Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Now that Russian submarines are not really considered much of a threat anymore, because of their lack of funding and their incessant need to compromise safety in order to stay in the game, US submarines are taking on a whole new focus. Terrorism! The Pacific Ocean is becoming a good hiding place for Fast Attack subs, and Guided Missile subs for the new war on terrorism. During the Cold War, we needed to keep an eye on our Russian friends, but now they are pretty much doing the job for us. They sink more of their own subs than anyone else does. I can't even imagine now how many "Silent Hunters" are out there in the Pacific with watchful eyes on The Korean Peninsula. I am sure that there is more than one with the North on their list of targets.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
The USPS has a commemorative gallery at Post Offices around the US to honor service members of the US Navy. Sounds like a good idea to me. The only problem is... well at least one of the pictures is not exactly part of the US Navy. Click on the posted picture for a better view. You see the submarine in the lower right hand corner? Well it is a picture of a South Korean Submarine! A special thanks to Submariner John (Jack) Sandy for catching this. I did not even know the USPS had a picture gallery until I stumbled across it. Be sure to scroll down on that link to see his message and response from the USPS.
What the heck is going on? You would think that having something to honor the US Navy would contain a picture of an actual US submarine! Someone needs to do some research!
Monday, November 27, 2006
If anyone needs submarine escape training it is the Russian Navy. Over the years the Russian Navy has compromised safety in order to get ahead of its rivals. In order to create a faster torpedo, the Russian Navy used a hydrogen peroxide fuel to power their torpedoes. In doing so, the highly corrosive and explosive fuel is what caused the Kursk to sink in 2000, killing 118 crewmembers. Remember Harrison Ford in K-19 the Widowmaker? The movie was based on the actual accident that took place in 1961. Some of the crewmembers died when the nuclear reactor sprung a major leak and the temperature almost caused a meltdown. There was no back-up coolant system and the crew did not have the proper gear to help protect them. Not to mention there was only one shield between the reactor and the crew space. Even the captain of the K-19 stated that it was not fit for combat. There are more disasters that I could go into, and yes, even the US has had its share of submarine casualties. The reason I am pointing out the Russian Navy is because of its carelessness for the safety of its personnel. I am not sure how they do it in the Soviet Union, but when a US sub is finished, several shipyard members ride it out with the crew on the first run and during several testing phases. Just one way to ensure that the submarine is of quality workmanship! I am not saying that the Russian Navy in general is not capable, the "upper management" just seems to rush and take too many short-cuts in order to keep from falling behind.
Saturday, November 25, 2006
No, I am not talking about the battleship that is in Wilmington. The Navy is finishing up its 4th Virginia Class submarine, the SSN 777, USS North Carolina. Efforts are being made to have the commissioning ceremony in Wilmington in 2008. The problem is that the Cape Fear River is too shallow. When a submarine is surfaced, about 2/3 of it is still under water, which would mean any river or waterway would have to be pretty deep for a surfaced sub to transit. It is possible to bring the sub in but it would not make it to the downtown area. If the North Carolina is commissioned here, it would have to be at the port closest to the Atlantic. As of right now the SSN 777 is the 4th of 6 new Virginia class subs. These are attack subs, but are larger than their predecessors. They are armed to the teeth with Tomahawk Missiles, and MK-48 ADCAP (Advanced Capability) torpedoes making them very deadly to any targets.
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
"That's my boat!"
For those of you who are wondering... I was on the SSBN 743, USS Louisiana. It is one of the "boomer" subs that are made to carry trident missiles. It's purpose is nuclear deterrence. With 24 missile tubes, we could do some serious damage if need be. We carried some MK-48 torpedoes, but they were for defense of our sub only if we were ever attacked. My homeport was in Kings Bay, GA, but the 743 has since moved to the west coast to Bangor, WA. Some statistics on the USS Louisiana (No I won't tell you how deep it can go!):
USS LOUISIANA is the fourth U.S. Naval vessel to be named in honor of the eighteenth state admitted into the union, and eighteenth and last Trident Submarine to be commissioned.
Keel Laid: December 19, 1990
Launched: July 27, 1996
Commissioned: September 6, 1997
Builder: General Dynamics Electric Boat Division, Groton, Conn.
Propulsion system: one nuclear reactor
Length: 560 feet (171 meters)
Beam: 42 feet (12.8 meters)
Draft: 36,5 feet (11.1 meters)
Surfaced: approx. 16,765 tons
Submerged: approx. 18,750 tons
Speed: 20+ knots
Armament: 24 tubes for Trident I and II, Mk-48 torpedoes, four torpedo tubes
Crew: 17 Officers, 15 Chief Petty Officers and 122 Enlisted (2 crews)
Monday, November 20, 2006
The USS Enterprise came home this weekend from a 6 month deployment in the fight against terrorism. I know they are all glad to be home. When I was deployed it was during a time of relative peace and we were never involved in any combat. Of course on a Ballistic Missile sub, if we ever fired the weapons we carried it would be because WW3 was going on. Being deployed is stressful enough when nothing is going on, but to be actively involved in battle can be exhausting. I am sure that the Enterprise was far from harm's way and well protected, but tensions were probably high. Welcome back "Big E"!
Friday, November 17, 2006
The Navy NewsStand has an article about how the (M)orale, (W)elfare and (R)ecreation department has organized an effort to send care packages to Navy and Marine personnel for the upcoming Holidays. I cannot stress how important this is to them. It may not seem like alot but when you are in a steel tube somewhere under the ocean it can be a little comforting to have a package to open from someone who supports you. Before you ask, yes submarines surface occasionally and they try to either bring the packages onboard then from a tugboat, or as in my case, the packages were stored onboard before we left port and we got them on Christmas morning. If you have never done this, I highly recommend it. I am not sure if it is too late for this year or not. I can look into it and post an update. If it is too late, try to have a reminder for next year and send a care package to someone who has to spend the holidays without their family!
Thursday, November 16, 2006
As far as I am concerned, the US Navy has very advanced submarines out there protecting us. I know that just about everything can be improved somehow and this story is good news not only for the sub fleet but also US citizens. More advanced subs will not only help the Navy in its objectives but will help the rest of us sleep a little easier at night! New technologies and improvements are nothing but Good News!
Monday, November 13, 2006
This story in the Washington Times about the Chinese submarine that "stalked" the USS Kitty Hawk is nothing to be concerned about. The media always tends to make more of a story like this than it should. The diesel sub surfaced about 5 miles from the Kitty Hawk. Seeing how diesel subs can only stay submerged for so long before they have to fire up their diesel engines to recharge the batteries, it seems to me that this was a desperate attempt to be noticed by the US, by trying to see how far out into deep waters they can go without having to surface. This is not the first time a Chinese sub has intruded into military exercises and probably won't be the last. Let's just say that I know for a fact that it is very difficult for any sub out there to sneak up on us without being noticed, especially if there are any of our subs in the area as there typically are when a Carrier Group is out. Looks like another Celebrity Stalker made some headlines!