Welcome to the Submarines AMA!! We will be live going into the 5th. We will be answering questions all night on the AMA. Keep em coming :)

I am your host Eric Moreno. I am a US Submarine Veteran and the founder of r/Submarines. I am bringing you an expert panel of submariners, explorers, historians, authors, researchers, pod-casters and the US submarine rescue "Falcon-1" ROV pilot. Helping me with this AMA is /u/KapitanKurt (moderator of r/Submarines and r/WarshipPorn).

The submarine world is one of the most unseen, unforgiving, classified, ground breaking and tight knit communities on the planet. We discover new life on almost every dedicated dive, explore the most dangerous places on Earth and even research the origin of life. Some of us live a life (akin to high security prisoners) hundreds of feet underwater, loaded with more firepower than all the WWII explosives combined, powered by a fission reactor, tasked with deterring species ending war... all while being endlessly hunted like an underwater trophy kill.

A vast majority of the submarine culture nurtures mis/disinformation. All aspects of the military and civilian culture have their own secrets. This AMA is dedicated to providing a means to ask questions in a manner that is safe and comfortable for all parties.

Operational security (OPSEC) is going to be maintained at the highest level to ensure the safety of everyone involved. Questions involving classified information will not be answered. I apologize before hand if your question doesn't get answered. Simple questions like "How deep can you dive?" or "How fast can you go underwater?" are usually classified. We get questioned about classified material all the time so don't hesitate to ask us anything. Everyone cleared to work with classified information is trained on how to deal with questions. The panel will answer questions as they see fit and follow any procedures required of them.


  • /u/SubAMA - David Ayer - US Veteran Sonar Tech on USS Haddo - Screen writer for U-571 - Director, Writer, Producer.... I could go on for a while. Just read his IMDB page lol
  • /u/SubResqPilot - US Submarine Rescue Team "Falcon-1" ROV Pilot
  • /u/JoshDean66 - Josh Dean - Author of "The Taking of K-129". Writer for GQ, Mens Health, PopSci, Bloomberg, Task & Purpose, and Esquire
  • /u/ScrappyPunkGreg - Greg M. Krsak - US Veteran MT2/SS - Trident D5 Strategic Weapons System, USS Kentucky (SSBN 737 GOLD) and USS Alaska (SSBN 732 BLUE)
  • /u/OceanGateInc - CEO Stockton Rush and Marketing Manager Dana Hall - OceanGate Inc. - Subaquatic Exploration - Currently testing their "Titan" submersible down to 4000 meters with the 2019 goal of taking customers to explore the Titanic.
  • /u/DavidOwen12345 - David Owen - UK Veteran Sonar Operator Mechanic and Leading Engineering Tech - HMS Tireless, ICEX04
  • /u/KingNeptune767 - Eric Moreno - US Veteran MM2/SS (Auxiliary and Weapons) USS Hampton '03-'08, ICEX04
    • Active MMC/SS (3MC) Andrew currently serving as onboard USS Asheville. I will be handling the questions for him as he inst a reddit user. He is currently undergoing a Reactor Safeguard Inspection and will be very busy. He will only answer a few questions.
  • /u/NavHistWriter12 - Iain Ballantyne - Author/Historian of "The Deadly Trade" and "Hunter Killers", Editor of WARSHIPS International Fleet Review magazine - www.WarshipsIFR.com
  • /u/Whibbler - OSINT Analyst, Researcher, and Submarine Artist Guru - www.hisutton.com, Author of "Covert Shores" and the essential "World Submarines Recognition Guide"
  • /u/Jamesonandmotorcycle - Veteran MM2/SS (Auxiliary) Fox - USS Hampton SSN 767
  • /u/Eeobroht - Norwegian Active Radio/Operations Submariner - Served on 5 Ula class submarines
  • /u/STS0924 - US Active Sonar Tech - STS2/SS Gilbert - Currently stationed on Virginia-Class USS Colorado SSN-788
  • /u/Vepr157 - Russian and Soviet submarine researcher/guru - Moderator of multiple military subreddits including r/Submarines - Currently co-writing a book with Norman Polmar on aircraft carrying submarines
  • /u/MacEast2nd - The "Submersion Podcast" dedicated to watching and reviewing every submarine movie or TV show in existence. They also keep up with the latest in submarine news and interview people from the community.

Everyone on the panel has been instructed to hold of on answering any questions until 12p EST to allow the up/down votes to filter questions.

This AMA is going to stay at 100% active until tomorrow due to the time differences. Everyone involved is scattered across 6 different time zones. The active submariners have unreliable schedules due to the nature of the job. We also have a few people taking business flights today. Some replys maybe delayed due to this. I will keep everyone up to date if I am informed of any delays.

Proof - https://imgur.com/gallery/PHxZQMy - https://imgur.com/a/kfHpTnK

Additional Proof - https://imgur.com/a/sguE54T - https://redd.it/9cnzuj

Comments: 544 • Responses: 14  • Date: 

floodcontrol23 karma

What is the most accurate film depiction of life on a submarine?

What is the hardest part of living on a military submarine?

What is the most frightening thing that has ever happened to you while in a submarine?

KingNeptune76711 karma

Down periscope is the most accurate in terms of culture. I would say the TV show Last Resort is the most accurate overall. Spoiler This scene from the first episode is my favorite scene of all time in submarines movies/TV.

The hardest part for me was the amount of work and underway time. We were working so much we had no hobbies, missed out on kids being born, couldn't schedule a vacation. With out a way to vent your stress in a constructively you just end up drinking or finding a quick way to get happiness.

We dodged an iceberg heading to the north pole. It was protruding way deeper than any of the others bergs. We did an emergency deep to dodge it. It was the only time I was legit scared and thought I could die.

gepardcv14 karma

Right now, nuclear power is a cumbersome beast, yet it is so close to perfect for submarines. Do you see it improving in the next few decades (in areas of miniaturization, efficiency, radioactive waste disposal, operational complexity, and safety), perhaps even enough for civilian use, or is it “good enough” now for naval purposes so no one cares?

ScrappyPunkGreg12 karma

or is it “good enough” now for naval purposes so no one cares?

Now you understand the U.S. Navy.

(Serious answer: It could be a lot quieter-- nuclear power is not the quietest option for a submarine.)

KingNeptune7677 karma

Water cooled reactors have to have water pumped through the system at all times to keep it cool. That noise is always there and is tracked by other submarines. I think that the navy is shooting for battery tech to be useful enough to phase out the reactor. You can only make the water cooled reactor so safe before it becomes a money pit and not cost effective. You would have to start over. Better to dump the research money into batteries because the civilian market wants them baaaaaddddd.

Interrobang2213 karma

Question for /u/Vepr157, not to pry too much but in your upcoming book will you be looking mostly at historical examples (i.e. IJN I-400 class and French Surcouf) or will you get into everything like submarine launched UAVs, the present and future, etc...?

KingNeptune7676 karma

ooooo good one.... yes yes I would like to know as well :)

iamjason1012 karma

What's the scariest/creepiest thing you've experienced below the surface?

KingNeptune76721 karma

Listening to the ice pack make noises non stop. Creeking, moaning grinding banging. An endless noise that you can hear through the hull. Reminds you over and over and over your hopeless under a thick ice sheet and your not going to emergency blow if all else fails.

lightningsnail12 karma

What was the scariest (not classified) moment you experienced on or under the sea?

KingNeptune76717 karma

I had a nub (non-qual) that made me think it was all over for a few seconds.

I was in the machinery room on watch. The MC circuits are wired to hear the engine room chatter. I heard a person yell into the MC system "STEAM LINE.." .... silence. The about 4 seconds later The guy yells again "STEAM LINE.... STEAM LINE RUPTURE".... silence again.

So at this point if that watertight door isn't watertight its about to get hot really quick..... hot enough to melt me like that scene in Indiana Jones. I'm pretty much dead. I close my eyes and wait for the steaming to commence and I hear click...click.... "All hands... the steam line rupture casuality was called away incorrectly by an unqualified individual. It was a pin hole leak. Secure from steam line rupture."

There is a reason we call nubs the scariest people on the boat. There is a reason we hold such a high value on our dolphins.

OswaldWasAFag12 karma

Lots of emphasis has been made on ocean bottom deep submergence capabilities in the last few years. I take it that some of it is related to DRAPES in the US case, but worldwide is there a race for undersea sensor networks, or maybe even submerged weapon systems?

KingNeptune76715 karma

When North Korea captured the USS Pueblo everyone found out that the US had the SOSUS system. There has been a non stop competition to gain the upper hand through the use of intelligence ever since. Sensors on the floor that listen for submarines can tell you everything you need to know. The only better way to gather that quality of intel on enemy submarines is to track/record them. That puts submariners in harms way and pulls them way from other duties. Sensors are better in almost every aspect... they are cheaper, more reliable, never have to eat and most important... they can be used to cover more area removing the fog of war. When the ARA San Juan was lost in november Argentina found out the sub imploded because of local SOSUS hydrophones. They can be used for any number of systems.

Submerged weapons systems have been around since the 70's. They are not effective because you lose ultimate control over the missile. They would be SUPER EASY to steal. They are also the most expensive to maintain because of the constant exposure to seawater. Maybe when technology progresses but right now submerged weapons are to great a liability.

musuak11 karma

for those who have a military affiliation, did you join with the desire to serve on a submarine or was it just an option you chose after?

KingNeptune76720 karma

I didnt really care. I wanted to support my country and not to be sent to Iraq or Afganistan. I thought going out to sea on a navy vessel was always inherently dangerous and it didnt really matter in the end if you were a submariner. I was sooo wrong lol. It is a totally different culture and life. Was the best thing i was ever wrong about.

BlackPacopS11 karma

Do you think military subs will become obsolete when unmanned submarine drones become more viable?

KingNeptune76712 karma

This actually gets asked a lot and everyone has a different opinion. This depends a lot on the culture and resources of said controlling government. This will not happen anytime soon because the technology is no where near what we would need. AUV's are good at going around and scanning stuff but they are not able to carry SLBM's safely. Drone tech is still in its infant phase in regards to submarines. They are still learning the basics with small ROVs.

8andahalfby1110 karma

Which unexplored deep sea locations are at the top of your list of places to go, and what do you hope to find there?

I notice a number of Navy submariners in your group. Does the navy of your country have a protocol for reporting scientific or historical finds, and have you ever had to do so?

What is your various groups' policies for encountering large life (whales, giant squid, etc)?

KingNeptune7677 karma

Anywhere near challenger deep in the Marianas trench. I think anything you found down there would be utterly amazing.

I know the USN was pushing to minimize the use of mid range sonar because it maybe killed dolphins.

OleToothless9 karma

/r/submarines AMA Questions:


  1. What is the coolest feature or piece of equipment in the Falcon that doesn't get enough attention?

  2. Does the Falcon have a test/operating depth as well as an estimated crush depth like a submarine, or just a lower never-to-exceed limit? Can you provide figures for that?

  3. Since the C-5 pilot in Red Star Rising believes that the DSRV they load onto his plane is a "ship", how do you feel about calling the Falcon a boat vs a ship vs a vessel, etc?

  4. Do you ever get scared inside of the Falcon? I remember reading about the Trieste dives and wondering to myself what those guys were thinking on the first deep dives... That, and what kind of motivation would spur a man to jump in a metal ball attached to a giant gasoline-filled baloon just to go look at mud and some ugly little fish.

  5. I know you really can't see much below a couple hundred meters even with lights, but what's the strangest or most interesting thing you've seen on a dive?

/u/MacEast2nd Submersion Podcast Team:

  1. What's the best submarine movie of all time and why is it Down Periscope?

  2. Outside of the usual suspects, what are some of the better submarine books?

  3. How's your morse? Mine is pretty rusty. ...-- -.... -.. -.. / ..--- ..... / ...-- ....-

/u/NavHistWriter12 Iain Ballantyne:

  1. Sell me on your book "The Deadly Trade" - what was the greatest innovation in submarine warfare in the last 100 years aside from nuclear power and moving to an Albacore-esque shape?

  2. Sell me on your book pt. 2 - what's your favorite little-known tidbit of submarine history or submarine story?

  3. In your opinion, who was the greatest submarine captain/commander of all time?

/u/OceanGateInc Stockton Rush:

  1. Can I drive the Cyclops? Had to ask.

  2. What are your thoughts on the prospects of the public-private partnership in the realms of the deep seas, specifically in comparison to the huge success in the last decade of space launch partnerships?

  3. Aside from the obvious problems inherent with the extreme pressures experienced by your submersibles, what was the most difficult engineering challenge?

  4. What about the most unexpected engineering challenge?

  5. What are your thoughts on the future of manned deep sea exploration/exploitation? Do you expect all or almost all large and deep-diving submersibles of the future to be unmanned?

/u/JoshDean66 Josh Dean:

  1. Going straight for the important questions here... Do you know how much of K-129 they actually recovered and just couldn't say so in the book? Come on, you can tell us here, we're all friends.

  2. Confession - I haven't read you book yet but it is on my Amazon list, so I apologize if the answer to this question is in there. In '86 the Soviets lost yet another submarine, the K-219 in the middle of the Atlantic. Supposedly in '88 when they went to check on the sunken vessel, the Soviets discovered that the nuclear-tipped missiles it carried where gone. Do you have facts or an opinion on what happened to the weapons of K-219? Did they simply tumble out of the broken and battered boat, or did Clementine have a younger sister that was a little bit better at the grabby-grabby task?

/u/whibbler HI Sutton:

  1. Of all the drawings you have created over the years, which one are you the least certain of in terms of accuracy to the genuine article?

  2. Of all the drawings, which were your favorite and least favorite ones to work on?

  3. Which submarine class do you find to be the most aesthetically pleasing?

  4. Have you ever considered doing reactor plant illustrations inside of the submarines you draw? Have you not done so because of a lack of reference material, you think it could get you in some kind of trouble, or a little of column a, little of column b?


  1. Where the hell do you get your pictures??? I'm at the point where I've just downloaded your imgur albums as I rarely find any photos that aren't already in one of them. Exception being, Chinese boats. Do you have an album for them?

  2. On the note of Chinese boats, I really enjoy reading your comments comparing the development and capabilities of US and USSR subs. Have you ever put thought into how PLAN subs stack up to the Russian boats they are largely based upon?

  3. What's Mr. Polmar like in person? I've got several of his books and have seen many of his lectures, always very informative. Is he as much of an amenable nerd in person or just when he's working?

  4. Given your knowledge of modern DE/AIP subs, what class(es) are the most capable and/or show the most promise for future improvement?

/u/KingNeptune767 Thanks for putting this on, I've been looking forward to it since it was announced.

KingNeptune7678 karma

That's how you AMA my friends :) No problem my friend I'm glad to have made your day u/oletoothless

BlackPacopS9 karma

If you could change something about the life on board a sub, what would it be?

ScrappyPunkGreg20 karma

Better leaders, especially in middle management-- personal biases are a real thing, and some people just have no business being in a position of power. Additionally, senior leadership needs to be aware of how their middle managers are performing, and they sometimes are not as aware as they could be.

KingNeptune76712 karma

I think the lack of real leaders is due to attrition. We are running so thin that we mainly keep the people who have to stay in. We all know those individuals are usually screw ups and cant make it on their own.

If we can figure out how to keep E-5 and E-6's we will really start fixing this problem. Fix it from the ground up.

KingNeptune76712 karma

We need to stop running our fleet so thin. These guys/gals are consistently exhausted and burned out, suicide rates are sky high, everyone drinks or smokes to get a quick happiness fix, and no upper management is working to really fix the root cause. They do just enough to quite everyone down by fixing symptoms and not providing real root cause solutions.

Here is my question to the Active/veteran US submariners... If you wanted to find out how many hours you worked this week how would you do that? Does your boat record hours worked accurately? I've never heard Yes to that question. We don't even try to gather the most basic data to see if were fixing the issue. Converting from a 18 hour to a 24 hour work day is just a start. Good job treating us like humans again... it still doesn't fix any root causes.

BlackPacopS8 karma

Is it very different when patrolling different seas/oceans?

KingNeptune76714 karma

Very different. Thermal layers are completely different and sometimes non existent. This causes the crew to operate differently because the layer hides them from surface ships.

While we were traveling to the north pole the water temp dropped to below 30. This was causing everything exposed to seawater to freeze. Every seawater pump was covered in ice. The boats are designed very well for the ice and rarely have problems.

When the soviets sent the 4 foxtrot submarines across the GUIK gap during the Cuban missile crisis they started to develop issues. Soviet submarines were not really designed to operate in hot waters. They were designed to operate mainly in the far north/arctic area. The closer they got to Cuba the worse it got. It was one of the main reasons along with the depth charges that caused the 3 of them to surface.

fredzannarbor6 karma

What are your thoughts on the best countermeasures against the Russian KANYON Status-6 "nuclear death torpedo"?

KingNeptune7676 karma

I honestly think both sides are bluffing each other and neither have anything actually working.

There is no concrete evidence that the Status-6 weapon works. If the Russians had this thing operational they would be showing off way more than a big grey tube with fins that move up and down and a slow propeller. All the info out there is shitty computer graphics, "Stolen Intelligence", and this video. They could have at least removed the people from the video so we could think the reactor is critical.

I think a hard kill countermeasure for status-6 is feasible.... if our IUSS system is sensitive enough to track it early in the launch. We would need so much intelligence that it seems impossible to stop more than one.