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01 July 2015


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SSKs are great for countries that have a requirement for short ranged coastal defence. If you want to transit to the other side of the world, go hunting and remain undetected, you need a SSN. unfortunately these cost big bucks.

If you had to go to war in a sub, which would you choose?

The price for a Norwegian Ula-class/type 210 submarine is about $250 million today (original price with 5% interest). The reason is the price rather proportional to displacement. Ula-class weights 1,000 t, A26 2,000 t and Virginia 8,000 t.

The Type 210mod needs a crew of just 15 men. So for the price of one Virginia the US could buy and men 8 Type 210mod. That is a real wolfpack. No nuclear powered submarine is so fast to be at 8 places at once.

Unfortunately the Norwegian Ula class sub does not have the range and capabilities the US needs. US subs frequently transit the Atlantic and pacific oceans and then commence their operations. Supporting NATO is just one of the reasons for the increases costs. The Unites States has terriroty from almost the North Pole to below the equator, from the international dateline to almost Greenwich time zone, and off course support of NATO. No AIP sub could possibly support those commitments, and no AIP sub could operate in a fleet where they might have to operate at over 30 knots.

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  • James Hasik is a senior fellow at the Center for Government Contracting in the School of Business at George Mason University, and a senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center on Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. Since September 2001, he has been studying global security challenges and the economic enterprises that provide the tools to address them.


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