Thursday, August 28, 2008

Submarine Questions of the Week Involve the USS Kitty Hawk Again

What was the rationale for mainstream journalism's repetitious stories of the USS Kitty Hawk's encounter with a PLAN submarine reported in November of 2006, and 12 months later in 2007? Was it journalistic error? We may never know. Go here MAR 12 2008 to refresh yor memory, if necessary.

This week's submarine mystery questions also involve USS Kitty Hawk. The excerpt above comes from a hardback, non-fiction book published in November, 2007. The author mentions Kitty Hawk in passing, and the error does not substantively detract from his book.

Questions of the Week:

The paragraph was taken from page 95 of said unidentified book. While historical, the book's topic was Islamic rather than naval history. Nevertheless, both naval aficionados and careful readers (of this posting and the redacted paragraph above) capable of online research are capable of correctly answering all of these questions:

1. What error of fact has the author clearly made in the above paragraph?

2. Did the Kitty Hawk make the proposed deployment, and if so, which U.S. submarine accompanied Kitty Hawk?
Bonus Question:
3. What is the title of the book?

Answers will be provided next Monday. While we know U.S. aircraft carriers are assigned submarine protection, names of assigned submarine(s) are usually provided only in training exercises or publicity deployments, not in more serious engagements.

After many, many decades there is always a small chance that a juicy bit of submarine history may be declassified. By that time, however, the perils of time may include records destruction in an accidental storage fire, inaccurate records indexing, or simple disappearance.

Submarines are always silent and strange.



Wednesday, August 27, 2008

What is Really Going On?

The second of three U.S. Navy warships carrying relief supplies to Georgia passed through the Turkish straits.

Coast Guard cutter Dallas entered the Dardanelles as a giant crane unloaded 55 tons of aid from the USS McFaul yesterday for refugees in Batumi, 80 kilometers (50 miles) south of another port, Poti, where Russian troops are still present.

This marks the first U.S. maritime humanitarian mission to Georgia since August 8th, when Russia sent forces into Georgia.

Putin's Georgian adventure managed to keep oil prices a little higher, and give McCain a boost in his campaign against Obama. Other than that, the U.S. seems to be taking things in diplomatic stride. At least that's the way things appear on the surface.

Remember columnist Bob Novak? Well, he's still writing. Here's something his column Avoiding a Lieberman Disaster said yesterday:

McCain's top strategists argue that the Bush coalition that won the last two presidential elections is dead and must be replaced by a new one that extends to the left, as Lieberman would. Bush strategists disagree, asserting that McCain is getting around 90 percent of the old Bush vote and can win the election with a few moderates added in.

Novak's insider notes that strategists think Lieberman is a poor VP choice except as McCain's secretary of state.
M.E. has no prediction on either matter. Simply do not have solid information.
Before someone asks why the photo of submarine Dallas is posted above, let me say it symbolizes the submarine(s), including non-U.S., now collecting intelligence on Russia's naval movements in the zone.
The West has never been this united against Moscow's aggressive, neo-imperial foreign policy. But this has been building up for years, based largely on the inflammatory rhetoric of Russia's top leaders. Remember, for example, how then-President Vladimir Putin's repeatedly threatened the West with "asymmetric" responses -- for example, aiming the country's missiles at Poland, the Czech Republic and Ukraine in response to NATO expansion and the planned deployment of elements of a U.S. missile-defense system in Europe. In addition, there were those ridiculous media leaks about refueling Russian strategic bombers in Cuba and the threat from a top military leader to deploy Iskander missiles in the Kaliningrad region. And don't forget Putin's incendiary speech in Munich in 2007. - The Moscow Times 26 August 2008
Submarines are always silent and strange.



Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Why a Smithstonian Submarine Museum Would Be No Fun - Caruso

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Monday, August 25, 2008

Shhh, Submariners! Ever Done Zechstein Sea Ops?

The North Sea is an epeiric sea of the Atlantic Ocean. Located atop part of Europe's continental shelf, it's depth averages a mere 100 m (325 ft), with a 700 m (2300 ft) maximum. Some areas are as shallow as a scant 15 m (49 ft).

If you ever traversed the North Sea in a sub, and submarines have done so since before WW1, you can safely say you have participated in Zechstein Sea Ops. The Zechstein Sea once covered what now includes the North Sea, lowland areas of Britain and the north European plain through Germany and Poland.

The Sundance Sea was also an epeiric sea. This one was located in North America during the mid to late Jurassic Period. It was an arm of the current Arctic Ocean extending southward through present day western Canada into the central western US. Sedimentary rocks formed from Sundance Sea bottom mud well before the Rocky Mountains existed are now rock formations 12,500 above sea level. If you know anyone who can honestly say he submarined in the Sundance Sea, you are talking to an ancient submariner.

Has Vigilis ever submarined the Zechstein Sea? Possibly. Submarines are always silent and strange.



Sunday, August 24, 2008

Eerie Star Trek Connections: New Zealand Update

In April 2006, we introduced readers to an uncanny resemblance of Jolene Blalock's character (Sub-Commander T'Pol), the Vulcan officer in Star Trek: Enterprise, to a New Zealand ship's female figurehead. Check it out at left.
Pretty close?

At the time, we also noted the existence of a restored "Vulcan Hotel" (1869) in the former New Zealand goldmining town of St Bathans. Little other linkage was found, however, until now: The wooden mermaid figure does not have pointed, Vulcan ears like T'Pol's. How are those pointy ears justified?

The Saint Bathans mammal

Only 3 months after our April 2006 posting, scientists reported finding nontherian mammal fossils in the Manuherikia Group near Saint Bathans. Previously it had been thought that bats were the only terrestrial mammals native to New Zealand. Excerpts:

The material implies the existence of one or more ghost lineages, at least one of which (based on the relatively plesiomorphic partial femur) spanned the Middle Miocene to at least the Early Cretaceous, probably before the time of divergence of marsupials and placentals >125 Ma. ... We conclude that at least one previously unknown group of terrestrial mammals of uncertain affinities inhabited NZ between the Late Cretaceous and Early Miocene.

Since the subclass Theria includes humans, whatever the St Bathans mammal was, it was not human.

Previously it had been thought that bats were the only terrestrial mammals native to New Zealand. Note the distinctive points on a few bats' ears.

The New Zealand Greater Short-tailed Bat (Mystacina robusta) was one of only two species of short-tailed bats, a family (Mystacinidae) unique to New Zealand. The Greater Short-tailed Bat was widespread before the Māori arrived. It flew slowly, never rising more than two or three yards over the ground. The last of these bats ever identified was netted on Solomon Island in April 1965, the year before Star Trek (The Original Series) debuted on television. The original Vulcan character, Spock, appeared in Roddenberry's 1964 TV outline for Star Trek described as having semi-pointed ears.

Had pilot and author Gene Roddenberry, recipient of a Distinguished Flying Cross for his actions in the U.S. Army Air Corps in the Pacific Theatre of World War II, spent any time in New Zealand?



Friday, August 22, 2008

ANSWERS - Submarine Mystery Questions of the Week

One of the primary obstacles to properly recording history has been the need to maintain national secrets. Military secrets are vital to national security.

As stated when the 5 questions of the week were posed, M.E will not provide the answer to Question 5, although I seriously doubt the answer I found easily is still secret.

Here are the Mystery Questions and Answers related to the photo shown:

1- Name the related submarine class? (UK) Resolution class.

2- What is the 3-letter acronym of the unit shown? PAC.

3- What was the name (one word) of the system featured in this cutaway photo? Chevaline.

Bonus Question and Answer:

4- Where was this cutaway displayed when photographed? Bristol Aero Collection, Kemble Airfield, Gloucestershire , England. Note: An alternative spelling is used in Bristol Aero Collection's online description where, as of this writing, it is spelled 'Chavaline'.

(Self Question):
5- In particular, what and where was the primary target the system named in Question 3 was designed to overcome? (You will have to find this answer yourself).

Submarines are always silent and strange.



Thursday, August 21, 2008

Avoiding Following Winds

The familiar benediction fair winds and following seas is the nautical version of goodbye and good luck in addition to a politeness in the language of international diplomacy.

On the otherhand, Breaking winds and following seizures are a serious hazard for submariners.

Electrostatic precipitators, charcoal filters, etc. only help outside the originating compartment - remember, the entire submarine is, realistically speaking, a permit-required confined space.

Confined Space Entry: Inside Maneuvers (CSH‑021K) 1Working in a confined space is a lot like working in a submarine – space is tight, atmospheric conditions are critical, and potential hazards abound. This dynamic program uses the USS Atlanta, a United States Naval submarine, and its crew as a dramatic backdrop to compare the dangers of working in a submarine to that of working in a confined space. The Trainer’s Toolkit contains the video program, Confined Space Entry: Inside Maneuvers, employee handbooks, a leader’s guide and several overhead transparency masters. - Idaho Occupational Safety & Health Consultation At Boise State University.

So, how do compassionate submariners avoid this natural hazard? Back in the day, nuclear subs had partitioned spaces, say for the sonar shack. A shipmate we'll call Woody had a chronic flatulence condition. Rather than make other sonar watchstanders gag, Woody would perform a low tech procedure with his cigarette lighter:

Flatus is indeed flammable, because methane and hydrogen are flammable gases, and they are both found in flatus. The odor in flatulence comes from hydrogen sulphide (which comes from foods in people's diet) and other sulfur or nitrogen containing compounds including methanethiol (metyhyl mecaptan). Upon lighting a match the hydrogen sulphide will ignite to form water (vapor) and sulphur dioxide. Removing the hydrogen sulphide also removes the odor. [3] Explanation .

Woody's method (described above) worked very well considering any visual distraction was relatively shortlived and fellow watchstanders normally wear headphones that block external noises. Other watchstanders followed suit.

Woody was one of those guys who could perform on demand, unless asleep, when it would be random. Certain areas were obviously off limits (wardroom, control room, crew's mess, COB's berthing), however, for Woody's technique. A few officers never approved of it anywhere. If one of these officers had to be in our smallest compartment - the conning tower on our sub - Woody might prepare the space in an olfactory sense just prior to the officer's arrival.

Once, this backfired. He had no idea the CO (a really good guy) was headed to the conning tower to meet the JO. The CO got there just after Woody's performance. Woody's face was still flushed when he scooted down the ladder to Control, but the CO never said a word nor held it against Woody. In fact, Woody's later request for transfer to the East coast appeared to have been greased.

Modern sub design seems to have eliminated spaces like the sonar shack. Anyone remember another old or new sea story like this?



Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Submarine Named for 'Gold' Crewman

In 2008, submarines have been placed in the global public's subconsciousness. As Charles Colton said, Imitation is the sincerest of flattery. [1820 C. C. Colton]

Baltimore native Michael Phelps has earned his legacy. Called the best Olympian ever on several occasions throughout the 2008 games, Phelps officially earned the title with his eighth gold medal.

Great analogy considering Phelps is only 23 years old, typical of youthful submariners. Hopefully, Groton's recruiting will be helped.

Does the name USS Phelps sound familiar to you naval historians, too?

Submarines are always silent and strange.



Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Selected Perceptions of the U.S. 4th Fleet (Chavez Threatens to Sink It and Other Chaos)

Varying Perceptions of the U.S. Fourth Fleet's missions in chronological order:

Photo credit: Defense Industry Daily, LLC Stiletto Stealth Ships

Prior to formal formation of the U.S. Fourth Fleet ...

November 7, 2001 - Sources: Terrorists find haven in South America - ... Across the river in Foz do Iguacu, Brazil, two more mosques are suspected of involvement in terrorist activity. Argentine intelligence documents obtained by CNN map out what the intelligence sources said are links between the mosques and a laundry list of terror groups. They include Egypt's Al-Gama'at al-Islamiyya and Lebanese Hezbollah, both identified by the U.S. State Department as terrorist organizations linked to Osama bin Laden, and Egyptian Islamic Jihad, linked to Iran's Imad Mughniyah, who is on the U.S. list of most wanted terrorists. ... Argentine and Paraguayan prosecutors have identified another man, Assad Ahmad Barakat, as the regional operative for the Shiite extremist organization Hezbollah.

December 14, 2005 - Americas Policy Program Special Report ... South America's Tri-Border Area (TBA)—where the borders of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay converge and which hosts a large Arab population—took on a new prominence in the wake of the September 11 attacks in the United States. Although arms and drug trafficking, contraband smuggling, document and currency fraud, money laundering, and pirated goods have long been associated with this region, it also has been characterized as a hub for Hezbollah and HAMAS activities, particularly for logistic and financial purposes. At year's end, press reports of al-Qaida operatives in the TBA had been disproved or remained uncorroborated by intelligence and law-enforcement officials. 3

April 13, 2006 - Invade Venezuela M.E. said (LOL)...The first new fleet since prior to WWII will be Roman-numeralled 'IV' (as in the missing 4th fleet). In a departure from Arabic numeralled fleets, the IV fleet will be phonetically referred to as the IV Fleet (as in Invade Venezuela). There are no firm plans to overthrow Chavez or invade Venezuela, but Venezuelan water temperatures are conducive to relatively easy training, maintenance, and swim call activities.

Fourth Fleet Established ...

April 24, 2008 - Navy Reestablishes U.S. 4th Fleet - MAYPORT, Fla. (NNS) -- Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Gary Roughead announced today the reestablishment of U.S. 4th Fleet and assigned Rear Adm. Joseph D. Kernan, currently serving as Commander, Naval Special Warfare Command, as its first commander.

May 24, 2008 - U.S. Fourth Fleet in Venezuelan Waters - With U.S. saber rattling towards Venezuela now at its height, the Pentagon has decided to reactivate the Navy’s fourth fleet in the Caribbean, Central and South America.

Aug. 4, 2008 - Chavez threatens to sink U.S. Fourth Fleet - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez boasted Sunday that his air force could sink the US Fourth Fleet in the Caribbean ... [registration required]

July 11, 2008 - Praetorianos said...
I live in Buenos Aires and i personally think they [the 4th Fleet] are here because of the natural resources (water).. I don't think their presence here is justified and should get the hell out of here. We are peaceful nations and if the US wants to fight drugs (as they say they do), they should pay more attention at home cos it s their children who use drugs. [emphasis added]

August 18, 2008 - Brazil has joined Canada and Russia in openly declaring it is beefing up its military to protect offshore energy reserves. The Brazilians have taken it one step further — they are in the process of acquiring the technology from France to build a nuclear-powered submarine.

August 19, 2008 - A Combatant Craft to counter the Asymetric Threat - Stiletto was designed with the needs of our special forces in mind. [SEALS]

August 19, 2008 - Hez[bollah] Submarines in South America? - 'In 2006, we were tracking ... around three of these,' said Admiral James Stavridis, southern Command boss, referring to the crude, four-man, fiberglass semi-submersibles that have become favorite tools of drug smugglers down south. 'In the year 2007,' Stavridis continued, 'it jumped to about 30. This year so far, in three months, we've seen about 30.' (British magazine Warships International Fleet Review reported Stavridis' comments in its latest issue.)

Submarines are always silent and strange.



Monday, August 18, 2008

Submarine Mystery Questions of the Week

One of the primary obstacles to properly recording history has been the need to maintain national secrets. M.E. acknowledges military secrets are vital to national security and safeguarding them remains an absolute necessity.

M.E will not provide the answer to Question 5, although I seriously doubt the answer I found easily is still secret. .....................................................................................................
The cutaway photo may not be familiar to every submariner. While your guess will have basic validity based on shape alone, proper identification requires more specificity...
Mystery Questions:

1- Name the related submarine class?

2- What is the 3-letter acronym of the unit shown?

3- What was the name (one word) of the system featured in this cutaway photo?

Bonus Question:

4- Where was this cutaway displayed when photographed?
Self Question:

5- In particular, what and where was the primary target the system named in Question 3 was designed to overcome? (You will have to find this answer yourself).

No clue? Answers to Questions 1-4 will be given Friday.
Submarines are always silent and strange, and some of us obviously did not have a need to know such things.



Saturday, August 16, 2008

Finally Disclosed! Russian Submarine Radiation Leak

Both early and modern design of submarines combined the utmost in visionary potentials with among the boldest naval operations ever proposed. The impressive attack of the submarine Turtle against HMS Eagle that occurred off the coast of Staten Island on 6 September 1776, for instance, is wonderfully illustrated in this brief video:

The Creation of the Turtle Submarine

The teredo worms mentioned in the video are actually not worms but marine molluscs which bore into submerged wood for digestable cellulose. Unfortunately for Sgt. Ezra Lee, The British endeavored to stymie teredo worm damage with metal plates on HMS Eagle's hull below the waterline. The plates thwarted Lee's augur and explosive charge placement.

Fast forward from 1776 to today. Assume Brittain, Argentina, Russia, Germany, China, Iran, or anyone else with advanced biolabs (e.g. Fort Detrick) have developed a more highly evolved species of the Teredo able to digest submarine metals. Hypothesizing their existence, Caruso has named them Teredo radioactivus. What does the special hull of a juicy nuclear sub look like (below the waterline) after attack by such critters?

Caruso's cartoon is implausible at this time ...
No NPPI disclosure restrictions have been slighted. Submarines are always silent and strange.



Friday, August 15, 2008

Photos Raise Tough Questions

The photo at left is an advertising graphic produced by human laborers in an asian rice field. Photos like the UK wheat field at right are of Linda Moulton Howe's alleged high strangeness genre, supposedly of unknown purpose and origin. These occur most frequently in the UK, Canada, Australia, and the US, however.

The first photo raises some very stubborn questions for the few remaining crop circle fans:

Why would supposed extraterrestrials leave regular crop graphics (suspiciouly computer generated) in English speaking countries with an abundance of laptop computer users, rather than in a country with a more pictographic and ideographic language currently used by the majority of Earth's humans (the Chinese).

Here is part of the reason, but now note well that pranks are discouraged culturally by China's autocratic socialist government. The penalty for wanton destruction of a food crop in China is probably severe by Western standards.

Any creative thinkers who may still be crop circle believers must now consider solid answers to the foregoing issues. Otherwise, the high strangeness that has been attributed to such crop circles sticks out for what it really is... mere pranks!



Thursday, August 14, 2008

Adventures in Paradise Deja Vu

Well, paradise is where martyred Saleman Abdirahman Dirie must be now, unless he really committed suicide in Denver's upscale Burnsley Hotel, located only 2 miles from the site of this month's DNC convention.

The timing is especially coincidental considering Dr. Bruce Ivins committed suicide (official cause of death) late last month. Ivins was found unconscious at his home the morning of July 27 and died at Frederick Memorial on July 29, 2008, from an overdose of acetominophen with codeine. He seems to have committed suicide prior to formal charges by the FBI for his alleged involvement in the 2001 anthrax 'letter attacks', which killed five people. Letters containing anthrax spores had been mailed to 2 Democratic U.S. Senators, Daschle and Leahy.

In both instances, was the public to believe Islamic terrorism had been involved and Democrat leaders were the primary targets? Hmmm! Well, if that was Dr. Ivins intent and he was acting alone, he seems to have failed.

There also seem to be a number of unbalanced imitators out there. As friend Juan Caruso's choosing jingle goes:

Eenie...Meanie…Miney…Moe, Catch a prophet by the toe;

Eenie...Meanie…Miney…Moe, If he's peaceful, let him go;

Eenie...Meanie…Miney…Moe, Or, off to Guantánamo!

Is someone trying to intimidate DNC attendees or intimate Republicans in dastardly crimes perhaps? Draw your own conclusions, it will certainly be as sound as ours.



Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Islamic Republic's Latest "Smart" Submarine

Associated Press in Tehran - Wednesday August 13 2008 - The Guardian -

'Smart' submarine boosts military, says Tehran

Iran's defence minister was quoted by state radio yesterday as saying the country's military capabilities had "increased remarkably" since the construction of a new submarine. General Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar reported the submarine to be "smart" and unmanned, with radar-evading capabilities. The report did not elaborate on its size and technical specifics and did not say whether the submarine had been tested. Since 1992 Iran has been active in producing military equipment such as tanks, missiles and torpedoes, but little is known about the country's submarines. [color emphasis added]



Monday, August 04, 2008

The 'Littorals' - Part 2 - Submarines and NASDS

Last month M.E. posted The 'Littorals' - Part 1 - Submarines and Surface Craft, noting that SSNs and SSGNs are littoral combat ships in every sense of the word short of directly landing troops or SEALS. SSNs and SSGNs can piggyback SEAL delivery vehicles, however.

The Advanced Seal Delivery Sysytem (ASDS) was designed for stealthy long-range insertion of Special Operations Forces on covert or clandestine missions. Previous mini-subs were wet types, exposing Combat Swimmers to hypothermia during long, relatively slow transits and their electronic equipment to salty moisture that could degrade combat readiness.

Is it expecting too much for our SEALs to have something like this (vacuum vapor deposition) polymer coating protecting their sensitive equipment? Amazing video:

From waterproof coatings to landings...

Do you know why submarines carry ASDSs with props aft (Navy photo)? Are you certain that launching is the reason? Have you thought about the recovery process (docking)? What if the ASDS were propelled silently with the fast and efficient swimming motion of an ocean fish? Hmmm!

Publicly, the ASDSs were withdrawn from production for excessive costs and critical flaws. GlobalSecurity lists inadequate battery, propellor and other noise impediments to stealth requirements. The RoboTuna swims (no prop noises) and goes farther and faster on a standard battery charge.

Curiously, the RoboTuna (video linked here) has the potential to eliminate all of those issues in a fuel efficient, fast, and silent AUV system with which the Navy has announced its desire to build a new submarine. Is the new sub the Navy has in mind an ASDV ( NASDV )?
Submarines are always silent and strange.