120 weapons is better than 60, but 60 weapons is better than 38. That phrase represents the essence of my proposal.
In my article “Naval Architectural Aspects of American Nuclear Submarines Design” (THE SUBMARINE REVIEW, July 2005) I suggested an improved Seawolf class American nuclear submarine with 120 weapons (92 torpedoes and Tomahawk type cruise missiles in 8 21-inch torpedo tubes inside the pressure hull and 28 Tomahawk type cruise missiles launchers outside the pressure hull in vertical launchers in #2 main ballast tank). It would be a sub with an underwater displacement of approximately 9,500 tons, speed – some 37 knots and diving depth – up to 2,000 feet.
According to the excellent study of the Lexington Institute’s “Submarines: Weapons for Choice in Future Warfare,” in 2015 the USA will have 61 SSNs (3-Seawolf, 4-Ohio SSGNs, 13-Virginia and 41-Los Angles classes). In 2025 -59 SSNs (3-Seawolf, 4-0hio SSGNs, 30-Virginia, 11-Los Angeles and 11-Future Submarine class.
It seems to this author that this Future Submarine should be the proposed above Improved Seawolf class (SSN-211) new American nuclear attack submarine with 120 weapons and a 9,500 tons underwater displacement.
I do not understand why the United States Navy does not accept such a proposal. Maybe it is tacitly accepting it but does not like to do it publicly?
OK! Let us understand its position and purpose, maybe, another easily acceptable idea.
The idea is very simple: to increase by 22 weapons the Virginia class submarine’s payload inside of her pressure hull, probably behind the existing reserve torpedoes and cruise missiles. Their total additional weight would be some 80 tons ( 40 tons – torpedoes and missiles and not more than 40 tons necessary additional equipment, such as racks, compensating tanks and so on).
The Improved VIRGINIA (SSN-7741) and Regular VIRGINIA (774) would have such basic tactical-technological characteristics:
|Underwater displacement, t||7,900||7,800|
|Number of torpedo tubes||4||4|
|Number of vertical missile launchers||12||12|
|Number of weapons||60||38|
|Underwater speed, knots||35||35|
|Diving depth, feet||1,800||1,800|
|Complement, (Officers and Enlisted)||128||134|
You can see that changes in the shipbuilding characteristics of above mentioned submarines are not especially big, but the ultimate result is very impressive. Everybody should agree that 60 weapons on the improved sub make a huge difference in the battle capacity of these two options.
My friend, a distinguished Naval Architect, Mark Henry, probably will say that it is necessary to do more detailed naval architectural research. No objections. But I am sure that my proposal is correct and very simple in principle.
I could provide additional reasons in favor of my proposal, but I think that brevity is a sister of talent.