AHC: US Navy Acquires New Conventionally Powered Submarines

The last conventionally powered submarines (the Barbel class) in the United States Navy were retired in 1990. With a POD after 1990, have the US Navy acquire a fleet of at least 4 diesel electric or AIP powered submarines into the US Navy fleet.
 
Give US a history of making diesel boats for export. Four subs are made for Taiwan, but politics with China kills the deal. With no other buyers, US Navy keeps the boats.

Alternately, pick a different country and reason to kill the deal late.
 
Saddam buys 4 Kilo-class to replace some of his aging Foxtrots.

They are camouflaged near Al-Faw and do not take part in the conflict, but are seized by Royal Marines as part of the operation to capture Umm Qasr. They are handed over to the USN as cool OPFOR toys for future exercises.

Three are promptly decomissioned after reaching San Francisco, to be used for spares to keep the fourth running, but even that only survives to the middle of the decade before being scrapped as a cost-saving measure.
 
OPFOR toys are indeed the most plausible scenario. The USN borrowed a Swedish conventional sub and crew in 2005 to play games with their carriers off the coast of California and assess their vulnerability to Chinese diesel subs with Air Independent Propulsion (AIP). By absolutely all accounts, what they found scared the piss out of them. Have them capture a sub from the Iraqis like GarethC says, sit in limbo for a couple years while they try to find a buyer/figure out what to do with it, identify a need for an OPFOR toy that happens to be authentically Russian/Chinese in origin after the 2005 exercises, and play around with that.
 
OPFOR toys are indeed the most plausible scenario. The USN borrowed a Swedish conventional sub and crew in 2005 to play games with their carriers off the coast of California and assess their vulnerability to Chinese diesel subs with Air Independent Propulsion (AIP). By absolutely all accounts, what they found scared the piss out of them. Have them capture a sub from the Iraqis like GarethC says, sit in limbo for a couple years while they try to find a buyer/figure out what to do with it, identify a need for an OPFOR toy that happens to be authentically Russian/Chinese in origin after the 2005 exercises, and play around with that.
After reading that article, I think they overplay the difficulties of diesel subs. Forward deployment at bases is not the huge deal they make it out to be (isn't this what Rota, Holy Loch, Guam, Diego Garcia and Yokosuka are for?). For the price of two Virginias, one could have two 5 boat squadrons of Type 212s. Heck, buy the Japanese Soryu classes, and the Japanese will forget about some of the issues surrounding basing rights (offered to the Australians as an incentive).
 
After reading that article, I think they overplay the difficulties of diesel subs. Forward deployment at bases is not the huge deal they make it out to be (isn't this what Rota, Holy Loch, Guam, Diego Garcia and Yokosuka are for?). For the price of two Virginias, one could have two 5 boat squadrons of Type 212s. Heck, buy the Japanese Soryu classes, and the Japanese will forget about some of the issues surrounding basing rights (offered to the Australians as an incentive).
Be careful when comparing equipment costs between countries, different countries measure costs differently. Also any subs would be built by Newport News and Electric Boat, so price probably may go up from that. This of course assumes buying an off the shelf design with minimal changes, rather than adding features like the Virginia's land attack or spec ops capabilities

Also you would need to introduce an extra class and complicate logistics, plus a whole new training system, because you still need the nuke boats to do the missions diesels can't and add on back end costs, plus reducing the economies of scale of the nuke boats

Diesel boats are useful, but would take up too big a slice of the peacetime US military budget to be worth buying when allies provide those capabilities
 
Doesn't quite fit the OP since the nations bought only a combined two, but if the US buys the surplus Kilos from Poland and Romania to act as OPFOR vessels, it could work.
 
If a sort of artificial gill is developed allowing diesels to run under water,you could see some diesel sub's in the Coast Guard.
 
They'd be useful for covert surveillance of ships.
How many would they need for that to be practical and how much need is there for the Coastguard to perform such an operation? And again how many hulls could they buy instead of starting up an SSK capability? I mean the current NSC is the better part of $700 million, wouldn't a few more of them be of more use?
 
It really needs a change of mind in the USN.

They've known since the 70's that a modern conventional sub is a deadly threat - even to a nuclear boat, but the fixation on being able to deploy without fuel contraints has dominated purchasing.

In NATO exercises, the biggest complaint from KM and RN conventional sub captains was the worry about being run over by an American nuclear boat which hadn't heard them...
 
It was Admiral Hyman G Rickover who killed the idea of the US Navy having Conventionally powered submarines. He fought tooth and nail to kill any proposal to build conventional submarines. The result was the submarine service became populated by nukes. Even a proposal for Electric Boat to build diesel Electric submarines for Taiwan lead to some opposition within the navy.
 
Ideally the USN should have a mix of both types. In restricted waters or around choke points or shallow seas the conventional subs especially with AIP are very useful. While snorkels are useful, in high seas or at higher speeds they are unpleasant for the crews at best and very limited, to say nothing of the noise the diesels generate. When you don't have to go far to a patrol area and the seas you wish to control are limited in area, they are great and way cheaper than nukes, smaller crews etc. For navies that need to transit a good distance and have large areas to patrol not so much. In the NATO areas no need for US conventional subs as NATO navies have plenty of these. The biggest use would be in the Pacific/South China Sea area and around the Persian Gulf. A small number could rotate through the east and west coast for OPFOR training. Forward basing could be Guam, Australia, PI (?), or Japan for the Pacific, perhaps Bahrain or Oman for the Gulf with facilities at Diego Garcia as well. You'll need to build a few new sub tenders to care for them.
 
Let's just think about this, the U 214 costs about €300 million, while the Soryu class costs $540 million, now given costs of the US yards tend to be higher than other Western yards at the moment, how much would a modern SSK come out as built in the US?
 
Let's just think about this, the U 214 costs about €300 million, while the Soryu class costs $540 million, now given costs of the US yards tend to be higher than other Western yards at the moment, how much would a modern SSK come out as built in the US?
Depends on a lot of things. How big, how capable, how big a production run, are you splitting work between Newport News and Electric Boat, are you throwing in R&D costs as part of the price, are you doing "This is the price of the ship as a complete system" as the US usually does or "This is the price of the hull, not including weapons systems, electronics, propulsion systems etc." as some countries do

Best guess, would probably want something like the Australian Collins replacement, so cost should be in the same area, though at the lower end as the US has more experience building subs, so say $800 million to $1billion per
 

cpip

Kicked
Depends on a lot of things. How big, how capable, how big a production run, are you splitting work between Newport News and Electric Boat, are you throwing in R&D costs as part of the price, are you doing "This is the price of the ship as a complete system" as the US usually does or "This is the price of the hull, not including weapons systems, electronics, propulsion systems etc." as some countries do

Best guess, would probably want something like the Australian Collins replacement, so cost should be in the same area, though at the lower end as the US has more experience building subs, so say $800 million to $1billion per
So between a quarter and half the cost of a Virginia, plus starting a school to train the MMs and officers to run a diesel/electric engine (which isn't insurmountable, but ought be considered too).
 
Top