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Submarine or Stealth bomber

  1. Jul 1, 2005 #1
    Which one is more technologically difficult to build, the latest stealth B-2 bomber or the latest version of Virgina class submarine?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 1, 2005 #2
    Very interesting question. I would guess a submarine, b/c of it's size.
  4. Jul 1, 2005 #3


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    yah me too... only thing really new to the b-2 is the stealth part. Subs have entire nuclear reactors on board...
  5. Jul 2, 2005 #4


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    I would have to go with the sub as well. Simply for the sheer size of the project. Also, since the sub sees incredible pressures, the majority of the welding must be done by hand and then inspected. That in and of itsself is a huge undertaking.
  6. Jul 2, 2005 #5
    Apples and oranges. Both are two totally different technologies, both equally great and complex.
  7. Jul 5, 2005 #6


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    I'll agree with the apples and oranges, but with one caveat: for the structure and the surface, the B-2 is far, far more complex than a submarine and most of the technology involved in the stealth shape was brand new, whereas the structural issues of getting a sub down to 4000 feet were worked out decades ago.

    Also, sub stealth is achieved through different means than airplane stealth (though they could be done the same way).
  8. Jul 6, 2005 #7
    apple and oranges... with planes you are trying to create a low radar profile. With subs the question of stealth boils down to platform noise. The shape of the hull/sail, minimizing cavitation on the screw, and keeping machinery noise to a tolerable level (off platform radiated acoustics) determines a subs stealth capability.
  9. Jul 6, 2005 #8
    Don't forget the sound deadening material used to cover the sub(it's as advanced as RAM on the stealth airplane) and the screw is designed to do more than minimize cavitation. The shape also has a lot to do with the acoustic profile of the sub (banded or not, number of blades, how clean it is...)

    Apples and oranges or not, I'd say Subs---having worked in one for some time---are exceedingly advanced vehicles. I might be so inclined to say they are more advanced than an aircraft. Structurally, they have to survive in a much more harsh environment. Acoustically they are on par with stealth aircraft's ability to avoid radar. From a weaponry aspect, subs carry the same or equiv weapons onboard. Now throw in a nuclear reactor, a diesel, O2 generator, desalinator plant, sonar, CO2 scrubber, living quarters, a battery, etc and it all adds up to a more advanced piece of engineering. When I say advanced I don't mean cutting edge though many subs in the US Navy are cram-packed with cutting edge technology what I mean is trying to pack everything needed to make a sub livable for a crew of 140 underwater for greater than 60 days as quietly as possible requires a lot of engineering. Moreover, from the nuclear perspective, the powerplant on a US sub is among the most over designed pieces of equipment you'll encounter. The shutdown margine on a sub far and away exceeds any commercial plant on the planet for a good reason.

    While the structural 'shape' was reworked in the 60's to the teardrop design used today the surface covering is new relatively speaking. In fact it took the US a decade to recover from espionage resulting in the Russians surpassing our ability to run quiet for a short period of time. The overall design of the B2 OTOH was designed in the 30's(if not before then). The YB-49 first flew in 47.

    Anywho, my penny goes in the Sub's hat.
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