Since the 1800’s, submarines have been an integral part of the United States Navy. During both World Wars and through the Cold War, submarines have served many operations with combat, intelligence, and rescue roles. The classes of US Navy submarines include attack submarines, guided missile submarines, Submarine Rescue Diving and Recompression Systems (SRDRS), Deep Submergence Rescue Vehicles (DSRV), and large scale vehicles. Across all United States Navy submarines, power is generated through nuclear marine propulsion systems.
In regards to attack submarines, the Navy currently has the Los Angeles, Seawolf, and Virginia classes under operation. Fast attack submarines are those that are designed for combat against other submarines, merchant vessels, and enemies on the surface. Ballistic and guided missile submarines are those that carry ballistic or nuclear warheads designed for striking silos or cities in any location in the world.
Beyond typical combat roles, submarines have also proved useful within rescue roles. During World War 2, over 504 rescues of US airmen were made between the years of 1943 to 1945. During conflict, submarines would station themselves near aerial attacks and would rescue American pilots when they ditched their damaged aircraft. Called the “Lifeboat League”, rescuing American pilots became the second highest priority of Navy submarines behind attacking shipping.
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