Top 10 Submarines: Submarines in Naval Warfare History

Top 10 Submarines: In naval warfare, submarines gained popularity during the World War II era. During both the US and British War of 1812 and the renowned American Revolution, steam-powered submarines were employed in battle.

Before the first nuclear-powered USS Nautilus was launched in 1955, the earliest submarines were manually operated and incredibly slow. With a speed of 25 to 35 knots, these attack ships have now evolved into the deadliest ones.

Submarines are now a vital component of every nation’s naval force. They serve as a nuclear deterrent for patrols of territorial waters and surveillance operations. Below is a list of the top ten submarines in the world, arranged by length.

Top 10 Submarines

1. Typhoon Class Russia/Project 941 Akula Class

Typhoon Class Russia Submarines
(Credit: Wikipedia)

In order to confront the US and its allies in the ongoing Cold War, Soviet Russia constructed these massive nuclear weapons in the 1960s and 1970s. Surpassing the combined area of three football fields, these expansive spaces were brimming with exceptional amenities including golf courses, saunas, and swimming pools. Typhoon class submarines had a displacement of more than 48,000 tons, measured 566 feet lengthwise by 76 meters width, and reached a height of 38 meters.

Twenty massive R-39 “Rif” intercontinental ballistic missiles, often referred to as SS-N-20 Sturgeon, were mounted aboard them. These formidable armaments measured 53 feet in length and 8 feet in width. Known as the largest submarine ever constructed, they carried RSM-52 missiles and a strong magnetostatic propulsion system to deliver a stealthy yet potent strike on their adversaries.

They featured nineteen compartments and a separate control room near the missile launch apparatus. Their multihull construction made them unique. The Severodvinsk shipyard created them intending to enable people to traverse the frigid Arctic seas. They therefore possessed a retractable system, a powerful, stern fin, and an ice-breaking device. These combat vehicles could travel at a maximum submerged speed of 25 knots and a surface speed of 12 knots.

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The first submarine of the typhoon class to enter service in the early 1980s was Dmitry Donskoy, also known as TK-208. Only one submarine is still in operation today; the other five were taken out of service. Donskoy has developed into a testing ground and laboratory for Russian weapons and the newest naval technologies.

2. Project 955/Borei-Class Russia

Project 955 Borei-Class Russia
(Credit: Wikipedia)

The first class of Russian submarines built since the fall of the Soviet Union was the fourth-generation Borei. They were designed to support the Russian Naval forces and take the place of the outdated Delta III, IV, and Typhoon class submarines.

They were installed in the Sevmash Shipyard and were designed by the Rubin Marine Equipment Bureau. The Yury Dolgoruky was the first ballistic missile submarine of this class, having been launched in 2008. Under this program, eight submarines with various hull designs were built.

With a displacement of 24,000 tonnes and a crew capacity of 107, these are larger in volume and displacement than the Typhoon class. Submarines of the Borei class have dimensions of 170 meters by 13 meters and a submerged speed of 25 knots.

They are powered by an AEU steam turbine, an improved hull designed to reduce noise, and an OK-650 nuclear reactor. It’s interesting to note that they are the first Russian submarines to employ pump-jet propulsion. They are capable of carrying six SS-N-15 and sixteen Bulava-SLBM missiles.

3. United States, Ohio Class

United States, Ohio Class
(Credit: Wikipedia)

The US Navy put the Ohio class submarines—the third largest in the world—into service between 1977 and 1998. There are 24 Trident II missiles, with a range of roughly 12,000 kilometers, on each Ohio-class submarine. As such, they are able to carry more missiles than the Russian submarines of the Typhoon and Borei classes. With four decks, 90 crew member accommodations, a Lockheed Martin sonar processing system, a pressurized water reactor, two turbines, and a displacement of 18,750 tonnes, these vessels are rather impressive.

Eight launchers, four 533 millimeter torpedo tubes, and a mk118 digital fire control system are equipped on each of the eighteen submarines. They own over half of the United States’ thermonuclear arsenal. The maximum torpedo range is fifty kilometers at a depth of three thousand feet.

By the end of this decade, the newly constructed Columbia class will replace these nuclear-powered vessels, which have a 40-year lifespan.

4. Russian Delta Class

Russian Delta Class
(Credit: Wikipedia)

The Delta Class of ballistic missile submarines served as the foundation for the Russian submarine fleet during the 1970s. It was divided into four subclasses, each measuring 12.5 m in width and 167 m in length: Delta I, II, III, and IV.

The 12 missile-carrying Delta I submarines plied the Norwegian and Barents Seas. To improve accuracy, they were equipped with a cyclone-B and Tobol-B navigation system. Project 667B Murena involved the construction of about eighteen class submarines. All of these vessels, however, were dismantled in 2005 after being decommissioned by 1998.

An improved variant of the previously stated submarine class was the Delta II. It possessed 16 missiles, a noise suppression system, four extra missile launchers, and was 16 meters longer. By 1999, all four of the Delta II submarines had been retired.

Double-hulled Delta III submarines could hit several targets at a distance of 7000–8000 kilometers. Within the Russian northern fleet are the still-operational Delta IV submarines, which were constructed between 1981 and 1993. They have a D-9RM launch system and an acoustic coating on their decks.

5. Project 949/Oscar Class Russia

Project 949Oscar Class Russia
(Credit: Wikipedia)

949 Project Project 949 Granit comprises the Oscar class of cruise missile submarines, of which Antey is a member. They are undergoing modernization as part of the Russian fleet in the north to extend their lifespan.

Measuring 154 meters in length and 18 meters in width, 11 of these submarines were constructed at Severodvinsk to house sophisticated electronics systems and a noise reduction system. Compared to its predecessors, it features a bigger fin and seven propeller blades.

They have a double hull and a 100-person covert emergency escape capsule. This submarine can be identified by the bulge at the top fin. 24 600-kilometer-range SS-N-19 missiles are mounted on 949 A Antey submarines. In the event of an accident, the ten compartments within can be divided from one another. These boats can cruise at around 30 knots underwater with a displacement of 24,000 tons.

6. UK’s Vanguard Class

UK's Vanguard Class Submarines
(Credit: Wikipedia)

Four ballistic missile submarines of the Vanguard class were constructed as part of the 1994 Trident nuclear program for the British Navy. The business Vickers Shipbuilding and Engineering built these ships between 1985 and 1999. Her Majesty’s Naval Base Clyde, located around 40 kilometers from Glasgow, Scotland, serves as their homeport.

Each vessel is capable of carrying 192 warheads total, including nuclear missiles with a 5000-mile target range and 16 missile tubes. Its sonar equipment is the best in the business; it can detect ships more than fifty miles away. But in the 2030s, the Vanguard would give way to the Dreadnought class.

With a target range of up to 65 kilometres, they are armed with 16 spearfish torpedoes and have four torpedo tubes. In addition to standard optics, it features three periscopes outfitted with thermal imaging cameras and a submarine command system designed specifically for this kind of submarine.

Two steam turbines connected to a pump jet propulsion system by a Rolls-Royce PWR 2 pressurized water reactor are what propel it.

With a displacement of almost 16,000 tonnes and a submerged speed of 25 knots, they have a length of 150 meters. The largest submarines built in Britain are the Vanguard class, which can accommodate 149 crew members.

7. Russia’s Yasen/Graney Class

(Credit: Wikipedia)
(Credit: Wikipedia)

The largest shipbuilder in Russia, Sevmash, built the Yasen, also referred to as the Graney class of submarines, which were created by the Malakhit Marine Engineering Bureau. The Severodvinsk, the first ship of its type, started sailing in 2013. In 2021, two more, Kazan and Novosibirsk, went into operation. Although they are based on older designs, including the Alfa and Akula classes, these newest cruise missile submarines are more adept in warfare.

By 2029, five Yasen class warships will have been launched from the shipyard. Rumor has it that these ships are equipped with cruise missiles for attacking targets on land. There are 32 cruise missiles that each Yasen submarine can carry, stored in ten launch pads. Spherical sonar was initially installed in Russian submarines, which are 140 meters long and weigh 14,000 tonnes.

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Yasen class submarines are controlled automatically by automation technologies and have a single steel hull. A specifically created security system verifies that all of the main components are operating as intended.

The ships are powered by fourth-generation nuclear reactors and can accommodate up to 80 passengers. It can run for thirty years without requiring refueling. Finally, a KTP-6 reactor powers the noise reduction system aboard these vessels. The anticipated cost of building each submarine is more than $1 billion USD.

8. France’s Triomphant Class

France's Triomphant Class

The first Triomphant class submarine was launched in 1997, following the decommissioning of the six Le Redoutable class submarines in the 1990s. The French naval fleet currently consists of four constructed vessels. These warships, which have their homeport in Ile Lounge, Western Brittany, are 138 meters long by 12.5 meters wide, and they can carry 14,335 tons. Their average surface speed is 17 knots, and their submerged speed is 25 knots. These can stay underwater for nine weeks.

The first three ships of this class are equipped with a TN-71 thermonuclear warhead with five MIRVs that can travel more than 8000 kilometers, along with sixteen M45 ballistic missiles. The fourth submarine, known as the Le Terrible, started serving in 2010 and is equipped with the more sophisticated M51 missile type, which has a longer aiming range.

Reports indicate that by 2035, this class will be gradually replaced by the third generation of advanced submarines. The indigenous business Thales is designing the sonar system for the next generation of submarines.

9. Russia’s Sierra Class

Russia's Sierra Class Submarines
(Credit: Wikipedia)

The four attack submarines in the Sierra class were built as part of Projects 945 Barrakuda and 945 A Kondor. Constructed in the era of the Cold War, these ships underwent renovations in the 1990s and gained notoriety for their lightweight titanium hull, which enabled them to reach a top speed of 35 knots. Better armed, they measured 112 meters in length and carried 10,500 tons.

They could go deeper underwater than their American counterparts thanks to an OK-650 water reactor. Six tubes were available on Sierra Class I warships to launch forty torpedoes and anti-submarine missiles. The Sierra Class II featured a fully automated reloading system in addition to twice as many tubes.

They were expensive and difficult to build, though. Their lone weakness was the MGK-500 Shark Gill sonar, which was still relatively new in Russia at the time and less precise than the sonars installed on American submarines.

10. Russia’s Akula Class

Russia's Akula Class
(Credit: Wikipedia)

Russia launched ten submarines of the Akula class in 1986. Compared to other western submarines, these assault submarines have more buoyancy due to their twin hulls. They can sense temperature changes thanks to a special wake-detecting mechanism. The attack ships are equipped with four launch pads on each side and are capable of firing Type 53 and Type 65 torpedoes. With a displacement of 13,700 tonnes submerged, they measure 110 meters.

Compared to other Soviet submarines, they are quieter and have a 90-person covert rescue compartment. The Russian Northern and Pacific Fleet consists of nine ships, however, in 2012, the INS Chakra, a submarine, was leased to India. INS Chakra has a target range of just 300 kilometres, while the Akula submarines are capable of carrying 28 cruise missiles with a striking range of 3000 kilometres. This is due to Russia’s MTCR Treaty signature, which prohibits the sale of larger missiles.

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