The US Navy will have its Virginia Class attack submarines armed with nuclear warheads, marking a historic shift in the use of submarines.
"While Virginia-class submarines can use conventional deterrence to hold on to enemies A run-of-the-nose nuclear missile would be integrated into Virginia and provide additional escalation control to the National Command," said John Tammen, director of the Undersea Warfare Division the congress.
The new weapon, part of the Trump's recent Nuclear Posture Review, is likely to bring a new component to Pentagon's current deterrence of nuclear weapons. Currently, only the Ohio class and the emerging Columbia class are able to fire nuclear weapons.
The Virginia submarines are currently firing tomahawk missiles and torpedoes, but adding nuclear weapons would give commanders new options and expand their mission. Tammen added:
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