Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Wednesday Submarine Tidbits 26MAR16

Background
Recently noted curiousities of a submarine variety (formerly "Tuesday Tidbits"). Color emphasis by M.E.

New this month to the general public's attention  ...  

#  1

7 Apr 2016 -   DARPA’s Sea Hunter

Rachel Courtland's linked article in the IEEE's Spectrum updates ME's Submarine Questions of the Week (5 APRIL 2016).

Key points previously undisclosed:
  • The 132-foot-long (full-scale) prototype is diesel-powered.
  • The joint project with the U.S. Office of Naval Research, was originally conceived as a tracker of stealthy diesel-electric submarines, but it’s a flexible platform. “What we’ve kind of realized over the course of the program is that it’s a truck,” program manager Scott Littlefield tells IEEE Spectrum. “It’s got lots of payload capacity for a variety of different missions.
  • Unmanned ships are nothing new. They can, for example, be launched far from shore off a larger vessel and controlled remotely by a human operator. But this arrangement places constraints on the size of such a ship, and its range as well, since it can only carry so much fuel.
Readers may note as this one recently did an apparent contradiction in Sea Hunter's diesel-propulsion (first bullet) and its implied (last bullet) capability of extended range WITHOUT FUEL CONSTRAINTS.  Has the claimed harnessing of fuel from seawater (see earlier posting) been achieved?  Has a more efficient electric fuel cell with a high capacity energy section been discovered?  If either were so, no military in its right mind would dare facilitate related technology theft by installing such state-of-the-art gizmos aboard unmanned vessels.
In M.E's opinion, such hype is appropriate only for inexpensive decoy vessels. 

# 2

20 April 2016 - Why has Russia boosted submarine patrols?
  • Russian submarines and spy ships operate near the vital undersea cables that carry almost all global Internet communications, raising concerns among some U.S. military and intelligence officials that the Russians could attack those lines in times of tension or conflict.
  • Russia is also building an undersea unmanned drone capable of carrying a small, tactical nuclear weapon to use against harbors or coastal areas, U.S. military and intelligence analysts said. 

# 3

25 Apr 2016 -  Capacity needed to preemptively strike N.K. submarine’s undersea attacks

"If international sanctions fail to lead Pyongyang into giving up its nuclear weapons, South Korea could ultimately face a situation wherein it must take a decisive military action.   ...  If we are to enlighten Kim Jong Un from his irrational dream revealed in a speech to the U.N. by North Korea’s Foreign Minister Ri Su Yong, who said the North will smile ultimately, the South has no other choice but to arm itself with self-defense capability that is completely dominant over Pyongyang."

Submarines are always silent and strange. 
 

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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Submarine environment more treacherous

BACKGROUND


Molten Eagle - 27 June 2013...
"...[C]onsider the updated threat potential to a US submarine suddenly beset by a swarm of dozens of  autonomous underwater vehicles [UAVs]  configured to suddenly activate and mimic submerged packs of hostile subs. Would the sudden distraction allow a real enemy sub to penetrate a protected patrol zone, torpedo the US sub?   How long would it take to verify the actual threat? The hostile force could easily increase complexity (add confusion) by mimicking several types and nationalities simultaneously. Some swarm units might also be configured as high tech torpedoes."

FLASH FORWARD

NEWPORT, R.I., 15 April 2016...  Navy orders underwater drones that can mimic the behavior of quiet enemy diesel submarines.

 U.S. Navy anti-submarine warfare (ASW) experts needed target underwater drones that mimic the acoustic and non-acoustic signatures of advanced nuclear- and diesel-powered submarines. 

Submarines are always silent and strange.

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Monday, April 11, 2016

ANSWERS Submarine Questions of the Week (5 APRIL 2016)

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

ANSWERS Submarine Questions of the Week

1  -  (see above DARPA photo) How many "contractors" can be seen topside on this "unmanned", surface vessel?  ANS: Seven (7).
"During its upcoming trials humans will remain onboard the Sea Hunter as a safety net, but once the system’s reliability is established an onboard human presence will no longer be necessary. The operator station visible atop the vessel is removable, and the interior of the ship, while accessible for maintenance, is not designed to accommodate a crew." source
2  - Do stealthy diesel electric subs really make "no noise"?  ANS: No, advanced designs only generate "less" noise.

3  - Assume an enemy decides to:

      a)  Board and strip one of these 130-foot unmanned vessels of sensitive gear, compromise automated systems, hack into encrypted communications, or attach a GPS tracker; besides hesitancy to commit such illegal acts, what techniques could prevent or deter such invasions?  ANS:  Besides the human difficulties inherent to boarding a seagoing, 31-knot vessel, no other deterrents are known at this time.

      b)  Since the ACTUV is observable from surface ships, patrol craft, surveillance satellites and aircraft including drones/UAVs, why would an enemy hesitate to disable or destroy an ACTUV before its automatic detection and reporting systems ever presented a threat to an important mission in a critical area of operations?   ANS:  We do not believe a threatened enemy would hesitate to destroy or attempt to destroy this craft unless the enemy knew its effectiveness was already subverted.

     c)   What covert means of disabling ACTUV propulsion could be availed at sea while preserving the anonymnity of the saboteur?   ANS: Contrived collision with a log, buoy, abandoned boat, for example. 


4  -  Name some of the advanced technologies ( juicey targets?) announced for ACTUVs.   
ANS: ACTUVs are to be equipped with a Raytheon Modular Scalable Sonar System (MS3), the vessel’s primary search-and-detection sonar and purportedly the first fifth-generation medium-frequency hull-mounted sonar system built by the U.S. defense contractor. The vessels will also be provided with advanced autonomous navigation and anti collision features,  constant contact with other ships and aircraft through a satellite link, image-processing hardware and passive electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) or non-radar active (LIDAR) technologies.

5  -  "It is intended that ACTUV will operate under minimal supervisory command and control; with shore bases intermittently monitoring performance and providing high-level mission objectives through beyond line-of-sight communications links."  When and where might be the best intended use of ACTUVs?    ANS:  (Peacetime) - Build, deploy and operate as stated to develop credibility for a relatively inexpensive counter to China's (et al) submarine buildups.  (During armed conflict) -  Expand deployments with cheaper ACTUV lookalikes stripped of expensive gear and sensitive technologies to decoy enemies and disrupt enemy's covert and surprise activities.  Also, deploy hundreds of fake spam transmitters simulating ACTUV signal emissions [ELINT] to confuse enemy subs.

"The Pentagon thinks it could produce ships like Sea Hunter for $20 million dollars each and operate them for between $15,000 and $20,000 a day (compared with well over $1 billion dollars for a modern Arleigh Burke class destroyer, which can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars per day to operate)." source
7  -  The first new "vessel designed to track Chinese and Russian subs is slated to be christened this month."  What is the name of this first ACTUV?    ANS: "Sea Hunter", as mentioned.  

Submarines are always silent and strange.

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Friday, April 08, 2016

Miltary Submarine Tourism --- (magazine) Cover Stories

Background

During the Cold War entire crews were advised by their CO or XO of their sub's hoped for ports of call a few days before the next deployment. Such information was only dispensed in squadron homeports, like Groton or New London (State Pier in those days).

If our subs actually visited one of those ports, including La Spezia, it was certainly going to be rare because the submarine navy's business is significantly more important than tourism. 

Spanish navy submarine Mistral enters Ferrol via the castles of San Felipe and La Palma Mugardos

"The Mistral is in Galicia while her replacement is being built in Cartegena"

Seeing the photo (below) of an S-70 sub entering the port of Ferrol (story in Spanish News Today ) brought back memories of the dozen port visits we had missed.

And, it also reminded of USS Albuquerque (SSN-706) 2007 visit to Trinidad's (not to be confused with the Venezuelan municipality of the same name):  

"SSN in Chaguaramas: So What's in Chaguaramas?"

"The announced purpose of the visit was a liberty call that included plans to paint the Rainbow Rescue Shelter at Belmont."

Submarines are always silent and strange.

 


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Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Submarine Questions of the Week (5 April 2016)

Background

ASW Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel (ACTUV)
Some of the hype [color emphasis and underline added]: " It was, however, designed to do much more than traverse the oceans at 31mph. ACTUV has the capability to use long/short-range sonar to detect foreign submarines, even stealthy diesel electric ones that don't make noise. It can then follow those submarines around in an effort to spook out their operators and drive them out. If needed, the vessel can also deliver supplies and be sent on reconnaissance missions with absolutely no human on board."

More hype: "Cheap. It should be only 'a fraction' of the size of a diesel sub, and a fraction of a sub's cost as well.  Long-legged. ACTUV will need to range 'thousands of kilometers' across the seas, for 'months' at a time.source

Questions of the Week 

1  -  (see above DARPA photo) How many "contractors" can be seen topside on this "unmanned", surface vessel?
2  - Do stealthy diesel electric subs really make no noise?
3  - Assume an enemy decides to:
  •   a)  Board and strip one of these 130-foot unmanned vessels of sensitive gear, compromise automated systems, hack into encrypted communications, or attach a GPS tracker; besides hesitancy to commit such illegal acts, what techniques could prevent or deter such invasions?
  •   b)  Since the ACTUV is observable from surface ships, patrol craft, surveillance satellites and aircraft including drones/UAVs, why would an enemy hesitate to disable or destroy an ACTUV before its automatic detection and reporting systems ever presented a threat to an important mission in a critical area of operations?
  •  c)   What covert means of disabling ACTUV propulsion could be availed at sea while preserving the anonymnity of the saboteur?
4  -  Name some of the advanced technologies (juicey targets?) announced for ACTUVs.

5  -  "It is intended that ACTUV will operate under minimal supervisory command and control; with shore bases intermittently monitoring performance and providing high-level mission objectives through beyond line-of-sight communications links."  When and where might be the best intended use of ACTUVs?

7  -  The first new "vessel designed to track Chinese and Russian subs is slated to be christened this month" [Thursday, April 7th].  What will be the name of this first ACTUV? 

ANSWERSMONDAY 11 NOV  MONDAY 11 APR 2016.

Submarines are always silent and strange.





 

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