Does China Have a Nuclear Submarine That Could Beat the U.S. Navy?
Aware of the coming attack boat shortfall, the U.S. Navy is hoping to boost its attack submarine fleet by continuing to build two Virginia-class vessels per year even while it builds the next-generation Ohio Replacement Program ballistic missile submarine. However, if the Chinese are truly catching up technologically, Congress might consider accelerating the attack submarine build rate to the maximum capacity of America’s two nuclear-capable shipyards. At the same time, the U.S. Navy might have to accelerate the development of the next-generation successor to the Virginia-class, which has been tentatively designated the SSN(X) program and is scheduled to enter service in 2044.
Dave Majumdar is the defense editor of The National Interest. You can follow him on Twitter @DaveMajumdar.
This first appeared in the Summer of 2016 and is being republished due to reader interest.