The Gato-class could hold a maximum of twenty-four torpedoes which could be launched from ten torpedo tubes. They were also armed with one 3 inch deck gun and a variety of smaller anti-aircraft weapons. Measuring 307 feet by 27 feet by 14 feet, Gato-class submarines had a typical displacement of 1,525 tons. General Motors Diesel engines and electric motors provided 6,500 brake horsepower, resulting in a speed of 21 knots.
An improved version of the Tambor-class, ships of the Gato-class was built between 1940 and 1944 under the 1939-41 program, at an estimated cost of $6,288,200. Serving mostly in the Pacific Theater, they accounted for the bulk of the US Navy's submarine fleet during the war, and were highly effective against Japanese surface ships.