Why did the United States disqualify its entire fleet of diesel-electric submarines?

Diesel-electric submarines to date have been extremely modern, efficient and cheap, but the US Navy has long abandoned all submarines of this type, using only nuclear submarines.

The diesel-electric submarines – is popular in many countries around the world, the characteristics of the submarines is cheap, easy to operate, the operation efficiency is not inferior to nuclear submarines – even brand more fruitful.

However, the US Navy has long since eliminated all electric – diesel submarines from service, only using nuclear submarines in the naval force.

One of the main reasons, causing the US to completely eliminate the fleet of diesel-electric submarines, is that the range of these submarines is limited, not suitable for the operation of this force. Specifically, the US Navy regularly conducts operations and shows of force, in sensitive waters around the world, far from US territorial waters.

Barbel-class submarines: last diesel-electric submarine used by US navy
Barbel-class submarines: last diesel-electric submarine used by US navy

The use of diesel-electric submarines will greatly affect this “globalization” doctrine of the US Navy, as conventional engine submarines are limited by their ability to carry fuel. Constant docking, or floating to the surface to receive supplies from a supply ship, will cause electric – diesel submarines to be exposed on their journey, losing the element of surprise.

This is considered to be the main reason why submarines using electric-diesel engines were disgraced in the US Navy service until they were completely discontinued in 1990.

Originally, electric-diesel submarines can only operate inshore, but even in this area, the US Navy does not need submarines, because the surface force and air force are too strong. Specifically, with the largest navy in the world, accompanied by the strongest air force, the best early warning capability, the use of submarines for coastal warfare, is clearly redundant for America.

However, many experts still assess that the US Navy’s use of nuclear submarines is an unnecessary excess, and even increases the risk of nuclear war in the future.

Opponents say that, although nuclear submarines are capable of operating continuously for 25 years without rest, these submarines are still limited by the amount of food reserves. Current US nuclear submarines have a maximum cruise reserve of 90 days – this is the time the entire crew on board consumes food, drinking water and medicine. After this time, the ship still needs to be refueled.

And as usual, as soon as the nuclear submarines surface to receive supplies from enemy supply ships, satellites or early warning aircraft, its position can be detected easily.

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