Military Capabilities

New US nuclear posture cites need to upgrade submarine force to pace threats

04 February 2018

The US ballistic missile submarine (SSBNs) force represents one of the most formidable nuclear weapons delivery platforms in the country’s arsenal, but possible technical advancements make it imperative to build the new replacement fleet on time, the Trump administration contended in its new nuclear modernisation plan, outlined in a Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) released on 2 February.

The United States operates 14 Ohio-class SSBNs equipped with Trident II (D5) submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) to provide its sea-based deterrent force.

“Ballistic missile submarines are the most survivable leg of the triad,” the NPR said. “When on patrol, SSBNs are, at present, virtually undetectable, and there are no known, near-term credible threats to the survivability of the SSBN force.”

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