Monday, January 29, 2007

Shadowy, SSGN Three-card Monte

Sunday, January 28, 2007 Submarine crew change
Historic transition at Pearl Harbor allows the USS Ohio to take on new sailors for deployment

Routine crew transfers, previously occurred about every 90 days at the sub's homeport. For the USS Ohio, a newly converted ballistic missile submarine, this meant transferring nearly 200 people and some four dozen or so cargo containers in Washington state. Last week for the first time, USS Ohio's Gold crew Capt. Hale, his 160 sailors and 40 riders boarded in Pearl Harbor accompanied by over four dozen cargo containers. Hale's Gold crew was flown in to Hawaii from McChord Air Force Base near Seattle.

The purpose of the dual crews is to maximize the time the submarine is at sea, said Capt. Chris Ratliff. We're at sea 70 percent of the time and constantly available to the commander. No other force can make that claim. The purpose is to stay forward deployed for extended periods of time.

"We're at sea 70 percent of the time and constantly available to the commander. No other force can make that claim. "

What's wrong with this story? Is it news, advertising, disinformation, or some combination? It could be futile even to guess.

At sea 70 percent of the time? Even between scheduled maintenance periods 70 percent does sound like high performance. It could be even higher (95 percent) of course, if crew changes and replenishments were conducted underwater in forward-based patrol areas.

What kind of submersible mother ship could ferry a relief crew, provisions, mission cargo and riders (SEALS) to awaiting submarines. Let's see, how about a converted ballistic missile submarine.

What would be the advantage to that? Well, our submarines are all about stealth. Returning to port not only gives our potential enemies information we prefer them not to have, it allows them to more easily track the sub the next time it leaves. Just what might be going on here? Hmmm.

How many SSGNs does the U.S. have? The SSGN forerunner was USS Halibut (SSGN-587). Publicly, the Ohio (SSGN-726) and three other former SSBNs: Michigan (SSGN 727), Florida (SSGN 728) and Georgia (SSGN 729). Of this number, some will be undergoing scheduled maintenance and/or refitting and will not be available at any given time. Say only three are at sea. Which one will be the mother ship in the navy's shadowy steel version of three-card monte?

Our potential enemies have to be beside themselves. Hmmm.

13 Comments:

At 29 January, 2007 22:11, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Quote
".....if crew changes and replenishments were conducted underwater in forward-based patrol areas......"
Unquote

As cool as it may sound....we're nowhere close to that.

 
At 30 January, 2007 00:23, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"As cool as it may sound....we're nowhere close to that."

As if anyone involved in the related programme, ongoing some 16 years now, would be able to discuss the status of our latest trial. Hawker, St.John

 
At 30 January, 2007 16:10, Blogger Vigilis said...

Anonymous (19:11), if you are correct (DSRV transfers ignored), the shell game odds are certainly no lower than today's - apparently adequate.

Anonymous (21:23), if you are correct about 16 years of study, that certainly seems to raise significant doubts about feasibility, right? You may have just helped the first guy's argument. Guess we may just have to sit tight.

 
At 31 January, 2007 10:34, Anonymous The Chief said...

Are you serious? How much sea time do you have? And when was the last time your were underway? The 70 percent is refering to the ship not the crew and yes TRIDENT submarines do stay at sea that long. Not the crews the ships. SSGN's will rotate on a schedule similar to that of a SSBN.

 
At 31 January, 2007 15:35, Anonymous sonarman said...

Everyone is acting like this is a novel thing. This advanced site crew swap is nothing new. The old 41 For Freedom boats were doing this in Holy Loch, Guam, La Mad, and Rota throughout the 60's, 70's, 80's and up until when they finally closed HL in the early 90's.

The crews would get on the planes and "fly away" like clock work, carrying all their belongings and admin gear in seabags and metal crews boxes. It was supposed to be a "secret", but the security guards at Bradley Airport in CT knew which boats were going to fly when, it was that regular.

What's old is new again.

 
At 31 January, 2007 18:42, Blogger Vigilis said...

The Chief (from Askthechief.com) - You bet I am talking about the ship not the crew (that's the whole point of crew transfers). The 70% could be higher. In fact I would wager it has been higher sometime, but not routinely.

Are you saying higher utilization is impossible or just undesirable? Let's not get into required maintenance and PMs on line.

The primary benefit would be added stealth. Why necessary? AIPs, etc.

Thank you for your comments, Chief.

 
At 31 January, 2007 18:44, Blogger Vigilis said...

Sonarman, you are absolutely correct, which is why I asked the purpose of the article: "Is it news, advertising, disinformation, or some combination?"

 
At 31 January, 2007 23:12, Anonymous sonarman said...

The CO is referring to the ship being at sea. But this is nothing new for boomers, so it should be nothing new for the SSGNs if they're keeping to the same two crew philosophy. With approx. 3-4 refits per year lasting about 1 month each, that gives you 8-9 months of deployment time for the boat, which equates to more than 70%, in actuality.

As for why the Navy made it a press worthy item? Who knows? But if I had to guess... No nukes for one thing, so security isn't an issue, and good submarine publicity for another, and successful completion of a new weapon system for a thirdly.

If I had to point to one thing, I would say "advertisement" - something the NAV desperately needs these days.

 
At 31 January, 2007 23:55, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In reference to this post...

Quote

Everyone is acting like this is a novel thing. This advanced site crew swap is nothing new. The old 41 For Freedom boats were doing this in Holy Loch, Guam, La Mad, and Rota throughout the 60's, 70's, 80's and up until when they finally closed HL in the early 90's.

UNQUOTE

Dude, did you actually read the post.....The original proposition was "SUBMERGED" crew turn-overs and replenishment. The proposed is nothing like your beloved HL

 
At 02 February, 2007 16:06, Anonymous Shower Tech said...

Any of the second or third flight 688s could have been called SSGNs because of the dedicated missile tubes (VLS). The could not be called SSGNs because one of the SALT treaties

 
At 02 February, 2007 17:31, Blogger Vigilis said...

Shower tech, very interesting, thanks.

 
At 03 February, 2007 14:03, Blogger Chap said...

There are some sub force political issues driving the sales pitch here. It was a bit of a fight to resolve the homeporting, repair location and crewing of these things because of transit time (time underway and not useful) and training (mission is more complex than SSBN; more certifications to do).

Not sure where this fits into your analysis, but there it is.

 
At 03 February, 2007 16:21, Blogger Vigilis said...

Chap, my "analyses" are always open to alternative explanations of existing facts and circumstances as well as valid criticisms and informed opinions. Thank you for the addition of yours.

Because we live in the most dynamic and complex times in the planet's known history, my emphasis remains directed more toward future developments than yesterday's paradigms.

 

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