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Re: AIP submarine building
Not entirely certain, but it looks like--from the opening portion of this link below--that your folks have only spent money for an operating system at this point (which then will be put on an existing design for initial test, followed by something more specialized later, as the articles say.) Orca is at that later point, so I suspect that when it comes time, your people will also be spending comparably more. I also note we want 6,500 miles range, while yours is wanting 3,000 miles range, which could then be a size difference as well, also accounting for some cost differences overall: https://news.usni.org/2019/04/17/u-k-developing-its-own-xluuv-for-royal-navy
Yes, "underwater LCS" would be an apt term. Numbers win wars, and both unmanned systems, and highly flexible modular platforms hold out a hope of offering numbers at lower costs. These subs in particular are "force multipliers"...nearly every article about them says they can not/will not entirely replace manned subs, merely supplement them. And that adds numbers!
interesting that the US is spending 100TIMES the amount! the Boeing one looks like a B52 minus wings!
reading the specs i read under water LCS , strike - mine sweeping, etc ???
apart from being unmanned it is what i said! small non nuke is best inshore!
We are working on littoral combat submarine platforms. Three articles for everyone:
Introductory to the subject. Note Orca is one of 2 systems: https://news.usni.org/2019/02/13/41119
A little bit more detail on the concept...what it is intended to do, and how it fits with other platforms (and what those other platforms are.) : http://www.hisutton.com/USN_XLUUV.html
And just for you, David... Look! The British are building them too! (Lower down in the article.) : https://www.naval-technology.com/features/boeing-orca-xluuv-unmanned-submarine/
IF THE USN can afford /justify the LCS then surely it can afford an AIP LITTORAL COMBAT SUBMARINE class to complement the nukes which are best as "open ocean" boats! especially as the carriers are now loaded with only light short range aircraft!
The USN nuclear lobby were against diesel and when the early AIP boats came along they were so problematic that it was easy to ignore them.
Now that AIP has really matured the USN's opposition is rather silly, HOWEVER, they also realise that they have to play in the highly politicised defence procurement "game" - and any dilution of the "nuclear subs are best" chanting would threaten their funding. (On a serious point they need to keep the sub numbers up to ensure training and career development berths.)
The other point at issue is that the technology of AIP is not mature, in as much as the already efficient installations are going through a step change with better systems and newer types of lithium batteries are being developed. The subs built in 5, or 10 years time will be much better than last year's models. Setting up a scientific/engineering prototype team would seem to be a sensible idea - but politics is a big factor.
The RN were happy with the nuclear/conventional mix, but eventually the power available from the reactors won over limited battery power. The Upholders (the RN were eventually happy with them even if the Canadians aren't) were "nuclear front ends" attached to conventional rears and were useful for shallow water ops. A "nuclear front end" with a new design top-of-the-range high power rear end would be excellent.
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