27 March 2017 By H I Sutton , Source: http://www.hisutton.com/
Opinion piece with a ronin research approach - Alternative title Diesel Boats forever tomorrow
With nearly 80 submarines, the US Navy is without question the most powerful submarine force on the planet. Since the late 1950s US Navy submarine building has been almost exclusively focused on nuclear powered designs. The last diesel powered front line boat was decommissioned in 1990. Since then there have been several voices calling for the Submarine Force to have at least some diesel-boats on hand. Those voices, while getting louder after the Swedes loaned a very quiet Gotland Class Air Independent Power (AIP) submarine to the US for testing in 2005-6, have largely been drowned out. This article takes a fresh look at the potential for cutting-edge diesel submarines to increase the potency of the US Navy.
The arguments made for diesel boats (a submarine is always a ‘boat’ not a ship) generally focus on their low cost (compared to nuclear boats) and stealth. The topic arose at the U.S. House Seapower and Force Projection Subcommittee in March when three alternative Future Fleet Architecture studies were debated. There is an excellent write-up at the WAR IS BORING blog which makes the cost-vs-capability argument for adding diesel boats. It makes the point that the Japanese Navy’s Soryu Class boats cost around 20% of the US Navy’s Virginia Class SSN.