Home » Budget Industry » Navy’s New SSN(X) Attack Sub To Be Faster, More Lethal – And More Expensive


Navy’s New SSN(X) Attack Sub To Be Faster, More Lethal – And More Expensive

The Seawolf-class fast-attack submarine USS Connecticut (SSN 22) surfaces through the ice as it participates in Ice Exercise (ICEX) 2018. US Navy photo.

The Navy’s next class fast attack submarine will be designed for a return to blue-water great power competition, where the ability to support forces ashore is less important than operating in the open ocean hunting rival submarines, according to an analysis of the Navy’s 30 Year shipbuilding plan conducted by Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

The Navy plans to start purchasing this new class of submarine in 2034. Previously the SSN(X) class were assumed to be a successor to the current Virginia-class submarine, complete with the Virginia Payload Module (VPM) – a vertical launch system that increases the number of Tomahawk-sized weapons from 12 to 40 – and other acoustic and technological design improvements, according to the CBO analysis released Thursday.

However, the new SSN(X) will take the place of a Block 7 Virginia-class, and the planned design appears to prize increased torpedo storage over the VPM vertical launch capability. The new SSN(X) plans do not include VPM capability. When compared to the Block V Virginia-class submarines – the first built with the VPM – the CBO states the new SSN(X) will have 25 more torpedoes and Tomahawk missiles in the torpedo room.

“Specifically, the Navy indicates that the next-generation attack submarine should be faster, stealthier, and able to carry more torpedoes than the Virginia class—similar to the Seawolf class submarine,” the CBO report states.

In the post-Cold War period, SSNs were still expected to be submarine hunters, but the force was increasingly called on to carry out covert intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions, along with secretly inserting or recovering special operations forces, according to a July Congressional Research Service report by Ronald O’Rourke released in July.

“In light of the recent shift in the strategic environment from the post-Cold War era to a new situation featuring renewed great power competition that some observers conclude has occurred, Anti Submarine Warfare (ASW) against Russian and Chinese submarines may once again become a more prominent mission for U.S. Navy SSNs,” O’Rourke wrote in July.

Seawolf-class attack submarine USS Connecticut (SSN-22) in 2009. US Navy Photo

With this new mission – one less focused on the ability to launch weapons against ground targets – the CBO now assumes the SSN(X) will be similar in size to the Seawolf-class, which displaces about 9,100 tons. Using this size, the CBO estimates building the new Seawolf-class type of submarine will cost about $5.5 billion per sub. In contrast, the Navy’s shipbuilding plan estimates SSN(X) production will run about $3.1 billion per sub.

Previous 30-year shipbuilding plans suggested updated Virginia-class would become the SSN(X). An increased ability to launch unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs) would supplement VPM capability. There was talk of the SSN(X) including a new design feature focused on launching UUVs.

“There has to be a better way to design this submarine from the ground up to seamlessly employ UUVs,” then-Program Executive Officer for Submarines Rear Adm. Michael Jabaley said at the 2016 Naval Submarine League symposium.

While it is unclear whether the new SSN(X) design will incorporate UUVs, the CBO analysis of the Navy’s shipbuilding plans suggests such missions might be carried out by a new large-diameter, next-generation payload-based submarine – something to be ordered in 2036 after the Columbia-class winds down.

For the first time, the 2019 shipbuilding plan includes a proposal to purchase five of these post-Columbia-class submarines. The Navy has not released a lot of details about these subs, but the CBO assumes they will resemble the Columbia-class design. USNI News first reported the plans for a SSGN-like Columbia-follow-on in November 2017.

A slide from a 2013 presentation from PEO Subs on the VPM. NAVSEA Graphic

“The ship would be capable of performing missions similar to those currently conducted by SSGNs (cruise missile submarines) and, in the future, by Virginia-class ships with the Virginia payload module (VPM), as well as other missions,” the CBO states.

Building the SSN(X) as the CBO envisions will not be cheap, and the CBO does not consider the Navy’s shipbuilding plan to properly plan for its expense. To create a 355-ship fleet, the Navy claims it needs an annual shipbuilding budget of $21 billion through 2048; the CBO analysis of the Navy plan says spending $28.9 billion-per-year is a more realistic estimate. Funding the SSN(X) program accounts for about 40 percent of the difference between the Navy and CBO projected shipbuilding budget needs.

“That amount ($28.9 billion) is 80 percent greater than the average annual funding the Navy has received over the past three decades,” the CBO report says, comparing its estimated spending with the Navy’s estimate.

Plus, the Navy’s ship-purchasing schedule does not keep pace with the rate it plans to retire ships during the next 30 years, the CBO report states.

“The Navy plans to purchase 301 new ships between 2019 and 2048: 245 combat ships and 56 support ships. If the Navy adheres to the schedule for retiring ships outlined in the 2019 plan, it would not meet its goal of 355 ships at any time over the next 30 years,” the CBO report states.

A plan to extend to 45-years the life of all Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers would result in a 355-ship navy, but the CBO points out result might not be a fleet the Navy wants.

“With those service life extensions, the fleet would reach 355 ships in 2034 but would fall short of the Navy’s specific goals for some types of ships,” the CBO reports states.

  • Bubblehead

    To me a block 7 VA would be more than enough Submarine. In fact with extreme shortage of SSN hulls in the water, why not stick with the proven VA which can not only be made cheaper but faster? It is and will still be the best sub in the world by a long shot. Building a much more expensive submarine is not going to close the submarine numbers gap, but only exasperate it.

    • Well, the Virginia class is 14 years old already and this isn’t set to enter service for another 15 years so a new design is probably worth considering at the point. But I agree that the new design can not be noticeably more expensive than the Virginia if we want to have a sub fleet of useful size.

      • NavySubNuke

        CBOs price is built on the assumption that we buy submarines by pound. That actually isn’t a good thumb rule. Submarine costs are actually more easily predicted based on length. That is why the Navy and CBO have such different cost estimates right now.
        Of course the fact they are each basing their cost estimates on sheets of paper that list basic capabilities rather than an actual concept design ensure they are each completely wrong. But I think we’ll see the Navy’s number end up being closer to the truth than CBO.

        • I agree that the $5.5b is probably too high an estimate – however, it’s not like the Navy’s $3.1b is all that much better. In all likelihood that would result in a fleet of around 30-40 subs. Nowhere near enough for peacetime requirements and entirely incapable of sustaining any attrition in wartime.

          • NavySubNuke

            SSN fleet size is purely a matter of national will. We could cut the food stamp budget by 10% and buy a 5.5B SSN every year for example.
            If we want 50 of these we will buy 50 of these, even if they cost 8B. It is just a matter of if we want them.
            Besides id rather a 40 boat SSN force that had the capabilities needed to fight and win then an 80-100 bpat submarine force that was a paper tiger. The last thing we need to do is saddle our submarine force with boats that cant actually accomplish anything and just suck up money and people (see LCS, numbers arent everything).

          • tiger

            National will is likely to change a ton if the Congress flips next year.

          • James Milliken

            If you take the last 2 years of non VPM Virginia the inflation rate on the cost per sub was over 2% a year from 2017 to 2018. If you run 2% inflation out from 2018 to 2034 you are looking at 3.8B a copy before you even develop something. At 3% it’s about 4.5B.

        • Marauder 2048

          “Submarine costs are actually more easily predicted based on length”

          Outfit density is an even better metric.

          • NavySubNuke

            True, hard to get there with just a sheet of papaer though!

          • Marauder 2048

            GAO didn’t consider outfit density when costing SSBN(X) either which is bizarre.

            Probably not the right forum for it but I’m guessing that the IPS on Columbia would drive beam and other volume considerations on SSN (X).

  • airider

    I agree we do not need to go bigger than Seawolf. I believe we should find a good middle ground between Seawolf and Virginia. DON’T develop a new reactor (even though SEA 08 is basically keeping US nuclear development alive), and leverage as much of the tech investment between Seawolf, Virginia and Columbia classes as possible to reduce the development risk.

  • This ridiculous. The Virginia’s are already borderline too expensive so the Navy’s response is to make the next submarine even larger while reducing the number of missions it can perform? I’d take 3 Burke’s/5 frigates over 1 submarine any day, regardless of how capable that sub is.

    If we truly need a dedicated ship killer, then we should be looking at something small and affordable in numbers (something like USS Narwhal SSN-671).

    • NavySubNuke

      The trouble for you would be after my SSN killed you 3 burkes AND 5 frigates and I still have 30+ weapons left….

      • Even assuming the SSN has a 100% chance of killing any DDG it encounters, all I have to do is disperse and you will only get one of them at best. But that ignores the fact that it isn’t a question of which would win, it’s a question of which provides greater value. Sinking ships is great and all, but destroyers can do that too and submarines don’t do much for defending surface traffic against air and missile attack, destroying targets ashore (if you remove the VPM), or conducting peacetime presence and policing. Three ships that can do everything okay is preferable to one that does one thing very well.

        • NavySubNuke

          Dispersing just means it takes longer to kill them, it doesnt change the results or the odds of a surface vessel surviving a high capability SSN arriving in the area.
          A Seawolf like torpedo room and tube setup is actually more capable amd effective then a VPM, besides we will have 20 VPM boats by then and we will start building purpose built SSGNs in the 40s anyway.

          • MDK187

            “A Seawolf like torpedo room and tube setup is actually more capable amd effective then a VPM” – Finally somebody has spoken those words.

  • RunningBear

    SSN(X); smaller, cheaper, faster, quieter; the 135 man crew could be reduced to 45 provided the automated pressure hull is reduced by having weapons and propulsion/ power train externally mounted. 3+ for the price of 1.

    – low drag, external weapons module(s) with wirelessly targeted and launched weapons.
    – low drag, external Spec Ops module with vessel(s)
    – low drag, external power module(s) with redundant, external propulsors and reactors.

    This design would facilitate a system of systems design and full UUV capabililty with manned hulls/ modules as required. One manned hull could network with “wolfpack” 6+ equal weaponized UUV (same sub design components) squadron.

    IMHO
    Fly Navy
    🙂

    • Bubblehead

      Bear, this is pure silliness what you speak of. This isn’t Battlestar Gallatica.

      You will never have anything close to 45 man crew on an SSN. Not in our lifetime at least.

      • The Soviet Alfa-class had a crew of 32 back in the 1970’s.

        • KenPrescott

          And were generally considered an absolute disaster.

        • Bubblehead

          Question, how many Russian subs have suffered major nuclear accidents in the last quarter century?

          Russians don’t care about ship safety, crew safety or nuclear safety.

          I’m just going to say it now. There is no time in the foreeable future a US SSN will ever be down to 50 crew members. It aint going to happen. Go through the watches required. Then multiply by 3 for 8 hour shifts. The USN operates differently than most of the other world navies. Just because it is possible doesn’t make it a good idea.

      • RunningBear

        Totally agree, as long as they continue to man a Virginia, but with the propulsion and weapons external, the operations are down to logistics supports and sensor operators/ analysts and command. 4 officers and 41 sailors are sufficient to man such a sensor ship. Again, I agree, we may not see this in our lifetime but others have been advocating a similar design for the last two decades and I believe we are here, now.
        IMHO
        Fly Navy
        🙂

      • NavySubNuke

        Just imagine how fun the weekly and monthly PMs would be with externally mounted power and engine machinery! Nevermind the shielding for the external reactor module. It’s all fun and games until the tug crew dies of radiation poisoning because they came too close to external reactor module….

        • RunningBear

          How much shielding is provided for the reactor operators? It would be highly unlikely any reactor will be put in service without proper shielding. And….periodically the reactor/ propulsion modules can be taken out or exchanged for any technology upgrades because….they are not in the pressure hull. External mounting of the pressure hull makes sense for most systems but those directly related/ operated by the crew. I have yet to hear a requirement for a crew greater than the 45, 4 officers and 41 crew for ASW operations and a minimum cubic foot requirement for the pressure hull design, <100'x20'?
          IMHO
          Fly Navy
          🙂

          • Secundius

            Lead Shield is No Long Used. Depleted-Uranium is! It’s ~1.667… times denser than Lead…

          • NavySubNuke

            External mounting of important systems that require regular maintenance — such as the propulsion train — makes no sense whatsoever.
            I realize your an airdale so you don’t really understand maintenance except someone else does it but trust me, there are no major systems you could just put into your magical modules and attach to the hull except for maybe weapons but even that is pretty iffy. Certainly not the Reactor – you’d never be able to balance the ship once you put all the shielding on. Never mind not having access to it whatsoever.

          • RunningBear

            Please consider the requirements for an ASW sub. Technology no longer requires a Virginia class sub. Once the mold was broken with UUVs, a modular systems, ala “LEGOS” only requires a pressure hull for the human Command and Control (C2), all other modules are external. This facilitates the unproven “Star Trek”, AI system control module. Depending on mission requirements, 1,2,3 modules of weapons, torpedoes, mines, etc, can be quickly revised to expedite the patrol start, date/ time.
            IMHO
            Fly Navy
            🙂

          • NavySubNuke

            LOL. You certainly have a wild and vivid imagination.

          • RunningBear

            Would that I could take the credit but this has been addressed since the original development of the Nautilus. In my world of automation; remote mounting is a ordinary design concept and the today’s computers have facilitated the distributed local controls to isolate each module with autonomous programs. All I need is a redundant data link to each module for monitoring or C2 for selection of programed changes.
            This will happen; more flexible, less expensive, easier to upgrade technologies, etc., etc.
            ….and again, pressure hulls are only for people!
            IMHO
            Fly Navy
            🙂

  • Curtis Conway

    The SSN population crisis in the coming decades due to high cost, long duration construction requirements, and inability to construct in many places, puts pressures on this equation that few seem to appreciate. US Navy SSNs have a lifespan, and construction schedules have not kept up with inventory requirements under the leadership of previous administrations.

    The need and a sure fix to this problem is for Regional Assets to perform tasking in shallower water (littorals) in smaller operating areas, and that can displace valuable oceanic fleet SSN assets so they can pursue their higher priority tasking. An Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) Conventional SSK Submarine cost less than half that of an SSN. These Regional AIP SSKs would operate over an area of less than 1,000 miles which covers many areas of concern. The West Mediterranean, Baltic, South China Sea, waters adjacent to the Korean Peninsula, Caribbean, and both coasts of the United States.

    Teaming with the Australians in their Future Submarine Program (SEA 1000) that will replace the Collins Class may be a way to mitigate cost, and provide a superior asset for both nations.

    • NavySubNuke

      God no, please not the AIP/SSK argument again.
      The last thing we need is to break our submarine force with a ship that is uncapable of actually performing any of the missions we need our submarine force to accomplish. Just look at what LCS has done to the surface force — you like that? You want that for the submarine force?
      No thanks.

      • Curtis Conway

        Something but, or other than . . . twice as big, and twice as expensive solution is required. Who ever is running that think tank needs their heads examined. We need submarines now, not in two to three decades, and in numbers. SO . . . the answer is ‘bigger and more expensive’? With all our 3D design, modern materials and manufacturing expertise, and all these guys can come up with is Bigger & Better? It’s Just Nuts. Leadership and REAL engineering is required here!

        • NavySubNuke

          This is the submarine for 3 decades from now — we are still going to buy Block V and VI Virginia. It looks like the plan now is to buy SSN(X) instead of Block VII Virginia.
          We’ll have 20+ VPMs in the fleet or under construction by the time we even start buying these and there will be 20+ “classic” Virginia’s in the fleet at that time already too.
          There are specific problems and limitations with Virginia that can only be overcome by going bigger. Physics doesn’t care about your opinion.

      • Curtis Conway

        Like the French Nuc. I bet we can do it better. An American Alpha is what is needed.

        • NavySubNuke

          Nope. By the time the Australians are done modifying the Barracuda and actually procuring them they are probably going to cost as much, if not more, than a Virginia and still be much less capable.

          • Curtis Conway

            We don’t have to do it with the Aussies, but it could prove advantageous to both nations. However, in this case you many be right. We need submarines more quickly and it just ain’t happening even with all the recent initiatives.

            In the meantime given the Navy a loan so they can go build/buy another nuclear submarine qualified manufacturing yard, and pray that our primary adversaries do not stand up FBM patrols.

          • NavySubNuke

            The real thing to worry about is that they will start anti-FBM patrols. We aren’t ever going to go hunting for their FBMs since all that would do is guarantee a global thermonuclear war.
            If we really had the national will to expand submarine production we’d be much better off building another line at EB or NN — standing up a third manufacturer simply isn’t possible. We can barely staff the two we have. EB is already leading all kinds of apprenticeship programs with local high schools to try and get enough new workers in the door. The staffing crunch is only going to get worse as more and more of the guys who survived the lean years retire and the guys behind them just don’t have the same skills.

          • Curtis Conway

            I’ve seen the Program to increase shipyard capability in EB/NN in subs and Bath/Ingalls in Aegis Destroyers. THAT program could go national. In fact there are excellent welding candidates in Mississippi, and Wisconsin (and other places) that would love to make a little more money, and move to a new location. The president has championed Apprenticeship Programs in our High Schools across the nation. This initiative should be supported and grow, particularly in the construction, manufacturing, and engineering disciplines. That would have a definite and direct positive effect on this critical shortage of Qualified Welders for example.

      • Curtis Conway

        If you ‘All Nuc’ Navy Guys were really up to speed, then the SSn would be a reality TODAY! What gives?

        • NavySubNuke

          Not really sure what you mean – our SSNs are out there doing God’s work every day. The fact that other forms of power are too inferior to be of use to what the United States needs isn’t the Navy’s fault.

          • Curtis Conway

            NSN, its simple. We need more submarines faster just to maintain assigned patrol stations, address other tasking, meet COCOM requirements, and keep up with contingencies and maintenance. This is not that hard, and future force levels do not bode well for what COULD happen.

          • NavySubNuke

            We’ve known about our need for more submarines for over a decade. Rather than adding extra SSNs to deal with it congress chose to buy extra LCS instead.
            Again, it is a question of national will. Right now congress is more interested in building a paper tiger fleet than a fleet actually capable of doing what the Navy needs.
            Maybe in 20 years when SSN(x) is ready to become a reality we will have a functional government that actually cares about our nation. Time will tell.

    • Bubblehead

      We both know the USN will never and I mean never agree to a non-nuc powered sub no matter the merit. Rickover would roll over in his grave. The USN considers diesels beneath them.

      I think their main reasoning is similar to why they are afraid of a frigate to compete with AB. Or small carrier to compete with Ford. They want their capital ships. Large Carriers, AB’s & SSN’s. Diesels in their mind would pose a threat to future SSN’s numbers.

      The only reason USN finally gave in to FFGX was because it will not be ABM capable. This will guarantee AB’s will keep being built.

      • Curtis Conway

        It is relatively easy to determine the minimum number of SSNs required to support various missions. That number would need reserves available. The use of SSNs for the Regional Tasking is just ‘killing insects with a sledge hammer’. It is a waste of manpower, material, and treasure . . . and everyone knows it.

        We need to do things Smarter, not Harder, particularly when we are not able to afford it in the first place.

        The COCOM must be supported, and much of that support is SSKs, with some mission sets requiring an SSN. The Fleet Commanders require SSNs, and can count on Regionally SSK tasked boats to perform well, particularly in ASuW, ISR/intel support, and some ASW. STRATCOM requires SSBN/SSN support. All Arctic/Antarctic and mid-ocean tasking, and large straits like GIUK Gap are SSN.

        It is more straightforward than most make it out to be. I would be willing to entertain an SSn, but it simply must be less expensive compared to the SSN, and more quickly built. We need redundant construction capable yards on two coasts.

        • Ed L

          Like the German type 212 submarine (216 export version) Our American Navy could buy 4 to 6 of them for around 2 billion dollars. They would make great target practice for our SSN’s, Surface force and Airborne ASW platforms Congress just needs to make an exception to the Law.

          • Curtis Conway

            If Off The Shelf units are selected to expedite and simplify delivery, we could make a one-time buy of the French Nuc Barracudas with all delivered ASAP. I would get 30 so we could provide presence in ten locations with training and maintenance units for rotation, and have surge capacity when Wolfpack tactics are required for some mission sets, like an air-tight blockade. it is obvious the US sub manufacturers are NEVER going to get serious about costs, and lookout/plan for worse case US Navy tasking when the adversarial FBM patrols resume. Something must give, and those SSNs required will leave many missions elsewhere undone, or without support. This is preventable, nutty thinking on the ‘powers that be’ part, and irresponsible for those gambling with the safety of the country.

          • Ed L

            I was reading the Barracudas crew is 60, twelve Officers 48 ratings. 4 tubes 20 plus reloads. The non nuclear Barracuda version the Australians are buying has 6 tubes

          • Curtis Conway

            A Hunter-Killer does ONE THING to one target at a time . . . typically.

          • Ed L

            I remember us trying to keep track of the Soviets Tango, Foxtrot and Kilo’s Submarines in the Mediterranean during the Cold War. Wasn’t that easy

          • Curtis Conway

            That was actually back in my day. You are correct.

          • Ed L

            My Brother in Law served on the USS Bonefish SS-582. He said they used to cheat at war games and get there targets. Ticked off the Brass a lot. Those Barbel class diesel boats sailors were a proud lot. DBF. Diesel Boats Forever

          • Curtis Conway

            Tactics are determined by mission and environment. The nuc sub sailors are too used to having all their capabilities, and have become dependent on endurance and speed to make up for that very topic you just discussed. A diesel boat is one thing. An AIP SSK is something entirely different. An AIP SSn would be different too but they won’t build that.

          • NavySubNuke

            “I would get 30 so we could provide presence in ten locations with training and maintenance units for rotation, and have surge capacity when Wolfpack tactics are required for some mission sets, like an air-tight blockade.”
            Sorry but you are completely ignoring the reality of SSK transit times. If we bought 30 SSKs and forward based them we would be luckly to cover 5 spots. It takes roughly 5 SSKs to equal the presence of 1 SSN due to their extremely transit speeds and on station times. Even then their limited power capabilities sharply limit their effectiveness so that those 5 SSKs are actually less capable then the 1 SSN you could have had on station instead of them.

          • Curtis Conway

            Your still thinking like a nuc sub sailor. Analyze your response and figure it out. Concerning numbers to equal one SSN, as soon as they submerge the odds even a lot in all but two categories that matter, speed and max depth. That is why they will have REGIONAL tasking, not open ocean or CSG/ESG escort.

            Concerning long transits for yard periods, local yards and handle heavy work and the new tenders would handle most everything else.

          • NavySubNuke

            It is nice that you think the are even in a lot of categories except for speed and max depth but that actually isn’t true, as anyone with experience in this will tell you.
            And you are also ignoring the fact that the SSN can stay on task and on site for weeks to months at a time. Even the best AIP SSK can stay on task for a far shorter period and then needs to transit off station and slowly crawl its way back to base.
            Assuming the base is even still there — you really think our forward deployed ports are still going to be open and ready for business in a conflict with Russia or China?
            I realize how alluring diesel boats are to people who don’t understand/ignore their limitations and deliberately magnify their few advantages but that doesn’t make them a good idea.

          • Curtis Conway

            Once again, you propose NOTHING that solves the problem of more boats in the water in the near future. How about that AIP SSn idea.

          • NavySubNuke

            AIP SSKs are an idea that is worse then nothing because it takes away needed money and manpower from the ships we do have.
            Again, the Nation had the chance to add more SSNs in the near term but instead congress chose to buy more LCS despite the Navy and the administration saying please no.
            If we really want more submarines what we should do is buy more submarines. But buy submarines that are actually capable of accomplishing the mission and adding capability to the fleet.

          • Matthew Schilling

            You’ve mentioned adding SSNs in the near term, and lamented two more Virginias weren’t added this year, but we can’t build the ones already ordered on time. 5.5 years and $3B per sub is no way to grow the fleet!

          • NavySubNuke

            The shipyards are doing fine on delivering the boats. Yes, they haven’t been able to reduce the delivery time as low as the Navy wanted but the boats are still arriving with few, if any, delays from the contracted delivery times.
            5.5 years to construct a modern SSN is actually pretty damn fast considering how much effort it takes and the kind of precision that is required to make the ship both safe and quiet. What each boat costs is actually a very low price to pay for the capability each Virginia provides.

          • Matthew Schilling

            In other words, we simply cannot build enough Virginias in a timely enough manner to meet the Navy’s submarine needs. Therefore, we must do something else, in addition to building Virginias.

          • Secundius

            The “Earliest” projection date for a ~325-Ship Navy is 2023, and a ~355-Ship Navy is 2048! What do you think…

          • NavySubNuke

            Nope. What we should do is actually properly fund submarine construction rather than ignoring a problem we have known is coming since 1995.

          • Matthew Schilling

            Yep. We don’t have the industrial capacity to build nuke subs any faster than we are right now. Therefore, we have to do something else to supplement our nuke sub force. That’s just the way it is.

          • NavySubNuke

            Nope. What we should actually do is properly fund submarine construction.

          • Matthew Schilling

            It’s sad, really, because it’s obvious someone told you that being pig headed and obtuse was cute. They lied.
            “Properly fund submarine construction” because, you know, money solves everything. Like, you know, we could’ve cured cancer by now if only we had thrown enough money at it. People would now be raising families on Mars, if only we had thrown enough money at it. We would be able to take vacation trips to the distant past, if only we had thrown enough money at it.

          • NavySubNuke

            LOL. No worries sweetie, I realize to an unintelligent amateur, such as yourself, who has no idea what they are talking about my answer won’t make much sense. But trust me, if you had an actual knowledge of this subject you would understand what I am talking about and agree with me.
            Also, if you were smarter you would realize there is a huge difference between a science and technology challenge such as curing cancer or traveling to mars and establishing a colony there and an engineering challenge like increasing the production of something we are already building. Again, I realize to an unintelligent amateur with no idea what they are talking about the difference between those things might not be clear but trust me, to anyone with even a moderate level of intelligence it is.
            Have a great night though! Go Red Sox!

          • Matthew Schilling

            Well, I’m sure the plan for doubling our production rate of nuke subs is in the same drawer as the plan to end poverty. Let us know when you find them! Until then, we will need to do something else to satisfy our gaping need for submarines.
            I must say, though, I am impressed by the intelligence you have displayed here. I mean ,”mo money!” is sure to rank up there with other powerful and succinct statements of genius uttered before it, like “E=MC2” and “I think, therefore I am”. Please keep me in the loop as to when you receive your Nobel Prize!

          • NavySubNuke

            LOL – no worries sweetie, I realize ignorant gutter trash like you can’t be expected to understand even simple concepts.

          • Matthew Schilling

            That’s what I’m talking about! The sheer genius of your comments is awe inspiring. I’m guessing there are several people sitting at your feet right now, listening to your every word.

          • NavySubNuke

            ** Pats Matt on the head ** Aww good little gutter trash.

          • Matthew Schilling

            I’m not worthy, O Smart Man of Genius. But do let me know when you compile your comments into a book.

          • NavySubNuke

            Well done – you might not be capable of saying anything intelligent but you are entertaining!

          • tteng

            “..and have surge capacity when Wolfpack tactics are required for some mission sets, like an air-tight blockade. ”

            You mean the PLAN wolfpack to establish air-tight blockade on Taiwanese, RoK, Japanese ports/maritime supply routes. And US (and allies) subs have to hunt them down.

            Otoh, to stop Chinese maritime trade, just stick a pistol to the Chinese captain’s head at gulf/Africa/EU ports will suffice. (if these nations allows Chinese trade during war time, then the US has bigger problem.)

        • NavySubNuke

          “Regionally SSK tasked boats to perform well, particularly in ASuW, ISR/intel support, and some ASW.”
          SSKs are completely unsuited to ISR/Intel and ASW they will provide no benefit to these missions.
          Given advancements in technology they provide, at best, marginal ASuW performance but their extremely limited speed and endurance relegate that marginal performance to choke points where you know the enemy has to come to you.
          In any kind of modern blue water fight an SSK is going to be less than useless 99.9% of the time. The .1% of the time it is actually useful is that magical moment when an enemy ship just happens to blunder right over the top of it. Hardly something we should be hoping for.
          Trust me, I’ve ridden allied SSKs during exercises with US battlegroups. The one time the CVN drove right over us was amazing, the rest of the exercises, and even the rest of the days of that exercise, were/was the most movies I ever watched underway as we went day after day after day with nothing. Even though the exercises forced everyone into very tight waters to try to maximize the value of the SSK(s) participating.

          • Curtis Conway

            No deflection and represent the truth. You’re boohooing mission-sets is contrary to Allied force tasking (of which we provide an input) of who employ them, and have provided pictures to prove their effectiveness in exercises.
            The “…In any kind of modern blue water fight an SSK is going to be less than useless…” is pure deflection, and beneath your intellect.
            Tasking of any SSK would/will be determined by requirements determined ahead of time, or tasks that present themselves during underway periods. Regional tasking, and yes is best at choke points, is valid. An SSN used for such use is like shooting something with a .50 caliber Barret, when the 5.56 M4 will do the job very well.
            We need more submarines NOW(!!!), and everyone involved in the solution is looking for Bigger, More Capable, Faster and More Expensive . . . when reality is we can’t even build what we need given what is ‘in place’, and what is about to ‘increase in manufacturing capability’, transpires. There argument is very clear and simple. It’s the same argument for the Small Surface Combatant FFG(X).

          • NavySubNuke

            Again, I’ve played in those exercises. I even helped take those pictures. It is based on that experience and other experiences I have had that I reiterate: In any kind of modern blue water fight an SSK is going to be less than useless.
            Yes we need more SSNs but we will need just as many SSNs if we by 0, 10, 20, or even 100 SSKs. The only difference will be how much money we have wasted on SSKs.
            If you like LCS than by all means continue to hawk for SSKs. If you want us to spend years of effort and billions of dollars on ships that cannot accomplish any of the missions we need them to and only serve to suck away manpower and money then by all means, continue to advocate for SSKs.

          • Curtis Conway

            “…modern blue water fight…” REGIONAL tasking, not open ocean! Still thinking like a nuke sub sailor.
            The wasted money is not building enough SSNs to be Proactive in the first place.
            As for LCS, it is an insult to every true US Navy sailor’s intelligence to just throw out survivability standards to build throwaway ships. That is why their tasking must be limited, and their usefulness much less than advertised. They simply cannot defend themselves in the modern battlespace given their current equipment set, and hull configuration. The LCS tasking should be limited to 4th Flt AOR, Mine Countermeasures, and SOF/Marine Raider support. If the money invested on the LCS Program had been invested in an Aegis-Light Frigate, we would have more than what was advertised as to what LCS can do, not less. As it is, the LCS will become the most expensive Mine Counter Measures ships the US Navy has ever built. You mentioned Blue Water Operations (again!). That is something the LCS should never be involved in except for transits. Wrong hull-form.
            I would gladly support an AIP SSn, but nobody is going there.

          • NavySubNuke

            Regional tasking still involves long transits, many of them through open ocean and others through severely restricted waters like the Persian Gulf. If there is a case for SSKs anywhere it is there but even then when you realize how little ground they can cover and how little benefit they would actually be to what the US navy does the case quickly falls apart. Having an SSK parked in the middle of the SoH sounds great but when you actually look at what it can do — it is very little. Certainly if you are a terrorist nation like Iran and you just want to sink a few tankers or you want to hope magic happens and a Navy vessel drives in range then life is great. But that isn’t how the US Navy fights and wasting money to have SSKs doing 4 knots to no where in the middle of the SoH doesn’t actually make life better or easier for us.
            You obviously understand the surface warfare side of the house and why LCS is such a bad idea. If you actually understood more about the sub-surface side of the house you would understand why an SSK, even an AIP SSn SSK, would be an equivalent albatross around the neck of the neck of the submarine force.
            The simply lack the sustained speed, range, and capacity to do what the US navy needs its submarines to do.

          • Curtis Conway

            I’m still listening and waiting for how we are going to get the numbers (population) up in the near term! Waterspace Management is not an unknown term to me.

          • NavySubNuke

            The two best solutions that would actually improve the situation:
            1) Convince congress to properly fund our SSN construction rather than wasting the money on unneeded and unwanted LCS. We could have added two additional SSNs to the block buy this year but congress deliberately passed on that chance and instead bought extra LCS last year and this year.
            2) Let big Navy to tell the combatant commanders to pound sand when they demand an SSN presence in their region and there isn’t enough boats to go around. SSNs are national strategic (little “s” — not Strategic as in part of the Triad) and should be allocated based on national level priorities as we do with carriers, which congress also hasn’t adequately funded though given their extreme price tag – not to mention the cost of the associate air wing – you can kind of understand that.
            We are making great progress on 2 with the shift to have the CJCS acting as the Global Integrator for all US forces but the devil is in the details.
            As far as 1, God only knows what those thieves and liars will do. We’ll see who is even around and in power in another few weeks.

          • Curtis Conway

            I’m with you on the first point. Any additional LCS are a distinct negative for forces afloat, and a net negative for any battle force commander. Congress buying platforms the US Navy does not want, and cannot use, just to buy public favor, corporate welfare, and safeguard re-election contributions, is shameful. Congress should have established an MYP process for all SSN procurement NDAA 2018/2019, and stepped up the number of boats in down years. Like the upgrades to the EB/NN yards to assist in this effort, but long lead parts not being procured is the wrong message, and does not bode well for the future SSN population.
            The COCOM have missions to accomplish, and the services must support them with resources. That ‘SSN Presence’ in most cases could be an AIP SSK, certainly an AIP SSn SSK (or French Barracuda).
            As for SSNs being a Strategic Asset, that designation is determined by ‘who’ is in charge of this mission, and where the mission came from (STRACOM/JCS). Just because you are an SSN sitting in the water DOES NOT mean you are a Strategic Asset. Certainly every SSN has the potential, and stands ready to answer the call. If AIP SSn SSKs displaced those pesky little COCOM missions, then more potentially Strategically Tasked SSNs could be a reality.
            Congress (via the public pressure) have recognized the requirement to upgrade the Strategic TRIAD and we now have a president, Congress (House and Senate), and a Department of Defense that agrees with that premise. THAT has not existed for almost thirty (30) years, and the solution is in work, although I would really like to see a Medium Penetration Bomber (FB-23) to replace the B-1B Lancers when they leave service. They have no (like) replacement, mostly because of investment costs.
            IMHO the Strategic TRIAD should be off DoD budget and get its own budget consideration, and separate funding (FBM/Bomber/ICBMs).
            As for your last three sentences . . . I couldn’t agree with you more!!!

          • Curtis Conway

            I sympathize with all the submariners. Every USN Submarine troop is a Nuc and that brings a bias that simply cannot be ignored. It’s the only thing they know. They all know what their non-nuc brethren go through HiStorically, and was recently reminded of this with the loss of an Argentine submarine. The few WWII submarine veterans can tell you it’s a tough life.
            We are playing a numbers game, and have a population vs tasking crisis coming. We need a solution that is affordable, buildable, and effective as a hunter killer. If an American Alpha-like Class (minus the reactor) is the answer, then we all anxiously await the announcement of the program. In the meantime, I will continue to propose the only solution that fits budget and can realistically be built in time (Plan – B), and that is an AIP SSK of American manufacture, with units built on opposite coasts, in sufficient quantity to support regional tasking in Regions to be selected by the JCS and COCOM collectively, and displace SSNs that have higher priority tasking. I as a taxpayer will pay for that.

          • NavySubNuke

            “Every USN Submarine troop is a Nuc ”
            Not true in the slightest — only about 1/3 of the crew are nukes. The rest are coners.
            But if it makes you happy to advocate for submarines that would provide no benefit to the fleet and would not only make a war more likely but make US sailors more likely to die feel free.
            But please spare me the bias talk – especially when you have no actual evidence to support your position or any real understanding of the subject matter. The reason the US doesn’t have SSKs isn’t because of a pro-nuke bias — it is because they are a waste of money and resources for the US Navy.

          • Curtis Conway

            We can quibble about technicalities like Duane does, or we can discuss the truth. Every submariner serving in the US Navy serves aboard Nuclear Submarines. Even their daily routine is determined by this fact. Like I said before, the bias Rings Loudly in most USN sub-sailor comments. They focus on the irrelevant in the counter argument, and promote the nuke advantages that mean little in the Littorals, and a Regionally tasked mission set. This habit is a argumentative tactic used by the Left not the Right. So, let us stick to facts.

          • NavySubNuke

            It is rather humorous that you think everyone who disagrees with you is biased and not using facts rather than even considering that they are disagreeing with you because they are actual experts in their field and have a better understanding of the real benefits and limitations than you do.
            You can throw out weasel words like “regionally tasked mission set” all you want but that doesn’t actually mean anything when it comes to the real limitations of an SSK.
            Not having to transit them all the way from CONUS is great but it doesn’t magically make an SSK be able to cover more ground in the region. It doesn’t magically make the SSK into a viable ISR or ASW platform in 2018. It isn’t going to help the SSK magically park in the right position so that the Red combatants drive exactly over the top of it so it can score some of those magical photos you and others who don’t know the full story behind them prize so much.
            It also doesn’t magically keep the Chinese from hitting the ports with surface to surface missiles so that we now have to transit all the way back to the South East coast of Australia or San Diego to try to refit our SSKs because all the forward deployed sites are gone.

          • Curtis Conway

            Quite to the contrary, I will concede you are more of an expert on US Navy Submarines than I am. However, expert as you are, you propose NOTHING that will solve the problem (more submarines in the near future) and continue with the current solution, which cannot support future population requirements. It’s as simple as that!
            All of your arguments are true just like one cannot prove that something doesn’t exist. PROVIDE SOLUTIONS! You provide nothing but a ‘nothing’ argument.
            How about that AIP SSn idea.

          • NavySubNuke

            Staying the course and doing nothing is better than doing the wrong thing and ending up with something that is worse then nothing.
            We already know what we need to do to address the submarine shortfall – buy more submarines. Congress had that option and chose to buy extra LCS instead. Congress could have added two more Virginia’s to the Block Buy this year but instead chose not to. That is the fault of the thieves and liars in congress – not the fault of the Navy.
            Diverting money and manpower to SSKs that will bring nothing to the fight or to our day to day operations is not going to make things better.

          • NEC338x

            Frigates are obsolete – we need dozens on street fighters. Therefore no follow-on class to OHPs. Haven’t built an FF in three decades? Oh wait! The Navy needs frigates. Let’s take a seaframe and make it into an FF, and by the way NAVSEA Ships is no longer in charge of FFs. How dare anyone say something could be worse than nothing. TIC

          • NavySubNuke

            Exactly. Perfect example.
            I do love when people say it is just a nuclear bias that we don’t have SSKs. As opposed to the lack of speed, range, endurance, and combat capability of SSKs vs. SSNs….

          • Curtis Conway

            “…SSKs are completely unsuited to ISR/Intel and ASW they will provide no benefit to these missions.”

            That is not what my submarine buddies tell me, and they are all CDR and above. They will never haul around a shelter, but they can do other things, and they almost NEVER know where the SSK is.

          • NavySubNuke

            LOL. How long have those buddies been out of the game though? A lot has changed and a lot continues to change. One thing that hasn’t changed, and in fact has only gotten worse, is the low tactical and strategic speeds of an SSK that make it nearly impossible for the SSK to take the fight to the enemy.
            Should we ever get in a fight with a major maritime power that doesn’t use radar or sonar and lacks the ability to take out our forward bases than a large batch of SSKs would be perfect for that fight. But that isn’t very likely.

          • Curtis Conway

            Great logic, so kill the AIP SSn SSK, or French Barracuda idea.

      • Curtis Conway

        From our Founding onward, the US Armed Forces have always had many options from Kentucky Rifleman (Rangers) taking British Officers off their horses at many hundreds of yards, to some of the world’s first operational submarines. Interchangeable parts in our rifles, and all of John Browning’s weapons, some of which persist to this day (M2 Mau Duce).

        The US Navy and NAVSEA actually went all the way to ‘we don’t need Navy Regulations anymore because no one will survive the hit, so platforms can be disposable’ (LCS). Turns my stomach. G-d will not be proud of these people. We have a mission on this planet, and efficient use of materials, engineering practices, manufacturing, while safeguarding our crews (Sacrificial Servants), and effective employment Are Required . . . and I’m not seeing it today.

    • Diesel submarines are not the answer. There are plenty of ways to build more affordable nuclear submarines – the French Rubis class for instance is actually smaller than many diesel boats.

      • Curtis Conway

        Hey, I’m with you in mindset, but American Planners and industry are NOT going that way. It is as if they are in VAPOR LOCK on Bigger & Better. Well, the Russian Alpha built by American Industry would be a pretty good solution.

  • Hank Walker

    What are these planners thinking? That lots more money will magically appear, contrary to history? Or that a tiny number of great submarines is better than more cheaper submarines? We had to cancel Seawolf due to cost, so let’s propose it again?

    • FelixA9

      No, we cancelled it for the same reason we cancelled the B-2 and F-22 – “wheeeeeeee, nobody is ever going to fight again so we can stop worrying about buying the best”.

      • Ser Arthur Dayne

        This is exactly right. Thank you for saying it so well.

    • SSN development is trapped between what is tactically ideal – numerous, small, silent – and what is strategically, politically and culturally ideal.

      Politically, the bloated cost is not considered bloated to shipyard congressional delegations that consider each dollar of waste to nonetheless be a dollar spent on their turf. Admirals must navigate this factor.

      Strategically and logistically, the U.S. mainland is isolated from trouble spots by thousands of miles of transoceanic cruising, taking 2 to 3 weeks to arrive on station. This drives the nuclear plant requirement and squashes the diesel SSK dream. Even if a squadron of SSKs could be homeported overseas (think East Asia), they might be stranded there when the priority shifts to another region (think Mideast) and unable to relocate without significant fueling support en route and at the destination.

      Culturally, the USN remains an all-volunteer force and submarine crews must also double down to volunteer for undersea service. The quality of life aboard subs then becomes a major factor, not to mention a preference for a mainland homeport. Larger SSNs have an edge over small and regional boats. It’s impossible for us mere bloggers to overcome these political, strategic and cultural realities.

      • PolicyWonk

        This drives the nuclear plant requirement and squashes the diesel SSK dream.
        ======================================
        Apparently you aren’t aware of the “forward basing” concept? This could very squash the dream of a vastly larger, far more expensive blue-water SSN. The USN acts, as if all the service branches do, that their budgets are as endlessly deep as the oceans are themselves – despite the fact that the federal government is demonstrating historical incompetence managing the economic and financial affairs of this nation. We’re on our way to another economic mess at the hands of the GOP, who have divorced themselves from fiscal responsibility, and it’ll be belt-tightening time again before long.

        Admirals love big ships, and big ticket items, because thats the way officers reach flag rank (and the USA’s general officer corps and admiralty are bloated beyond belief!). The USN jealously protects its nukes by hyperbole, pretending that every mission requires an SSN, no matter the obvious disadvantages in size or cost.

        The USN doesn’t have anywhere near the submarine coverage it needs, yet here we are again with a proposal for a bigger, vastly more expensive SSN concept, intended for blue water, when the majority of what we ARE doing is in the littorals. Again, all we seem to be doing is planning for the wars they WANT to fight, instead of the ones we’re LIKELY to fight.

        • NavySubNuke

          Your continued desire to destroy the effectiveness of our submarine force by filling it full of SSKs which would provide as much added capability and presence to the submarine force as the failed LCS does to the surface force really does amaze me.
          The last thing we need to do is waste the money, manpower, and above all very limited shipyard capacity to the construction of vessels that lack the speed, range, endurance, and fire power to actually contribute anything to the Navy’s peacetime day to day operations or to any future conflict.

          • PolicyWonk

            “…by filling it full of SSKs which would provide as much added capability and presence to the submarine force as the failed LCS does to the surface force really does amaze me…”
            =======================================
            Resorting to hyperbole, and crazy hyperbole at that, isn’t useful. Equating proven weapons, and extremely capable ones that that, with the clearly useless/toothless LCS does neither you nor the service any good. The AIP boat of today represents a very dangerous opponent, especially given the coverage they garner at 1/3rd the cost.

            And assuming I’m suggesting we replace the SSN fleet is every bit as hyperbolic (if not more so) than the LCS comment: the SSK’s I’m championing would be supplemental to our SSN’s, which I fully believe in. The fact is, forward basing SSK’s in the SCS, Med, and ME would take a lot of pressure off the SSN fleet while increasing our coverage, and permit our SSN’s to prowl blue water instead of keeping them cooped up in the littorals.

            A few dozen SSK’s are exactly what the USN needs: a very difficult to detect and relatively inexpensive weapon system, with plenty of firepower, in a compact package.

          • NavySubNuke

            A few dozen SSKs is the last thing the Navy needs. I know you have read a few news articles and think SSKs are great and would be a great addition to the US fleet but they, like LCS, would actually be less then useless. All they would do is take away money and manpower from ships that can actually perform missions the US navy needs them to perform and not actually be able to accomplish anything.
            SSKs are useless for ISR and ASW and they are only marginally useful for ASuW. Their slow speed, low endurance, and limited capacity means that you need 4-5 SSKs to do the work of just 1 SSN. And by the time you get done purchasing, crewing, and maintaining those 4-5 SSKs you have actually spent far more money then you would have on that single SSN.

        • While forward basing exists, especially on Japan and Guam, expecting a diesel SSK crew to reenlist for small hulls and family separation is a fools errand.

          An SSK can’t easily relocate to another theater with its limited range and the refueling and tender support needed. An SSN can rapidly reach, say, the Mideast, and remain submerged on station for weeks while its crew lives in relative comfort without risking volunteer retention problems. Good luck forward basing an SSK squadron in Bahrain with shared bunks, no tender, and a liberty homeport that makes Calcutta look like Vegas.

          • PolicyWonk

            SSK’s wouldn’t be relocating to another theater: they’d be pretty much staying in the same general region where our interests are consistent and presence is required. SSK’s don’t spend as much time at sea, and a reasonable level of automation can increase the amount of space available to the crew.

            The family separation problems we have now is due to the long transit times, and the fact that we simply don’t have enough coverage with our current fleet. We stay at sea long time because we have little choice at this point.

          • Curtis Conway

            At one point in time the SSn concept was approached. The diesels in the AIP SSK would be replaced by a small nuke to generate electricity to recharge the batteries/fuel cells. I would be more than happy to build AIP SSn(s). At this point it would be another developmental program that would stretch for another decade given the DEMONSTRATED capabilities of the current submarine building infrastructure (EB/NN). That little nuke that NASA is working on for deep space could be brought into the equation, perhaps two. Charge the batteries and maintain hotel services while submerged. They would always be maximizing their power reserves for sprint capabilities if needed. It’s an idea. The ‘Sub Boys’ ain’t promoting anything but the same failed argument that will NOT squeeze more boats out of the equation.

          • PolicyWonk

            Indeed, I remember reading about the SSn concept, and it seems pretty straightforward.

            But you’re correct in that the SSN fan club guys can’t seem to get itself to realize that time and funds are short. Poor economic management on the part of government are only making problems worse, and the tax cutting idiocy only weakens the economic future of the nation as we fail to make any effort whatsoever to pay down the national debt, or live within our means. Couple this with bloated DoD acquisition practices and corporate welfare programs, and you *know* budget cutting will once again rear its ugly head.

            Furthermore, tired arguments and hyperbole don’t help anything regarding SSn, AIP/SSK, and serves only to weaken their position(s). Seriously, I agree with NSN far more than not, but comparing SSn or AIP/SSK to the abortion that is LCS is simply absurd. I’m more inclined to believe the admirals are terrified that the HoR’s will find out how effective AIP/SSK’s really are, and will quickly cut the SSN fleet in half.

          • Curtis Conway

            Your argument applies to the Light Carrier Concept as well. The LHA-6 Class Light Carrier will NEVER replace the Nimitz/Ford Class centered CSG. However, the nature of that beast called Proactive Presence requires MORE presence that an All Nimitz/Ford Class centered CSGs can support (too expensive). This is where the Light Carrier Concept really shines. All they need is a V/STOVL AEW&C aircraft, which is less expensive to develop, test and field than buying one new CVN. Electronic Attack is already a part of F-35 and that capability will increase with time, as will that mission set to any AESA radar equipped aircraft.

            It is time to start thinking Smarter, and being more wise with our budget.

          • PolicyWonk

            Indeed – we should probably build at least 4 more LHA-6 sea-frames, and adapt the V-22’s to use the Brits lightweight AEW kit…

            Alas, the next ones off the slipways are all going to have the well deck – and therefore the number of F-35B’s they can carry will be compromised (they will still be useful… but still).

          • Curtis Conway

            I have a Facebook page on this topic (EV-22 Osprey AEW&C Aircraft) that I created in Feb ’15. If you want a good read you can go down through the various posts. All the potential radars are discussed including the Crowsnest, Vigilance, AN/ZPY-(X) and others.

          • Secundius

            Which Kit? The Leonard 5000E “Seaspray” at 64-pounds or the Lockheed-Martin “Vigilance” at ~1,200-pounds…

      • Ser Arthur Dayne

        People on the SSK kick simply don’t understand the limitations. Watch some of the documentaries online on Russian or even Indian Kilos. There is ONE TOILET ON BOARD. On the Indian Kilos, they realized that there would be no ability to provide water for showering – the one single shower stall on the boat is locked, and they provide uniforms that are worn for 3 days and then disposed of and issued a new set of uniforms (remarkably like hospital scrubs) — but no showering. They take their meals from the galley service “porthole” then go down to their bunks and sit 3-across on the bottom bunks to eat their meals. Up to 70 crew and ONE TOILET to drop a deuce, no showering, no mess hall, etc. And BTW the fan-favorite Type 212 is like half the size of a Kilo BTW. So there would probably be comparable-to-less facilities. People here honestly think American teenagers and young men, volunteers all in several respect, are going to volunteer and want to serve on non-nuclear submarines which cannot produce it’s own water and therefore no showering/basically no hygiene, one toilet for everyone, you have to eat your meals on the bottom bunk of 3-stacked/9-person bunk cubbies, and BTW, you’re going to be posted to some foreign forward-deploying base because these puppies don’t have the range to cover *OUR OWN* coastal waters, let alone the distance of the world’s waters. And oh yeah… they don’t dive nearly as deep as our nuclear boats, don’t go as fast, and carry 1/2 the amount of armament. Other than that, they’re *awesome* son!

        • Curtis Conway

          Most of us “on the SSK kick” are thinking priorities, time, and Fast Attack population compared to tasking. Turning this into anything else is obfuscation and deflection. We NEED MORE SUBMARINES! The conventional argument is NOT getting there! So . . . all you US Navy Submarine Sailors can start talking about something that can 1) be built more quickly; 2) cost less; 3) be brought on line relatively quickly. How about the AIP SSn.

          • El_Sid

            “We” doesn’t have to mean the USA. For me SSK’s are a classic example of something that should be part of the 1000-ship navy and not the 355-ship navy – operated by allies in the Western alliance, and not the US. The lower capital and running costs mean they are affordable by allies, and the regional reach is less of an issue for them. US energy should be directed towards supporting allied navies to develop an effective SSK capability – tech transfer and training etc – rather than the USN owning them.

            As for the ISR thing – the Oberons of the RN and RAN did all sorts of useful ISR and insertion missions during the Cold War that an SSN wouldn’t dream of doing. They’re not incapable, just different.

          • Curtis Conway

            Hey, I’ll go with that. However, most of the 1,000 ship navy is not responsible to the COCOM, and can’t be counted on ‘when the going gets tough’. I like the idea though. Wish it was an option. Perhaps one day.

          • El_Sid

            Not responsible to COCOM – how will we cope, the US will have to try treating its allies with respect instead. They may be less willing to engage in foreign adventures, but they will defend their homeland to the death in a way that the US never will – arguably Vietnam was won by the side that was actually commited to the fight, whereas the US chose to withdraw when the going got tough.

            The US should learn lessons from the Roman Empire. At its peak it had an affordable system in which high-end imperial troops were held in reserve centrally, connected by a great transport network to enable it to quickly move to any foreign incursion. Allies in the border regions served as tripwires, using lower quality auxiliary troops of their own that were good enough to slow the invader until the high-end troops arrived. That was a system that worked for a long time – the only catch is that the border regions are laid waste by the enemy before the high-end troops arrive.

            Where it started to go wrong for the Romans was that over time the allies were given the status of full Roman citizens which meant they were entitled to gold-standard defence, so Rome had to pay for gold-standard troops to be stationed locally so that the enemy didn’t get a chance to lay waste one inch of the Empire. Ultimately that went the way of the USSR – the economy couldn’t generate enough wealth to support the demands of the military, even with measures like building walls to reduce the manpower demands.

            Don’t be the Roman Empire – let allies take some of the slack, as you can’t do it all from the centre.

          • Curtis Conway

            High End Troops: Marine Air-Ground Task Force

        • muzzleloader

          Sounds like Das Boot.

      • Curtis Conway

        .Even if a squadron of SSKs could be homeported overseas (think East Asia), they might be stranded there when the priority shifts to another region…”. NOPE, that is what the New Tenders are for. That kind of shift from one region to another is not that hard logistically with the appropriate equipment (platforms) and planning. The US Navy used to do it all the time.
        As for the manning issue… the Hunter Killer assignments in the Regional Littoral assignments would come with a premium of exotic assignments, and advanced training, and pay. We can keep the Blue/Gold crew rotation, and the Regional bases will become a real hub of activity. The new Sub Tenders would be partially manned by rotat(ed)/(ing) sub sailors. This will be the Cherry Assignment.
        If the US Navy can entertain an AIP SSn concept, then the new nuke reactor being designed for deep space use can be used.

        • “New sub tenders”? You mean TWO replacements for the only TWO that exist? It’s no wonder that USN would rather not have too many sub hull designs at once. The fact that no tenders exist in the Atlantic or Med is a testament to the rubustness and flexibility of SSNs (and the limited littoral threats). Meanwhile, both tenders consentrated permanently with the 7th Fleet indicates zero interest in growing the tender fleet. The emphasis is on hardened, durable SSNs with volunteer crews preferring space and ports worth volunteering for.

          • Curtis Conway

            In recognition of the very things you point out, a new class of tenders should be constructed. I would make them an LPD-17 Class size, and equip it appropriately. Perhaps a moon pool to support diving operations that is indoors. Hull inspections is something that is constant and demanding.

            At least six, and probably eight. If we develop and field a new class of SS(n) that has small nukes that recharge batteries in a new AIP SSn, then the support requirements would be different to supporting an SSN/SSBN.

            What I propose is a Fast Attack AIP SSn. Keep Blue/Gold rotation for crews and station them overseas in the region they will operate. A Sub Tender would be the obvious primary support item for that group of units in any given geographic region to which the subs are assigned and operate. The Tender will need to be able to go from place to place as tasking migrates to Proactive Threat Patrol Stations. The Boats go with them, but most of the time they will remain in one place. The AIP SSn Boat crew rotation would be through the Tender which provides support for training, berthing, and maintenance.

            There is a small nuke NASA is developing to support space born missions, and that unit could grow into one of two plants in the new AIP SSn. A diesel would probably still be on board but rarely if ever used.

          • Secundius

            I very much doubt it! Looks like the US Congress has decided to keep “Frank Cable” until 2029 and “Emory S. Land” until 2030…

          • ..

    • SierraSierraQuebec

      Aluminum-Air fuel cells as applied to a $1B 5000t submarine with a crew of 30-40 and 25-30 weapons (realistic numbers, not theoretical maximums):

      35MW at 200W/kg (power to weight) = 175 (x 2) metric tons, at 350 mt x 1300 W-h/kg (total energy)
      35MW for 17.5 hours yielding 40 knots over 700nm
      15MW for 40 hours yielding 30 knots over 1200nm
      4.4MW for 140 hours yielding 20 knots over 2800nm
      1.8MW for 14 days yielding 15 knots over 4800nm
      550KW for 6 weeks yielding 10 knots over 11,000nm
      700 metric tons of aluminum provides energy for a patrol range of approximately 22,000nm at 10 knots (not including air compression, ship service, and other energy allocations and losses)

      Oxygen Required: (to complete the 4Al-3OH hydrated alumina & energy release end product)
      311.5 metric tons at 0.75323 m3 per kg = 234,630 m3 at 1.0 atm or 237,738 m3 at 1 bar
      7000psi/482.63bar titanium tanks: 421 m3, 2 x spherical tanks fore and aft (d=7.4m, A=172m2, m=442t)
      (Note: these vessels gain displacement during the patrol as oxygen and water is absorbed, since the aluminum oxide would be retained for regeneration, although theoretically available as an dischargeable ballast; the electrolyte would have to be filtered/precipitated/catalyticly removed to remain in operation without congestion).

      Better get building now lest the Chinese and Russians suddenly start hunting down your noisy and slow fleet of 25 SSN(X) and 10 SSBN(X).

      • Paladin

        Lots of numbers, no comparison or conclusion. A 35mw fuel cell?

        • SierraSierraQuebec

          This is just part of the comment, it seems my lengthy contributions chronically trigger a spam filter, and I have not been able to figure out why even with splitting up the comments, avoiding certain punctuation, etc. Nuclear propulsion has poor power density and is insanely expensive, and contrary to the widely held belief it is possible to build a superior SSA, as well as SSG’s and SSB’s by doubling displacement and propulsion, respectively.
          The Navy needs a variety of long range sub drones, the technology could be brought to a mature state for this application relatively quickly through a high endurance strategic SSQ drone and other smaller SSR, SSS, SST, SSU, etc., drones, all having various forms of AI grade autonomous guidance since these small boats don’t have much inherent capacity to maintain high tactical speeds but also can loiter or travel at low speeds for much longer than manned boats.
          The proposed SSN(X) will probably cost $4-5B per boat, the $2.8B Block IV Virginia already is too expensive, budgets are about to drop precipitously with no prospect of the political will for increases for a decade or more, diesel, Stirling, or hydrogen are not viable alternatives, the attack submarine force is one of the most important deterrence assets, and aluminum-air propulsion is the only viable path forward. I have tried to dummy down the numbers, even pulling some figures straight from Wikipedia sources, but history does tend to repeat itself, most continue to believe Pearl Harbor can’t be attacked by torpedo planes, I beg to differ with mathematical certainty.

          • Paladin

            Sure. Looks like you should have stuck with the numbers.

      • Curtis Conway

        Like the way you think, but does this make an AIP SSn more palpable?

        • SierraSierraQuebec

          The alumina from the fuel cells would have to be refined at an industrial facility with the ample hydroelectric power typical of related smelting operations. There is nonetheless a large surplus of aluminum on the world market and large warehouses full of big ingots that are routinely shifted around by the large commodity holders in order to artificially inflate the world price of aluminum metal.
          A SSn, like one considered by Canada back in the sixties or seventies with a reactor called the Slowpoke, would have to use lithium polymer cells for its tactical surge power, and these batteries have less than one tenth the power density of aluminum fuel cells. Although I have never done a full mathematical analysis of this arrangement, I would be surprised if surge performance levels could even equal a basic nuclear steam plant little less come anywhere close to aluminum fuel cells. A low energy reactor or nuclear battery (as they are sometimes called) powered submarine might cost around a billion, but the boats’ performance would not represent a major advance over a similar diesel boat. However, its nice to see some people exploring all the possibilities, since the status quo usually predominates, and there is a wealth of status quo on these websites.

          • Curtis Conway

            The concept of the SSn is not to possess the capabilities of an SSN in speed, but endurance. Short-lived sprint speed is sufficient to perform a Regional mission set. The nuclear power element prevents the necessity to surface and recharge batteries with diesel power, although the diesel will would most likely be present as a backup. New battery/energy storage technologies exist like fuel cells, and new batteries using Graphene with other elements. An AIP SSn SSK using a nuclear device (reactor) will be worth the investment if they can be produced and operated less expensively. If the investment for development and production is too great then we should probably use an existing SSN design. The French Barracuda is the only one of which I was aware.

    • Ctrot

      Well we keep growing the welfare state, adding even more new freebie programs like there is no end to the money and those are the programs that consumes the vast majority of the budget anyway so why not?

      • Hank Walker

        Congress had an opportunity this year to include a third Virginia class sub in the budget. They voted it down. Shimon Peres once said “If a problem has no solution, it may not be a problem, but a fact, not to be solved, but to be coped with over time.” I also recommend reading Augustine’s Laws by Norman Augustine (CEO of Lockheed among other things) about the realities of military procurement. My father gave me the second edition in 1983. It is still valid today.

      • PolicyWonk

        You’re right: as long as the incompetents in the HoR’s keep adding more corporate welfare programs, and/or tax breaks for the ultra-wealthy, and don’t bother with tasks that could save US taxpayers trillions of dollars (over the years), such as reforming DoD acquisition (multitudes of corporate welfare programs here!): we’re never going to build the kind of USN we’d all like to see; we’re never going to start paying down the national debt, and never see the end of budget deficits.

        The idiots in congress who during the Obama years whined about the debt and deficits, and made claims about being fiscal conservatives, all instantly forgot how to add and subtract the second they realized they had a patsy in the White House who’ll sign anything (without bothering to read it first).

        I personally loved Senator Grassley’s comments, who said that they might as well give a massive gift to the ultra-wealthy, because the middle class and poor will spend it all on booze, strippers, and dope (to paraphrase). Others said they had no choice but to transfer trillions of dollars to the ultra-wealthy, because otherwise they’ll stop sending money for campaign donations…

        Your elected representatives don’t even bother hiding open bribery and/or contempt for the American people – all while sacrificing the economic/fiscal well being of the USA – let alone national security.

        • Ctrot

          “corporate welfare programs, and/or tax breaks..blah blah blah… we’re never going to start paying down the national debt, and never see the end of budget deficits”

          The insinuation here being that tax cuts reduce revenue, but that is clearly NOT the case as revenue is UP.

          Try again.

          • PolicyWonk

            So is the staggering NATIONAL DEBT and DEFICIT.

            You try again.

          • Ctrot

            The deficit grows because of spending increases, not because of any revenue shortfall supposedly caused by tax cuts.

            Try again.

  • NavySubNuke

    Virginia is already so small she borderline on accomplishing what we need her to accomplish and she has some very real limitations that even LA didn’t have, never mind Seawolf. As UUVs continue to increase in capability the ability to carry them in quantity is only going to grow in importance. A smaller submarine is the worst possible thing we could do.

  • Bubblehead

    I agree with Duane for once.

    The block upgrades have done a great job of keeping VA up to date. I’m not aware of any technology that would make SSNX a lot quieter that cannot be added to next block VA.

    I think the USN wants a newly designed sub because it can. But I haven’t heard a logical reason for it yet.

  • NO VPM but more Tomahawks in the torpedo room? Launched like the Royal Navy’s SSNs?

  • SierraSierraQuebec

    Its not so much investing in new technologies as it is investing in the most effective and efficient technologies, the prevailing status quo is rapidly becoming untenable as costs skyrocket much the same way the old battleship navies did.

    Aluminum-Air fuel cells as applied to a 5000t submarine with a crew of 30-40 and 25-30 weapons (realistic numbers, not theoretical maximums):

    35MW at 200W/kg (power to weight) = 175 (x 2) metric tons, at 350 mt x 1300 W-h/kg (total energy)
    35MW for 17.5 hours yielding 40 knots over 700nm
    15MW for 40 hours yielding 30 knots over 1200nm
    4.4MW for 140 hours yielding 20 knots over 2800nm
    1.8MW for 14 days yielding 15 knots over 4800nm
    550KW for 6 weeks yielding 10 knots over 11,000nm
    700 metric tons of aluminum provides energy for a patrol range of approximately 22,000nm at 10 knots (not including air compression, ship service, and other energy allocations and losses)

    Oxygen Required: (to complete the 4Al-3OH hydrated alumina & energy release end product)
    311.5 metric tons at 0.75323 m3 per kg = 234,630 m3 at 1.0 atmospheres or 237,738 m3 at 1 bar
    7000psi/482.63bar titanium tanks: 421 m3, 2 x spherical tanks fore and aft (d=7.4m, A=172m2, m=442t)
    (Note: these vessels gain displacement during the patrol as oxygen and water is absorbed, since the aluminum oxide would be retained for regeneration, although theoretically available as an dischargeable ballast; the electrolyte would have to be filtered/precipitated/catalyticly removed to remain in operation without congestion).

  • NavySubNuke

    Sorry duane but you are 40 years out of date. Rmemeber only one of is is actually working on submarine construction projects and it isnt you. Look up large diameter UUVs some time for example.
    Virginia is as small as she could possibly be and in some ways she is too small – that is why SSN(X) needs to be bigger.

  • NavySubNuke

    Note: to be clear i don’t actually work on SSN(X) yet. She is still purely theoretical and wont get to the stage I would work on her for another 3-5 years based on the dates above. Which is good, we are all still too busy making sure we get Columbia right.

  • Desplanes

    “Hey Navy, what have you learned about fleet planning and budgeting over the last 15 years ?”

    “Not a g*ddamn thing”

    • Curtis Conway

      THAT is why the US Navy is in such great shape today!?

  • tiger

    Do we at least get a flying sub for it to carry? 2018 And still waiting….

  • tiger

    I say that women. They still don’t buy it….

  • Curtis Conway

    Duane, this is one time we are in agreement, and I agree that a 45 man crew is probably a little small. The LCS manning experience should have taught the navy something. The navy sure didn’t learn the lesson about technicians Owning and being very Jealous of their equipment.

  • DaSaint

    I’m all in favor of a next gen SSN to succeed the Virginia class, at least in principle. But I can not embrace loading them out with 50 year old Mk48s and Tomahawks. Where is the discussion on the successor to the Mk48 to accompany this new class.

    • NavySubNuke

      You won’t find much, and i hope you understand why but that is an excellent question. Google NGLAW and contender torpedo for your answers.

      • DaSaint

        Thanks NSN. Just read up on NGLAW. I guess Mk48 ADCAP is the heavyweight torp for the foreseeable future.

        • NavySubNuke

          Just remember that no one had even heard of SeaDragon until the Chinese allegedly stole all the unclassified data and we told people they did. Of course there is still little to no data out in public about what SeaDragon actually is despite the hack…
          The world will see what Contender is and can do if/when the submarine force is ready to tell/show them.

    • RedStatePatriot

      There is no such thing as a “50 year old Mk48”, DaSaint. Just because its still called a Mk48 does NOT mean the design is not continually upgraded and improved. The Mk48 has gone through tons of upgrades over the years, and is a state of the art weapon. Surely you know this.

      • DaSaint

        Sure. You’re right. But we don’t want to use upgraded Mk8s or Mk44s do we? You can and should upgrade as much as possible, but it may be time to begin on a NextGen 21″ heavyweight, just as we’re embarking on replacing the legacy Harpoon anti-ship missiles, though Block II is in production.

    • movieman

      Will these machines be able to track Poseidon torpedo.

      • Secundius

        Project “Pearl” by the United States and Great Britain to the University of Auckland in WWII…

        ( https : // www . telegraph . co . uk / news / worldnews / australiaandthepacific / newzealand / 9774217 / Tsunami –
        bomb – tested – off – New – Zealand – coast . html )

        • movieman

          Do you think the proposed 100MT payload of Poseidon could actually a trigger a tsunami at the coastline as well as this is a very heavy payload never used before or the sea will consume this payload as well without causing a tsunami?

          • Secundius

            The “Auckland University” study of 1942-1945 suggested only ~4.4-megatons in water at a depth of ~500-meters from a range of ~12nmi. from intended target (i.e. Japanese Garrisoned Island). Only problem being that most Garrisoned Islands water depth was 50-meters.

            Deep Water starts at ~43.2nmi. off the United States coast to a depth of ~150-meters…

          • movieman

            I have read your message but Secundius I am a bit confused that are you saying 100MT won’t be enough for US coast or you are talking about HI Sutton covert shores who say that the payload is of 2MT or you are saying that double of 4.4MT will be enough for east coast. Please clarify this thing as I am very much scared of Poseidon even though I don’t live in US but I care about the people and I care about mankind.

          • Secundius

            Consider the Time Frame! In 1942, the was no Atomic Bomb and/or Hydrogen Bomb. the 4.4-megatons was for High-Explosive TNT. A 100-megaton “Nuclear” detonation is going the Vaporize a sizeable amount of Seawater and create a Vacuum where the “Vaporized Seawater Existed” before the Detonation, So the 100-Megaton Nuke is going to have to be in Really Deep Water of Several “Thousands” of Feet it not Meters to creating a Tsunami size wave. At that Depth, unless it’s Double Hulled Titanium. Water Depth will most likely Crush the Bomb. Maximum Crush Depth for the Mk.48 Torpedo was ~800-meters…

          • movieman

            Thanks for the answer you are my best friend.

          • Secundius

            Still got an Hour and 2 minutes here, but Happy New Year to you to Sir…

          • movieman

            Hello Sir do you think that with Russia claiming it has sent James Mattis message for talks but US still not responding for talks on INF treaty the culprit from public perception will be US and Donald Trump for this as they will risk the whole Europe in missile crisis to satisfy their personal egos.

          • Secundius

            To be honest I haven’t read anything about James Mattis on the INF Treaty issue! Only the WH views according to Donald Trump’s views…

          • movieman

            Hello Sir
            With James Mattis resigning over Trump’s decisions do you think that the whole situation has become more worse because Trump has a strategy to show or may be in real that we are not interested in foreign wars but more interested in tackling powers like Russia and China because of that maybe he is abandoning the INF treaty. Also Sir with Russia threatening actually Putin threatening Europe over INF treaty that his missiles will attack European missile centers do you think we are nearing to a war like situation? Putin is threatening the whole planet and Trump says use the nuclear option for wall.

          • Secundius

            Just replace Character spoken about with the name of Donald Trump…

            ( https : // youtu . be / eBW – eynkgpM )

          • movieman

            Sir with both Russia and USA not budging on INF treaty do you think that entire Europe will burn if US forcibly asks allies to host US missiles ? Also Sir with Russia pretending it wants to talk the blame will lie on white house in the eyes of the public?

          • Secundius

            Sir the Threat was already made back in 2015, by Vladimir Putin and hand delivered by his Russian-Danish Ambassador Mikhail Vanin…

            ( https : // www . reuters . com / article/us-denmark-russia/russia-threatens-to-aim-nuclear-missiles-at-denmark-ships-if-it-joins-nato-shield-idUSKBN0Ml0ML20150322 )

          • movieman

            Happy New Year Sir. You are my guiding light and of course my best friend.

          • movieman

            Hello Sir I hope you are doing fine. I want to ask that will US only pull out of INF treaty and not place missiles in Europe or will they deploy missiles also Why is Trump aides rejecting Russian offer of inspecting 9M729 missiles do they want to start a war in Europe and destroy it. There looks like some hidden agenda of US to disrupt life in Europe.

          • Secundius

            That would involve getting into Donald Trump’s mindset at any given Point In Time. And something None of any of his White House Aides and Lawyers have seem to be able to do…

          • movieman

            But Andrea Thompson has has rejected the Russian proposals outrightly so has Trump ordered them to do so or all of a sudden they have become war mongers. Trump’s aides seem to be having no mind at all.

          • Secundius

            I suspect you’re referring to “Andrea Thompson” the Intelligence Officer and not the Actress of the same name. Can’t say without knowing what the Exact Text of the Russian proposal is or was…

          • movieman

            Hello Sir with Russia showcasing their missiles 9M729 to public and saying technical things that say that it is not in the prohibited range. Sir I don’t know whether Russia is lying or not but sir you have technical knowledge about missiles the information which is technical in nature which is being given by russians do you think it violates the treaty or not or is Russia lying. Also sir America says that in this form in which missile is being showcased it cannot be inspected properly by American officials. Are American officials right or they have decided not to take part in any negotiation.

          • Secundius

            And exactly who is the United States suppose to send! The “Great Negotiator” had his Ar_e handed to him yesterday for make a 35-day Bad Call…

          • movieman

            But Sir are they violating the treaty or not? The great negotiator meanwhile looks to be unseated in 2020.

          • Secundius

            “Admiral Kuznetsov”!

            The Soviets constructed the “Admiral Kuznetsov” and gave it the designation of an TAVKR (i.e. Heavy Aircraft-Carrying Missile Cruiser) as a means of circumventing the “Montreux Convention” of 1936. To get the TAVKR into the Black Sea. The “Montreux Convention” prohibits Aircraft Carriers into the Black Sea. Calling the “AK” a Cruiser was a audacious attempt of subterfuge in the classification convention. Unfortunately for the Soviets calling an Aircraft Carrier a TAVKR didn’t work either, because the “Montreux Convention” prohibits ANY and ALL ship with Flight Decks capable of Launching and Landing “Fixed Wing Aircraft’s”, regardless as to is classification (i.e. Aircraft Carrier, Battle-carrier, Cruiser-carrier, Destroyer-carrier, etc.). IF the claim that the “9M729” isn’t a IRBM because of its “Tactical” ~500-kilometer range, underlies the fact that it’s also capable of exceeding “Strategic” ~1,500-kilometers in range…

          • movieman

            Hello Sir so you mean to say that it can exceed 1500 Km range so is this range prohibited in the INF treaty and if it is prohibited than Russia is violating the treaty.

          • Secundius

            “Patrone” (Long Range) Rifle Ammunition and “Nahpatrone” (Short Range) Rifle Ammunition! The only difference between the two is the amount of Propellant used in the Cartridge. Same with the “9M729” Missile, the amount of Fuel used to reach its target…

          • movieman

            Is he trying to show a hard side to Russia as Mueller investigation is going on so that nobody says he collaborated with Russia.

          • Secundius

            Nobody “hasn’t” said it yet either, with the exception of Donald Trump himself…

        • movieman

          Hello I agree that US is safe from tsunami but what about Western Europe or north Africa considering that Europe has Mediterranean sea, black sea and Arctic and what about UK. Will the same logic apply here also or there will difference from the logic of the east coast?

          • Secundius

            The “Mediterranean Sea” certainly has the Sea Depth to create an Artificial Tsunami. But doesn’t one of Russia’s KEY Allies have a Shared Coast Line with the Mediterranean (i.e. Syria). One Hundred Megaton (Tzar Bomba’s) explosions don’t appear as Seismic events spontaneously and as a means of Destroying you’re Key Rival Country without cause. And many of Russia’s Largest Cities are on the Arctic Coast…

          • movieman

            Hello Secundius is there a possibility that Poseidon could fail in Mediterranean as well does mediterranean also have some advantages like US coastline or is Mediterranean is completely suited for this type of weapon? Also considering Europe which borders Mediterranean sea has anything in its bag in current sea warfare devices of its own which can track and probably neutralize the Poseidon torpedo given its depth and speed specification which may be true while it is in transit?

          • Secundius

            Well yeah! The deepest part of the Mediterranean exceeds 18,000-feet in depth. Which would most likely either Contain the Blast or Crush the Delivery System. Two problems I see for the Russians is how to get “Poseidon” into the Mediterranean in the First Place. Passing through the Straits of Gibraltar or the Turkish Straits undetected. Unless Putin tries a Air Drop into the Mediterranean or a Land Route through Syria…

          • movieman

            Hello friend do you think Mother drones being developed by UK and France could track Poseidon and neutralize it in its tracks. Also Russia is developing Project 09851 a drone submarine to carry the status 6 nuclear torpedo the name of the submarine is Khabarovsk submarine do you think this submarine can go undetected and can mother drones given the depth of Kanyon 3000m atleast and speed of 77-80knots can track Poseidon?

          • Secundius

            I very much doubt that the “Kanyon” could do 80kts at a depth 3,000-meters. That would me equivalent to a Hypersonic Surface Skimming Anti-Shipping Missile NOT Vaporizing before reaching it’s target by the Friction of One Atmosphere at Sea Level.

            I see that the Russians have already Pulled the Information on the Project 09851 Submarine! Not a good sign. Probably cost too much, or the simply didn’t have the means to Produce It…

          • movieman

            Hello Secundius you want to say that at this speed this will vaporize the speed which HI sutton covert shores have given is 55kts approx but some say 77kts also the payload sutton has given is 2MT so that it can move fast. On an another note Secundius I want to know which subject should I study to get into drone science I will like to start with drones which are unarmed also besides engineering can I study physics to get into all this or there is some third branch of course for this. I completed my Graduation a long time ago but it has been a very unfulfilling experience so I am deciding to study something related to all this.

          • Secundius

            If you’re asking me where to start in “Drone” studies, I would suggest “UAS Systems” of which there’s also a website of the Same Name. My personal knowledge of Drone Technology is was given to me by the US Army back in the Mid 1970’s (i.e. Guided Missiles)…

          • movieman

            Hello Sir I had read on a Russian website written in Russian and English that Status 6 nuclear torpedo will have six tubes of uranium coated armament that’s why it was first named as Status 6. Does the six tubes mean that the total payload will be 600MT or what does the six nuclear coated torpedo tubes mean?

          • Secundius

            Depends on what “Nuclear Coated” means! IS the Torpedo Clad in Depleted Uranium or a Zircaloy-4 (Zr4) clad casing. Without a Specific Reference to what the Nuclear Coating is, It could apply to virtually every know Nuclear Metal…

          • Secundius

            It took most of the Night to find the Metal you were talking about. The Metal is “Iridium-192”, which the Soviet Navy first started using in Submarine Construction in 1986. Its a Very Difficult Metal to work with and nearly impossible to Form without sophisticated Drop Forging. And is Extremely Expensive to Mine…

          • movieman

            Thanks Sir for the answer.

          • movieman

            Hello Sir 6 torpedo tubes could also mean that there will be six detonations meaning there will be six blasts don’t you think that sea will not be able to absorb six blasts and ultimately there will be a tsunami even if it is not double hulled Tiatanium?
            Also Sir I would like to ask you that why did Vladimir Putin who while launching his superweapons in a Press conference said this about the torpedo that nothing in the world is able to withstand them and they will have a very heavy ordinance why is he boasting so much after listening to him I think that this is a doomsday weapon and no country will be able to survive this I get very afraid whenever I think of this?

          • Secundius

            Outer Hull was composed of Iridium-192 that could in theory withstand pressures of up to 1,371.6-meters. Inner hull was made of Titanium. The Soviet Navy LOST a Iridium/Titanium constructed submarine in 7 April 1989, the K-278, “Komsomolets” in ~1,600.2-meters of water off the , Of the 69 crew aboard, 42-lost their lives including the Submarine’s Captain, Captain First Rank Evgeny Vanin. Fire Started in the Reactor Room, and after fighting the blaze for nearly 6-hours. Submarine lost it’s Structural Integrity and SANK. Though exact location is not known, it is believed to be somewhere between the Swedish and Russian Coast. Russian Navy has claimed the “Komsomolets” have been visited numerous times by Navies NOT “Allied” to the Russian Navy. Amongst the “Thing of Interest” aboard were Two Nuclear-Armed “Shkval” Supercavitating Torpedoes, the submarines’ OK-650B-3 Nuclear Reactor, bow mounted MGK-500 “Skat” Active/Passive Sonar Array and Omnibus-685 Combat Information Control System.

            As to the last part of your question “Myasishev M-50/52 “Bounder” Bomber. Only one of each where ever built, and the M-50 flew so badly it never went into production

          • Secundius

            John Bolton claims to have a Net Worth of ~$175-K, and yet made ~$230,700.00 in 2017. with another ~$2.2-Million in Speaking Fees. Considering that he “claim’s” to have been a former senior member of “The American Enterprise Institute” which represents the US Arms Industries and “still” gets paid by said same “AEI” as an consultant. In other word “War is good for business, and so is getting paid for it”. As for Donald Trump, he can claim anything he wants! I’ll just caulk it up anything he say’s with all the rest of the “Fairy Tales” he told so far…

          • movieman

            Hello Sir what counter systems the West can produce to counter Kanyon and will this 100MT ton bomb be tested if it is tested it could have a everlasting effect on Russia and near by countries. Putin is insane by nature.

          • Secundius

            Water Depth! Eight hundred meters or greater will most likely contain the blast, without hardly a Ripple On the Surface being Visible. “Nature abhors a vacuum”…

          • movieman

            Sir why did the Bikini Atoll test generated a very high tsunami it was also a nuclear test and done in the pacific the islands are still unlivable it generated a 90ft high tsunami if if Russians use the same depth and near to coast will their job be done?

          • Secundius

            Atomic Bomb was detonated at a depth of only ~90-feet. Hardly the 800-meters I was describing…

          • movieman

            Hello Sir you mean to say that Poseidon torpedo cannot be detonated at 90ft?
            Also Sir I would request you to please go through the website HI Sutton covert shores they have an article on Belgorod submarine the probable carrier of Kanyon dated 26Nov 2018. You are my best friend just expressing my affection for you.

          • Secundius

            And exactly why would you detonate a 100MT H-Bomb in 90-feet of Water. That less than a Quarter of a Mile from the Coast Line. You’d might as well drop it on the City itself…

          • movieman

            Hello Sir how are you? I want to know that is Russia actually breaking the INF treaty or is it Trump trying to show that he is not friend of Russia or it is due to the war monger John Bolton that the treaty is in danger.

  • Ed L

    I think Congress need to change the Law that will allow 2 billion dollars to be given to our Navy. The US Navy can then buy four or maybe even Six Type 212 German submarines with the Interactive Defence and Attack System for Submarines. These Submarines can be used as vessels to be used for ASW training against or SSN’s, Surface Force and Airborne ASW platforms. Then we don’t have to reveal any weaknesses to other countries. Then if a conflict arises they could be used in shallow choke point operations intelligence collection

  • KenPrescott

    “You are totally confused by size in a sub. A vastly smaller SSN than either the Seawolf or the Virginia was the most effective anti shipping SSN for decades.”

    We’re not Germany trying to keep the US out of continental Europe.

  • James Milliken

    If the Columbia design is quieter than Virginia it makes sense to keep building them until a quieter SSN is on line. Leave in 4 tubes for special operations and missiles. Maybe make special mission plugs for some like on Jimmy Carter. Then the new SSN would be the next leap of mature technology at the time. We know the electric propulsion for sound reduction will drive a larger ship, but other factors might drive size down. External weapons and drones might help reduce the crew size. Obviously, don’t make reduced crew a goal, make it a potential secondary benefit. One other factor I think drives up size and justifies itself is the sonar suite. Doesn’t Virginia have 13 arrays total? I think hearing is seeing and seeing first wins. DOn’t walk away from the key cards in a winning hand. I’m also not convinced a high weapon load is the way to go and I’m fairly certain more speed isn’t going to be worth the chase for the cost. I also don’t think a great power contest will necessarily result in a blue water contest. For all the hype only the 2nd Yasen is about to enter service and the Chinese thankfully still lag well behind with their SSNs. A lot of what the new hunter will hunt are probably diesels.

  • sferrin

    Where in my post did you get the notion that I said bigger is better? (Though few would try to claim a Virginia is better than a Seawolf.)

  • NavySubNuke

    Not even close to the truth.
    I realize you are 40+ years out of date on this but Virginia is already too small for what we need. The 637 hull form could in no way be transformed into the kind of capability we need today and you wouldn’t even save that much money by trying to do it since the operations cost would be nearly identical. So even if we bought more we wouldn’t even able to operate them. a
    Maintenance – especially maintaining the equipment you are going to have either way – doesn’t just magically go away or somehow become cheaper because you decide to waste your procurement efforts on a hull form that is too small and doesn’t provide the capabilities you need.

  • MDK187

    A Seawolf-like boat would be much needed. Just not that far in the future, but much sooner. Something ought to get tossed under the bus so that SSN(X) could come about sooner.

  • I know that there isn’t a lot of money in the foreseeable future, but Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors (LFTR) have been studied on and off for nearly three decades. Most studies tout them as a cheaper alternative to water cooled reactors. I know that the Navy experimented with a sodium reactor back last century – obviously it didn’t work out (since there are no sodium reactors in the fleet). Admittedly LFTR has some interesting chemistry issues, but I wouldn’t be surprised at all if what’s left of the Rickover mafia categorically prevents LFTR being put on the table.

  • Secundius

    Back in 2013, a company called “NeverWet” developed a “Superhydrophobic” substance produced by “Plum Poppy”. A waxy substance which prevents water from forming on leaves. In 2014, NeverWet teamed up with Paint Maker “Rust-Oleum” to mass produce the Waxy Substance. Under the Brand “ Rust-Oleum/NeverWet”, and then DARPA came calling and baring gifts (i.e. US Navy Research and Development funding). Supercavitation without the Bubbles…

  • RTColorado

    At what point are we suppose to start believing any of this ? So let me rephrase…are we to assume that technology isn’t going to significantly change in the next sixteen years ? This “prediction” is akin to predicting the type, model and programs contained on my new computer…sixteen years from now.

    • Secundius

      Depends on how the introduction is made! Swift or Gradual. To the West, “Gunpowder” was a Rude Awakening to those that stood in front of its destructive effect. While the Chinese accepted it as a Novelty to bring Joy to the Masses (i.e. Fireworks)…

    • Submarine technology hasn’t drastically changed since the Skipjack-class of 1959 – that’s almost 60 years ago. I think it is fairly safe to project that it won’t change that much over the next 16 years.

      • Secundius

        More or less! “Skipjack” had a Single/Double Hull Design, while “Los Angeles” is almost entirely Single Hulled…

  • Ctrot

    Nor is smaller or cheaper.

  • b2

    Re “…Anti Submarine Warfare (ASW) against Russian and Chinese submarines may once again become a more prominent mission for U.S. Navy SSNs”

    May? Or will? I think will.. Why does this mission require a new build SSN?

    The present class is sufficient. The US Navy cannot afford a new build for next gen alread when it has other needs for CVN and surface ships. ANd more Virginia class… Logic-Economics 101.

    • RunningBear

      Cheaper??, subset of the Virginias?

      These clowns are talking up building bigger…..NOT cheaper!
      IMHO
      Fly Navy
      🙂

  • Ed L

    The Republic of China still has the former USS Cutlass SS-478, a Tench-class submarine commission in 1945 is still in service with the Taiwan Navy and there is a plan on doing a refit to keep in in service for another 10 years

    • Secundius

      Taiwan is planning to Build 8 SSK’s in 2020, to be in service by 2026. Two designs are being considered with an Indigenous Design Element. Loosely based either the French DCNS “Scorpene” class or German HSW Type 214 class. Either one will be equipped with a General Dynamics AN/BYG-1 Combat Control System suite…

      • Ed L

        I think the Taiwanese would be better off working more closely with the Japanese Navy and maybe look at the Germans fuel cell designs than trying to adapt designs that were made for American nuclear boats

        • Secundius

          Why?/! Fuel Cell technology has been around since 1867. And AiP’s can be gotten from nearly All Advance Technology capable countries…

          • Ed L

            True. But I said look at not buy or use in the hope the good Chinese pick what’s best for them. My Brother in law was a Diesel Boat sailor. USS Bonefish. He said the skipper use to bend the rules to the max in war games. He also said they rarely lost.

          • Secundius

            I suspect the reason Taiwan isn’t buying Japanese Submarines, is the same as why the Australians aren’t. Too Expensive…

  • James Bowen

    This is good news that we are talking principally about sea control when designing subs again.

  • Albert Newton

    BAE systems’ RN Astute class at $1.5 billion each, anyone? It is reported that they gave the Virginia class the run around on trials.

    • RunningBear

      USA,USA,USA,………………
      IMHO
      Fly Navy
      🙂

      • Albert Newton

        Well said!

  • SDW

    Thank you CC, NSN, PW, et al. You make persuasive arguments however each of you make your case with an absolute certainty that cannot exist. In deciding how to proceed there must first be something like a mission needs assessment that requires a large degree of honest, unbiased effort and independent of inappropriate “tweaking”. Having written a few of those assessments striving for command and corporate support instead of interference but regularly disappointed, I can only wish that it is done right.

    Some things I haven’t seen addressed:
    SSKs are exportable (Taiwan/Israel/Current Kilo Users?) Is there a non-nuke yard that can make submarines? Does it require a unique skill/experience set? Is the USN willing to export a SS built with US know-how?
    SSKs offer training experiences that SSNs only do not. This includes both training strictly in-house as well as with other navies. Are there more potential partners for joint exercises with a US SSK than with a US SSN?
    SSKs are welcome in more ports of call mostly, but not only, due to their propulsion. Does this make service aboard them more desirable? Less stressful? How often today do SSNs even make port calls?
    Size may matter but it matters both ways. A larger hull size allows for bigger and more capable UUVs and the SSN Mothership can stand further off shore. Smaller SSKs are more suitable for the littorals and lurking around heavily trafficked areas around ports and narrow straits (so I’m told).

    And, finally, something totally off-the-wall:
    Could a half dozen or so SSKs be the core of a CONUS defense manned by multiple USNR crews?

  • Chesapeakeguy

    One thing we can always bank on: no new design will ever be cheap going forward. if the concept is less about projecting firepower ashore and more weapons for fighting subs in the open ocean while trying to increase stealth and speed, my first thought was a new design would actually be smaller than the present VA and Seawolf classes. The Seawolf carries something like 50 weapons, which can all be torpedoes if desired. That’s an awful lot of torpedoes. How many enemy subs are out there in the ‘blue water’? How many torpedoes does it take to sink an enemy sub? I fear the Navy will present a requirement for “X” number of these new subs but the costs will ensure that they procure far less than that number, much like what happened with the Zumwalts and the Seawolf class subs. I notice there is no number presented other than a reference for “five” such “post-Columbia class subs”. That said, I hope I’m alive to see these developments take shape..