Despite their advantages (listed in the other writeups), diesel-electric submarines suffer from two major disadvantages;

  • Extremely limited endurance - when the submarines battery runs out, it must surface and recharge. if a hunter is waiting for it, the boat is dead.
  • Very limited range -because it requires fuel tankage, there is a hard limit on how far it can roam from it's home base before it must return to refuel. Fuel limits also shorten the amount of time the boat can spend at full speed
Because of these limitations diesel-electric submarines have been referred to 'intelligent mobile minefields', deadly in their sphere, but limited in their application. All this will change if a practical air independent propulsion system is ever developed.