Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Ultimate in Military Recycling

Via the AP, the U.S. Navy is turning several of it's nuclear ballistic missile submarines into conventional missile launchers and SEAL delivery vehicles.

I like the concept. As part of a disarmament treaty, the U.S. agreed to give up 4 ballistic missile submarines. Wisely, we choose not to turn them into radioactive razor blades and instead we reuse them. Most of the giant missile tubes are converted to fire conventional Tomahawk missiles. There's no technology reason why they couldn't fire nuclear tipped Tomahawks, they just wouldn't have the range and punch of a ballistic missile. With 15 of the USS Ohio's 24 missile tubes converted for Tomahawks, that's 100 Tomahawk missiles silently cruising the ocean and ready to strike at middleofnowhereistan.

Additionally, several of the huge launch tubes have been converted to allow Navy SEALs to get in and out of the submarines and give them increased flexibility over smaller attack subs. In the monster Ohio, there's more room for SEALs to work out and train. Presumably, the larger tubes make egress and ingress faster for a larger team of SEALs as well.

It's nice to see the US military recycling. Run silent, run deep.

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