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.