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Navy, Electric Boat Finishing Designs for Ohio Replacement Program

by Kris Osborn on January 24, 2014

4hLi1Groton, Conn. — The U.S. Navy and General Dynamics’ Electric Boat are close to finishing specifications and designs for the country’s next-generation ballistic nuclear submarine, the Ohio Replacement Program, or ORP.

The Ohio Replacement Program team is poised this year to finish up a 600-page ship specification document detailing designs and plans for the submarine, Navy and Electric Boat officials said.

“This spring, the Ohio Replacement Program will finalize the remaining few of the 161 Ship Specifications.  These specifications establish the requirements the numerous ship systems must adhere to in order to meet defined warfighting requirements,” Capt.William Brougham, ORP program manager told Military​.com in a written statement.

Slated to enter service in 2031 and serve through 2085, ORP, a so-called SSBN, is scheduled to begin construction by 2021.  Requirements work, technical specifications and early prototyping are already underway at Electric Boat locations in New London, Ct. and Quonset Point, R.I.

Consisting of three volumes, each with hundreds of pages, the ship specification documents are designed to detail the configurations, designs and technical requirements for the boat, said Brian Wilson, ORP director, Electric Boat.

“We are very much in the technology and getting the requirements set phase.  We’ll finish the ship specs this year, multi-volume documents that tell you everything about how you’re going to manage the design,” said Wilson.

The ship-specifications detail the systems, technologies and electronics as well as crew plans, design intentions and overall integration, Navy officials said.

Designed to be 560-feet– long and house 16 Trident II D5 missiles fired from 44-foot-long missile tubes, ORP will be engineered as a stealthy, high-tech nuclear deterrent able to quietly patrol the global undersea domain.

“The key thing about the SSBN is that it is out there maintaining a constant strategic deterrence,” said Wilson.  The rationale for these submarines is to guarantee a nuclear response capability in the event that an adversary launches a first attack.

Electric Boat and the Navy are also already progressing on early prototype work connecting missile tubes to portions of the hull, Wilson said.  Called integrated tube and hull forging, the effort is designed to weld parts of the boat together and assess the ability to manufacture key parts of the submarine before final integration.

“The key here is reconstituting the vendor base for missile tubes, which are 45-feet-long and weigh about 50 tons.  We integrated these tubes into two large welds at the top of the hull to produce what we call a 4-pack.  In 2017 and 2018, we will build a first-article quad pack,” said Wilson.

This manufacturing strategy is intended to be a modular, more efficient and lower cost effort compared to the previous class of Ohio submarines. The Navy is hoping to keep the cost of each ORP to below $5 billion in 2010 dollars for boats 2 through 12, service officials said.

“The early investment in development and rapid prototype and testing the integrated tube and hull is essential to reduce construction costs and to shorten the overall construction time span for both the U.S. and UK SSBN programs,” Brougham said.

In 2012, General Dynamics Electric Boat was awarded a five-year reasearch and development deal for the ORP with a value up to $1.85 billion.  The contract contains specific incentives for lowering cost and increasing manufacturing efficiency, Navy and Electric Boat officials said. The first ORP boat is slated to be operational by 2031.

With the prior Ohio-class, the manufacturing technique first worked from an empty hull cylinder and then cut holes for missile tubes, Wilson added.  The new strategy is designed to maximize efficiency and construct key elements before they are connected to an integrated boat.

The U.S. and U.K. are together immersed in a common missile compartment effort for ORP.  In fact, the U.S. and U.K. are buying parts together for the common missile compartment and working on a $770 million contract with General Dynamics’ Electric Boat.  The U.S. plans to build 12 ORPs, each with 16 missile tubes, and the U.K. plans to build four nuclear-armed ballistic submarines, each with 12 missile tubes.

The ORP is being designed with a series of next-generation technologies, many of them from the Virginia-Class attack submarine.  In particular, the ORP will utilize Virginia-class’s fly-by-wire joystick control system and large-aperture bow array sonar.

The ORP will also use Virginia-class’s next-generation communications system, antennas and mast.   For instance, what used to be a periscope is now a camera mast connected to fiber-optic cable, enabling crew members in the submarine to see images without needing to stand beneath the periscope.  This allows designers to move command and control areas to larger parts of the ship and still have access to images from the camera mast, Electric Boat and Navy officials said.

ORP is also being engineered with a new, more powerful nuclear reactor core compared with existing Ohio-class submarines, Navy and Electric Boat officials explained. This will enable a submarine to serve for as long as 42 years without needing what’s called mid-life refueling of its nuclear reactor. This is part of the reason the Navy believes it can effectively complete its mission requirements with twelve SSBN boats, Navy officials said.

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{ 67 comments… read them below or add one }

Lance January 24, 2014 at 5:26 pm

A weapon needed but is far off.

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Benjamin January 24, 2014 at 5:43 pm

I wonder how much the price will rise when the politicians start cutting the number of boats the Navy needs

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Andy January 24, 2014 at 5:49 pm

The U.S. plans to build 12 ORPs ??????we needed minimum of 30…..

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tmb2 January 24, 2014 at 8:31 pm

I think we're bound by treaty to a certain number.

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blight_ January 26, 2014 at 1:43 pm

And then we need 2x the number of SSN's to protect the SSBN's. Do you work for Electric Boat?!

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Joe January 26, 2014 at 5:09 pm

Why in the world would we need 30? We have 14 boomers in service now, 12 is a good number.

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TeXan January 24, 2014 at 5:54 pm

do we really need any of these?? maybe if germany is going to invade??

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Andy January 24, 2014 at 6:54 pm

China and Russia

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Big-Dean January 28, 2014 at 12:05 am

hey Tex, why don't we just scrap the entire DOD, after all who's going to invade a country full of dope heads like you

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Steven February 1, 2014 at 7:13 pm

seriously ?
man even the French where discussing budget cuts just before WWII
you can't let you guard down , there is ALWAYS someone waiting for it

I do agree that we don't need so many of them
I mean 16 missile tubes ? aren't 10 enough ? ( 160 missiles )

save us 10 billion and still get the deterrent we want

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Dfens January 24, 2014 at 7:12 pm

Wow, 600 pages of bs. I'll bet that's impressive. GD gets to help write the specification, most of which will be completely irrelevant when they refuse to meet in years down the line. They make money writing the specification. They make money bidding for the work. They make money doing the design. They make money dragging out the design. They make money when the program gets cancelled just before they start building the first submarine. What a wonderful world this is.

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Matthew Jacobs January 24, 2014 at 7:42 pm

You expect them to do the work for free ?

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Dfens January 25, 2014 at 11:13 pm

I expect them to make a profit commensurate with their contribution. And the fact that they make more money the more they f up offends me as a THINKING taxpayer.

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Jay January 24, 2014 at 7:12 pm

Hmmm, I'm bit confused with the article. Perhaps I missed some text, but It states the ORP is to have 12 SLBM tubes, and then states that the US and UK will both buy into the design with the US version having 16 tubes, and the UK version possessing 12 tubes respectively.

Which is it?

Given the size of the Ohio, and the size of the US deterrent stockpile, it makes sense to build an Ohio replacement with at least 16 tubes, at minimum. And 12 tubes for the UK variant makes sense for their needs.

I'd also like to see at least four hulls specifically set aside for TACTOM (or a TACTOM replacement) and Prompt Global Strike Missile, but that's a fantasy for another discussion….

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FormerDirtDart January 24, 2014 at 7:52 pm

Actually, the article initially states the ORP will "house" 12 Trident missiles. Then, that a US version would have 16 missile tube, and a UK version 12,
Neither statement is technically mutually exclusive. Perhaps the additional 4 missile tubes will be used in the same manner as those used on the Ohio SSGN boats.

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bobbymike January 27, 2014 at 5:46 pm

I think the article clearly states the US will build 12 ORPS (Ohio Replacements or entire submarines) each with 16 missile tubes (4 CMC's common missile compartments in quad pack) don't know where the confuaion is coming from?

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FormerDirtDart January 27, 2014 at 6:37 pm

The article has been edited since "Jay" and I posted comments.

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Bradford January 29, 2014 at 9:52 pm

Good to see that you're keeping the counter-intelligence folks on their toes….

WulfTheSaxon January 25, 2014 at 12:00 am

There’s an interesting debate over the necessary number of submarines/tubes over at http://blogs.fas.org/security/2013/07/ssbnx-numbe… (and the pages it links to)

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steve January 24, 2014 at 7:53 pm

we should just steal the plans of Chinese subs.

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Steven February 1, 2014 at 7:15 pm

no can do , we didn't make them yet (since they steal it from us and all)

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jeff January 24, 2014 at 10:02 pm

From all the early drawings I've seen it looks very similar to what we have now. You'd think with all the billions of dollars we are spending on this sub and the many decades since Ohio we could come up with something truly next generation and not a modified Ohio or Virginia boat.

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blight_ January 25, 2014 at 9:08 am

I hope not. We're not Rich Uncle Couture Submarine Moneybags.

Edit: Seaquest DSV is unaffordable. Dolphins not included.

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PolicyWonk January 25, 2014 at 10:01 am

The outside appearance isn't what really matters here. The hull and sail shapes are pretty well known w/r/t their efficiency and that isn't where the big changes are (though we can be certain there are some).

One of the huge changes in the ORP design is a direct electric propulsion system: there is no gearing between the reactor and propeller – the drive shaft will be connected directly to the motor. Hence – this SSBN (why the author referred to it as a "so-called" SSBN is beyond me) is going to be significantly quieter from that development alone.

There are however no plans at this time to replace the 4 Ohio-based SSGN's, and the funding for the Virginia hull extension project (to lengthen Virginia-based designs to include a lot more cruise missiles, and space for SoF's to fill that gap) was dropped by the House of Representatives.

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Greg January 27, 2014 at 10:12 am

Jeff, the Navy is working to save TAXPAYERS money by using designs and lessons-learned from the Virginia Class. What you are suggesting (next generation design) is more costly and probably not possible given the current economic and political climate.
And, of course, a submarine is a submarine. A round cylinder that is pushed through the water by an impeller. With a big enough diameter to house the ~45 foot missile tubes.

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RRGED January 24, 2014 at 11:30 pm

Sounds promising, I'd like to know how many GREMLINS we have to be concern about once it's built and launch.

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Bradford January 29, 2014 at 9:55 pm

Yeah, or that Kilroy guy….he seems to be EVERYwhere…

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Shawn January 25, 2014 at 8:10 am

I wonder how many people are in the navy let alone in the ASW command commenting here

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Jay January 25, 2014 at 11:48 am

I was in the USN. Machinist Mate 3rd class, Nuke. Steam side. CVN-72

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Big-Dean January 25, 2014 at 2:22 pm

I served on an ASW Frigate, does that count ;-D

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Viking January 25, 2014 at 10:01 am

Groton Ct not New London.

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KrazyCOL January 28, 2014 at 6:16 pm

Good Catch, I think that happened b cuz the admin offices are in New London & the shipyard is in Groton………

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Hunter76 January 25, 2014 at 11:29 am

Too bad we can't rationally examine our need for SSBNs. This is too wrapped up with politics and money– logic flees the scene.

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Jay January 25, 2014 at 12:19 pm

I'd say it's a bit difficult to discuss such a platform based entirely upon hard 1's and 0's. There are a great many factors involved when discussing a new strategic nuclear asset.

Naturally, there are the commercial, industrial, and socio-economic factors of building a new sub class. Then there are the issues with co-producing a new SSBN that will serve as a replacement for ourselves as well as an allied nation. And then finally, there are the implications involved with determining our actual needs for nuclear deterrence, compounded with the size and scope of our stockpile, the "actual" versus "imagined" threat, and the number of targets that must be "serviced" should the need arise.

We're talking about building the most devastating weapon system that exists in the whole world, potentially capable of killing hundreds of millions of people, and forever rendering civilization null and and void if it is ever ordered to do so.

Naturally, it is a system that must be built- we can argue that SSBN's alongside the other arms of the triad have maintained the peace for the last fifty years or so. But it is a truly frightening weapon system of mass destruction, that is incredibly expensive to build, operate, and maintain, the construction of which is also a major source of income and security for millions of Americans for decades to come.

In my humble opinion, it's really impossible to to remain utterly dispassionate about such an important subject.

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SJE January 26, 2014 at 12:51 pm

Agreed. It makes a lot of sense to keep SSBNs as the ultimate reserve "wildcard" in the nuclear triad, like the Brits did when the abandoned missiles and bombs.

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KrazyCOL January 28, 2014 at 6:31 pm

JAY: SAC is history, we no longer have the 24/7/365 airborne deterrent ….that was taken out by I think the START II agreement . So our "Nuclear Deterrent" are the land-based Minute Man III's (450) & the existing Trident 726 class, being replaced by the ORP. Interesting what's not said, whats on top of the D-5 isn't mentioned…… a W-88 or maybe something new?

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Nicky January 25, 2014 at 12:28 pm

I think the next Ohio class SSBN's should have the Capability to Launch Tactical Trident Missiles on top of Nuclear trident missiles.

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dr. agreeable January 25, 2014 at 3:03 pm

Do describe this "Tactical Trident Missile," would you? Without making a four-wheel-motorcycle analogy, if it's possible.

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bobbymike January 27, 2014 at 5:59 pm

I think he meant CTM's – Conventional Trident for the Prompt global Strike mission.

There has been rumors that the Mk5 LEP is accurate enough to have a silo diameter inside its 'non-explosive' crater. Fit it with a DE penetrator and pretty good conventional hard target killer.

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Riceball January 27, 2014 at 1:57 pm

You mean tactical nukes? I highly doubt that they'd do that since I don't think that we have any tactical nukes in our inventory although it should be (theoretically) possible to launch nuclear Tomahawks from their torpedo tubes but that would beg the question why since our LAs and VAs should be able to do the same thing and probably for a lot less than a boomer.

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Adrian Otap January 30, 2014 at 5:48 am

The problem with that is one of the possibility of mistaken intentions. A Trident Missile launch looks like … a Trident Missile launch, regardless of the number of MIRV's, megatonnage, payload, etc.

What happens when some antagonistic, nuclear armed nation sees a 'Tactical Trident' launch but assumes that it is the non-tactical variety? VERY BAD THINGS, that's what…

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blight_ February 3, 2014 at 2:29 pm

True, but we've had nuclear payloads for cruise missiles and aircraft for decades…this would suggest that using /any/ of these platforms would trigger a nuclear exchange predicated on the /fear/ of a nuclear attack.

The Russians have Perimeter, they'll be fine. If we hit them too hard, we won't be.

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Brad Davis February 3, 2014 at 3:19 pm

True, but the flight profile of an ICBM is very distinct and the type of missile ( nulcear or not) can not be verified in time for comfort. But the other issue here is real time strike capability. I read an report about that and though I admit I must reread it for specifics the problems with RTS include survalence of the target, verifying the target which is even a problem for drones, and the chain of comand to give the go ahead with the strike. But imho a senario serious enough for a tatical ICBM may as we'll be carried out by an real icbm anyway, if iran was minuites away from a fist strike would'nt we just nuke them? Not to meantion that the concept of a immedieate strike for anything short of a nuclear event would be foiled because the flight profile of a tatictical ICBM would require the president to notify the world that he launched them so that all the other nuclear powers don't freak out when their radars show a "warhead" overflying their countries: every launch wou,d be a serious international event. That would give time for the target to flee and the whole mission would be a bust. An tatical ICBM would also be a waste of a missile since it would only carry one conventional bomb, if we replaced all six warheads with a 2000 pounder bomb, that means that we would have to wait for six simultaneous emergency targets to get our monies worth. Also they would have to be redesigned for reentry since thermonuclear warheads use their uranium (I think its uranium, if not plutionium) as heat sheilding to save weight, but the skin of a conventional warhead was not designed to endure re entry so kt would explode before it touched the ground. We should at supersoinc and hypersonic cruise missiles as a better option in a rts situation, and that would be perfect for an SSGN

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Scrapiron January 25, 2014 at 12:40 pm

Perhaps with the Trident II D5 they won't need as many missiles to toast the enemy?

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Nicky January 25, 2014 at 1:31 pm

If we had a tactical Trident Missile, it would give us an Option for a Shock and AWE effect to the Enemy. It would allow us to hit Harden Bunkers.

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Jay January 25, 2014 at 1:34 pm

Well there are assumptions you might be making about the weapon that has an effect of over simplifying it's employment.

1. Sure, the D5 can carry more MIRVs than previous missiles- but it also may not need to be fully loaded with all 10 warheads. The NCA may only need to strike one or two targets. In such a scenario, what happens to the other 9-8 warheads? We can safely assume they aren't going to detonate at their respective aimpoints, but then we can also safely assume that they will come down somewhere. Each one is loaded with a whole bunch of toxic nastiness, and each warhead wasted would represent a massive waste of nuclear resources.

So some SLBMs do not carry all 10 warheads. I'd expect that some may be loaded with 1-3 warheads and the remaining space atop the missile to be loaded with "penaids" (penetration aids, or "decoys".)

2. In any full-blown nuclear attack scenario, the primary targets of SSBN's do not necessarily include population centers, but a very long list of strategic and tactically important military and industrial aimpoints.

That isn't to say that population centers would never be targeted, because its probable that they might be attacked to reduce the number of enemy we might face on the battlefield, or to reduce the work force our enemy has to produce weapons and war material.

But, in my mind, If I were playing the role of CINC/SECDEF, my first goal would be to strike the targets that represent the largest, most immediate threat to my own country- the enemy's bomber and ICBM bases. I'd next want to destroy the enemy's defenses, such as their SAM's and radar, so that the other arms of the triad can most reliable strike their intended targets. It's important to remember that SSBN's provide the commander with some important features, which include minimal warning time the enemy has to react to a launch, potentially destroying bombers and ICBMs on the ground.

Lastly, I might be interested in destroying the enemy's ability to fight and function, by targeting key industry, infrastructure, and populous.

I know that we have all been taught to immediately associate "nuclear warhead" to mean "city-vaporizing terror weapon" but they are much more useful than only that.

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Johnny January 26, 2014 at 12:50 am

If all you're looking to do is destroy some factories, bases and C&C facilities, what makes a nuclear warhead the go-to choice over conventional weapons? Surely that's unnecessary overkill. Therefore you're left with nuclear weapons as an effective weapon for city-vaporizing and population destruction.

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blight_ January 26, 2014 at 1:42 pm

Very true. In the old days we kept nukes because we couldn't guarantee accurate hits on small conventional targets. With more effective weapons today, theoretically conventional weapons can do more than they used to.

In /practice/, a conventional weapon lacks sufficient effects to guarantee a kill. One weapon, one base killed. Against conventional targets a warhead will take out a hangar. If a base is large and complex, let alone hardened, the number of warheads required to disable it increases exponentially. And with a realistic, limited number of warheads available to disable an entire nation-state, an conventional-only strategy might not guarantee the knock-out blow.

It is still worth trying, if only to put off the inevitable nuclear exchange. However, I suspect the power decapitated in a massive conventionals only strike will go for broke and throw nukes, which only makes it more imperative to completely annihilate a nuclear power in the first round. Which ups the ante and the stakes for war between nuclear nations.

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Bradford January 29, 2014 at 10:16 pm

Oh, my. Yes, we do need to keep pace with the technology. We need to anticipate tomorrow's threats. Etc., etc., etc…
But, politically, can't we humans get beyond the need for war? At least on any large, global scale?
Can't we all see how we have been DUPED, FOOLED, CONNED, and SCAMMED by the Global Banksters, and Global Ruling Elite?
I'm sorry, kids, but I do not now, nor will I EVER, need to "NUKE" any city or population center. Sure, I would rather have it and not need it, than need it and not have it, but I'd also rather not have it, OR need it….
I can think of lots of good uses for future subs, but killing millions, or billions of people, is just so *ARCHAIC*.
What are you people going to do if you ever *EVOLVE*?
The banal tone of "Jay" reminds me of the letters of Himmler that Die Welt just published excerpts of….
So calm, cool, logical and rational, and yet so psychotically homicidal at the same time.
What kind of world will your GREAT-grandchildren inherit?…..

Chuck Schwinger January 26, 2014 at 5:18 pm

unit cost of $5 billion/? no way. these things will end up costing $30 billion each.

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Dfens January 26, 2014 at 10:08 pm

They will cost as much as GD can possibly make them cost, and not a cent less. After all they make more profit for every dollar they can jack up the price. Your tax dollars at work.

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guest January 27, 2014 at 12:34 pm

Why not keep the old hills since they are 560 feet, gut them and put in all new equipment to run them. You can definitely save on the steel.

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Riceball January 27, 2014 at 2:43 pm

Because the hulls are only good for so long because of the constant expansion and contraction that they undergo as they dive and surface, that places a lot of stress on a sub's hull which puts a limit on their lifespan. Then there's the factor of squeezing any new components into the existing spaces within the hull, sometimes it can't be done because of the location of a component or components, other times there's just no room to squeeze in something new.

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blight_ January 27, 2014 at 2:52 pm

Lot of wear and tear, especially to stay subsafe compliant.

Wouldn't want to start losing subs left and right like the Russians.

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Hawkeye January 29, 2014 at 8:44 pm

Lots of reasons. The only thing the article says they have in common is length and appearance. Sure, they may look the same on the outside, but the WWII fighter F6F Hellcat was a totally different machine than the F4F Wildcat, even if they looked identical.

Ohio Class only has a beam of 42 feet, ORP 44-45 feet. ORP will have newer, modern technology and that includes interior and exterior. No mention was made if the two hulls have the same metallurgy, thickness of hull, etc.

You would need to determine if all the hundreds of hull penetrations are in the right place to match up with the equipment/piping on the inside..

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Rob C. January 29, 2014 at 4:17 pm

Good their coming along designing the new ships. General Dynamic been doing alot better than other Shipyards, frankly they design their ships allot better recent designs. I wonder if the Congress will allow them to add for more these ships to act as SSGN since the oldest SSBNs are current SSGNs. They seemed to do well last time. Unless the newer Block of the Virgina is suppose to become replacement for the SSGNs.

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Dave R. January 29, 2014 at 9:35 pm

I'd give just about anything to be involved in the prototype power plant construction. I can only imagine the technology advances. I wonder how much better the plants are now?

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Steven February 1, 2014 at 7:21 pm

well since nasa claim they can make a reactor the size of a suitcase that runs for 4 years , I bet the reactor can keep running long after the scrap the next generation of subs
if only the civilian market got this kinds of power plant , electricity might cost nothing

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Bradford February 1, 2014 at 7:27 pm

During the 1950's, the early civilian nuclear power industry used a cartoon character named "Reddy Kilowatt" in their magazine ads, to sell the GULLIBLE U.S. Public on "peaceful" nuke power…..
Reddy's slogan was: "Nuclear Power – it'll be TOO CHEAP TO METER!"…..
Yeah, that nuke power is DIRT CHEAP, huh….????….

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blight_ February 3, 2014 at 2:25 pm

RTG's can be even smaller, but aren't big enough for meaningful power generator.

I suspect the reactor on NR-1 is the smallest one designed for shipboard use

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JCitizen February 2, 2014 at 9:32 pm

That was what I was thinking – maybe even do a hybrid with Stirling cycle and/or fuel cell backup power. AIP is quieter than nuclear-steam powered submarine warfare – Maybe with a smaller plant, and such hybrid tech, the sonar signature will drop even more? In fact the only reason you would need the nuke plant is to make hydrogen for the fuel cell! Now that is a teaser!

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Brad Davis February 3, 2014 at 2:36 pm

I was wondering the same thing. I did a little research on rectors and fell in love with the direct cycle gas cooled reactors. They started in the 50-60s with the Air Force trying to create a nuclear powered bomber. Of the two designs the one with the best potential used a reactor to superheat the compressed air, replacing the need for fuel. The downside was that since the air came in direct contact with the reactor it left the engine radioactive, so anywhere the plane flew over would be irradiated. But the concept was adapted for power production and it took off, they made the reactor.a closed loop and replaced.atmospheric air with a.nobel gas. It was still direct cycle since the heated gas went directly to spin the turbine after leaving the core but because the gas is inert it does not absorb radiation, meaning a leak posed litttle to no contamination risk. Lower pressures inside the system meant that the steam pipes and pressure fittings could be made lighter, and the fact that the working fluid was gas also droped the weight. Sheilding could be reduced since most radiation was contained in the core and did not spread. Reduced power output when compared to PWRs and the limited secondary uses for the gas were its main drawbacks, but power production could be compensated for by adding a second core, since the reactor is so small and light they might get away with it on a sub. Its too bad politics killed it, the technology bounced arround to various countries for a few decades till it finally died in South Africa when they were willing to develop it but found no willing buyers. Perhaps the navy should look into it again, if not for subs then large surface ships like cruisers. Youtube project pluto if you're intrested and check out sciencedirect.com. It can give you a lot of detailed info on all types of reactors all other things science.

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Bill mmcs(ss)ret January 30, 2014 at 12:08 am

Man 0 Man, Would give my all to be young enough to be involved in the auxiliary equipment design, development and operation for one of those beauties. When I started out in diesels in early '60s' and boomers in '70s' I didn't imagine what was going to come along. We do need them if we are going to maintain sea lane control and an effective deterrent force.

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Brad Davis February 3, 2014 at 2:00 pm

I wonder if the new boat will have the same or at least the same type of sail as the Virginia's or will they keep the sail planes like the original Ohio's ? The Virginia type plane is not good for polar operatons right? Also I wonder if the new boats will also have the larger side scan sonar like the Seawolfs. I am surprised that there was not a big demand for direct cycle gas cooled reactors (like the one designed for project pluto) for Naval ships. They make slightly less power than PWRs but run safer and quieter than PWRs, not to mention they weigh less than half due to their lack of a secondary heating loop, uses of gas instead of water, lower operating presure and less sheilding since noble gases do not absorb radiation like water, but there must be some other reason why it was not developed. They said Trident II D5, is that out yet? What are the specs? How are we even going to test the new warhead anyway since there are so many bans on nuclear testing? Is underground testing still allowed? If that is the old missile why aren't we replacing it…unless I just answered my own question? Will the D5 work and be relevent during the life cycle of the new sub?

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Dave Hylton February 5, 2014 at 10:09 am

Mindless waste! When will it ever be enough? We can destroy the world a thousand times over and still we keep wasting money on military equipment that we don't need! Ike warned us about the Military Industrial complex but once again it falls on deaf ears!

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Brad Davis February 6, 2014 at 7:14 pm

The Ohio is old and needs to be replaced. Subs and asw gets better every year and our fleet needs to keep pace.

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