SSBN-726 Ohio-Class FBM Submarines. FAS.org
Motherboard: Emerging Sub Spotting Technology Threatens Nuclear Deterrence
Somehow through 70 years of nuclear buildup we've managed to avoid complete annihilation or worse. No world leader has pushed the button or turned the key or made the call, no volleys of ICBMs have been launched from cornfield silos, no squadrons of bombers have taken off on one last nuclear-armed flight. We are alive, even though, as any reasonable alien observer might conclude, we should not be.
Some large part of this of course has to do with our old friend mutually assured destruction, or just MAD. If you obliterate us, we will obliterate you. Key to this is that each nuclear-armed nation partaking in the MAD standoff has the ability to retaliate should any other nation launch an attack, no matter what. This is known as second strike capability. Each nation knows that there is no first strike that can be launched that will prevent a second strike retaliation. It doesn't exist.
This second strike capability rests largely on fleets of nuclear submarines. The depths of Earth's oceans offer some spectacularly effective hiding places and it's here that our second strikes lurk silently. Your nation can nuke every square inch of mine, but there is not a whole lot that you can do about my hidden navy of death-shadows.
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WNU Editor: If this technology does develop to the point where nuclear armed missile subs can be detected and track .... this will dramatically change MAD doctrine and the vital role that it plays to deter any first-strike contemplation.