- Jan 10, 2016
While relying on power provided by the AIP, a submarine's speed in usual conditions cannot be more than 5-6 knots. AIP is an auxiliary power pack - it's not a primary power source, that is still the diesel-electric engine.Navy wants three carriers. Logically it needs 6 SSN to protect these carriers. If SSN are not around, you will need conventional boats with at least two weeks underwater capability. This will not come from Scorpene.
The AIP only increases the submarine's own maximum underwater endurance so it isn't forced to surface within a set period of time. If you stay underwater for extended periods in such a submarine, the AIP will bog you down and you will not be able to keep up with the CBG (which usually moves between 15 and 30 knots speed).
So while an AIP fitment is great for increasing the submarine's own survivability factor, it does little to increase the sub's ability to escort or protect CBGs. Infact in the escort role, it has to limit the use of AIP until and unless it's going after a contact on it's own. Because if you rely on AIP - you fall behind big time.
Point is - when talking about CBG-escort, AIP or non-AIP does not make much of a difference.
P.S. You can go faster with AIP - but at the cost of severely reducing the battery's operational life and at increased risk of explosion. Not recommended.