10 Interesting Facts About Submarines

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Submarines – Large powerful underwater vessels that can explore below our oceans surface. We rely on them for many things, yet most people seem to know so little about them. In this video we will cover 10 Interesting Facts about Submarines.

10. World’s First Military Submarine Attack

The first known military submarine was built in 1775, named ‘Turtle’. It was built and designed by American inventor David Bushnell for use against British warships. It held one person and was controlled underwater independently.

This one-man submarine, made of oak and iron bands, measured about 7.5 feet long and 6 feet wide. It was equipped with a mine that was to be attached to the hull of an enemy ship.

During the Revolutionary War, Turtle attempted to attach a time bomb to the hull of British Admiral Richard Howe’s flagship HMS “Eagle”, in New York Harbor, but the mission was unsuccesful.

9. How Long can a Submarine Stay Underwater?

There are small submarines that can be under water for a couple of hours. But there are huge submarines as well. One of the biggest submarines, ever made is a Russian Typhoon-class. They can stay under water for up to 6 months!

However, HMS Artful of the British Royal Navy can stay underwater for up to 25 years without surfacing – its nuclear reactor only needs to be serviced once per quarter-century, and the submarine can produce breathable air and water from the sea around it. The crew just has to remember to pack a LOT of supplies! The 320-foot, 7,400-tonne sub, made by British defense firm BAE Systems, displaces as much water as 65 blue whales, and can circumnavigate the world without surfacing.

8. Submarines are the USA’s Most Economy Friendly Weapon

Comprising only 1.6 percent of the Navy’s World War 2 personnel, the submarine service accounted for 55 percent of all enemy shipping destroyed, while the average cost of a U.S. submarine was only about $3 each at the time.

In contrast: The U.S. Navy’s new fleet of nuclear submarines carry an eye-watering $100 Billion price tag. The Columbia-class nuclear submarine fleet, which is currently under development, is set to enter in service in 2031 and serve until 2085. The 12 submarines, carrying 16 trident nuclear missiles each, will replace the Navy’s 14 ageing Ohio-class vessels. The Ohio fleet will be decommissioned at a rate of one vessel per year from 2027.

7. How Deep can you go in a Submarine?

For military submarines, the “test depth” (the deepest a submarine can repeatedly go) is classified. It’s generally accepted that the maximum depth (depth of implosion or collapse) is about 1.5 or 2 times deeper.

The latest open literature says that a US Los Angeles-class test depth is 450m (1,500 ft), suggesting a maximum depth of 675–900m (2,250–3,000 ft). This is a submarine with a pressure hull made of HY-80 high-tensile steel. The latest American submarine is said to be constructed of HY-100, so they can certainly go deeper.

Some Soviet/Russian submarines use Titanium (stronger, but more brittle than steel). The first one, “Project 705 Lyra class Alfa” is known to have gone to 1,000m (3,300 ft), suggesting a maximum depth of 1,500–2,000m (5,000–6,600 ft). Later classes (such as Project 945B Kondor — Sierra II) can probably go at least that deep.

The US DSRV (Deep Submergence Rescue Vehicle), built to rescue the survivors of a sunken submarine, has a test depth of 1,500m (5,000 ft), suggesting a maximum depth of 2,250–3,000m (7,500–10,000 ft).

A specially designed submersible, the US Navy’s Trieste, in 1960 went to the bottom of the deepest place on Earth, the Challenger Deep of the Mariana Trench, at 11,000m (36,000 ft or 6.8 miles). Since that is the deepest point on Earth, there is no maximum (crush) depth.

6. How Much Food Does a Submarine Carry?

Modern American submarines, feed crews three meals a day for the length of the submarine patrol, which could last weeks or even months without resupply. On fast attack subs, the food is lowered into the submarine at port by hand, one box of groceries at a time. On ballistic missile submarines, food is lowered through the escape trunk opening by crane in aluminum modules measuring 6×5 feet.

A typical list of all the packed food for a submarine trip includes:

  • – 22,000 eggs
  • – 800 pounds of butter
  • – 500 pounds of coffee

But due to space limitations, many items are baked aboard. There’s a night baker assigned to bake the bread needed for sandwiches and toast, along with dinner rolls, hamburger and hoagie buns, and all the pastries, cakes, and cookies.

5. 18-Hour Schedule

The hardest thing about living in submarines might be adjusting to the three, six-hour segment routines the crew has to endure. Crew members get six hours for sleeping, six hours on watch, and six hours for free time. This kind of segmented schedule takes some adjusting to get used to.

THE U.S. NAVY MAY BE waking up to something sleep experts have known for a long time: that people function best when they follow their natural sleep rhythms.

Shedding new light on this issue is research from the Navy laboratory in Connecticut, which examined the Navy’s practice of basing the workdays of submarine sailors on 18 hours rather than the normal 24.

This was put in place in the 1960s because the Navy felt the shorter on-duty shifts would limit fatigue. This latest study, conducted at the Naval Submarine Medical Research Laboratory, found the shorter six-hour sleep periods were having the opposite effect as sailors became fatigued every third cycle when they were working at times their bodies said they should be sleeping. The researchers found that any fatigue that came from being on duty eight hours, rather than six, was more than balanced out by the longer eight-hour sleep periods.

The thinking behind the 18-hour workday schedule was that it didn’t really matter much when submarine sailors slept, since there’s no natural light aboard a sub to distinguish between night and day. The problem with this line of thinking, however, is that people’s bodies know what time it is, even when operating in isolated environments like in a submarine at the bottom of the ocean. And when people try to sleep at a time that is out of sync with their internal “biological clocks,” or circadian rhythms, the quality of their sleep suffers as well.

4. World’s Fastest Submarine

Soviet submarine K-222

Soviet submarine K-162 was the world’s fastest submarine, being the first submarine constructed with a titanium hull. The vessel set a record submerged speed of 44.7 or about 52 mph. Her unofficial maximum speed is unknown. However, the vessel’s high speed came at a high price. It was expensive to construct and the high speeds made excessive noice and caused significant damage to the hull.

The sub was commonly referred to as the “Golden Fish”, in reference to her cost of development and construction.

3. How Often do Submarines Crash?

It has been documented that there are 2 or 3 submarine related accidents per year. The most recent one was ARA San Juan in 2017.

The vessel was a TR-1700-class diesel-electric, in service with the Argentine Navy. The submarine was built in West Germany and entered service on the  19th November in 1985. San Juan underwent a mid-life update from 2008 to 2013.

On November 15th 2017, San Juan stopped communicating during a routine patrol in the South Atlantic off the coast of Argentina. A multi-nation search operation was mounted to try to locate the submarine, which was believed to have suffered an electrical malfunction.

Within hours of San Juan’s last transmission, reports describe an acoustic anomaly consistent with an explosion, detected in the vicinity of the vessel’s last known location. On November 30, hopes of rescuing the crew alive were abandoned.

Just 15 days after San Juan went missing, the Navy declared the rescue part of the operation to be over, turning its attention to finding the submarine and not her crew. The loss of 44 crewmen constitutes the largest loss of life aboard a submarine since the Chinese submarine 361 sank on May 2003.

2. The Most Luxurious Submarine

M5 165M design, source: Migaloo

Migaloo is the first submarine-superyacht hybrid. Designed by Motion Code Blue, it is 115 meters long. One can find a swimming pool, cinema room, helipad, library, gym, laundry room, and, luxurious private lounges on it. Named after the Albino whale, Migaloo can go to a maximum depth of 240m.

1. The Best Attack Submarine in the World

The USS Seawolf (SSN-21) underway

The boats of the Seawolf class are the most advanced but also the most expensive hunter-killer submarines in the world. These submarines were intended to restore the technological edge which the US Navy had enjoyed over the Soviets from 1945 until the mid-1980s, when espionage and the cynical trading practices of some US allies somewhat eroded it.

The Seawolf class boats were intended to seek and destroy the latest Soviet ballistic missile submarines, such as Typhoon class, and latest attack submarines such as Akula class.

Initially 12 boats of the class were planned. However these advanced submarines were too pricey even for the United States to build and maintain on the post-Cold War era budget. Eventually production was stopped with only three Seawolf class submarines built. All of these boats are currently in service. The US Navy switched to much cheaper design of Virginia class attack submarines.

The Seawolf class submarines are arguably the quietest submarines in the world ever constructed. It is exceptionally quiet even at high speeds. Most submarines need to keep their speed down to as little as 5 knots to avoid detection by passive sonar arrays, while the Seawolf class are credited with being able to cruise at 20 kots and still be impossible to locate. A Seawolf at 25 knots makes less noise than an older Los Angeles class submarine tied up alongside the pier.

These boats can operate at greater depths than existing US submarines and can also operate under the polar ice cap. Also these are faster than most other submarines.

These submarines have eight 660 mm torpedo tubes. These tubes are used to launched Mk.48 torpedoes and Sub-Harpoon anti-ship missiles. Torpedo tubes are also used to launch Tomahawk land attack cruise missiles with a range of 1 700 km. A mix of 50 torpedoes, Sub Harpoons and Tomahawks can be carried.

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