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!



At 01 January, 2008 20:43, Blogger bothenook said...

i worked with a reactor operator twidgit off of the lipscomb. said warming the mains was a snap. guess so if it's an electric motor.
and i worked with another off the narwahl, and listening to the horror stories of their main turbine warmup, and the hassles when rigging for delayed scram that it makes you wonder what the hell the navy was thinking when they ordered that particular power package.

At 04 January, 2008 15:12, Blogger Vigilis said...

Interesting, Bo. Actually, I suspect you might know what the Navy was thinking when "they ordered that particular power package".

At 06 January, 2008 05:25, Blogger Glenn A. Primm said...

As QMOW on board SSBN Nathan Hale, part of my daily reading - besides the Captain's Night Orders - were the intel sheets, which included regular updates on Soviet surface and submerged objects of interest.

Usually, the intel sheets were full of boring intel doubletalk, but I do recall one nifty item: (paraphrase - remember, this was twenty years ago) "a 'reliable source' positioned near [a certain Northern Sea naval base (Severomorsk?)] has detected a submerged Alpha Class doing racetracks at speeds in excess of 60 knots."

I thought to myself, hmm, our guys are on the case, up close and personal. Five years in the Silent Service proved that to me beyond a shadow of a doubt.

By the bye, it was speculated that the Alpha was a one-off, three reactor, three screw job that never saw production. At least, it never made Jane's, as far as I know.

At 06 January, 2008 18:23, Blogger Vigilis said...

Thanks for the comment, g. randy primm. Similar enlightened episodes were part of my submarine experience.

At 16 August, 2010 02:31, Blogger salma hayek said...

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