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, December 17, 2009

Building New Classes Of Submarines

There are a couple of articles out on potential plans for building new classes of submarines in the U.S. The first discusses possibly building diesel submarines to sell to Taiwan; one theory is that we could then use the expertise developed to build diesel submarines for our own fleet. I'm skeptical; first of all, it would still cost a lot for us to build diesel submarines, because we really wouldn't be able to reduce the SUBSAFE requirements. Also, as present-day submariners know, speed is life in modern submarine combat, and that's something the diesel boats tend to lack compared to SSNs.

The second article discusses plans to build a replacement for the Ohio-class SSBNs. Excerpts:
Although the first of the Navy’s fleet of ballistic missile submarines won’t retire for another 17 years, the time to start the design work is now, said Vice Adm. Jay Donnelly. “This is the right time for the Navy to commence efforts to replace the Ohio-class SSBN. It’s not too early,” said Donnelly, who is the commander of the Navy’s submarine force...
... For the Trident program, the Navy plans to adopt technologies from the Virginia-class attack submarine. The plan is to incorporate systems from the ready room, navigation room and torpedo room...
... Donald predicted that the Navy’s “assumptions, decision and plans” for the Ohio replacement will experience “intense scrutiny,” given the climate of restricted budgets and skepticism about ship acquisition programs.
“We have an obligation to deliver that capability at the best price without compromising reactor safety, submarine safety, or the capability that that nation needs. We welcome that challenge,” he said.
What would you like to see on the next generation SSBN? Swimming pools? Tanning rooms? Or maybe a reactor that's big enough to actually push it through the water at some speed such that it has a better chance of evading incoming torpedos?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

What would you like to see...

The latter.

12/17/2009 2:14 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those of you who will still be serving had better pray that the boats be designed with better berthing and head facilities. If not, you will find yourself restricted to half has many facilities to accomodate the one or two feminukes who want to ride (uh hmm) boats.

12/17/2009 3:01 PM

Blogger Vigilis said...

An all women GOLD crew.

12/17/2009 3:01 PM

Blogger a_former_elt_2jv said...

Reference pictures of the Typhoon class SSBN

12/17/2009 3:03 PM

Blogger Ret ANAV said...

First and foremost, I would like the designers to ask just one question before they ever put pencil to paper:

"What will this ship need ten (twenty?) years from now?" And then design and build it.

Is AIP asking too much?

How about a Multi-Mission SSBN/SSGN hybrid? Be nice to have a follow-on MISSION after you blow your wad. Keep the 24 tubes - 18 for the big guys and 6 for the hooyahs? SOF module (Pre Fab Tube Inserts?) for Post-SIOP tasking?

Just some random thoughts from a non-boomer guy!

12/17/2009 3:14 PM

Blogger King said...

If an SSBN that were released from strategic tasking, I doubt the crew would be at a state where they were interested or capable of performing at high level doing any kind of mission.

I suspect that sort of occurrence would leave a lasting impression on people.

12/17/2009 5:10 PM

Blogger FTC(SS) ret. said...

Has speed replaced stealth as the differentiator in modern submarine combat?

Evade what torpedos? Are SSBN's, alert SSBN's now operating where this is really a concern?

There's really no such thing as a post SIOP mission. Think about it.

It will be interesting to see what the next generation boomer looks like. It won't be nearly as big as Trident. I'm betting 18 missile tubes, maybe less. The one thing I hope they do different is the torpedo loading system. Not to put too fine a point on it, the current one fucking sucks.

12/17/2009 5:59 PM

Blogger Find 'Em, Chase 'Em, Sink 'Em said...

"There's really no such thing as a post SIOP mission. Think about it."

I remember asking the CO of a boomer I rode as a middie what happens after the boat launches all its missiles...his response is one I will never forget:

"Shipmate...two words for you: GAME OVER. If we launch all our missiles, the theory of MAD just got proven and most of the people we know are now toast. We have a mission...a mission that I hope we never have to carry out. Answer your question?"

You could say that I decided not the think about that question anymore. Anyone else have any thoughts on that?

12/17/2009 7:19 PM

Anonymous EX-3363 enjoying life in the SY said...

I recently got back from a trip to a little lab in up-state NY and I got the opportunity to go into a room where some testing was going on. All I can say is that the next generation of reactor plant operations is one that would boggle the minds of some of the older salts in the nuke community. From what the EB rep at the site had to say, the Ohio class replacement will be about the same size with an extremely reduced manning requirement (at least back aft). Let's just say the normal number of watchstander's in man. nowadays will be able to run the entire engine room (at least that's how the plan was explained to us).
Needless to say, the engine room and initial ship design is well into the design phases and even some of the testing/validation is in progress. The designers have thought about 10-20 years from now. The problem with that, they started thinking about 10-20 years from now 5 years ago. It's very hard to think about the future of the future, and I give those guys a ton of credit, considering the constraints they have in there design requirements.

12/17/2009 8:50 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I with the poster who questioned the "need for speed." Please, just what is the point? It is a significant engineering challenge to make a submarine out run a torpedo (read as nearly impossible). So what speed would you ask for? Isn't 30 plus knots fast enough? Today's modern attack submarines operated by the US Navy are quite capable ships. The next generation ships could be, one hopes, even quieter, with perhaps sensible automation to the point where the crew manning is reduced. Of course the downside is that the reduced crew gets to clean twice the spaces in the ship...this would be lost on most of the officers of course. Or perhaps they might just realize that they should lend a hand as well


12/17/2009 9:37 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

find 'em - On the 641, I asked the post-SIOP question of my AWEPS once. He looked me in the eye and said "There are two answers to this question, the Official one and the realistic one. Officially, we're to return to port or rendezvous with a tender and reload missiles and return to sea. Realistically... there will be nothing to return to, and no one. I say we scuttle the ship on South America and fade into the background." He smiled and walked off.

12/17/2009 11:41 PM

Anonymous Grammar Nazi said...

The plural of "torpedo" is "torpedoes".

12/18/2009 1:57 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

A post SIOP mission would include staying alive. That probably takes torpedoes.

Without a home to return to, the other guy (mobile warships/subs) will probably be mad, and bit more agresseive than normal. Once torpedoes are gone, find a small island upwind of the fallout & start a new civilization with the mixed crews! (there is one advantage for women on subs)

12/18/2009 4:50 AM

Blogger Sandy Salt said...

Post SIOP mission: save one, go to Australia, set up a new government and rule what's left of the cinder.

Diesel's are a very good idea for coastal defense and there isn't a damn thing one of our SSNs can do about it. I spend several years training Strike Groups in ASW and the defensive diesel is the carrier killer. It is a thinking mine that can just sit and wait to strike. It doesn't need speed and they are impossible to detect and they don't snorkel like they used to, so they are a great investment for a country.

As for the new SSBN, we will get more of the same, but think SSGN because that is the real future. It will be a hybrid with big ones and little ones. It will be able to do lots of cool non-strat missions because the strat thing isn't as necessary as it used to be. We could always strat up with more boats or more warheads, so we would have flexibility going forward.

Just some random thoughts from an old WEPS/ASW Instructor.

12/18/2009 5:27 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re: EX-3363 enjoying life in the SY said...
's comment:

Having significant automation can reduce manning to some extent, but given the nature of what submarines are designed to do, they had better be designed to allow manually operating every piece of equipment related to propulsion.

12/18/2009 6:07 AM

Blogger reddog said...

Who needs SSBNs? If we don't have a shitload of orbiting delivery stations by now, NASA wasted a bunch of money.

Small, fast, stealth, fuel cell powered attack boats. Quiet, with small heat signatures. Give them some tactical nukes with low, slow, drone delivery systems, if you want. That's what we'll need in twenty or thirty years

12/18/2009 10:17 AM

Blogger Vigilis said...

reddog, you make a very good point.

The flaw is that all of the man-made devices in space can be knocked out of commission by re-directing a few of the "things" already there or, as China demonstrated, injecting cheap nuts-and-bolt junk into selective orbit(s).

Iran wishes to demonstrate a similar capability in the furtherment of Islam. At the rate Iran seems to obtain Russian assistance for technological advances, can anyone rule out Iranian satellite killers within 10-years (short of a surprise military intervention)?

With potential foes like these,
hidden launch capabilities remain a priority for U.S. deterrent posture.

SSBNs will remain at the pinnacle of U.S. deterrence well into the future. PROOF: Women want a piece of the program.

12/18/2009 11:55 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Vig,women shouldn't,and prolly will have little to do with it, if the current climate persists. The arguments about mods for wimmen serving will mean little when the current crop has us just roll over. There won't be a replacemant for Ohio boomers. I fear we're too far down the road to ruin. They may serve on a few that exist, but with no follow ons, and prolly no replacement for fast boats either,ou can pretty well just go to Ric Hedmans site, to remember.

12/18/2009 2:24 PM

Blogger Old Curmudgeon said...

Post SIOP? The discussion often came up on my SSBN. One idea was to shoot only about 4 missiles and keep the rest. Lay low for a month or so -- surface and rule the world with the only remaining nukes....

Er, um, ....what world?

12/18/2009 4:18 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Post SIOP. The one thing that probably had the biggest impact on this once young sailor. After spending 4 years on a fast boat doing the things we did in the 70's, I went to newcon on the #2 T hull. When we finally made our first patrol, there was a time when it occurred to me that if we were to shoot, all that I had back home would be gone. Quite the revelation to this young MM2(SS) aganger. At this point, I made the decision that after that, I would be returning to a fast boat. Although I never made it back to the boats, only drydocks and tenders.

The diesel option for littoral support and operations, I believe to be sound. I read an article in proceeding regarding this exact scenario back in the 80's. The one problem I do see is cost as someone mentioned in another post. Subsafe on a diesel boat would make the cost probably to much for the benefit, where the newer fast boats can perform the same mission plus many more. But then again, that diesel could be forward deployed and be quite effective off any coast. Maybe a need for a couple more tenders.
Just a thought.


12/18/2009 4:56 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I keep telling my friends in the program that we're going to Pink and Blue crews instead of the old Blue and Gold.

12/18/2009 9:37 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Once the shipalts are done for the fags, the girls, and the mooslim footwash stations and prayer center spaces are done we will be fine. There will be 80 percent hotracking, but we're all shipmates right?

Joel, you know who this is.....

sitting @ the tip of the snotty end of the fock stick

12/19/2009 1:09 AM

Blogger Rudder Amidships said...

@Anon 1:09am,

While I understand the sarcasm that was in place for your comment on the continuous slide towards PC Navy and all the hugging that has been going on, it was still a bit rude towards large groups of people who in whole don't deserve it.

On another note, I agree that more speed would be nice, if not for anything more than faster transit times for easier water space management. Just my thoughts though.


12/19/2009 10:50 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

RPG launcher in the sail would be nice to take out the trash skimmers (patrol craft) that aren't worth the expense of an ADCAP.

Always amazes me how with all the modern technology installed onboard our new boats we are helpless except for small arms and a MK43 to defend ourselves while surfaced. Bringing back the deck gun doesn't make alot of sense, but a guided missile shot from the sail ought to be doable. Or just put a Stinger locker somewhere onboard & hand-carry them up.

12/19/2009 8:04 PM

Blogger King said...

- More reliable, easier to operate EOG's
- LPAC that works
- More reliable HPAC's
- Quieter LOP's
- Propulsor
- Anechoic coating
- One or two more hoppers for candles.
- Non-penetrating scope
- Better integration of all sensors into Fire control.
- comms at depth and speed.

- And immediately fire any CO that tries to train his crew on underhulls, tomahawks, or any other crap that SSBN's will never realistically perform.

12/19/2009 10:50 PM

Blogger King said...

one last thing.

Don't decrease # of tubes. But I doubt that one is going to happen.

12/20/2009 11:18 PM


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