Monday, August 08, 2005

AS-28 A Russian Gaffe? A Spy Drama?

UPDATE AUG 9 Mike Hammerschlag presents more interesting facts and color to this story.
Hammerschlag mentions more than one net. That begs the obvious questions: How many nets were there and where were they made? the investigator in me shows. -Molten Eagle

Bubblehead did his usual great feat of digging up interesting facts in his MosNews Synopsis two posts directly below.

To be honest, Blind Man's Bluff honest, the Russian's have been playing close to the vest with their varying descriptions, explanations and press releases, some of which appear contradictory. That is probably standard operating procedure regarding submarine operations for any country. Countries pay handsomely for submarine stealth and want to maintain it as much as possible. Retired Admiral Bruce DeMars said: The Submarine Force is important to the defense of our national interests. It has the only truly stealthy platforms in our armed services and is the heart of our strategic nuclear deterrent. By inference, the stealth would apply to Russia, or at least Russia would hope so.

"The reason truth seems stranger than fiction is because truth's precursor is often scenario analysis; the reason submarines are mysterious is because they are useful instruments for both stealth and deceptions."

The AS-28 entanglement episode may have been:
1-An intelligence gathering ploy to learn more about foreign emergency communications, equipment availabilities or capabilities, coordination plans, reaction times, etc. I agree, this does not appear at all likely, does it? Hmmm.

2-A decoy to take the world's eyes off something Russia wanted to do elsewhere.

3-An attempt to cover up the deployment of a submarine, coastal defense system anti-tamper device (the netting) that may inadvertently have snared its own sub, AS-28.

4-Something else entirely. Which countries, including China, may be in on it?

5- The latest Russian submarine gaffe.

Will we ever hear a full and accurate report? Unlikely. We have already heard the official stories from several sides. It cannot change much now. - Molten Eagle


At 6:04 AM, Blogger troutjacki said...

As interesting as your enumeration of the possibilities are, I think Occam's Razor is applicable here. We know that the Soviet/Russian submarine force is accident prone. They screwed up plain and simple.

At 8:42 AM, Blogger Michael Hammerschlag said...

Excellent blog. I think there is no doubt, this was simple literal foul-up. Actually one can get snagged in fishing lines or cables without any fault of ones' own, if there isn't adequate visibility. My big question is WHY DID the AMERICANS STAY on the DOCK??? and who would have taken the fall, if one ROV hadn't been enough, as it almost wasn't. The chemical oxygen generators made the difference. I spent 2 years in Russia as reporter and covered this story on my blog:

At 11:24 AM, Blogger Vigilis said...

troutjacki, they screwed up alright, with inconsistent explanations. Let's say they were, all the way up to Vladimir P. embarrassed.

Michael H., let's see. How could anyone have a beef with Vladimir?
Your blog say fishing nets (plural). Was the plural intentional? How many, do you reckon? Where were they made?

Americans on the dock may have sent a subtle, but unmistakeable message in some quarters. Tom Clancy could figure that out, but he would still have to say what we must: a need for more practice, bureaucratic interference, mechanical problems, the Russians asked us to wait, there were Americans on the Brit team. Isn't it interesting. The investigator in me shows. -Molten Eagle

At 3:10 PM, Blogger troutjacki said...


If you look at every Russian technical disaster they deny, lie and obfuscate until they are forced to tell the truth. Inconsistant stories are the norm for the Russians. It is a Russian national trade.

At 3:41 PM, Blogger Vigilis said...

troutjacki, the British agree with the Russian net story. We know there is a monitoring installation there as well, right? Hammerschlag noted nets (plural). How can anyone attribute the Priz events to technical failure when we do not even know what the Priz crew had been up to?

Russia suffers economic hardship not technial incompetence. Recall how often have they bailed out the U.S. with robotic cargo ships when space shuttles could not fly to the ISS.

Finally, do you think only the Russian's struggle with their ad hoc cover up stories? Personally, I would not believe that for an instant.

At 5:57 PM, Blogger troutjacki said...


If you say so...

At 6:35 PM, Blogger Vigilis said...

troutjacki, all I say is that being open minded (a part of me certainly wants to agree with you) seems provident. Cannot go into any of it, but my better instincts are based on similar experiences.

At 2:04 AM, Blogger Michael Hammerschlag said...

Even the Brits alternated back and forth with " 1 inch steel cables" and "only fishing nets", so I believe that agreeing to the net story was conditional to allowing them to attempt rescue. Brits are far more ammenable to disinformation (remember the nuclear submarines patrolling Falklands days before they arrived in '82 war). Americans presumably said "no way", and found their wait for a ship infinite. This is only a guess, but my analysis of situation, from amount of air they had to length of time they were down (3 hours off official) have been pretty on the money.

Think about the madness of flying 3 ROV's 5000-7500 miles, only to sit impotently on the pier, and the recriminations if the Scorpio 45 broke down.

Trout is correct- the automatic tendency to lie is so ingrained in officials there that they will continue even after other officials admit the truth, leading to contradictory ping-pong reports.

At 3:40 PM, Blogger Vigilis said...

troutjacki, Molten Eagle has been out-voted in your favor! He is still open-minded, however, and as Mike H. asked, would we (the U.S.)still bother to bug the Russians?


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