Price Perfection: Seawolf Multipurpose Submarine


The USS Seawolf Project (SSN-21) lead boat during construction, June 24, 1995. HAK airborne antennas are visible.


The creation of a new model of equipment with enhanced performance, superior to its predecessors, is always associated with the use of new technologies, as well as with increased costs. An excellent example of this can be considered the American program for the construction of multipurpose nuclear submarines such as Seawolf. With all its advantages, they turned out to be too expensive - and the series plans were reduced tenfold.

Spawning a New Strategy


The appearance of the Seawolf project was preceded by scientific work to analyze the current situation and the development prospects of the main fleets of the world. Analysts at the United States Navy noted that a potential adversary in the person of the USSR Navy is constantly building up its potential, and its submarine forces have come close to the US in quantitative and qualitative indicators. Accordingly, to achieve the desired balance of power to the American the fleet It was necessary to create new strategies and models of technology.

In the early eighties, the command of the Navy developed a new strategy for the development and use of the fleet, affecting including submarine forces. It envisaged maintaining the duty of the existing multi-purpose nuclear submarines at the borders of anti-submarine defense in the ocean. In addition, it was proposed to create a new submarine for active operations in areas completely controlled by the likely enemy fleet.

The need to work dangerously close to enemy ships and submarines led to the emergence of new stringent requirements. The promising nuclear submarines should have been distinguished by reduced visibility, but at the same time carry improved detection tools, as well as modern anti-ship and anti-submarine weapon.


The same submarine at sea trials, July 3, 1996

The development of the new boat started in 1983 and was conducted by General Dynamics Electric Boat. She had to master the construction of ships. The lead submarine of the new project, as well as the entire series, received the name Seawolf - in honor of one of the first nuclear submarines of the US Navy. The project was assigned to the new 4th generation nuclear submarine.

Technical excellence


At the request of the customer, the new Seawolf boats were to have several advantages over existing Los Angeles. To do this, the project had to provide for a lot of innovations of various kinds. New construction materials, advanced instruments, etc. were proposed.

The Seawolf project provided for an increase in size compared to the previous Los Angeles. The length remained at the level of 108 m, but the width increased to 12 m. The displacement of the new boat according to the initial design is more than 9,1 thousand tons. The new robust housing made of steel grade HY-100 allowed to increase the permissible immersion depth, and also had large internal volumes to accommodate the necessary tools and systems.

The power plant was based on a 6 MW S34W water-water reactor connected to two steam plants and two turbo-gear units. The main motor connected to the water-jet propulsion is responsible for the movement. When developing the latter, American engineers took advantage of the experience of British colleagues who had previously created the Trafalgar submarine project.

Using these systems, the Seawolf submarines were able to reach a top speed of 35 knots. Low noise underwater speed - at least 10 knots; at 20-25 nodes, the possibility of the full use of sonar systems remains. The range is almost unlimited.


Submarine carries a developed set of sonar products. Under the nose fairing is a spherical antenna HAC AN / BQQ-10. On the sides, three wide-aperture GAS AN / BQG-5D are provided. Due to this, the submarine is able to monitor the situation in both the front and side hemispheres. The layout and characteristics of the SAC increase possible situational awareness, leaving minimal dead zones.

The Seawolf project provided for the use of the General Electric AN / BSY-2 combat information and control system, combining all surveillance and weapon systems. Similar devices were installed on a submarine of the Los Angeles Flight III type. Integrated with modern navigation aids, the AN / BPS-16 radar system, the AN / AVLQ-4 (V) 1 electronic warfare system, periscopes and other devices for various purposes.

An interesting feature of on-board electronics has been the widespread use of internal acoustic sensors. The boat placed 600 instruments tracking its own noises. For comparison, the previous project of a multi-purpose nuclear submarine included only 7 sensors.

The armament complex included eight 660-mm torpedo tubes. They were placed on the sides of the hull, due to which it was possible to free the bow compartment under a large hull. To reduce acoustic signature, the launch of torpedoes was carried out by the so-called. self-exit - without firing with compressed air.


One of the arms control posts

The ammunition of the submarine included several types of torpedoes, sea mines, as well as UGM-109 Tomahawk and UGM-84 Harpoon missiles. The armament compartment hosts 52 missiles and / or torpedoes. The number and types of loaded weapons are determined in accordance with the assigned combat mission.

The crew of the ship consists of 140 people, including 14 officers. For them, there are common cubicles and separate cabins. Measures have been taken to increase the comfort of stay and service.

Price Characteristics


According to the initial plans, the U.S. Navy during the nineties were supposed to receive 29 new type of submarines. However, even at the design stage, it became clear that the use of new materials and technologies would lead to an unacceptable increase in the cost of the finished ship. Because of this, reduction plans began. At first, even before the start of the construction of the lead nuclear submarine, they decided to reduce the series to 12 units at a total cost of more than $ 33 billion.

On January 9, 1989, GDEB received a contract for the construction of a new nuclear submarine. The USS Seawolf (SSN-21) bookmark took place at the end of October of that year. It was planned to spend approx. 3 billion, which was the reason for criticism. For comparison, a Los Angeles-class submarine at that time cost approx. 900 million.

Already in 1990, calls were made to cancel further construction and limit themselves to one boat. However, in 1991, Congress nevertheless allocated funds for the construction of a second ship. The order for the third submarine was approved in 1992, but funding was postponed for several years.


Submarine USS Connecticut (SSN-22) during exercises in the Arctic, March 19, 2011

The construction of the head submarine was difficult and lengthy. Launching took place only in June 1995. Two years went on sea trials, and on July 19, 1997, the USS Seawolf (SSN-21) became part of the Navy. 7 years and 9 months have passed from bookmark to delivery - not a single American submarine has been built for such a long time.

The second ship, USS Connecticut (SSN-22), was ordered in May 1991 and laid in September 1992. Launching took place on September 1, 1997. The boat was handed over to the customer in December next year.

Third in a series


Only in 1995, spending on the construction of the third Seawolf nuclear submarine, the USS Jimmy Carter (SSN-23), was included in the military budget for the next year. The contract for its construction was signed in June 1996, and the laying took place at the end of 1998. A few months later an additional order appeared. Multipurpose submarines should be turned into a special submarine capable of solving special problems. Additional work increased the project cost by $ 890 million.

An additional Multi-Mission Platform compartment with a length of approx. 30 m. It provides for additional cubicles for 50 fighters, a command post, airlock, storage rooms for special equipment and equipment, etc. Also, the MMP compartment carries various remotely controlled underwater vehicles. With the help of MMP, the submarine is able to transport combat swimmers and provide their work, perform various reconnaissance and sabotage tasks.


Features of the third ship of the project, USS Jimmy Carter (SSN-23)

As a result of the installation of an additional compartment, the length of the submarine increased to 138 m, and the total displacement exceeded 12,1 thousand tons. Due to the increase in dimensions, a propeller column had to be installed in the bow of the ship. Native weapons and equipment remained in their places. At the same time, combat and special capabilities have expanded markedly.

USS Jimmy Carter (SSN-23) was launched in May 2004. In February 2005, the ship became part of the Navy. At this, the construction of the Seawolf type submarine was completed.

U-boats in the service


The lead USS Seawolf (SSN-21) went into operation in 1997 and soon set off on its first trip. Since the beginning of 1999, the second ship, the USS Connecticut (SSN-22), has entered combat service. Two multi-purpose nuclear submarines perform the tasks of searching and detecting strategic missile carriers of a potential enemy. They are also attracted to escort ship groups for various purposes.

Over the past decades, two ships have repeatedly participated in combat deployment and in various exercises. Between these activities, minor and medium repairs with docking were carried out. In general, the first two submarines of the Seawolf type became full-fledged submarine combat units and supplemented the existing Los Angeles boats. Moreover, in terms of combat effectiveness, they exceeded their predecessors by 2,5-3 times.

More interesting is the service of the third ship of the series, equipped with a special MMP compartment and related equipment. USS Jimmy Carter (SSN-23) regularly goes to sea, solves some problems and returns to base. At the same time, the Navy is in no hurry to clarify the objectives of such campaigns, and the presence of special equipment on board serves as an allusion to the special nature of the missions.


USS Jimmy Carter (SSN-23) on demagnetization, August 16, 2006

According to various sources, rumors and estimates, the submarine with the MPP compartment is used to provide special operations in remote regions. In particular, several years ago, in some publications, a secret operation was mentioned to install control equipment on the communication cables of a potential enemy. How true such reports are is unknown.

Cost-effectiveness


The aim of the Seawolf project was to create a promising multi-purpose nuclear submarine capable of effectively performing combat missions in the face of counteracting the developed enemy PLO. To do this, I had to apply a lot of new technologies, which led to an unacceptable increase in cost. The appropriateness of such expenses was in doubt, and the end of the Cold War actually put an end to the expensive shipbuilding program. The US Navy received only three Seawolf nuclear submarines, and one of them decided to rebuild for special operations.

Despite a sharp reduction in the Seawolf breakthrough construction program, the Navy needed a new multipurpose submarine. Virginia launched a new project - less bold, but cheaper. The construction of such boats began in 2000, and so far the fleet has received 18 combat units; 11 more are under construction.

In the new world that emerged after the Cold War, not only performance but also price became a decisive factor. And in terms of cost-effectiveness parameters, the Seawolf project was inferior to both previous and subsequent developments.
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  1. The comment was deleted.
  2. Fizik M April 16 2020 06: 00 New
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    +8
    An article from the category "I don’t know about - I sing about"
    Why did Mr. Ryabov decide that the low-noise speed of the “wolves” is 10 knots? "Finger-sky-ceiling"? So past!
    exactly 20 and this is quite confirmed, incl. and us, the figure
    There is NO "BIUS" on the US Navy PLA, there is an ASBU, and this is absolutely ANOTHER.
    The ratio of the superiority of SW over LA is also from the finger-to-sky category ... by!
    etc.
    1. L-39NG April 16 2020 08: 57 New
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      Not a "wolf", but a striped catfish
  3. Fizik M April 16 2020 06: 03 New
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    there is no self-exit on the Syvulfs, and there cannot be
    for the USA made a special modification of MK48 for this only in the 2000s and not for itself but for Brazil

    Americans gave up TA pneumatic firing systems back in the 60s

    etc.
  4. Operator April 16 2020 06: 46 New
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    A torpedo submarine for $ 4 billion of the 1990 model - this is how the KGB of the USSR spun the American budget for headstock laughing
    1. ccsr April 16 2020 13: 23 New
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      Quote: Operator
      A torpedo submarine for $ 4 billion of the 1990 model - this is how the KGB of the USSR spun the American budget for headstock

      The KGB has nothing to do with it, but the fact of value in the prices of those years is interesting in the article for comparison with what we built then. Well, the timing of the construction of this submarine is also impressive, because we like to criticize our shipbuilders, and at the same time they don’t know how it really happens in other countries.
      By the way, according to various estimates, our Typhoon cost about 1,5 billion rubles, which, when converted at the official exchange rate to the dollar, also came out expensive, about 2,3 billion dollars.
      1. Operator April 16 2020 15: 46 New
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        Well, you compared the cost of a strike submarine with a displacement of 9000 tons and the cost of a heavy SSBN with a displacement of 48000 tons laughing
        1. ccsr April 16 2020 18: 15 New
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          Quote: Operator
          Well, you compared the cost of a strike submarine with a displacement of 9000 tons and the cost of a heavy SSBN with a displacement of 48000 tons

          I simply compared the prices to determine the order of prices. By the way, once in the discussion of the cost of the Ural reconnaissance ship one of the local forum “experts” called it in the range of 2,5-3 billion dollars, which was ridiculed by me, but then some did not want to believe me.
          Why weapons came out cheaper here, I think you understand without me.
          1. Operator April 16 2020 20: 04 New
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            With five times the displacement and a more complex three-hull layout, the price of the Soviet SSBN was half that of the American nuclear submarine or 10 times less per ton of displacement.

            You can’t hide such a difference with any Soviet specific pricing.
            1. ccsr April 17 2020 11: 32 New
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              Quote: Operator
              You can’t hide such a difference with any Soviet specific pricing.

              How did you get that, for example, a modern fighter is ten times cheaper than a transport aircraft or Tu-160?
              By the way, there is a very interesting episode in the film about Snowden, when the exiled Tsereushnik tells him why he got into exile. The fact was that he developed a program to track terrorists, and its cost was in the range of several million dollars when it was finalized and put into operation. He reported this to the command, but there everyone let go on the brakes. And after a couple of years, the CIA paid billions of dollars to the company for the same program to the developer, and this specialist began to seek the truth why they spent such money. In general, there are also those magicians for cutting money, so do not be surprised why they spend such money on weapons. By the way, there is no linear dependence of the cost on the dimensions of the products - Formula one cars are much more expensive than any serial truck.
              1. Operator April 17 2020 11: 51 New
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                Sea Wolf and Typhoon are the same type of equipment:
                - body steel (not carbon like a car)
                - Resource YaSU (and not over-boosted engine);
                - torpedo tubes;
                - Gus.

                Plus ten times cheaper Typhoon (per ton of displacement) is additionally equipped with missile silos.

                So the car is not in the business. And the level of corruption, too - because in the armed confrontation only the full cost of the product plays a role, and what it is filled with is the problem of the party that has lost the arms race.
                1. ccsr April 17 2020 12: 13 New
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                  Quote: Operator
                  Plus ten times cheaper Typhoon (per ton of displacement) is additionally equipped with missile silos.

                  You say so, as if you know for certain that the development of the Typhoon power plant went along the line of the Ministry of Defense, and not along the line of the Minatom, for example. You should not tell me how everything was in the Soviet military-industrial complex and what initiative initiatives are, and how civilian R&D was used in military products. It’s just that in the USSR they also knew how to hide their true defense spending, and to use the best achievements of civilian industries.
        2. Shopping Mall April 17 2020 11: 11 New
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          Quote: Operator
          Well, you compared the cost of a strike submarine with a displacement of 9000 tons and the cost of a heavy SSBN with a displacement of 48000 tons laughing


          Multipurpose Ash-trees of the project 885 are more expensive than strategic Boreevs of the project 955. It is not absolutely and not always correct to compare by the displacement. When, for example, Lira made a breakthrough nuclear submarine with a liquid metal reactor, it was unlikely to be cheaper than its classmates of greater displacement.
          1. Operator April 17 2020 11: 30 New
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            Provide links to the cost of Ash and Borea.

            Lira was an innovative product for its time, due to R&D, its total cost was higher than any Pike. Now, Soviet developments in the field of nuclear reactors in iron ore and titanium alloys cost Russian manufacturers zero rubles and zero kopecks.

            And the opponents of the Russian Federation now need to invest not childishly in order to repeat the Soviet scientific and technological achievements.
            1. Shopping Mall April 17 2020 12: 08 New
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              Quote: Operator
              Provide links to the cost of Ash and Borea.


              The prices were quoted in the article: Nuclear-powered multipurpose submarine cruiser: paradigm shift https://topwar.ru/143629-atomnyy-mnogofunkcionalnyy-podvodnyy-kreyser-kak-smena-paradigmy.html

              The cost of project 885 / 885M submarines is from 30 to 47 billion rubles. (from 1 to 1,5 billion dollars), while the cost of the project 955 SSBN is about 23 billion rubles. (0,7 billion dollars). Prices at a dollar exchange rate of 32-33 rubles.


              If you need of. documents, then of course they are not. In our country, such figures are rarely voiced.
              1. Operator April 17 2020 15: 40 New
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                If you give links to yourself, then how can you be called a member of the military-industrial complex under the government of the Russian Federation? laughing
  5. Thrifty April 16 2020 07: 34 New
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    What is wrong in my comment? Remove it why? I, after all, simply asked Ryabov to give figures of the difference in the cost of submarines, or indeed, an article for the sake of taking up space on the site!
  6. AAK
    AAK April 16 2020 09: 09 New
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    “Do you hear Sea Wolf?” “No, I don’t hear,” “So I don’t hear her, but she is there” ... (C)
  7. bk0010 April 16 2020 09: 19 New
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    I read that Sivulf cost as much as 8 Elk, and here only 3 prices turn out ...
  8. Podvodnik April 16 2020 10: 40 New
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    Please enlighten, if anyone can, misunderstood, a lot of common words:

    connected to two steam plants and two turbo gear units

    What kind of two such installations is it and why do we need two turbo-gear units (TZA)? Really two lines of a shaft? Two turbines? Or two turbo generators? And where do they transmit the rotation through two MHs?

    The main electric motor is responsible for the movement,

    If there is a main electric motor, is it probably on the shaft and also low-speed? Or does he use two MHs? And where does he get energy for 35 knots of underwater travel?

    eight 660 mm torpedo tubes

    It would be interesting to know: why are such TA needed and for which weapon? Does the MK-48 have a standard size of 533 mm?

    the so-called self-exit - without firing compressed air

    About self-exit is also interesting. More specifically about the implementation. And what does the shooting with compressed air have to do with it? Even our "ancient Beasts" and those spit out the product with water. Maybe the author meant that compressed air creates additional noise during the operation of firing mechanisms?

    In general, the topic is interesting, it is a pity that little is revealed.
    An interesting photo of a demagnetization bench. We did not work on this. Maybe behind?
    1. timokhin-aa April 17 2020 13: 32 New
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      Maxim wrote above about self-exit, it’s a rut, it wasn’t there, Otto2 forms cyanides during combustion, then when they are dried, they will fall into the torpedo compartment and hello.

      Sloppy Ryabov copied the material.
  9. Lt. Air Force stock April 16 2020 11: 28 New
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    I wonder why the Sivulf has enough reactor for 34 megawatts, but we have 190?
  10. The comment was deleted.
  11. Lt. Air Force stock April 16 2020 11: 51 New
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    Quote: Podvodnik
    About self-exit is also interesting. More specifically about the implementation. And what does the shooting with compressed air have to do with it? Even our "ancient Beasts" and those spit out the product with water. Maybe the author meant that compressed air creates additional noise during the operation of firing mechanisms?

    In general, the topic is interesting, it is a pity that little is revealed.
    An interesting photo of a demagnetization bench. We did not work on this. Maybe behind?

    Self-exit is when the torpedo jet engine starts directly in the torpedo tube and the torpedo leaves the torpedo bar itself, with TA 533 the torpedo is first ejected by compressed air from the torpedo bar and then the engine is turned on and the torpedo starts moving.
  12. Eug
    Eug April 16 2020 13: 50 New
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    Submarine for active operations in the oceans,
    controlled by a likely adversary - how do I like this concept .... but just how realistic is it?
    1. SovAr238A April 17 2020 09: 02 New
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      Quote: Eug
      Submarine for active operations in the oceans,
      controlled by a likely adversary - how do I like this concept .... but just how realistic is it?


      It is real enough if your technological base is one or two technological revolutions superior to the enemy.
  13. Operator April 16 2020 15: 39 New
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    Quote: Ivanchester
    from which source

    From the outskirts of ass, of course.
  14. mvg
    mvg April 17 2020 01: 16 New
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    I recognize you, Billy! Again, in different paragraphs, identical sentences are repeated. So how do you not love your job to constantly cheat? When will this scammer be kicked out? Which can’t even copy-paste normally?
  15. Maksim_ok 1 May 2020 01: 37 New
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    These submarines were built in just three pieces due to the fact that the Union ordered a long life. The enemy took and itself disappeared. After the collapse of the USSR, all ambitious weapons programs, including the V-2 and F-22, were cut to American manufacturers on the mountain. The latter generally planned to build as many as 750 pieces. So high cost is not the main reason.