Friday, July 15, 2011

Reading Between the Lines 7/15/2011

Jul 14, 2011 -Aviation Week- Pentagon May Change Carrier, SSBN(X) Plans

"The U.S. Defense Department is considering delaying, cutting back or canceling planned future aircraft carriers and ballistic missile submarines to meet its budget-reduction mandates, says U.S. Marine Corps Gen. James Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff."

We’re looking at all the options,” U.S. Marine Corps Gen. James Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. said July 14 following a Defense Writers Group breakfast.

Plans to use Virginia-class subs for ballistic missile missions date back nearly to the sub’s inception, but the idea seemed to be more or less abandoned as the nation decided to use larger D5 missiles that essentially are incompatible with the vessel’s design, analysts say.

However, as naval analyst and author Norman Polmar notes in a July article for the U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings magazine, the Virginia could be redesigned for a missile compartment and related fire-control and berthing spaces to carry 12 or more Trident C4-sized missiles.

The full article, linked above, is short and worthwhile. Reading the following between the lines is most revealing:

... Polmar contends, it would be better to supplement the boomer fleet now with the redesigned Virginias while working a truly modern ballistic missile sub design that would be much more survivable given the threats likely to exist in the latter part of this century.

To understand why, readers must consider the 1958 US-UK Mutual Defence Agreement under which the United States and the United Kingdom have cooperated extensively on nuclear security matters. Consequently, such a strategic decision is made only with the U.K.'s Trident programme in mind. 14 U.S. Trident subs have been in service since 1981.

In 2002, the United States Navy announced plans to extend the life of SSBNs (Trident subs) and D5 missiles to the year 2040.[3] The D5 Life Extension Program (D5LEP) is currently underway.

The UK's 4 Vanguard subs (Trident SSBNs) have been in service since 1993. Despite persistent opposition from groups like the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and Trident Ploughshares for full nuclear disarmament, proposals to replace the Trident system were passed by a majority in the House of Commons in 2007.[23] However, since the US is extending the life of their Trident submarines to 30–40 years, Richard Garwin, a US nuclear weapons advisor to three US presidents, has advised British MPs that the same could be done in the UK saving £5 billion and allowing time for a rethink of British nuclear strategy.[2]

CONCLUSION: Polmar (above) dropped some possible hints: Although some may still be kept guessing, a future member of the Virginia class will soon go back to a shipyard to be secretly refit for evaluation of the feasibility of the Stretch Virginia strategy for smaller ballistic missiles (D-5s are just too long).
Trident's D5 missiles, leased from the USA, are expected to continue in UK service until at least 2042, following upgrade.

Question #1: Which Block III-IV Virginia class sub will disappear from public attention and press coverage for about 5 years? Which submarine indeed?

Question #2: Will this evaluation platform (sub) also be the first Virginia class sub to get a Blue and Gold crew?

Question #3: Does this represent the true rationale for the precipitous rush to deploy female submariners?

Question #4: Which of the USS Ohio (SSGN-726) class subs, if any, also has a bunker buster (MOP) capability?

What, you thought all submarines of a class were identical and their capabilities accurately disclosed publicly by Wikipedia?

Submarines are always silent and strange.

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Friday, July 08, 2011

UPDATE : Closer and closer

Monday, June 12, 2006 - The Proposed Submarine USS Guantanamo

Wednesday, July 6, 2011 - Drift: How This Ship Became a Floating Gitmo

Submarines are always silent and strange.

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Thursday, July 07, 2011

MISFORTUNE - (prediction)

Casey Anthony has been acquitted of first degree murder, aggravated manslaughter of a child, and child abuse. The jury, however, found Anthony guilty of four counts of providing false information to a law enforcement officer.

Vigilis had little interest in following the recent trial and accords all due respect to the jurors who weighed the evidence, discussed the merit of allegations and reached their verdict in accord with our constitutionally guaranteed system of due process.

The presumption of innocence has prevailed. Just or unjust, Vigilis really does not know, YET.

More than the trial transcript has been cast in stone, however, and what happens next may be as disturbing to the public as it may seem inevitable to big-picture observers:

Vigilis's PREDICTIONs:

1) George and Cindy Anthony
Natural death will come to one within 24-48 months.

2) George and Cindy Anthony
The other will commit suicide within 72 - 120 months.

3) Casey Anthony
Will be under psychiatric care and medication within 60 months. Any children she may have had by then will be removed from her care by state courts.

Time will tell. If Vigilis gets 1), 2), or 3) wrong, please let him know ASAP. On the on the other hand....


Submarines are always silent and strange.

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U.S. Submarine - From the Outfielders

Recently, three opinions regarding the future of the U.S. submarine fleet resurfaced in curious concert. What does their propaganda have in common? Only looming fiscal constraints/crisis.

1. Wineke: Why Bother With Expensive Submarine Fleets?
The article is short, the author clueless and some apt responses posted below it.

2. Gary J. Schmitt, Richard Cleary: U.S. Navy Needs Diesel Submarines
The article is equally brief, but has been presented with greater stature by the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research.

3. Rear Admiral Michael J. Connor: Investing in the Undersea Future (U.S. NAVAL INSTITUTE)
The article is as long as the precceding two combined, but the author has commanded SSN-21.
Nevertheless, respondents ask pertinent questions.

PREDICTION
Forget diesel boats. AIP boats solve the artificially created problem of women crew on U.S. subs. Why? Because AIP subs have relatively limited ranges with shorter endurance at sea (port is nicer for women) and as Sweden demonstrated with HMS Gotland, can be built to accomodate both genders for limited sea missions.

from March 20, 2007-
The DOD sees big advantages in deploying AIP subs in the U.S. fleet. Unit cost is closer to $100 million than over $2 billion for the latest Virginia class submarines. Operating costs are much lower, as well, without nuclear powerplant operators. While U.S. companies will build these subs, Sweden will not sell upgraded stealth technology to foreign countries, because Sweden will provide AIP and perhaps other key hardware to Electric Boat. The U.S. boats will be between 236 and 256 feet in length, around 3,000 tons displacement and still crewed by 30 sailors (with room for 20 or so SEALs or mission hardware).

Submarines are always silent and strange.

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