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Wednesday, June 03, 2009

USS Seawolf on the way home

The Seawolf is on its way home from a Westpac to Bangor today and should reach port by 4pm. The Seawolf is the first of its class. The Navy was originally going to upgrade their fast attack subs to the Seawolf's design but ended up going to the Virginia class. I remember when I was on the Louisiana. At the time, we were the newest boomer sub and the Seawolf was the newest fast attack. We played games with the Seawolf over several days putting them to the test. It was fun. There were times that the Seawolf could not find us and we were ordered to make noise to give them a hint. We were banging sledge hammers on the hull down in the lower level of the engine room. Needless to say, it did not take them long to find us once we started doing that!

Welcome home SSN 21!

Monday, June 01, 2009

Not Good News...

A weld inspector for Northrop Grumman has been caught falsifying weld inspection documents on new subs and one carrier. Apparently he has been signing off on welds without actually doing the inspection and it affects three ships that are currently in service.

According to the report, the ships worked on by the inspector included the Virginia-class nuclear attack submarines North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Missouri, California, Mississippi, Minnesota and John Warner, and the aircraft carrier George H.W. Bush. Bush, North Carolina and New Hampshire are in service; the other subs are in various states of construction at Newport News and at the General Dynamics shipyards in Groton, Conn., and Quonset, R.I.

Read the full article here.

I remember the first time I went out to sea on a sub. I was nervous and kept wondering if there would be any leaks or if you would hear any creaking from the hull. All my shipmates assured me that during construction they take special precautions to make sure everything is done right in order to prevent any catastrophes. I bet the first timers on the affected subs are pretty nervous right now if they even know about the issue. Of course the hull integrity of the subs are tested during sea trials, so hopefully if there is anything wrong it would be found by now. Although it might take some time before any welds are weakened enough for someone to notice. According to the news article they will be going back to re-inspect everything the liar touched.