Submarines travel underwater, but they all need oxygen. Diesel-electric submarines need it for their engines, and must surface to get it, though modern AIP (Air Independent Propulsion) supplemental systems allow one to cruise at moderate power for over a week without surfacing. Nuclear-powered submarines could cruise underwater at full power for years, of course, as their engines do not need air. Their crews, however, do. Hence Electrolytic Oxygen Generators (EOGs), which break up water molecules and keep the oxygen for use aboard ship.
Treadwell Corp’s Model 6L16 EOG was first introduced in 1965. It breaks up distilled water by passing an electric current through an electrolyte solution (30% potassium hydroxide) in 16 high-pressure cells, connected in series. This equipment can produce 150 standard cubic feet per hour of oxygen, and variants remain the primary oxygen producers aboard the USA’s SSN-688 Los Angeles Class fast attack submarines and SSBN-726 Ohio Class ballistic missile submarines. Treadwell also produces Oxygen Generation Plants (OGPs) for the new SSN-21 Seawolf Class fast attack submarines, which include OGP electrolysis modules that depend on proton exchange membranes for oxygen separation.
The US Navy is moving to upgrade both of these systems.
The Spike missile family is designed around 2 key principles: low life cycle cost, and simple but reliable operation. Low life cycle cost comes from keeping prices down for all components by using “good enough” solutions that offer high quality without gold plating. The high-end option of integrated training as part of the system is included, however, because it improves the system’s cost profile over its entire lifetime. While Spike is less capable in some ways than high-end missiles like the Javelin, it’s also far more affordable, and hence useful as a more readily available fire-support option. The 2006 Lebanon war saw guided anti-armor missiles employed as a substitute for artillery, a role in which even very old designs like the AT-3 proved highly useful.
In Spain, 2007 was the Year of the Spike. January 2007, Spain chose Spike-LR as the next-generation anti-armor missile to equip its army and marines, as the RAFAEL/ General Dynamics partnership beat MBDA’s Milan-ER and the Raytheon/Lockheed Javelin. In December 2007, Spain bookended its earlier commitment with approval for the larger Spike-ER to equip its helicopter force – and that contract is now signed and detailed…