Thoughts to excite, alarm or foil paradigms, senses of humor, and imagination although not always in that order.
"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool."
-Richard P. Feynman (1918-1988) Nobel Prize Laureate in Physics 1965.
Sunday, July 20, 2008
The Real U.S. Nuclear Submarine Stealth Strategy: Black Mambas
Recently, we highlighted Norman Polmar's insights about submarine admirals opposed to non-nuclear submarine construction in U.S. shipyards. Later we ridiculed his notion of a submarine mafia. For the record, Molten Eagle applauds the alleged Submarine Mafia's apparent intransigence on nuclear subs. Why?
In the foreseeable future (next 10-15 years, or so), no military competitor of the U.S. can construct, crew and maintain nuclear submarines with the effectiveness and efficiency with which the United States maintains its fleet. Business majors will recognize our enviable niche in terms of any rudimentary S.W.O.T. analysis.
This gives the U.S. a huge naval advantage to help assure our ongoing military primacy. Certainly, other nations (India, China, Brazil, Venezuela, etc.) will try to emulate the success of our half-century-plus learning curve, but they will spend a fortune in time and money to attain 50% effectiveness of their so-called nuclear submarine fleets. They must try, however, and that is the U.S. strategy. We will no doubt assist our allies to a prudent extent.
What is in store? During the Cold War, Soviet submarines accidents claimed the lives of 578 submariners. Suppose the Russians help U.S. competitors? Yes, the Russians who require international help to safely dispose expired submarine reactor vessels, and whose nuclear plant history includes: the Chernobyl reactor explosion (April 26, 1986), the Yankee class nuclear-powered ballistic missile sub tube explosion (Oct 3, 1986), the Komsomolets sub explosion (April 7, 1989), and the Kursk accident (Aug. 12, 2000), among many others. I think we know.
Could the Chinese simply throw warm bodies (replacements) from their million-man Peoples Liberation Army Navy at a more disciplined effort? Certainly, but strict discipline alone does not capable nuclear submariners make! We have a very valuable niche with our nuclear subs and aim to maintain it for some time.
Should we also have a few AIP subs? While that prospect may be very tempting from social and false economic analyses (political considerations), it can only come with perils that would be irreversible and disasterously costly in the longer term.
Norman Polmar's opinions must be taken with more than a grain of salt, if only because he sometimes makes mistakes, like the rest of us.
Our submarine force with the help of our many submarine allies is unique in a fast and deadly respect, like this creature:
Location: staten island, new york, U.S. Outlying Islands
Former submariner, later an investigator and audit manager. Currently, in an entrepreneurial mode. I have never missed a chance to vote (except local elections while at sea)and will continue to vote as an independent.