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Be the first to write a review About this product. Additional Product Features Dewey Edition. Show More Show Less. Any Condition Any Condition. See all 5. No ratings or reviews yet. Be the first to write a review. Best Selling in Nonfiction See all. Open Borders Inc. Early submarines used gasoline, but this quickly gave way to paraffin , then diesel, because of reduced flammability. Diesel-electric became the standard means of propulsion.

The diesel or gasoline engine and the electric motor, separated by clutches, were initially on the same shaft and drove the propeller. This allowed the engine to drive the electric motor as a generator to recharge the batteries and also propel the submarine if required. The clutch between the motor and the engine would be disengaged when the submarine dove so that the motor could be used to turn the propeller.

The motor could have more than one armature on the shaft—these would be electrically coupled in series for slow speed and in parallel for high speed known as "group down" and "group up," respectively. The principle was modified for some submarine designs in the s, particularly those of the U. This diesel-electric propulsion allowed much more flexibility; for example, the submarine could travel slowly while the engines were running at full power to recharge the batteries as quickly as possible, reducing time spent on the surface, or use its snorkel.

It was then possible to insulate the noisy diesel engines from the pressure hull, making the submarine quieter. Other power sources were attempted. Oil-fired steam turbines powered the British "K"-class submarines built during the First World War and in the following years, but these were not very successful. This was selected to give them the necessary surface speed to keep up with the British battle fleet. German Type XXI submarines attempted the application of hydrogen peroxide to provide long-term, fast air-independent propulsion, but were ultimately built with very large batteries instead.

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The results were not encouraging enough for this technique to be adopted at the time, and although the Russians deployed a class of submarines with this engine type codenamed Quebec by NATO , they were considered unsuccessful. Today several navies, notably Sweden , use air-independent propulsion boats which substitute liquid oxygen for hydrogen peroxide.

A newer development in air-independent propulsion is the use of hydrogen fuel cells , first applied in series on the German Type submarine, with nine kilowatt or two kilowatt cells. Steam power was resurrected in the s with the advent of the nuclear-powered steam turbine driving a generator. By removing the requirement for atmospheric oxygen, these submarines can remain submerged indefinitely air is recycled and fresh water is distilled from seawater. These vessels always have a small battery and diesel engine and generator installation for emergency use if the reactors have to be shut down.

Nuclear power is now used in all large submarines, but due to the high cost and large size of nuclear reactors, smaller submarines still use diesel-electric propulsion. The ratio of larger to smaller submarines depends on strategic needs; for instance, the U.

Navy operates only nuclear submarines, which is usually explained by the need for overseas operations.

Other major operators rely on a mix of nuclear submarines for strategic purposes and diesel-electric submarines for defensive needs. Most fleets have no nuclear submarines at all, due to the limited availability of nuclear power and submarine technology. Commercial submarines usually rely only on batteries, as they are never expected to operate independently of a mother ship. Toward the end of the twentieth century, some submarines, such as the British Vanguard -class, began to be fitted with pump-jet propulsors instead of propellers.

Although these are heavier, more expensive, and less efficient than a propeller, they are significantly quieter, giving an important tactical advantage. A possible propulsion system for submarines is the magnetohydrodynamic drive, or "caterpillar drive," which has no moving parts.

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It was popularized in the movie version of The Hunt for Red October , written by Tom Clancy, which portrayed it as a virtually silent system in the book, a form of propulsor was used rather than an MHD. Although some experimental surface ships have been built with this propulsion system, speeds have not been as high as expected. In addition, the noise created by bubbles, and the higher power settings that a submarine's reactor would need, mean that it is unlikely to be considered for any military purpose.

With nuclear power , submarines can remain submerged for months at a time. Diesel submarines must periodically resurface or snorkel to recharge their batteries. Most modern military submarines are able to generate oxygen for their crew by electrolysis of water. Atmosphere control equipment includes a CO 2 scrubber, which uses a catalyst to remove the gas from air and diffuse it into waste pumped overboard. A machine that uses a catalyst to convert carbon monoxide into carbon dioxide removed by the CO 2 scrubber and bonds hydrogen produced from the ship's storage battery with oxygen in the atmosphere to produce water, also found its use.

An atmosphere monitoring system samples the air from different areas of the ship for nitrogen, oxygen, hydrogen, R12 and R refrigerant, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and others. Poisonous gases are removed, and oxygen is replenished by use of an oxygen bank located in a main ballast tank.

Some heavier submarines have two oxygen bleed stations forward and aft. The oxygen in the air is sometimes kept a few percent less than atmospheric concentration to reduce fire danger. Fresh water is produced by either an evaporator or a reverse osmosis unit.

It is used for showers, sinks, cooking and cleaning. Seawater is used to flush toilets, and the resulting "black water" is stored in a sanitary tank until it is blown overboard using pressurized air or pumped overboard by using a special sanitary pump.

Armed Forces

The method for blowing sanitaries overboard is difficult to operate, and the German Type VIIC boat U was lost with casualties because of a mistake with the toilet. Water from showers and sinks is stored separately in "gray water" tanks, which are pumped overboard using the drain pump. Trash on modern large submarines is usually disposed of using a tube called a trash disposal unit TDU , where it is compacted into a galvanized steel can. At the bottom of the TDU is a large ball valve. An ice plug is set on top of the ball valve to protect it, the cans on top of the ice plug.

The top breech door is shut, and the TDU is flooded and equalized with sea pressure, the ball valve is opened and the cans fall out to the ocean floor assisted by scrap iron weights inside the cans. A typical nuclear submarine has a crew of over ; non-nuclear boats typically have less than half as many. The conditions on a submarine can be difficult because crewmembers must work in isolation for long periods of time, without contact with their families. Submarines normally maintain radio silence to avoid detection.

Operating a submarine is dangerous, even in peacetime, and many submarines have been lost in accidents. In the Royal Norwegian Navy became the first navy in the world to appoint a female submarine captain. Canada and Spain followed in permitting women to serve on military submarines. The usual reasons for barring women that are given are lack of privacy and "hot bunking" or "hot racking," a common practice on submarines where three sailors share two bunks on a rotating basis to save space.

The U.

Navy, which permits women to serve on almost every other ship in the fleet, only allows three exceptions for women being on board military submarines: 1 Female civilian technicians for a few days at most; 2 Women midshipmen on an overnight during summer training for both Navy ROTC and Naval Academy; 3 Family members for one-day dependent cruises. However, this calculation is based on the assumption of semi segregation of the female crew, possibly to the extent of structural redesign of the vessel.

Military submarines are generally divided into attack submarines, designed to operate against enemy ships—including other submarines—in a hunter-killer role, or strategic ballistic-missile submarines, designed to launch attacks on land-based targets from a position of stealth, also known as "boomers" in the United States Navy or "bombers" in the Royal Navy. The division between these classes refers to role rather than construction, and submarines designed to destroy enemy fleets from long distances with multiple nuclear missiles are similar to ballistic-missile boats in size, armament and other facilities.

Every known strategic, ballistic-missile carrying submarine SSBN operated today is nuclear powered. In regard to tactical nuclear weapons, it is widely rumored that Israel tested nuclear-capable cruise missiles from two German-built Dolphin -class submarines in May ; if so, these are likely to be operational today. Some older, Trident -class ballistic missile submarines are being converted to carry multiple conventional-warhead, "guided" Tomahawk missiles and thus become redesignated as guided-missile submarines.


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The Russian Federation also possesses several nuclear-powered submarines capable of launching SS-N anti-ship cruise missiles. Attack submarines may be divided in two general types: nuclear what the U. Nuclear powered submarines are faster and larger, and have more firepower and longer mission endurance than diesel-electrics. Depending on the submarine's overall mission, the diesel-electric submarine is sometimes more suited for shallow water or littoral operations.

To close the gap between the two very different designs several navies have started the development of air-independent propulsion boats, which are used like diesel-electric submarines with an enlarged diving period. Various specialized military submarines have also been developed in the past.

Midget submarines were used for sabotage and espionage, especially by the Japanese and British navies; five were used by Japan in its attack on Pearl Harbor. During the early years of the Cold War , radar-picket submarines such as the USS Triton were developed to provide radar coverage and direct aircraft operations at long distances ahead of other units.

Ballistic missile submarines SSBNs ; boomers in American slang carry submarine-launched ballistic missiles SLBM with nuclear warheads for attacking strategic targets such as cities or missile silos anywhere in the world. They are currently universally nuclear-powered , to provide the greatest stealth and endurance. They played an important part in Cold War mutual deterrence, as both the United States and the Soviet Union had the credible ability to conduct a retaliatory strike against the other nation in the event of a first strike.


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This was an important element of the strategy of mutual assured destruction. The first four Ohio -class vessels are now being converted to carry Tomahawk guided missiles; the remaining 14 carry Trident II missiles. The Royal Navy possess a single class of four ballistic missile submarines, the Vanguard -class. The Royal Navy's previous ballistic missile submarine class was the Resolution -class, which also consisted of four boats. The Resolution s, named after battleships to convey the fact they were the new capital ships, were decommissioned when the Vanguard s entered service in the s.

China launched its first nuclear-armed submarine in April Submarines designed for the purpose of attacking merchant ships or other warships are known as "fast attacks," "hunter-killers," "fast boats," or "fleet submarines" which terms are not synonyms; each is a different design for a different mission. They typically carry torpedoes for attacking naval vessels, and today carry cruise missiles for attacking either land-based targets or shipping. On American submarines, cruise missiles can be fired horizontally through a submarine's torpedo tubes, or, on newer vessels, via specially designed vertical launch tubes.

The former has an effect of reducing the available torpedoes a submarine can carry, while the latter requires it to be reloaded by a submarine tender or by returning to port. The Soviet Navy also developed several types of missile attack submarines SSGNs which carried a heavy load of anti-surface missiles, as their primary targets were U.

Attack submarines can use a wide variety of propulsion systems. The majority of non-nuclear submarines use the same diesel-electric combination developed early in the twentieth century; heavier types use nuclear power, and a small but growing number use fuel cells in addition to diesel-electric or some other form of air-independent propulsion such as Stirling engines. All of the attack submarines of the United States use nuclear power. Until the s, Soviet attack submarines were designed around the concept of anti-surface warfare so they tended to be fast and noisy.

Due primarily to a U.