Skip to comments.Double-hulled submarines - Why doesn't the U.S. Navy build them?
Posted on 01/23/2010 12:27:35 PM PST by myknowledge
I'm sure you have heard of the United States Navy's proud and elite submarine service, comprising high-tech nuclear subs such as the LA, Seawolf and Virginia class SSNs, Ohio class boomers and SSGNs, and historically, Sturgeon class SSNs and George Washington class boomers.
But they have one thing in common: They are single-hulled subs. Subs with only one hull.
In stark contrast, the Russian Navy has fielded to this day, double-hulled submarines, such as the Akula class SSN and Typhoon class SSBN, the largest in the world, along with the latest Borei class SSBN and soon-to-be-completed Graney class SSN.
So here's my question: Why doesn't the United States Navy's submarine fleet ever have double-hulled subs?
Maybe Electric Boat is aware that both the seven Alpha class and one Mike class boats were all dismal failures?
Submarine warfare depends on stealth and the ability to detect your opponent at long range. Being able to travel at 40 or 50 or 60 knots is worthless for a submarine. The faster you go the more noise you put out which not only enables your opponent to detect you but also degrades your own sonar and limits your ability to detect your opponent. That's one reason why other countries have not repeated Soviet mistakes.
“Survivability - Multiple direct torpedo hits... a required to sink it.”
I think the answer to your question might be something along the lines of the old joke, “... in the Navy we don’t piss on our hands.”
Early Skhvals had a range of about 2000 yards. Even later models have a range of only 7500 yards. The U.S Mk-48 has a stated range of 46,000 yards. Which one would you prefer to be shooting at your opponent?
I think the confusion is that the Russians make subs with two pressure hulls, AND an outer hull. We make ours with one pressure hull and one outer hull.
There is some confusion about terminology here. U.S. submarines do not have two hulls around the entire boat, ie there are not two hulls that have to be breached to let the seawater in. There is an outer hull at the fore and aft that contains the ballast tanks.
As for why we build them without two hulls there are many reasons.
1) Cost. Subs cost a billion each. If you raise the cost 50% you are sacrificing quantity for quality. Remember, less than half your fleet is at sea at any time. Less subs availible means less missions can be completed. I went through this nightmare in the early 90’s. Less boats and twice as many missions. Not fun.
2) Maintenance. Two hulls means significantly more complex maintenance, thus more money and less sea time. The more time a boat is at sea the more maintenance you have to do in port. We normally worked 100+ hours a week in port. You got the most sleep on patrol, not at home. More maintenance and quality of life drops even more.
3) Consistency. We build one design repeatedly over and over. The USSR built a new class of subs every time someone had a new idea. They has two or three boats per class in many cases. This is a huge advantage for us in training and logistics. Rusian boats required custom parts for each boat. I could have started up the engineroom of any 688 in the fleet. I could have started up any 637 or Ohio class with a little training. Russians? Not so lucky. They used diesels, pressurized water reactors, liquid metal reactors, sodium cooled reactors, etc.
4) Materials. The USSR controlled 90% of the world’s titanium supply. They built titanium hulls that allowed them to go much deeper. But they were expensive and brittle. Not a good combination. The Seawolf has a titanium alloy hull. Electric boat welded the first Seawolf hull together with the wrong welding rods. Couple hundred million down the drain.
Conclusion: The advantages of double hulls do not outweigh the disadvantages.
Remember how the Soviets “beat” us in space with one man, then two? When we beat them with Apollo, they tried to put up a “three man capsule” by (I kid you not) bolting a wooden chair in between their two seats in the two-man capsule!!
I thought there were two Mikes? One caught fire off South America and the other sank under mysterious circumstances (possible collision)?
Wow. You must have caught me with my pants down at my ankles with all these facts.
A far cry from my illusionist hype about building subs like underwater battleships and speedy dragsters.
The real problem is that in all likelyhood, nobody here who could answer your question is allowed to.
Just as a side note, Kilos can be very quiet when well run and maintained. And they can stay that way for days. But when they have to come up for air (to run the diesels and recharge batteries) they sound like "two skeletons f***ing in a trash can" as told me by several sonar techs.
Nope, just one. It caught fire and sank in the Barents Sea in 1989.
They did, I’m pretty sure. I might be thinking of 2 pressure hulls, and one outer one, but I think they actually built a few with three pressure hulls, and an outer one.
That’s what happens when I trust my notoriously bad memory instead of just looking it up. It’s not like I’d have to stand up to do some quick research ... man, I’m getting lazy.
I’m guessing it’s less an issue of inferior engineering, and more an issue of workmanship?
Nope, just one....
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Correct...they had started a 2nd but stopped construction.
Komsomolets K278, (project 685) is the one that sank off Norway after an electrical fire
So AIP fuel cell D-E subs are the 21st century underwater adversary to the USN's all-nuke sub fleet? Pretty much so.
USN torpodeos are not impacting design, modern torpodoes detonate directly beneath the target causing a massive pressure wave under the target hull cracking it almost in two.
The USN must have followed the example of the WWII German Kriegsmarine with the Type VII and IX series, building them consistently, whereas the Russian Navy partially followed the example of the WWII Imperial Japanese Navy with the Type A, B, C, Sen Toku I-400 and Sen Taka I-200 series, with major inconsistencies.
Double bottom- not double hull.
It is only by the very narrowest of margins that I managed to avoid spraying my monitor with beer.
Oh, yes, you’re right. Double-bottom.
Yes good buddy, your point is right on; it sounds like someone is trolling for classified design or performance data in this thread.
I used to hunt Russkie subs for a living...piece of cake!
Resonance from a double hull would mess us the guidance system for our new quantum pulse anti-submarine lasers. It also makes installation of the flux capacitors very difficult.
I just boiled water.
Yes I understand.
I was unaware that Ivan had two pressure hulls
That submarine, the USS SAN FRANCISCO survived by suberb engineering from Electric Boat. When it hit the under sea mountain at all ahead flank, it tore open two of its three forward main ballast tanks. If it hit the third of the three forward main ballast tanks the ship definately would have been a complete lost. It was able to provide low prssure air to its remaining forward ballast tank, as well as its 2 aft main ballast tanks.
Electric Boat and Northgrup Gruman have no interest in designing a submarine with dual hulls. Back in the 1950s when there was a submarine race the Soviet used the dual hull design and we went our way with a single hull design.
Source - globalsecurity.org
688's were designed by NNS&DD. The general concensus from those I asked who served on boats built by both shipyards NN built better. Either one is superior to what anyone else in the world can produce, however.
Thanks for the correction, you are right Newport News designed the 688.
I served on both a 688 and a VIRGINIA class boat I do know for a fact that the boats built in Newport News (SSN 775 USS TEXAS) had a large amount of problem in comparison to the (USS HAWAII SSN 776 and USS HAWAII SSN 778). Their postshakedown availability which was completed earlier last year, was extremely extensive. So you can talk about people you know who served on them. I served on them, and I work in the business of building submarines. Current EB has the market. It was a different story during the 1980s. NNS focus is mostly carriers.
I joined the crew of the Albany (753) during PSA and was precon on the Greeneville (772). They offered me precon on the Seawolf and I couldn’t run away fast enough. Not because of EB, but because of the dog-n-pony show. Some of my friends on the Seawolf told me I made the right choice. I don’t know much about the Virginia other than what was on the drawingboards of NNS while I was there. I do know not to buy the first model year of a new car and don’t be on the first boat of a new class.
Has anyone ever tried to lens an explosion using counter shock waves? Just speculating ...
Was it underground or underwater?
via 'crappy' (because it isn't Russian) torpedo.
It would be hard to hit an underground mountain, wouldn’t it. :-)
The San Francisco was built at Newport News and they were also the lead design yard for the Los Angeles-class boats.
“I have three novels at home about both U.S. and Russian subs”
I think the keyword there is “novelS”. In other words, just someone’s thoughts, not facts.
Trust me, U.s. submarines have two hulls.
ex-STS2(SS) and would have been STS1(SS) if I had agreed to extend for a year. I had passed the 1st class exam but didn’t have sufficient time left to make the next step.
Supre-caviitating toepedoes are uncontrollabe. They get a mind of their own at the high speeds.
I never got qualed but I know that there is an outer hull and a people tank.
I cant believe that I didnt know Ivan had 2 pressure hulls.
Prolly isnt worth a **** considering the people tank on theirs is a radioactive wasteland.
And them Alpha class titanium rattle buckets suck.
All US subs have two hulls: An outer hull and a pressure hull. This has been true for decades.
Yes, your right. I corrected myself. But Newport News had the lead on the LA Class.
Definitely made the right call on not precomming the Seawolf.
Perhaps you can clarify. It's my understanding that both the design and construction of the Virginia-class boats is being executed by both yards under a teaming arrangement. Each yard designs and builds specific modules and final assembly of the vessel is alternated.
The concept was to keep both yards in the submarine business.
Ah Yes. EB was the lead on the VIRGINIA Class design. Even numbered boats are assembled at EB in Groton, that is VIRGINIA SSN 774, HAWAII SSN 776, HAWAII SSN 778, MISSOURI SSN 780. Odd numbered boats are assembled in Newport News Shipyard TEXAS SSN 775, NORTH CAROLINA SSN 777, NEW MEXICO SSN 779. I used the worded assembled intentionally. The modules are constructed at Quonset Point, Rhode Island and delivered by a sea barge to each shipyard. Although both shipyards are run by different corporations, they work in close cooperation. EB owns the facility in Quonset Point as well. Also, the USS MISSOURI hasn’t been commissioned yet, it will be in a few months.
How familiar are you with the construction arrangement for the Virginia-class boats?
Modules are constructed by both yards. NN builds the bow, stern, sail and selected forward compartments for every Virginia-class boat. In addition, each yard builds their own reactor compartment in order to keep them both nuke-qualified.
"The teaming arrangement between General Dynamics Electric Boat Corporation and Newport News Shipbuilding for building this new class allocates major sections of the ship to one yard or the other, so modularity by hull section is inherent from the outset. In addition, large, internal sub-assemblies are fabricated and tested separately before they are packed into the hull as Modular Isolated Deck Sections (MIDS). The design process itself incorporates both concurrent engineering design/build teams and an extensive infrastructure for computer-aided design, engineering, and manufacturing (CAD/CAE/CAM). Each design/build team is responsible for a specific aspect of the ships structure or mission capability and includes Navy managers, fleet operators, technical personnel, key vendors and suppliers, and the shipyards designers and waterfront construction supervisors."
Good post, and thanks for the correction. I over simplified way to much, gave to much credit to EB and wrote it in a misleading way too. I find it very fascinating how these two shipyards do this, and what they seem to have planned in the coming years. Enjoy your Sunday.
Exact same thing happened here except I'm still on coffee.
You’ll have to lift its tail to find out. Don’t think Prep-H comes in big enough tubes.
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