Thursday, November 30, 2006

The USS Copperfin's Historical Value

I watched Destination Tokyo last night and was absolutely thrilled to hear the actual wartime tribute to those brave submariners being announced at the end of the film. I was unaware, until then, that the film had actually been produced and released during WWII for the war effort.

The 1943 B&W movie combines a few of the amazing feats and exploits we wave all heard about, including an emergency appendectomy (actually happened twice: Pharmacist's Mate
Wheeler Lipes had just performed that emergency surgery in 1942 using makeshift instruments aboard the USS Seadragon on submerged patrol in the South China Sea; and, on the USS Silversides SS236, Pharmacist's mate Thomas Mooere removed George Platter's appendix 150 feet below the ocean's surface. Photographs of Platter's surgery are on display in that submarine at Great Lakes Naval Memorial and Museum in Muskegon). The film also depicts a secret mission infiltrating far beyond where our surface ships and aircraft could operate. There is more, but no reason to spoil it for you.

The operation of the submarine depicted in this movie were later used as a Navy training film during World War II, although belowdecks scenes were shot on unrealistically spacious soundstages. The Copperfin was a fictitious, Gato-class submarine, upgrades to WWI vintage S-boats and Tambor-class submarines available at the start of WWII.

Cary Grant starred as the recently promoted (O-5) skipper. John Forsythe made his big screen debut as a submarine sailor! Alan Hale Sr. the father of lookalike actor Alan Hale Jr., ("the Skipper" on Gilligan's Island) plays the cook in this one! Bill Kennedy (Superman series voice) stars as the navigator. He is no relation to actor George Kennedy, now living near
Bubblehead in Boise.

Erick Harper says, "Timeline issues and a few schmaltzy moments aside, Destination Tokyo is a first-rate submarine flick. There is a lot of plot and plenty of action, so that even at 135 minutes in length the movie never really seems to drag. Read his whole review, but here is one excerpt:

[A] quintessential example of Hollywood's wartime efforts to combine good filmmaking with good citizenship. Yes, there is a lot of pro-American anti-Japanese propaganda here, make no mistake. It is couched in some more enlightened terms than you might expect, however. There is little actual racism employed, but rather a sense that the Japanese are people victimized by a rotten system of militarism. Grant's character spells this out in a speech where he talks about stopping a system that "puts daggers into the hands of five-year-olds," and instead creating a world where the youngsters will play with roller skates, just like their good old all-American counterparts.

No proud submariner should be unfamiliar with Destination Tokyo. For a selection of other submarine movies, browse The American Submarine: A Select Filmography & Bibliography from the U.S. Navy Submarine Force Museum.


Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Chinese Submarine Story: Kitty Hawk UPDATE #3 (Support from experts)

UPDATES after this date: NOV. 21, 2007 may be found here.

A Chinese diesel sub surfaced near a U.S. task force operated from the American carrier USS Kitty Hawk on October 26 near Okinawa. The story was reported by the U.S. press in mid-November.

On November 13th, Molten Eagle gave you this accompanied by historical facts):
In reality, the presence of China's Song-class submarine had to have been anticipated by the USN, and ample US intelligence resources had been deployed in the area to gather clandestine data providing/confirming tactical capabilities and weaknesses.

And, on November 19th, Molten Eagle gave you this (accompanied by more facts):
Telling journalists that the Chinese had been detected would be telling too much, that is, that they had been expected and were being electronically monitored for future reference. But, perhaps China's sub had been helped into the provocative act of surfacing amidst a U.S. task force. Neither China nor the U.S. would be anxious to admit that, would they?

More than a full two-weeks after Molten Eagle first interpreted the event, others are lending their expertise:

A former CO of two U.S. submarines, Albert Schwartz, Capt., USN Ret., commented (November 27th) here:
In Cold War times it was standard procedure to try and track a diesel submarine with active sonar and ASW aircraft until the submarine was forced to surface by exhaustion of its air or battery. ... It is the Navy's job to detect and track an intruder. We need to do it to protect our forces in wartime and must practice it in peacetime. Failure to do so is our failure not a Chinese provocation. (emphasis mine)

And from submarine author (Seas of Crisis, Crush Depth, Thunder in the Deep, etc.) Joe Buff this was added on November 28th:
The modern Song-class passive sonars are certainly good enough to know at a range of 10,000 yards that a group of big and noisy surface ships was there. No PLAN [ed. Peoples Liberation Army Navy] submarine captain in his right mind would surface in such conditions unless he wanted to be absolutely sure that his presence, previously undetected within the carrier's inner defense zone, was made unmistakably clear to theater U.S. admirals and their higher-ups inside the Beltway.


Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Your Civilized World: If South Korea Does This, Would Al Qaeda Behead the Dogs?

"A 2-year-old dachshund barked chained to its dingy, wooden house Tuesday, unaware of its fate as South Korea began slaughtering hundreds of dogs, cats and pigs in an effort to stem the spread of the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu. ...Quarantine officials began the slaughter Tuesday even though international health experts have questioned killing non-poultry species to curtail bird flu's spread, saying there is no scientific evidence to suggest dogs, cats or pigs can pass the virus to humans. " source

"Indeed, no evidence exists to show cats or dogs play any role in the spread of this virus," said Dr. Michael Greger, director of public health and animal agriculture for The Humane Society of the United States and author of a book on bird flu.

Many of the canine victims are namesless. The dachshund's owner could not recall the name her daughter had given her dachshund. ... Dogs are routinely bred for food in South Korea, where dog meat is widely consumed, especially by middle-aged men who believe dog soup aids their virility.

29-year-old Kim Sung-tae remarked, "I have little puppies that are as small as my palm. How can they have the heart to kill those small things?"

The current generation of Americas is too soft to convince Al Qaeda not to mount more attacks against us. History must unfortunately repeat itself until the last Islamic radical is slain or converted to the human race. So be it.


No Trial: Submariner Pleads Guilty (Weinmann Part IV)

Molten Eagle has keenly followed this story in three earlier posts, so today's news certainly comes as no surprise, because the case has been handled with such unusual secrecy.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Ariel J. Weinmann was scheduled for a court-martial next week but will instead plead guilty in a Norfolk Naval Station court to some of the six charges against him, Weinmann's civilian attorney said Monday. "Pre trial negotiations have been going on and have been met with some success," said the attorney, Phillip Stackhouse of Jacksonville, N.C.

In fact, it is time to discuss Weinmann's sentence:

"The Navy at one point had considered the death penalty against Weinmann but rejected it for undisclosed reasons. The maximum punishment for espionage under military code is life in prison."

Weinmann passed classified information to a foreign government representative in Vienna, Austria, and Mexico City. The Navy has not disclosed what information was passed, nor has the foreign government officially been named. Israel was not Weinmann's recipient, according to the Navy. CNN, has named Russia as the foreign government, but Time magazine, citing anonymous military sources, reported in August that the Navy had not confirmed Russia as having received anything from Weinmann.

Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) special agent Kevin Burke, who questioned Weinmann over nine days after his arrival in Norfolk from Dallas, said the sailor was found with dozens of computer files containing biographical information "at the classified level." Crew biographical data possibly. Examples of basic, biographical data are found on ID (dog) tags.

In Molten Eagle's opinion, the worst possibility here would have been for the sensitive classified biographical information to have included the religious preferences of thousands of active duty submariners, and for Weinmann to have passed same along to a potential recruiter of Islamic terrorists. Such a security breach would obviously have to be treated with utmost sensitivity and the unusual secrecy that U.S. journalists have reported.

The U.S. has never shied from admitting or harshly punishing spying by Israel (the Rosenbergs, Jonathan Pollard) and Weinmann's family are certainly not Jews. So what sentence will Weinmann receive? Judging by his shipmate's (Lt. Loomis) ultra-light sentence for desertion during war, Weinmann must agree to serve no more than 10-15 years in the brig and thereafter to hold his silence about this crime for life.


Monday, November 27, 2006

AIP Submarines: The U.S. Taiwan Intrigue UPDATE

What has happened:

From the Taipei Times (Sunday, Nov 26, 2006, Page 1 ) Taiwan must upgrade its submarine warfare capabilities to prevent China, which will have an aircraft carrier battle group by 2020, from surrounding the island. Vice Admiral Tung Hsiang-lung, chief of staff of the Navy Command Headquarters, said that the US government has requested a down payment of US$360 million as a guarantee for the deal, given that Taiwan's opposition has continuously blocked the budget for the purchase of the submarines in the legislature.

Tung said, "If we do not give a down payment, they will not begin to hire European contractors to build the vessels for us." The US government has to hire European contractors to build the eight diesel submarines for Taiwan since the US does not build diesel submarines anymore. (emphasis added)

"But, [the down payment] is not a form of extortion. The down payment is actually a show of our determination and guarantee to the US and potential European contractors that Taiwan will definitely carry out the contract. It also shows our determination to defend ourselves," Tung said.

Earlier Speculation:

On April 21st, in Tracking The Gotland: The Attendant Mysteries Molten Eagle had speculated as follows:

The DOD sees the big advantages to 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).

Contracting out submarine construction is not unheard of at America's premiere sub builder, Electric Boat Co. On July 17, 2006, Molten Eagle discussed a clear precedent (revealed only once) for covertly contracting submarine construction (e.g. Electric Boat to a Canadian shipbuilder Vickers to get round US neutrality laws in 1915 ).

This time, will Taiwan be the go-between? The U.S. would get a fleet of advanced AIP diesel boats forward based and flagged in Taiwan. Strategic. Very, very strategic.


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Why Our Politicians Cower from the Draft: It is VERY BROKEN

Rep. Charlie Rangel, D-N.Y., tried to revive his New Year's Eve 2002 call for a military draft. more here Even his own party abandons him now, as House Speaker Pelosi stated today. The Republican House brought it up for a vote in 2004, and Mr. Rangel himself voted against his own measure like 401 other House members..

A draft like those of the past would be unacceptable today thanks to social engineering lead by the Democrat party and other lawyers. It was not wrong, but implications to the universal draft were ignored by the genius lawyers infesting Washington, DC!

Nowadays, women have equal employment rights, which have been extended to military service in all branches. In order to draft 25,000 Marines or combat infantry troops, the net has to be cast to include the majority gender (females), which unfortunately will not yield 25,000 combat infantry troops. It will yield about 12,675 women draftees (assuming required fitness) and about 12,375 male draftees (same assumption).

While the taxpayer would be required to process, train and pay both groups, the "universal draft" would be among the least efficient social engineering programs yet devised by the Democrats.

If females were not subject to the universal draft, the number of lawsuits generated nowadays would also keep a cadre of lawyers employed (strike that) paid for several years. And, do you know why? Because, if women were left in the civilian workplace while men were drafted out of it, whose eligibility for civilian job promotions would be sacrificed? Hint: Not the females.

The workplace has gotten very competitive thanks to equal employment opportunities for women. Large corporations currently have an unstated preference for women (and other "minorities") in managerial posts in order to demonstrate compliance with EEOC regulations. So, when a male has to leave for military service, he is guaranteed only a position like what he left, not the promotion he had been competing for until then. The stakes are high enough to generate plenty of litigation.

As a taxpayer, I am not prepared to foot the incremental bill for such foolishness, are you?

Fix the draft before we really need it!


Sunday, November 19, 2006

The Chinese Submarine Story: Kitty Hawk UPDATE

UPDATES after this date: NOV. 25, 2007 may be found here.

Bill Gertz of The Washington Times reported Navy admits failure to detect Chinese sub.

The opening sentence, citing unnamed Navy officials said, "Navy officials confirmed yesterday that an aircraft carrier battle group failed to detect a Chinese submarine that surfaced within weapons range of the USS Kitty Hawk."
If that sentence were true, Kitty Hawk's admiral would have to be the most incompetent boob in the U.S. Pacific Fleet, wouldn't he? So, is he going to be fired? Of course not. The "failed to detect" statement is bunkum.

But, the most misleading information in the story was that these same officals said it was unusual for the submarine to be operating in deep ocean waters. Shall we be very surprised then, when a Song submarine makes a port visit to Cuba, Venezuela, or Mexico in a year or two?

Really? That's patently strange considering the U.S. had diesel submarines of WWI vintage (e.g.
Bonita) operating (however poorly) in the Pacific back in WWII. Just who, besides perhaps modern journalists, are supposed to accept that our Chinese trading partners can't match later, WWII deep water diesel submarining with more modern craft of today?

Consider also, that [I]n January 2003 a PLAN Ming-class diesel submarine was detected inside Japan’s waters off the southern tip of the southernmost home island, Kyushu. It apparently was collecting electronic intelligence and other oceanographic data. ... Also in 2004, the United States tracked Han-class nuclear attack submarine (SSN) 405 for weeks from China out into open Pacific waters where it circled around Guam, which is the primary forward staging base for the U.S. Navy in the Western Pacific.
source The carrier Kitty Hawk herself had "squared off in international waters off China's coast" Oct. 27-29, 1994, the Los Angeles Times had reported in 1994. source And, besides China, their are several other submarine navies the Kitty Hawk task force would have been on the alert for in the recent exercise.

So, what is the denial all about? Not this statement in Gertz's report: The submarine encounter also took U.S. intelligence agencies by surprise because of years of analyses that continue to portray a benign China, said a defense official. More bunkum! What could be going on here?

First, the obvious: details about U.S. submarine operations and anti-submarine capabilities are highly classified.

Telling journalists that the Chinese had been detected would be telling too much, that is, that they had been expected and were being electronically monitored for future reference. But, perhaps China's sub had been helped into the provocative act of surfacing amidst a U.S. task force. Neither China nor the U.S. would be anxious to admit that, would they?

The security stakes are greater than just Taiwan (as Mexico, Cuba and Venezuela hinted above). The U.S. may have just shown China how sternly the deadly, Cold War game of submarine cat and mouse can be played while maintaining a sober, diplomatic face.


Friday, November 17, 2006

Israel's Suicide Terrorist Symmetry May be China's Bad News for FBMs

(Please see Molten Eagle's tribute to Richard Feynman above) "Richard Feynman’s article, from which it could be inferred that molecular nano assemblers would be a new post-nuclear super weapon, was published in 1959." source

Nanotechnology engineers devise a flying robot, no bigger than a hornet, to chase, photograph and kill its targets. The nanoweapon, nicknamed "bionic hornet", navigates narrow alleys to reach difficult targets like snipers or rocket launchers.

Prototypes for the new weapons are expected within three years, according to public announcement. This means, in Molten Eagle's opinion, that crude weapons are undergoing refinement currently. A self-destruct mechanism must be integrated within the new weapon to prevent enemy interception and replication. That is probably the easiest challenge, however.

Others weapons under "study" include super gloves that give the user the strength of a "bionic man", miniature sensors to detect suicide bombers, and vectors to inject incapacitating, biological agents into combatants dressed as civilians (thugs).

Even the U.S. has been investigating such possibilities and has no doubt progressed way beyond any development (effort) that we can publicly discuss ( difficulties of flying ). Nano weapons still seem as insurmountable to some, as the Wright brothers' invention once did. Only the few, leading edge folk, see the possibilities in an inevitable sense.

If one doubts or denies the efficacy of nano weapons, consider that the Manhattan Project from 1942 to 1945 spent over $100 billion, while present government allocations on nanotechnology amount to less than $1 billion a year. Worse, in 1986 China fundedProject 863 to develop post--nuclear super weapons in seven fields. Naturally, some Chinese scientists who had read Feynman’s article proposed their research in molecular nano assemblers.

"Now molecular nano weapons are expected to be able to find the bombers and submarines of retaliation and reduce them to dust." source

Have some of these weapons already been spotted?


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

UPDATE: Bad News Islamo-fascists, the first Muslim in U.S. Congress

Back on Keith Ellison has been elected, he becomes the voice of default for America's Islamic community.

He will not be able to avoid doing so. As the first Muslim to serve in Congress, the press will grant him national notoriety hanging on his every word. His voice will supercede and overwhelm the relatively anonymous Imams.

If Ellison harbors any support for Islamic terrorists, he will lose office and political career in two years. If he attempts to straddle the fence like Ibrahim Hooper has, he will further define the John-Kerry indecisveness of his Democrat party. If he speaks out against Islamic terrorists, of course, he will set a tone for Muslim citizens that has been missing and engender healthy debate.

The Islamic spokesperson role is looking hopeful for lawyer Ellison, who once had ties to the Nation of Islam leader, Louis Farrakhan. Ellison, a criminal defense attorney who converted to Islam in college, denounced Farrakhan. "We were able to bring in Muslims, Christians, Jews, Buddhists," he said. While he has called for immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, he breaks from conservative Muslims by favoring gay rights and abortion rights.

Ellison's wife, Kim, is raising their four children in the Islamic faith, but she is not a Muslim, so don't look for her in a hijab. Ellison will take his Washington oath of office on the Qur'an, and unroll his prayer rug five times a day, bending on his knees facing Mecca. Ellison received financial support from Muslims across the country and has close ties to CAIR, but his home district includes half of Minnesota's Jewish population.

Will Ellison denounce the 9-11 terrorist attacks or subsequent atrocities? Probably not. Will he support the Islamic extremist position of imposing Sharia law on the United States? Definitely not. We shall see how well he defends the security and Constitution of the U.S. within the next two years, however.


Monday, November 13, 2006

Recent Submarine Headlines in Curious Context

Sub squadron CO’s ouster unrelated to hazing case story here

He was an enlisted Marine for 7 years prior to earning an electrical engineering degree and Navy commission. He is a Bronze Star recipient for service as commander of the attack submarine Providence, which conducted combat operations in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, two operations in support of national security objectives, one multinational exercise, and represented our nation in visits to five foreign countries, earning two Navy Expeditionary Medals and the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal.

In 2002, he won the John Paul Jones Award for Inspirational Leadership from the Navy League, according to his official biography.

He is an author:
“A Submarine CO’s account of the first hours of the war on terror,” written by Cmdr. Scott Bawden.

Official Navy bio for Capt. Scott Bawden

One would obviously think Capt. Bawden should be one of the last submariners fired. Quite a shame, in any case.

1994 - (sound familiar?)
U.S Carrier Kitty Hawk, Chinese Sub, Squared Off (1994)

--Beijing promises to shoot to kill the next time
The American aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk and a Chinese nuclear submarine squared off in international waters off China's coast Oct. 27-29, 1994, the Los Angeles Times reported in December. According to the Times, shortly after the incident, which occurred in the Yellow Sea, China served notice through a U.S. military official in Beijing that the next time such a situation arises, China's orders will be to shoot to kill. Although in the end no shots were fired, U.S. officials acknowledge the confrontation was serious. The Navy's carrier battle group in the region included not only the Kitty Hawk, but also three cruisers, one frigate, one submarine, two logistics ships and an estimated 10,000 American naval personnel.

In 1994, an S-3 anti-submarine aircraft from USS Kitty Hawk tracked a Chinese Han class submarine.

Navy confirms Chinese sub spotted near carrier (11 hours ago)

The Washington Times claimed that the Chinese submarine “shadowed” Kitty Hawk, surfacing within five miles of the carrier before it was finally spotted by an aircraft. Kitty Hawk and various units of the 7th Fleet have been taking part in AnnualEx 18G, the largest bilateral exercise between the Navy and Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force.

In reality, the presence of China's Song-class submarine had to have been anticipated by the USN, and ample US intelligence resources had been deployed in the area to gather clandestine data providing/confirming tactical capabilities and weaknesses.


Thursday, November 09, 2006

And now, for that 100 knot submarine

Back in March, Molten Eagle illuminated some little reported facts about Those 345 MPH Supercavitating Torpedoes: Did You Know? Supercavitation involves surrounding an immersed object with a bubble that allows it to travel at high speed.

No submariner read about supercavitation without wondering whether the technique could be applied to underwater craft besides torpedoes, right?

Today, it has been reported "General Dynamics, Northrop to study 115 mph sub"

There is not much to the report, so here is the jist of it:

Northrop Grumman and General Dynamics will help DARPA study the feasibility of technology with the potential for major velocity improvements for underwater craft. Grumman's Electronic Systems division (Annapolis, MD) has been awarded a contract worth $45.8 million, while Electric Boat received contracts valued at $37.1 million to develop "supercavitation" technologies.

General Dynamics' press release added a few more details:

speeds up to 100 knots (which is about 115 .1 mph)

a new class of high-speed underwater craft for future littoral missions that could involve the transport of high-value cargo and/or small units of personnel.

This contract contains two options

Some Molten Eagle questions (critical thoughts and suggested answers only):

1) What are the two options? Answer: Manned and unmanned

2) Has the UK developed a technology already and shared it with the U.S. for costly development? ANSWER: Yes

3) Will China attempt to emulate the technology at great cold-war type costs?

4) Will IRAN attempt to buy the technology from China or North Korea (DPRK)?
Answer: Yes

5) Does Russia alreay have a working model? ANSWER: Yes

6) Is the U.S. trying to escalate potential aggressors' spending on costly weapons systems? ANSWER: It does not matter.

7) Will the technology be applied to (a) UUV; (b) AIP submarine; (c) SEAL delivery sub; (d) nuke subs; (e) none of the above? ANSWER: (c), (a) and (b)

8) What will the depth restriction be (think of impact at 115 mph)? ANSWER: Classified


Monday, November 06, 2006

Free Political Forecast

Iraq (Anytime before his as yet unannounced date with the gallows):

Saddam prison break attempt

United States (Nov 7, 2006):

Senate: Dems + 4

House: Dems + 11