This video from the Fluctus Channel is incredibly informative and very interesting. It covers the history of the submarine as a powerful element of naval war-fighting capabilities, both as a deterrent and as an offensive weapon. The complexity of the modern submarine and the multi-faceted capabilities they possess are truly mind-boggling.
The submarine and its design entered naval history on the 11th of April, 1900. The original design elements are still a part of modern submarine design, but the advent of nuclear power and advanced weapons technologies has made them one of the most lethal delivery systems in history.
By WWI, the submarine had become a part of several of the world’s navies. Indeed, submarines revolutionized naval warfare. In WWI, the Germans used submarine technology at the great expense of the resupply efforts of the allies, particularly American supply efforts in the North Atlantic, sinking many merchant mariner supply ships and some of the warships of both Britain and the United States. They forced new tactics at sea, including larger convoys of ships sailing together and guarded by U.S. Navy and Coast Guard warships.
Today’s submarines are vastly different in size, capabilities, and almost every other way. They are, for one thing, vastly more spacious. A modern Ohio-class submarine is two football fields long, and seven stories high with a breadth equivalent to that of a three-lane highway. They are no longer driven by electric and gas power but by nuclear power. They carry hundreds of personnel and can stay at sea underwater for months, or as long as their food supplies can be stretched.
The video has a section that goes into the kinds of weapons systems that are now included in the modern submarine. The oldest weapon system involved with submarines is the torpedo. The modern torpedo is nothing like its more primitive ancestors. The technologies involved in their design and modern guidance systems make them far more accurate and deadly. They can now be used at ranges as far as 40 kilometers, and they can move through the water toward their targets at a speed of 50 knots.
The modern Ohio-class and future models have, in addition to the torpedo technologies, vastly more dangerous weapons systems, including long-range, ballistic missiles of various kinds. Some of these are conventional systems and others nuclear.
These behemoths bring new, more sophisticated, and capable technologies for “seeing” both underwater, with advanced sonar technologies, and on the surface, with their advanced visual technologies in their periscopes.
The video also covers the Navy’s ability to detect other submarines, both underwater and from the air. The eye in the skies for the Navy is provided by their four-engine P-3 Orion aircraft, which is equipped, again, with several technologies for detecting submarines underwater.
The Navy also has new ways of detecting another underwater danger to warships, that is, underwater mines. This includes remotely operated underwater vehicles that can spot mines both visually and with sonar and then send the information back to the Navy vessels from which they are launched.
The wild wizardry of warfighting technologies that have been developed for today’s militaries are truly mind-boggling. We can only hope that the immense capacities for total destruction that are in the hands of the world’s largest military powers today will serve as powerful, psychological incentives to the powers that be to never…never…use them in anger.