How Do Submarines Work?
Do submarines need to rely on traditional diesel or nuclear power as their energy sources for future generations? Could the propulsion source of the future be something else?
The future of submarines might not be nuclear as most experts think!
Many nations are operating submarines that can stay submerged for at least three weeks using an AIP or Air independent propulsion system.
Would it be a good idea for the American Navy to look into this option?
The US Navy’s nuclear submarine fleet has the advantage of speed. Operating below 500 ft a submarine does not cavitate at high speed. They can operate silently and very stealthily over long distances. They can get to the field of operations far faster than many navy ships that have to use diesel engines.
But there might be an advantage in low-cost diesel-electric submersibles that have the ability to stay submerged using an air independent system. Some of these would require fuel cells that NASA has used in the space shuttle and other spacecraft for years.
Lithium batteries which Japan is using now for their submarine fleet is one potential, however lithium batteries can’t touch nuclear’s useful propulsion life. These are still diesel-electric boats but they use a number of batters to operate under water for weeks at a time.
However they don’t have the speed advantage of a nuclear submarine.
Some naval forces might be turning to these quieter and less expensive submarines because the cost of operating a nuclear submarine is beyond their budgets.
One issue is that these navies don’t have the technology to keep their nuclear submarines as quiet as ours. But in very shallow waters these submarines could be very lethal.
Most submarines from leading nations operate within their own countries legal waters as a defense from other submarines and other naval threats, however America sends her submarines all over the world.
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