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Why U.S. Stopped Building One of Best Subs Ever Made

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Tony    860

The Seawolf-class submarines were envisioned as the best submarines ever built. Designed to succeed the Los Angeles–class attack submarines and maintain America’s edge in the underwater domain, the class suffered from cost overruns and the collapse of the Soviet Union. While still some of the best submarines ever built, they were built at reduced numbers. In many respects, they are the F-22 of submarines: widely considered the world's best, but costs made wide their wide usage a major challenge. http://scout.com/military/warrior/Article/Why-the-US-Navy-Stopped-Building-the-Seawolf-class-Submarine-105843450

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Presise    2

Well, its a little bit more than the document alludes too.  I had the privilege of serving on a Seawolf class, and while it was impressive for combat, it was poorly designed overall.

It was designed to be the ultimate hunter/killer Submarine for a war that never happened.  When we create these sort of overwhelming weapons, the intent  is to either when a fight, which no longer existed, or advertise to deter our enemies, which is the exact opposite of what Submarines are designed for.  In the 90's with the collapse of the Soviet Union, the mission focus of submarines shifted from Attack and Deterrence to reconnaissance, which the Seawolf was ill fitted for, which was why the SSN23 boat was redesigned for that purpose.  Sadly, as part of the redesign, much of the 23 boats maneuverability, offense, and defensive capabilities were lost, or degraded.  The upgrades were ill suited for the 23 and would have been better on a Virginia class which would have a longer shelf life due to it having off the shelf parts.

Another issue with the Seawolf class is that while a optimally designed weapon, was a poorly designed Submarine.  It utilized a lot of customized support equipment, and legacy systems that were either no longer developed, or obsolete. We had a state of the art fire controls and navigation systems that was running on a backbone that was 20 years old.  Compartments were also poorly designed, with crews space split all over the ship, and lockers and wardrooms equally displaced.  They had even forgot to include a Yeoman's shack and left a big open space behind the forward fan, which could only be accessed by crawling under some headers along the bulkhead.  Our san system was particularly problematic as we couldn't fit a large enough pump to run the system.  Our A-gangers spent a lot of time cleaning crap off the pump with pop-cycle sticks.  We ended having to blow sans most days, which was left an awful smell in the air.  Of course, with blowing sans, you have to be doubly sure all valves are closed or you end up blowing sans inboard.   I remember one occasion a junior A-ganger launched our ANav off the toilet into the overhead. The laundry room was exceptionally small, leaving only enough room for a small laundry/drier for a crew of a 130, which caught fire at least 3 times a week.  The TDU room was equally small with no room to store cans, and was directly next to the enlisted mess and galley, which meant we had to leave cans in the p-way, spilling refuse into the eating and cooking area.

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