errol, "Kicked the ass of the nuke subs." This Nuke/Conventional debate has been going on for 50 years and it will never go away, but the fact remains that a nuke can stay underwater until it runs out of food or fuel, or the -crew die of old age. It can submerge outside home port and go 30 knots to a point on station, and get there in a third of the time and get home in a third of the time. The noise factor has been looked at by the Russians, the Yanks and the Brits, and they have ALL virtually given up on conventional subs. There is not all that much difference in cost, and 6x 'Virginia's' will cost us $12 billion, and 12x 'Collins' type will cost us $24 billion. They will do the same job and last as long if not a lot longer. The USN has hers in the water for near 50 years. The Collins subs are DUDS and any sane sailor will not sail in them for less than $150,000 a year. I have read that the COOK earns more than Chief of Navy! JMO OC .......and out of the entire Royal Australian Navy they can manage only about TWO full crews for the 6x subs they have. I do not think they have ever had three crews all at the same time.