U-boat threat overstated

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I think that Mike Burleson has overstated the threat that the new conventional submarines represent to aircraft carriers.  There's no question that the new generation of diesel electrical submarines are deadlier then ever.  With their advanced sensors and air independent propulsion systems, they can lurk under water for weeks waiting for their prey to approach.  However, what's not mentioned is these submarines critical weakness.  They're slow.  That underwater endurance depends upon the submarine maintaining a speed of less then 5 knots.  Once the conventional submarine comes under attack by either nuclear submarines or sub searching aircraft, it's extremely vulnerable and relatively easy to destroy.

The main reason that the US Navy is threatened by conventional submarines today is because, with the end of the cold war, the anti—submarine skills of the Navy have atrophied.  Aircraft that were intended as sub hunters were either re—assigned to intelligence gathering (the P—3 Orion) or where retired without being replaced (the S—3 Viking).  With countries like Iran and China investing money in building conventional submarine, the US Navy is forced to play catch up, and relearn the techniques of the cold war, as well as adapting to the new technology of air independent propulsion systems.

The large deck aircraft has played major role in the war on terror.  After all, it represents a air base that can be moved to any part of the world on short notice.  Even today an aircraft carrier, the USS Ronald Reagan, is stationed in the Persian Gulf helping to provide air support to our forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.  The big carrier can carry big aircraft with lots of range, weapons and sensors.  This allows the carrier to stay out of the hunting grounds of the conventional submarine and use it's aircraft to hunt for the submarine instead.

While it's true that the USS Kennedy is going to be retired and the Navy fleet of carriers reduced to 10, but it's also true that a new large deck carrier is being built today (the USS George HW Bush) and a new generation of large deck carriers is being designed.   The reason the big carrier has had such an enduring career, even in this age of rapid technological change, is their flexibility.   After all, a carrier can do anything it's aircraft can do.   Need to perform a new mission, just change the aircraft.

Steven W Dugger   3 29 06

I think that Mike Burleson has overstated the threat that the new conventional submarines represent to aircraft carriers.  There's no question that the new generation of diesel electrical submarines are deadlier then ever.  With their advanced sensors and air independent propulsion systems, they can lurk under water for weeks waiting for their prey to approach.  However, what's not mentioned is these submarines critical weakness.  They're slow.  That underwater endurance depends upon the submarine maintaining a speed of less then 5 knots.  Once the conventional submarine comes under attack by either nuclear submarines or sub searching aircraft, it's extremely vulnerable and relatively easy to destroy.

The main reason that the US Navy is threatened by conventional submarines today is because, with the end of the cold war, the anti—submarine skills of the Navy have atrophied.  Aircraft that were intended as sub hunters were either re—assigned to intelligence gathering (the P—3 Orion) or where retired without being replaced (the S—3 Viking).  With countries like Iran and China investing money in building conventional submarine, the US Navy is forced to play catch up, and relearn the techniques of the cold war, as well as adapting to the new technology of air independent propulsion systems.

The large deck aircraft has played major role in the war on terror.  After all, it represents a air base that can be moved to any part of the world on short notice.  Even today an aircraft carrier, the USS Ronald Reagan, is stationed in the Persian Gulf helping to provide air support to our forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.  The big carrier can carry big aircraft with lots of range, weapons and sensors.  This allows the carrier to stay out of the hunting grounds of the conventional submarine and use it's aircraft to hunt for the submarine instead.

While it's true that the USS Kennedy is going to be retired and the Navy fleet of carriers reduced to 10, but it's also true that a new large deck carrier is being built today (the USS George HW Bush) and a new generation of large deck carriers is being designed.   The reason the big carrier has had such an enduring career, even in this age of rapid technological change, is their flexibility.   After all, a carrier can do anything it's aircraft can do.   Need to perform a new mission, just change the aircraft.

Steven W Dugger   3 29 06