocean’s surface. These submarines are equipped with advanced technologies and weaponry, making them formidable adversaries. Their nuclear or diesel-electric propulsion systems can operate for extended periods and remain undetectable by enemy forces.
Attack submarines can launch various weapons, including cruise missiles, torpedoes, and mines, enabling them to engage surface and underwater targets. Their primary roles include anti-ship warfare, intelligence gathering, and strategic deterrence. These submarines play a crucial role in safeguarding national security, projecting force, and maintaining control of the seas, offering a significant advantage to navies around the world.
Here are the top 10 best attack submarines in the world.
1. Seawolf-class submarine
The American Seawolf-class submarine was specifically designed to counter the formidable threat posed by Soviet-advanced ballistic missile submarines like the Typhoon class and deep-sea attack submarines like the Akula class. With its impressive arsenal, it can carry up to 50 UGM-109 Tomahawk cruise missiles and other powerful weaponry to engage both land and sea targets. Notably, it boasts a wide range of equipment suitable for shallow water operations. Due to its capabilities and reputation as a submarine killer, it came with a hefty price tag of $3 billion during its construction in 1983. This one surely has its best in the top 10 best attack submarines in the world.
2. Virginia Class Submarine
The Virginia class stands as a nuclear-powered fast-attack submarine and a vital component of the U.S. Navy’s underwater combat capabilities. This cutting-edge platform seamlessly integrates the latest advancements in stealth technology, intelligence systems, and weapon systems. Equipped with 12 vertical launch systems and 4 torpedo tubes, it can launch Mark 48 torpedoes, UGM-109 tactical Tomahawks, harpoon missiles, and state-of-the-art advanced mobile mines. Its construction cost in that year amounted to $2.8 billion, with an annual operating cost of $50 million.
3. Astute Class Submarine
The Astute class submarine represents the Royal Navy’s largest and most formidable attack submarine. Armed with world-leading sensors, this class carries the Tomahawk ground attack cruise missile and the Spearfish heavyweight torpedo. Moreover, it features an advanced integrated passive/active search and attack sonar suite, acclaimed as the best sonar system worldwide. That year, the construction cost for this class reached $2.52 billion, reflecting its exceptional capabilities and advanced technology.
4. Yasen Class Submarine
The Yasen class submarines are advanced Russian submarines designed to replace the older Soviet nuclear attack submarines. They are equipped with a cutting-edge fourth-generation nuclear reactor, which has a long lifespan of 25-30 years without refueling. These submarines can carry either 32 or 24 cruise missiles, along with mines and anti-submarine missiles. They are also the first ships to be equipped with spherical sonar for underwater detection. The cost of each submarine was $800 million.
5. The Sierra class submarine
The Sierra class submarine, originally from the Soviet Union and now in service with the Russian Navy, is a powerful nuclear-powered attack submarine. It boasts a smaller turning circle and can achieve greater speed and diving depths compared to its American counterparts. It can dive up to 520 meters and reach a maximum depth of 750 meters. This is deeper than most other attack submarines, such as the Russian Akula class or the US Virginia class, which typically operate at around 250 meters. Even the advanced American “Sea Wolf” class submarine cannot dive as deep.
6. Los Angeles class submarines
The Los Angeles class submarines, used by the United States, are fast and versatile nuclear-powered attack submarines. They are equipped with various systems like lightning protection, ice detection, active detection sonar, and sound interception receivers. These submarines are specially designed for escorting aircraft carriers. They are known for their speed and quietness. They can launch Mk48 and ADCAP torpedoes, Tomahawk cruise missiles, and Harpoon missiles. Additionally, they have 12 vertical launch system tubes dedicated to launching Tomahawks. The cost of these submarines was $900 million in 1990.
7. Akula-class submarine
The Akula-class submarine, originally from the Soviet Union and now owned by Russia, is a powerful nuclear-powered attack submarine that was first deployed in 1986. It has not undergone any modifications since then. This submarine has four 533mm torpedo tubes that can simultaneously launch Type 53 torpedoes or RPK-2 and RPK-6 missiles. It also has four 650mm torpedo tubes that can simultaneously launch Type 65 torpedoes or RPK-7 missiles, including patrol missiles. The cost of this submarine was $1.5 billion in 1995.
8. Soryu Class Submarine
The Soryu class submarine is a diesel-electric attack submarine. The first ship of this class entered service with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force in 2009. It is Japan’s first submarine with air-independent propulsion and the world’s first submarine with a lithium-ion battery. However, it does not have a vertical launch system for anti-ship and ground attack missiles. Its weaponry is limited to torpedoes launched through torpedo tubes and Harpoon anti-ship missiles. At that time, the cost of this submarine was $500 million.
9. Typhoon Class Submarine
The United States Navy began building this nuclear-powered submarine class in 1976. It was a significant product of the Cold War era, developed in response to the Soviet Typhoon class submarine. This submarine serves as a sea-based force, providing the United States with a strategic nuclear arsenal that implements the concept of the “nuclear trinity.”
It can carry up to 154 Tomahawk cruise missiles, making it a crucial component of the US nuclear attack force. Its size and displacement rank second only to Russia’s Typhoon class. In the future, the U.S. military may replace existing ballistic missiles with the Falcon HTV-2 once it enters service, and the Ohio-class submarines will also be retired.
10. Oscar Class Submarine
The Oscar-class nuclear-powered cruise missile submarine is currently the primary cruise missile submarine in the Russian Navy. It is equipped with anti-ship missiles that have a range exceeding the submarine’s sonar detection capabilities.
The submarine carries supersonic cruise missiles with a range of 550 kilometers and anti-ship missiles, torpedoes, and nuclear warheads or nuclear depth bombs. This submarine is one of the world’s three largest submarines, alongside the Soviet Typhoon and Ohio classes.