Submarine Industrial  Base Council

Los Angeles / Seawolf

Los Angeles-class

General Characteristics: Los Angeles-class
Builder: Newport News Shipbuilding Co.; General Dynamics Electric Boat Division.
Propulsion: One nuclear reactor, one shaft
Length: 360 feet
Beam: 33 feet
Displacement: Approximately 6,900 tons submerged
Speed: 25+ knots (28+ miles per hour)
Crew: 143: 16 Officers; 127 Enlisted.
Armament: Tomahawk missiles, VLS tubes (SSN 719 and later), MK48 torpedoes, four torpedo tubes.

The Los Angeles-class, sometimes called the LA-class or the 688-class, is a class of nuclear-powered fast attack submarines that forms the backbone of the U.S. Navy’s submarine force. With 42 submarines of this class on active duty and 20 retired from service, the Los Angeles-class has more nuclear submarines in it than any other class in the world. The Los Angeles-class was preceded by the Sturgeon-class and followed by the Seawolf.

The final 23 boats of the Los Angeles class were designed and built to be quieter than their predecessors and also to carry more-advanced sensor and weapons systems. These advanced boats were also designed for operating beneath the polar icecap. Their diving planes were placed at their bows rather than on their sails, and they have stronger sails for penetrating thick ice.

Los Angeles class submarines carry about 25 torpedo-tube-launched weapons and all boats of the class are capable of launching Tomahawk cruise missiles horizontally (from the torpedo tubes). The last 31 boats of this class also have 12 dedicated vertical launching system (VLS) tubes for launching Tomahawks.



General Characteristics: Seawolf-class
Builder: General Dynamics Electric Boat Division.
Propulsion: One nuclear reactor, one shaft
Length: SSNs 21 and 22: 353 feet
SSN 23: 453 feet
Beam: 40 feet
Displacement: SSNs 21 and 22: 9,138 tons submerged
SSN 23: 12,158 tons submerged
Speed: 25+ knots (28+ miles per hour)
Crew: 140: 14 Officers; 126 Enlisted.
Armament: Tomahawk missiles, MK48 torpedoes, eight torpedo tubes.

The U.S. Navy has three Seawolf-class submarines. Commissioned on July 19, 1997, USS Seawolf (SSN 21) is exceptionally quiet, fast, well-armed, and equipped with advanced sensors. Though lacking Vertical Launch Systems, the Seawolf class has eight torpedo tubes and can hold up to 50 weapons in its torpedo room. The third ship of the class, USS Jimmy Carter (SSN 23), has a 100-foot hull extension called the multi-mission platform. This hull section provides for additional payload to accommodate advanced technology used to carry out classified research and development and for enhanced warfighting capabilities.

Compared to previous Los Angeles-class submarines, Seawolf-class submarines are larger, faster, and significantly quieter. The boats also have extensive equipment to allow for “littoral”, or “shallow-water” operations. The class uses the more advanced ARCI Modified AN/BSY-2 combat system, which includes a new, larger spherical sonar array, a wide aperture array (WAA), and a new towed-array sonar.