Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Out of Their Depth

Could It Happen to a U.S. Sub?, they ask.

To the authors' credit, it has, twice.

To the authors discredit, their rescue scenario may apply as seldom as 5% of the time.

Since naval submarines, like their surface counterparts, operate in or transit across very deep waters (rather than at the depths which cause hulls to implode) submarine rescue prospects are an overblown fiction, comforting perhaps for wives and mothers.

The pressure on a submarine's hull increases with depth, by 44.45 pounds per square inch for every 100 feet of additional depth in salt water. Submarine designers define safety margins (150% US, 175% UK, and 200% German) for key depth benchmarks: Test and Crush Depths, which are classified data. Sinking usually means to the bottom. There is more to say, but submariners and ex-submariners do not.



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