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Friday, March 16, 2007

Malaysian Sailors receive "Submariner Certificates"

Malaysian sailors have been training in France since 2005 learning to operate submarines. 29 out of the 146 that are currently training received certificates and insignia. 10 received the Elementary Certificate indicating they have a "General Knowledge" of operating submarines. 19 received the Advanced Certificate indicating they have "competence in handling onboard systems". "Besides the training of Malaysian crews by DCI/NAVFCO, the Malaysian submarine program includes the construction of two Scorpene submarines". The Royal Malaysian Navy currently has several surface ships that it has acquired mostly from Italy, France and Germany. Personally I am glad to see France has been training them, seeing how you don't hear much about French submarine incidents. Congratulations to the new Royal Malaysian Navy Submariners!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Navy Temporarily Loses contact with USS San Juan

Apparently the Navy temporarily lost contact with the USS San Juan off the coast of Florida. In response, the Navy spearheaded a search effort to find the Los Angeles class sub and sent word to the families. The USS Enterprise reported seeing a red flare in the area Tuesday night. Early Wednesday morning though the San Juan re-established contact with the Navy and reported that there were no problems. As thorough as the Navy is, I am sure that they will investigate until the entire cause/issue is understood and resolved. I will keep you posted as questions are answered.

UPDATE 1: I found this article that gives a little more insight into what happened. I pasted it below for your convenience.

Overnight, the family of crew members on the Groton-based USS San Juan got a scare when it appeared for a time that the submarine might have sunk.
Lt. Mark Jones, spokesman for Submarine Group Two, said this morning that the submarine and its crew are safe, but that during the night there were indications that the ship was in trouble.
The San Juan went out of communication while doing training exercises off the East Coast, and a flare was spotted, prompting the Navy to start up its rescue process and notify families.
Jones said that it is Navy policy to keep families informed and to make sure they are the first to know when something might have gone wrong.
Ships and aircraft from the Enterprise Strike Group searched the area where San Juan had been operating.
The sub established communications in the early morning hours today and indicated that there were no problems. The search-and-rescue operation was then canceled.
The Navy is investigating the incident.

UPDATE 2: The Sub Report has a good collection of links regarding this incident. I would suggest heading over there and checking them out.

UPDATE 3: This former submariner has a few theories about the incident.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

U.S. Navy's role in the Fight against Terrorism Continues

For the first time since the Vietnam War, the Navy has deployed a "riverine" squadron. To the rest of the Navy they are usually known as the "brown water navy" since they spend their time patrolling rivers and other sources of water other than the open waters of the ocean. RIVRON 1 was deployed to the Middle East to help Marine forces patrol the inland waters to help with security. The sailors have been combat training with Marines at Camp Legeune in North Carolina to get ready for their new duty. The sailors interviewed seemed excited but nervous, which is understandable since most sailors, other than SEALS, are not deployed for this type of duty. RIVRON 1 is part of the Navy Expeditionary Combat Command and will be helping Marines "facilitate stability in the area". So now, besides providing Aircraft and support from a Carrier Group, submarines, and Navy SEALS in the Middle East, the Navy has made its way inland to provide support to troops and additional security forces. The Navy's role continues to increase and become a more important asset in the fight against terrorism.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Division logos

I was sent these two division logos from their creator, Jeff Goddard. He is a neighbor to our north in Canada and is a fan of the submarine service. The first one is for the M/RL dision (my old division) for the SSN-777. The M/RL div accepted this design and is using it as their logo. The second one he designed for E-div, but they are not using it. Jeff mentioned to me that he would be glad to modify the E-div design for another boat if someone is interested. So if you have any contacts let them know. You can have them contact me and I will get in touch with Jeff. I think they look great. Jeff is very talented.

(All copyright restrictions apply)

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Think before you speak...

Apparently someone over at the Chicago Sun-Times seems to think that the modern US military should stop wasting money on submarines and aircraft because "Al-Qaida has neither a navy nor an air force". This has got to be the most idiotic thing I have read in a long time. True, Al-Qaeda does not have a navy or an air force, but that does not mean we do not need one! There are plenty of countries out there that would love to get the upper hand on the U.S. Yes, we are currently fighting Terrorists, but that should not dictate getting rid of or stopping production of military forces and equipment. Obviously the writer of the article has not done his research. Submarines and Aircraft play a huge role in the fight on terrorism. Both of which provide cover for land forces and help to keep the soldiers on the ground out of harms way. If it were not for submarines firing cruise missiles at intended targets, there would have to be a great deal more troops on the ground to carry out the mission. More troops on the ground mean more potential for U.S casualties. Virginia class submarines are specifically called out in his article: "the Bush administration plans to continue funding the Virginia class submarine." The Virginia class are currently in production to replace the aging Los Angeles class submarines. Without these replacements the US Navy will quickly lose is deterrent potential and start to come under threat of countries such as Iran and North Korea. I do not understand how someone can write a news article (and have it published) on a subject they clearly have not put a lot of thought into. Just because today's threat does not have a navy or an air force does not mean tomorrow's threat will not either. Stopping production of highly valuable assets would certainly threaten the security of this nation. The author is clearly oblivious to global threats and the needs of the military.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Across the Pond

Our counterparts across the pond in the UK have plans to add 3 fast attack Astute class submarines by 2011. The first one (of which the class is named), the Astute is due to reach the fleet in 2009 after an August 2007 launch. It appears the UK submarine fleet has some aging Swiftsure class submarines that are near the end of their lifespan. The following is some of the specifications of the new class of nuclear powered attack submarines:

The Astute will be equipped with the Tomahawk Block IV (Tactical Tomahawk) cruise missile from Raytheon fired from the 533mm torpedo tubes.
Tomahawk is equipped with the TERCOM terrain contour mapping-assisted inertial navigation system. The terrain contour mapping for use over land combines onboard radar altimeter measurements with terrain mapping data installed in the missile.
Block II added Digital Scene Matching Area Correlation (DSMAC) guidance. Block III improvements include an improved propulsion system and Navstar Global Positioning System (GPS) guidance capability. The GPS provides location and velocity data of the missile for precision targeting.
Tomahawk has a range of up to 1,000 miles and a maximum velocity of 550mph. Block IV includes a two-way satellite link that allows reprogramming of the missile in flight and transmission of Battle Damage Indication (BDI) imagery.
Astute will have six 533mm torpedo tubes, and will be equipped with Spearfish torpedoes and mines. There is capacity for a total of 36 torpedoes and missiles.
The Spearfish torpedo from BAE Systems is wire-guided with an active / passive homing head. The range is 65km at 60kt. Spearfish is fitted with a directed-energy warhead.
The countermeasures suite will include decoys and Electronic Support Measures (ESM). The The ESM system is the Thales Sensors Outfit UAP(4). Outfit UAP(4) has two multi-function antenna arrays which are mounted on the two non-hull penetrating optronics masts from Thales (formerly Pilkington) Optronics and McTaggart Scott.
Astute Class submarines are to be fitted with the Royal Navy's new Eddystone Communications band Electronic Support Measures (CESM) system, also to be fitted to the Trafalgar Class submarines. The Eddystone system is being developed by DML of Devonport UK, with Argon ST of the USA. It will provide advanced communications, signal intercept, recognition, direction-finding and monitoring capability.
Astute is fitted with I-band navigation radars. The sonar is the Thales Underwater Systems (formerly Thomson Marconi Sonar) 2076 integrated passive / active search and attack sonar suite with bow, intercept, flank and towed arrays. Sonar 2076 has been fitted to three Trafalgar class submarines and entered service in February 2003.
Atlas Hydrographic will provide the DESO 25 high-precision echosounder, to be fitted on the Astute. DESO 25 is capable of precise depth measurements down to 10,000m.
Astute will have two non-hull-penetrating CM010 optronic masts developed by Thales Optronics. McTaggart Scott will supply the masts. The CM010 mast includes thermal imaging, low light TV and colour CCD TV sensors.
Raytheon Systems Ltd has been contracted to provide the Successor IFF (Identification Friend or Foe) naval transponder system for the Astute class.
The nuclear power will be provided by the Rolls-Royce PWR 2 pressurised water reactor. The long-life core fitted on the PWR 2 means that refuelling will not be necessary in the service life of the submarine.
The other main items of machinery are two Alsthom turbines, and a single shaft with a Rolls-Royce pump jet propulsor, consisting of moving rotor blades within a fixed duct. There are two diesel alternators, one emergency drive motor and one auxiliary retractable propeller. CAE Electronics is to provide the digital, integrated controls and instrumentation system for steering, diving, depth control and platform management.
The PWR 2 second-generation nuclear reactor was developed for the Vanguard Class Trident submarines. Current generations of PWR would allow submarines to circumnavigate the world about 20 times, whereas the latest development of PWR would allow circumnavigation 40 times without refuelling.
The major equipment components in the development of PWR 2 are the reactor pressure vessels from Babcock Energy, main coolant pumps from GEC and from Weir, and protection and control instrumentation from Siemens Plessey and Thorn Automation.