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A Staf’f Paper Prepared
Kasatonov for Admiral Sergei Gorsbkov
December 1961


Submarines can be powerful and reliable weapons which possess the operational combat properties to solve a wide range of tasks in the World Ocean. To assure the success of their combat operations,
they must be sufficient in number and be provided the latest developments in technology.  tomicpowered submarines now being built in our country provide great improvements in mobility and strike power over diesel submarines: however, they have not achieved design perf’ormance levels in terms of concealment, submerged speed, and reliability. While we are faced with these problems, it is
apparent that the United States has been able to maintain a continuum of technical and operational
achievements in their submarine programs. Should these trends continue, Soviet submarines will be
faced with an enemy so technically superior that feasible advantages in numbers will not be
sufficient to assure the success of their combat operations.


Over the past four years, the United States has introduced six new classes of attack submarines which are claimed to be designed primarily to combat other submarines. Three of these classes, the SKATE, the SKIPJACK, and the THRESHER, are in series production; while the remaining three , the TRITON , HALIBUT, and TULLIBEE, are single units built to investigate the advantages of specific technologies. The American submarines have high fighting qualities, are provided with the latest advances in the
field of shipbuilding, and have proved themselves with extended under-ice operations and submerged
circumnavigation of the world.

Successive classes of American torpedo submarines appear to represent measurable improvements in operational performance. Even the earlier SKATE Class (launched in 1957) has a speed advantage over both our nuclear torpedocarrying and winged-missile-carrying submarine classes. Just a year after the launching of the SKATE, the first of its successor class, the SKIPJACK, was launched. Although smaller than our nuclear submarines, our intelligence indicates that this ship can achieve speeds of over 30 knots, while unofficial press releases suggest even higher speeds.

The near 40 percent speed advantage of this class is but one of the reasons that we have
ceased production of our nuclear submarines. The disappointing performance of our two classes is
being investigated and corrective action will be taken. In the mean time, the first units of the
new THRESHER Class were launched this year. This ship is purported to have a greater depth of
submergence and improved concealment characteristics. Even before the first of this
class has gone to sea, the American Navy is seeking Congressional support for a more capable
follow-on class (SSN-637).

Although we believe the Soviet Union will be unmatched in underwater weaponry when the
submerged launched ballistic missile, winged missile, and rocket torpedo become operational
over the next years, our prognosis for ship capability is not as favorable. The specific
modifications necessary to provide our current atomic submarines the ability to perform at their
original design level are only now being defined. The follow-on classes to these first atomic
submarines will probably not be to sea for another five years. Based on past performance, it is not
unreasonable to expect two or even three more advanced classes of American attack submarines
will have been introduced. Furthermore, considering the statement by the American submarine Admiral I.J. Galantin in the Naval Institute Proceedings of June, 1958, we should anticipate that those American submarines will be able to attain speeds of 50 knots or more.


Atomic Power

It is, of course, possible that U.S. submarines could be reaching the limits of atomic submarine
performance with so many recent advances; however, research in new areas of technology make this
unlikely. First and foremost is the atomic power plant itself. Under the direction of Admiral
Rickover, the research in this area can be expected to be both continuous anq rigorous. The
United States has already accumulated thousands of hours of at-sea experience with a liquid metal
reactor before removing it from SEAWOLF, and is known to be examining several different options
for advanced submarines.


Magnetohydrodynamic generators are devices which produce electrical energy by the motion of
an electrically conductive fluid or plasma through a transverse magnetic field. Nuclear
power submarines are a candidate application for a closed loop MGDG once it becomes operational.
The working body in the closed loop can be a gas or a liquid-gas. In the latter case, a liquid
metal heat-transfer fluid is fed through the reactor where it is vaporized. The vapors are
ionized and then fed through a magnetic field or channel at high velocity where the energy of the
ionized vapor (plasma) is converted into electrical energy. The metal vapors are cooled
to complete the condensation and an electromagnetic pump can be used to feed the
condensate back through the reactor. Such a system appears to be most compatible with a
liquid metal atomic reactor. More importantly, it can be very quiet and compact compared to a
pressure water reactor (PWR) system. Although the potential of MGDG {referred to in the U.S. as
MHD) technology is being investigated by many countries, including the American Navy• a Bureau
of Ships, this appears to be a technolgy area where the Soviet Union is likely to take the lead.

Hull Design

The shark-type hull pioneered by the diesel submarine, ALBACORE, is certainly partly responsible for the high speed of the SKIPJACK Class. Speed can be increased by reducing drag on the hull, as well as by increasing power. The advantage to drag reduction is that, unlike many power options, decreases in drag rarely have concomitant increases in noise. Our designers are carefully examining this and other hull designoptions, and surely the Americans will continue this research. In addition to this,
there are other methods which could be employed to decrease the drag of submarines. These include:
the ejection of drag reducing additives around the hull of the ship; the use of turbulence damping
coatings modeled after dolphin skin; and covering the surface of the hull with gases. Techniques
used in aviation, such as slat ventilation and boundary layer suction, also may be feasible.

Intelligence reports indicate that the use of high, molecular weight, polymer additives to reduce drag on torpedoes and ships is being examined in the United States and Great Britain. The additive can either be ejected at high speed in a fluid concentrate, or applied directly on the hull in the form of an ablative paint. Although there are no specific data that this research is being pursued for submarines, it is unlikely that this application will be overlooked. The status of this research is unkriown, but it should be pointed out that the effect was initially recognized by a British researcher· almost 15 years

In a series of publications since 1957, the German scientist, Max 0. Kramer, who now resides in the United States, has described his invention of a drag reducing coating. The coating is claimed to reduce the frictional drag of a surface by over 50 percent. It is known that the u.s. Navy has expressed an interest in this coating. Vice Admiral C.B. Momsen, the inventor of the Momsen lung submarine escape apparatus, has stated that the coating will make submarine speeds of 60 knots possible. (BOATS, Vol. 57, No. 3, March,1960)


At the U.S. Naval Ordinance Test Station in China Lake, California, there is a research program to examine sea-animal locomotion in an effort to identify new ideas for improving torpedo performance. (NAVORD Report 6573, 10 August 1959) Many of the concepts being investigated have been
already described above; however, the biological or bionic approach is unique and is probably
worthy of attention. Soviet researchers, such as the renowned A.G. Tomilin at Moscow State, Yu G.
Aleyev at Sevastopol, and s.v. Pershin from Leningrad, acknowledge the viability of this approach and, with Admiral V.I. Berg, encourage its exploitation in our own country.


Research at the NaVY-sponsored water tunnel at Pennsylvania State University has demonstrated
that, as in aeronautics, significant increases in the underwater speed of submarines and other
underwater vehicles will require new types of propulsors. This research has concluded that
ingestion of the boundary layer and thrust augmentation can extend the speed range where
conventional rotating propulsors are efficient. However, continued increases in speed are likely
to force a progression from the propeller, to the pumpjet, to the ramjet, and eventually to the
rocket. (ARS Journal, December, 1960)

The Office of Naval Research has been sponsoring additional research on underwater jet engines at the Aerojet-General Corporation in Azusa, California, for over ten years. It is apparent that this research is directed more toward weapons that a submarine might carry, rather than the submarine itself. Propulsor concepts which do not seem to be receiving much interest in foreign submarine design are both ventilated and supercavitating propellers.


Our current atomic-powered submarines are susceptible to detection by acoustic, magnetic, hydrodynamic, radiation, and electrical field sensors. Some of these fields will be substantially weakened as new technologies intended to improve the speed and depth characteristics are implemented. For example: reductions in drag will decrease broadband acoustic signatures associated with turbulent flow and propeller cavitation; new thrusters may totally eliminate propeller cavitation; if accepted, proposals to examine new steel alloys and even titanium for hull fabrication would
reduce magnetic and ELF signatures; drag reducing coating designs could be combined with the more
traditional radar absorbing and anechoic designs to produce a combination coating; and MGDG plants would remove the need for cooling pumps and possibly other rotating machinery which generate low-frequency, acoustic noise.

It is important that we carefully monitor the trends in all signature areas. Two obvious pitfalls must be avoided . The first relates to expending precious resources in an effort to suppress signatures which will be reduced or eliminated by new technologies already under development; and the second relates to reduction of one signature at the expense of one or more other signatures. For example, before a great deal of expense is directed toward sound isolation of large machinery, the unfavorable effect of increasing the volume of the ship on hydrodynamic and magnetic signatures must be considered. If a new technology, such as MGDG, will eventually eliminate the noisy equipment, resources may be better expended in some other direction. In the case that the noisy equipment is essential and likely to be required in the future, then a careful analysis of the effects on all related
signatures must be conducted to assure concealment in combat actions.

For these reasons, it is appropriate that we don’t focus our concealment effort solely on reducing low-frequency machinery noise. As in all aspects of submarine design, no one factor should be considered separately. Concealment is most important; however, a submarine which will not engage in combat actions because of risking concealment is of no value. Once concealment is lost, the submarine should have the ability to escape with speed, depth, and at that time -after engagement — with low signatures. From this perspective, I believe we have already taken the correct course in developing concealmentrelated technologies and that we must continue to pursue tbat course

Stability and Control

As speeds increase, the ability or a team of men provided with hand-operated plane and rudder
controls diminishes. Although these techniques were adequate for diesel submarines operating at
speeds of ten knots, submarine speeds of 30 knots or more demand responsiveness and precision which can only be obtained with automatic controls. Despite the inability or our intelligence
apparatus to provide the details of American automatic control systems, such as “CONALOG,” our
own limited experience at speeds of just over 20 knots makes it clear that ship controls must be
automated to assure the safety of the ship and its crew.


Soviet atomic submarine production has been delayed while several techniques are developed
and tested which will enable these submarines to achieve speeds in the mid-20 knot regime. At the
same time, American submarine technology is advancing at an extraordinary rate. New classes
of high-performance u.s. submarines are being introduced almost continuously, and high-level
Naval officers confidently expect that submarine speeds of 50 to 60 knots can be achieved. In
addition to their very successful developments in atomic power, the Americans have apparently made
advances in defining optimum hull shapes, and developing synthetic coatings to dampen turbulent
energy and reduce drag on the hull. Some or these advances have been stimulated by the new
science or bionics, the study or engineering in nature, such as in animal locomotion. Other technologies which are being developed to support these advances in submarine technology are polymer ejection, new propulsors, and automatic ship control systems. Whether or not the United States has made any significant advances in developing a MGDG for submarines or is actively pursuing the adaptation of aerodynamic concepts such as slat ventilation and boundary layer suction is unknown.


New Concept Development

The current technical advantages enjoyed by American submarines are too great in magnitude for
the Soviet Navy to continue with a traditionally structured submarine research program; that is, a
program which relies on the evolutionary development of new technologies. If we are to succeed in carrying out our goals in the World Ocean, we must bound ahead of the Americans with revolutionary new concepts. It cannot be a question of whether or not the Soviet Navy will consider technical risks, but rather how much risk we can tolerate and still perform the operational tasks for which the Navy is responsible. . In the words of V.I. Lenin, “War is won by he who has the greatest techniques, organization, discipline and the best hardware … without hardware and without discipline it is  mpossible to live in modern~ society one must either master modern technology or be crushed.”

Moderate Risk

To revitalize our scientific and technical base, I recommend we pursue two development tracks
simultaneously. The first track entails moderate risk. I want to emphasize that this is not intended to be synonymous with low risk or no risk, but clearly involves the exploitation of technologies with which we have little or no first-hand experience, yet some experience base does exist. The experience base may not be directly related to submarines, or it may even be foreign experience o Examples of this include: gasification of the boundary layer which is being developed for river boats; ventilated propellers which we are now developing; and smooth damping coating which are being developed in the United States o Since there is moderate risk in exploiting these technologies, we must be willing
to accept the eventuality of having limited success with the lead unit of a class. That experience will accelerate our advances in those technologies and provide, in the near term, an advanced class of submarines which Will be able to perform the operational tasks assigned the Navy while more complex technologies are being developed on the second track.

High Risk

The second track is a high-risk track which is focused on the development of bold and innovative
concepts. Like the American ALBACORE and SEAWOLF Classes , these submarines may be one of a kind which are built for the single purpose of accelerating the development of revolutionary new
technologies. We should not expect these submarines to be immediately successful. But we
certainly can expect to learn a great deal in the design, construction, and fitting-out periods, as
well as during experiments and trials at sea. Examples of the technologies to be developed on
this track are fully automatic controls, titanium hulls, peristaltic pumps and thrusters, or other
bionic-derived concepts. To establish this highrisk track, I recommend we approve Admiral A.I.
Berg’s proposal to build a series of “fish-like” submarines which employ many of the features
Tomilin, Pershin, and Aleyev claim contribute to the high speed and simultaneous concealment of
fish. As said earlier, the Americans are already pursuing bionics with obvious success (for
example, the SKIPJACK hull design) o Like the moderate-risk track, more than one program can
and must be pursued at a time, so, the approval of Berg’s proposal does not eliminate alternative
proposals, such as those forwarded by the Fourth Design Bureau.


The objective is to leapfrog the American technology. Such an objective cannot be achieved
in a short itme. In addition to vigor, we will need tenactiy and patience. High risks yield high
payoff — in time. Should these recommendations be approved, then moderate-risk systems can be at
sea in about five years. However, high-risk technology developments require intense and
careful basic research, as well as continued development. Once a program is started, we must
be willing to change direction and make major alterations as new knowledge is gained. It will
take ten years to field such advanced prototypes, and probably another five years to evalute them
fully in the ocean environment. Hence, we must plan and be willing to accept a phased program
where the most advanced technologies may not be fielded on front-line combat systems for 20 years.


As lessons are learned from the high-risk programs and the risk is eliminated or substantially diminished, then there must be a mechanism to change tracks so the Fleet can benefit from these advancements at the earliest possible time. Hence, our submarine technology program must be centrally coordinated and continuously reviewed. This review authority must have the authority to modify or redirect ongoing submarine production to assure that the latest available technology is at sea. In this fashion, the last unit of a class may be significantly different and more advanced than the lead ship. Totally new classes need to be introduced only when new technologies are so different from
previous technologies that class modification is impractical.


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