IAFM - Ship Types - SSK
In the June 2010 Proceedings article, "The Right Submarine for Lurking in the Littorals", Milan Vego, of the Naval War College, lays out a case for a US Navy SSK. Advantages include,
- Better suited for operations in shallow, confined waters.
- Sufficient sensors and weapons for operating in these regions.
- SSNs are three to five times more expensive than SSKs.
- Less problematic to home-port SSKs abroad.
- Sufficient range and speed for operational deployments, if home-ported near their operating areas.
- Procuring and operating a common SSK with allies would show the US has "skin in the game" and demonstrate US resilience and resolve. However even if not common, home-porting SSKs with allies still demonstrates "skin in the game".
- Defending choke points and a static island doesn't require high SSN speed or range.
- Numbers matter when you have to keep up a constant rotation of picket stations.
- Replenishing wartime losses is far easier and faster with cheaper SSKs
- A large SSK buy would let us stand up aggressor boats on the east and west coast, that could routinely train task forces working up for deployments. SSNs are far too few in number to devote to this. These training opportunities could be more advanced and against seasoned aggressor sub crews.
- With large-diameter tubes on some modern SSK designs (A26), they could be used for covert MIW.
|Notional SSK Patrol Areas|
|Length:||84.0 m (275 ft 7 in)|
|Beam:||9.1 m (29 ft 10 in)|
|Draught:||8.5 m (27 ft 11 in)|
|Depth:||900 m (3,000 ft)|
|Range:||AIP endurance (est.): 6100 nautical miles (11297.2 km; 7060.75 miles) at 6.5 knots (12 km/h; 7.48 mp/h)|
|Complement:||65 (9 officers, 56 enlisted)|
A US Navy SSK would carry a mixture of large, Mk48 heavyweight torpedoes and cruise missiles and smaller diameter weapons like the Quad Pack Cruise Missile (QPCM) and Mk54 lightweight torpedo. These smaller munitions would allow it to carry more munitions. I would look seriously at incorporating a surface-to-air missile like the German IDAS, or the Raytheon AIM-9X. This would allow it to chase away or destroy those pesky ASW helicopters and maritime patrol aircraft while it snorkels.