Monday, September 26, 2005

Less Silent but More Strange

William Arkin's 2005 book Code Names: DECIPHERING U.S. MILITARY PLANS, PROGRAMS AND OPERATIONS IN THE 9/11 WORLD is both curious and educational.
From “Able Ally” to “Zodiac Beauchamp,” this book identifies over 3,000 code names, detailing plans and missions which they signify.

Amazon.com's editorial review says (emphasis added): Polo Step is secret Pentagon code for classified material that is more sensitive than Top Secret. When veteran military-affairs journalist William Arkin first publicly mentioned Polo Step in a 2002 column in the Los Angeles Times, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was apparently furious and ordered an investigation into the leak. Over 1,000 officials, military personnel, and contractors were ultimately interviewed, and the investigation even had its own code name, Seven Seekers. Such is the zealousness, Arkin writes in his book Code Names, with which secrecy is protected in the 9/11 world.

Arkin supervised a staff who tracked naval nuclear weapons worldwide. Revelation of the United States' routine conveyance of nuclear weapons in violation of numerous bans on nuclear port visits contributed to a Bush administration decision in 1990 to remove tactical nuclear weapons from U.S. ships and submarines, says Code Names.

Kingfish Flip is not a name detailed heavily in Arkin's book.

As part of an announced, four-year DARPA/Navy program known as Tango Bravo (technology breakthroughs), Electric Boat will develop an external weapon-launch system that can stow, communicate with and deliver Advanced Capability torpedoes outside the pressure hull.
Space-saving is an acknowledged advantage of stowing torpedoes outboard.

Kingfish Flip may or may not involve utilizing space-station-type docking technology for the fish to swim to the submarine and stow themselves. Range and refueling requirements are unknown.

Since acccidents happen, some means to assure the torpedoes would neither sink their own sub nor be 'recovered' by an enemy would be necessary. Since the fish could not be armed until intended use, the concept does not appear advantageous for hurried situations. So what might be Kingfish Flip's advantage? For manned submarines, the concept seems too odd.

Drawings here are from Richard Beedall's Navy Matters site.

Arkin is an NBC News military analyst, consultant, and author. He has been a columnist for The Los Angeles Times and Washingtonpost.com (writing the bi-weekly “DOT.MIL” column), a Senior Fellow at the Center for Strategic Education at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in Washington, DC, and an Adjunct Professor at the School of Advanced Air and Space Studies, U.S. Air Force, Maxwell AFB, Alabama.

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