Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Why The U.S. Shouldn't Use Diesel Subs

The first sub of the reconstituted South African submarine force, known as S101, is just about to arrive in her new home, after leaving Kiel, Germany, of February 17th. Almost seven weeks ago. To go a little over 6000 miles.

I know what you're thinking -- "Bubblehead, I'm sure they spent a lot of time in port". Possibly, but if we believe this map of their travels (and it's from a South African Navy website) they were in Rota from March 8th to 14th, and were underway since then -- about 5000 miles in 23 days. That's a little over 200 miles per day, or about 8 1/2 knots, which is a reasonable speed for a diesel boat that isn't planning to refuel. They also took over 5 days getting from the western end of the English Channel to Rota.

Imagine if we switched over to diesel boats, as some suggest (click here to see how Joe Buff demonstrates why they are wrong), and needed to get our boats across the Pacific in a hurry. A lot of ships that our subs should be sinking could do a lot of damage before a diesel boat reached the war zone.

That being said, diesel boats are a good option for countries like South Africa that don't have to worry about trans-oceanic defense responsibilities, and I'll be looking forward to seeing how the boat does in her new home.

Update 0850 08 April: The boat, now named SAS Manthatisi, arrived home yesterday.


Anonymous EW3 said...

Diesel boats are OK for UUVs, but we should stay nuke. Our allies like Japan and Australia can cover the non-nuke requirements. It works out for everyone.

4/06/2006 11:13 PM

Anonymous bullnav said...

I think we should have diesel boats, not as a replacement for nuke boats, but to augment the force. There are missions where a 1000 ton diesel boat might be more suited than a 7000 ton nuke boat. Additionally, we have forgotten how to drive diesel boats. It is a different set of rules that the diesel boat CO lives by in order to carry out his mission, and having a USN group with that skill would IMHO provide the SSN's/DDG's/HS/HSL guys significantly better training for ASW.

4/07/2006 7:10 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn't the USS Dolphin a diesel sub?

4/07/2006 11:35 AM

Anonymous Byron Audler said...

What might those missions be? Where would these subs be based? If forward deployed with a tender, as they surely must be, would not this base be vulnerable, since the diesel must be relatively (in comparison to an SSN) close to the op area? How many should we have? And what would their intended targets be? And most of all, what could the SSKs do, that the SSNs cannot?

4/07/2006 7:06 PM

Anonymous Abdul Abulbul Amir said...

Harder, Darter
Trigger, Trout.
Always in,
never out.

Smoke boats are good for ping practice and little else.

4/07/2006 7:57 PM

Blogger Zoe Brain said...

ISUS-90/45 Integrated Combat System. Ah.

Well, they may take a while to get there, but when they do, God Help the opposition. Obviously it's 99% crew skill, but this is one seriously dangerous boat to be up against.

OK, I'm biased, some of my software's on board, but I know what the performance is on that system - and others.

4/09/2006 7:53 PM


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