The world’s most powerful military submarine is a matter of debate, depending on how one defines it. It can vary on factors such as technology, firepower, stealth, and overall capabilities to execute wide-range mission objectives. However, based on the current consensus, here are six of the world’s most potent and advanced nuclear-powered submarines today.

Ohio-class Submarine | United States

Built by General Dynamics Electric Boat between 1976 to 1997, these nuclear-powered submarines are considered the most powerful and lethal today. Each of its class is armed with 24 Trident II D5 nuclear missiles capable of launching multiple warheads simultaneously up to targets as far as 4,603 miles (7,408 kilometers) away.

The lead vessel entered service with the US Navy in the 1980s and remains a critical component of the country’s nuclear deterrence strategy. The service maintains a total of 18 Ohio-class submarines, including 14 ballistic missile-capable (SSBN) and four armed with guided-cruise missiles (SSGN).

The Ohio-class guided-missile submarine USS Florida (SSGN 728)
The Ohio-class guided-missile submarine USS Florida (SSGN 728) / (Image source: DVIDS)

Nonetheless, it has since undergone various upgrades and modernization and will most likely stay in service for a couple more years, or at least until its replacement, the Columbia-class submarine, fully enters service.

The Ohio-class submarine is also one of the world’s largest subs, measuring about 170 meters (560 feet) in length and displacing over 18,000 tons when submerged. The platform can accommodate a crew of around 15 officers and 140 enlisted sailors. But depending on its mission, it can likewise carry additional personnel such as special operations forces or intelligence personnel. Moreover, it features state-of-the-art sonar radars and communication systems, allowing Sailors to gather intelligence and communicate with other naval assets.

Borei-class Submarine | Russia

Perhaps the most powerful submarine in the Russian arsenal and among the most feared in the world, the Borei-class sub is a nuclear-powered SSBN capable of carrying about 16 Bulava intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), each capable of delivering six nuclear warheads.

Also known as the Dolgorukiy-class, the Russian sub can carry and fire torpedoes and anti-ship cruise missiles for self-defense and other mission objectives.

Borei-class K550
K-550 Alexander Nevsky, a fourth-generation Borei class (Image source: Wikimedia Commons)

Sevmash, one of Russia’s largest shipbuilding companies, built the Borei-class submarine in the 1990s to replace the aging Delta III and IV-class underwater platform and as part of the country’s efforts to modernize its strategic nuclear force.