Thursday, January 31, 2008

China's Current Submarine Threat

UPDATE [No Coincidence]: February 01, 2008 - Third Middle East submarine cable damaged - Undersea cable operator FLAG is reporting that a third cable in the region has been severed. The FALCON cable was cut at a point around 56kms from Dubai, just before 6am today. The first cable - the Fiber-Optic Link Around the Globe (FLAG) - was cut at 0800 on 30 January, the firm said.

Suppose you are the world's leading communist enterprise, homeland of The Art of War, the famous treatise on successful military strategy. Aware that the recent superpower demise of your former communist ally was accelerated by the successful, capitalistic approach of Western economies, particularly the USA, and wishing to avoid the fate of your communist ally, you adapt to market-oriented economic development. By 2000, output has quadrupled and living standards are improving dramatically for many while personal choice has expanded. You know the West believes that once freedoms and prosperity have been tasted in sufficient numbers there can be no turning back, so you must maintain rigid political controls over your population.

You also know that market-oriented development requires ever more costly maintenance and improvements of infrastructure, outlays for which compete with those for ambitious military plans to overtake your former ally's superpower status. Meanwhile, you remain the de facto role model and primary backer of the world's few remaining communist (e.g. Cuba), socialist leaning (e.g. Venezuela) and symbiotic countries (e.g. Iran).

To show effective leadership you must assert military prowess capable of hobbling the West. It will be at least another 8 years before your nuclear submarine capability is sufficiently credible to matter in world opinion, however. What to do?

If the Chinese can render trillions of dollars worth of communications, positioning, targeting and aquisition satellites useless for pennies on the dollar, countries relying on such military technology would be reduced to (but ill-prepared for) conducting military defense and offense as it had been decades earlier. That would require resources no longer readily available. Obviously, higher numbers of combat troops, ships, etc. had been replaced by technological advances. Suddenly, a China with its million-man army and ships too numerous to have individual names would be very advantaged, perhaps the pre-eminent military power. Give such a military a Western port in Mexico or South America, and the writing would be on the wall.

And, that is relatively high-tech; consider China's current submarine capability: Ship accident causes internet chaos - A simple accident involving a ship's anchor has wrecked internet access for a huge slice of the world. Experts said the chaos caused by the severing of just two undersea cables pointed to the system's vulnerability to terrorist or other attacks.

Some communications can be rerouted. Physical damage to undersea cables can result from dragging anchors (or cable cutters) and can take several days or weeks to repair while the effected region(s) is/are drastically impacted.

In both WWI and WWII, for example, enemy submarine cables (telegraphs in those days) were regularly cut. Germany's cables were severed by the U.S. in both wars, and the Allies severed Japan's cables throughout the Pacific. Very low tech, it is also very illegal in peactime. This commercial YouTube suggests why related facilities are obvious targets of terrorism, as well:

undersea cable...



Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Submarine Short list

The less we hear about the future development of such breakthroughs and their innovative applications, the more certain we may surmise adoption by our military. If you must ask yourself, Why submarines? Consider this 2001 rationale for starters:

...a long list of submarine contributions to joint operations ... emphasizes such unique submarine qualities as undetected presence (which allows the element of surprise in attacks), the submarine's role in solving the 'denial of access' problem, nonprovocative intelligence collection, the submarine's "24/7" and all-weather operational capabilities, and the critical capabilities provided by submarines in close-in operations.

Many scientific breakthroughs and technological innovations have turned up since 2001. Most conspicuous by their absence are perhaps these:

1) Seabased, submerged submarine replenishment (provisions, crew replacements, weapons)

Advantages: eliminates transit times to and from forward based areas by subs on patrol. Raises fleet effectiveness, maintains stealth, reduces costs, aids crew retention and recruitment. Utilizes supply submarines as mother ships (think of SSGN-sized mothership) from homeport to sub A to sub B. Maintains or increases stealth.

2) The concept of external (to pressure hull) weapons storage has not been absent (from public discussion); what has been absent is the use of weapons that propel themselves some distances, unarmed for delivery to a submarine's weapons inventory.

3) The concept of AIP subs in the U.S. inventory has not been absent (from public discussion, which says they will not be); what has been absent is whether Sweden will provide upgraded AIP and perhaps other key hardware to Electric Boat.

Skipping forward six or seven year to now, we get more suggestions about future submarine innovations:

Human (crew survivability):

Scientists aglow over drug for radiation poisoning - ... DARPA wants a drug that can be effective even if given 12 hours after exposure to radiation. ... Officials at the Department of Defense, seeking remedies for the radiation sickness that would follow a nuclear strike, were so taken by the research that they recently gave Tour a $540,000 grant and asked him to compress the next phase of testing into an almost unheard-of nine months. In that time, Tour's research group hopes to improve the drug so it works as well when given after radiation exposure as it does before. This one would be in every nuclear sub's armamentarium.


Optical rogue waves - Recent observations show that the probability of encountering an extremely large rogue wave in the open ocean is much larger than expected from ordinary wave-amplitude statistics1, 2, 3. Although considerable effort has been directed towards understanding the physics behind these mysterious and potentially destructive events, the complete picture remains uncertain. Dec 14, 2007 - Noise might cause huge ocean waves - ... if rogue waves really are produced by the same mechanism, scientists will have to find ways of accurately measuring the parameters of the non-linear Schrödinger equation — the degree of non-linearity and dispersion — for the open ocean. What use could giant waves be?

Q-switched lasers used in applications which demand high laser intensities in nanosecond pulses such as metal cutting: Ultrafast optical shutter is switched entirely by laser light - In 2005, a research collaboration ... tested the vanadium dioxide transition with an ultra-fast laser that produced 120-femtosecond pulses. (A femtosecond is a quadrillionth of a second. At this time scale, an eye blink lasts almost forever. In the three-tenths of a second it takes to blink an eye, light can travel 56,000 miles. By contrast, it takes 100 femtoseconds to cross the width of a human hair.) The rapidity of the new shutter and enormity of destructive pulse power may facilitate use in AAD or equally valuable applications from a submerged submarine. Only laser's head would penetrate ocean surface. This would leverage abundant nuclear power on subs and capacity for state-of-the-art fire control computers.

Offboard weapons supply - Toshiba Introduces New 10 Year--Quick Charge Industrial Battery - Toshiba has developed a battery that can be recharged in five minutes with a lifespan of 10 years. ... In practical use of the new SCiB its unique composition allows for 4.2 Ah, (ampere hours) on 10 cells for recharging by standard or alternative energy sources. The unique feature of the new product is that after 3,000 recharges the battery only lost less than 10 percent efficiency. Various torpedoes, missiles and autonomous devices stored aboard surface craft could be released undetected for undersea rendevous and replenishment of submarines. Propulsive battery packs would be jettisoned prior to rendezvous, or recharged afterward - all prior to arming.

Submarines are always silent and strange.



Monday, January 28, 2008

Clues (and video) to Why Submarines are Always Silent and Strange

Back in December, M.E. brought you news of what appeared to be an interesting story THE RED SUBMARINE that could eventually be made into a submarine thriller:

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. ... 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. '

UPDATE: An agent contacted us with the following:
Everything is correct, but if you read its press release, the film, THE RED SUBMARINE is in the planning stage and is looking for financing. ---The novelette has not been published for public distribution. Askin Ozcan's other five books are available though at major internet book-shops.

2nd UPDATE (January 27, 2008): Margaret Thatcher told navy to raid Swedish coast -
MARGARET THATCHER ordered the Royal Navy to land Special Boat Service (SBS) frogmen on the coast of Sweden from British submarines pretending to be Soviet vessels, a new book has claimed. ... The cold war under the Baltic is detailed in a book by Ola Tunander, research professor at the International Peace Research Institute, Oslo. ... The West claimed the vessels were all Soviet, probing the country’s defences. Tunander believes many were part of a CIA-run operation by Britain and America that continued until the collapse of the Soviet Union. ...
One British naval captain told him: “Margaret Thatcher signed approval for every single operation.”
One of the boats used was HMS Orpheus, a submarine kitted out for SBS operations.
Tunander said he had once sat next to a British admiral at dinner and questioned him about the operation. He replied that it was “none of my business”, Tunander said. “The admiral then added jokingly, ‘Don’t people fall under buses sometimes?’ ” This weekend Sir Keith Speed, navy minister from 1979 to 1981, was asked if the missions had happened. He replied, “Yes,” but added: “I cannot say any more as I am bound by the Official Secrets Act until the day I die.”
read the rest of the full news account from the UK TIMESONLINE [emphasis added]

Perhaps there is really a new book by Tunander, but the 2004 Tunander book seems to have already made that very claim.

Whiskey on the Rocks pictorial here. And YouTube:

Russian submarine in Swedish
waters ...



Saturday, January 26, 2008

How to Attract Attention or Not

On 25 October, 2003, the Hartford (SSN-768), a United States Navy nuclear powered Los Angeles-class submarine ran aground while performing routine maneuvers in the harbour of La Maddalena, Sardinia. Approximately $9 million worth of repairs were done to the submarine, which was reportedly out of service for the next seven months.

Contrary to assertions by the Regional Directorate of Maritime Affairs of Corsica, the submarine could not be repaired on site and required emergency time in shipyards in Norfolk, Virginia.

Navy divers from the USS Emory S. Land (AS-39) inspected Hartford the next day and found large areas of the hull scraped down to bare metal. Sound damping anechoic tiles had been ripped away, metal grates over the ballast tanks had been badly distorted and the passive sonar hydrophone system damaged in three separate locations. The worst damage was at the aft end of the boat, where the rocks had torn off the bottom part of the rudder.

After the accident the captain of Hartford and commodore of Submarine Squadron 22, were relieved of command. Six other crewmen were also charged with dereliction of duty.

There was concern in the Italian press that an accident involving a nuclear sub had not reported publicly until 12 November, three weeks after the incident. Subsequent investigations have shown that there had been no radiation leaks from the submarine.
Now, Santo Stefano, Italy - The American Stars and Stripes flag was lowered Friday at a ceremony marking the closure of the US Navy's nuclear submarine support base on the island of Santo Stefano, north of Sardinia, news reports said.
One pesky thing remains. The true source of contamination. If we do not hear about Italian arrests for environmental pollution within 60 days, we may never hear about them, because submarines are always silent and strange.



Friday, January 25, 2008

Submarine Keelhauling Could Replace Waterboarding

Keelhauling was a form of stern corporal punishment inflicted upon sailors until 1853, when iron began replacing wooden hulls. Uncooperative sailors were bound to lines looped under their vessels, thrown overboard and dragged under the ship's keel to the other side. Wooden hulls, of course, were usually covered in barnacles and prone to have splinters. Unlucky sailors were occasionally lacerated or otherwise lightly injured.

Waterboarding is certainly considered a form of aggressive torture by some mothers, metrosexual men, trial lawyers (regardless of gender), and most homeland patriot protestors.

Submarine keelhauling is naturally a more humane preparation for interrogation of certain prisoners. Submarine hulls are rounded and present very fine, unsplintered surfaces with anti-barnacle coatings. In addition, the 'P' award (shown in photo) attests to quality prison ship dining. Use of CIA recipes assures excellent fare and preparation.
The prison sub shown is not a commissioned U.S. navy vessel. The sub's nationality is not revealed and cannot be found at the archive here, as some may have tried to hint. BBC NEWS US faces prison ship allegations (06/28/2005) offered some opinions, however:

The use of prison ships would allow investigators to interrogate people secretly and in international waters out of the reach of US law, British security expert Francis Tusa said. This opens the door to very tough interrogations on key prisoners before it even has been revealed that they have been captured, said Tusa, an editor for the British magazine Jane's Intelligence Review. Nowak said the prison ships would not be 'floating Guantanamos' since they are much smaller, holding less than a dozen detainees. Responsible for their own manners and hygiene, I would suppose.
A submarine is certainly not a 'floating Guantanamo', is it? If I were still a drinking man, I might be returning from McSorely's about now, thank you.



Thursday, January 24, 2008

Aborted Ship Missions and Female Crew Abortion Election

What's wrong with that implausible story? Plenty. First, as Armchair Admiral noted:

... if a [U.S.] CVN ever turns around 2 days out of port because a refrigerator might break during a deployment, I'll be inking a full 3000 words of sharp sarcasm.

But, wait, there's more!

Why turn around when replacement parts, reefer mechanics, and frozen provisions could all be landed right on (or flown right off) the aircraft carrier's deck, if necessary?

Probable answer: HMS Illustrious probably has an underperforming reefer, but that became a convenient cover story to disguise the real issue. Now, there has been another delay attributed to the reefer. (If this were a submarine, it would be unlikely for the public to learn of a delay, or a true underlying reason. Only those in the CoC, those with direct knowledge or some with need to know would. My guess is there will be a last minute change in flagship personnel for its upcoming diplomatic mission. No matter, all this is only background to a related U.S. story. Since CVNs have scheduled flights, Armchair Admiral can rest his inking pen, but that may not be the case for every naval ship at sea:

A model of the expected occurrence of adverse pregnancy outcomes aboard U.S. Navy ships

In October 1994, the USS Eisenhower (CVN 69) became the first U.S. combatant ship to have women assigned as permanent crew members. ... Before 1972, women were involuntarily separated from the Navy if they became pregnant. During 1973 through mid-1975, some pregnant women were allowed to remain in the Navy and others were discharged. Since 1975, Navy women who become pregnant have been allowed to remain in naval service.' ... The population used to determine pregnancy rates in this NHRC study was the 6,166 women assigned aboard the 53 Navy ships having women crew members who participated in the study. [75% of women serving aboard Navy ships] ... Rates of adverse pregnancy outcomes were calculated based on responses to the Women Aboard Ship Study from women who reported a history of pregnancy conceived while assigned aboard a Navy ship. ... There were 778 pregnancies among 6,166 women crew members aboard 53 ships ... The highest pregnancy rate was aboard submarine tenders (27 per 100 woman-years), and the lowest rate was aboard amphibious assault ships (0 per 100 woman-years). ... reported outcomes included normal pregnancies, elective abortions, ectopic pregnancies, spontaneous abortions, and stillbirths, regardless of whether they resulted in hospitalization.

So what, you say? Well today, we have another story WASHINGTON (AFP)

A US appeals court has ruled that women inmates in the midwestern state of Missouri must be given access to transportation when seeking to terminate a pregnancy off prison grounds. [emphasis mine]

Females are simply flown off CVNs when pregnancy requires, nevermind elective abortions. JAGs must now be astir wondering about the females on ships without landing pads. Is this the next legal issue looming in the Navy after the dolphin vs. sonar? Stay tuned.



Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Keep Moving, Nothing Obvious to See Here

Wednesday, January 23, 2008 - Navy awards Maine firm $12M research deal

the gobbledygook ...

Intermat plans to work to identify alternative and replacement materials for use in the nose tips of missiles for the Navy's Reentry Systems Applications Program, according to the U.S. Department of Defense. The materials will be used in the nose tips of existing submarine-launched ballistic missile reentry systems, and the development and fabrication of thermal protection system materials and components (including nose tips, heat shields, control surfaces and antenna windows) for new Navy weapons.

What is Intermat? Intermat (Biddeford, Maine) is a wholly owned subsidiary of Fiber Materials, Inc. (Ohio, Maine, etc). Intermat is a small, (24 -30 employee) business (2006 sales $1.6 million) involved in high temperature graphite and polymer based composites for high value added, mission critical applications. Careful, no relation is claimed to the Crescent City (Calif.) site also involved in composite material (hmm, that is odd).

Here is another report with somewhat less gobbledygook:

Intermat, Biddeford, Maine, is being awarded a $12,177,959 cost-plus-fixed-fee completion contract for further research and development to identify materials for use in Shape Stable Nose Tips (SSNT) for the Reentry Systems Applications Program. This contract is for the development of replacement and alternative SSNT materials for both existing Navy Submarine Launch Ballistic Missile Reentry Systems (MK4 & MK5) and the development and fabrication of thermal protection system materials and components (including nose tips, heat shields, control surfaces and antenna windows) for new/advanced Navy reentry systems and flight test experiments. ... This contract was not competitively procured. The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Dahlgren Division, Dahlgren, Va., is the contracting activity (N00178-08-C-3004).

juicier details here:

Naval Surface Warfare CenterDahlgren Division intends to acquire continued research and development efforts directed toward the fabrication of carbon-carbon composite reentry materials for shape stable nosetip (SSNT) and control surface applications; development and fabrication of other advanced reentry materials; and supporting engineering studies. The proposed effort will support the Navy’s MK4 and MK5 SLBM Reentry Systems and will also encompasses research and development efforts for the fabrication of thermal protection system materials and components. This effort will be fulfilled through other than full and open competition with Intermat, 389 Hill Street , Biddeford , Maine 04005 -4335. Intermat is uniquely qualified to conduct this effort as Intermat along with its parent company, Fiber Materials, Incorporated, are the sole suppliers of carbon-carbon composite SSNT for the Navy’s MK5 reentry body.

I dug out more, and so can you. Let me know if you got around the Hex4 code in the upd program.

Submarines are always silent and strange.



Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Deep Siren: It's the Laptop, Stupid

Back in November we introduced readers to the Deep Siren submarine comm's concept. Deep Siren brings submarines more fully into JC3I (joint Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence) compatibility. This means improved interoperability for U.S. and friendly subs.

We noted then that if buoys were spotted they would certainly hint of a submarine within 150 miles (and much closer in shallower waters), which might make a boatload of bubbleheads sitting ducks, not to mention enable the enemy to recover one for close examination.

Scientific American recently described the Deep Siren (still with conspicuously cutt-off photos and shadowy detail) which hints strongly at why a buoy falling into enemy hands (before or after sinking at the end of 72 hours) is not a problem.

Public-key cryptography (asymmetric cryptography) is a form of cryptography in which a user has a pair of cryptographic keys - a public key and a private key. The private key would always be kept secret, while the public key may be widely distributed (as in a buoy). The keys are related mathematically, but the private key cannot be practically derived from the public key. A message encrypted with the public key can be decrypted only with the corresponding private key.

It would appear that Deep Siren buoys contain public keys, while the laptop (or whitebox)contains the private key algorithms. Maybe, maybe not.

Laptops seem to disappear daily. Do submarines ever misplace their laptops? See the first paragraph of this link for a reminder.



Monday, January 21, 2008

First Female Submariner and Problem

Do you recall what first imparted your notion of female submariners? For most it dates back to 1966.

The political battle to assign another gender to military submarines still rages in the beltway as forceful as ever. What advocates of women (notice I did not say advocates of a strong military) cannot produce with facts, they fill in with blind attitudes and endless verbiage. Is there a shortage of male, submarine volunteers? Have standards been lowered too far?

We spend more than $300,000 for each service academy graduate, too many of whom have never really been military career minded. If we limited such expenditures to people who bid on the number of years they would serve, stopping this incredible tuition hemmorhage would help finance improved benefits for the submarine force.

Other navies (Australia, Canada, Norway, Sweden) have had female submariners, some since the 1990s, but with key differences: the few females serve only on non-nuclear, short patrol subs. Does the USN have non-nuclear, short patrol subs? Are any planned? We are told none are even planned. Why? Unsuitable for missions actually served past, present, or future.

Are there sound reasons not to assign women for lengthy periods to nuclear submarines? Yes, unless we could keep them in a galley, it is medically risky for women (of childbearing age) to have exposure to heavy metals, radiation, and compounds expected aboard submarines, especially in upset conditions. Of course, not all informed women feel female servicepeople are being denied more than the submarine force would be denied by incorporating them. Submarines are one of 5 assignments currently restricted to males only.

The groundbreaking 1966 Sci-Fi movie Fantastic Voyage cast Raquel Welch as MS. Peterson. (Won 2 Oscars). This broached the popular, cinematic idea of females on subs. Even on a movie set, however, this would create a problem (see movie trivia):
When first filming the scene where the other crew members remove attacking antibodies from Ms. Peterson, the male actors, avoided removing antibodies from Raquel Welch's breasts. The end result was described as a Las Vegas showgirl effect. The scene had to be redone.

Here's Raquel's antibody scene from Fantastic Voyage on YouTube:

Raquel's antibodies...



Sunday, January 20, 2008

Another Submarine Story

What's Wrong With This Submarine Story by Bill Gertz?

Submarine ASAT
Pentagon officials are increasingly worried that China's military is advancing its clandestine anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons program by building a submarine-launched direct-ascent missile system. Go ahead, read the full story, it is entertaining.

Let's examine the salient points:

1) Gen. James E. Cartwright, the former U.S. Strategic Command commander and current vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who told Congress last year the U.S. military is prepared to use conventional missile strikes on land-based Chinese ASAT launchers if Beijing began shooting down U.S. satellites. Agree
Ananlysis: Not surprising. Our military is deeply committed to leveraging our strength in satellite and space technologies (communication, reconnaisance, GPS, etc.) to overcome China's vast superiority in soldiers and conventional arms. M.E. clarified this for readers on May 10, 2007: China's Greatest Military Threat is no longer its Submarines If the Chinese can render trillions of dollars worth of communications, positioning, targeting and aquisition satellites useless for pennies on the dollar, countries relying on such military technology would be reduced to (but ill-prepared for) conducting military defense and offense as it had been decades earlier. That would require resources no longer readily available. Obviously, higher numbers of combat troops, ships, etc. had been replaced by technological advances.

2) Pentagon officials are increasingly worried that China's military is advancing its clandestine anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons program by building a submarine-launched direct-ascent missile system. Agree, again, but something obvious is missing ...
Analysis: In 1) above, Gen. Cartwright implies the U.S. military is prepared to preemptively demolish land-based Chinese ASAT launchers if Beijing began shooting down U.S. satellites. So,
why hasn't Admiral Mullen or Gen. Chilton made a similar statement regarding surface or submarine based ASAT missile launches? How do we know they have not made those very statements to China's leaders? - We don't. Did Gertz even ask them what they would do?
We should expect a good journalist like Gertz to have asked, but he is not telling that side of the story.

3) Liu Huanyu of China's Dalian Naval Academy, said (2204):
Nuclear submarines are not only well concealed but can sail for a long period of time," Mr. Liu said. "By deploying just a few anti-satellite nuclear submarines in the ocean, one can seriously threaten the entire military space system of the enemy. Not yet...
Analysis: A conceptually serious threat to American culture and defense has been missing from public discourse and U.S. political debate until now. We know our submarine force is shrinking and China's has been expanding. China's submarines, however, have been pratically welded to their piers. Almost any Chinese submarine movement, therefore, attracts U.S. interest and tracking. Were a Chinese sub to launch an ASAT missile resulting in damage or destruction of a U.S. (or ally) satellite resource, we would know the specifics, have the hard, prima facie evidence and suffcient hard targets to discourage more attacks in a most convincing and unhesitating manner.

Gertz's article seems timed to the current election cycle. It magnifies a conceptual threat that is neither new, nor yet real. While I support expenditures for U.S. superiority in defense technology, we must never overreact to foreign saber rattling by writing blank checks to the Pentagon or by being swayed in our elections to support a dubious Commander in Chief.

An obvious motivation for China to rattle its sabers is to see how worried the U.S. gets, and find out why. That is one reason submarines are always silent and strange.



Under Indictment for Treason, Will the American Al Qaeda be tried or Zarqawi'd?

Capturing Adam Yahiye Gadahn, aka Azzam Azzam al-Amriki (the American) for trial on charges of treason would seem highly preferable to arranging his fate along the lines of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi (October 30, 1966 – June 7, 2006), except for a few stubborn things:

1) Paying the reward money (US $25 million)

2) Life imprisonment (high security) $125,000 / year

3) Trial costs - easily over $2 Million for prosecution, appeals another $1.5 million for taxpayer-paid defense team (you didn't think CAIR was going to pay for it, did you?)

4) Aftermath publicity by liberal leaning media and authors would make Gadahn a cult hero for radical Islamist immitators.

As if his chances of surviving and being tried were not small enough, Gadahn really sealed his own fate a couple of weeks ago when he called for grave harm to a sitting U.S. president in anticipation of Bush's Middle East peace visit. Why was Sara Jane Moore, would-be Ford assassin just released from prison then, you ask? Perhaps because, unlike Gadahn, Moore is 77 years of age, her target has died, and she is not provided living and operations allowances by a U.S. enemy in return for services rendered.

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was concussion bombed to death without need to disburse $25 million in reward money, and without making him a lasting martyr or media cult figure. My forecast (in 2005) had been that he would die on or about March 9, 2006, and that the only paradise awaiting Zarqawi was as one of the dozens of virgins radical Islamist suicide bombers would meet. I owed up to my 90-day error in his actual death date (can we be sure?), and must now admit Zarqawi is probably the only virgin suicide jihadists will ever meet in their version of paradise.
Zarqawi's death was under strange circumstances: he had been found alive in the remains of his hideout, but everyone else was dead. Gadahn's death will be similarly strange. Just wait about 255 days +/- 90.
Finally, Gadahn's 2006 treason indictment hardly qualifies him for martyrdom in the eyes of fanatic Islamists.

Sammi Bin Laden needs to start spending some serious money to protect this fellow, if he really wants to keep him alive.



Friday, January 18, 2008

Russian Sub Oolie Update and Italian Submariner Video

Last Saturday, M.E. posed several oolies stemming from a video clip of an unidentified Russian submarine.

What is an oolie, you ask? In submarine lingo an oolie is a question not pertaining to one's normal duties, or one that tests system knowledge to the limit. source

Oolies are part of continuing, informal cross-training techniques which keep submariners mentally alert, even after qualification. Yes, astronauts use the same technique.

Attempts to answer the obvious questions (i.e. confirm the sub's identity) have been unsuccessful from the video's publication source, Russia Today.

Both SonarMan and the Armchair Admiral arrived at a likely missile boat (nuclear) of the Delta III class (between themselves they also listed Delta IV and Sierra [SSN] as alternatives). By further process of elimination, Armchair Admiral narrowed it down to one boat, the K-44 Ryazan. We still cannot be certain, but the reasoning of these two gentlemen has been very astute and is tentatively accepted.

Another question was what evolution is shown being practiced in the video clip? SonarMan seems to nail it: The evolution is cycling the torpedo tube breach doors.

The Final Oolie: What design difference did you note between this sub and U.S. subs?

You had to watch the video clip closely for this one
Notice the rotation of the breech door locking rings shown in the Russian sub video...
elapsed time 17:38:12-23 - we see the lockring rotate ccw on port upper tube #4; while at
elapsed time 17:39:32-36 - we see the lockring rotate cw on starboard lower tube #1.

What is different? See 21-Inch Submerged Torpedo Tubes No, not the direction of locking ring rotation (as initially thought); perhaps the number of blades on the fish? How about tube numbering? Russian #4 is the upper port tube. The number is even, isn't that odd? Absolutely! You Aussies may think so, too.

Now, a YouTube tribute to Italian submariner pride ... Viva Italia!

Italian submariner spirit...
That looks like fun!



Thursday, January 17, 2008

U.S. Commander in Chief Exempts Navy Sonars

January 17, 2008 - Bush Exempts Navy Sonar Training Missions As More Important Than Damaged Whales and Dolphins.

This exemption will enable the Navy to train effectively and to certify carrier and expeditionary strike groups for deployment in support of worldwide operational and combat activities, which are essential to national security.” - U. S. Pres. George Bush

Adm. Gary Roughead, CNO, said yesterday's moves were needed to ensure the Navy's ability to teach sailors how to detect submarines and other threats to its ships. 'We cannot in good conscience send American men and women into potential trouble spots without adequate training to defend themselves,' Roughead said.

So, which country is the worst offender on the globe?



Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Up Periscopes: Major Cause of Underwater Entrapment

1/18/08, 8:05 PM EDT UPDATED: SPARTA, Ky. (AP) - Police ID 5 Dead in Submerged Car
The bodies of a family reported missing more than a week ago were found in a car submerged in a car in a northern Kentucky creek, police said Friday. ... The car was found Thursday in Eagle Creek in Gallatin County, near a sharp curve on a rural road about 30 miles southwest of Cincinnati. Authorities removed the car and found the bodies of two adults and three children inside. ...there were no guardrails between the highway and the water, but nine orange and white construction barrels marked the spot where the car was pulled from the creek.

You have probably read the news recently: 'Shocked' federal investigators say a flawed design allowed the [Minneapolis's Interstate 35W bridge] span to collapse. But what triggered the deadly failure still isn't known.

Over the last fifty years, around fifteen thousand people have perished due to vehicle entrapment drowning according to numerous sources. ... These people followed the ever shrinking air bubble until it was gone. They died, minutes later. .. It is probable that some of the people that died at the I-35W bridge collapse were trapped inside their car with no other, or minor injuries. They tried their doors and they would not open. They tried their windows, and they would not open. Their vehicles filled with water. As they tried their windows again, the water rose. - Lonny MacDougall, Egression Technologies LLC

MacDougall makes excellent points in proposing (for just 'pocket change per vehicle') providing all people trapped in vehicles with the means to break a side window and exit through the opening, when, and only when, they are ready. Read his whole (about a page) rationale here.

By 1993 (about 15 years before I-35W collapsed, but after those 15,000 people had drowned) the U.S. had 575,583 highway bridges. Of that number 21% had been determined Structurally Deficient and another 35% otherwise Deficient. source Note - This does not mean that the deficient bridges are about to collapse or that they are unsafe. With proper load posting, roadway striping, signs, signals, roadside barriers, crash cushions, and other changes, our bridges can continue to serve traffic needs, albeit not to the desired level. - James Hall, Chairman, National Transportation Safety Board - March 11, 1996. source

The evolved method used by policymakers and health & safety executives to determine acceptable risk levels for public concerns like asbestos, radiation, bridges, etc. is called ALARP, described here in all the detail you probably wish. By the way, when properly performed ALARP passes muster with lawyers.

Strange, the major cause of underwater entrapment is not submarines, but hasn't it been silent just the same?



Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Vacuum Cleaners and Your Submarines - PART 2 (answers and Video)

Yesterday, M.E. had asked two questions:

Q1. What kinds of vacuum cleaners (or rechargeable 'dust buster') did your submarine use?

Answer 1: Subs never had vacuum cleaners during my service ( 70 dbs at 10 yards ), Vacuum cleaners might be available in submarine ServMarts, by now.


Q2. after explaining why the International Space Station (ISS), since surrounded by the vacuum of space, should ideally never need one, Would the ISS ever need a vacuum cleaner?

Answer 2: As a matter of fact, YES. In October, 2000, Russia's unmanned PROGRESS M 1-3 cargo craft was prepared to launch with 1.6 tons of supplies for the ISS:

fuel, life-support equipment (oxygen generator, CO2 scrubber, etc.), TV equipment, spacewalk gear, an electric food warmer, personal items such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, combs, brushes, medical kits, laptop computers, pens and pencils, and numerous 'housekeeping' items including a vacuum cleaner ... probably not an Oreck, though ...

20 May 2004, ISS On-Orbit Status: CDR Padalka conducted a number of in-flight servicing tasks in the RS (Russian segment), starting out with another round of preventive maintenance of the air ventilation systems, today vacuum-cleaning the Group A fans and grilles in the Service Module (SM).

Remember discussion of the ISS as an ideal platform for a central vacuum system? It turns out the ISS has its own VS (vacuum system). YouTube:

Vacuum cleaner from space...



Monday, January 14, 2008

Vacuum Cleaners and Your Submarines

Submariners know the benefits of clean, fresh air better than most.

With that in mind, consider this familiar advertising quote:

The Oreck Air [video] uses the same air purification technology as the US Naval submarine fleet.

The Oreck Corporation began as a company manufacturing upright vacuum cleaners for the hotel industry in the U.S. ... The idea proved so successful that now over 50,000 hotels throughout the world use Oreck vacuums.

One reader, SonarMan commented (here)... I've been on a couple brit boats, and they were filthy. We have all seen what he described. Insofar as general hygiene is of concern to military submariners, what kinds of vacuum cleaners (or rechargeable 'dust buster') did your submarine use for Field Day (scrubbing and cleaning of ship's spaces)? Please feel free to comment below.

Now, consider the International Space Station (ISS). Hygiene concerns of this space platform are similar to that of self-contained submarines. Well, not quite. Consider that subs are surrounded by cold and enormous sea pressure while the ISS is surrounded by greater temperature extremes and enormous vacuum. Would the ISS ever need a vacuum cleaner?

Technically, yes. Ideally, No. Submariners might prefer utilizing the natural vacuum of space in a valved external tank to provide a central vacuuming facility. Internal piping might be flexibly hosed. Dust and debris (wet-vac?) could be sucked into the external tank, which would be purged to space between vacuums.

Answer to the space station vacuum question tomorrow. Meanwhile. I know you guys have some bottled up feelings about submarine vacuums. Let's here them.

-------------- --------------------------------------------------
As to hygiene, well, if you must ....
Notes on what hygiene can be like on the ISS:

One of the cosmonauts told me, 'We are all very close to each other, like brothers and sisters, it is very unique because we drink each other's sweat.' source

The Waste and Hygiene Compartment is intended as the primary facility for metabolic waste management and personal hygiene on the United States segment of the International Space Station. The Compartment encloses the volume of two standard ISS racks. Long-duration space flight requires a departure from the established hygiene and waste disposal practices employed on the Space Shuttle. source

Valery Polyakov, who completed a flight that lasted 437 days, used wet towels and found them effective. He even said his skin and hair were in better condition after the flight than before. Bill Shepherd, the first ISS crew commander, also likes wet towels very much. source

Remeber, what kinds of vacuum cleaners (or rechargeable 'dust buster') did your submarine use for cleanups?

Submarines are always silent and strange.



Saturday, January 12, 2008

Russian Sub's Interior Video Clip

The video is presented as a look at the interior of a real-deal Russian nuclear submarine. While both audio and video quality are meager, the short clip from Russia Today boasts: You normally have to be an enlisted seaman with unquestionable loyalty to see this.

Before watching the YouTube below (h/t The Sub Report), let me remind you to be very observant of what little is being shown. I have an oolie for you. I know what some of you must be thinking (depending on when you served): What's an oolie?

If you were not a submariner, don't recall, or still want to know, you can find out what an oolie is here: Naval Terminology, Jargon and Slang FAQ Part 2 - N through Z.

The Oolie: What design difference did you note between this sub and U.S. subs? Be sure to state the elapsed time (shown in the clip itself) at which any observation was made. Torpedomen may have somewhat of an advantage, here, but my guess is that someone will know the reason for a differing design, too.

No need to be embarrased, you can use an anonymous alias like Lt. Mad Dog always does. Here's the Inside a Russian Nuclear Submarine YouTube:

Russian 'nuclear' submarine...

The clip invokes several, more obvious oolies. Examples: Is that cluttered mess really in a nuclear submarine?; What evolution is being shown?; What class of submarine is that?; and for naval information aficionados like the Armchair Admiral, what's the name or hull number of the submarine?

Good luck! Until a later posting about this.



Friday, January 11, 2008

Weekend Submarine Browsing with Video

Bothenook of a geezer's corner posted an invitation for submarine topside watch yarns there, recently, and several entertaining stories attest to what a nightmare skimmer duty must be given that rarely, even carefully screened submariners may have misbehaved (at least in the old days). An anonymous wag used the term brow in his yarn.

For the uninitiated, a brow is a portable walkway from the pier or jetty to the ship's quarterdeck (where a submarine's topside watches are stationed in port). When you see the possibility of this brow, ask yourself which country will incorporate it into one of their submarines first (not the U.S., because frills like this are expensive and intrusive to proper functioning).

The design of this hyraulic footbridge is English. If French and Breton Jules Verne had known of it, would he have incorporated it into one of Nautilus's marvelous features? The circular stowed bridge suits a submarine. The Aussies are planning their new subs, might they do something similar? No? China, Canada, anyone?

Here's a YouTube of it in action:

Perfect submarine design?... H/tip to Joe Stirt's bookof joe


Some of you may be swimmer's as in daily milers. In my Navy days, however, I never served with one sailor who cared about swimming (other than 'swim calls' in the Pacific). Yes, we had sharpshooters on lookout for sharks and yes the fins appeared in less than 25 minutes.

With swim call over, A-gangers promptly fashioned giant fishhooks we baited with raw meat to catch one of the critters (will post photo someday). That did not work either, so we had to submerge our hopes with our vessel.

Apparently, dependents and college athletes used the fine pools at every Navy base. Why would an ordinary sailor wish to spend time ashore swimming?

I enjoy swimming in lakes and non-chlorinated (ocean) areas. Someday, the wretched smell of chlorine (actually, chloramines) may be eliminated from your neighborhood pools. Someday is now: Swimmers Beware has a short video that tells us how.



Thursday, January 10, 2008

Indian Submarine Collision opens Pandora's Box of Intrigue

One of India's Kilo-based diesel submarines, INS Sindhughosh scraped under a large merchant ship in the Arabian Sea about 114 nautical miles from Mumbai on Monday. Fortunately, no casualties were reported, but standby for some unusual (firing the sub's CO is usual) fireworks.

As usual initial reports vary, but the Sindhughosh, which had been acquired from the Soviet Union in 1986 as a Kilo class sub, returned from Russia last year after extensive upgrading to fire land-attack Klub-S cruise missiles. The collision comes just after naval intelligence received alerts of possible strikes against its warships off Pakistan, naval sources said.

The submarine, whose name translates to 'Brave' had apparently been maintaining total radio silence when the accident took place. Some naval experts have expressed surprise that the submarine was cruising at relatively shallow periscope depth. Naval officials were tight-lipped about the incident and merely said a Board of Inquiry has been ordered to probe the mishap.

The Canadian contract for a DSRV is under investigation of corruption. The Indian Navy has yet to sign a new one. The status of India-U.S. agreement for Submarine rescue is not yet clear. - Source. (The last must be considered academic, as witnessed in the rescue of Russia's AS-28 in 2005, when no international effort was spared to rescue a few submariners). Submariners interested in India's general rescue capabilities will find public information here at ISMERLO. Curiously, Canada is not among the sixteen nations for whom a rescue capability is listed.

Perhaps a journalistic bias is evident here: ...the Submarine arm of Indian Navy is shrinking at alarming rate. Indian Navy will have one submarine less for another few years to come. Read the whole article, however, it lists expected ramifications of the current submarine collision, including this revealing information:

While the speculation is that the indigenously developed sonar USHUS malfunctioned, it could be yet another attack on indigenous equipment as per the current trend.

So, are we to believe India will have to outsource the engineering and fabrication of SONAR as well as its submarine rescue?



Monday, January 07, 2008

Gadahn's Threat and Iran's Naval Provocation Are Not Coincidental

This man has now sealed his fate.

Al Qaeda Leader To Bush: 'We Will Be Waiting For You' - Adam Yahiye Gadahn, American-born cultural expert for the al-Qaeda organization told his followers to welcome Bush "with bombs and traps" upon his upcoming visit to the Middle East. source

On October 11, 2006, Gadahn had been indicted by a United States District Court in California for treason, and was added to the Bureau of Diplomatic Security Rewards for Justice list of wanted terrorists. Those actions merely magnified his esteem within the Al Qaeda.
His recent threat on the life of a sitting U.S. president, however, has more serious ramifications for this lazy, Islamist convert. His mouth made a contract his butt can't keep. Why? Because when the U.S. goes after Osama later in 2008, Gadahn will not be protected at the risk of Islamic families whose children now stand between him and capture.
When the first missile strikes close to his hideout, Gadahn will instantly become an unwelcomed liability. His head will likely be placed on a pike by his erstwhile hosts and word of his demise will spread. Try as he will, Gadahn is not really one of them; nor does he even work for his own meals. Get the picture? If he were your freeloading nephew, wouldn't you kick him out? Well, it's a little bit trickier for radical Islamists.
The naval incident: “The five Iranian fastboats essentially came in and charged the ships,” the Defense Department official said. The verbal warnings heard in English over the internationally recognized bridge-to-bridge radio channel said, “I am coming at you, and you will explode in a few minutes,” the official said. The confrontation came at a time of considerable tensions between the two countries, and a day before President Bush was to visit the region for a weeklong tour aimed both at encouraging Middle East talks and conveying a message that Iran continues to pose a serious threat.
“Whether they’re just testing us to learn about our procedures, or actually trying to initiate an incident, we don’t know,” the official said.
First, the two possibilities cannot be separated logically, its just that the DOD official is not at liberty to give any additional information the U.S. may have. The protest is being handled diplomatically, which means the press will get a cover story to quiet the public.
I will suggest an obvious cover story: Actions by naval units of Iran's Revolutionary Guard were due to an overzealous reaction of an I.R.G.C. maritime forces officer who interpreted the proximity of U.S. warships to Iranian waters as highly threatening.
The Fars news agency, which is close to the Revolutionary Guard, wrote in an analysis that the accusations were baseless and aimed at depicting Iran as a threat ahead of President Bush’s trip to the region. It said that the news received considerable attention in the Arab media. source
When it comes to threats against U.S. presidents, administrations are united in what must be done. Republican or Democrat, it makes no difference. Hunting season in Pakistan is about to begin. To the hunt!
One more thing. Leaders of the Iranian naval forces are not capable of testing the US. Navy to learn about our military procedures. Next time Iran tries that, the reaction could be quite different, but no more revealing to their military. Submarine, air, surface-to-surface strikes or combinations of equally fast reactions could ruin Iran's day, now, since turn about is fair play.



Friday, January 04, 2008

Al Qaida definition of women: n. movable personal property; slaves

Al Qaida definition of Female: n. (law) chattel; movable personal property; slave.

This is not news to M.E. see Her Husband Forgot to Say "Simon Says, Blow Up Now"
Some Muslima (women) are no longer falling for Wahhabism's marginalized, female existence:
Did she outwit her husband?
(1) My husband detonated (his bomb).
(2) I tried to explode (my belt) but it wouldn't. I left, people fled running and I left running with them.
(3) Ali (husband) noticed my struggle and pushed me out of the ballroom in order not to attract attention before blowing himself up.

1/4/08, 7:05 PM EDT - Al-Qaida Uses Women As Suicide Attackers:
Because of Muslim cultural sensitivities, women can be excellent candidates for suicide attacks when there are no female security guards. Most Iraqis are conservative Muslims who believe physical contact is forbidden between women and men not related by blood or marriage. As a result, women are often allowed to pass through male-guarded checkpoints without being searched. In October, the U.S. Army trained 20 women to work as security guards in a Baghdad suburb after a female suicide bomber entered a nearby building without being searched. The article (dateline Baghdad) is of interest and worth reading.

In M.E.'s opinion, Muslims are a testament behind the rest of the world (perhaps 2 testaments behind polygamist Mormons) in their attitude toward women. Well, that is something 'moderate' Muslims and U.S. feminists must soon confront. By the way, the testaments to which I refer are not Christian scriptures per se, but timeless descriptions of universal morality necessary for bountiful progress and enlightenment. They are in sharp contrast, for instance, to the backward assassination of Bhutto.

All American Muslims, especially the highly placed (e.g. Keith Ellison, D-Minn.), celebrity 'converts' from Islam like Barack Obama, leaders and proteges of the U.S. women's rights movement, and their prominent sponsers (e.g. Hillary Clinton) have yet to deal with obvious disconnects between U.S. laws of the land and the practice of fundamentalist Islam. The day is coming.



Submarine Prescience

It is certainly nice when ones' predictions come true. How does Molten Eagle do it?

Back on April 13, 2006, Molten Eagle's readers read Submarine Force establishes CSCO: Oh, CISCO! Uh oh, Hugo! At the time, most did not get the humor (Hugo Chavez supporters, for instance). The CSCO story was absolutely real. M.E. likes to goad Chavezuelans, however, and added references to the missing U.S. IV (4th) Fleet.

Late last year (October 10, 2007) M.E. brought his readers an unusual story about the U.S. 4th Fleet (South Atlantic) Operations Black Out , as in a news black out.

Now, about three months later (January 3, 2008), here's some support from our favorite Armchair Admiral, Galrahn: 4th Fleet Focus: Speak Softly and Carry a Big Stick. Galrahn links his post to a Navy Times article dated January 4th. Well we all know at least 3 ways that can be done, so lets not dwell on details. The Navy Times article states: U.S. 4th Fleet, which hunted submarines in the South Atlantic during World War II until it was dissolved almost six decades ago, is on its way back.

Galrahn take: Another regional player is Venezuela. Huge Chavez may be the darling of western socialists, but his military moves, particularly in regards to building paramilitary forces and questionable policies with assault rifles is troubling. Should Venezuela actually follow through and put 9 AIP submarines in the Caribbean Sea that would be a valid national security concern for a 4th fleet.

Submarines are always silent and strange.



Tunisia Targeted by Al Qaida - Get Ready

Prediction: 01/04/08, 9:44 AM:
Without doubt, Tunisia has just become a primary Al Qaida target. Leaders of this nation must take added measures to avoid the fate of Bhutto. DEFINITION: ham-handed - [bumbling: lacking physical movement skills, especially with the hands]

Reuters South Africa - Dec 30, 2007- 2 alleged militants sentenced to death in Tunisia; lawyers plan appeal

Such clashes are relatively rare in Tunisia, widely considered a haven of stability in North Africa. Officials initially played down the incidents, saying the group was made up of "dangerous criminals." But Interior Minister Rafik Haj Kacem later was quoted by the country's official news agency, TAP, as saying they were hardened extremists. The group is thought to have links with Al-Qaida in Islamic North Africa... source

Tunisia is one of a few Muslim countries (with Azerbaijan and Turkey) that prohibits the hijab in government buildings. By edict, women who insist on wearing the hijab must quit their job.