Sunday, December 30, 2007

Submarines on Rainy Days

This is not about hazards of surface navigation in boats designed for the opposite.

If your day has been as rainy as mine, a little sleuthing can be entertaining. Since my submarine background was in the Cold War, but since that war may have 'begun to ice again', here's a good place to start:

Sturgeon-class SSNs, the 637 class attack submarines were work horses of the submarine fleet throughout the Cold War. Try these samples ...

All Sturgeons were designed to surface through ice, with a reinforced sail and diving planes capable of rotating all the way to vertical. Those in Squadron 4 all had modified designs. Sunfish had a polymer bow for enhanced sonar reception.

The Glenard P. Lipscomb was a trials submarine which was completed using a large electric motor for main propulsion rather than direct drive from the steam turbines.

Beginning with Archerfish (SSN-678) units of this class had a 10-foot (3.0 m) longer hull, giving them more living and working space than previous submarines. Parche (SSN-683) received an addition 100-foot (30 m) hull extension containing research and development equipment that brought her total length to 401 feet (122 m). A number of the long hull Sturgeon class SSNs, including Parche, Rivers, and Russell were involved in top secret reconnaissance missions, including cable tap operations in the Barents and Okotsk seas.

The foregoing are found here on Wikipedia. Details of this nature were not available on Wikipedia when I checked a couple of years ago. Interesting sources, we may believe or not:

The Narwhal was NOT a sturgeon class submsrine, nor was it an S5W propulsion plant; it was a one-of-a-kind ship with an S5G propulsion plant. CORRECT, according to another Wikipedia article.

Continuing on the same theme in more current times, here's a nice quote: [Jimmy] Carter said he expects the crew to use the submarine’s “extraordinary capabilities — many top secret — to preserve peace, to protect our country and to keep high the banner of human rights around the world.” This related link was also interesting, if somewhat mysterious.

Time for more?

Sturgeon class as Spy Ships - one reader wrote this under the Wikipedia article's discussion heading:
I was wondering if anyone had any info on the "Holystone" modification some subs of this class had and exactly what it entailed system-wise.

Now, if you do a little research with Google, Holystone references are easily found. So easy, in fact, that the guy who asked 'if anyone had any info' above must have asked just to make us look.

By the way, the wooden-decks origin of 'holystone' is accurate. Submarines are always silent and strange. On rainy days, they make very nice research topics to boot!



Friday, December 28, 2007

Australia's Super "Darwin" class submarines

Darwin, of course, is the capital city of Australia's Northern Territory. Charles Robert Darwin was an English naturalist who proposed evidence that species evolved from common ancestors through natural selection.

Australia certainly will not likely name its new class of submarine (currently in early planning stages) after Darwin, but the evolution of ultra-modern designs will certainly be incorporated into the new class of boats.

When it comes to submarines, what is stated must be suspect, and what is unstated must never be dismissed. It is not known how many new submarines will eventually be built for Australia, or other countries.

Defence planners will focus on producing a larger, quieter, faster and more deadly version of the existing six Collins-class submarines. ... [O]ne of the options to be considered for the new submarine fleet will be small unmanned mini-subs that can be launched from the "mother" submarines. ... These unmanned mini-submarines, crammed with high-tech sensors, could travel remotely tens of kilometres away from the mother vessel to conduct surveillance, detect enemy submarines or carry an SAS team. Another priority for the new submarines will be the new generation air-independent propulsion systems, which allow conventional submarines to stay underwater for longer periods, greatly increasing operational effectiveness. Defence says the new post-Collins submarines will have more flexible designs, allowing them to be quickly reconfigured for different types of missions, from intelligence gathering to strategic strikes. source

Quickly reconfigured implies modular design offering access to and replacement of critical equipment packages. This applies to the pressure hull exterior as well as inside sub-safe boundaries. SSN-21 and Virginia class subs now share such features.

New generation of improved fuel cell (or simply RTGs) AIP propulsion system contradicts the larger and quieter rhetoric, but certainly does not eliminate the potential for motherships suited for UUVs or SAS teams. This point was made here. Compare the dimensions to those of today's current Collins class: Submerged Displacement - 3,353 tons; Length -77.8 m; Beam -7.8 m with this (between 72m and 78m in length, around 3,000 tons displacement and still crewed by 30 sailors and room for 20 or so SEALs or mission hardware).

Considering that the Collins class itself had been the evolution of five generations of Sweden's non-nuclear submarine development, would anyone be surprised by super upgrades based upon this? Hint: Gotland class require only relatively small crews of about 25. Larger submarines may be in Australia's future, but it contradicts the obvious difficulties involved.



Thursday, December 27, 2007

Behind the Scenes Politics - Part I (Edwards's Wish)



Saturday, December 22, 2007

Silent Night and Day ... Christmas 2007

Top: Arlington, Virginia (December 15, 2007) - - Wreath Memorials at Arlington National Cemetery -- Each year Worcester Wreath Company makes holiday wreaths and places them on more than 5,000 headstones at Arlington National Cemetery.

Bottom Left: Kittery, Maine (April 15, 2007) -- Irene Harvey, wife of Capt. John Harvey who commanded the USS Thresher as it sank in 1963, stands by a wreath she will lay into the Piscataqua River during memorial services Saturday for the 44th anniversary of the submarine sinking of the USS Thresher. John Cook, a former crew member, had left the Thresher three months before the accident to attend nuclear power school. "There's no closure for the families, no grave to visit," said Cook. "This is the closest thing you're going to get to that."

Bottom Right: La Perouse Strait, off the coast of Northern Japan (July 8, 2007)--Rear Adm. Douglas McAneny, Commander, Submarine Group 7, lays a wreath into the Pacific Ocean in remembrance of the crewmembers of USS Wahoo (SS 238) onboard USS Frank Cable (AS 40).

Peace on Earth, good will toward men. - - Luke Chapter 2, verses 7-14


Friday, December 21, 2007

This Could Be Good...Has Anyone Found the Book, Yet?

How serious was the Cold War, and how deeply were submarines involved? Extremely, and implicitly.

The official name of this specialized Soviet task force [was] SPETSALNAYA NAZNACHENUYA, or "Special Purpose Forces." The nickname is SPETSNAZ! According to U.S. Deputy Asst. Secretary of Defense Noel Koch: "Their job is to destroy a nation's infrastructure and kill key people. ... Competent sources within the United States believe there may be as many as 200 of these teams already in place in this country, armed with, among other things, "nuclear backpack" weapons. These are "low-intensity" nuclear bombs of about 2 kt strength. They could not destroy a large city such as New York or Los Angeles, but might cause 45 or 50 casualties. In addition, the F.B.I. acknowledged in 1983, that they knew of the presence of more than 100,000 enemy agents in the U.S. But, as one F.B.I. official stated: "We cannot touch them under American law, until they make an overt move against our government or people." source

The mission of these special troops against nations with nuclear weapons was infiltration during peacetime in preparation for surprisingly devastating attack later. Their aim was to neutralize the capability for retaliatory attacks by removing the most vulnerable officials in the command hierarchy. Against other countries or as secondarily they sought to obtain and keep the means to quickly cripple military and civilian communication networks.


It began in 1981, when a Soviet Whiskey class submarine ran aground near a Swedish naval base. The Soviets claimed that the sub captain had been lost. The incident became known as Whiskey on the Rocks. The Swedish military wasn't laughing.

May. 09, 1983 - TIME - After a six-month investigation, an official commission concluded that up to six submarines had been involved in a bold intrusion into the waters near Sweden's Musk Island naval base last October. The fleet was said to include three advanced miniature submarines, some equipped with tanklike treads for crawling along the sea floor. One of the minisubs, the report disclosed, may have crept 50 miles to the north, right into a waterway that runs through the center of Stockholm.

Nor could it produce a satisfactory explanation of how the mysterious intruders had penetrated the defenses of the naval base, whose radar keeps a continual watch on Sweden's Baltic Sea coastline facing the Soviet Union. ... Some experts think the Soviets could have been gathering intelligence to plan the invasion of Sweden and Norway, so as to gain control of the vital northern Atlantic sea-lanes in the event of war. '

A neutral nation that has long steered a careful path between the two superpowers, Sweden reacted to the spying with unusual harshness.


Fast forward to 2007: Prof. Askin Ozcan is 67, and has lived in the U.S., England, Canada, Germany, Denmark, Norway, France and finally settled in Stockholm, Sweden, where he has lived for 35 years. He is an architect, teacher and author.

Ozcan recently finished his novelette THE RED SUBMARINE and has now completed a film by the same with director Eduardo Coronado. Their film is said to be one of suspense, adventure, romance, humor and music.

Has anyone found the book, yet? Submarines are always silent and strange.



Thursday, December 20, 2007

Tempting Fate

UPDATED: The creature emerging is a frilled shark, Chlamydoselachus anguineus, thought to be extinct. On January 21, 2007 a specimen was found alive off the coast southwest of Tokyo.

There was a peculiar exclamation uttered by our senior chief auxilaryman on those rare occasions when vital systems went very, very wrong.

Nowhere else in the Navy, or civilian life have I ever heard his 2-word utterance. It was so profoundly profane and colorful in just two words that it origins must surely have been ancient.

Hearing it for the first time in a submarine experiencing vital control problems at a menacing depth would have been highly discomfitting had there been the slightest time to dwell on it.

It sent an evil chill up your spine with a sense of urgency just to hear it. I have never entertained repeating it. The chief got around his subs, so I am certain many others must be familiar with his two-word exclamation.

Reflect on the image in your own dream and perhaps the blasphemous concept will dawn on you. But, why would anyone want to intentionally do that? It is fair to say that most people would never connect the two words in their lifetimes, much less in a single sentence. So, you have the picture and this YouTube:

Primitive Shark



Tuesday, December 18, 2007


What's Wrong With This Submarine Story (W3TS2)?

Dec 14, 2007 - Russia completes new experimental "diesel-nuclear" submarine - A new experimental submarine, built in secret, has been completed in Russia, Russia's corporate-owned military news agency Interfax-AVN website (in English) reported on 14 December from Severodvinsk. ... the new sub "is designed to test unique technology in the form of a nuclear reactor installed aboard a diesel submarine as its auxiliary propulsion system". ... the B-90 crew is 52 officers and warrant officers, formed by order of the Northern Fleet commander, its training completed. Capt 1st Rank Sergey Kroshkin is in command.

This submarine has a long life span and can be modernized many times over," AVN notes.
In turn, the Russian navy's information and public relations service told AVN that the new sub is designed for tests of "combat and non-combat unmanned underwater vehicles, as well as other types of sea weapons.

"The construction of the new submarine proceeded amid heightened secrecy, as it - as experts consider - represents a unique experiment by Russian scientists and the military," the report sums up.

The submarine, project number 20120, will be testing a nuclear reactor as a supplementary power generator at a diesel submarine. The submarine was designed by the Rubin engineering company in 1989.

Blatant Contradictions:

1) A diesel - nuclear submarine: The diesel + nuclear combination is not a new concept. The first nuclear submarine SSN-571 Nautilus, laid down in 1952, was also this combination. The Russians have rarely, if ever, been 37 years behind the U.S. in any submarine technology (due to spies and applied research).

2) A nuclear reactor installed as an 'auxiliary propulsion system' would be totally pointless unless it is quieter. If quieter, why would it not be the primary rather than auxilary propulsion? Moreover, nuclear reactors are labor intensive in terms of operation. GOOD ANSWER: To confuse potential listening devices.

3) Despite claims, such as this, that authorities in Nizhny Novgorod Region, accidentally revealed the design for the latest Russian submarine when it posted an account of a meeting with its commander on its website, there has almost certainly been no accidental release of secret submarine information under Vladimir Putin. Give me a break! Intentional advertising (see below) is much more probable than a major security lapse that would embarrass Putin and Russia.

Conforming Conditions:

1) Construction did proceed amid heightened secrecy, as experts consider it represents a unique experiment by Russian scientists and the military. Secrecy is borne out by assignment of the B-90 crew of 52 officers and warrant officers (midshipmen). Basic news advertising is to attract foreign military sales: The spokesman said, This submarine has a long life span and can be modernized many times over, AVN notes. What M.E. believes: If Russia is not serious about foreign military sales, the 'advertising' may only have been to provoke U.S. displeasure, perhaps in retribution for an earlier disagreement between the two powers.

2) Has the U.S. already tried RTG technology? Yes, although it has been discontinued for most non-military uses (like nuclear powered lighthouses), it is still used and planned for space applications. Molten Eagle is unaware of related U.S. submarine tests, except that every feasible advantage would have been explored by our navy, and secrecy is such that unless it were done in crew presence, there is significant likelihood that most other submariners would never have known such trials had even been conducted.

3) AIP (fuel-cell) submarines have tremendous cost and stealth advantages, as related here. The Chesapeake Bay (Baltimore Light) lighthouse M.E. told you about in 2006, had been powered by a 60-watt nuclear STRONTIUM-90 FUEL CELL radioisotope thermoelectric generator (RTG). This was replaced by solar panels for security reasons, we suspect.

4) In the intervening decades, Russians have certainly developed RTGs with higher output efficiencies, longer life and lower cost. Combine this with improvements to storage cells and you might get a great trickle charger for some new submarine batteries that are an excellent energy source for quiet propulsion.

M.E. is not alone in coming to his conclusion. Galrahn at Information Dissemination mentions an RTG application, as well. Submarines are always silent and strange, and their technology will always be linked to space exploration. MSL EDL YouTube:

Submarine technology and space exploration...



Friday, December 14, 2007

Carnival Atmosphere Continues for the Submarine Hunley

December 14, 2007 - CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) - Hunley Commander's Watch No Smoking Gun - When scientists opened the watch belonging to the H.L. Hunley commander three years ago, they thought they had the key clue to why the Confederate submarine sank off Charleston. But the 18-karat gold watch now seems to raise even more questions even though scientists announced Friday it did not slowly wind down but stopped quickly - perhaps the result of a concussion or rushing water. source

Amatuers refer to the H.L. Hunley as the CSS (Confederates States Ship) Hunley. It was not a military submarine. It was a privateer on military assignment - a subtle difference perhaps, but a fact nevertheless. Without doubt some very courageous volunteers made the H.L. Hunley a naval paradigm burster - the first submarine to sink an enemy combatant. The Confederates lost 32 men in Hunley's career, including the 8 brave souls reponsible for her first and last combat success.

The reason for Hunley's sinking has remained a mystery. In M.E.'s opinion, the alleged mystery contributes to the ongoing carnival attractiveness of a prime piece of museum artifact. I believe I know the most likely cause of Hunley's final sinking. In fact, someone intends to publish the likely cause with a loosely related story currently being researched.

Meanwhile, the mystery is maintained by a South Carolina politician:

"All of us were thinking the watch pointed to the crucial moment," said state Sen. Glenn McConnell, R-Charleston, chairman of the state Hunley Commission. "But I would say instead of the smoking gun, it's more of the smoke that keeps you from seeing." ... McConnell also said there is no way to tell if the watch was even working that night. It may have been broken but Dixon may have continued to carry the expensive watch.

To review, here is what M.E. previously posted on the Hunley mysterious fate. The crew drowned due to another cause as they tried to reach safe harbor. The real story, of course, will be what lead to the sinking.

The Hunley was a marvel, but it was her crews that made her so despite her inferior design.

The H.L. Hunley was certainly iconoclastic for her time. So much so, that her basic concept is still being copied by some foreign navies. This museum piece is worth seeing if only to appreciate the dedication of her courageous crews.

One theory (a real no-brainer) is that the sub took on water while waiting to return. Still, the mystery is how the crew would have allowed that to happen.



Thursday, December 13, 2007

Remember that Kitty Hawk Incident?

M.E. (and some experts) had told you this:
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?
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. Go here for why it was reasonable to expect Chinese presence.

Many think otherwise, however, including credible commentators like Bubblehead. Let's assume for a moment that they are correct that submarines (including Chinese) can sneak up on U.S. carrier groups (past our own submarine screens) fairly reliably. Hmm. What then? Consider the implications of this strategy:

12/11/07 - The U.S. Navy’s top strategist has floated to the chief of naval operations three alternatives to the service’s current 30-year shipbuilding plan that if adopted would radically reshape American naval power. The brief is based on a 2-year-old war game and is not being used to recommend force structure options.

The submarine strategy imbedded in the three strategies (which Navy officials are already dismissing as just a routine think piece) are still revealing:

In a 534 ship navy, with 6 aircraft carriers, Vice Adm. John Morgan, the service’s strategy chief, anticipates a total of 32 submarines of all classes including attack, ballistic and cruise missiles boats.

In a 474 ship navy, with 9 aircraft carriers, Vice Adm. Morgan anticipates a total of 32 submarines including attack (55), ballistic (14) and cruise missiles boats (3).

Finally, in a 263 ship navy, with 12 aircraft carriers, Vice Adm. Morgan anticipates a total of only 56 submarines including attack, ballistic and cruise missiles boats. This is closest to Admiral Roughhead's 313 ship navy, so I guess 56 -14 -4 = 38 attack subs. Apparently then, a ratio of about 3:1 (attack subs for each carrier) may be a magic ratio to net required availability. But, that could be telling us too much, so we definitely cannot believe it, or ...?

Now, aircraft carriers are not only an awesome threat to bad actors, they are the obvious target of choice for warring enemies. CVN-76 Ronald Reagan with its crew of over 3,000, came in at about $4.5 billion without aircraft. You get the idea.

So how many aircraft carriers will be at sea at any one time? How many submarines would be available to protect them (some subs are dedicated to other roles and would neither be suitable for such use or available, it may be presumed). Of those submarines potentially available then, how many would be in drydock for scheduled maintenance or unscheduled repairs (just like some of the carriers)? You get the idea, again, right?

Let's examine that original hypothesis once more: Chinese (et al) submarines can penetrate U.S. carrier battle groups any time they wish.

I still say Balderdash!



Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Curious Facts from the Submarine's Political and Physical Operating Environments

UPDATE: January 1, 2008 - Ship safety - As a retired submarine officer, it is my experience that all piping systems (many of which are subject to sea pressure) follow well-established procedures and testing, with no exceptions. None! - T.J. Smith, Williamsburg

Since US submarines spend 95 percent of their time operating in waters deeper than their hull crush depths, escape or rescue prospects have been largely a 5% fiction for the comfort of wives and mothers.
----------- ------------------------------------------------------
The pressure on a submarine's hull increases with depth, by 44.45 pounds per square inch for every 100 feet of additional depth in salt water. Submarine designers define safety margins (150% US, 175% UK, and 200% German) for key depth benchmarks: Test Depth and Crush Depth. Obviously, it is well to stay within these envelopes, if possible.

Most military submarine hulls are constructed of special steel alloys (titanium has also been used, notably by Russia). Prior to 1936, (SS-182) U.S. submarines has riveted hull plates. So did the 1860's Hunley. Soviet Alfa submarines, constructed of titanium, reportedly had an operating depth of nearly 4,000 feet, according to Global Security.

The bitterness of poor quality lingers long after the sweetness of meeting a schedule is forgotten. - CAPT (s) S.E. Iwanowicz, USN, Director of Submarine Safety & Quality Assurance, Naval Sea Systems Command.
----------- ------------------------------------------------------

December 11, 2007 - Problems discovered with submarine welds
The wrong filler materials [ed. undermatched welding] were used during welding, sparking an investigation into all Virginia-class subs. ... inadequate processes at the Newport News shipyard allowed the improper use of a weld material that could lead to cracking of joints and result in leaks, according to a Navy statement. The SUBSAFE program is still in force.

August, 2006 - Los Angeles class attack subs (most of present fleet) -maximum straight line walking distance aboard: 15 feet. Human density: 1.6 per linear foot. Installed: 1,500 miles of electric cables; 150 miles of piping.

April 23, 2006 - Undermatched welding for HY 100 pressure hull applications had been approved. Future testing would still be necessary before HSLA 100 could be approved. What "undermatched" welding means. The SUBSAFE program is still in force.

February, 2005 - MOA between NASA and NAVSEA for NASA Benchmarking of NAVY SUBSAFE

February 1, 2003 - The Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated during re-entry over Texas, on its 28th mission (7 crew members perished).

January 28, 1986 - Breakup during launch of the Space Shuttle Challenger (7 souls perish).

February, 1980 - My decision to register women confirms what is already obvious throughout our society-that women are now providing all types of skills in every profession. The military should be no exception. - Jimmy Carter, 39th (and only submariner) US President

May 22, 1968 - USS Scorpion (SSN-589) lost with all hands (99 men). The SUBSAFE program is still in force.

February, 1967 - Scorpion entered the Norfolk Naval Shipyard for another extended overhaul. The cost of that last overhaul was only one-seventh of those given other nuclear submarines at the time. She got only emergency repairs to get her back on duty as soon as possible, not the Submarine Safety Program requirements implemented after the loss of USS Thresher. The SUBSAFE program is still in force.

December, 1963 - Initial Submarine Safety Certification Criteria (SUB SAFE) promulgated. Among many other quality improvements SUBSAFE was intended to provide maximum reasonable assurance of hull integrity and operability of critical systems to control and permit recovery from a flooding casualty. SUBSAFE intensified structural inspections -- particularly hull welding inspections using ultrasonic testing. From 1915 to 1963, the United States Navy had lost 16 submarines to non-combat related causes. From the beginning of the SUBSAFE program in 1963, only USS Scorpion (SSN-589), has been lost (May, 1968). USS Scorpion had NOT been SUBSAFE certified.

April 10, 1963 - USS Thresher SSN-593 lost (129 men) - Catastrophic flooding of the engine room; loss of propulsion and electrical control; unable to blow ballast tanks.

October, 1928 - Free speech does not live many hours after free industry and free commerce die. -Herbert Hoover, 31st (and only engineer) US President



Monday, December 10, 2007

Australian Submarine UFO Event Raises Unanswered Questions in U.S.

An unlocated flaring object (UFO) disappeared from an Australian beach recently. A senior military Technical Officer confirmed the object as a live submarine flare believed to have washed up on Facing Island beech on December 7th. Queensland Police say the flare could cause considerable harm if ignited near a person and caution anyone who knows the location of the flare to avoid handling it.

Let's review only a sampling of recent flare history in case you had overlooked the topic:

First, no one has claimed the missing one is another U.S. navy flare. April, 2000

A U.S. sub hasn't been lost for more than 30 years because of a rigorous certification program that gives each key piece of a submarine. .. a serial number pinpointing its source and whom to hold accountable if it fails. August, 2000 - Trouble can still crop up unexpectedly. In March, a warning flare exploded in its launch tube in a submerged Navy submarine. The blast sheared a dozen bolts holding the launcher in place and let seawater flow into the bow compartment. There were no injuries, and the Navy has now barred the use of that kind of flare.

Surfers spark evacuation after military flare find - March, 2006 - The pair had loaded the device into the back of their ute after finding it on a Sunshine Coast beach, and then dropped it off at Coolum Beach police station, oblivious of the danger. The 60cm device, which is dropped out of planes by the army, sends powerful flares out of each end.

Fire Out of Control at Military Flare-Manufacturing Plant in La. - August, 2006 - Valentec makes 40-mm parachute flares, which are shot out of mortars and then float down to illuminate nighttime battlefields. The Aug. 14 explosion is the second in as many months at Camp Minden, a mixture of military operations and commercial tenants.

Finally, The Submarine Force is concerned about how this event initiated from what would appear to be false indicators. The Commander, Submarine Force Atlantic will conduct a thorough review of the matter to determine any lessons learned. - March, 2007 - -- During the early evening of March 13, units of the USS Enterprise Carrier Strike Group (CSG) received a series of indications that USS San Juan (SSN 751), a Los Angeles class submarine conducting pre-deployment training with the Enterprise CSG, was in distress. Have the key questions ever been answered publicly? Was the false indicator shot from aircraft? Why are not submarine emergency flares more distinctive from other air and naval signal flares? Attention, all you admirals, taxpayers would like to know.

Updates: shown in this color above.



Tear-Drop Submarine Hull Dates to 1864

Look at the photo above. Well-known to locals, the relic had long been assumed a remnant of WWII.

Two years ago, a rather amazing story surfaced about the submarine relic and here, which had apparently been built in 1864 by Julius Kroehl, chief engineer, for the Pacific Pearl Company. Called Explorer, his sub had been taken to Panama in 1866 for pearl harvesting. Both the news and the Wikipedia versions of the history are interesting.

To any submariner, the craft employed very impressive design insights. First, the Explorer utilized a unique lock-out system, identical to the one described in the Nautilus from the Verne's novel published years later, in 1870. This consisted of an interconnected system of high-pressure air to pressurize a crew working chamber and water ballast tanks. That technology alone easily outstrips the Hunley's but for the fact that the 200 psi air was supplied from an external tender - and why not, when it would be diving for pearls?

While calling Explorer a 'glorified diving bell', some of its detractors are quick to describe the confederate sub Hunley as high tech for its time, when actually, it was only a crude device used in a visionary manner by some of the most courageous volunteers of the war. As we see, the Explorer, at 12 meters in length and 3.3 meters beam, was not bell shaped. Hunley was also 12 meters in length with a
beam of only 1.2 meters.
Both vessels had screws with hand powered shafts. That is where the most extraordinary high tech difference must be noted. Hunley was wedge-shaped like a surface craft. The Explorer (photo) has the tear drop hull design of post-WWII German, Russian and U.S. submarines like USS Albacore (1953).
A big Thank You! to BC for this nifty link where you will find a slide show of more Explorer photos.



Saturday, December 08, 2007

Progressives, Their Nuts and My Endorsement

Molten Eagle (an independent voter) has been steadfast and bipartisan in opposition to lawyers in public office. In my opinion, nothing will weaken and defeat our military faster and erode our economy and public education quicker than the collegiality of lawyers in public office. We must each vote as we continue to see fit. This implies that our eyes be wide open and our minds engaged at least every so often. We have choices beyond admitted lawyers, those who hide that they are, and those who wish they were.

Yet, the times may call for an exception to anything. After giving her prospects much thought, I am endorsing the underbitch (a female underdog) for the DNC's presidential nomination in '08. By voting for this lawyer the electorate may finally prove, once and for all, the absence of sexist and racial biases. How so racial, you ask? Because she is married to our nation's first black president.

Dec 8, 2007 - ATLANTA (AP) -
In a media interview posted online, [Andrew] Young also quipped that Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton has her husband behind her, and that "Bill is every bit as black as Barack. He's probably gone with more black women than Barack," Young said of former President Clinton, drawing laughter from a live television audience. source

Democrats now call themselves Progressives or Democratics. The original leader of the Progressive movement (and former employer of Andrew Young, whom in 1977 he appointed to become U.S. Ambassador to the U.N.) was President James E. Carter. Carter's campaign symbol was the peanut. In those days, Republican states were still BLUE.

Since then, every Progressive candidate has been symbolized by a nut. Although the peanut is really a legume (vegetable), some say legumes best symbolized the epitome of Carter's machismo.

Jumping forward to 2007, Barack Obama's campaign symbol is the Persian walnut, which like all walnuts, has a pith containing air spaces, and chambers of brownish color.

John Edward's symbol is the Butternut (Juglans cinerea), also occasionally known as the White Walnut. In some areas, 90% of the Butternut trees have been killed by a canker disease. Butternut wood is light in weight and takes polish well. [ibid].


Hillary Clinton's nut is the Beech (Fagus). The fruit of the beech, called "Beechnuts", are found in small burrs that drop in Autumn. They may taste sweet, but they contain organic substances which are toxic. Some suggest Hillary may be unelectable. I say she can when hell freezes over [sic]. The first female, the first black president's wife, and the most experienced candidate where it counts most - in the lawyerly skills: footdragging, stonewalling, namecalling, conspiracy identification, and investments. C'mon vote for Old Hillary at least in one precinct!



Friday, December 07, 2007

Rock-Paper-Scissors = U.S. Strategy

The selection game Rock, Paper Scissors uses 3 familiar symbols of technological development in a stark (but now forgotten) reminder of the consequences of relying too much on any one or two. Rock represents a crude, widely available weapon from the stone age.
Paper appears to have been invented by a later civilization about 3500 BC (Egypt). Scissors, at least the cross-cutting kind, are representative of high tech weaponry, and were invented by Romans about AD 100.

What represents the modern equivalents of rock, paper and scissors? Try this for rock: metals (including heavy isotopes). For paper: think national currencies and a combination of diplomatic and media propaganda. Finally, for scissors: try any weapon system not carried to a target selected, positioned and fired upon by one person on foot.

I hear some of your protests already. What about atomic warheads, our unmanned aerial surveillance systems, missiles, and sophisticated net-centric command and control systems?

Unfortunately, these expensive, techologically advanced military toys may share a common flaw like scissors, which are easily broken by just a rock. There are vintage backup systems, of course, but how current are the related maintenance and training?

The military's most expensive communications, GPS, surveillance and X (unknown function) satellites, however hardened, are still susceptible to being rendered useless (thrown out of useful orbits, damaged or destroyed) by rocks like this.

The U.S. and all its allies cannot field an army in 25 years as large as China alone can field today.

What would the U.S. do if/when China attempts to park an aircraft carrier and/or missile firing submarines in the only deep water port in Baja California, Ensenada?

It is already being done with dollars, EU currency and secret diplomatic arrangements that may not be shared publicly during your lifetime. China is now heavily dependent on the U.S. as a trading partner. Forget the familiar propaganda about China dumping the large share of U.S. debt that it has bought. Dumping means selling, of course. Who are the willing buyers? If the U.S. buys back debt at current rates, the size of the transaction itself would instantly lower dollar value in runaway episodes (too large to be done all at once, even in 5 years). In effect, China would be agreeing to be paid cents on the dollar (in addition to invalidating lucrative trade arrangements). China is enjoying its U.S. trading partnership and has no intention of upsetting its apple cart.

Mexico is no loose cannon, either. Currently, Mexico would deny the Chinese a port visit, just as the Kitty Hawk was denied permission recently by China. See, paper really works, and mutual defense treaties (more paper) take over and can lead to serious saber rattling when bluffs are called. We will maintain excellent relations with Mexico, protect Taiwan with the Cuban pawn, and contain jackals like Chavez (El Chacal) in the Americas.

In order to project an appropriate sized saber (scissor), the U.S. must maintain some secret weapons superiority. Our SUBMARINES, above all, uniquely fulfill this key goal as they employ elements of paper, scissors and rock. Practical offshoots of defense research are needed primarily to maintain a healthy domestic economy.

The familiar drive for one-world government is very, very premature for humanity. The constant and annoying prattle is strictly a means of indoctrinating (paper) more and more people to yield their sovereignty to the inevitable sooner, rather than later. The U.N. as currently constituted is a sham. The climate change prescriptions and proscriptions it seeks are a sham. Few Americans will be deceived very long.

Submarines are always silent and strange.
Updated to correct typos 8 Dec. 07



Wednesday, December 05, 2007

China's Underwater Security: Another Object Lesson for the U.S.?

Apparently, China's 'free' press has gone out of its way to resurface a 1978 rumor (Yes, that was during Nixon's time). They cite recovery of a certain torpedo in March of 2006 and of a submarine last April. What is your natural instinct? - To learn more, of course:

BEIJING, Dec. 5 (Xinhua) - Naval frogmen to remove underwater security threats for Olympics - A contingent of 78 naval frogmen will surveil open water areas for Beijing Olympics 2008. The divers from a search and rescue troop of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy are believed to take the responsibility of clearing underwater security threats for Olympic water sports venues, the PLA Daily reported Wednesday. ... Dong Yan, captain of the group, said before the SCO summit last summer 24 of his divers combed 97,000 square meters of the Huangpu River bed in seven days of duty. In a joint military exercise in April, the frogmen were successful in rescuing a damaged submarine from 86 meters below the sea surface, the newspaper reported.

2006-10-23 - Anti-terror underwater monitoring be deployed - The program's chief researcher Xu Feng said that the system incorporates devices including diver detection sonar, underwater low-light-level imaging system, 3D high-definition side scanning sonar, and remote-controlled underwater vehicle. 'The monitoring system could detect, trace, identify and provide early warning of objects moving underwater, and it is also designed to search harbors and pools for underwater threat objects,' said Xu, who is also a researcher with the Institute of Acoustics under the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).

In March 2006, a new type of torpedo, test fired by a submarine, suddenly disappeared from the sonar screen. After nine days of difficult search, the divers recovered the unexploded torpedo, whose test statistics were vital to improvement of its performance. The Chinese Shkval torpedo, or this Yu-8 variant, perhaps:

In 2007, domestic Chinese sources have claimed that Yu-8 torpedo had become the test vehicle and subsequently the first torpedo to be armed with a new warhead that was developed by the Chinese naval research institute. The new warhead utilizes sodium hydride compounds / chemical reaction and once detonated, large amount of sodium powder is released. The chemical reaction of sodium powder and sea water produce huge amount of hydrogen at very high temperature within very short period of time and the within range of several dozen meters, the temperature instantly increased to over two thousand degrees (celsius) as the chemical reactions taken place with hydrogen and oxygen, destroying the target even if no direct hit is scored. During the test in East China Sea, a retired twelve thousand ton ship was hit by two Yu-8 torpedoes on one side, and the side that was hit was completely melted within fifteen minutes. source

Interestingly, it had been reported that in October 1978, a Chinese fishing vessel had "salvaged" a US Mk 46 torpedo in the South China sea. source

In an article China Strategic Review, Larry Englemann quotes from an interview with a Chinese naval officer: 'A group of American ships from Subic Bay, headed by the Coral Sea, came into the South China Sea near the Xisha (Paracel) Islands. While the Americans were patrolling in the area, either an American ship or helicopter with the group dropped several Mark 46 torpedoes near the islands. They beached themselves, unharmed, in the mud near our naval forces. We were able to salvage them successful and bring them ashore. Quite obviously, they were intended for us, and the object of the Americans was to provide them to us both secretly and intact. That was done. The two Mark 46s were armed. Everything. They were complete.' <<<>informal source

Can this seemigly mundane news story contain a buried diplomatic message that only a few, code-word cleared U.S. officials understand clearly? The U.S. can't very well send this near China and feign innocence, but who knows what may really lurk in a carrier task force. Maybe the Chinese did not want to take a chance.

Is underwater security unprecedented? Not at all. Routine since 9-11: July 21, 2004 - Underwater Security Installed In Athens - The main port of Athens was sealed for two hours yesterday to allow divers to install an underwater monitoring system as part of an Olympic security network that protesters contend is a privacy invasion. The fiber-optic cables are a key element of an electronic web of cameras, sensors and other intelligence-gathering devices designed to help safeguard next month's Olympics. Greece had budgeted $1.24 billion on Olympic security, you may recall.

Capabilities are formidable, too. - 19/09/2006 - QinetiQ's leased two of its high performance swimmer detection sonar system, Cerberus, to Elecnor Seguridad, the Spanish company contracted to provide security systems for the duration of the 2006 ranking events in Valencia. Cerberus is able to detect and locate swimmers and divers at ranges exceeding 800 metres (about 1/3 mile).



Monday, December 03, 2007

Looking Directly at SSNs May Blind You

First Rule of Submarining: Never reveal your latest defensive weaponry in a public arena.

Translation: IDAS based on IRIS (InfraRed Imaging System ) is certainly very cool, but it ain't the latest and greatest ...

IDAS (Interactive Defence and Attack System for Submarines) is a short-range missile developed for the German Navy's Type 212 submarines. IDAS remains in contact with the firing submarine via fibre-optic wire.

The IDAS system is the world's first missile claimed to provide submarines with anti-aircraft capability, and the first tube-launched missile fired directly from Type 212 torpedo tubes. IDAS has attracted great interest from other countries after successfully completing initial flight trials in late 2006.

The history of air defense weaponry for submarines goes back to WWI and was improved by early development of 1960's vintage, surface launched missiles: SAM (Russia), Redeye (US), Blowpipe (UK), POLYPHEM (FR), LASERs (Israel and China). but the use of guided missiles launched from submerged subs is far more recent and made public some time ago. Yes, some may certainly be deployed on submarines if only to promote sales to friendly countries like Chavezuela.

But suppose SSNs with all their nuclear power devoted a pittance to generate a tactical laser beam conducted through the hull to a floating, high-power firing head. Line of sight, speed of light - goodbye helicopters. Cost of beam: relatively cheap. Cost of laser: available now. Shhh!
I mean, not really ready yet. Of course not!

Submarines are always silent and strange. Here's the Royal Norwegian Air Force - IRIS missile:

InfraRed Imaging System ...



Saturday, December 01, 2007

Rocket Science and Radical Islam

UPDATE - Dec. 1, 2007, ABC News - Muslims: Teddy Bear Protesters Don't Represent Us - Muslim Moderates Speak Out Against the Conviction of a British Teacher in Sudan - Even in the Sudan, Islamic leaders have been speaking out.
'The greatest scholar in Sudan, Dr. Hassan al-Turabi, has himself condemned this,' said Daisy Khan, director of the American Society for Muslim Advancement. 'I think that's an indication that Muslims no longer want to remain silent and do not believe in these extremist views.'

Newton's third Law of Motion states that: for every action (force) in nature there is an equal and opposite reaction. - Principia Mathematica Philosophiae Naturalis (1686).

A toy (teddy bear) was named Muhammad recently, which prompted Islamist Calls in Sudan for Execution of British Teacher. Like earlier instances of intolerance, this latest case provides an excellent inoculant against itself. Fortunately, it is also being spread worldwide by the anti-infidels themselves. Who could really ask for anything more?

What is happening here IS NOT rocket science, although Newton's Third Law of Motion applies. The equal and opposite reaction to the toy bear named Muhammad is the toy depicted below. PREDICTION: 'Jolly Jihad in the Box' is expected to be a popular item initially available in infidel outlets for under $20. Unless, that is, the 'peaceful' religion's intolerance is tempered.

Will Jolly Jihad's price sky rocket? Watch the YouTube and decide:

Should you order yours now? ...