Wednesday, August 02, 2006

USN Gives ARIP About This Submarine

First, what do we mean by A Rip? Do we mean the EPA's Accidental Release Information Program (ARIP)? No, we are talking submarine.

We mean this ARIP: Advanced SEAL Delivery System Reliability Improvement Program (ARIP) and In-Service Life Cycle Support.

What? You thought that ASDS development was a disaster and had finally been abandoned?
Close. I had previously scribed, Something very interesting and probably secretive is under development. Only time will tell us what.

Why do we need an Advanced SEAL Delivery submarine, anyway? The current SDV (SEAL/Swimmer Delivery Vehicle) carried on US Benjamin Franklin Class (SSBN-640) attack submarines have limitations: Range, combatant capacity, SOF equipment capacity, etc. There is another more fundamental limitation, however, easy for non-divers to miss (source: see Footnote 1):

Water conducts heat away from your body about 25 times more efficiently than air. ...the average person can walk around in 75F/23C degree weather wearing shorts, without discomfort, more or less indefinitely. The average person will be shivering continuously after about 20-30 minutes immersed in 75F/23C degree water. Indeed, people in BUDS (SEAL training) have opined that the extended wet/cold factor is what washes out more aspiring SEALs than anything else. A wetsuit can extend one's viable time immersed in water, but it cannot entirely cancel the cooling effect, and there is still a large drain on the body's energy levels from trying to keep itself warm.

SEAL endurance is a primary consideration in SDVs and motivation for ASDSs. Now, you may recall or re-read in the article accompanying Footnote 1 (linked above) that propulsion (noise) and power (the batteries) were real ASDS killers. What has happened now?

Well, consider this recent announcement: A 300kW fuel cell is being developed for a Spanish naval submarine.The proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell power module, which includes a platinum catalyst, is being designed and developed by US firm UTC Power.

Why is it necessary to read between the lines? Submarines are always silent and strange.


At 03 August, 2006 13:37, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can see the need for a mini-sub and the technology you speek of is now reliably available. The real question is can the current design be modified to accept the changes.
An even more important decision needs to be made about who will be responsible for the work.
The current contractor is WAY over its head and lacks the skill and management abilities to do the job. One need look no further than the dismal track record in terms of performance and cost, for the ASDS.
Electric Boat could build our next ASDS and it would work as advertised. Period. EB has designed far more difficult submersibles in the past.
And no, I am not affiliated with EB nor do I have a grudge for the company that has worked on the ASDS to date. I just have a bit of common sense and have no pressure to play politics with who gets juicy government contracts. One need only look at the long record EB has and the outstanding performance of its creations in the submerged world of wonders to reach the same conclusions. Sometimes WE are our worst enemy...

At 03 August, 2006 18:05, Blogger Vigilis said...

Anonymous, thanks for your comments. I happen to be in agreement with all of your points.


Post a Comment

<< Home