September 2, 2014

James Holmes - A Strategy for Submarines

A Virginia class SSN looking dark and dangerous.

The Virginia class SSN, at up to 8,000 tons, is slightly longer than the Los Angeles and Seawolf SSNs but much smaller than the four SSBNs in the diagram.
James Holmes, the world's premier academic expert on submarines and Professor of Strategy at the US Naval War College has written an excellent 6 page article full of interesting insights on submarines in the September-October edition of National Interest 

Hail to the Deep: A Strategy for Submarines

[just one insight of many] "Surface vessels navigate across what amounts to a featureless plain, whereas submarines roam within a vast, three-dimensional column of water. This flexibility opens up tactical and operational vistas for submarine skippers that are unavailable to their surface brethren, whose ships lumber around in (mostly) plain sight. On the other hand, sub crews have to contend with terrain when operating in shallow water. Undersea warfare resembles land warfare in that sense. Soldiers work around mountains, valleys and defiles. Submariners must take account of the sea floor’s uneven if not shifting topography—in the near-shore environment in particular."

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