The Elementen-class submarine is the by far most common nuclear submarine design in the Marine of the Knootian Defence Force. The class comes in two distinct subtypes serving two different roles. The fast-attack (SSN) version carries heavyweight torpedoes for attacking naval vessels and missiles for attacking land-based targets and enemy shipping. It can operate either alone or as part of a Knootian Defence Force battlegroup. The strategic ballistic-missile submarine (SSBN) version on the other hand is used primarily as a powerful strategic deterrence, in accordance with Knootian nuclear policy.
On several occasions in recent history, Knootoss has sent out large fleets of Elementen-class submarines to engage in cat-and-mouse games during periods of Cold war with selected opponents. They have also been used to blockade Tanah Burung during Operation Tempo Doeloe. Prominent Elementen-class submarines include the KDF Lithium, KDF IJzer, KDF Germanium, KDF Barium and KDF Argon.
A midlife update program has been put forward by the Heraclitus Group, which would bring the Elementen class up to a state of the art standard just shy of the capabilities of the newer (and much more expensive) Vampier class.
Since the administration of Lousewies van der Zaan, nuclear power has started gradually replacing submarines with diesel-electric propulsion such as the Zeedier-class submarine. The first Elementen-class prototype, the KDF Waterstof, was commissioned in the late 1990s. Most of the naval submarines built since that time in Knootoss have been powered by nuclear fission reactors, as the use of nuclear power instead of fossil fuel enables the Elementen-class submarine to travel around the world submerged and essentially hidden for months at a time.
The boats were initially based on upscaled Zeedier class vessels, and retain from this initial planning stage their refined bow and the x-shaped control planes. Like other Knootian submarines, they have a large sail (with surface working areas) and a relatively shallow draft for their size, designed for the shallow, stormy waters of the Nordsee. In terms of detectability, the biggest innovation was the adoption of the pumpjet propulsor, which significantly reduced cavitation and acoustic transfer from the drive mechanism, greatly reducing the submarine's noise signature.
The SSBN redesign was begun near the end of the design process, and to accomodate the requirement whilst keeping to budget an extended, reconfigured hull section was designed and added in to replace the vertical cruise missile tubes with a longer, larger 'humped' casing for a new SLBM design. This allowed up to sixteen ballistic missiles to be carried, but provided little extra space for the additional crew and facilities that came with them. As such the strategic version of the Elementen class lack the refined lines of dedicated ballistic missile submarines and are notoriously cramped boats in comparison to their international peers and other submarines in the Marine.
Technical data (SSN / SSBN)
Length: 112 m / 150 m
Beam: 13.5 m
Draft: 10.5 m
Displacement: 9,500 t / 16,500 t
Complement: 80 officers and crewmen / 105 officers and crewmen
6x 28" (660mm) Torpedo Tubes (42 Torpedoes/SL ASM/UUV OR 72 Mines) (both)
32x SLCM Tubes (32 SSM) / 16x SLBM Tubes (16 SLBM)
Mounting for Lightweight SAM system on Sail (both)
Thales IB Navigation (both)
TSM 2300 Sonar Suite (both)
CC: Thales SEWACO XII combat management system. Command and Control is also to be enhanced by a follow-up to the old CAESAR system developed by Caesar SuperComputer Inc The software for the CAESAR 2.0 computer system is to feature revolutionary new capabilities (both)
Thales T20 Acoustic Intercept (both)
4x / 8x Reloadable Noisemakers.
1x 40 MW Thompson (FDI) R-12Q PWR Dampened Assembly, providing 50,000shp to a single pumpjet propulsor (both)
Performance: 24 kts (surfaced), 38 kts (submerged) / 22 kts (surfaced), 34 kts (submerged)
Range: Limited by crew endurance only (both)
Protection: Unlike the Zeedier class, the Elementen carries some hardened steel armour for protection during surface running. The class is also fitted with a triple pressure hull, second generation anechoic tiles (to significantly reduce sonar signature and noise emission), and reinforced hull bracing to help protect against underwater detonations