Attack Submarines Are Getting Quieter and Deadlier
Over the past decade, air-independent propulsion — or AIP — for submarines has spread rapidly around the world. The technology, which allows conventionally powered submarines to operate without access to outside air, has the potential the shift the balance away from the big nuclear attack submarines, or SSNs, that... Read more
Just How Many New Missile Submarines Is the U.S. Navy Building?
The U.S. Navy may build more than 12 Columbia-class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines. While the Pentagon had previously stated that it needed 12 Columbia-class submarines, the new Nuclear Posture Review sets that number as a floor. “The Columbia-class program will deliver a minimum of 12 SSBNs to replace the... Read more
A Simple Mistake Knocked India’s Most Powerful Submarine Out of Action for 10 Months
India’s first nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine appears to have suffered from an accident that has knocked the boat out of commission for the past 10 months. The vessel’s propulsion compartments were flooded with seawater due to what appears to have been human error. According to the Indian newspaper The Hindu, a... Read more
America’s New Nuclear Missile Submarines Might Have a Problem
The Government Accountability Office is raising concerns about the technological maturity of the Columbia-class ballistic missile submarine. The new boomer, which must become operational by 2031, will feature a host of new technologies that are supposed to increase the vessels’ survivability into the foreseeable future. However, as the GAO notes, many... Read more
Every German Submarine Is Out of Action
On Oct. 15, 2017, the submarine U-35 was performing a diving maneuver off the Norwegian coast when one of the four fins on its X-shaped rudder struck a rock. The damage was severe enough she needed to be escorted back to Kiel by the testing ship Helmsand. The 56-meter-long submarine would have... Read more
Aboard His Submarine, Jimmy Launders Sank Ralf-Reimar Wolfram’s U-boat
The Hunt for Red October dramatized for the public one of the tensest forms of warfare imaginable: combat between submarines submerged deep under the ocean’s surface, the nerve-wracked crews scouring the fathomless depths for their adversary’s acoustic signature using hydrophones. However, while hunting undersea enemies is one of the primary... Read more
What Happened to Argentina’s Missing Submarine?
Update: 11/23/17: The Argentine navy is presuming the 44 sailors aboard San Juan are dead following a “violent and non-nuclear event consistent with an explosion.” Update 11/20/17: San Juan’s commander reported problems with the submarine’s batteries and an “electrical fault” on the day the vessel went missing, according to... Read more
No, Iranian Submarines Don’t Pose a Major Threat in the Mediterranean
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has once again slammed Iran’s presence in Syria, this time claiming that Tehran has a plan to base aircraft in the country, dock its submarines on Syria’s Mediterranean coast and directly threaten Israeli waters. “They want to bring their air force there, right next... Read more
In One Sense, Russia’s ‘Lada’ Submarines Are a Step Backward
Russian media has been trumpeting plans to launch two additional Lada-class diesel-electric submarines, two decades after the hull of the lead boat, the St. Petersburg, was laid down. Left delicately unstated in some of the press releases is that these new boats will lack the air-independent propulsion — or AIP... Read more
Building the Ayatollah’s Submarines
The Iranian military has long planned for a defensive naval war in the Persian Gulf, in which it would leverage its large fleet of fast attack boats toting anti-ship missiles to launch swarming hit-and-run attacks on adversaries in along Persian Gulf, with the ultimate goal of shutting down passage through the... Read more
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