The USS John Warner is 337 feet of advanced weaponry and stealth technology unseen anywhere else in the world.
This is one scary attack submarine
John Warner was commissioned on 1 August 2015 with Commander Dan Caldwell as the Commanding Officer, where it lies in the ocean today as it awaits its first mission is anyone’s guess. At 7,800 tons, this black steel shark is home to some of the most advanced weaponry ever seen, or more accurately unseen and unheard, beneath the ocean’s surface.
“The shiniest and coolest thing I’ve ever seen in my military career,” Cmdr. Daniel Caldwell, a 22-year Navy veteran and the first captain of the USS John Warner, told CNN during the commissioning ceremony. “It’s going to make whatever I do next anti-climactic.”
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“This ship embraces every single known bit of high-tech that is required to equip it and allow it to maintain the toughest missions,” said John Warner, former Secretary of the Navy, 20 year-senator and man for whom the sub was named “It will go to all corners of this globe, all seven seas, and quietly perform a mission and disappear into the darkness of night and nobody will ever know that it was there.”
The John Warner is the 12th Virginia-class submarine to have been built to the Navy’s specification and only the second Block III subs in the Navy’s arsenal. In addition to about 40 weapons systems that will be detailed later in this piece, its home to special operations forces, unmanned undersea vehicles, and the Advanced SEAL Delivery System (ASDS).
No shortage of offensive firepower on this submarine
This new attack submarine “is the most high-tech, it is the most lethal warship pound for pound that we have in our inventory,” said Adm. Jonathan Greenert while he was the Chief of Naval Operations.
It’s equipped with 12 Tomahawk cruise missiles stored in vertical launch tubes at the front of the submarine. While the Tomahawk was first put into service in 1983, it has gone through near countless upgrades and revamps. They can be equipped with a number of different guidance systems and warheads including bunker busters or even nuclear weapons beyond standard conventional packages. Frankly, we will never truly know what the Tomahawk is capable of carrying or how far they can fly.
Additionally, the subs four torpedo tubes can be equipped with additional Tomahawks, Mk60 CAPTOR mines, Mk48 heavyweight torpedoes or Harpoon anti-ship missles among other deliverers of death. Essentially, the sub can be equipped to handle specific missions as needed and add to the submarines lethal nature. Very few targets are safe whether underwater, in the air or on land depending on their proximity to the sub.
Propulsion and the crew on the Virginia-Class submarine
Firstly, no crew members will be spending any time looking through a periscope. Those days are long gone. Instead the sub relies on a photonic mast which includes high-definition and infrared video to allow the submarine and its crew to see. The information from the mast will then be fed to huge video screens for the captain and crew to get their bearings.
If the crew of 132 aboard the USS John Warner didn’t need to eat, the submarine could clip around underwater at about 25 knots for over thirty years owing to the presence of an S9G nuclear reactor that never needs to be refueled over its expected lifetime of 33 years minimum.
“The only reason we have to come back is because our freezer isn’t big enough,” Cmdr. Caldwell said lightheartedly when the submarine was commissioned.