Parts of Ships
July 23, 2010 9:43 AM   Subscribe

There are lots of "how stuff works" style diagrams of the anatomy of submarines and other military seacraft on the web. Are there any books or websites with more detailed information? The nerd in me wants to know about the backup power generators and what type of cabling runs through the bulkheads.
posted by parallax7d to Technology (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I think information at that level of detail is classified.

Pretty much everything having to do with power generation in submarines is top secret. Not even most of the men who serve in subs know how that works.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 9:51 AM on July 23, 2010

I recently caught a UK TV special about the plant and workers who built the HMS Astute, and there was a segment about the secrecy surrounding anything having to deal with the power plant -- they are basically forbidden from revealing any specs such as maximum output. There were several scenes where they were filming in a large assembly area and they had to blur out portions of the screen that showed some segments of the hull under assembly. So yeah, there's a culture of secrecy there.
posted by Rhomboid at 10:01 AM on July 23, 2010

> Not even most of the men who serve in subs know how that works.

Quite the contrary, last I checked, people in nuclear subs could get rated in areas outside their specialty, even in power generation, which isn't a secret anymore. Tommy Cox, an intelligence guy (not even a sailor) did that and gained the respect of the crew. The more who know, the safer they are. (Book: Tango Charlie)

Anyway, this book is supposed to be incredible. Have fun buying it :-)

Also: Just talk to people in the Navy. You'll learn all you want to know.
posted by circular at 10:44 AM on July 23, 2010

The ultimate would be Jane's Fighting Ships, though it's really meant for military or intel professionals - the current edition costs about $1000. The good news is that I think a lot of public libraries have a copy in the reference section.
posted by smoothvirus at 10:59 AM on July 23, 2010 [1 favorite]

Friend of mine was on a nuclear sub in the Navy. He was in the engineering area, specifically nuclear power. To this day he won't describe certain things to me. (He was in the service 40 years ago) It's hard to stop him from talking about the old days, especially after a few beers. So I'm going to guess it's some kind of secret stuff and not just being a drama queen.

Although he is that too.
posted by Splunge at 11:09 AM on July 23, 2010

Sorry, I didn't mean to ask about specific details about power supplies. I meant all the hundreds of different components that make up large seacraft. Rudders, guns, everything. Nothing specific, just more specific than those 1 picture diagrams you see pointing out "this is the engine, this is the crew compartment"...
posted by parallax7d at 11:49 AM on July 23, 2010

I was in the Engineering Department on submarines. Some of that stuff is classified as high as Secret, some not. I could answer (or not) specific questions if you have any off the top of your head.

Two books I recommend about the relatively modern submarine service (since the WWII days of actually sinking enemies, that's not what submarines are for) are Blind Man's Bluff and The Silent War. Those are more about operations than construction, though.
posted by ctmf at 12:51 PM on July 23, 2010

Navy vet here - the info your looking for for submarines is mostly classified, however the Surface Warfare world isn't as discriminating. Pretty much all of the plant designs are unclassified. Here are some resources, you can explore the sites and find pretty much everything the Navy has ever published on the matter.

Navy Engineering Training

Navy Tech Manuals

The Yard - Tells the story of the building of an Arleigh Burke class Destroyer. It gives a good overview of the building process
posted by Crashback at 2:16 PM on July 23, 2010

Here's more than you would ever want to know about the WWII U.S. Fleet Submarines, straight from the training manuals:
posted by Captain Shenanigan at 2:24 PM on July 23, 2010 [1 favorite]

[here's the comments from my husband, who studies naval technology and history]

Most recent stuff would be classified.

For slightly older -- check out Norman Polma. for nuclear submarines.

but if you want to seriously geek out: check out the seamanship training manuals on the web. (Which maybe you have already found).
posted by jb at 10:01 PM on July 23, 2010

Sorry -- That's Norman Polmar on nuclear submarines.
posted by jb at 10:02 PM on July 23, 2010

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