Sunday, September 14, 2014

U.S. - Taiwan Sub Intrigue Continues ...

Background
April 2001
Then U.S. President George W. Bush decided to help Taiwan acquire 8 diesel electric submarines but there has been little progress mainly because the United States no longer produces these conventional-powered vessels.

April 21, 2006 (M.E.) prediction:  "While U.S. companies will build these subs [to Taiwan], Sweden will not sell upgraded stealth technology to foreign countries, because Sweden will provide AIP and perhaps other key hardware to Electric Boat."


Updates since 2006
March 2011
Newport News Shipbuilding, along with the shipbuilding sector of Northrop Grumman spun-off to a Huntington Ingalls Industries, a new company.  It is now possible that some or all of the building contracts will be awarded to Huntington Ingalls Industries.

June 2014
Saab finalizes the deal with ThyssenKrupp Industrial Solutions AG to buy its former Kockums subsidiary. Kockums had built Sweden's HSwMS Gotland advanced AIP sub, which the U.S. Navy leased for about 2 years during the period from 2005-2007 for use in "anti-submarine warfare exercises".  SAAB (Kockums former owner) or Germany's ThyssenKrupp Marine, if given Swedish license, may possibly provide sub systems for U.S. sub builder(s,) although this now seems somewhat less likely.

September 2014
U.S. Navy official confirms discussion of submarine deal with Taiwan
Washington, Sept. 8 (CNA) A top U.S. Navy official said Monday that he has talked to Taiwan about its efforts to acquire submarines from the United States or build submarines on its own, but he declined to give details.

During a discussion on the Asia-Pacific rebalance held by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, U.S. Chief of Naval Operations Jonathan Greenert [former commander of USS Honolulu (SSN 718)] acknowledged having a conversation with Taiwanese officials but said he could not reveal any details.

Submarines are always silent and strange.

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Monday, September 08, 2014

Hackers Outsmart Android Phone

Hackers transform a smartphone gyroscope into an always-on microphone 

Really, is that what anyone really wanted to buy?  Wasn't it bad enough when only your wallet could be picked? 

What's in your wallet ---debit and credit cards? No, perhaps you are too smart for that.  Your smart phone is encoded with credit detail making it almost impossible for digital thieves to be detected.

Perhaps you were unaware you were even carrying a gyroscope in your phone. That seems too bad.  Oh well!

Angular velocity measurement (we had such navigational devices for submarine inertial navigation long ago). Now, it has been miniaturized (and HACKED).  Not this from USS Alabama (SSBN-731), however.

Submarines are always silent and strange.

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Wednesday, September 03, 2014

The Maritime Ebola Vector


Background  (Hat Tip to Gus Van Horn for  Exactly How Dangerous Is Ebola?

Scott Holleran interviewed Dr. Amesh Adalja on the subject of the Ebola virus threat to Americans"I have very little concern that Ebola will be able to spread in a modern, industrial country like the U.S. chiefly because of the way it spreads. You really have to work to become infected--it's not like measles--and you have to be in very close contact while not wearing personal, protective equipment like gowns, gloves and masks. In a U.S. setting, a patient with Ebola would be placed under protection and we wouldn't expect it to spread. We've had eight importations, such as lassa fever, another viral hemorrhagic fever spread in the same manner as Ebola, and the Marburg [virus] is in the same family as Ebola--and we've had no secondary spread." Read it all!

Molten Eagle's Commentary

Generally speaking,Dr.Amesh can hardly be faulted for his comforting opinion.  He fails, however, to note one of the most threatening avenues for Ebola spread.

According to the CDC, the average incubation period for norovirus-associated gastroenteritis is 12 to 48 hours, with a median period of approximately 33 hours.  However, people with compromised immune systems (for example, those receiving chemotherapy or organ transplants) can spread the virus for months.

Any U.S. headline reader is familiar with the awful practices that have allowed thousands of paying cruise ship passengers to be sickened at sea by passageways of rank vomit and contagion spread by multinational food service employees (et cetera) or infected passengers.

After days at sea with a noroviruse' short incubation period, repetitive episodes of sickness still seem relatively common.  The weak link is simply in the personal hygiene habits of some crew and passengers.

Fast forward to the Ebola Hemmorhagic Fever Virus of which Dr. Amesh speaks. According to the CDC, Ebols's incubation period ranges from 2 to 21 days (overlapping a norovirus).  According to The World Health Organization (WHO) [color emphasis added]:
In 2008, 13 million passengers worldwide travelled on cruise ships. Cruise itineraries cover all continents, including areas that are not easily accessible by other means of travel. The average duration of a cruise is about 7 days, but cruise voyages can last from several hours to several months. A typical cruise ship now carries up to 3000 passengers and 1000 crew.
Molten Eagle believe's most readers can now recognize the inherent and immenint hazard of Ebola spread via the cruise ship vector.  If not, here is more.

According to the CDC's Ebola HF Health Packet: "How is Ebola hemorrhagic fever prevented?"
... [H]ealth-care providers must be able to recognize a case of Ebola HF should one appear. They must also have the capability to perform diagnostic tests and be ready to employ practical viral hemorrhagic fever isolation precautions, or barrier nursing techniques. These techniques include the wearing of protective clothing, such as masks, gloves, gowns, and goggles; the use of infection-control measures, including complete equipment sterilization; and the isolation of Ebola HF patients from contact with unprotected persons. The aim of all of these techniques is to avoid any person’s contact with the blood or secretions of any patient. If a patient with Ebola HF dies, it is equally important that direct contact with the body of the deceased patient be prevented.
Sanity check:  Where do passengers return when their cruise is completed?  Do some reside on the U.S. mainland? Planning on taking a cruise? Is your neighbor or co-worker? Already have reservations? Planning to buy stock in a cruise line?

Submarines are always silent and strange.
 


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Saturday, August 30, 2014

Answers Sub Mystery Questions of the Week (22 AUG)

Background and illustration for questions is found at original posting here.

 ANSWERS -Sub Mystery Q.O.T.W.

1 - Of continental U.S. submarine bases at Kitsap, WA, Groton, CT, and Kings Bay, GA, which is closest to North Korea?  ANS: Groton CT.  "Frankly, we're the closest to North Korea if you go under the ice." - U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT)

2-  What (two) unique naval facilities are co-sited with the 23 submarines at the Groton Naval Submarine Base?   ANS: Any two of the following -  The Naval Submarine Medical Research Laboratory (NSMRL), the Basic Enlisted Submarine School (BESS) , and the Submarine Force Library and Museum.

3- About how many staff people assigned to Submarine Group 2 are being reassigned to an admiral overseeing the Atlantic sub force from Virginia?  ANS:  Under the streamlining, the 45 people assigned to Submarine Group 2 are being reassigned, according to Lt. Timothy Hawkins, a Navy spokesman.

4- Current streamlining efforts aim to cut support staff for attack submarines based in Connecticut and Virginia by about what percent?  ANS: About 50 percent.  [ibid.]

5- How many attack submarines currently serve the U.S. Navy’s active fleet? ANS: 55.

6- The U.S. Navy's attack submarine fleet is projected to drop to about how many SSNs at its lowest point, and in what year is the low point expected? 
ANS: About 41 subs by 2028. [ibid.]

7- Obvious strategies to maintain a U.S. submarine presence in Asia include lengthening submarine patrols, building subs cheaper and faster, and relying more heavily on sub coordination with friendly Asian countries. Who are four of the friendy Asian countries?  ANS: Australia, Japan, Malaysia and South Korea.  [ibid.]

Submarines are always silent and strange.


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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Not Coincidentally

Page view statistics indicate that among Molten Eagle's most popular postings ever was 
Those 345 MPH Supercavitating Torpedoes: Did You Know?

It dealt with Russia's VA-111 supercavitating Skhval torpedo and has received regular viewings ever since 2006.  China had reportedly bought 40 from Russia in 1998.  And, we of course mentioned that the "Shkval 2" had vectored steering capability like guided missile technology, perfect for torpedoes too fast for reliable wire guidance, butlike airborne rockets quite responsive to inertial navigation guidance with directional rocket thrusts.

The next month (April 200) we noted that the highest and best potential uses of Shkval technology had probably not been for torpedo propulsion at all, but actually for Supercavitating Naval Mine Fields, or supercavitating versions of the U.S. Navy's Mark 60 CAPTOR.

Two years later, although we leaked a certain countermeasure to the Skhval torpedo menace that seems to have been completely hushed, but avid readership, much of it apparently from North Korea (spoofed from the South) has persisted.

Now, China is boasting of having overcome: (1) steering difficulties in the decades old shkval technology that allows a smidgeon of friction for rudimentary precision, and; (2) combines liquid-membrane lubricant technology with supercavitation allowing lower launch speeds (misinformation):
Chinese reportedly working on submarine that would ‘fly’ in an ‘air bubble’

There continues to be 'sub'terfuge and great secrecy on all sides of what is actually available and under development, but one thing is for certain.  China and North Korea may some day have strategically placed supercavitating (super fast) fields of directed mines, activatable by enemy sub signatures.
 
Do any M.E. readers really believe the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) had not updated the CAPTOR concept years ago, refined encapsulated torpedo activation capabilities (MK 71 TDD) and has been spoofing our own submarine signatures for enemy consumption?  We can bet that our Russian friends have been working on same.  The difference has been that China tends to steal U.S. technology while importing Russian technology.

Submarines are always silent and strange.


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Friday, August 22, 2014

Submarine Mystery Questions of the Week - 22 Aug 14

Background
Although the answers to today's submarine mystery Q.O.T.W. are quite serious, we think the topic of our first question makes it appropriate to reprint Caruso's How submarines travel so fast underwater  from October 2008's The Dirty Secret of Submarine Speed for readers who never knew:


Sub Mystery Q.O.T.W.

1 - Of continental U.S. submarine bases at Kitsap, WA, Groton, CT, and Kings Bay, GA, which is closest to North Korea?

2-  What (two) unique naval facilities are co-sited with the 23 submarines at the Groton Naval Submarine Base?

3- About how many staff people assigned to Submarine Group 2 are being reassigned to an admiral overseeing the Atlantic sub force from Virginia?

4- Current streamlining efforts aim to cut support staff for attack submarines based in Connecticut and Virginia by about what percent?

5- How many attack submarines currently serve the U.S. Navy’s active fleet?

6- The U.S. Navy's attack submarine fleet is projected to drop to about how many SSNs at its lowest point, and in what year is the low point expected? 


7- Obvious strategies to on maintain a U.S. submarine presence in Asia include lengthening submarine patrols, building subs cheaper and faster, and relying more heavily on sub coordination with friendly Asian countries. Who are four of the friendy Asian countries?

ANSWERS:  Next Friday, 29 AUG

Submarines are always silent and strange.




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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Ouch! Admiral's Candid Quote & Critique Decries Faults in India's Military Culture

"Consequently, the MoD faces huge, accumulated, problems and challenges which could take decades to resolve." -Adm. Arun Prakash (Ret'd)

Background   
A year since the tragic loss of 18 lives with India's Russian-made Kilo-class submarine INS Sindhurakshak, one of India's most decorated naval officers identifies contributing failures and surprising lessons learned.   Admiral Arun Prakash (Retd), former Chief of Naval staff (31 Jul 2004 - 31 Oct 2006) is an aviation combat veteran. Although he began his naval service in naval aviation and qualified as a pilot, he later commanded ships and was Commandant, National Defence Academy (1997-99) and Chief of Personnel at Naval Headquarters (1999-2001).  The admiral's full commentary makes worthwile and recommended reading 
"A year after submarine disaster: Have any lessons been learnt?"


Revealing Excerpts

Admiral Prakask draws striking contrasts between U.S. and Singaporean military cultures and India's...

"...I feel personally responsible for each and every one of you, as if you were my own sons and daughters. And so my only prayer is that you serve with honour and return home safely" - Former US Secretary of Defence Robert Gates addressing West Point's class of 2008.

versus this...
 "...it is notable that no functionary in our politico-bureaucratic establishment has ever felt or conveyed the kind of angst and concern for servicemen, expressed so publicly by Robert Gates. India's 100 percent civilian MoD has acquired a reputation for its lethargic and inept management of national security, but let me dwell on the Sindhurakshak tragedy to highlight a few examples of the indifference, bordering on callousness, it displays towards India's fighting men and women." - Adm Arun Prakash (Ret'd)

and this...
"Forty-seven years after acquiring its first submarine in 1967, the IN still lacks a submarine rescue vessel (SRV) which can enable the crew to escape from an incapacitated submarine without suffering the severe effects of decompression.  ...During the 2006 Fleet Review in Visakhapatnam, when president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam spent six hours underwater (coincidentally, on the Sindhurakshak), we had to ask the US Navy to provide rescue cover in case of an accident. In stark contrast, tiny Singapore, built its own SRV within a few years of acquiring its first submarine. Our MoD is either ignorant of the gravity of this lacuna or simply does not care."  - Adm Arun Prakash (Ret'd)
  
Admiral Prakash berates India's MoD as follows...

"In a Kafkaesque demonstration of languid functioning, the MoD took a full six months to float international tenders and to select a company to salvage the submarine. It was another four months before the hulk of the submarine could be raised. During this ten-month interregnum, no signs of concern, anguish or urgency were visible in South Block."    - Adm Arun Prakash (Ret'd)


Admiral Prakash questions continues reliance on equiment of Russian origin...

The service will thereafter implement remedial measures to eliminate the possibility of recurrence. 

"However, an aspect that bears the closest scrutiny and review is the continued reliance of all three services on equipment of Soviet/Russian origin. In an August 2000 mishap, which bore uncanny resemblance to the Sindhurakshak accident, the Russian nuclear submarine Kursk suffered an explosion and sank with the loss of all hands. The final report on the disaster concluded that the explosion was due to the failure of one of Kursk's hydrogen peroxide-fuelled torpedoes. The collapse of the Soviet Union dealt a severe blow to its military-industrial complex from which it has not yet recovered. The steep decline in quality control as well as poor product-support of Russian systems is being acutely felt by India's armed forces - on land, at sea and in the air." - Adm Arun Prakash (Ret'd)

*******
Submarines are always silent and strange.

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