Politics Could Scuttle America’s New Icebreakers
The U.S. Coast Guard is on the cusp of finally acquiring new icebreakers, 42 years after commissioning its only current heavy icebreaker. But politically-motivated maneuvers in the U.S. House of Representatives could scuttle the long-in-works shipbuilding effort. As of late 2018 the Coast Guard, which has been responsible for... Read more
For a Brief Inglorious Moment, the U.S. Navy Had a Nuclear-Powered Wetsuit
Originally published on Nov. 26, 2014. You get pretty cold pretty fast when you’re wet. Water absorbs more heat than air—and absorbs it 20 times faster. Without some kind of protection, people can suffer hypothermia even in warm tropical seas. There are several ways to stay warm in the... Read more
His Majesty’s Scary Steam Subs
This story first appeared on Nov. 6, 2015. Like the airplane, the submarine evolved in the early 20th century into a real weapon. But for the British Royal Navy, this posed a dilemma. The Admiralty’s battle plan for its revolutionary new dreadnoughts foresaw high-speed clashes between rival fleets armed with very-long-range... Read more
A Russian Fleet Gathers Near Syria
In late August 2018 Russia launched a naval deployment in the western Mediterranean off the Syrian coast. It was Moscow’s biggest such deployment since the end of the Cold War. The naval moves came shortly after the Kremlin claimed the United States and its Western allies were plotting a... Read more
This Nuclear Outboard Motor Was a Really Terrible Idea
This story originally appeared on Aug. 6, 2013. In the early 1960s the U.S. Navy could have gotten a disposable, atomic-powered outboard motor that would have made America’s warships a Hell of a lot more efficient. But there was the little problem of all that noise and radiation. File... Read more
The U.S. Navy Is Re-Arming for Surface Warfare
In 2016 the U.S. Navy possessed just one surface-launched anti-ship missile type — Boeing’s Harpoon, a munition that first entered the fleet in the 1970s. Two years later, the Navy had added no fewer than five additional ASM types to the fleet and also updated the Harpoon. The fast... Read more
There’s Nothing the U.S. Navy Can Do to Avoid a Submarine Gap
In 2018, the U.S. Navy has finally begun to come to terms with a long-term problem that has been decades in the making. The fleet has too few attack submarines. And arresting the growing shortfall — never mind reversing it — could prove too expensive. The Navy needs 66... Read more
How the Soviet Navy Would Have Fought World War III
Over the course of the Cold War, the balance of forces between the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the Soviet Union changed dramatically. At different points, a war would have played out in far different ways in the major theaters, including Central Europe, the Arctic, the North Atlantic, the... Read more
China Is Muscling India Out of the Maldives
Two helicopters sit between Asia’s two great powers. India is fast approaching a deadline to withdraw HAL Dhruv utility helicopters from the Maldives, which appears to be the result of mounting pressure from China. While the helicopters may seem insignificant, a withdrawal would be another sign of India’s declining influence... Read more
Israel Has a Killer New Torpedo
Submarines and torpedoes are among the most closely-guarded and sensitive topics among navies. True to type, a recent announcement by the Israeli navy about the adoption of a new torpedo came with few details. But it appears to be an interesting torpedo — more advanced, with state-of-the-art technology. The... Read more
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