The Deadliest Submarines in the World

Submarines are considered not just as a seagoing vessel, but a dangerous weapon in its own right. It is hidden from the naked eye, has the ability to stay under water for months on end and can carry and fire missiles that could sink even the sturdiest ship and flatten entire cities. During World War I, it took the action of a German submarine to draw the United States into the war. A German submarine, or U-boat, had torpedoed and sunk the RMS Lusitania, a British ocean liner that was traveling from New York to Liverpool. American lives were lost, even as the Germans claimed that the British were using the passenger ship to ferry ammunitions. While the German charge turned out to be correct, the deaths of 128 Americans were enough to enrage public opinion against the Germans.

Here is a list of the top 10 deadliest submarines in the world today.


Continue scrolling to keep reading

Click the button below to start this article in quick view

Start Now

10 Los Angeles Class, United States

There are around 44 active units of Los Angeles class submarine in the world today out of the 62 that have been built. It can race at speeds of 20 knots when on the surface and up to over 33 knots when submerged. It has an endurance of 30 days and its range means refueling is only needed after 30 years. It carries four Tomahawk land attack missiles, Harpoon anti-surface ship missile, mine-laying Mk67s, and Mk60 captor mines. It is the spine of the US Navy capable of hunting down enemy submarines as well as gathering intelligence.


9 Rubis Class, France

Only six units of the Rubis class submarine have been built. It can go at a speed of over 25 knots and has a refueling range of over 20 years. It is armed with four anti-submarine tubes and 14 Exocet missiles. It also has the ability to lay out mines. The vessel was introduced in 1979 and is part of the first generation of nuclear attack submarines of the country’s navy.


8 Victor III Class, Russia

There were 48 Victor III class submarines built by the old Soviet Union, though only four remains in active service with the Russian Navy. Its speed is at 32 knots and it boasts of an 80-day endurance level. It only needs to be refueled after over 30 years. It carries two Starfish anti-submarine missiles, two Sampson cruise missiles or two Stallion missiles, six bow tubes and 18 torpedoes. It can also carry 36 ground mines in lieu of the torpedoes. These were originally built to protect Soviet surface ships and to attack enemy submarines.


7 Sierra Class, Russia

Only four units were built by the old Soviet Union, with two remaining in active service. The vessel can go up to 10 knots when surfaced and to more than 32 knots when submerged. It has an endurance of more than 200 days with unlimited range. It carries Starfish or Stallion anti-submarine missiles, Samson cruise missiles, four torpedo tubes or 42 mines. It boasts of a titanium hull, allowing it to dive deeper and to withstand torpedo attacks.


6 Trafalgar Class, United Kingdom

There are still six units active of the seven originally built. Speed is at 30 knots, while endurance can go up to 90 days along with an unlimited range. It carries five torpedo tubes, Tomahawk cruise missiles, Spearfish torpedoes and Harpoon anti-surface missiles. It also has the Sonar 2076. The submarine was the pride of the Royal Navy before the advent of the more advanced Astute Class.


5 Type 093 Shang Class, China

Only three units are currently active, though the Chinese Navy are planning around five more to be deployed. It can go up to a speed of 35 knots. The vessel has an endurance of 80 days and an unlimited range. It is armed with the YJ-82 anti-ship missile and six torpedo tubes.


4 Astute Class, United Kingdom

This is the largest and most powerful nuclear attack submarine of the Royal Navy. Its operation is said to be even more complicated than that of a space shuttle. It boasts of a modern pressurized water reactor and can carry up to 38 torpedoes. Only one is currently active, though around six more are being planned. Top speed is 29 knots, with a 90-day endurance level and unlimited range. It also has Tomahawk cruise missiles in its arsenal, as well as Harpoon anti-ship missiles. Mines can be deployed instead of the torpedoes.


3 Seawolf Class, United States

This is an advanced version of the Los Angeles class, though its prohibitive cost means that only three could be built. Top speed is 18 knots while surfaced and 35 knots when submerged. It has an unlimited range and can carry up to eight torpedo tubes for 50 torpedoes or cruise missiles. Alternatively, the vessel can also carry up to 100 mines in lieu of the missiles or torpedoes.


2 Akula II Class, Russia

The Soviet Union built 15 units of this class, but only nine remains in active service in the Russian navy. It was the first submarine to really worry the United States because of its noise reduction system, meaning its acoustics are almost at par with the submarines produced by the West. The submarine has a top speed of 12 knots while surfaced, but can speed up to 33 knots when submerged. Endurance lasts up to 100 days while the range is effectively unlimited. It can carry four torpedo tubes for up to 40 torpedoes or missiles. It can also deploy 42 mines instead of the missiles.


1 Virginia Class, United States

This was intended to replace the Los Angeles class. Its mast has high-resolution cameras, light intensification and infrared sensors, infrared laser rangefinder and integrated Electronic Support Measures array. These allow it to use telescoping photonic masts instead of the usual periscope. Seven units are in use. Top speed is 25 knots. Endurance and range are unlimited. It has 12 vertical launch system for 109 Tomahawk missiles and four bow tubes for Mk48 torpedoes. Smart mines can also be deployed instead of the torpedoes.

More in The Featured