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.


At 28 November, 2006 12:47, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dude what about your statements, such as the Kitty Hawk's admiral would have to be the most incompetent boob in the Pac. You say you are are a former bubblehead. And if you were a cold war bubblehead and Fast Attach Tough you would know you could pretty much sneek into anyone's battle group during war games if the focus is not Anti Submarine Warfare (ASW).
The comment about the Chinese finally moving to the blue water is about known previous patterens when they pretty much stayed to the littorals. Now they are moving out and they got one by us. doubt if it will happen again.
Finally if you have been keeping up with your former service you would find the focus has been on shooters (i.e. Tomahawk chunkers) not ASW intridiction. Again another bell ringer to bring our brothers of the 'phin back to thier bread and butter.


At 28 November, 2006 14:20, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seehund (FT1/SS RET), your opinion represents what most bubbleheads likely believe. Thanks for speaking up!

There are very good reasons for disagreeing with you, however. Knowing the presence of all vessels, especially subs, is vital not just for intelligence purposes, but for survival of our carriers. Telling sub crews they successfully infiltrated a carrier force without detection by the task force's screening subs and perpetual, anti-sub aircraft may be great for the morale of the infiltrating sub crew (mine threw a green flare on a carrier's deck), but it sucks for the crews on those screening subs and patrol aircraft, doesn't it? So guess which version of what really happened is most highly classified.

Obviously the screening subs' COs report to the Kitty Hawk's admiral for the exercise. All sierras go up the chain of command per his orders. So, he might not be interested in merchant ships or even a patrolling Trident, but he would definitely want to know about the Chinese Song sub, wouldn't he?

Now, how dumb would this admiral have to be not to expect possible Chinese sub infiltration, when it had happened in an earlier task force? This admiral is not that dumb, believe me. Sonarchap


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