posted on Jun, 24 2006 @ 10:44 AM
It entirely depends on what the threat level is where they're being used.
How much risk do SSN's really face in most modern day conflicts?
Not a huge conflict against a Russia or a China, but a more typical foe like Iraq - a marginal power with extremely limited ASW capability. The fact
is, not much.
Now a sub that could be useful in this kind of role, and also fulfill a strategic deterrent role at the same time, makes a lot of economic sense.
Especially for a nation like the UK, with major commitments and a limited budget.
The situation right now, where the RN has a small force of very expensive, very capable, high-tech, uberquiet boats that essentially do nothing
except patrol & train against the unlikely event of a large scale nuclear conflict, seems impractical.
I wouldn't be surprised in the long term to see the US follow a similar route, with the follow on to the Ohios combining the SSBN & SSGN roles.
[edit on 6/24/06 by xmotex]