Thursday, September 07, 2006

Submarine Mystery: K-414's Deadly Fire

Named for Prince Daniil Moskovsky, youngest son of Alexander Nevsky, K-414 Daniil Moskovsky is a Project 671RTM Schuka (NATO: Victor III) submarine of Russia's Northern Fleet. Victor IIIs have 8 or 9 compartments and 25 or 26 have been produced since 1991 with perhaps 4 still in service.

On September 6, 2006, an onboard fire broke killing two sailors.

Bubblehead got an early lead on the story (when does that guy sleep).
He says, I'll wait for all the misleading initial reports to get sorted out before I try to figure out if the Russians are lying or not about this.

His statement is prudent and telling. We are talking silent service after all. Does the truth ever get told? According to BH's report, a Northern Fleet spokesman said, Our initial information is that the fire broke out in a power distribution panel in compartment No.6." As stated earlier, reliable sources differ on how many compartments these old subs even have (drawing). These are after all, military stealth vehicles on very, very stealthy missions. There are ample reasons not to publicize unnecessary details about operations or capabilities. Too many specifics can lead experts to excellent guesses about both.

The best reason not to believe initial reports, however, is that simpler explanation are always attempted first (not only by the Russians), and more complex explanations emerge as necessary to better contain the story, which finally becomes words to the effect that's our story and we are sticking to it only when the top of chain of command says so.

Please, do not expect me to update this for all of the eventual iterations of related news and official reports. For reasons stated, this is my one-shot summary of the mystery. Adding to Admiral Masorin's statements I dissect below, I must note his disposition must be very sour.

The timing of the latest tragedy is embarrassing for the Admiral who, only a few days earlier, boasted to the press: Our country is still capable of building combat ships without outside assistance and there is no doubt it will be in the future.

DISSECTION OF STATEMENTS (from the article reported by Submarine News editor esryle):

Wednesday night [submarine fire], was a result of a technical failure, the navy commander said.

Technical failure indicates root causes other than outright equipment failure. Was the fire attributable to flawed design or faulty operation? The commander wants us to believe "technical failure" also includes criminal "violations of navigation rules" (see last quote below). Clearly, it does not.

Two additional clues are found [emphasis added]:

"Masorin said the submarine, commissioned in 1991, missed its repair deadline, but its service life was extended as it was in good condition."
(missed its repair DEADLINE, but its service life was extended)!!!

"Military prosecutors launched a criminal investigation into the incident, looking into possible violations of navigation rules. Investigators are working at the Vidyayevo base."
(criminal investigation)???

Submarines are always silent and strange. In this case, the cover up helps explain why.


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