The U.S. Navys New Missile Submarine Might Be a Bad Idea

The U.S. Navy is about to lose a big chunk of the missile tubes it relies on to fire Tomahawk land-attack missiles during wartime.

The four SSGN cruise-missile submarines that the Navy converted from Ohio-class ballistic-missile boats are slated to decommission in the mid-2020s. These four boats, each packing 154 missile tubes, together account for 600 of the fleets roughly 6,000 Mark 41 launchers that fire Tomahawks.

The fleets plan to mitigate that 10-percent loss of Mark 41 tubes could jeopardize its ability to battle Chinese and Russian forces. Thats because the Navy is counting on enhancements to a new version of the Virginia-class submarine partially to replace the SSGNs.

But the Virginias might not be the best platform for land-attack, experts toldDefense News. Submarines are expensive. And theyre getting easier for enemy forces to detect. A roboti....

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