Thursday, February 18, 2010

Silent Warfare

(fm the BC thread "You mean, now?")

Nuclear submarines have excellent characteristics and are in my opinion worth every penny that we have spent on them. Ideally we should have a mixed fleet of attack boats, boomers, cruise missile launchers and special operations transports for long range operations. That force should be larger than the current nuclear submarine fleet, perhaps by a third to half again.

Given all that it is still unfortunate that the United States has completely withdrawn from what is the cutting edge of underwater technology. That is because we have not built a non-nuclear submarine in over 60 years. Notice that I did not say "conventional" as the only alternative to nuclear power. That would imply the venerable but functional diesel-electric system that was used by most submarines during the 20th century. The newer Stirling and fuel cell systems offer the potential of speed and endurance approaching that achieved by a nuke boat along with stealth characteristics that no nuclear propulsion system can ever attain. We should join the Germans, Japanese, Russians, French and Swedes in building modern submarines with an Air Independent Propulsion system. If the Australians, Indians, Israelis and Americans each had six to 10 additional submarines of the quality of the proposed Swedish A26 or the German type 212 then the strategic calculations of the Shanghai Cooperation Council would have to be completely rewritten.

As an aside I believe that American submarines on patrol off the coast of San Diego should be equipped with some lower cost torpedoes and ordered as a matter of course to destroy any unauthorized submersible craft transiting from Mexican to US waters. This would stop one of the major methods of drugs shipment currently in use, plug an obvious hole in our defenses waiting to be exploited by Iranian agents who are present in Mexico once they have a nuclear device, and would impose a severe financial blow on the narco-traffickers aligned with Chavez.

(Who mentioned a former Leftists changing affection for the military)

Ron Silver R.I.P. learned late but he learned. If the wisdom comes to more then I will welcome them.

(Who described moonbat charity workers he knows)

You have to get out and start hanging around a better crowd. That one is getting to you. BTW, I spend a lot of time with the Red Cross and never get into such debates. Perhaps they know me.

Blame Hyman Rickover.
While we’re at it, let’s quietly give 20 of these boats to Taiwan

20 seems to many, my guess would be 6 to 8 to forestall an invasion. Let us assume that Taiwan can build their own nuclear warheads.

Do not be to hard on Rickover. He was one of those rare men who in the face of incredible bigotry persevered and created something for the good of a navy and a country that he believed in more than they sometimes believed in him. The destructive union politicking that has consumed the Armed Forces ever since the Roles and Missions debates of the 1940s continue to sap our energy.

Since WW-II promotions to flag rank, Admiral or General, have been tied not to combat experience but to program management. This has produced senior officers who like General Peckem in Catch-22 are more concerned with their rivals who wear the same country's uniform that they do then the enemy. What we need are more leaders like General Dreedle who know what their priorities are.

In the Navy the disputes between the Nukes, the Aviators, and the Missileers have destroyed the surface navy that could support amphibious operations. That is despite the fact that those are the forces that have engaged in more combat and are more likely to engage in more places than their rivals.

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