Monday, March 02, 2015

ANSWERS: Provocative Submarine Q.O.T.W.

Background 

Related information, photos and links for questions are found at original posting.

  

Questions of the Week & ANSWERS

1 -  Taking place during peacetime, what year marked the "first ICEX" according to the USN, and what submarine inaugurated such missioins (name and hull number)?  ANS: 1958; USS Nautilus (SSN-571).

2 - ICEXs nowadays have been highly classified. How highly classified was the "first ICEX"? ANS"Operation Sunshine was so secretive that the story of a routine Pacific cruise was created for Nautilus’ and her crew. To explain Nautilus’ appearance on the West Coast, a cover story was created involving a series of anti-submarine exercises in a supposed effort to familiarize military ships and aircraft with a nuclear submarine. ... The operation became known as the most top secret peacetime naval operation in history for two reasons. First, in proceeding through the Bering Strait, and while well removed from the territorial waters of the Soviet Union, Nautilus might have possibly neared areas of Soviet submarine operation. Second, White House officials preferred to attempt the voyage first and wait for success before making any announcements after the Vanguard debacle and its fallout. As such, few people within the government were privy to the plans for Nautilus as the summer of 1958 approached."   source Navy CNO

3 - What was one of the primary objectives of the "first ICEX"?  ANS:   (1) Operation Sunshine was first and foremost a White House mission, planned to enhance the United States’ image domestically as well as internationally. Nautilus’s crew remained in the dark as to their real destination as Nautilus left Groton, Conn., on April 25, 1958. [ibid].   (2)  "In response to the nuclear ICBM threat posed by Sputnik, President Eisenhower ordered the US Navy to attempt a submarine transit of the North Pole to gain credibility for the soon-to-come SLBM weapons system." Anderson, William R. "Fact Sheet – USS Nautilus and Voyage to North Pole, August 1958" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-09-06.   

4 - What are some newer ICEX's objectives today?  ANS: "Submarines have conducted under-ice operations in the Arctic regions in support of inter-fleet transit, training, cooperative allied engagements and operations for more than 50 years."

5 - What ICEX of the current decade publicly demonstrated a strong U.S. intention to maintain a superior commitment to submarine know-how and training?  ANS3/16/2011(NORFOLK, Va.) – "Commander, Submarine Force (COMSUBFOR) has announced that the Virginia-class submarine USS New Hampshire (SSN 778) and the Seawolf-class submarine USS Connecticut (SSN 22) "the world's most powerful attack submarine", have commenced Ice Exercise 2011 (ICEX-2011) in the Arctic Ocean.  NNS110316-07 

6 - Generally, how often are Arctic ICEX exercises conducted publicly?  ANS: The U.S. Submarine Force has completed more than 25 Arctic exercises at a pace of one Ice Camp every two years.

7 - There is a special reason east coast submarines participate in ICEXs; what might their participation illustrate to potential adversaries?  ANS:  US east coast subs can reach pacific without transiting the Panama Canal.

8 - Subsequent ICEX deployments involved both scientific and tactical exercises. What foreign navy has most often joined with the U.S. in arctic tactical exercises?  ANS: Apparently the United Kingdom's Royal Navy. However, prevailing secrecy in ICEX missions makes a factual answer publicly uncertain. As of 1984, for instance only three (3) ICEXs seem to hav been acknowledged in conjunction with foreign submarine participation.

9 - For at least one ICEX since 2000, a sub's culinary specialists planned having a rather large btu-value of food available for each crew member. How much per person was this (in calories)?  ANS:  5,000 calories per day.

10 - The first Sturgeon class submarine capable of shooting both TLAM and TLAM-N missiles participated in an ICEX.  In what year was that ICEX, what was that sub?  ANS:  1986;  USS RAY (SSN-653).

11 - It may strike the uninitiated as odd that subs from our arctic ally Canada have not participated in ICEXs; what is the reason? ANS:  Only nuclear subs participate publicly in ICEXs.  Canada has no SSNs and her fleet of 4 diesels has been plagued by mishaps and lay ups until recently. Canadaian submariners claims they operate operate north of 60 degrees, but the Canada's navy gives surface craft HMCS Shawinigan a potential all-time Arctic record for an RCN ship, reaching 80 degrees, 30 minutes north

Submarines are always silentrange.

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