So How Did A Single Swedish Submarine Sink An American Aircraft Carrier…Look Here And See
So, how on earth is it possible for a Swedish diesel engine submarine to slip inside of a defensive formation of the mighty United States Navy and “sink” a $6.2 billion dollar aircraft carrier ? Some would say that is not possible, but the answer to that question is surprisingly simple.
In 2005, USS Ronald Reagan, a newly constructed $6.2 billion dollar aircraft carrier, “sank” after being hit by multiple torpedoes.
Fortunately, this did not occur in actual combat, but was simulated as part of a war game pitting a carrier task force including numerous antisubmarine escorts against HSMS Gotland, a small Swedish diesel-powered submarine displacing 1,600 tons. Yet despite making multiple attacks runs on the Reagan, the Gotland was never detected.
Submarines powered by nuclear reactors, on the other hand, do not require large air supplies to operate, and can run much more quietly for months at a time underwater—and they can swim faster while at it.
However, the two-hundred-foot-long Swedish Gotland-class submarines, introduced in 1996, were the first to employ an Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) system—in this case, the Stirling engine. A Stirling engine charges the submarine’s seventy-five-kilowatt battery using liquid oxygen.
With the Stirling, a Gotland-class submarine can remain undersea for up to two weeks sustaining an average speed of six miles per hour—or it can expend its battery power to surge up to twenty-three miles per hour. A conventional diesel engine is used for operation on the surface or while employing the snorkel.
The Stirling-powered Gotland runs more quietly than even a nuclear-powered sub, which must employ noise-producing coolant pumps in their reactors.