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Greetings! I wish you and the Naval Submarine League a productive and prosperous 1988.

I have several items of good news to relate. First, the NSL and the DCNO (Subs), VADM Bruce DeMars, USN, have agreed to the concept of a classified Submarine Technology Symposium. This event is structured to provide a forum for the technical experts in the fields that are relevant to future submarines to present their work to their peers and, in the process, stimulate the entire community toward technological advancement. The Symposium will be held in early June, 1988 at the Applied Physics Laboratory, Johns Hopkins University in the Laurel Maryland facility. APL/JHU personnel will play a major role in the organization and support of the symposium. Several ground rules apply.

  1. The Symposium will be self-sustaining through registration fees, without cost to the government.
  2. No on-going Navy Programmatic topics are acceptable as agenda items.
  3. The Symposium will  be  held  at  the Secret level.
  4. Corporate attendees should be directly involved in the !R&D process to be able to establish their “need to know”.
  5. Attendance will be  by invitation.

Current NSL Corporate Members and Navy facilities will be contacted by letter to solicit their prospective attendees. Those other NSL members who are employees of Corporations not currently an NSL Corporate Member may request an invitation by writing to:

Jill  Owens, Room 8-368
Applied Physics Laboratory/JHU
Johns Hopkins Road
Laurel, Maryland 20707

Please provide a description  of your current corporate assignment to help establish your eligibility for attendance.

This Symposium is an extremely ambitious undertaking for the NSL; however, it should result in time, with answers to the often heard question of “where does the submarine force feel corporate IR&D should be emphasized?”. VADM “Bud” Kauderer, USN(Ret.), has been designated the SUBTECK Symposium Chairman for the NSL. Good luck, Bud! This is an awesome responsibility.

Second, we have received Corporate funding pledges sufficient to enter definite discussion for the production of an hour-long PBS documentary entitled “Submarine Patrol.” It has been about 17 years since an authoritative documentary has been produced for the submarine service. When completed, edited copies of the documentary will be provided to the Navy for recruiting and educational purposes. Copies will also be provided to NSL Chapters for their Public Affairs Program. Finally, copies will be available for sale.

This  project is also an ambitious  one,  but it is a very exciting undertaking. It should help focus the public’s interest on the submarine service as the submarine’s role in national defense is becoming more vital.

Finally, I would like to announce for our individual members that two-thirds of your annual dues have been determined to be tax-exempt. A certain portion (1/3) has been deemed to have been returned to each member in the form of informational material. Our treasurer, Jason Law, can answer your questions if needed.

In summary, I feel very optimistic about the NSL for 1988, and the fulfillment of its mission and   objectives. Occasionally  I am disappointed when  a  former  NSL  member  states  that the  NSL   is not doing enough for the individual. I always hasten to remind these individuals that the strength of the NSL is the sacrifices and dues each member makes to help the NSL successfully accomplish its mission. I firmly believe that the NSL is a great investment and something to be proud of.



The Submarine Force has been directed to carry out R&D programs which will hopefully improve our nuclear submarines in the next decade. Additional money has been budgeted by the House Appropriations Committee for FY 1 88 over and above the Navy’s submarine R&D request — for specific areas of submarine R&D such as boundary layer control, compliant coatings, hull technologies, advanced propulsion  systems, automation and advanced materials. This money is designed to ensure that the Navy makes a good effort to incorporate some of the developed new technologies into the submarines of the 1990s.

The Congress evidently believes that the Navy’s requested submarine R&D programs have not reflected the potentials of certain technologies which can markedly improve our U.S. submarines. It may be noted that large sums or submarine R&D money have been spent and are still being budgeted for improvements in the areas of: more capable sonars (wide aperture arrays); a new fire control system (SUBACS}; and an improved power plant (using a pressurized water reactor}. For the technology areas specified by the Congress, moreover, there has been some R&D money used. But seemingly, such technologies — as indicated by the limited expenditures on them — are thought to offer  little prospect for  improvement of U.S. nuclear  submarines.

This is understandable within the context of the single-hull U.S. submarines which have been produced over the past twenty years and duplicated in the new SSN-21s.

The Congress however, has been regarding the Soviet technological advances in nuclear subma-rines and have been led to believe that the Soviets are producing better submarines with many superior capabilities — in depth, speed, survivability, non-acoustic signatures, ratio of power plant weight to horsepower generated, automated control systems, etc.

But the Congress bas seen these Soviet advances in the context of double-hulled nuclear submarines — which our submariners have felt were too expensive to build for the capabilities they offer, and “they’re too noisy for our use — which depends on quiet-covertness and superior acoustic capability to meet our mission requirements.” A greater Soviet depth capability is similarly considered to be of little value because “our” torpedoes can go deep and destroy the deep-diving Soviet submarines even while our own submarines are restricted to far shallower diving positions. The survivability built into Soviet submarines (reserve buoyancy, heavier hulls, compartmentation, etc.) is also felt to be of little value, because “even a small leak ‘at depth’ will do in any submarine.” Hull drag reduction measures (compliant coatings, etc.) are, it is felt, compensated for, at less cost, by using more powerful nuclear power plants. And, greater Soviet submarine speed is thought of little value because our submariners are certain that it is only “quiet high speed” (not maximum speed) which is of particular tactical value. However, these arguments appear to be specious, particularly to the Congressional staffers.

Interestingly, high speed can be obtained by drag reduction as well as by increased engine horsepower. A 30-knot submarine, for example, can be made to go 38 knots by doubling its propulsive power, or the same 30-knot submarine could make 38 knots by halving its drag. It would seem that to the Congress this must be a better way to achieve greater  speed  in our  submarines  —  as  evidenced  by their list of R&D projects to be explored. Since many drag reduction measures appear to be more compatible with double-bull construction, it is felt that such submarines of lesser drag and smaller power plants should consequently be lighter, and smaller with more usable volume than single-hull submarines or if not smaller have superior qualities in most respects — and possibly be of less cost.

For those who see the Soviet submarine design advances as providing a measure of superiority over U.S. submarines, it is evident that the arguments put forward for single-hull submarines must be questioned. Apparently the Congress intends do that.

There are many more possible advantages in going to double-hull submarines which might not have been equated in trade-off analysis between single-hull and double-hulled submarines. For the double-hull submarine the pressure hull can be of simpler shape with less design problems, and more easily given great depth capabilities. It could have external stiffeners — giving greater usable interior volume. It can more easily provide reserve buoyancy through external tankage. It can provide reduced non-acoustic signatures, notably through external degaussing coils, etc. It can have external stowage of weapons and ceramic armor tacked on to the inside or the outer hull for dissipation or shaped-charge energy. It can allow the bow planes to be folded into the space between  the outer and inner hull. The outer hull can be molded into laminar flow shapes — as evidenced by the  coke  bottle  shape  of  the  VICTOR III submarines. It can more easily be configured for new kinds of missions {for berthing of midget submarines, support of underwater swimmers. use of remotely operated vehicles, etc.), and perhaps most importantly it can incorporate drag reduction measures which are virtually impossible to apply on single-hull submarines.

In addition, the Navy’s argument that little can be done to improve our 1990’s fleet of 688-type submarines seems also open to question. The Congress, moreover, has significantly called for expenditures of money to investigate this. Henry Payne’s article in this issue of the SUBMARINE REVIEW seems to deal with an area which might be improved in the 688s. And the Congressional push to have the Navy realize a satellite-to-submarine laser communication system would be another technology for improvement of our attack submarine fleet of the ’90s.

The Navy is being challenged by the Congress to prove that single-hull submarines, progressive-ly bigger in order to be better, are the direction for future submarines. The question is, how is this done convincingly?


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