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    Friday, December 28, 2007

    New Submarine Developments in Russia

    The Russians are not standing still on the submarine front, either:

    Thursday, December 27, 2007

    Lots of New Stuff for Aussies!

    The RAN is undertaking a massive modernization of their submarine force, and it is nice to see our second closest ally taking steps to become a siginificant submarine power, who will provide a counter to China, Indonesia, and India.

    This article from the Australian provides details, and a video. Don't expect these to be nuclear submarines, for lots of good reasons, as detailed here.


    Faulty Oil Pump Ties Up HMS Astute; D5 Follow-on Won't Fit!

    The British submarine force, already under fire for cost overruns and the (very)late delivery of HMS Astute, surely don't need more bad news, but, this provides some.

    At the same time, the follow-on to the D5 SLBM looks like it may have some size problems in British SSBN's. Of course, much of this is due to different life spans for British SSBN's and the US SSBN force, and may be much ado about nothing.

    CSS Hunley Becomes Historic Landmark

    The CSS Hunley has become an historical landmark, joining the Statue of Liberty and the Liberty Bell. Pretty good for a Confederate submarine....Read all about it here. N/T.

    Providence Receives MUC

    The USS Providence received a MUC recently.  I know weve talked about this in the submarine blogosphere, but see if you can find whats most interesting about this from the Groton (CT) Day:

    While deployed to the Pacific and Indian oceans from October 2006 to March 2007, the nuclear-powered, fast-attack submarine participated in three major training exercises involving Indian and Japanese naval forces.

    Commanding Officer Cmdr. Mike Holland accepted the commendation from Capt. Emil Casciano, Submarine Squadron 2 commodore, at the Naval Submarine Base.”

    Welding Issues Plague NGNN and Our Submarines

    The welding issues at NGNN shipyard is only going to fester for a while longer.

    This is from Defense Daily last week.

    Geoff Fein, Defense Daily, 21 December 2007

    The investigation into welding issues at Northrop Grumman's [NOC] Newport News (NGNN) shipyard that initially led to the tying up of the first three Virginia-class submarines earlier this month has been expanded to include other subs and aircraft carriers, the Navy said.

    The Navy, NGNN, and General Dynamics [GD] Electric Boat are conducting a detailed assessment of completed welds through record reviews and additional inspections.

    The discovery of the weld weaknesses and the resulting inspections have impacted operational testing of the USS Virginia (SSN-774) and pre-commissioned unit North Carolina Sea Trials (Defense Daily, Dec. 10). The USS Texas (SSN-775) was in port at the time.

    The scope of the long-term investigation includes Virginia-class submarines, Los Angeles-class submarines, aircraft carriers and in-service surface ships built or maintained by NGNN from 2000 to 2007, according to Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA).

    "In the aircraft carrier business, this is a very important finding. NGNN knows they have to understand what this means to the aircraft carriers," Rear Adm. William Hilarides, program executive officer submarines, said in an interview with Defense Daily earlier this month.

    "We are currently in the process of assessing what ships could be potentially affected, and we anticipate completing our assessment in early January," Jennifer Dellapenta, an NGNN spokeswoman, said yesterday.

    The investigation is the result of a process deficiency at NGNN, which potentially enabled improper weld filler metal to be used on non-nuclear piping systems over an extended period of time, the Navy said. NGNN has revised its procedures and is retraining its workforce on the new procedure. Both NGNN and the Navy are providing additional deckplate oversight to monitor the revised process, the Navy added.

    "The Navy continues to work closely with NGNN to ensure that Navy vessels are built to the highest technical and safety standards. All vessels constructed by or maintained by NGNN since 2000 will undergo a technical assessment of non-nuclear piping systems," according to NAVSEA.

    The internal piping systems under review transport air, water and hydraulic fluid inside the hull of the vessel. Neither the hull nor any nuclear components are affected, the Navy said.

    The Navy will complete an initial assessment of near-term concerns regarding critical welds in late December. The Navy is committed to ensuring the safety of our crews and ships.

    In spring 2008 the Navy and NGNN will complete an analysis of the long-term effects of the weld problem and identify the specific steps to be taken to address the issue. Specific actions may include reworking some welds and conducting routine monitoring or testing of the welds, the Navy said.

    "The Navy will better understand the long-term effects of this problem and associated costs when the investigation is complete," NAVSEA said. "This issue and resulting investigation has had minimal impact to naval operations."

    Sunday, December 23, 2007

    Russia: A New Patrol Submarine on the Market

    The Russians recognize the wonderful export possibilities for submarines.  In a world where there will be >1000 submarines, why doesnt the U.S. get in the game?

    From stratfor.com December 4, 2007


    Russia will display its latest patrol submarine at a trade show under way in Malaysia. Already set to be sold to Indonesia, the submarine could see a significant uptick in sales should the design prove to be of sufficient quality and if Russia can produce the submarines efficiently.


    Russia will exhibit its new Amur-1650 patrol submarine at the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace 2007 exhibition in Malaysia Dec. 4-8, according to Rosoboronexport, the Russian arms exporter. Also on display will reportedly be an improved variant of the Kilo class (Project 636) patrol submarine. While the quality of the new design remains to be seen, a capable patrol submarine – both its design and fabrication – is within Russia's demonstrated capabilities. Sales have already been announced to Indonesia and Venezuela.

    Amur is the export designation of the Project 677 Lada class intended for service in the Russian navy. The Amur-1650 and the Amur-950 are the two initial variations being marketed by Rosoboronexport. Their single hull is a significant departure from the double hulls that characterized Soviet submarine design (the additional hull was intended to make the sub more survivable). This move to a single hull makes the Amur-1650 much more comparable in terms of displacement (size) to German and French designs now on the market. Both Amur designs are reportedly capable of being extended to include an air-independent propulsion (AIP) system, though the exact nature of Russia's AIP design, or how close it is to being ready for testing, is not clear.

    AIP is now available in the German Type 214 design, which is widely exported and includes such advanced customers as Israel and South Korea. However, even if the Amur series proves uncompetitive with that design, it could still be an attractive option. Both Indonesian and Malaysian defense spending has risen lately, and Indonesia has already ordered four Kilos and two Amurs. Meanwhile, Russia has high hopes for the Chinese and Indian markets.

    Rosoboronexport is marketing both Amur designs and the variants of the Kilo class on the market fitted with the Club-S (NATO designation: SS-N-27 "Sizzler") anti-ship cruise missile. The Club can be launched from torpedo tubes, and the terminal phase of its flight is supersonic.

    The Amur-950 is especially interesting in this regard. Fitted with 10 vertical launch tubes to the rear of the sail, it reportedly will be able to quickly launch 10 anti-ship missiles in a salvo (launching that many from the torpedo tubes would require reloading, which can take several minutes). While both Russian and U.S. nuclear attack submarines have been built with similar capacities, this is the first time that vertical launch tubes have been incorporated into a patrol submarine design and made available on the open market.

    With this modest salvo capability, the Amur-950 design increases the chance of a successful strike against a well-defended target; it can also quickly hit more individual targets while minimizing the sub's vulnerability. Russian naval thinking has long been informed by the need to penetrate the U.S. Navy's superior defensive systems. One of the ways the Soviets settled upon to do this was to overwhelm that system with missiles, and the Amur-950 can at least partially trace its design to that long-standing consideration.

    This is not to say that 10 missiles necessarily have much of a chance of overwhelming a modern Aegis-equipped surface combatant (should it be at a sufficiently high state of alert). But the capability is also not one to scoff at; it is one that naval powers in the market for asymmetric challenges to U.S. naval dominance might find attractive.

    The vertical launch cells might prove even more attractive for India in particular, as they could be a means of making the Brahmos anti-ship missile a viable export product for the submarine market (the basic Brahmos design is too wide to be launched from the standard 21-inch torpedo tubes, or even the larger 26-inch tubes). Some reports suggest this has been the plan for some time. However, India – and China – ultimately are pushing forward with their own domestic production capabilities (and New Delhi has no shortage of troubles with Moscow).

    In either case, the Amur is already on the market and comes well armed -- if only Russia can produce them efficiently.

    Thursday, December 20, 2007

    No "Consensus" on Global Warming

    James Inhofe, the Republican Senator from Oklahoma, and a global warming skeptic (hence, a friend of mine and the Earth), is doing great work debunking the outright lies and distortions of the GW crowd.  Today, as the ranking Republican on the Senates Environment & Public Works (EPW) committee, he is releasing a report where over 400 scientists will serve as consensus busters in the GW debate, the tenor of the report being that there is far from consensus on the issue of man-made global warming.

    Drudge has linked to it, and so will I.  Here is the summary, with the full report expected up this morning.


    Sunday, December 16, 2007

    Reservists deployed increases this week

    If you've never sought this out, information on deployed reservists is available, and updated weekly. The National Guard and Reserve Mobilized as of December 12, 2007 This week the Air Force, Army and Navy announced a decrease, while the Marine Corps announced an increase. The Coast Guard number remained unchanged. The net collective result is 837 more reservists mobilized than last week.

    Save this link.

    2008 Blue Angels Schedule

    The Blue Angels have announced their 2008 season schedule. Unfortunately, for those in metro Atlanta, no show at Dobbins this year, so, if you want to see the Blue Angels, you'll have to go to Huntsville, AL or make the long trip to South Georgia. And you can STILL say to your aviator friends (while pointing to your dolphins, and until the USS Amazon is commissioned), "You'll never see a woman wearing these."

    Thursday, December 13, 2007

    USS North Carolina sets sail

    The USS North Carolina (my home state) set sail for Alpha trials today. This is the official US Navy picture. Bubblehead has more over at his site. The ultimate plan is to have this ship commissioned in April 2008 in Wilmington, NC, across from the WW2 battleship North Carolina, now doing duty as a museum ship in the mud across the Cape Fear river from Wilmington. Of course, there are those concerned about issues with welds on Virginia class subs.

    The Navy said that before sending the North Carolina to sea, the Navy and Newport News assessed about 15,000 piping welds.

    "The North Carolina would not have gone out to sea if there was any question about the quality of the welds," a spokesmodel said. Besides the submarine's crew of about 137, others aboard for its first ocean run included shipyard President Mike Petters and Rear Adm. William Hilarides, the Navy's program executive officer for submarines.

    It will be submerged for the first time, conduct high-speed runs, and undergo other tests of its design, systems, components and compartments.

    After it returns, it will go for a second trial run designed to test its weapons systems.

    NN still expects to deliver the North Carolina to the Navy in January, a few weeks past its December contract date.

    Wednesday, December 12, 2007

    Global Warming Petition - Just another way to slam Bush

    A friend of my wife's forwarded the below email to me about some ridiculous petition against the Bush administration and promoting the global warming alarmists agenda.

    "Hey,Thought you might want to know about this petition. The Bush administration is trying to block progress at crucial negotiations for the next global climate treaty--the successor to the Kyoto Protocol. This petition sends a message to other countries that Bush's actions don't match Americans' wishes. (The petition just says: "Dear World, please ignore Bush.") Please join me in signing the petition--we need to make sure the world doesn't let Bush block a strong agreement on climate change! http://www.avaaz.org/en/please_ignore_bush/98.php?cl_tf_sign=1"

    My reply was

    Before you send your friends to sign a petition to support a treaty that they will have no idea how it impacts their lives (other than it disses the hated Bush administration, and will save us from Global Warming), maybe you should consider some facts.

    Brief Kyoto Facts:
    · The Kyoto Protocol was completed in 1998 (during the Clinton administration)
    · The US Senate voted 95-0, in July 1997, before the protocol was completed, that any treaty that did not include binding targets for developing nations (like China, India, and Brazil) should not be ratified by the United States.
    · At the completion of Kyoto, it did not include any binding targets for those nations, and has never been brought forward to the United States Senate for ratification and likely never will be.

    Doubts About Global Climate Change:
    · There is no doubt that global temperatures have increased in the last century. However, there is significant doubt in the scientific community (Al Gore’s reputation as the scientist who created the Internet notwithstanding) as to causes of this warming.
    o Significantly, most of the warming occurred in the first 50 years of the last century, before the increase in CO2 levels we have observed in the last 50.
    o The Earth has seen many warming and cooling trends over its history. Today, many scientists believe these trends correspond to solar activity.
    o Temperature data is, at best, inexact, and, in many locations on the planet subject to an aberration known as the “urban heat sink” where measuring stations have been located in populated areas that, as they have become developed, tend to display higher temperatures than the surrounding countryside. This would indicate a localized problem due to overdevelopment, but not a global problem if these stations are reporting temperatures that are not representative of a large area.
    o Man’s impact on global warming, while certainly possible, is not known to any degree of certainty, and can’t be without more considered study. Those who are against treaties such as Kyoto and its successors, do not believe we know enough about the science of global temperatures nor of man’s impact on them to take such drastic steps as these treaties compel on their signatories.

    The Doomsayers have a rotten history of being (in)correct:
    · The first Earth day was held because “scientists” thought the Earth was entering a new Ice Age. That was 1970. Amazing what has changed since then.
    · In the 70’s population was another time bomb that was going to lead to the demise of civilization. Doomsayers claimed the planet couldn’t support 6 billion people. Lo and behold, we are still here today with more than 6B of our friends, and due to modern farming techniques (mostly pioneered and practiced in THIS country), brought about by competition in the marketplace, we are easily able to feed the world’s population. Famines today are not due to lack of food, but due to political stupidity and transportation problems.
    · Al Gore and other “scientists” promised us after 2005’s Hurricane season we were in for more and more severe storms during the 2006 and 2007 seasons, due to Global Warming. You live in South Florida, what was your hurricane season like the last 2 years? I know in Atlanta, we’re in the middle of an historic drought that could have been solved by a couple of big leftover tropical storms.
    · Al Gore’s movie is full of distortions and some outright lies (these come from Weatherunderground.com, which actually thinks his movie was worthwhile, an opinion NOT shared by me, although I admit, I will not see the movie, but I did read his book, Earth in the Balance, and it is one of the most awful pieces of tripe ever written):
    o “it would have been appropriate for Gore to acknowledge that the consensus of climate scientists--as published in the most recent report by the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)--is that sea level is likely to rise between 4 and 35 inches, with a central value of 19 inches, by 2100” vice 20 feet, as he tried to claim, and many scientists believe the IPCC report overstates the sea level increases. Coincidentally, I cancelled my subscription to Sports Illustrated when they decided to parrot the 20 foot claim.
    o “He should have also mentioned that temperatures in Greenland in the 1930s were about as warm as today's temperatures, so the current melting of Greenland's glaciers does have historical precedent.”
    o “The biggest failure in the movie's presentation of science comes in the discussion of hurricanes and severe weather events," to wit, “No single weather event, or unconnected series of severe weather events such as Gore presents, are indicative of climate change. In particular, the IPCC has not found any evidence that climate change has increased tornado frequency, or is likely to. Gore doesn't mention the unusually quiet tornado season of 2005, when for the first time ever, no tornadoes were reported in Oklahoma in the month of May.” As I’ve already mentioned, this movie was completed before the relatively quiet hurricane seasons on 2006/2007.

    I won’t ascribe motives to the supporters of Kyoto and its ilk. They may be truly committed to saving the planet from its most dangerous denizens, humans. Humanity certainly has a large stake in the survival of our planet and, the best friend of the Earth has been capitalism and Western Civilization. Our system continuously looks to force efficiencies in all we do, even in the use of energy. One need only look at the environmental disasters that were Eastern Europe and Russia to understand how detrimental to our world a “Socialist Utopia” would be.

    Because the track record of the doomsayers is so bad, and their motives so suspect, I do not believe we need to ACT NOW! to save the planet. I’ve got news for all, the end is not near.

    Friday, December 7, 2007

    NBC Disses Soldiers

    In a typical left-wing move, NBC has decided that this ad, from Freedomswatch.org, is too political for them to run. Of course, as O'Reilly points out, and as anyone who has eyes and ears knows, NBC, and its affiliate MSNBC, have become increasingly anti-military and anti-war. So, this should come as absolutely no surprise to anyone. I suppose, as Newt Gingrich points out, this is a kind of feather in the cap of the executives at NBC, who now will have more love and adulation from their friends on the left-wing.

    Tuesday, December 4, 2007

    Submarines featured in this month's "The Navy Reservist"

    It's not available yet on the Navy Reserve web site, but this month's issue of The Navy Reservist is dedicated to the submarine force, and includes articles on history, reserve component submarine operations, what some submarine individual augmentees are up to in the GWOT, and deep submergence and rescue. Previous issues are here. take a look at it, I'm proud to say I still recognize some of the author's names.

    Monday, December 3, 2007

    Bloggers being heard at SUBFOR

    I have it on pretty good authority that our friends at SUBFOR are reading the blogs and do pay attention to the blogosphere. Of course, that is often because they need a good laugh. nothing else

    Saturday, December 1, 2007

    Seals train with USS Florida

    Here is a picture you won't often see. KEY WEST, Fla. (July 27, 2007) A Navy diver stands by to assist a special operator, both from SEAL Delivery Team (SDV) 2, with SDV operations with the nuclear-powered submarine USS Florida (SSGN 728) for material certification. Material certification allows operators to perform real-world operations anytime, anywhere. U.S. Navy photo by Senior Chief Mass Communication Specialist Andrew McKaskle (Released)And here is the rest of it.

    West Virginia Lost

    This college football season is amazing. West Virginia lost and Oklahoma and Missouri are tied as I write this. Ohio State fans have about a 50/50 chance right now of seeing their team make it back to the NCG. You don't want to be 2 this year.

    Update: OK is beating Mo by 2 TD's in the 4th. Looks like UGA and OSU may be playing for the National Championship.

    Today, both Tennessee and WVA did something I complained about the now (thankfully) fired Chan Gailey doing earlier this season. With plenty of time left, they went for it on 4th down and short, with plenty of time on the clock and in FG range. In UT's case, it would have meant another TD gave them a win. In WVa's case, it would mean they would have only needed a FG for a tie. I don't get it.

    In other news, Bubblehead has some great new content on his site, including news about the Viral DVD series, "Hey, Shipwreck" a futuristic series based on the real-life adventures that occur everyday on naval vessels (specifically, submarines). I admit, this is my first exposure to the "Hey Shipwreck" series, and it is hilarious. Check it out. It's produced by ET1 Patrick Hrabe.