Daily Archives: January 18, 2013

US Navy’s next-gen stealth sub could run silently for 50 years

The

In this file photo, the Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine USS Maryland transits the Saint Marys River. Details are emerging about the ship’s replacement, scheduled for deployment in 2031.

The Navy’s next-generation nuclear submarine may have an electric drive and new reactor plant that allow it to patrol the seas with near-silent stealth for half a century, according to emerging details about the secretive program.

The electric drive would replace a direct mechanical connection between the nuclear-powered steam turbines and the submarine’s propellers. In the new configuration, the nuclear power source will run electric motors that propel the ship.

“Electric drives could prove to be much quieter than the current direct-drive method,” the U.S. Naval Institute explained in a brief detailing the new design. The institute is an independent, non-profit forum on national defense.

The military tried electric drives in the 1960s and ’70s, but found them to be too slow and maintenance needy. Technological advancements over the past few decades could provide the hassle-free speed required.

Since Navy submarines rely on stealth to hide from enemies, a nearly silent engine will make them harder to find. The Ohio-class replacement nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine will also be covered in echo-free tiles that reduce detection from active sonars.

In addition, the program is aiming for a newly designed reactor plant “that will last the life of the boat,” Sean Stackley, Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development, and Acquisition, said in an interview with the U.S. Naval Institute.

“That’s important because what it does is effectively eliminate the midlife refueling associated with the current Ohio class.”

That is, current nuclear subs are hauled out for mid-life overhaul that can keep a sub out of the water for three years. To compensate for the downtime, the Navy has 14 Ohio-class ships.

The new design will still require a mid-life checkup and update, but should be out of the water for a shorter period. This would mean that the Navy only needs to have 12 ships. “That’s a significant cost improvement over the life of the program at the expense of the development for that new reactor-plant design,” Stackley said.

The Navy is under budget pressure to keep the cost of the boats to $4.9 billion each; that’s down from the $6 or $7 billion price tag proposed in 2009. Current plans call for construction of the next-generation submarine to begin in 2021, with first deployment in 2031.

Source – NBC News

Advertisements

USS Hartford & USS San Juan Sailors receive dolphins

John Carcioppolo, president, Submarine Veterans Groton Chapter laughs with Sailors from USS Hartford (SSN 768) during a recognition ceremony. Carcioppolo congratulated thirty officers and enlisted Sailors from Los Angeles class attack submarines USS Hartford and USS San Juan (SSN 751), who were recognized for earning their gold and silver “dolphins” onboard their respective submarines at the Submarine Veteran’s Clubhouse in Groton, Jan. 7.

 

Thirty officers and enlisted Sailors from the Los Angeles class attack submarines USS Hartford (SSN 768) and USS San Juan (SSN 751) were recognized under the SUBVETS Submarine Qualification Recognition Program, at the Submarine Veterans Clubhouse in Groton, Jan. 7.

The Sailors, who previously received their coveted gold and silver “dolphins” onboard their respective submarines, were recognized by former submariners, many of them Holland Club veterans in attendance, who warmly welcomed the newest submarine warfare qualifiers into the special community.

“We had never recognized Sailors from two boats at one meeting,” said John Carcioppolo, president, Submarine Veterans Groton chapter.

Commander Steve Wilkinson, commanding officer, USS Hartford attended the rite of passage ceremony and reflected on the caliber of the Sailors serving in the submarine force today.

“As you can see, your legacy is in good hands. These men represent all the best of our nation,” said Wilkinson.

Groton Base Member Phil Marshall from Narragansett, R.I., who served on 13 submarines, called out his submarine qualification, which was earned in 1955 aboard USS Sterlet (SS 392), reflected on how great it was to see the newly qualified Sailors referring to them as “our future.”

Master Chief Machinist’s Mate (SS) Eric Mathley, chief of the boat, USS Hartford also reflected on the legacy of the submarine force.

“It’s great that these young Sailors, who worked so hard to earn their dolphins, have an opportunity to see the long legacy of the submarine service,” said Mathley. “I think it means more to them, having seen that. They can really appreciate the lineage of their service.”

Master Chief Electronics Technician (SS) Gaylord Humphries, chief of the boat, USS San Juan, also sounded off his qualification date, providing his solid support to the next generation of submariners.

“This is the new generation of submariners and the submarine force is in good hands,” said Humphries.

Source – Dolphin News