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VIDEO: This is Why America’s Virginia-Class Submarines Are So Strong

The United States Navy might defer developing a new next-generation SSN(X) unless such a design holds the potential to provide a revolutionary leap over a modernized variant of the current Virginia-class attack submarine (SSN). While the Virginia-class was developed in the 1990s to be a cheaper alternative to the much more capable and expensive Seawolf-class (SSN-21-class), the SSN-774-class was designed to be as stealthy and to have greater multi-mission capabilities than its larger counterpart. Over the years, the Virginia-class has proven to be an adaptable and versatile design with plenty of room for growth. Indeed, the Virginia-class submarine—or VCS as many senior U.S. Navy officials call it—may prove so capable that a future SSN(X)—which is tentatively planned for 2034—might prove to be unnecessary.

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