March 2, 2005: Submarines have been a major element in naval warfare since the First World War, where the German submarine U-9 sank three British cruisers in one day. The Battle of the Atlantic in the Second World War was fought from the first day of the war, to the moment Germany surrendered. One cannot control just the sea, one must control underneath the sea as well.
The two largest submarine fleets on the planet belong to the United States and the European Union. Let’s look at the two of them.
The United States Navy has the largest force of nuclear submarines in the World. The Atlantic Fleet has a total of nine Ohio-class SSBNs, one Virginia-class SSN, two Seawolf-class SSNs, and 23 Los Angeles-class attack submarines. This force is probably the most powerful in the world on its own, without considering the submarines in the Pacific Fleet. SSNs have huge advantages in endurance over diesel-electric and air-independent propulsion submarines.
The European Union has a much more versatile force. The various countries involved have a large number of modern submarines of all types. Not only is there a potent force of SSNs and SSBNs, but the EU also carries a large force of modern non-nuclear submarines as well.
The United Kingdom arguably has the best submarine force on a boat-for-boat basis. This is a highly modern force with well-trained sailors. The United Kingdom has a force of seven Trafalgar-class submarines, five Swiftsure-class submarines, and four Vanguard-class SSBNs. This force will be augmented in the future with the Astute-class submarines, an improved version of the Trafalgar-class.
France follows with a smaller force of nuclear submarines. The four Le Triomphant-class SSBNs are coming in service, replacing the six L’Inflexible and the L’Redoubtable classes. The French are also developing the Barracuda-class SSNs to replace the older Rubis-class SSNs (upgraded to the standard of the Amethyst, the fifth boat of that class).
Germany, which terrorized the Atlantic in 1914-1918 and in 1939-1945, has a potent force of diesel-electric submarines in the 12 Type 206-class submarines. These vessels are primarily designed to operate in the Baltic. But Germany’s proposed eight Type 212-class submarines are a quantum leap in capability. These air-independent submarines are lethal vessels, which have more endurance than regular diesel-electric submarines, while also not having to deal with the cost and expense of a nuclear power plant.
Italy is also acquiring the Type 212 (two submarines), and also boasts the eight submarines of the Sauro-class. The latter vessels are optimized to operate in the Mediterranean. Greece has purchased three Type 214 submarines and have an option for a fourth. The Type 214 is a version of the Type 212 that will also use fuel cells. Greece also has a force of eight Type 209s, a widely-exported German design.
Spain is designing a larger version of the Scorpene, the S-80. The first batch of four submarines will replace the old Delfin-class submarines (slightly improved versions of the French Daphne-class). Spain is considering a second batch of four to replace the Agosta-class submarines as well. The Norwegians have six Ula-class coastal submarines, a design that has some German assistance. Denmark has three older Kobben-class submarines, and one Nacken-class submarine – all of which are second-hand. Portugal rounds out the EU submarine force with two Daphne-class boats.
Which is better? That depends. In coastal waters, the sub forces of Germany, Norway, and Denmark will have a significant edge over the American SSNs. However, coastal submarines cannot operate very far from their coastal waters, and this takes 22 of the EU’s submarines out of play when it comes to long distance operations. This means that the EU is bringing 18 SSNs, 8 SSBNs, and 24 SSKs versus the American force of 26 SSNs and 7 SSBNs. The EU has a slight quantitative edge, but the Royal Navy is the only one that can really match the quality of the U.S. Navy’s subs. It should be noted that Sweden has recently allowed the U.S. train against its new Gotland-class submarines with air-independent propulsion. The United States has routinely trained against Australian Collins-class submarines. The Australians have sometimes beaten the United States in exercises. The EU might have a slight edge, due to the large force of ocean-going SSKs
Originally posted by Lucretius
hey i'm just quoting here...
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Originally posted by Croat56
Lets all take a minute and thank Ivan Lupis for inventing the torpedo. Without the torpedo subs would be useless. Nice sidburns!
n practice, submarines in a naval arsenal play more of a deterrent role and are prestige symbols of national pride, signaling that a state has reached a sophisticated level of national wealth and military technology. Submarines are like the luxury goods owned by states, stylish but of little practical use.
A case in point is the arms race for submarines by Taiwan and China. In a potential future conflict, the most likely battleground would be the narrow Taiwan Strait. Yet, with its shallow seabed, and with such close proximity of coastal bases, aircraft and other surface vessels, the Taiwan Strait is the last place a submarine should be. Indeed, if hostilities break out, any submarine found in the Taiwan Strait would quickly be reduced to mincemeat by the the enemy's concentrated firepower.
The brutal and illegal practice of the German Kriegsmarine submarines, which destroyed numerous merchant ships during the two World Wars, has not been forgotten and has served as a classic lesson of effective submarine warfare to those rogue nations undeterred by international opinion.
However, more heavily armed surface ships provide better protection for unarmed ships by providing escort. But in practice, the ratio of combat vessels to merchant or support vessels is far smaller, making the policy of naval escort not very feasible. Thus, submarines could help offset this ratio, should a need for naval escort arise.
Other than as a deterrent and as an occasional naval escort, it is hard to imagine what other use there is for submarines in a world where conflicts are increasingly becoming land-based and the security landscape of nations is moving more towards unconventional, low-intensity wars and terrorism.
Like cavalry or chariots, the submarine is fast joining the ranks of obsolete weapons in the history of warfare.
Like any tall tale, the capabilities of the U212 seem far-fetched. For starters, it is capable of being underwater for up to three consecutive weeks -- THREE WEEKS! You try holding your breathe that long!
The secret behind the U212's underwater endurance lies in its air-independent propulsion (AIP) system. Developed by Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft GmbH (HDW), the U212's AIP system uses a silently operating fuel cell plant. The plant, running on nine 34-kilowatt Siemens polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) hydrogen fuel cells , allows the submarine to remain submerged for weeks at a time without surfacing, ideal for extended underwater/ low speed operations. Without a need to snorkel, the AIP system also allows the U212 to operate silently without emitting exhaust heat, reducing detection.
The U212 also uses a state-of-the-art sensory system (As good ol' granny would say, "To better hear you with."). An integrated DBQS-40 sonar system aboard incorporates the following: a cylindrical array for passive medium-frequency detection; a TAS-3 low-frequency towed array sonar; a FAS-3 flank array sonar for low/medium frequency detection; a passive ranging sonar; a hostile sonar intercept system; and, an active high-frequency mine detection sonar - the STN Atlas Elektronik MOA 3070.
So, it can pounce like a wolf and hear like a wolf, but how strong is its bite?
Much like a wild animal, you wouldn't want to anger a U212. Besides carrying up to 24 sea mines externally, the submarine is armed with the DM2A4 torpedo from STN Atlas Elektronik. The DM2A4 -- aka Seahake Mod 4 -- is an electrically-driven torpedo that has a range of more than 27 nautical miles (50km) and a speed of approximately 50 kts. The DM2A4 uses new, conformal acquisition sonar, featuring 38 staves (152 transducers), which produce pre-formed, wide-angle beams. In addition, the Seahake utilizes a 250kg hexagon/RDT/aluminum high-explosive warhead (equivalent to 460kg of TNT) with magnetic influence and contact fuzes, as well as a wake sensor to improve torpedo counter-countermeasures capabilities.
Additionally, the U212's torpedo launchers have something most other submarines do not have -- a water ram expulsion system. Don't you wish you had one? Whereas the 688 Los Angeles class launches torpedoes using "noisy" compressed air, the Type 212's water ram expulsion system ejects the torpedo from the tube without the launch "transient" associated with using compressed air. In other words, the 212 can fire torpedoes stealthily, reducing the possibility for a counter attack. (Can you hear the high praises of its 27-man crew, including the U212's 5 officers?)
To further protect itself, the U212 employs the TAU 2000 torpedo system. Used as a countermeasure, the TAU 2000 has four launch containers, each with up to ten discharge tubes equipped with effectors. Effectors are small underwater vehicles similar in appearance to a torpedo that act as decoys or jammers. When deployed in multiple numbers, effectors use hydrophones and acoustic emitters to counter torpedoes in re-attack mode. (The crew is on its feet!)
Originally posted by paperplane_uk
The 3 weeks has been well surpassed on a land-based test bed, but the new designs are still in prototype stages, their aim is for over 3 months AIP endurance.