Should the Navy turn to diesel-powered submarines for littoral warfare? The answer is clear, one analyst argues: stick with the larger nuclear-powered boats-but add some special gear.
Should the Navy shift back to diesel-powered submarines as it re-shapes its forces to meet the challenge of conducting military operations in coastal areas?
The debate is roiling the waters in the submarine community. The question is whether the Navy should rely on large, nuclear-propelled fast-attack and guidedmissile submarines for conducting undersea operations in littoral waters or begin acquiring smaller, diesel-powered subs to do the job. Proponents of diesel subs argue they would be able to penetrate closer to shore than the nuclear boats and would be more maneuverable, quieter, less vulnerable - and far cheaper.