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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Torpedo in the Water!

This is a video of an Australian submarine test firing a torpedo at a abandoned Navy ship. For those of you who do not know, a torpedo does not actually strike the ship. They are designed to detonate underneath a ship and vaporize the water supporting the hull. The ship then breaks in two and sinks. This process is clearly seen in the video. Check it out:

Monday, December 18, 2006

Interesting story

Discovered this news story today and thought it was pretty interesting. I reprinted it below for your convenience.

India this week is to begin assembling Franco-Spanish Scorpene attack submarines as part of plan to boost its naval power and military-industrial know-how.

Indian navy Vice Admiral S.K.K. Krishnan, the head of Mumbai's Mazagaon Dock naval shipyard, said production is slated to begin on Thursday, with Defence Minister A.K. Antony set to formally inaugurate the project the following day.

The 2.4 billion euro deal to build an initial six diesel submarines was signed in October 2005 with Armaris, a subsidiary of France's Thales group and Direction des Constructions Navales (DCN).

The agreement also includes the sale of 36 Exocet-type anti-submarine and anti-ship missiles.

"We hope we can commence the production of the Scorpene on the 14th of December. But this is only phase one. We plan to build 18 more indigenous submarines," Krishnan told reporters.

The Scorpene, jointly developed by DCN and Spain's Navantia, is a 67-metre-long (220 feet) craft designed for attack and interception. Malaysia and Chile have also placed orders.

India's contract covers a 12-year period, and the first craft is scheduled to enter into service in 2012, with an additional submarine following each year.

India's navy currently has 16 submarines, but these are mainly ageing Russian and German models. With the Scorpene, India is hoping to bring its fleet up to date to match challenges from rivals Pakistan and China.

The contract also includes the transfer of key technology, with just the first two submarines being built under French and Spanish supervision. The arrangement has been presented as a win-win deal giving new technology to India and a major foothold in the country's huge defence market to the foreign firms.

"It's an innovative technology transfer, with the indigenisation of sub-systems, equipment and components," said Amaris' project director Xavier Marchal.

"In the future there will be good deals to be made in India. This serves as a foundation for DCN's industrial relations at a moment when India's defence economy is transforming," he said.

India is the largest arms purchaser among emerging nations and said last month that it will not prune defence spending because of the growing threat from terrorism and ongoing regional tensions.

India annually spends 14 billion dollars, or 2.34 percent of its gross domestic product, on its military. Since 2004 it has either spent or committed billions of dollars in modernisation projects planned until 2010.

But the Scorpene deal has been marred by corruption allegations.

The main opposition party, the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), alleged that around four percent of the contract amount -- or around 100 million dollars -- was paid to Indian intermediaries, one of whom is said to be close to the ruling Congress party.

The charges came after weekly magazine Outlook published a series of articles alleging that French defence giant Thales paid the commission to Indian middlemen to clinch the deal.

Thales as well as the French and Indian governments have denied the allegations.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

How to Simulate Life on a Submarine at Home

Here are some things you can do to see what it would be like to live on a submarine without actually having to join the Navy:

1. Obtain a dumpster. Paint it black, weld all the covers shut except one which can be bolted closed from the inside. Hitch it to the back of your wife's mini van. Gather 12 friends and bolt yourselves inside and let your wife pull it around for several weeks while she does the errands.

2. Sleep on the shelf in your closet. Replace the closet door with a curtain. Six hours after you go to sleep, have your wife whip open the curtain. shine a flashlight in your eyes, and mumble "Sorry, wrong rack".

3. Don't eat any food that you don't get out of a can or have to add water to.

4. Paint all the windows on your car black. Drive around town at high speeds with your wife standing up in the sunroof shouting course and speed directions to you.

5. Renovate your bathroom. Build a wall across the middle of your bathtub and move the shower head down to chest level. When you take showers, make sure you shut off the water while soaping.

6. Repeat back everything anyone says to you.

7. Sit in your car for six hours a day with your hands on the wheel and the motor running, but don't go anywhere.

8. Put lube oil in your humidifier instead of water and set it to "High".

9. Don't watch T.V. except movies in the middle of the night. Also, have your family vote on which movie to watch, then show a different one. Record The Sound of Music and show it at least every other night.

10. Don't do your wash at home. Gather your neighbors clothes along with yours, pick the most crowded laundromat you can find, and do the neighborhood laundry in a single washer and dryer. Make sure that 12% of the laundry is lost and 20% of the finished laundry is incorrectly distributed to the wrong neighbor.

11. Leave lawnmower running in your living room six hours a day for proper noise level. (For Engineering Divisions)

12. Have the paperboy give you a haircut.

13. Take hourly readings on your electric and water meters.

14. Sleep with your dirty laundry.

15. Invite guests, but don't have enough food for them.

16. Buy a broken exercise bicycle and strap it down to the floor in your kitchen.

17. Buy a trash compactor and use it once a week. Store up garbage in the other side of your bathtub.

18. Wake up every night at midnight and have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on stale bread, if anything. (Optional--canned ravioli, cold soup, or cherry peppers)

19. Make up your family menu a week ahead of time without looking in your food cabinets or refrigerator.

20. Set your alarm clock to go off at random times during the night. When it goes off, jump out of bed and get dressed as fast as you can, then run out into your yard and break out the garden hose.

21. Once a month take every major appliance completely apart and then put them back together.

22. Use 18 scoops of coffee per pot and allow it to sit for 5 or 6 hours before drinking.

23. Invite at least 85 people you don't really like to come and visit for a couple of months.

24. Store your eggs in your garage for two months and then cook a dozen each morning.

25. Have a fluorescent lamp installed on the bottom of your coffee table and lie under it to read books.

26. Periodically check your refrigerator compressor for "sound shorts".

27. Put a complicated lock on your basement door and wear the key on a lanyard around your neck.

28. Lockwire the lugnuts on your car.

29. When making cakes, prop up one side of the pan while it is baking. Then spread icing really thick on one side to level off the top.

30. Every so often, yell "Emergency Deep", run into the kitchen, and sweep all pots/pans/dishes off of the counter onto the floor. Then, yell at your wife for not having the place "stowed for sea".

31. Put on the headphones from your stereo (don't plug them in). Go and stand in front of your stove. Say (to nobody in particular) "Stove manned and ready". Stand there for 3 or 4 hours. Say (once again to nobody in particular) "Stove secured". Roll up the headphone cord and put them away.

32. Write a controlled work package to change the oil on your car.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


The USS Dwight D Eisenhower, a nuclear powered Aircraft Carrier, commissioned in 1977, has arrived in the Persian Gulf. The linked news story states that it is accompanied by a guided missile cruiser, the USS Anzio on a regular deployment to the Gulf. A Carrier always goes out accompanied by several ships in it's Carrier Strike Group (CSG). Along with these two is Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 7, and embarked Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 28; guided-missile destroyers USS Ramage (DDG 61) and USS Mason (DDG 87); and the fast-attack submarine USS Newport News (SSN 750). The CSG will be assisting with missions in Iraq. That is a bunch of firepower available to assist troops on the ground in Iraq! As a former submariner, I usually pay attention when one is mentioned in the news. The Newport News is a Los Angeles class, fast attack submarine that carries, tomahawk missiles, with vertical launch capability as well as the standard MK-48 torpedoes. Just the fact that this Silent Hunter is in the area means it will be difficult to sneak weapons and such from the Gulf into Iraq.

A quote from Dwight D Eisenhower: "There is no victory at bargain basement prices."

Friday, December 08, 2006

Update on the USPS Navy Gallery Blog!

I wrote an article about the commemorative gallery that was being sold by the US Postal Service last week. I found out that American Stamp Collectibles are the ones that actually produce the Artwork. Since someone already contacted the USPS and got a response, I decided that today I would contact ASC and see what they have to say. Within about 20 minutes or so, I already received the following courteous response:

Matt, Thank you for trying to bring this to our attention. We actually realized this about 2 weeks ago when one of your fellow submariners (a Bubblehead I believe :) ) informed us. We got the original images from the Navy and they approved the product. We are now in the process of destroying over 2000 prints and even more finished product. We found a wonderful replacement "American" Sub and are printing them as we speak. I will replace the image on the website as soon as it is done. If you or anyone you know has already purchased one please let us know so that we can replace it immediately. Thank you again for taking time to let us know.

(According to the email, Lisa is the VP of sales)

As you can see, I was a little late in contacting them, but they are already taking action to correct the picture. Apparently someone in the Navy provided and approved the incorrect image. It obviously was not a submariner!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

December 7, 1941

"Rest easy, sleep well my brothers.
Know the line has held, your job is done.
Rest easy, sleep well . . . "

As you know, today is the 65th anniversary of the Attack on Pearl Harbor. Over 2,400 Americans were killed in the attack on "Battleship Row" which led to the US entering World War II. The intent of the attack was to destroy 3 aircraft carriers, none of which were in the harbor that day and were spared, leading to the US victory in the Pacific. In spite of the attack being a surprise, many servicemen fought bravely to defend their country. Almost half of the casualties were from the explosion and sinking of the USS Arizona, which today serves as an undersea grave and memorial. A total of 18 ships were sunk that day including 5 battleships. Of the other 4 battleships, all but the USS Oklahoma were repaired and returned to service. Let's remember this day "that will live in infamy" (President F.D.Roosevelt) and honor those who fought bravely and lost their lives to defend our country.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Life on a "Boomer"

I posted some facts about the USS Louisiana a couple of weeks ago, so I thought I would follow up on what it was like to call the SSBN 743 home for a few months. The picture to the left is a cutaway view of an Ohio Class submarine, so called because the USS Ohio was the first one. The Louisiana was slightly different than the one pictured, but it still gives you an idea of the way the inside looked. Do you see where the crew sleeps? Yep, right there with the giant nuclear missiles! Every submariner goes through typically the same experiences, but they can vary some. Some Captains drill more than others. Sometimes when you are underway, you have an ORSE (Operational Reactor Safeguard Exam) to get ready for. My Capt. liked to drill, so everyday M-F at 6 am or so, the entire ship would be awakened by a "General Alarm" usually signifying a fire of some sort, or sometimes a call to "Battle-stations". Most of us were on an 18 hour day which means we were on watch for 6 hours and off for 12 before going back on. During that 12 hours, you had to do any co-lateral duties, study for quals or assist with any maintenance as well as get some sleep. I was in the Engineering Department, so I spent alot of time in the Engine Room. Most of my Battle-station assignments were there as well. An ORSE is really a way of testing the Engineering department so they know we will not cause a meltdown or something with the Nuclear reactor. The rest of the ship is really not involved much. I spent a total of 36 hours with no sleep (basically from the time the ORSE team arrived until they left). They drill you, test you, observe you, and watch while you are being trained. It is a very stressfull time. On a boomer, if you are not getting ready for an ORSE, then you are most likely on patrol. When on patrol, you are not allowed to be very loud. We ran "ultra quiet" most of the time and rarely ran drills as to not give away our position. Overall it was a good experience for me and I do not regret it. I have plenty more about life on a "Boomer" but I will save some for another time. I am just getting started!