Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Wednesday Submarine Tidbits 30MAR16

Background

 Recently noted curiousities of a submarine variety (formerly titled Tuesday Tidbits).  New to public attention  ...

# 1  

28 MAR 2016  Arctic ice crack concludes US submarine drill one week early

A crack in the ice floe caused the U.S. Navy to announce that ICEX 2016 was concluding a week earlier and that the breakdown of ice camp Sargo, constructed for the purposes of the submarine exercise held in the Arctic, was underway.
“With the primary objectives met and indications of adverse environmental conditions, specifically a crack on the ice floe, that could impact the future safety of the Camp, the decision was made to conclude Ice Camp operations seven days early”, the Navy said.
The two submarines that took part in the exercise will continue operations as planned. They will remain in Arctic waters through early April.

Molten Eagle Comment: An interesting termination. Even more interesting is the phrase "environmental conditions".  Is someone suggesting climate change again?  There is a strong case to be made that this cracking was indeed man-made (video).

# 2

17 MAR 2016  Next-Gen Russian Subs to Use Composite Materials for Improved Stealth 

“The opponent just will not get the required level of signal reflected from the submarine as the composite material has a high internal loss factor, or sound absorption properties can change when vibration occurs, completely preventing the spread of vibrational energy.” - Valeriy Polovinkin, an adviser to the general director of the Krylov State Research Center in interview with the Russian-language daily Izvestia

"The Russians hope to use composite materials for everything from the hull coating to the dive planes, rudders, stabilizers, propellers, drive shafts and possibly even the hulls themselves. If the technology works, composite materials would greatly reduce the weight of various structures, increase the boat’s reliability and reduce operating costs. That’s because composites don’t corrode and thus wouldn’t need to be painted, Polovinkin said—reducing maintenance costs. Moreover, composite structures should simplify manufacturing by reducing part counts."


Molten Eagle Comment: Readers may find contradictory reaction to the article by "Intul i5" as interesting as the accompanying image of a Delta IV class nuclear-powered ballistic missile sub.

Submarines are always silent and strange.
 

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Monday, March 28, 2016

Submarine Quote of the 1st Quarter (March 2016)

 Quotation

"These defective parts, each probably valued on the order of $10,000 or less, have kept the $2.7 billion attack submarine Minnesota languishing in an overhaul for two years, while engineers attempt to cut out and replace a difficult to reach part near the nuclear reactor. Meanwhile, Navy engineers are scouring aircraft carriers and other submarines for problems and criminal investigators are gathering evidence. .......  The Navy refuses to comment while the investigation grinds on."David Larter, Secret weld: How shoddy parts disabled a $2.7 billion submarine, Navy Times, March 28, 2016.

Insights

  • Don't blame the U.S. Navy. At this stage of an open investigation it could be imprudent if even allowed to make factual comments.
  • No, the latent defects, of course, do not relate to the stricken, former USS Miami (SSN-775), which was decommissioned after a Navy shipyard fire had been set by a civilian contractor (May  2012).  After estimated repair costs for the burned out Miami rose from $450 million to $700 million, repairing it would have required cancelling work on several other submarines and surface ships. In the end, the Navy determined that repairing Miami was not considered worth weakening overall fleet readiness. [After repairs Miami ideally would have made up to 10 deployments]. 
  • The faulty and potentially faulty welds at issue are certainly associated with USS Minnesota (SSN-783):
    "Minnesota, the 10th Virginia-class attack boat, was delivered 11 months ahead of schedule. But it has been in the shipyards at Electric Boat in Groton, Connecticut for two years —  more than twice as long as a normal post-shake- down availability. It still has months to go." [ibid]             
M.E. comment: Consequently the Navy has been forced to delay deploying Minnesota.  Virginia class boats are projected to make14–15 deployments during their 33-year service lives.[54]   At $2.688 billion per sub each deployment missed is valued at $2.688 billion / 15 = $ $ 179,200,000, and crews are already pushed. The weld problem may apply to other subs and ships as well:
  • "The unauthorized parts are impacting three new Virginia-class attack submarines, likely extending the post-shakedown overhauls for the other two subs and adding greatly to the final tab at a time these fearsome vessels are needed around the globe to defend carrier groups and strike America's adversaries." [ibid]
  • The same shoddy elbow joints were installed aboard attack subs North Dakota [(SSN-784)] and John Warner [(SSN-785)], forcing the Navy to spend millions of dollars and many more months to repair them. If these pipes ruptured, they would leak steam and force the submarine to take emergency measures that would impair its combat effectiveness.  .....Nuflo has provided parts for the carrier Theodore Roosevelt's [(CVN-71)] recent mid-life refueling overhaul, as well as for the new carrier Gerald R. Ford [(CVN-78)], according to various news reports. Neither the Nuflo's CEO or spokespersonresponded to repeated calls and emails for comment by March 25.
M.E. comment: Taxpayers certainly hope the civilian responsible for USS Miami's devastating fire as well as the civilian contractor and quality inspectors responsible for USS Minnesota's faulty welds were not involved in acts of espionage.
 Submarines are always silent and strange.

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ISIS: Islam's Unemployed Youth Employment Agency

Background

In 2005 M.E. had posted "Paris Job Opportunity for Muslim Youths", exploring a challenge for Disneyland® Resort Paris (Parc Disneyland), a theme site covering 4,800 acres since opened in 1992. 

Excerpts: 
"As now envisioned, employment in Caliphateland would be restricted to Muslim clerics and youth required to wear traditional garb, attend religious classes and services at authentic mosques to be built there, and to entertain tourists with displays of the fun side of Islam."

 "Although managed under Muslim custom and law, the theme must meet or exceed Disney resort standards and disposition of proceeds would be subject to regular park audits."

Caliphateland never materialized; it was considered too infeasible:  Leaders decided that the fun side of Islam, if there ever was one would never sell to the general public. Tourists would not come.  And, even if they did come, so would radical suicide bombers.

We all know what happened next.

Ten Years Later (January 14, 2015)

Is France failing its Muslim youths?   

Excerpts: 
(After recent attacks on the offices of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo) - In the suburbs of Paris, where millions of first- and second-generation Arab and African immigrants live, unemployment is over 50 percent. 

“These young people have not been integrated in any meaningful way in the [French] society, the job market or in life. They have been living in France for 20 or 30 years. Some of them were born in France and still feel completely marginalized and isolated. They feel like they don’t belong.” -
Radwan Masmoudi, president of the Center of the Study of Islam and Democracy, based in Washington, D.C.

“We’ve had lots of terrorist attacks in Britain during the last 10 years. You can see a big backlash in Germany. And Belgium is the No. 1 country in the world with the highest percentage of its Muslim population going to jihad. Every time there is an attack somewhere, the media says, ‘Why this country?’ But at the end, it’s a general phenomenon.” -
Olivier Roy, French scholar of Islam and author of “Globalized Islam” 

A Partial Solution

Revisit a Caliphateland theme park that targets visitors from Europe's Muslim population and curious tourists.  

Let Muslim's operate the theme park and employ all of their youth that its profits and growth will support, placing the onus for fun, growth and success squarely where it really belongs. 

Initially, France should subsidize the park subject to regular audits of all revenues and expenses. After 5 years of operation, a lease with purchase option might be offered subject to similar audit requirements. 

Submarines are always silent and strange.

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Sunday, March 27, 2016

State Department: On Submarine Missiles

Background

Some 39,000 lawyers work in federal cabinet agencies in various capacities. The State Department depends heavily on its attorneys.  Lawyers are often noted for their few virtues, including fairness and impartiality.  Some things lawyers generally are often associated with, however, have been penchants for citing complexity and tolerance for political doubletalk.
U.S. foreign policy has been neither predictable nor transparent, at least to those of us who have not paid dearly to influence it.

Now, Clear as Mud?

- INDIA -
India's ambitions for a sea-based nuclear deterrent were acknowledged in 1998.    
March 7, 2016 -  India conducts ballistic missile launch in the Bay of Bengal

March 22, 2016 - India successfully test-fired the K-4 submarine-launched ballistic missile earlier this month.  The missile was launched from a submerged replica of a submarine, from water 9 meters (around 30 feet) deep. 

March 25, 2016 - US criticises India over nuclear-capable submarine-launched ballistic missile K-4   Days after India conducted the submarine launch of the nuclear-capable ballistic missile (SLBM) K-4, the United States expressed concern citing risks to nuclear security and regional stability.  

- IRAN -
July 15, 2015 - Things We Must Keep In Mind About Iran Nuclear Deal
 1) It Would Curb Iran's Nuclear Programs, 2) But It Still Allows Iran To Continue Enrichment
3)  House Speaker John Boehner and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu among them — believe that this is a bad deal because it doesn't entirely dismantle Iran's nuclear program.  In a speech to the nation, President Obama said that while that is true, this deal extends Iran's "breakout time" — or the time it would take the country to make enough highly enriched material for a nuclear bomb. The White House estimates that at the moment, Iran's breakout time is two to three months.  

4)  Iran has a longstanding history of cheating on international agreements 
Iran has a long and proud history of cheating on its international nuclear agreements. Olli Heinonen, a former deputy director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) who once monitored Iran’s nuclear program, observed in 2013: “If there is no undeclared installation today .  .  . it will be the first time in 20 years that Iran doesn’t have one.” Indeed, Iran’s main enrichment facility at Natanz was a covert facility that was only discovered in 2002, by the Mojahedin-e-Khalq, an Iranian opposition group. A year later, the European Union struck a deal with Iran to prevent it from spinning its centrifuges and beginning to enrich uranium. Yet for much of the deal, Iran was busy mastering its uranium supply chain. “While we were talking with the Europeans in Tehran,” wrote Iran’s nuclear negotiator and now president Hassan Rouhani, “we were installing equipment in parts of the [uranium conversion] facility at Isfahan.
- NORTH KOREA -
January 6, 2016 - North Korea announces it conducted a fourth nuclear weapons test, claiming to have detonated a hydrogen bomb for the first time. February 7, 2016 - North Korea launches a long-range ballistic missile carrying what it has said is an earth observation satellite in defiance of United Nations sanctions barring it from using ballistic missile technology.February 7, 2016 - North Korea is believed to have more than 1,000 missiles of varying capabilities, including long-range missiles which could one day strike the US.  

March 26, 2016 - North Korea released a new propaganda video Saturday showing a nuclear strike on Washington and then threatened South Korea with a “merciless military strike” for slandering leader Kim Jong-Un.

Submarines are always silent and strange

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Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Wednesday Russian Submarine Tidbits 23MAR16

Background

Recently noted curiousities of a submarine variety (formerly titled Tuesday Tidbits). New to the public's attention  ...

  # 1

19 MAR 2016  Russian Submariners' Day Press Conference St. Petersburg, Russia.  Selected Quotes
  • "Russia dropped preparing of professional submariners. But a submariner must be raised from the cradle, and big salary is beside the point".  - Admiral, Doctor of Engineering, professor, Government Prize awardee A.A. Komaritsyn
  • "To my mind, submarines are like spaceships moving under water. Any country operating submarine fleet is held in respect, so when our submarine fleet decays, we're written off. ... The main thing is people. They need a kind of a delicate approach. Submariner is a piece specimen! If we fail to educate genuine submariners, Russia's underwater power may fall into oblivion".  -  A. Pokrovsky, former submariner and novelist.

#2

22 MAR 2016   Russia confirms higher level of submarine activity by Karl Soper, Washington DC - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly

"The Russian submarine force has significantly increased its operational tempo, according to local media reports marking Submariners' Day on 19 March. Russian Northern Fleet nuclear-powered submarines were underway for 1,500 days last year, 50% more than in 2014, navy spokesmen reported. 

Vice Admiral Alexander Fedotenkov, the deputy commander-in-chief of the Russian Navy, informed the media that Russia's submarines have almost doubled the time they spend conducting combat patrols and combat duty since the start of 2015."

#3

4 MAR 2016  Defense One  Russian Subs Are Reheating a Cold War Chokepoint  
As the GIUK gap returns to importance, NATO must look to regenerate its anti-submarine forces.
"Russia’s growing sub-surface capabilities are coupled with an apparent political will to use them. Its recently revised maritime strategy emphasizes operations in the Arctic, along with the need for Russian maritime forces to have access to the broader Atlantic Ocean. And that access will have to be, just as during the Cold War, through the GIUK gap." - Magnus Nordenman, Deputy Director of the Brent Scowcroft Center at the Atlantic Council in Washington, DC.


Submarines are always silent and strange.

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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

ANSWERS for (17 MAR 16) Sub Questions of Week

Related information, photo(s) and links for questions are found in the original posting..

ANSWERS Submarine Questions of the Week


1  -  What is the significance of Ice Camp Sargo's name?  ANS: USS Sargo's (SSN-538) arctic history.

2 -   In the photo of Ice Camp Sargo (here): 
-  (a)  From what direction was the wind coming?
  ANS:  Unknown, as we do not know exactly when the photo was taken. However, a subjective guess based upon March winds may help.
-  (b)  Which of the flags shown represent nations who have claimed portions of the extended continental shelf under UNCLOS? ANS:  Canada and Norway. 
- (c) Which flags represent nations who have not made such claims? ANS:  U.S.A.
- (d) Is there an UNCLOS claimant not participating in ICEX 16?  ANS: Russia
 
3 - Two U.S. subs are deployed for ICEX 16; which subs (names & hull numbers)?
ANS: The Los Angeles-class submarines, USS Hartford (SSN 768) from Groton, and USS Hampton (SSN 767) from San Diego, are conducting maneuvers, data collection and training matters. 
 
4 -  Which of the following are not assigned ICEX 16 participants: Alaska Air National Guard assets, MIT students, Mobile Diving Salvage Unit 2, Norwegian personnel, SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team, Royal Navy personnel, Royal Canadian Navy and Air Force personnel, Russian contingents, the USCG?  
ANSRussian contingents may be actively snooping, but not as ICEX participants.
 
5 - What seems strangely out of place in the © Edgar Su / Reuters ICEX-16 unrelated, U.S. submarine photo below (subjective answer)? 
ANS:  M.E. has lightened the published photo to underscore issues raised below:

Submarines are always silent and strange.

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Thursday, March 17, 2016

Sub Questions of the Week: 17 MAR 16

Background

In a temporary departure from past Questions of the Week, which required objective answers, this edition also requires a few subjective answers to consider. 

Inspiration for this week's change comes from Ice Station SARGO, a temporary ICEX 16 command center built upon an arctic ice floe (a sheet of floating ice):

Sub Questions of the Week

1  -  What is the significance of Ice Camp Sargo's name?

2 -   In the photo of Ice Camp Sargo below:
-  (a)  From what direction was the wind coming?
-  (b)  Which of the flags shown represent nations who have claimed portions of the extended continental shelf under UNCLOS?  - (c) Which flags represent nations who have not made such claims? - (d) Is there an UNCLOS claimant not participating in ICEX 16?

3 - Two U.S. subs are deployed for ICEX 16; which subs (names & hull numbers)?

4 -  Which of the following are not assigned ICEX 16 participants: Alaska Air National Guard assets, MIT students, Mobile Diving Salvage Unit 2, Norwegian personnel, SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team, Royal Navy personnel, Royal Canadian Navy and Air Force personnel, Russian contingents, the USCG?

5 -
What seems strangely out of place in the © Edgar Su / Reuters ICEX-16 unrelated, U.S. submarine photo below (subjective answer)? 

ANSWERS:  Tuesday, 22 MAR 16

Submarines are always silent and strange

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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Tuesday Submarine Tidbits 15 MAR 16

Background

The latest M.E. posting related to each topic is linked by (item number).

The Tidbits

(1)

"S. Korean military refuses to confirm on missing DPRK submarine"    South Korea's military on Monday refused confirmation on a Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) submarine, which United States media reported had gone missing for days.   ... Seoul's Defense Ministry spokesman Moon Sang-Kyun told a regular press briefing that the intelligence authorities of both South Korea and the United States maintain a position that they cannot confirm the relevant report.

M.E. Comment (a):  Obviously, neither S.Korea, the U.S. or other suspect nations (China, Japan, Russia, [Some rogue element of DPRK,s own military) can be foolish enough to state conclusively the fate of Kim Jong Un's missing sub (an 8-man,  70-ton Yugo class sub used in espionage operations, according to Yonhap.) without raising suspicion of their own guilt in the matter. However, they are free to speculate in a manner that disparages North Korea's readiness.  For EXAMPLE:  "Because these subs are very old, they are susceptible to mechanical breakdowns and due to North Korea's economic situation, it is not likely that they have been well maintained," the military official told Yonhap.
M.E. Comment (b):  An 8-man espionage sub would be a perfect target for a counter-espionage operation.

(2)

"Iran says it recovers information from US sailors' devices" TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- Iran has retrieved thousands of pages of information from devices used by U.S. Navy sailors who were briefly detained in January, the country's state television reported Tuesday. The report quotes Gen. Ali Razmjou, a naval commander in the powerful Revolutionary Guard, as saying that information filling about 13,000 pages was retrieved from laptops, GPS devices and maps.

M.E. Comment (a):  U.S. taxpayers should have expected this administration to have fired another admiral (or general) by now for his poor planning / execution of the embarrassing capture 2 months ago of ten U.S. sailors, including one female.  No such firing at the U.S. Navy's Bahrain-based 5th Fleet, which is responsible for American naval forces in the Gulf, nor in a higher authority has yet come to pass. Obviously then, the quick "catch and release" may have been a nefariously pre-arranged excuse to either plant false information with an enemy, or to share accurate information with Iran's government.  
M.E. Comment (b): Hmmm!  The truth is out there, but acts of espionage are typically not divulged for at least 3 decades.  So, is this why no one has fallen on his sword?

(3)

"2 plane parts to be examined in Australia for links to MH370" KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Malaysia's transport minister says two plane pieces found in Mozambique will be sent to Australia to verify if they belong to Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.

Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai said Monday both pieces will then be sent to Australia to be examined by an international investigation team. The plane vanished March 8, 2014, with 239 people on board while flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. The search is ongoing in the southern Indian Ocean.

M.E. Comment:  Forsenics is an intriguing process, and as time progresses more and more Boeing 777 variants like the MH-370 (a 777-200ER) have been delivered worldwide (1372 to date)If undisclosed evidence of foul play were not involved, the course of the forensics would not involve such inordinate delays. At this stage, M.E. cannot be critical of the process or non-disclosure of actual evidence in hand.  Why? Remember what was stated in (2) above: "acts of espionage are typically not divulged for at least 3 decades".  

Submarines are always silent and strange.

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