Meanwhile, in the Silent Service…….

The submarine force has taken hits over the years, and I’ve been more than happy to have fun at the expense of my bubblehead brothers. However,  AW1 Tim is always happy to point out that the best ASW platform is a submarine.  WE airdales can do a heck of a job, but our range and time on station is limited. Not so the SSN.

These United States depend upon the Sea Lanes of Communication for our commerce and economic livelihood.  We need to be able to not only defend them, but to be able to counter any threat, especially submerged, that may appear. That is why the diminishing numbers of SSN’s are a cause of great concern to myself, and many many others in the fleet.

From Navy Times:

Critics worry over attack sub force plan

By Lance M. Bacon – Staff writer
Posted : Tuesday Mar 2, 2010 17:00:25 EST

The Navy’s plan to reduce its submarine fleet by 20 percent will render it unable to meet critical requirements, lawmakers and strategists say.

What’s still a mystery to many is whether the cuts are driven by decreasing missions or decreasing funding — or is this a gamble by the Navy that has a potential payout in the billions?

In the 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review, the Navy argued that a 48-attack-sub minimum is a moderate-risk force necessary to provide the roughly 10 subs that combatant commanders need on any given day.

But the 30-year shipbuilding plan released Feb. 1 would drop the current 53 attack subs to a low of 39 in 2030, then stabilize the fleet at 45 through 2040. The plan also eliminates the Navy’s four guided-missile subs in 2028 and replaces the 14 Ohio-class ballistic-missile submarines with 12 new boomers.

“I have real reservations about attack subs hitting a low of 39 boats, which is well below the minimum required,” Rep. Rob Wittman, R-Va., a member of the House Armed Services Committee, told Navy Times. “We can’t meet the demand that is out there now, and requirements will only continue to grow in the future.”

Go over and read the whole thing. Stalin once remarked that “Quantity has a quality all it’s own”. That’s true. The PLAN seems to think more is better. The question is whether it is better to have a few high-end boats, or a lot of less-capable boats, or something in the middle, or maybe a combination. I don’t have all the answers, but it’s a discussion we need to keep on top of.

First and Last


6 Responses to “Meanwhile, in the Silent Service…….”

  1. 1 SCOTT the BADGER
    March 9, 2010 at 00:01

    I am a night shifter. I got up at 1600 this afternoon, and read what Sal had to say about the Suez Canal, and now I have read this. I think I am going to go back to bed. What a depressing day.

  2. 2 clarkward
    March 9, 2010 at 02:34

    Hi Tim! I’ve followed you over from ID… I think a high-low mix of SSNs and SSKs would allow us to stretch our defense budget nicely. An SSK costs roughly 1/10th what an SSN does, with concomitantly lower operating costs. Using AIP may increase that amount some, but even it it doubles the price over the life of the SSK, 1) It’s worth it, and 2) that’s 5 SSKs for littoral ASW and ops in el Caribe and other similar places Western Pacific! Best plan is to license-build a modern European SSK design. They have some nice ones, with sensors that rival SSN sensors and a quietness my beloved 688 class can’t match (when on batteries or AIP)…

  3. March 9, 2010 at 03:41

    You Betcha! I loved the LA-Class boats, but you are absolutely correct in your assessment. I have considered for some time that a license-built conventional boat is something that is long overdue in the fleet.

    The major hurdle I see is the Nuke-Mafia that wants to keep the fleet “pure”, as it were, but reality says we simply can’t afford that anymore. A couple dozen SS’s, however, would set us in good in, as you say, the littorals, and also as patrol craft for our own bases on each coast.

    Thanks for dropping by!


  4. 4 SCOTT the BADGER
    March 10, 2010 at 04:32

    It’s so vexing, when the solution is simple, lots more SSNs, buy some DDs, we haven’t got any now, develop an inexpensive DE that we can make in huge amounts on the Great Lakes, ( That’s where some Rudderows came from, Bay City, Michigan, it would help MI’s economy, as well ), and clouds of P-8s. But we are broke, and with the Obama Administration spending on useless things, we are quite possibly doomed, without any help from the ” heathen Chinee “.

  5. 5 Grandpa Bluewater
    April 14, 2010 at 22:01


    Let’s kick the slats out of the side of the box and expand our mental horizons a bit.

    54 SSN, 12 SS-AIP, 16 SSBN, 6 SSGN, 3 LPSS-AIP, 3 LPSSN. Then add 2 nondeployers, 1 SSx & 1 SSNx (think Albacore with weapons system intact, use for testing out new ideas from breadboard proof of principle to Opeval, including SLEP proposals).

    Three a year build rate. 1 SSN every year, 1 SSN or SSBN or SSGN every year, 1 SS-AIP variant every year. Eight boats per class then a new class, updating older boats with a shipalt package at overhaul. Plan for a major overhaul every 12 years. Give or take. Just to stay up to date.

    Spec a 40 year nominal service life, then plan to SLEP or replace at time for 3rd overhaul, SLEPed units would stretch to 48 years.

    Yes, 48 years. There were still Guppy II’s operating in Taiwan at the turn of the century. Starved for maintenence in the 60’s and early 70’s, with due diligence by Taiwan, they went on holding their own in exercises for another 30 years. 2005 minus 1945 = a whole lot more than 30 years, much less the 25 or so some 688’s and Ohio’s put on the “years in commission”-ometer.

    6 boats enter overhaul every year, exit two years later, with a little room for migraine overhauls from time to time.

    96-12=84. Figuring 12 in some sort of mid cycle depot maintenence makes 72. One third just back from deployment and doing leave, training, schools, shots, physicals, dental, material inpection, refit, local ops for basic ISE/training and family stuff. 72-24=48.The those doing home port oparea exercises, services, POM, annual inspections, i.e., getting ready to go, another third.

    48 – 24 = 24. This would give roughly 15 SSN’s, 3 SS’s, 4 SSBN’s, and 2-4 SSGN/LPSSN as deployers at any given time.

    Non missile boats, 12 months home, 6 months gone, at sea 15 days out of 30, when back. Forever. SSBN’s and SSGN’s, 100 days gone, 90 back. Forever. 3 years sea duty, 2 years shore duty, repeat for first 18 years (include 1-2 years training before you see your first boat).

    Volunteers only. Second sea tour women, mmm, not so many. Hard life for a family man, not really a life for a mother. Girls really are different from boys, especially between 24 and 50 or so.

    Listen to the surface guys grouse about not getting subpay?.. Only when you meet them, which won’t be much.

    Expensive? Less so than loss of maritime supremacy in the 21st century. A lot less.

    For the Congress critters, think of all those lovely high tech middle class shipbuilding and ship repair related jobs in your district. More worker bees to tax!

    • April 15, 2010 at 03:11

      I think you are on to something there. Yup…

      It can be done, and SHOULD be done. We can do it, but the trick is convincing not just the Congress critters, but the Leadership in DoD and Navy.

      As much as we are using our military for social engineering experiments, I feel we are suffering because certain parties have corrupted our procurement system for technology experiments. Lots of expensive and, likely, fragile toys that aren’t what is needed for warfighting.

      Thanks for you input. It’s always a good read.


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