Monday, August 08, 2005

Meet The Brits

Crossposted from The Stupid Shall Be Punished:

Here's a good article with some quotes from the leader of the British team that rescued the AS-28, CDR Ian Riches. He included one piece of information that I'd been looking for -- what happened to the Russian ROVs:

"Cdr Riches said some Russians wanted to know why their own navy had not been able to carry out the rescue themselves.
"I know they have their own ROVs. I also know they did try and they suffered some fairly major failures in these ROVs. That is for them to investigate," he said."

It's fairly common in the more "corruption-friendly" societies for the military to report higher readiness standards for their equipment than is actually the case -- people either skim the repair money off, or want to make their boss think they're doing a good job. They make the assumption that whatever piece of equipment they're "radioing off" maintenance on won't really be needed; then, it comes back to bite them in the butt. It'll be interesting to see if word ever comes out on why the Russian ROVs weren't ready; of course, if words ever does come out, it might just be a political power-play or "CYA" from the higher ups.

The Russian press still seems to be playing the story from an "anti-leadership" angle; I know the Russian print media is a lot more independent than it was 20 years ago, but I'm wondering if they're being "prodded" in a direction that will allow Putin to force some top Navy people out:

"Only when the situation was near to critical did the navy's top brass ask for help from foreigners," the newspaper said.
"It wasn't our victory," the popular Moskovsky Komsomolets daily headlined its main story, noting with irony that the Royal Navy's Scorpio remote-controlled submersible had "sorted out the problems of the Russian fleet within a few hours".
"News that the mini-submarine was in danger broke only half a day after the accident occurred, while the wife of the vessel's captain heard later while watching local television, the government-owned Rossyskaya Gazeta newspaper said.
"Only after two days did a navy psychologist go to her home. Then "he calmed her with these words," Gazeta reported: "This is Russia - pray!"
"According to the opposition Nezavisimaya Gazeta, "it seems the submariners did not have the secret charts" marking the antenna system in which they became trapped."

Finally, we have this article from Christopher Drew, who along with Sherry Sontag is co-author of Blind Man's Bluff. These two always draw the most heated reactions from submariners, although I kind of liked how they generally portrayed the average submariner as an uber-talented superman; very accurate and perceptive on their part. Anyway, he says:

"The rescue culminated a frenzied push by several nations to free the men before time ran out. Participants said it was possible only because of intense efforts to build international cooperation after a Russian submarine, the Kursk, exploded and sank five years ago.
"They said it also took extraordinary improvisation to rush tons of equipment to an isolated site off Russia's Far East coast and disentangle the vessel as the hours ticked down.
"It wasn't the Redball Express here," Ervin said, referring to difficulties in unloading the rescue equipment at Kamchatka's antiquated air and sea ports.
"American and British officials said the main culprit in trapping the sub was a discarded fishing net. They said it was wrapped so tightly around the submarine's propeller and hull that the layers of stretched nylon appeared to be as thick as a 1 1/2-inch cable."

I expect we'll hear more as the American and especially British teams return home for more in-depth interviews.

Staying at PD...


At 10:53 AM, Blogger bothenook said...

you know, joel, i hadn't thought of the prodding by putin angle, but it makes sense. the question is, why? are these admirals too conservative? i would think in the upper circles of the military, you would want someone who is a bit conservative. not political, but responsive. in this case, i'd think conservative (or level headed, perhaps?) reticent to make wild assed changes, thinking would be welcomed except in time of big trouble. is he planning something, perhaps?
damn, i miss having a big enemey to focus on, rather than a bunch of tablecloth wearing suicidal maniacs.

At 5:20 PM, Blogger Alex Nunez said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 5:25 PM, Blogger Alex Nunez said...

Re: Christopher Drew

You mean you guys can't fly, lift cars, use The Force, or do any of the other super-powered tricks Drew led me to believe you were capable of?

This is such a letdown...


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