Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Submarines and Freedom of the Press

News regarding U.S. Navy submarines has been managed 95% of the time since at least the late sixties when I qualified. That does not mean there have not been inadvertent, unmanageable slips.

Except for the slips, all this is good for national security and the most economical alternative for taxpayers funding military, black program, high technology.

Were you aware that twenty-five year old machinist Michael Dayton was stationed in Germany? WUPW-TV (Fox Toledo News, Channel 36) reported a local Navy seaman was injured in a submarine explosion in Germany this weekend, where the twenty-five year old machinist was stationed.

The Navy is flying him to a burn center in San Antonio. His mother has been advised that her son is expected to stay in San Antonio for at least two months. Michael was repairing a pump belt. As he was working, a safety valve exploded engulfing him in a "steam fueled blaze" (sic). Flames burned Michael's leg, neck and face. Although he suffered third degree burns, he is expected to make a full recovery. Our prayers are certainly with this young fellow and his family.

As of this writing there has been no statement by public Navy sources. The Sub Report (just checked) has picked up the story. Bravo, Eric!

Now the obvious questions. Was Michael working on one of Germany's AIP subs? Was he working on a U.S. sub in Germany? Was anyone aware of German billets for U.S. submariners?

Over one year ago Molten Eagle advised of AIP to the Rescue. Last April, we speculated about Sweden's HMS Gotland: The Attendant Mysteries. And in November, Molten Eagle advised on the Taiwan AIP submarine issue. The pont? Here is what we said in November:

The DOD sees the big advantages of 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).

Just idle chatter? Then what about this Strategy Page article from March 15, 2007? All comments welcomed, but since submarines are always silent and strange, few substantive comments are expected, only vague explanations to protect the incompetent news handlers. When was the last time one was fired?


At 21 March, 2007 07:39, Blogger Bubblehead said...

An anonymous commenter over at my place said he was actually on the tender USS Emory S. Land (AS-39), which was underway at the time.

At 21 March, 2007 08:45, Blogger Vigilis said...

Thanks, Bubblehead. Safe to guess that the mother must have been hysterical and unable to fully comprehend the naval officer briefing her.

The nearest military airbase to the AS-39 must have been in Germany, so the injured could be airlifted ASAP. Good move.

Apparently (we do not really know this, yet) the mother also jumped the gun, speaking to the local press before the Navy had a chance to issue its official statement.

At 21 March, 2007 13:28, Blogger Old Gary said...

You mean a tender actually gets underway?

At 21 March, 2007 19:31, Blogger Vigilis said...

Old Gary, submarine tenders are old and barely mobile. This story may not be finished quite yet.

At 22 March, 2007 02:07, Blogger Subvet said...

I was stationed on the Orion back in 89-91. She was the oldest tender in the fleet and yes, tenders do get underway periodically. Made my first trip to Haifa on her. Also made trips to Toulon, Naples and one or two other spots.

At 22 March, 2007 13:41, Blogger Vigilis said...

Thanks for your comment SubVet. Let me assure you that I was not being dissmissive of sub tenders. Their capabilities were phenomonal in mission fulfillment. Why? Because the talent aboard was generally some of the best in the Navy! Some of the best sea tales are spun by a friends of mine who served on the Emory Land and a decommissioned one whose name escapes me now.

At 22 March, 2007 17:42, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a son who works in the Engineering Department on the Land. I will see if I can get some up to date info.

Also, Subvet, I remember when the Orion was in Haifa. I was there on the SEADEVIL and we came over to borrow one of your grills for a cookout on the pier.


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