Posted: November 8, 2017 4:30 PM

Navy: Attack Submarine Force Emphasizes High-End Combat in Deep Water

By RICHARD R. BURGESS, Managing Editor

ARLINGTON, Va. — The commander of U.S. Navy submarine forces said his forces are training for high-end operations to counter the present and future peer competitors.

“Over the next 15 years, our emphasis must be on high-end combat in deep water,” Vice Adm. Joseph Tofalo, commander, Submarine Forces, said Nov. 1 at the Naval Submarine League symposium.

Addressing the symposium’s theme of “getting faster,” Tofalo said that “Russia and China are working hard and fast” to improve their naval capabilities.

“The case for getting faster is crystal clear,” he said.

Addressing the state of the submarine force, Tofalo praised the achievement of reaching production two Virginia-class attack submarines (SSNs) this year after two decades of producing none or one annually.

“The Virginia-class program is a poster child of getting faster in our acquisition by evolving in stride,” he said. “This year the first Block III Virginia, USS North Dakota, conducted the first launch of a Tomahawk Land-Attack Missile from a Virginia Payload Tube, demonstrating a system that will help us keep pace with an ever-accelerating rate of technological change, by offering more flexibility in the payload that our submarines carry.”

Tofalo also said the “future force must grow longer arms to expand and maximize our effective reach in the undersea [environment],” and the domains of land, air, surface and cyberspace.

He said the Navy also needs to “own the best undersea systems,” “a family of undersea vehicles,” also pointing out that in October the Navy established Unmanned Undersea Vehicle (UUV) Squadron One in Keyport, Wash., which will experiment with, develop operations and deploy as UUVs as they join the fleet.

“This historical event demonstrates the Submarine Force’s commitment to the future of unmanned undersea systems and acknowledges their place in undersea warfare,” he said.

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