Wednesday, January 27, 2010

There's a reason why surface sailors call submarines 'death tubes'

Hunter-killer submarines are probably the most feared of naval vessels. A very effective submarine service recruiting poster from the 1970s featured an aircraft carrier with superimposed cross-hairs with the caption "Which end of the periscope would you rather be on?"

Then again, serving on submarines is hazardous work and it's not exactly confidence inspiring when the boat on which you serve is beset by technical problems:

Defence Minister John Faulkner has admitted major problems with Australia's $6 billion fleet of Collins Class submarines have left only two of the six vessels currently operational.

In a frank speech delivered to an international navy conference in Sydney, Senator Faulkner said there were serious problems with the submarines arising from the design and manufacturing process.

Imagine cruising around underwater in a craft you know is flawed. Every creak and groan of the hull as it compresses under increasing pressure would be a worry. It's time to junk the whole fleet and buy subs that inspire fear amongst the enemy rather than the crews that man them.


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