Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Diesel Sub Sets Record

Cross-posted from The Stupid Shall Be Punished:

I have to admit I'm impressed with the news that the German Type 212A sub, U 32, made a two week transit from Germany to Rota, Spain, without snorkeling. While a nuclear boat could have made the trip in two or three days without breaking a sweat, it's stilll a phenomenal demonstation of the advances in AIP technology that a boat can stay moving for two weeks without having to run the diesel generator.

While this might make some think that the U.S. should invest in AIP boats, the Navy's PEO for Submarines, RADM William Hilarides, just put out a very concise explanation of why diesel boats might be good for some countries, but not the U.S. Excerpts:

“A diesel submarine sitting on the bottom is relatively quiet thing, but it has to get there, and it has to be relatively supportive there,” he said.
"Hilarides and Polmar also had some disconnect on the cost of non-nuclear submarines.
"The admiral said that diesel subs would cost $1 billion for the hull and for installing modern U.S. equipment on the vessel. While nuclear submarines are projected to cost $2.4 billion, Hilarides suggested that savings for diesel subs would be inadequate.
“So it would be two-for-one . . . if you were to buy a submarine like that,” he said. “And it has nowhere near the stealth, endurance, deployability and on-station time that we need for our submarines.”

RADM Hilardes has been busy; he also recently discussed efforts to reduce costs in the Virginia Class program.


At 9:16 AM, Blogger jeff said...

I just wonder if some smaller submarines, nuke or otherwise, might be useful... seems like each class gets physically bigger - which would seem to translate into less manuverable, especially close inshore.

At 12:30 PM, Blogger troutjacki said...

During the 1960s there were several proposals for a submarine powered by a constant power nuclear "battery charger." Studies indicated that a SS 580 sized submarine could operate continuously at 10-12 knots on battery float. Rickover buried this proposal. In the 1980s the Canadian revived this concept but decided that social spending was more important then military spending.

The SSn concept is a much more suitible concept for the US Navy mission.


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