Where will this SSN deploy from? That's right San Diego or Norfolk. And ONLY an SSN can do that, in a timely and efficient manner.
I'm just going to say this, read any of Friedman's "Design Histories" and you will come away with a strong appreciation of the design/technology/doctrine interaction that drives the USN's procurement policies. Generally speaking, If the Navy bought they bought it for a fairly good reason.
There's a REASON the USN doesn't emply SSK's. Speed and refueling are at least two of them. And, overall, they may be QUIETER than an SSK. A SSK lying "doggo" may emit almost nothing, but when schnorkel'ing they are very noisy. A SSN is, on the avergae, quieter than the SSK...true the pumps operate continuously, but they don't "snort". And AIP isn't "all that" as a nuclear replacement.
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