Thursday, February 23, 2006

August Sub Entanglement Revisited

It appears my initial beliefs about a possible sub entanglement from last summer were probably incorrect.

When it was first reported that a fisherman claimed a sub got entangled on his nets, and that a nearby sub was unhelpful and that overall the Navy was secretive about any possible involvement, I mocked.

Now, however, the Navy has paid the man for the damage to his boat, although the “Navy did not give … any information about what it found during its investigation of the incident.

So, it appears that either the boat did indeed snag a sub, or that the Navy simply found it easier to pay this man to make this story go away. Either way, I still stand by the rest of my previous mocking.

Crossposted at The Discomfort of Thought

Monday, February 20, 2006

Army Guys Need Answers!

Cross-posted from The Stupid Shall Be Punished:

The guys from Castle Argghhh!!! posed a question to us bubbleheads that should pose a good challenge for us. They linked to a picture over at (re-printed below, so those who want to avoid the pop-up adds that got through my pop-up blocker can skip them) of a sub at PD, and want to know what kind of boat it is:

I said that I though it might be a Permit-class boat, due to the large fairwater planes that look to be fairly close to the top of the sail. Anyone else have any ideas? As always, the best comparison shots for U.S. boats can be found over at NavSource.

Friday, February 17, 2006

USSVI Foundation/Brotherhood Fund - Auction

Rontini's BBS is hosting the 5th annual USSVI FOUNDATION /BROTHERHOOD FUND auction running from the AM on February 18th and ending 10AM EST Mar.5th. (click on title to access auction website)

Funds from the auction are to benefit the most needy shipmates in the USSVI (United States Submarine Veterans Inc) organization through USSVI foundation's charitable arm.

There are some interesting submarine items up for auction so here are a few recommendations for some of my "Ultraquite No More blog" shipmates.

  • Bubblehead - Item 011 Eugene B. Fluckey inset Poster Print
  • Rob - Item 087 Framed photo print of WWII Fleet Boat leaving Pearl Harbor
  • bothenook - Item 059 Books "All the Drowned Sailors"-Raymond B. Lech "Weapons that Wait"-Hartman & Truver "The Rickover Effect"-Theodore Rockwell (P/B)
  • Gus Van Horn - Item 171 Etched Crystal Beer Steins
  • Alex Nunez - Item 030 Three Volume Documentary - "Pearl Harbor"
  • WillyShake - Item 210 Water Color (original) - SSN Underway
  • Vigilis - Item 152 DVDs "Crusade in Europe" 3 Episodes - Television Classics "Sea Spies" Secrets Beneath the Waves - Hosted by Robert Ballard, "Navy Seals", "A Few Good Men"
  • PigBoatSailor - Item 161 SUBMARINE CAVITATION INDICATOR - Mahogany plaque
  • MT1(SS) - Item 120 The TRIDENT Sisters (11" X 14" Color) U.S.S. GEORGIA SSBN-729 U.S.S. NEVADA SSBN-733 U.S.S. PENNSYLVANIA SSBN-735

The USSVI Creed
"To perpetuate the memory of our shipmates who gave their lives in the pursuit of their duties while serving their country. That their dedication, deeds, and supreme sacrifice be a constant source of motivation toward greater accomplishments. Pledge loyalty and patriotism to the United States Government."

Check out the auction, bid and help out our shipmates in need. - LL

Rumor and Innuendo

If you are interested to hear some speculation and rumors on changing submarine pipeline schemes, head on over to The Discomfort of Thought.

Not posted here, because, as I said, at the moment it is only scuttlebutt as far as I can tell.


Thursday, February 16, 2006

Sub News -- Staying Vigilant

(Crossposted from Unconsidered Trifles).

There's some fascinating submarine news out there, including this piece on the status of the Chinese ballistic missile submarine program [Note the provenance of the useful idiots at the Federation of American Scientists (FAS)].

Meanwhile, the Russians are taking it up a notch:

The Russian navy has approved a project to design and build a next-generation submarine with limited displacement, a Defense Ministry official said on Wednesday.

"A submarine of this class will guarantee the combat reliability of Yury Dolgoruky-class strategic nuclear-powered missile submarines and fulfill other tasks performed by multipurpose nuclear submarines," Anatoly Shlemov, head of the ministry's naval armaments department, was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying.

The displacement of this class of submarines must be 5,000 to 6, 000 tons, the official said.

Russian Navy Commander Vladimir Masorin said in January that four submarines will form the core of the Russian navy's submarine forces.

The Borei complex will be the backbone of the strategic submarine forces. A multipurpose nuclear-powered cruise missile submarine is being built. Tests of a diesel-electric submarine are nearing completion and the construction of one more submarine is planned, Masorin said.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Kilo In Drydock

Cross-posted from The Stupid Shall Be Punished:

[Intel Source: The Sub Report] One of the things submariners worry about is getting the "technical" stuff covered up when the boat goes into drydock. Back in the day, we'd always schedule our drydocking times for gaps in Soviet satellite coverage, so we'd have everything covered before the next pass. Nowadays, we're more worried about tour boats; we don't want some tourist snapping a picture of the screw, so that's always one of the first things covered.

The new openness in Russia seems to have resulted in the same problems, but it looks like they aren't quite as good at "keeping their fly zipped", as it were. From this web page (it looks like it might be a general "city information"-type page for the Black Sea Fleet) we see some cool pictures of Russian Kilo-class boats. Here's one of them in drydock, as the tour boat starts coming up the river:

Here's another view:

And here's a blow-up I made of an interesting portion of the last picture:

Neat stuff...

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Behind the 2006 QDR (a very public discussion) are very exciting submarine developments?

Posted originally at Molten Eagle

Author Joe Buff is an MIT-educated member of the Society for Risk Analysis, headquartered in McLean, VA. His interest in submarines and national security makes him a media cheerleader of sorts for submarines. The 92-page, public 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review Report was sent to Congress February 3rd, representing "a common vision of where we need to go and what we need to do," Ryan Henry, principal deputy undersecretary for policy, said.

Buff says, "2012 is much too late to first start building two new U.S. Navy fast-attacks per year." And some in Congress appear to be addressing this concern already, because, as Buff notes, "The 2006 QDR is important, yet it's only a recommendation to Congress. Congress can, and has in the past, added to or subtracted from the incumbent administration's military spending budgets."

An intended group of QDR readers is all of our potential enemies and even our pretend enemies like Hugo Chavez. They will not have a clue what changes to defense posture will actually take place from reading this document, nor will we. Moreover, there is little of submarine relevance in the QDR that had not been covered in one form or another during the past 2 years of mainstream media reporting. A word search found 4 items with less detail than already revealed elsewhere. Our enemies stay on their toes, expend their scarce defense money to learn more about us and remain increasingly reactive. They cannot learn from us (we do not know, nor should we), and even Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, had better not disclose anything either.

So what will happen? Lots of top secret, good stuff. When will we find out? Regarding submarines, perhaps not for decades.

Do we really need to build more submarines sooner? No, the new kind we need to build are still being designed. That is probably one reason for the delay (the public reason, of course, is budgetary). Much was revealed about the Seawolf class, less about the Virginia class and what is under development is totally black.

My speculation has already appeared:

As part of an announced, four-year DARPA/Navy program known as Tango Bravo (technology breakthroughs), _____ 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.

Also, there was my prediction of future need to use small, tactical submarine launched nukes.

Finally, the not so obvious advantage of reduced force size (with U.S. submarines of significantly greater flexibility and endurance) is added stealth. That could be tremendous to forward positioning in areas such as the South China Sea. It will require a radically different playing of today's submarine "shell game." Subs could eventually be deployed much longer (over a year?), rotating smaller crews and provisioning as necessary via a submerged tender (mother sub in each theatre) while SUBMERGED. Yes, it may be more practical for DSRV-type subs to ferry between the mother sub and the patrolling SSN/GN/XN. Submarines, always silent and strange.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

an ultraquiet no more exclusive

we've all bounced around the web, visiting submarine sites, posting to submarine bulletin boards. we've seen the posts about how to simulate submarine life at home and what not.

willyshakes posted a couple down where he states he's still "pulling the book" anytime he does something.

i've seen this done before, but i always come up with new things myself. so here goes...

what submarine or nuke training habits do you still have after being out of the navy?

one of mine: i've been out of the navy 25 years this month. and i still lean to the left, completely clearing my torso from above the toilet when i flush. if you've ever popped a ball valve with pressure behind it on a sanitary tank, you will understand.
caught myself doing it today, and i had to laugh. even though i recognize it as being foolish and unnecessary, i doubt that at this point i can change even if i want to.

so, any weird quirkies from your bubblehead days?

Monday, February 06, 2006

Sub Launched Anti-Aircraft System

Looks like the submarine force could eventually get another capability that has long been missing, an anti-aircraft missile system UPI - Security & Terrorism - Sub anti-aircraft missile passed test.

News also available on the NAVSEA Newswire, 5 Jan 06 AIM-9X Land Launch Demo Advances Sub Payload Capability

WASHINGTON - The Navy successfully conducted a research and development (R&D) land based test at an Army range in New Mexico, leveraging the Sidewinder AIM-9X missile, an air to air missile used on tactical fighter aircraft, to proof out critical missile adaptation features for submarine use.

The Sidewinder missile has been around for decades with earlier variants as primarily an air to air weapon.

Perhaps this test didn't work out so well and it needed to be scaled back some.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

another sea story

ever had something happen that caused your heart to lurch? that's a klog. like taking a little unauthorized time off, and bumping into the master chief. or writing a hot and steamy love letter to your girlfriend, and a get well card to your grandmother, posting them, and then finding out later that the letter to your sweetie got stuffed into the card envelope you sent to your grandma. and your girlfriend is wondering why she gets a get well card. that sort of thing.

a snippet from the post over at my blog:
here we are, steaming along at a steady 2/3 bell, waiting for the ORSE members to come aft to start drills.
i was a second class petty officer (that's an E-5 to you non navy military types) standing Engineroom Supervisor, responsible for all the mechanical watchstations, answering to the Engineering Watch Supervisor and the Engineering Officer of the Watch.
cut to Maneuvering. the sound powered phone growled, and the throttleman picked up the phone "Maneuvering" "mumble mumble" "Station calling Maneuvering, say again" "mumble mumbe"
about this time i see the drill monitors walking aft through the reactor compartment upper level, heading my way.

read the rest over there.
i know that the old seawolf wasn't the only submarine in the fleet to have something like that happen. it was a first for us, and a first for the ORSE team, but with as many submarines, and as many ORSE boards during the history of nuke submarining, i'm sure it has happened elsewhere.
anyone else with a klong story?

how to tell if you are really a nuke

here's an excerpt from a post over at my blog

an explanation of the following comment. after getting out of the nav, i worked as a nuclear shift test engineer (code 2340 for any of you poor souls that went through yard periods). that gave me access to all kinds of neat toys.
on with the excerpt

i used to keep a 3 way main steam stop bypass valve on my desk at work. i could always tell who was truly a nuke or not within seconds. if you came to my desk, saw the valve, and DIDN'T pick it up, take it apart, and put it back together while standing there talking to me, you probably weren't a nuke.
there just seems to be a natural curiosity in the breed. most of them would ignore the wooden puzzle box, but were unable to leave the valve alone.

so my question to you all is: what characteristics have you noted when dealing with nukes?

Wednesday, February 01, 2006


[Intel Source: NOSI] Once again, I'm proven prophetic (I think). Back when USS Virginia (SSN 774) left on her maiden "deployment" in September, I predicted that we'd see people claiming that they were going to the Southern Command region to spy on Venezuela. I think I might have been proven right, based on this story/blog entry in the Washington Post that says... well, I don't really know what the hell he's trying to say. Excerpt:

"Whether Latin America is Rumsfeld's host to "relatively little" terrorism activity or is a hotbed that constitutes yet again a soft underbelly of threats to the United States, the USS Virginia deployed to the Caribbean and south Atlantic waters between August and November in support of U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), the Miami-based warfighting command that covers Central America south of Mexico and all of South America.
"They don't call it the silent service for nothing, so we don't know whether the boat made us of its special operations capabilities to launch some covert raid on a FARC gathering in the Columbia jungles or an al Qaeda camp in the Brazilian jungles.
"Undoubtedly the boat collected radar and communications signals and proved its "enhanced littoral intelligence-gathering capability," carrying onboard special eavesdropping equipment configured especially for Latin American signals and targets. Did it listen in on the governments of Venezuela or Bolivia or some other special event?
"My guess is that more likely the USS Virginia "practiced." It practiced what it might do in real war because its safe deployment to Latin American waters wasn't meant to really put the new boat into harm's way, and any terrorist threat from Latin America, if there even is one, can't really be handled with a submarine anyway."

Whiskey Tango...??? The author, William M. Arkin (former director of military research for Greenpeace International), seems to be upset, but I really can't tell why. Maybe because he's written such a haphazard and confusing article. Maybe he's upset that he accepted uncritically the erroneous information put out in an article in The Day that I had dissected earlier without doing any additional research on his own. (The boat left on a 77 day deployment in September, vice a 90 day deployment in August, as Arkin says.) Maybe he's upset that our submarines conduct at-sea operations in the Western Hemisphere. He really seemed concerned that she might have "listened in" on the governments of Venezuela and Bolivia, and was upset to later learn that Bolivia is land-locked, and thus an unlikely target for submarine intelligence gathering (not that I'm saying subs gather intelligence). Maybe he's upset that he spelled "Colombia" wrong. But I think that the most likely reason of all (that he's upset), may have been that is last two paragraphs are laughably misleading:

"When the USS Virginia returned to the United States, it entered the Groton shipyard for a year of post-construction work, additional billions.
"Just this week, General Dynamics Electric Boat received lead funding for construction of the eighth, ninth and tenth Virginia class boats. That's a minimum of a cool $24 billion, a truly incredible story."

For starters, Post-Shakedown Availabilities do not cost "additional billions" -- the total for the PSA is $54.8M. The total for all 10 boats will probably be $24 billion, not for the 8th through 10th. No, the main reason Arkin should be upset is that, once again, a respected media outlet has shown that, when writing about defense issues (and submarines in particular), their writers really don't have a clue. Maybe it's time for the MSM to reconsider the advice I gave them a year ago...

Going deep...