NEW YORK, N.Y. (CBS) – Don’t let the dolphins in this promotional video distract you.
The navy’s newest, fastest, and the quietest submarine is anything but playful.
The Virginia Class submarines can launch Tomahawk cruise missiles, deploy a team of Navy Seals from beneath the surface, and is among America’s most lethal defense systems at sea.
“We operate that ship with a tremendous amount of confidence as you can probably imagine.” Captain Brian Sittlow leads a squadron of submarines from the U.S. Navy base in Groton, Connecticut.
“The ocean more and more is becoming a very critical element of our national security and our ability to influence and ensure our vital interests are protected throughout the world,” Captain Brian Sittlow said.
International waters are getting crowded. Here’s a Russian sub getting a royal navy escort through the English channel last Saturday.
The U.S. Navy now has 69 commissioned submarines. 13 of them are Virginia class subs, but that number will eventually double. Two are being built each year at a cost of $2 billion apiece.
The Virginia Class submarines according to those who command them are also incredibly efficient.
“We are able to make our own water. We make our own oxygen. We have a sustained fuel source in the nuclear reactor. So the one thing we have to come in and out for is food and the cooks in the galley make some incredible meals, given the space they have to work,” Captain Dan Reiss of the USS New Mexico said.
The last time a submarine went down was in August of 2000. That’s when all 118 aboard the Russian Navy Kursk died after a training exercise. Many believed it would cripple Russian resolve at sea. But their newest nuclear-powered submarine the Kazan was launched just last month.
Still, Captain Brian Sittlow says no country carries the international influence of the United States Navy.
“The United States, through our submarine force for nearly a hundred years now has gained and maintained a strong undersea advantage.”