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07/16/2004 Entry: ""
Posted by Maynard @ 09:13 AM MST
When it rains, it pours 688s
Hat tip to my Dad for sending me this article: Chinese produce new type of sub, by Bill Gertz for the Washington Times. From the article:
Mr. Fisher said the Chinese submarine buildup should prompt the Pentagon to step up U.S. anti-submarine warfare capabilities, which he said are "at an historic low" because of cutbacks in specialized ships and aircraft.To which my dad asks the question "What will John & John and their anti-war Democrat collegues do about this NEED?". To which I respond.
You obviously haven't read the latest blog posting:
Now, the posting deals with SSBNs, but this is a question of SSNs and regular subs. The US has 51 688 class boats, 2 Seawolfs, and five more Seawolf and Virginia class attack boats [under construction]. 26 of these boats are home-ported in the Pacific. Given that all but one of the 57 Chinese boats are diesel (not counting subs under construction), there is a definite tactical advantage to the American forces. If it came down to a shooting war over Taiwan and we had a slow enough buildup to it (so that our forces could get in position), lets call it even odds that the American forces could take out the Chinese subs with our 688s alone.
But it is agreed that a shooting war would stress our resources to the breaking point, if not further. Committing all 26 Pacific 688s to the Chinese theater would drastically reduce our ability to defend the peace in the northern Pacific and Indian Oceans. Augmenting even one or two carrier groups with additional antisub forces would help everything if the lead started flying.
How does a nuclear sub have an advantage over a diesel sub? Simple. The nuclear sub does not have to refuel, nor does it have to breathe. This means it can spend its entire time underwater. A diesel sub, on the other hand, has to tank up with diesel fuel, which limits its operating radius. Since you need oxygen to run a combustion engine, the sub needs to be at the surface to run on diesel.
So why are they called subs if they have to run on the surface? Well, the diesels are used to charge batteries, which are used for underwater operations. But the batteries have a limited charge, which drains quickly when the sub runs at high speed underwater. So you need to go slowly when on battery power. Nuclear subs don't have that restriction because their engines run with or without oxygen. This gives them a speed advantage, and in the submariner's world, greater speed also gives some greater maneuverability.
This is indeed interesting.
I don't know how much of an Intelligence "coup" this was though. The way the Navy has been behaving suggests otherwise.
Posted by Jeremy @ 07/16/2004 11:33 AM MST
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