New Navy submarine: USS John Warner
Published: August 5, 2015
New Navy submarine: USS John Warner, The United States Navy officially commissioned the USS John Warner, the most powerful attack submarine to be developed in the history of the country, in a ceremony at the Norfolk Naval Station this weekend.
Named after former Republican Sen. John Warner of Virginia, who also served as the 61st Secretary of the Navy from 1972-74, the 337-foot submarine weighing 7,800 tons is a multimission vessel that can dive to depths of more than 800 feet and accomplish the seven core competencies of the Navy’s submarine unit all while without being seen, thanks to an advanced combination of high-definition and infrared video technology.
The submarine unit’s core competencies include anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, strike warfare, irregular warfare, mine warfare, delivery of special operations forces, and surveillance and reconnaissance.
In front of the boat are two bays, from which the John Warner’s 12 Tomahawk cruise missiles are launched, while on the left and right sides of the ship are two tubes that are used to fire MK48 torpedoes. These can also be used to launch other objects aside from weapons, such as smaller undersea vehicles, unmanned or ones carrying special ops forces toward their mission.
The inside houses the command center, where curved screens, the kind often seen in the flight decks of futuristic starships, line the walls, with several buttons and, yes, a joystick for control. At the front of the command center are two seats for the sailors to operate the vessel. Previously, a submarine required four sailors to operate it, but advances in technology have freed up two of the sailors for other duties.
“The shiniest and coolest thing I’ve ever seen in my military career,” says Cmdr. Daniel Caldwell, the first captain of the John Warner, in an interview with CNN. “It’s going to make whatever I do next anti-climactic.”
The ship can go for up to 33 years without refueling. It has its own built-in nuclear power plant to generate energy and a system that can produce drinking water and oxygen by separating the molecules of water. It’s not likely that the John Warner will stay underwater for decades, as it does have a few foibles itself, such as the fact that the ship’s refrigerator isn’t big enough to store that much food, and that it houses only one washer and one dryer for its crew of 135.
The John Warner is currently the most lethal undersea attack vessel, and it will strengthen America’s stronghold in the undersea domain.
“This boat is the latest incarnation of American sea power, and is a strategic asset for this country,” Adm. Jonathan Greenert, chief of naval operations, says. “We are not currently challenged in the undersea. We own the undersea domain. We must keep that situation as we go into the future.”
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