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How Much Does a Military Submarine Cost? – 2023 Updated

Written by Everett Bledsoe / Fact checked by Brain Bartell

how much does a military submarine cost

How much does a military submarine cost? The average price for the most advanced submarine used by the military typically ranges from $2.8 to $5.5 billion.

Military submarines are quite fascinating because each unit combines cutting-edge technology, naval strategy, and technical marvels. After all, building a submarine can even take years, including research.

Today, we’ll look into the mighty military submarines and learn how much these remarkable undersea devices can cost.

The Cost of Military Submarines


Military submarines are among the most expensive assets of the armed forces. The price of a submarine depends on factors including the specific model, the design and technology, and the country of origin.

Even the cheapest submarines cost millions of dollars, including the ill-fated Titan submarine, which is a mini-sub used for site surveys, research, and data collection.

Cost Factors and Variations

1. Model/Type


Nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) are the most expensive type of military submarine. These submarines are the mightiest in the world because of their ability to carry nuclear missiles. Costs for a single SSBN can vary between $10 and $20 billion.

Nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSNs) are the second most expensive type of military submarine because they are made to attack other boats and submarines. The price tag for an SSN might sit anywhere between $2 and $5 billion.

Submarines that use conventional propulsion systems (such as diesel submarines) cost far less than their nuclear-powered counterparts. Nonetheless, they remain extremely pricey pieces of machinery. One diesel submarine can cost as much as $500 to $800 million.

2. Design and Technology

The high price tag of military submarines stems from several sources, such as their intricate design, expensive materials, and labor-intensive building process.

Submarines are highly sophisticated machines that necessitate a great deal of engineering and costly materials, whether it’s a small submarine or a nuclear submarine.

3. Country of Origin


The country that manufactures also has an impact on the price of military submarines. In terms of military submarine production, the United States, Russia, and the United Kingdom are at the forefront. So it stands to reason that their submarines would cost the most.

Submarines are an expensive but valuable investment for the armed forces of a country. They are versatile vessels that can be employed as a defence against attack, as well as for intelligence gathering and attacking enemy targets.

The prices of various well-known military submarines from throughout the world are as follows:

  • Virginia-class submarine (SSN) from the United States:$2.8 billion.
  • Yasen-class SSN from Russia: $1 billion – $2 billion.
  • Astute-class SSN from the UK: $2 billion approximately.
  • Triomphant-class SSBN from France: $3.1 billion.

Classes of US Navy Submarines


The United States Navy has four classes of operational submarines:

  • Ohio-class SSBN: These are submarines with nuclear propulsion and room for 24 Trident II D5 ballistic missiles.

The Ohio-class submarine is the cornerstone of the United States’ nuclear deterrent force and the most powerful submarine in the world. An Ohio-class SSBN will set you back close to $2 billion.

  • Virginia-class SSN: The Virginia-class submarines with nuclear propulsion are specifically built to sink enemy vessels.

The array of weaponry and sensors on board the Virginia class make it the best SSN in the world. An SSN of the Virginia class can be expected to set you back about $2.8 billion.

  • Seawolf-class SSN: These attack submarines (SSNs) are nuclear-powered and are more cutting-edge than the Virginia-class SSNs. However, because of financial restrictions, the Seawolf class was scrapped after just three boats were constructed. A single Seawolf-class SSN can set you back roughly $3 billion.
  • Los Angeles-class SSN: The US submarine fleet relied heavily on these nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSNs) throughout the Cold War. The Virginia class is now in use while the Los Angeles class is being retired. A Los Angeles-class SSN will set you back about $67 billion.

The United States Navy currently operates four different classes of submarines, with a fifth and newest US submarine SSN(X) class currently in development. It is estimated that each SSN(X) will cost about $5.5 billion, making it even more expensive than the Virginia-class submarines.

The Most Expensive Military Submarines

The following is a list of the most costly military submarines that have ever been built, sorted by country, model, and total cost:

Most Expensive Military Submarines
Model/Type Country of Origin Price
Seawolf-class nuclear-powered attack submarine: (USS Jimmy Carter) United States $3.5 billion
Borei-class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine (Project 955A) Russia $3.3 billion
Triomphant-class Submarine France $3.1 billion (€2.9 billion)
Astute-class nuclear-powered attack submarine United Kingdom $2.1 billion (£1.65)


When discussing how much a military submarine costs, the price is definitely high. These underwater marvels combine cutting-edge technology, armament, and tremendous technical knowledge. Thus, their cost may range from $2 billion to $7 billion.

Military submarines have a high price tag, but the defensive, deterrent, and surveillance benefits make it worth it. The price will undoubtedly change as technology develops further.

Nonetheless, submarines are an integral part of today’s naval forces around the world. Their contributions to maritime security and military projection cannot be overstated.

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