Thursday, March 30, 2006

Those 345 MPH Supercavitating Torpedoes: Did You Know?

UPDATE: July-10-2008 - Related posting about cutting edge research: What If ...? .

The Peoples Republic of China reportedly bought 40 Shkval rocket torpedoes from Kazakhstan.[71] in 1998. An improved version of the Shkval may be capable of a 300 knots speed (345 mph). [70] France, the U.S., and Germany have also undertaken supercavitating torpedo development.

With a range of at least 3 to 4 miles, Shkval torpedoes reduce reaction times to travel that distance from 3 minutes to perhaps 40 seconds. The swiftest traditional undersea technologies, in contrast, are limited to a maximum of about 80 mph. Scientific American published an article Warp Drive Underwater in 2001: When the Russian submarine K-141 Kursk sank last August, rumors surfaced of mysterious blasts sending the huge sub to the bottom of the Barents Sea and that this was somehow connected to testing an ultrahigh-speed torpedo. "Several months earlier, when American businessman Edmond Pope was arrested in Moscow on charges of espionage, it was said that he had been trying to buy the plans for an ultrahigh-speed torpedo."

The missile has been characterized as a "revenge" weapon to be fired along the bearing of an incoming enemy torpedo. The Shkval may also be considered an evasion torpedo, which when fired in the same direction forces the attacking enemy to react evasively (snapping their torpedoes' guidance wires). Russia began marketing this conventionally armed version of the Shkval-E(xport) high-speed underwater rocket at the IDEX 99 exhibition in Abu Dhabi in early 1999.

Certainly, the technology has its own drawbacks. The supercavitating torpedoes noise and speed are two of the drawbacks, limiting sonar homing and wire guidance possibilities from the outset. The Shkval-2, however may overcome real-time guidance feedback, nevertheless.

Should sailors be particularly frightened of this continually improved torpedo? Perhaps, but submarine sailors will not be frightened, because controlling very hazardous conditions, or else, has always been a day-in and day-out necessity for them.

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Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Easy Answer to Submarine Shortage or Exacerbation of Underlying Problem?

A perlexing story from Australia (Hat tip: The Sub Report) - Sinking feeling forces navy to recruit ...

Featured: "Leading Seaman Centa, a 25-year-old from Perth, is better off , sleeping in the submarine's only female six-berth cabin." The lady can handle herself: "She is one of only four women in HMAS Dechaineux's crew of 45. In 2003 the submarine almost sank as the result of a hose failure in the engine room - just one chapter in its chequered history."

Now, the real point of The Sydney Morning Herald story: "THE navy has such a shortage of engineers and marine and electronic technicians to crew its submarines, it has been forced for the first time to recruit straight off the street."

Can the lady do the job? Obviously yes. Should the lady do the job? Obviously yes, if male recruits are not volunteering in adequate numbers, but, the real question is why the males are demurring. Guess which happened first, women submariners or the current shortage of volunteers? Answer: Australia's first women submariners commenced training in 1998.

In a more telling story from The Age Company Ltd. [emphasis added]: "In a bid to ease problems recruiting submarine crews, the navy will introduce in July a system allowing civilians to apply to join the submarine arm directly. Until now submariners have been recruited from volunteer seamen and women in the navy."

Underlying pschology (Australia's potential male recruits): Why volunteer for forced celibacy in a job that females now do? Answer: The young males do not volunteer; glamour has been compromised. For married submariners, moreover, the divorce rate among submariners is huge - about 80 per cent, the Aussies report. Not everyone is happy. A male submariner states that the women are only being introduced for public-relations purposes.

The Australian Admiral behind this lunacy must be considered brilliant to defy not only history (often excusable), but human nature. Some would say male volunteers were down before 1998, and that would be correct, but only cyclical. Faced with a decision of how to attract needed recruits, the brass chose the manner that is most suspect for longterm benefit and will be the most costly to overcome. Well, we all make mistakes, don't we?

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Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Submarine CN-NU

CN-NU, what is that, a railroad, a university or a network news reconnaissance vehicle? None of the above.

CN-NU is the Calabria Mafia's (called Ndrangheta) entry into the world of submarine cocaine smuggling: Calabria Ndrangheta Numero Uno. The Italian crime organization Ndrangheta is sketched by our FBI here and Answers.com here.

The word "'Ndrangheta" is Greek for courage or loyalty. Specializing in drug smuggling from South America, it is believed to be more powerful now than La Cosa Nostra. Ndrangheta, generates an annual cocaine trade of $30- $42 billion. Based upon an estimate of 6,000 associates, that is $700,000 per associate, only slightly less than $740K for all of the partners in large law firms (see FINANCIAL PROFILE OF FIRMS).

ROME, Italy (UPI) -- The head of Italy`s anti-Mafia operations says a submarine a gangster group was building in Colombia to transport drugs has been impounded. Based upon the capacity of a similar smuggling submarine, also being built in Colombia, SA, the CN-NU would have capacity for transporting 2oo tons of cocaine.

Suppose you were the Capo of the CN-NU, what precautions would you want to take for transporting more than 100 grams of COCAINE HYDROCHLORIDE in the confined space of a submarine? This MSDS may help you decide. The bigger question: from whose navies will outlaw sub drivers come to a country near you.

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Monday, March 27, 2006

Broadside of Submarine HMS Torbay's Sail

Readers may recall Molten Eagle's attention to the unexplained, new accessory on the sail of HMS Torbay here. Now, here is a much clearer photo that shows the mystery object head-on, which easily dispels my theory about a hinged, vault-like access.

To which side of the vessel is the object actually attached?
(Hint: Look at several photos) Here, it appears on the starboard side without question. An enlargement (not posted) shows possible flourescent-like tube(s).

Readers may offer guesses (no one has). Subpen has discredited my earlier guesses, so we may conclude he knows. If the USS Philadelphia had a vertical strobe, would it still have collided so mysteriously? That too, is just impractical, wishful thinking, I am afraid.

As mentioned earlier, this is too obvious and attention-getting to not have some (accurate or not) public cover. Wonder if the answer will be credible.

Hat tip: Spearfish

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Saturday, March 25, 2006

Winner of Pennant Challenge: RM1 (SS) (ret)

The Winner is RM1(SS) (ret) Congratulations!
You are one of Molten Eagle's Honorary Naval Historians for 2006, joining MT1(SS); and Submandave, winner of 2005's contest .

His correct answers:
Submarine Operating in Area. RM1 (SS) (ret) gave a correct link and also named the correct material -metal. He went on to suppose that this was so they could just leave it in place when they submerged, and thus have it displayed the moment they broke the surface) .

No doubt he is correct on all counts. Vintage photos do show that the flag was removed when subs moored in port. Read more about it HERE.

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Friday, March 24, 2006

Secretive U.K. Submarine Visit Revealed

Warning: The Following Opinion Is Highly Speculative;
The Facts Are Stubborn, However -
There was a secretive submarine event that barely made news in its country of origin, the UK, until now. It is strange and murky, but certainly ominous for enemies of the UK. For the US, it may finally establish an “end run” around one of the most serious obstacles to winning current and future wars – consulting JAG lawyers for permissions to strike hot, enemy targets.

Reportedly a friend of Tony Blair's and involved with the Labour Party, Lord Goldsmith QC (Queen’s Counsel) was appointed as Her Majesty’s Attorney General in June 2001. Goldsmith had been a life peer since 1999, and as Attorney General, became the chief legal adviser to the UK Government. In 2002 Lord Goldsmith became a Privy Counsellor.

In the past, hot, high-value US targets have escaped due often to a single lawyer’s hypothetical concerns. The war on terror has no doubt been prolonged because enemy leaders escaped US extermination. When wars are prolonged needlessly, we incur unnecessary casualties.

One of the worst examples of legal interference in military attacks was reported here (sorry many of the links have expired or been expunged – the military publicly insists lawyers in the chain of command have not been a problem). Never before has the ratio of military lawyers to combat troops been as high as today, however. What would Gen. Patton or Adm. Nimitz have told Washington?

What has the UK done to give US forces hope for more timely, sensible approvals to take out the bad guys? For the first time in published history, the UK Attorney General, embarked on an unidentified submarine. The attorney general revealed how he was taken on a Navy submarine to make clear the need for him to give speedy legal advice in times of war. Lord Goldsmith told peers he had to be on call constantly during conflicts to advise on legality of military action. He said that soon after assuming his duties he went into a submarine to see first-hand where decisions were made. Once a periscope was raised there was only a 20-minute window to get advice before launching an attack, he said.

As an armed ally, the UK carries significant influence in the conduct of joint US wars. If Britain’s Attorney General understands the need for quick, legal permissions to attack, the US could support the attack (versus lead) based upon proper British legal clearance.

In the past, short-notice submarine involvements in land attacks have been hampered by scarce communications opportunities (submarines are loath to sit on the surface or at periscope depth all day awaiting critical message traffic). Britain and the US have solved this problem with broadband satellite communications on a real-time basis. Shock and awe may finally become the order of the day based upon real-time target intelligence, precision missile strikes, and elimination of legal foot-dragging. Hallelujah, what a concept!

You may ask why Lord Goldsmith visited an unidentified submarine instead of CENTCOM (Perhaps because there were already ample British lawyers at CENTCOM, but few countries can justify deploying lawyers on SSNs). Lord Goldsmith, his government's top lawyer, gave insight into his role when testifying to the Lords constitution committee in reference to war powers. He said there were general rules of engagement for troops in conflicts but international humanitarian law also meant legal advice was needed on attacking specific targets.

The better question is why this news is being released just now, and how long will it be before the public learns of successes in the upcoming submarine attacks on landed targets.

“Submarines are always silent and strange.” -Vigilis

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Submarine Has Attention-getting Protuberance

Could this really be secretive? The Silent Service is not that sloppy, unless it wants to be. Paint a submarine bright blue so it attracts immediate, worldwide attention and thousands of stares must be expected. To duck hunters this is the equivalent of using a flourescent orange decoy (attracting only primates) .

Consider, too, that Torbay like some of the UK's other T-class attack subs (the RN's most advanced nuclear fleet submarines pending the Astute class) are equipped with pump-jet propulsion - a high-pitch, low-revolution propeller much quieter than conventional propeller designs Remember, The Hunt for Red October?

The question was first noted in a UK submarine discussion forum. Curious, but for reasons given above, easily dismissed. A little later, in a posting about the new color, one Spearfish commented: More interesting is the bulge on the port side of the fin that should have been covered.

So, I casually checked for obvious answers only to find most photo viewers completely missed the strange protuberance (red arrows above) on the port side of Torbay's sail, as Vigilis originally had. Still disbelieving, I found another confirming photo here. And yes, older photos suggest it is rather new (although HMS Trafalgar is alleged to have had it under tarp at a 2005 ceremony in Portsmouth).

Since sub launched cruise missiles can be fired from horizontal tubes (which Torbay has), and because its location conflicts with missile storage and loading, we can rule out that application (Torbay was recently refitted for Tomahawks).

The sail location is consistent with other possibilities, however. The most promising (in my opinion) would be satellite uplink-related (and Torbay has been recently outfitted for that improvement, as well).

But since speculation is such fun, the most entertaining possibility in my mind relates to: this.
I am so glad that the UK is one of our greatest allies and very open to more likely possibilites, if you can peg one. Do submarines really have to surface to fire a high-power, aimable laser? Not if a telescoping mast with an articulating head fits inside this interesting tube.

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Thursday, March 23, 2006

Quote of The Day from a news writer

"...I stopped taking home papers about the same time I gave away my parrots. "

What is the occupation of the person who said this?
...broadcaster for more than 32 years. I've held every job there is in a radio or television station. I've lived and worked all over the world and am presently writing for an international news agency based in Washington, DC.

Want to read a meaningful paragraph or two about recent polling results in an unusual, common sense context? Go here. Nice blonde, LR. I admire her brains.

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Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Submarines: "Britannic" Blue Advantages

HMS Torbay has a blue silhouette as she becomes even more stealthy in her ocean patrols. The Britannic blue color (unofficially, Steely Blue) softens otherwise sharp outlines of a black submarine making it up to twice as difficult to detect. The added stealth was prompted by shifts from North Atlantic operations, traditional for UK subs, to the brighter seas of the Middle East and Indian Ocean in the War on Terror.

Selection of the short, sea cadet wavelegth suggests several technical advantages, not including making other navies "blue with envy." Terry Goodship, chairman of the Submariners' International Association said: 'All submarines in the Med used to be blue. ... It is only in the very dark waters that we need to have the submarines painted black.'

Some Navy and Submarine History
Submarines have historically employed camouflage to blend in with operating background, including white for arctic waters and gray shades for various ocean areas. Shown above with HMS Torbay is the USS O-16 (SS-77) with its WW1 surface camouflage circa 1917. The U.S. Navy began experiments in the late 1930s to develop camouflage paints and applications, first publishing the results in January 1941. By 1944, there was a shortage of blue pigments. USN paint schemes had become more regimented by this time and quite a bit of blue was being used, to make mixtures of gray.

Eventually, all navies adopted versions of the U.S. Navy's submarine black. By the treacherous Cold War's end, not just any black, however.

Advantages of Blue (technical and Political)
Politically, black has always been associated with evil, and mystery, whereas blue is associated with masculinity and loyalty. So, will the U.S. follow suit if the UK gets good results?
Who manufactures the pigment?

Technically, color is more complicated, but there are some modern wrinkles to keep in mind beyond perceptions to the naked eye:

First, the human brain does not simply analyze wavelengths of incoming light detected by the eye to perceive color. Too many hues are visually discernable for that alone. For example, an object will be perceived as yellow if it reflects primarily yellow light. Yet, if it reflects not one photon of yellow light but reflects red and green light equally, it will still be perceived as yellow. Visible blue light has a wavelength of around 475 nm. Because blue wavelengths are shorter than most in the visible spectrum, they are scattered reltively well at the molecular level. This you recall, causes the sky to appear blue.

Secondly, neither blue or red wavelengths contribute strongly to luminosity ( intensity).

Finally, we all know detection of the submarine menace is not left to the naked eye by any sophisticated foe. How do satellites and computers see? Digitally, of course. And here is something to well remember (bold added): "Black doesn't reflect light, and white reflects all colors. On the other hand, if you are talking to someone like me who deals with generating colors on a computer screen, black and white are exactly the same color, one is just brighter than the other." - Eric Tolman, Computer Scientist

Challenge Question
Click on the above photograph for enlargement. See the pennant being flown by the O-16?
Identify it by name and site your source. (HINT: Better photos of the pennant in this era are available online). Have fun.

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Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Alien Autopsy, Asparagus and Sarcophagus News You Missed

Alien Autopsy: de gustibus non est disputandum
Translation: there is no accounting for tastes
It's a comedic spoof based on the true story, in which two British UFO enthusiasts, Gary Shoefield and Ray Santilli, attempted to convince the world in 1995 that they had film of an autopsy performed on an alien from the 1947 Roswell incident. (Alien's cold dead hand is holding emptied beer).

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Eggs Benedict - Wyoming Style (with Steamed Fresh Asparagus)
Plus the recipe for the best (and easiest) hollandaise sauce ever.
"Where I grew up in Wyoming, asparagus grows wild along the irrigation ditches in the Spring time. Right around Mother's Day weekend is the best time to bring in a haul of tender, young wild spears...." (Hat tip: Gus Van Horn)

>>>>
Ancient Sarcophagus Unearthed in Cyprus
ASSOCIATED PRESS NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) - A 2,500-year-old sarcophagus with vivid color illustrations from Homer's epics has been discovered in western Cyprus, archaeologists said Monday. Archeologists think the scenes hint at the status of the coffin's occupant.

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Monday, March 20, 2006

Finally, the GOOD NEWS: Al-Zarqawi "Running for Cover"

The Daily Telegraph reported that groups in one of Iraq's most violent provinces claim to have purged the region of three quarters of al-Qa'eda's supporters:

We have killed a number of the Arabs, including Saudis, Egyptians, Syrians, Kuwaitis and Jordanians," said an insurgent representative in the western province of Anbar.

The claims were partly supported by the defence ministry, which said it had evidence that Zarqawi and his followers were fleeing Anbar to cities and mountains near the Iranian border.

The group, the Anbar Revolutionaries, has a core membership of 100 people, all of whom had relatives killed by al-Qa'eda. Led by Ahmed Ftaikhan, a former Saddam-era military intelligence officer, it claims to have killed 20 foreign fighters and 33 Iraqi sympathisers. Many more are said to have fled. The United States has confirmed that six of Zarqawi's deputies were killed in Ramadi.

Cable News Network confirmed the Anbar Revolutionaries during a recent interview with Sheik Zeidan (exiled in Jordan), who acknowledges in the opinion piece that a new group called the Anbar Revenge Brigade has been targeting al Qaeda in Iraq (and Zarqawi) on behalf of the tribes. For personal reasons the sheik does not believe the group will prevail (if it does, of course, who would need him?).

Paradise awaits the villain Zarqawi. Should be interesting for him to meet his suicide bombers as one of their virgins.

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Sunday, March 19, 2006

ex-Submariner Locates Unofficial Ballcap; Mystery Deepens

Missing histories, an unofficial ballcap, alien creatures, a name game with an element of the strategic triad. All this amazing stuff probably means that the next news we here about the USS Rhode Island could prove mindblowing (for non-submariners)...

First, a "ballcap tip" to our friend for his truly amazing sea story, found here: Lubbers Line .

Then a "littoral" (shore-related) Hat tip to Earthfiles (see this link for photo of YNC Thomas C. Sheppard, and his amazing story: "You could tell it was sort of reptilian-ish, but at the same time you could not point out discernible scales. Throughout its head in different places, it sort of had little bumps. It was very smooth. It was very dead." - Tom C. Sheppard, Chief Yeoman, Navy).

In 1966, SECDEF commissioned the Strat-X study which found that strategic missile submarines provided the least detectable and most survivable leg of the United States Strategic Triad. Since then, missile subs have formed the core of strategic deterrence around which defense planners have crafted US defense policy. USS Rhode Island (SSBN-740), an Ohio-class Trident missile submarine, commissioned in July 1994, is one of those submarines.

Some mysteries may come to mind:

Is there any connection between the wearer of the unofficial ballcap bearing the name USS Rhode Island SSBN-730 (shown above) and the author of Earthfile's unofficial report? (Hint: see photo here of YN2 Sheppard in 1980 and imagine him with a beard and ballcap).

Chief Yeoman Sheppard was discharged from reserve duty on November 30, 1995, after twenty years of service. Earthfile presents History of Assignment records for Sheppard which leave a service gap from April 1980 to 1995. Lubbers Line indicated he 'found' the ballcap in 1982. Coincidence?

There is no DANFS History currently available for USS Rhode Island (SSBN 740) at the Haze Gray & Underway Web Site, the main archive for the DANFS Online Project, even though the ship has been commissioned for about a dozen years. How is it, then, there can be history for the Rhode Island's fantasy namesake, here?

Submarines always silent and strange (and, on more than one occasion, somewhat humorous).

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Friday, March 17, 2006

SEED Magazine Promotes Environmental Activism (just as Michael Chriton described)

"We create and distribute original Science is Culture content that communicates science's fast-changing place in our culture to an international audience." Seed Media Group LLC

Bull!

Science should never be "culture." That would bankrupt science. Science is not the winner of a popularity contest, but when done with required fastidious adherence to the scientific method is merely objective opinion of current analysis and theory. Science is therefore an iconoclast of culture.

Get the difference? If not, subscribe to SEED magazine without hesitation.

In my opinion, the "Seed" is nothing more than a confessed progressive ( left-wing) propaganda implant. Be your own judge; here is one quote from the latest edition of SEED:

Many of the changes brought about by global warming will entail real increased risks of damage to people and property. And that will bring not just finger-pointing, but litigating. Recently the attorneys general of several progressive-leaning states brought a lawsuit against a group of US electric power companies, trying to hold them responsible for the current and future impacts of global warming on their respective states. [Deep Fried America - Chris Mooney]

The above represents not good science, but greedy litigation. Here's another quote from another article in the April/May issue:

What Michael Chriton did was criminal because he promoted a book of pure fiction as if it was factual. ... I've got to bust my butt to get on Science Friday and we needed Katrina to get me on Bill Maher. [The SEED SALON -Laurie David
(environmental activist and producer)]

Well, Laurie David, you are no scientist, but Michael Chriton has an M.D. and a proven ability to analyze scientific research. Unlike many scientists, Chriton is not dependent upon federal grants and political favors for his job security. Science in the United States is becoming subverted by the very powerful, some would say out of control, litigation industry. How dare you say Chriton, author of State of Fear, which rightly attempts to inform the public, did anything criminal.

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Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Russia's Submarine Priorities

Compared to the Cold War Soviet fleet, Russia's submarines have been reduced substantially and what remains in service today are vessels of the third post-war generation.

Now, Vladimir Putin anounces Russia will build an elite submarine group. “The qualitative technologic modernisation of the submarine fleet is now regarded as a priority task of the state,” President Putin said, Wednesday. Noting that the Russian Navy would soon get a fourth-generation submarine armed with the new Bulava missile system, Putin added, “It will serve as the basis for creating a group of modern submarines. ...The state will go on doing everything necessary to reinforce the personnel of the submarine forces.” Putin wishes to strengthen Russia's nuclear missile force.

Reinforcement of the submarine fleet’s personnel rank among Russia’s priority objectives. What does it mean? Obviously, allocations of adequate maintenance and overhaul funding will be necessary, as well as proper stores provisioning and state -of-the-art training for submariners.

One more thing will be required, however: pay embellishments (higher and more regular). Jeff Edwards in Cold Warrior Confessions recently wrote:
The Russian military, under-funded at the best of times, is having trouble paying its own people. According to the U.S. National Intelligence Counsel, Russian Strategic Rocket Forces are suffering from wage arrears, food shortages, and housing shortages. Put simply, the Russian military is having difficulty paying, housing, and even feeding the very people entrusted with safeguarding their strategic nuclear weapons. ...even on full pay, many members of the Russian military cannot afford to feed their families. Russian officers rarely receive more than $70.00 a month, and their enlisted personnel are paid considerably less than that.

Read what else Edwards has to say. From where will adequate funding come all of a sudden?
I know what you are probably thinking, Tehran is flush with oil revenues and will pay Russia for nuclear technology help. Keep that thought, but stay tuned.

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Monday, March 13, 2006

Joe Buff Said What?

Regarding a Navy suggestion to refit some nuclear armed Trident II D5 (missiles) with at least some conventional warheads for SSBNs on patrol, esteemed author/analyst Joe Buff asked today in Undersea Global Strike,
"If the same SSBN carries two types of missiles, and a conventional Prompt Global Strike order ever does comes through, what stops a worst-case tragic error where the wrong type of missile gets launched?"

Qualified submariners know that error proposition is extremely farfetched. In all fairness, Buff couches his question in the proposition that opponents in Congress would never be convinced to ignore. Two competing solutions are being bandied about in the Pentagon, including one from the Air Force (as Molten Eagle had predicted Friday).

Buff concludes (emphasis added), Conventional Prompt Global Strike is vital to national defense and homeland security. Implementing it is a job that the Silent Service seems uniquely suited to help achieve, and participation by the Air Force as well may offer more fire-mission options, better tactical flexibility, and needed systems redundancy in a transformational non-nuclear dyad.

What is the news here, then? Dyad? (a pair) What happened to triad? ICBMs obsolete or strategic bombers? In Molten Eagle's opinion, strategic bombers are obsolescent, and I am not speaking of the airframes, but the concept. Want to save bigtime in the DOD budget? Dismantle the Air forces's Air Combat Command, successor to the reorganized (in 1992) Strategic Air Command.

Would we still be able to sleep well at night? Yes, nuclear ICBMs were combined with the Navy's nuclear component to form USSTRATCOM (United States Strategic Command) still headquartered at Offutt Air Force Base (SAC's former headquarters). Dyad indeed! More on the new nuclear triad here (history Wikipedia), here (analysis, Stansfield Turner) and particularly here (The Center for Contemporary Conflict: A Quiet Revolution: The New Nuclear Triad). Quoting from the last source:

"The new strategic triad thus paves the way for further reductions in U.S. strategic nuclear forces because it clears a path for the possible elimination of one of the legs of the old nuclear triad."

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Sunday, March 12, 2006

How Not to Advance Islam: Bunkers to Replace Stone Age Caves

Iran has been caught in lies about its pursuit of peaceful nuclear technology. As a consequence, the Iranian issue was referred Wednesday to the United Nations Security Council. The wouldbe caliphate has thus achieved the lowly status of a convicted felon trying to buy arms under false pretenses. Referral was the necessary first shoe dropping.

Sanctions will follow but, as in Iraq, cheating will mitigate impacts on Iran's citizenry. No matter.
Iran will soon be caught red-handed interfering with Iraq's right to self determination.


After US Vice President Dick Cheney threatened Iran with the military option to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons, President Bush has now warned Iran and Syria in conventional, diplomatic nice-speak:
If there's any kind of influence from a foreign country that is disruptive, any kind of influence, if the Iranians are trying to influence the outcome of the political process, or the outcome of the security situation there, we're letting them know our displeasure.

Iran's goal is to court world opinion as a peaceful nation being bullied and abused by great satans while simply pursuing its scientific self interests.

A pipeline of convincing evidence sufficient to impress even Dan Rather will soon prove otherwise. Iran will be unable to stop interferences that it has already started, financed and executed. No one said this will happen quickly, however, and some in Israel are understandably impatient with delays thus far.

How do the Caliphate's best thinkers resopnd? Iran's leaders have built a secret underground emergency command centre in Teheran as they prepare for a confrontation with the West over their illicit nuclear program. ...construction of the complex is part of the regime's plan to move more of its operations beneath ground.

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Friday, March 10, 2006

Why Converted Trident Submarines Will Not Unleash an Unintended Nuclear War

Headline in The Nation (Hat tip: The Sub Report) Could This Unleash an Unintended Nuclear War?

The Pentagon would spend $503 million toward converting 24 Trident missiles (now armed with nuclear warheads) into conventional warhead missiles.

Anonymous Defense officials (ed. Air Force suspected), "acknowledge a major risk is that other nations could conceivably misinterpret a conventional missile attack as a nuclear strike." Democrats, including Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-HI), have opposed similar modifications in past years.

M.E.'s Casual Analysis:
With ICBMs there could be inherent drawbacks to conventional use, since they must inevitably flyover say Russia or China. But using land based ICBMs would give up two, critical advantages: #1- speed (shorter distances to targets); and #2- surprise (faster response from submarines on patrol in seas near potential targets).

M.E.'s Sober Analysis:
While anything is possible, countries currently capable of detecting SLBM launches (satellites required unlike silo monitoring), misinterpreting trajectories that do not intersect their shores and responding erroneously with nuclear action do not include (yet) rogue states. Those that might have mutual defense treaties with a rogue state would react to the Pentagon's conventional missile conversion plan by revising such treaties, or pausing judiciously.

Another advantage of the conversion program is that the Marines want it. DoD Defends New Sub-Launched Missiles Gen. James Cartwright, the head of U.S. Strategic Command, is expected to pitch the idea in March 16 testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

The conventional Trident missile would be capable of hitting a fleeting target -- such as an enemy nuclear weapon being prepared for launch or terrorist leaders in an underground facility -- without using a nuclear warhead that runs a higher risk of killing innocent civilians nearby, according to a senior defense official.

The submarine-launched missile is expected to have a flight time of just 12 to 24 minutes and could hit targets up to 6,000 miles away with an accuracy of 10 yards, said the senior official, who spoke on condition of not being named.

The Navy would modify its D-5 missile with alternative, conventional warheads: a standard “slug” to penetrate bunkered targets and a “flechette” to destroy larger, surface targets.

Super! I Support our Marines, how about you, Senator McCain?

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Thursday, March 09, 2006

Reminder from Submarine Commissar Raises a Question We have All Thought About

Time nor tide waits for no man, said fifteenth century author Robert Green. They both sneak up on you, said the man shown here at the periscope, where's your happy blogiversary to me?

Here it is: Happy Blogiversary to Molten Eagle! Since my counter has been restarted too many times, I have not tracked visits, except to note gradual increases each quarter. Still rather insignificant by naval observatory blogging standards. But I digress.

We all spent years on our various boats. Bothenook at a geezer's corner spent 6-1/2 years on one, for example. I spent several years there myself, and except perhaps for a ship's reunion in 1997, probably never met him. The ship was launched in 1955 and commissioned in 1957, the late Comdr. R. B. Laning in command (met him at the reunion, but ex-Pres. Jimmy Carter the only U.S. President to "Qualify-in-Submarines", and the ship's early nuclear Engineering Officer, did not attend the reunion). After exactly thirty years, the much-overhauled submarine was finally decommissioned in 1987.

Nominally, the ship's complement was 10 officers and 84 enlisted men. We always had more of both, however (not counting the spooks, etc.). During my time, I had the privelege of serving with 5 COs, 36 officers and almost 160 men I can still name. My guess is somewhere between 1,450 and 1,950 people were ever assigned.

Your boats had different years of service, different crew complements, etc. Have you ever wondered how many officers and men have or will have served on your boats over their years in commission? That is considerable talent and expertise devoted to something much smaller than the dimensions of a football field, isn't it?

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Wednesday, March 08, 2006

The Submarines HMS H5 & USS H-5: Built in Canada for Great Brittain and Imperial Russia, Respectively


17 miles off the west coast of Anglesey, Mar 6 2006 - "Flowers were taken out to sea and strewn on the waves and a prayer was said in memory of the men," Lifeboat crew's moving tribute to the tragic victims of submarine H5. A medium-sized coastal defence submarine, HMS H5 was patrolling the Irish Sea on surface patrol when rammed by the British merchantman SS Rutherglen who believed the submarine was an enemy U-boat. Cries were heard in the water and a strong smell of petrol was also present. The British Admiralty ordered Rutherglen to leave the scene and never told the crew of the mistake. Instead, they were given a bounty for sinking a German U-boat. (Hat tip: The Sub Report)

Twenty-six of the March 2, 1918, victims were British. The other was Lt. Earle Wayne Childs - the first American submariner killed in European and world conflicts. Lt. Childs was lost at sea while serving as observor aboard British submarine, H5, when it was struck and went down with all hands.

HMS H5 had been one of twenty US H-4 design submarines contracted by Electric Boat (fifty per cent owned by Vickers) to be built at the Canadian Vickers Shipyard near Montreal after the American government threatened to take Electric Boat to court for violation of American neutrality laws over original plans to build them in the U.S.

Winston Churchill, First Lord of the Admiralty, fully appreciated that secretly adding twenty submarines to the Royal Navy in under of six months would be a military coup for Brittain.
The project was kept secret without the consent of, or official knowledge of Ottawa. Eventually the British Foreign Office would advise the Canadian Government that Canadian Vickers had been commandeered by the Admiralty to build submarines for the RN.

The photo shows HMS H5 (commanded by Cromwell H. Varley, RN) just returned from torpedoing U-boat U51 (14 July 1916). 'H' class subs were a commercial success for EB with the outbreak of the WWW1, according to experts.

The Imperial Russian Navy ordered 18 H-class submarines from Electric Boat Company in 1915. Twelve were delivered and shipment of the final six was delayed by the Russian Revolution of 1917. The final six boats were stored in knockdown condition at Vancouver, British Columbia. All six were eventually purchased by the United States Navy on 20 May 1918 and assembled at Puget Sound Navy Yard. H-5 (SS-148) was launched on 24 September 1918, and commissioned on 30 September 1918, Lieutenant Gordon Hutchins commanding.

Submarines are always silent and strange, even old ones.

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Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Old Christine a Satirical Political Preview?

Molten Eagle rarely comments on TV matters. The series premiere of this one is next week. I enjoyed Seinfeld and am disappointed its very talented cast has not done much better on the tube afterward. I hope Louis-Dreyfus has a winner this time.

In The New Adventures of Old Christine (the following parenthetical comments added by M.E. apply to Hillary) Julia Louis-Dreyfus is a 35-year-old divorced mom (a 58-year old virtual-marriage mom) who runs a female-only gym (surrounds herself with lonely lawyers, many of whom are female), tries to keep pace with everyone around her (tries to keep pace with Senators). That includes the judgmental stay-at-home moms at her son's private school (daughter, Chelsea, attended private school) and her ex-husband (Bill, of The West Wing). Old Christine's brother lives with her (no match for Hugh, yet).

CBS says this about the pilot: On the first day at her son's new school, Christine is mortified to discover that her ex-husband, Richard, with whom she gets along even better than when they were married, is dating a young, nice, impossible-to-hate woman also named Christine… the "new" Christine.

I can hardly wait to see whom Bill dates. The parallels here could be as entertaining as the script, or not. Best of luck to both old Christine and old Hillary.

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If You Fear "Global Warming", Extinction Will Terrify You

Hair and eye color is most varied in low-latitude, continental tundra. Early hunter-gatherers (glacier refugees) inhabited an unique ecozone in northern Europe where human hair and eye color are still unusually diverse. The many alleles involved (at least seven for hair color) and their independent origin over a short span of evolutionary time indicate a selection process was involved. (from Abstract: European hair and eye color: A case of frequency-dependent sexual selection?)

Definition: allele - one of a number of viable DNA codings of the same gene occupying a given position on a chromosome.

WASHINGTON (AP) March 06, 2006 - Researchers Identify Extinction Hotspots From frigid northern Canada and Alaska to tropical Asian islands, lands where wildlife seems safe today may pose some of the greatest extinction dangers in the future. In particular peril are animals with a relatively small geographic range and those that have a large body mass and reproduce slowly.

Times Online February 26, 2006 - According to the study, north European women evolved blonde hair and blue eyes at the end of the Ice Age to make them stand out from their rivals at a time of fierce competition for scarce males. The study argues that blond hair originated in the region because of food shortages 10,000-11,000 years ago.

The study by the World Health Organisation found that natural blonds are likely to be extinct within 200 years because there are too few people carrying the blond gene. According to the WHO study, the last natural blond is likely to be born in Finland during 2202.

Not terrified yet? What you need to know - Ice Age Planning Steps #1 and #2. Excerpts:

PETA members not only taste the best, they obviously make the healthiest choice. They do not harbor growth hormones and drugs found in regular, beef-fed humans and are most certainly free of Mad Cow disease. Cardiologists also claim grain-fed PETA activists have healthier nutritional profiles, including heart-healthful Omega 3 fatty acids.

Those who possess inadequate nuance skills can be expected to "drop out" of your foraging parties. Those who claim they are not so interested in public service, afterall, or who claim mushroom allergies may be traded to distant tribes for more useful furs or pelts.

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Monday, March 06, 2006

News You Certainly Missed - Omaha and Sydney


What will Muslim mouthpiece in America, Ibrahim Hooper, say about this? He cannot appear credible saying much, but Molten Eagle guesses he would want to say something like this about this hearty, non-PC statement before the great idea takes off in America:

Australia February 23, 2006
"ANYONE who believes Islamic sharia law can co-exist with Australian law should move to a country where they feel more comfortable," Peter Costello, Treasurer of the Commonwealth of Australia said.

"The source of our law is the democratically elected legislature. There are countries that apply religious or sharia law – Saudi Arabia and Iran come to mind. If a person wants to live under sharia law these are countries where they might feel at ease. But not Australia. If someone cannot honestly make the citizenship pledge, they cannot honestly take out citizenship," he said. "If they have taken it out already they should not be able to keep it where they have citizenship in some other country."

>>>>
The Oracle of Omaha, a Democrat with Uncanny Ability to Foresee the Future
for Investment Purposes (second wealthiest in U.S.) Speaks:

But, Warren Buffett speaks with objectivity ex-VP Gore will never get: Mr Buffett said it remained an open question whether "atmospheric, oceanic or other causal factors have dramatically changed the frequency or intensity of hurricanes" but after the worst quarterly losses in industry history it was prudent to limit exposure. ..."Our ignorance means we must follow the course prescribed by Pascal in his famous wager about the existence of God," Mr Buffett wrote to shareholders.

Summary: The Jury is still out on Global Warming, whether it even exists, whether it was caused by man or whether it is part of a 100,000-year cycle of nature.

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Sunday, March 05, 2006

Notorious Pirate Has Conflict of Financial Interest

MARCH 02, 2006 - Al Gore inventor of the internet, is just one (e.g. Streisand) of the brilliant, scientific luminaries concerned that The climate crisis is the most serious challenge our civilization has ever faced - his words.

Recently, Gore urged the broadcast media to contribute air time for a scare campaign about global warming. He hinted that a new coalition of labor, religious and others will raise funds for “major ad buys over the next three years” to hype global warming. Gore asked the broadcast industry to contribute a “dollar for dollar” match to the propaganda campaign. (Gore is actually a notorious, defeated and humiliated politician. He attempted to steal the presidential election in 2000, before the U.S. Supreme Court stepped in to uphold our Constitution).
________________________________________________________

Former Vice President Al Gore must be heeded now that he has an even higher stature (on par with say, Dan Rather) as CEO of the cable network, Current TV.

Here are just two examples if Mr. Gore's brilliance and intellectual honesty:

When my sister and I were growing up," Mr. Gore told a small audience made up mostly of women, "there was never any doubt in our minds that men and women were equal, if not more so. (Source: NY Times, 08/12/00)

I seek this office to restore the rule of law and respect for common sense to the White House." ..."Americans in every region and in both political parties have been shaken by the betrayal of public trust ... and the dishonesty of the public officials. ... Any government official who ... lies to the United States Congress will be fired immediately. (Source: Seattle Times, June 29, 1987) exception for Clinton??

And what of Mr. Gore's integrity? Does he have a personal stake in propagandizing about inevitable climate change (attributing it to manmade pollution)? Yes, unfortunately, a rather large, financial, conflict of interest casts a huge shadow on this pirate's objectivity:

It is his financial investment firm, Generation Investment Management. This private partnership, based in London with offices in Washington, D.C. was set up to tap growing demand for investments focused on environmental concerns.

More on the myth of Global Warming: The Fraud You Can Understand
and, Believers: The Company You Keep, and Treasures of "Global Warming" and The Phoney Distraction from Real Crisis and, of course, State of Fear.

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Friday, March 03, 2006

Update: Abu Musab al-Zarqawi Running Scared, If not Dead


Baghdad, 27 Feb. (AKI) - Al-Qaeda in Iraq, led by Jordanian miltiant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, has adopted a new command structure. The new line-up is said to include a sort of shadow government (remember our shadow senators?). Zarqawi is now (if he still lives) more desparate than ever.

Prediction update: Zarqawi is not only doomed, he is now a brooding short-timer (about 5 days left). Zarqawi's fate will not be eternal rest, for although, Allah willing, he will enter paradise, it will only be as the latest female virgin (Priceless). This will be the last update of Molten Eagle's Zarqawi suicide prediction. If there has been no confirmation of his death in due course, my forecast was either error or news is belated.

Regardless, al-Qaeda in Iraq has fallen under increased pressure from local civilians. Moreover, al-Qaeda in Iraq's erstwhile survival provides more intelligence to seal the doom of worldwide, radical Islamist terror. There is probably not one Saudi terrorist financier left unidentified, not one cell leader's alias undisclosed, not one method of communication unbreached, not one cell un-infiltrated, not one American sympathizer still anonymous. The richest part of the intelligence prize is being realized in Zarqawi's desparate moves, or even better - by the sloppy, amateurish moves of his less experiened survivors.

Thank you, Allah.

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Thursday, March 02, 2006

Timely Submarine Attitudes Forged by Unparalleled Necessity

Men and women serve three years in the IDF in combat positions, while women in non-combat positions serve two. The IDF requires women who volunteer for combat positions to serve for three years because combat soldiers must undergo a lengthy period of training, and it is in the interests of the IDF to get as much use of that training as possible. Women in combat positions are also required to serve as reserve for several years after their dismissal from regular service.

Following regular service, men may be called for reserve service of up to one month annually, until the age of 43-45 (reservists may volunteer after this age), and may be called for active duty immediately in times of crisis.

Israeli women have been combat pilots although this service was stopped for a time due to women's problems pulling Gs. In 1977 the Israel Defense Force precluded any more women from pilot training. The mission of the Israeli military and its manpower goals, economics, and the country's survival are the prime concerns of the country in determining personnel policies.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) includes one submarine flotilla. This volunteer, elite unit was founded in 1951, barely three years after the founding of the IDF and Israel itself.

Primary puposes of IDF's submarines are:
Attacking
Covert intelligence gathering
Supporting other units

Women are allowed to serve in 83% of all positions in the military, including Shipboard Navy Service (except submarines), and Artillery. Since 1993, homosexuals have been allowed to openly serve in the military, including special units (does not appear to include submarines, but really do not know for sure).

In a recent interview, chief commander of the IDF's submarine fleet, Colonel Yoni, who is personally involved in selection of each volunteer in his unit, speaks of the people under his command with admiration and appreciation. When it comes to the service of the fairer sex on submarines, he is not a amenable to encouraging news for women.

Stated like a man devoted to defending his country rather than bowing to lawyer's political correctness, Yoni explains (Hat tip: The Sub Report) :

"Why should we venture into something that has failed in a large part of the fleets in the world, where there is even more lenience on these issues?... Is it worth breaking the fabric created between combatants on the submarine? They are under a lot of pressure as it is," he concluded.

Like the United States Israel is assured of envy and hatred by ubiquitous enemies. Unlike some (mainly women and liberals) in the U.S., however, Israel harbors no pretenses about the folly of diluting the strength of its most advanced, secret war machine fleet.

Agreement with Col. Yoni in no way minimizes the ability and service of women which has been immense in every U.S. conflict. A perfect example of women's non-combat submarine role is made here, by the first female pilot of the Alvin, Cindy Van Dover.

The popular image of an Israeli female soldier holding a machine-gun in her arms is an exaggeration. Though female soldiers enhance the character of the IDF, they never really had any combatant role....According to the latest figures (1988), women still serve in less than 40% of the general military jobs. source

So, what do you think?

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Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Future Submarine Concept: Riverine UUV Dam Buster

Bushehr, Iran is site of three dams and some of the country's outlaw nuclear (weapons grade) fuel development. The Bushehr nuclear facility and UUVs (unmaned underwater vehicles) are real. A nuclear powered one with a boring (or explosive) head could take out a dam or river intersecting bunker. Nuclear powered UUVs are not under consideration, as far as we know, now.

Sometimes, fictional pictures convey a concept better than words. Submarines are always silent and strange.

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The Sub Report Celebrates First Anniversary


Congratulations to The Sub Report and its Editor on a stellar first year of publishing much sought after news that is particularly difficult to find! -Vigilis

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