The Los Angeles Class Fast Attack Submarine was designed almost exclusively for carrier battlegroup escort. Escort duties included conducting ASW (Anti-Submarine Warfare) sweeps hundreds of miles ahead of the battlegroup and conducting attacks against surface action groups. These submarines are well equipped to accomplish these tasks. They are fast, equipped with Mk-48 Advanced Capability anti-submarine/ship torpedoes, Tomahawk land attack cruise missiles, and mines. Besides escorting, other tasks include undersea warfare, surface warfare, strike warfare, mining operations, special forces delivery, reconnaissance and intelligence collection.
Seawolf class fast attack submarines were designed to operate autonomously against the world's most capable submarine and surface threats. They are exceptionally quiet, fast, well-armed, and equipped with advanced sensors. Though lacking Vertical Launch Systems, the Seawolf class has eight torpedo tubes and can hold up to 50 weapons in its torpedo room. In addition to their capabilities in countering enemy submarines and surface shipping, Seawolf submarines are also suited for battlespace-preparation roles. Incorporation of sophisticated electronics produces enhanced indications and warning, surveillance, and communications capabilities.
The Virginia Class is the next generation of the U.S. Navy’s attack submarines. It has a fly-by-wire ship control system that provides improved shallow-water ship handling. The class has special features to support SOF, including a reconfigurable torpedo room which can accommodate a large number of SOF and all their equipment for prolonged deployments and future off-board payloads. The class also has a large lock-in/lock-out chamber for divers.
The Ohio Class Ballistic Missile Submarines, often referred to as "boomers", serve as an undetectable launch platform for intercontinental missiles. They are designed specifically for stealth and the precise delivery of nuclear warheads. For decades, strategic deterrence was their sole mission. Recently, four of these submarines were converted into guided missile submarines, which provide the Navy with unprecedented strike and special operation mission capabilities from a stealthy, clandestine platform.
The SEAL Delivery Vehicle MK VIII was developed by the United States UDT (Underwater Demolition Team) / SEAL teams as a reusable, submersible underwater vehicle. As a submersible underwater vehicle, the SDV can carry SEALs and their equipment, increasing mission time while the swimmers personal energy level is maintained for the operation ahead.
The Advanced SEAL Delivery System (ASDS) was a long-range submersible capability to deliver special operations forces for clandestine missions. It was designed to reduce the risk to Navy Special Operations forces (SEALs) when required the transit from a submarine to shore.
The Dry Deck Shelter (DDS) is a special chamber, which can be installed on submarines. The DDS can be used to transport and launch an SDV or to "lock out" combat swimmers. It can be installed in about 12 hours and is air-transportable, further increasing special operations flexibility. It consists of three interconnected compartments made of HY-80 steel within a fiberglass fairing, each capable of independent pressurization.