Warship prime contractor BAeSEMA unveiled a new concept last week for a ‘mother and daughter’ submarine package in which a nuclear-powered ‘mothership’ could transport two conventional diesel-electric-powered ‘daughter’ submarines in a so-called ‘saddlebag’ configuration.
The idea is that the three submarines would be joined for 10% of the time. The nuclear mothership would carry the conventional subs to an operational area and then release them.
The mothership could also have an operational war role once it offloaded the subs from retractable brackets on the sides of its hull.
Chris Edmonds of BAeSEMA’s design team said it is proposed that the mothership might be based on an existing ballistic missile submarine design, such as Britain’s Trident missile submarines.
The assumption is that the mothership’s hull would have a diameter of 12m, while the conventional subs which might have an air-independent propulsion system to extend endurance might notionally displace more than 1,000 tonnes.