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The Nuclear Mafia is ensuring nothing but nucs get built. Even if the nucs do have superior qualities in most areas, they aren't perfect or even ideal for every mission.
An American fleet of AIPS forward based in Guam and Japan would be a very effective counter to KPN (NorKo) & PLAN boats, IMO. We will need numbers to counter either in a future war, and I believe China intends to start a shooting war at some point to achieve their goals.
For a good number of years, foreign governments navy's have built AIP submarines and as we know, most designs seem to and are working well. I've often wondered why America doesn't move into the AIP concept in our submarine force? How about something as the Barbel class, maybe twenty feet longer and bit larger in tonnage and use the latest known AIP system for power? We keep building smaller surface combatants where as the AIP submarine would do as much and more in those roles and for probably less cost in the long run
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