Los Angeles Class

Overview

Los Angeles Class

Nationality: United States

The 62-strong Los Angeles Class of nuclear submarines are the largest number of nuclear powered vessels ever built to one design. The class has more than double the power of earlier classes of American submarine and this increase in power means an increase in size to accommodate a more modern reactor. The Los Angeles Class has a comprehensive array of sensors and has become one of the US Navy’s best ASW platforms. Its underwater speed meant that it could catch all Soviet vessels.

The Los Angeles Class is the second most expensive attack submarine class ever built.

These vessels had two primary missions during the Cold War. The first was to bottle up Soviet SSBNs in their home ports and to attack and destroy them where ever they could be found. Secondly, Los Angeles Class boats had a more defensive role protecting the UN Navy Carrier Battle Groups from Soviet attack submarines. Their role was to sweep ahead of the Carrier Group and destroy any Soviet or Warsaw Pact vessels which might threaten the Allied force.

Secondary, but nevertheless very important, duties were covert operations against the Soviet fleet and its anchorages and harbours. A small number of these vessels undertook the hazardous duty of collecting both SIGINT (signals intelligence) and ELINT (electronic intelligence) from areas close to the Soviet Northern and Far Eastern Fleets.

What perhaps makes the Class so potent is the vast array of weaponry they can carry. These include Tomahawk Cruise Missiles (In earlier days Sub Harpoon anti-ship missiles) as well as more conventional torpedoes.


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