Sailors aboard the attack submarine USS ‘Santa Fe’ scanning through periscopes in January 2010. U.S. Navy photo
https://warisboring.com/the-u-s-navy-is-growing-more-concerned-about-russian-and-chinese-submarines-3da20abd3ee4#.qsvqi9n1fEnemy submarines remain the single most dangerous threat to the U.S. Navy’s aircraft carriers and its surface fleet at large. However the service is working on improving its anti-submarine warfare capabilities as the once-dormant Russian undersea force reemerges and China grows its fleet.
While anti-ship cruise and ballistic missiles often capture the lion’s share of the attention, submarines armed with Russian-made 533-millimeter and 650-millimeter waking-homing torpedoes are among the only threats that can actually sink an aircraft carrier.
“A torpedo properly placed under the right part of the keel is one of the few things that can actually flatout sink an aircraft carrier,” retired U.S. Navy Capt. Jerry Hendrix, director of the Defense Strategies and Assessments Program at the Center for a New American Security told The National Interest.
The U.S. Navy currently has around 52 attack submarines in its fleet against a requirement for 48 boats. However, even with 52 boats, the service is struggling to meet the demands of combatant commanders in the North Atlantic and the Pacific as the Russian and Chinese fleets ramp up their activities.
But the problem is that the SSN force is set to shrink to 41 by 2029.
“We reach a minimum of about 40 to 41 in the late ’20s, early ’30s before we start climbing back up out of that,” Rear Adm. Michael Jabaley, the Navy’s program executive officer for submarines, told an audience at the Center for Strategic and International Studies on July 8.
“This is not something we can we fix at this point — it’s the result of decisions made long ago.”