Friday, May 30, 2008

Weekly Submarine Mystery - One Question

Obviously, the once awesome vessel, now decommissioned and displayed at the world's finest submarine museum was USS Nautilus (SSN-571). She was the first submarine ever to log out 'Underway on nuclear power' . After you visit the U.S. Navy Submarine Force Museum you get a chance to comment in the visitors' log. The museum made me as proud to have been a part of such a formidable team as I can ever recall. If you ever have a chance to visit, take it.

My first submarine orders out of sub school were cut to USS Nautilus, but she was delayed without further explanation (2nd photo had actually been taken years earlier).

The submarine service promptly gave me a choice between another two boats. The newer sub I selected would return to NLON in just a few days following a period of unscheduled shipyard maintenance. Later, I would learn that her emergency repairs had resulted from a serious grounding incident off the coast of Maine, months earlier.

When reporting aboard the sub, I noted a rubber stamp on the yeoman's desk. It simply said 'Underway on nuclear power' (more on that later).

This Week's Mystery question:
What explanation is given for the USS Nautilus's sail damage? Answer Monday.

Submarines are always silent and strange.



Thursday, May 29, 2008

The U.N.'s Grounding Rod Convention



Friday, May 23, 2008

Would Not Hold Your Breath for 2009 U.S. Submarine Lottery and Gasoline Prices

PREDICTION - Virginia Class Sub Construction will be curtailed May 14, 2008 - Another $422 Million for subs? - The Navy’s official shipbuilding plan called for one submarine per year through 2011, then two per year beginning in 2012. A congressional plan enacted last year would build one additional submarine in either 2010 or 2011 (a total of three subs could be built during 2010 and 2011). M.E. thinks the so-called Hunter Amendment is very doubtful.

M.E.'s predictions for continued sub building in order of declining probability:
.... President Obama - One per year for the duration.
.... President Clinton - About 1.2 boats per year if the current ban on female submarine service is lifted; otherwise, one boat per year for the duration.
.... President McCain - One-half boat per year for the duration (short of a declaration of naval warfare).

2005 PREDICTION came to pass - The price of gasoline

September 01, 2005 - Submarines At Fault or Will Gas Prices Rise? - The prediction:
Loud noises from low frequency active (LFA) sonar used by the military to detect submarines, or from airgun arrays used during geological surveys of the seafloor by the petroleum industry may be responsible for the stranded species. If the latter, expect gas prices to rise!
We know what happened, gasoline prices did rise, and very dramatically. Was oil exploration at fault, then? Judge for yourself. Not into reading, how about some pictures:

Domestic oil recovery and offshore drilling disallowed. International oil production environmentally demonized by carbon footprinting (climate change fear). International oil exploration restricted by legitimate concerns for marine mammal populations. Result is less, more costly exploration and extraction = limited SUPPLY. Of course, demand has increased all the while.



Monday, May 19, 2008

The Answer:

The following refers to the German Imperial Navy's conversion of Germany's first commercial submarine, the Deutschland, to submarine cruiser (U-155). Various reports with further details were cited here last Friday.

Mystery question:
There were a total of eight boats of Deutschland's merchant class subs built, plus Bremen. Because of their original, merchant design, there were only two 20-inch torpedo tubes both in the bow. How heavy was their surface gun battery?

The Answer:

Deutschland's high freeboard and wide beam permitted a relatively heavy deck gun battery of two 5.9-inch (150mm) and two 3.4-inch (88mm) guns. source: The U-151 Class, U-Kreuzer - '...Intended for serious boat-studiers. - Wall Street Journal, April 27, 2004

Submarine history buffs will enjoy the fascinating details and photos of the Kaiser's U-Boats found in the preceeding link.



Friday, May 16, 2008

Weekly Submarine Mystery - One Question

November 19, 1981 - The New York Times - Submarine Tanker Plans -

"General Dynamics Corporation disclosed that it was discussing with several West German shipbuilders plans to build 28 submarine tankers to carry liquefied natural gas from the Arctic to North America and Europe. ... General Dynamics said that it had designed two versions of the tanker submarines, a $725 million nuclear-powered ship and a $700 million version powered by methane."

Germany's history already includes commercial submarines. The Deutschland had been built in 1916 to counter Britain's naval blockade in WW1. The blockade had hindered Germany's war efforts sub- stantially. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Two subs were intended to travel to the neutral United States selling goods in exchange for vital raw materials. Britain and France soon protested submarines used as merchant ships, arguing that they could not be inspected (for munitions) like surface shipping. The U.S. rejected this argument, declaring unarmed submarines merchant vessels. [1] ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Deutschland's third journey, planned for January 1917, was aborted when the U.S. abruptly entered the war against Germany due in part to anger over German submarines sinking shipping bound for Great Britain just beyond U.S. territorial waters. The German Imperial Navy converted Deutschland to a submarine cruiser (U-155), a type submarine fitted with added artillery. In three war cruises, Deutschland was subsequently credited with sinking 43 ships. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Becoming a British war trophy in December 1918, Deutschland was scrapped in 1921. Her sister ship, the Bremen, launched its first journey in August 1916 under Karl Schwartzkopf, but never arrived in the US. Its fate is not known with certainty. source

The mystery question:
There were a total of eight boats of Deutschland's merchant class subs built, plus Bremen. Because of their original, merchant design, there were only two 20-inch torpedo tubes both in the bow. How heavy was their surface gun battery? Answer Monday.



Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Strange Profiles of Fast Attack Sailors

Some submariners had something in common with sailors on wooden ships... Speaker (last line of YouTube video below [1:24]):

Profile of vintage navy sailors ...

"One element of the research I've been doing into this has shown that, in fact, the livelier members of the crew, who get into trouble are also the ones you are likely to promote."

Narrator in the same video (1:18) :
"Surprisingly though, being flogged was not necessarily an indelible black mark on a sailor's career."

Rarely do submariners, usually volunteers, miss movement or take unauthorized absences. Recently, there seem to have been a few severe and noteworthy exceptions.

On a more humorous note, there also may have been exceptions of the vintage variety. Would this have been possible on your boat?


Examples 'Drowning' in San Juan and Eldon's side of the 'Drowning' story.



Sunday, May 11, 2008

The Answer: History Made in Aftermath of HMS Tireless Tragedy

The following refers to events of 21 March 2007, during which Paul McCann, 32, and Anthony Huntrod, 20 of HMS Tireless's crew were killed in an accidental onboard explosion. The submarine was operating near the North Pole with the USS Alexandria (SSN-757) in ICEX07 maneuvers when it had to emergency surface through ice. Various reports with further details were cited here last Friday.

Space age medical history was made in the aftermath of this tragic submarine incident. Answer:

The Tireless incident also marked the first use of non-invasive, pulse CO oximetry for diagnosis of CO poisoning in a remote environment. Information obtained allowed rapid triage screening of one sailor evacuated for hyperbaric oxygen treatment and fifteen others exposed to smoke within the enclosed environment. Abstract of: Fire and ice: diagnosis of carbon monoxide poisoning in a remote environment - D M Crawford, Submarine Development Squadron Five, United States Navy; and N B Hampson, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle.

In the past, methods for measuring CO poisoning had been limited to invasive bloods sampling analyzed by blood gas machines capable of CO-Oximetry. Such machines are usually found only in large hospitals, and when CO poisoning is a possibility, lives are at stake and time is short, so faster, non-invasive methods are needed by first responders to expedite treatment decisions.

The example device shown in the photo above is MASIMO CORPORATION's Rainbow SET Rad-57 Pulse CO-Oximeter™. Models carried aboard space vessels and submarines may be designed to function to standards contemplating relatively harsh conditions.



Friday, May 09, 2008

Weekly Submarine Mystery - One Quote, One Question

Unknowns... What was the sub doing at the time, and when was the accident that caused the two fatalities? Let's review various reports:

Two Royal Naval sailors were killed in an explosion aboard the attack submarine HMS Tireless on Tuesday night. ... Tireless was participating in Ice Exercise 2007 with the Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine Alexandria in 'joint classified testing on submarine operability and war fighting capabilities in Arctic waters' according to a release from Naval Submarine Forces in Norfolk, Va. ... The accident took place at 8:20 p.m. local time and the Tireless surfaced through the ice soon thereafter, the statement said. - The NavyTimes, Thursday Mar 22, 2007.

On [Wednesday] 21 March 2007, two Tireless crew members were killed in an explosion onboard, apparently caused by an oxygen purification candle in the forward section of the submarine. The submarine was in service near the North Pole under ICEX07 along with the USS Alexandria (SSN-757) and had to make an emergency surface through the ice cap. ... Part of the exercise was being used to measure ice thickness by using sonar.[2][3]- Wikipedia article.

Two sailors were killed and another injured aboard a Royal Navy nuclear attack submarine Wednesday after an explosion during the use of a back-up ventilation system, an administrative official with the Ministry of Defence (MOD) told Bellona Web Thursday. According to a statement release by the British MOD, the nuclear reactor of the HMS Tireless was not affected and there was only minimal damage to the bow section of the vessel, where the explosion took place. ... The accident took place while the HMS Tireless was on exercises with the US Navy under the polar ice cap.

Thursday, March 22, 2007 - London (England) - An explosion aboard a Royal Navy nuclear-powered submarine at 0420 GMT yesterday [Wednesday] which left two sailors dead and a third injured was caused by an oxygen "candle", US and British military sources have conformed. HMS Tireless is a Trafalgar-class nuclear attack submarine, which was on exercise under the polar ice cap with the USS Alexandria, a Los Angeles-class nuclear attack submarine. ... [Quote of the Week]- The difference between a minor incident and a major incident onboard a submarine is often measured in very callous terms TG

Paul McCann, 32, and Anthony Huntrod, 20, were killed on Wednesday in the incident, which involved an emergency oxygen generator on the submarine HMS Tireless. Both sailors were deployed to the Polar Ice Cap only three weeks ago, the MoD said. , Friday, March 23, 2007.

Just guessing, but must presume the Navy Times erred in reporting the accident happened Tuesday night.

Tireless video #1 from Reuters.

Tireless video #2 Released by U.S. Navy

What was HMS Tireless doing at the time? If you or I knew, we would not be free to tell one another.

The mystery question, then:

Space age medical history was made in the aftermath of this tragic submarine incident. Exactly what was new in medical history? Answer Monday.



Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Update: Israeli Submarine "Second Strike" Deterrent

From October 19, 2006 - Submarine Nuclear Deterrence on a (Relative) Shoestring -

Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, said earlier today that the Jewish state was "illegitimate" and could not survive.To be effective, Israel's newest Dolphin submarines (ordered in July, 2006) must be delivered and their crews trained before Iran manages to tip its first, medium-range missile with a nuclear warhead. Israel knows pretty well when such capability will exist and has planned this purchase with ample lead time.

Germany will absorb one-third of the $1.3 billion bill for the diesel-electric propulsion systems that allow the new subs to remain submerged longer than the three nuclear arms-capable submarines already in Israel's fleet, the Jerusalem Post reported. ... Think $1.3 billion is alot? The total acquisition costs of the UK's Trident programme are £12.57 billion (about $24 billion).

Molten Eagle predicted that 'To be effective, Israel's newest Dolphin submarines (ordered in July, 2006) must be delivered and their crews trained before Iran manages to tip its first, medium-range missile with a nuclear warhead. Israel knows pretty well when such capability will exist and has planned this purchase with ample lead time.'

Finally, Israel herself has answered the obvious question: When will Iran have nukes? - May 6, 2008, The Jerusalem Post - Iran could have nukes by '09:

Last week, Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz said during a visit to the US that Teheran would likely achieve control of the technology to enrich uranium for an atomic bomb within a year. ...CIA Director Michael Hayden said last month that the alleged Syrian nuclear reactor would have produced enough plutonium for one or two bombs within a year of becoming operational.

Published reports indicate Israel's first Dolphin class AIP sub is scheduled to be completed in 2012. The subs will be heavily modified and larger than 209 class subs. What does this tell us? Iran either will not have delivery and guidance for a nuclear strike on Israel before 2012, or Israel already has a sophisticated, second strike capability:

This is a sophisticated command and control system. Blue-green, sea-piercing lasers, developed, in part, at a U.S. weapons lab, can be used to communicate with the subs in so-called "bell ringer" operations. In situations in which war was imminent or had actually started, deployable rockets carrying the lasers would be fired to send the submarines a signal to come to periscope depth for further orders. Blue-green lasers, of the type Israel was known to be developing in the 1980s, can penetrate to 3,000 feet over a range of 6,200-square miles. [Emphasis added]

Since submarines are always silent and strange, I suspect the latter, Israel already has such sophistication, or even better.



Legendary Brilliance Mocked in Monumental Fashion

More: Soon, more scientists will desert the fallacy of man-induced climate change. Evidence to the contary is accumulating rapidly - - Watch the web for climate change truths (read the whole article, this is but one excerpt):
The proponents of man-made global warming have become so rattled by how the forecasts of their computer models are being contradicted by the data that some are rushing to modify the thesis. ... Two weeks ago, as North America emerged from its coldest and snowiest winter for decades, the US National Climate Data Center, run by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued a statement that snow cover in January on the Eurasian land mass had been the most extensive ever recorded, and that in the US March had been only the 63rd warmest since records began in 1895.

5/6/2008 - In a major faux pas, Al Gore Calls Myanmar Cyclone a 'Consequence' of Global Warming -Former vice president tells NPR's 'Fresh Air' cyclone is example of 'consequences that scientists have long predicted might be associated with continued global warming.'

Elsewhere in the day's news ...

5/6/2008 - SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) - Chile volcano blasts ash 20 miles high, forcing evacuations
- The long-dormant Chaiten volcano blasted ash some 20 miles (30 kilometers) into the Andean sky on Tuesday, forcing the last of thousands to evacuate and fouling a huge stretch of the South American continent.
Gobsmacked or Gore mocked? - You decide:
O, beware, my lord, of jealousy!
It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock
The meat it feeds on.
- William Shakespeare, Othello, Act 3 scene 3.



Sunday, May 04, 2008

Submarine Design and the Strategic 'Global Warming' Chicken Game

A conservative scenario is that by 2050 the observed trend will reduce summer minimum ice extent by 15%; this is an extrapolation of the satellite observations which are quite reliable and are not contradicted by climate model forecasts. For volume and thickness, a conservative estimate is obtained by extrapolating model forecasts that are not contradicted by sparse observations. By 2050. the end-of-summer volume can be expected to be down by about 40%, of which about 15% would be due to decreased extent and the remaining 25% would be seen in an end-of-summer thickness reduced by 25% to about 1.5 m.

Disappearance of the ice canopy will also eliminate the haven now provided to stationary submarines by ice keels. Active sonar detection of submarines, both by ASW sonars and by acoustic torpedoes, will become feasible.

In summary, melting of sea ice in the Arctic will turn into a conventional open-ocean ASW environment, with none of the advantages it now affords to an adversary strategic submarine.
- Naval Operations in an Ice-free Arctic Symposium, 2001 source [emphasis added]

All four agencies that track Earth’s temperature (the Hadley Climate Research Unit in Britain, the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, the Christy group at the University of Alabama, and Remote Sensing Systems Inc in California) report that it cooled by about 0.7C in 2007. This is the fastest temperature change in the instrumental record and it puts us back where we were in 1930. If the temperature does not soon recover, we will have to conclude that global warming is over. ...It snowed in Baghdad for the first time in centuries, the winter in China was simply terrible and the extent of Antarctic sea ice in the austral winter was the greatest on record since James Cook discovered the place in 1770. source April, 2008

The USS Nautilus (SSN-571) completed the first trans-Arctic voyage beneath the polar ice cap in 1958. The U.S. navy, for one, has since conducted under-ice operations routinely in strategic areas.

[P]rior to the USS Hawkbill's under-ice expedition to the Arctic in 1999, the submarine's commanding officer required every officer on board to read chapter seven of Leary's book-a description of USS Sargo's hazardous 1960 Arctic cruise. source

During the Cold War, Western intelligence referred to Soviet SSBN operating areas in the Arctic and the Sea of Okhotsk as bastions and sanctuaries. ... Attack submarines of the USS Sturgeon class (SSN 637) were well-suited for operating in these areas, being relatively quiet and having an under-ice capability. source

Based on research and development studies, performed in part by USS Memphis (SSN691) which had been specifically modified during refit to serve as a technology test bed, several major improvements were made to the basic Los Angeles design. ... Furthermore, by strengthening the sail and moving the forward dive planes from the sail to the bow, the San Juan boats have a true 'under ice' capability. source

The first 39 submarines of the LOS ANGELES class had no under-ice capability, and all had reduced depth capability, part of the cost for them to regain a few knots of speed. source

The Seawolf (SSN-21) class of 29 boats has been phased out for exorbitant cost. The budget for Virginias is being argued to this day.



Friday, May 02, 2008

Others Welcome, but Molten Eagle Writes for Patient Readers

The Mogadishu cell leader, a Somali militant, had been trained in Afghanistan. ... No wonder a U.S. submarine has been patrolling nearby waters.

Reader: I many tomahawks does a Los Angeles-class carry?

Thirty-three months and 3 weeks later:

May 1, 2008 - (CNN) -U.S. kills Somali with links to al Qaeda, officials say- A U.S. missile strike Thursday killed a Somali Islamic militant leader with ties to al Qaeda and several other senior leaders of his group, Al-Shaabab, local officials said.

U.S. officials said the missile was launched from a Navy submarine or a ship in the region.

The Somali Islamic militant leader was Hashi Farah Ayro, who was said to have gone to Afghanistan to train with al-Qaeda before 2001, according to Matthew Bryden of International Crisis Group.[4][5]. For link to LA Times read Galrahn's Precision Kills From the Sea - Updated - Another Sub Strike update.


Another countdown for Molten Eagle's patient readers (now only 152 days):

February 17, 2008 - Pressure to Survive Still Increasing .......... 228 days

January 31, 2008 - Under Increased Pressure to Survive .......... 244 days

January 20, 2008 - Under Indictment for Treason, Will the American Al Qaeda be tried or Zarqawi'd? .................... 255 days