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 SILVERCREST SUBMARINES NEWS LETTER (2003).

Silvercrest Submarines Newsletter .

We have a wide range of submarines (big and small) plus Rovs for sale and possible charter. Priced to suit all budgets and tasks.


Contact us at anytime to discuss the options and to exchange ideas.


SILVERCREST SUBMARINES
Tel: England (44) 1285.760620

Email: sales@SilvercrestSubmarines.com

 

 

New Manned Submersible on the Market.

Stingray 500, first in a series of new models from Canadian manned submersibles manufacturer and operator Aquatica Submarines and Subsea Technology Inc

Travel in Your Own Submarine in the Caribbean

 Curaçao’s personal submarine rides. The company’s Curasub descends four times a day to travel to depths unreachable for divers. The standard dive is 500 feet deep on a 1.5-hour plunge, while the “Deep Dive” takes people to depths of nearly 1,000 feet.

 

Bored With Your Megayacht? Add a Cruise-Liner Personal Submarine.

 

Capable of reaching depths of 1,000 feet, the Triton 1000/7 cruise-liner sub is "designed for operations from cruise-liners and megayachts" and can hold up to 2,220 pounds, hit a maximum speed of 3.5 knots and stay submerged for 18 hours with a full battery. Equipped with A/C and a humidity control system to make the cabin as comfortable as possible, the eight-foot-diameter sphere at the front of the sub provides stunning panoramic views. Price US$4.9 million, two year delivery.

World’s First Deep-Diving Transparent Sub

 

6,600 feet . The Triton 6600 features a transparent acrylic. Controlled via a PLC touch screen and equipped with six standard 20,000-lumen LED lights. The $5.5 million submarine isn’t cheap, but it may pay for itself in sunken treasure.

AURORA 6 PERSON SUBMARINE - SPECS  

  • Number of Occupants: 5 passengers + 1 pilot
  • Maximum Operating Depth: 300m (984 ft) to 1000m (3300 ft) 
  • Length 5.93 m (233 in)
  • Width 2.90 m (114 in)
  • Height 2.31 m (91 in)
  • Dry Weight 14,500 Kg (32,000 lbs)
  • Maximum Speed: 3 Knots
  • Mission Time: 8 Hours
  • Reserve Capacity: 96 Hours
  • Battery Type: Lithium 
  • Charging Time: 5 - 7 Hours
  • Underwater Communication System for Private Submersible and Topside
  • Private Sub Tracking Hand Carry Console
  • Dual Frequency Forward Looking Sonar
  • 5 X LED Flood Lights
  • Doppler Velocity Log (DVL) Navigation on Personal Submersible
  • GPS Navigation Software on Private Submersible
  • External Wet Joystick for Surface Handling 
  • Private Submarine Battery Charger 
  • Color Customizable 

 

 

Hunt for missing submarine with 44 crew

An Argentine submarine with 44 crew on board was missing in the South Atlantic two days after its last communication, prompting the navy to step up its search efforts late on Friday in difficult, stormy conditions. The ARA San Juan was in the southern Argentine sea 432 km (268 miles) from the Patagonian coast when it sent its last signal on Wednesday, naval spokesman Enrique Balbi said. The emergency operation was formally upgraded to a search-and-rescue procedure on Friday evening after no visual or radar contact was made with the submarine, Balbi said. “Detection has been difficult despite the quantity of boats and aircraft” involved in the search, Balbi said, noting that heavy winds and high waves were complicating efforts. “Obviously, the number of hours that have passed - two days in which there has been no communication - is of note.” The navy believes the submarine, which left Ushuaia en route to the coastal city of Mar del Plata in Buenos Aires province, had communication difficulties that may have been caused by an electrical outage, Balbi said. Navy protocol would call for the submarine to come to the surface once communication was lost.  “We expect that it is on the surface,” Balbi said. The German-built submarine, which uses diesel-electric propulsion, was inaugurated in 1983, making it the newest of the three submarines in the navy’s fleet, according to the navy. President Mauricio Macri said the government was in contact with the crew’s families. “We share their concern and that of all Argentines,” he wrote on Twitter. “We are committed to using all national and international resources necessary to find the ARA San Juan submarine as soon as possible.” Argentina accepted an offer from the United States for a NASA P-3 explorer aircraft, which had been stationed in the southern city of Ushuaia and was preparing to depart to Antarctica, to fly over the search area, Balbi said. A Hercules C-130 from the Argentine Air Force was also flying over the operational area. Brazil, Uruguay, Chile, Peru, Britain and South Africa had also formally offered assistance. A storm on Sunday complicated efforts to find an Argentine navy submarine missing in the South Atlantic with 44 crew members, while satellite calls thought to come from the vessel did not help searchers identify the vessel’s location. The defence ministry has said the ARA San Juan appeared to try to make contact through seven failed satellite calls on Saturday between late morning and early afternoon. The vessel was 432 km (268 miles) off Argentina’s coast when its location was last known early on Wednesday. As waves of up to 8 meters (20 feet) and winds reaching 40 knots complicated the search by sea, authorities spent Sunday trying to trace the submarine’s location through data from the satellite calls without significant progress, a navy official told reporters. “We analyzed these signals, which as we know were intermittent and weak,” said Gabriel Galeazzi, a naval commander. “They could not help determine a point on the map to help the search.” U.S. satellite communications company Iridium Communications Inc, which was brought in to help analyze the calls, said they did not originate with its device aboard the vessel and may have been from another satellite communications company’s equipment. It said the last call it detected from its device was on Wednesday, the same day the government said the vessel vanished. More than a dozen boats and aircraft from Argentina, the United States, Britain, Chile and Brazil had joined the effort. Authorities have mainly been scanning the sea from above as the storm made the search difficult for boats, navy Admiral Gabriel Gonzalez told reporters. “Unfortunately these conditions are expected to remain for the next 48 hours,” Gonzalez said from the Mar del Plata naval base, about 420 km (240 miles) south of Buenos Aires where the submarine had been heading toward before vanishing. A search of 80 percent of the area initially targeted for the operation turned up no sign of the submarine on the ocean’s surface, but the crew should have ample supplies of food and oxygen, Balbi said. The navy said an electrical outage on the diesel-electric-propelled vessel might have downed its communications. Protocol calls for submarines to surface if communication is lost. Three boats left Mar del Plata on Saturday with radar detection probes and were following the path that the submarine would have taken to arrive at the base in reverse, Balbi said. “Those probes allow the boats to sweep the ocean floor during their journey and try to make a record of the floor in three dimensions,” Balbi said. The U.S. Navy said its four aircraft were carrying a submarine rescue chamber designed during World War II that can reach a bottomed submarine at depths of 850 feet and rescue up to six people at a time. The chamber can seal over the submarine’s hatch to allow sailors to move between the vessels. It said it also brought a remote-controlled vehicle that can be submerged and controlled from the surface. The dramatic search has captivated the nation of 44 million, which recently mourned the loss of five citizens killed when a truck driver plowed through a bicycle path in New York City. Crew members’ relatives gathered at the Mar del Plata naval base, where the submarine had once been expected to arrive around noon on Sunday from Ushuaia. However, it would not be unusual for storms to cause delays, Balbi said. The ARA San Juan was inaugurated in 1983, making it the newest of the three submarines in the navy’s fleet. Built in Germany, it underwent maintenance in 2008 in Argentina. That maintenance included the replacement of its four diesel engines and its electric propeller engines, according to specialist publication Jane’s Sentinel.

 

The True Story of the Only Underwater Submarine Battle Ever

 

The Hunt for Red October dramatized for the public one of the tensest forms of warfare imaginable: combat between submarines submerged deep under the ocean’s surface, the nerve-wracked crews scouring the fathomless depths for their adversary’s acoustic signature using hydrophones.However, while hunting undersea enemies is one of the primary jobs of modern attack submarines, only one undersea sub engagement has ever taken place, under decidedly unique circumstances. This is not to say that submarines have not sunk other submarines. Indeed, the first such kill occurred in World War I, when U-27 sank the British E3. Dozens other such engagements occurred in the two world wars. However, in all but one case, the victims were surfaced, not underwater. This was foremost because the submarines of the era needed to spend most of their time on the surface to run their air-breathing diesel engines; they could only remain underwater for hours at a time with the power they could store on batteries, moving at roughly one-third their surface speed. Therefore, submerged action was reserved for ambushing enemy ships and evading attackers. There were additional problems intrinsic to having one submarine hunt another underwater in an era that predated advanced sensors and guided torpedoes: how could submerged subs detect each other’s position? During World War II, submarines came to make greater use of hydrophones as well as active sonar; however, the latter models could only plot out a submarine’s location on a two-dimensional plane, not reveal its depth. :Furthermore, the torpedoes of the time were designed to float up to near the surface of the water to strike the keel of enemy ships. Although the “tin fish” could be reprogrammed to an extent, it was not standard to adjust for depth, and guessing the azimuth of an enemy submarine with the limited targeting information available posed an immense challenge.

 

U-864’s Secret Mission

On February 5, 1945, the U-Boat U-864 slipped from its quay in Bergen as it departed on a secret mission known portentously as Operation Caesar. U-864’s compartments were filled with key technology and resources that Nazi Germany planned on transferring to Japan. These included schematics and components for Jumo 004 turbojets to aid in the development of a Japanese jet fighter, and even two engineers from the aviation manufacturer Messerschmitt. There were also guidance components for V-2 ballistic missiles and two Japanese technical experts. U-864 also carried more than sixty-seven tons of liquid mercury, carried in 1,857 steel flasks. The mercury had been purchased but not entirely delivered from Italy in 1942, and was a key material for manufacturing explosive primers. Capt. Ralf-Reimar Wolfram’s mission was to sail the long-range submarine north around Norway, then across the Arctic Circle past Soviet territory to deliver the goods. Germany was only months away from falling, but Berlin hoped that the technology and materials would allow Japan to stay longer in the fight and divert Allied combat power.U-864 was a Type IXD2 “cruiser submarine,” and at 87.5 meters long was larger than the more common Type VII U-Boat. It was designed for long-range transoceanic patrols, and the -D2 model in particular was even bigger to accommodate enlarged cargo compartments. Before departing, U-864 had been modified with a piece of technology then unique to Germany—a snorkeling mast, allowing the submarine to sip air from the surface while shallowly submerged. Despite this formidable advantage, Wolfram’s mission proved ill-omened from the start. U-864 initially set off from Kiel on December 5, 1944, but ran aground while transiting through the Kiel canal. Wolfram decided to have the ship undergo repairs in Bergen, Norway. But in Bergen, its armoured pen was hit with twelve-thousand-pound Tall Boy bombs dropped by British Lancaster bombers on January 12, 1945, causing even more damage. Unfortunately for Wolfram, the United Kingdom had long ago cracked the Enigma code, which German U-Boats used to communicate with the Naval headquarters. By February, the British Navy had decoded messages relating U-864’s mission, and decided to set a trap.HMS Venturer, the first of the new V-class submarines, received orders from the Royal Navy Submarine Command to hunt down and destroy U-864 off the island of Fedje, Norway. The smaller, shorter-range British submarine carried only eight torpedoes to U-864’s twenty-two, but it was nearly 50 percent faster underwater, at ten miles per hour. Venturer arrived at its station on February 6. Its skipper, twenty-five-year-old Lt. James S. Launders, was a decorated submarine commander, who in addition to sinking twelve Axis surface ships, had dispatched the surfaced submarine U-711 in November 1944.Though he disposed of an ASDIC active-sonar system that offered greater detection range by emitting sound waves into the ocean, which could be tracked when they pinged off submerged ships, Launders elected to rely on shorter-range hydrophones. This was because the ping from ASDIC could be heard by adversaries from even further away. But Launders didn’t realize he was engaged in a hopeless hunt. U-864 had slipped past him. Many war stories tell of protagonists who avoid horrible fates out of sheer coincidence and dumb luck. More or less the opposite happened to Captain Wolfram.U-864 was safely out of range of the Venturer when its diesel engine began noisily misfiring, hampering acoustic stealth and threatening to break down entirely. Only a few days out from port, Captain Wolfram decided he should play it safe by returning to Bergen for repair. He could not have known he was leading his submarine straight back into danger. On February 9, the hydrophone operator on the Venturer overheard a contact that he at first believed was coming from the diesel motor of a fishing boat. Launders moved his submarine closer to the sound pickup, and spotted on the periscope what appeared to be another periscope in the distance. This was actually most likely U-864’s snorkel. Running submerged on batteries, Launders slipped the Venturer behind the German submarine and began tailing it. He was waiting for U-864 to surface before launching his torpedoes, but thanks to its snorkel, U-864 could operate underwater for extended periods of time. The German submarine began zigzagging side to side, likely having detected the British sub. After three hours of pursuit, the Venturer was running short on battery and would soon have to surface itself. Launders decided he would simply have to attack U-864 while it remained submerged. He calculated a three-dimensional intercept for his torpedoes, estimating his adversary’s depth by the height of the snorkel mast protruding above the water. However, he knew the enemy submarine would quickly detect a torpedo launch, and planned his firing solution to account for evasive manoeuvres. At 12:12, Venturer ripple-fired all four of its loaded torpedoes in a spread, with 17.5 seconds between each launch. Then the British submarine dove to avoid counterattack. The U-Boat immediately crash dove as well, then swerved evasively. After four minutes, it had managed to duck under three of the incoming torpedoes. But Launders had launched the second pair of torpedoes at lower depths. The fourth torpedo struck U-864, breaking it in two; the gruesome sound of popping rivets and cracking metal filled the Venturer’s hydrophones. The U-Boat fell 150 meters to the bottom of the ocean, taking with it all seventy-three onboard and sinking Operation Caesar along with it.More than a half century later, the wreck of U-864 was found in 2003 by the Norwegian Navy, two miles off Fedje. It was discovered that the cargo of poisonous liquid mercury had been slowly seeping from the flasks into the surrounding ocean. After spending fifteen years evaluating the risks of raising the wreck and its dangerous, unexploded torpedoes, in February 2017 the Norwegian government finally “entombed” the broken submarine with a half-meter of sand and 160,000 tons of rocks to prevent further contamination, thus forming a cairn for the German submarine that had met its terrible fate under unique circumstances.

Russian "wake object detection system", able to follow enemy submarines without using sonar.

 

The Soviets back in the day did not have access to advanced electronics during the Cold War era, which was why their submarine tech was thought to be sub-par. But that only tells you half the story. Newly-declassified files report on how crafty Russian engineers at the time were able to continue to play cat-and-mouse games deep underwater by following the trail submarines left behind. In one incident, a Russian submarine reportedly followed an American sub undetected for six days. Sonar was the go-to method for the Americans when it came to submarine tracking technology during the Cold War, which was something that the Russians did not have. How then did a Soviet sub manage to not only detect an American one, but also stay undetected and follow it for six days? "System Obnarujenia Kilvaternovo Sleda" (SOKS) or "wake object detection system" was a technology that was developed in place of sonar by the Russians. It was a non-acoustic method that the West ignored because they thought it was not as effective. In fact, one of the West's intelligence reports from the 1970s, which is quoted by Popular Mechanics (PM), says, "It is unlikely any of these methods will enable detection of submarines at long ranges."SOKS, however, was successful because it reportedly tracked the wake, or disturbance, in the water that submarines left behind instead of trying to 'listen' to propellers or engines. They are easily noticeable as spikes and cup-like protrusions on the leading edge of Russian submarine fins, according to PM. While the Russians had always claimed to be able to follow US submarines, it was usually dismissed as Russian propaganda, notes the report. Since research on this tech was classified by the US, even scientists were not aware of it. Rumours were also inconsistent at the time. Without knowing how it worked, and if it worked at all, and what SOKS was looking for in the water, the Americans had no real way to counter it. It was believed that SOKS was used to read changes in water density, or detect radiation, or even used a laser sensor, but no one knew for sure. The SOKS system was not one device. It was a mix of several instruments working together, at least that is what the declassified files say, reports PM. SOKS had one sensor to identify "activation radionuclides", a faint trail of radiation that nuclear plants inside subs left behind. The "gamma ray spectrometer" was another instrument that read trace amounts of radioactive elements in seawater. "The Soviets had reportedly had success detecting their own nuclear submarines [several words redacted] with such a system," the document says. Apart from radioactive trails, chemical trails were also left behind by submarines, notes the PM report. Sacrificial anodes – that prevent corrosion on submarines – leave a trail of zinc, oxygen generators leave behind hydrogen, and flakes of nickel get chipped off from cooling pipes in subs. All of these chemicals can be traced back to a submarine, and SOKS was looking for all of them. uclear reactors and submarine engines are also incredibly hot, so there is a hot trail to follow as well. Several thousand gallons of coolant is needed to keep a nuclear sub stable and the sea water that was pumped through to cool off the reactors and engines was often at least 10 degrees hotter that the surrounding water. This can be detected through an optical interference system, notes PM."A localisation system based on this technique, capable of detecting wakes up to several hours after the passage of a submarine, could theoretically be built now," says the declassified report, but how much of this tech the Russians had at the time has not been revealed. SOKS was first introduced in 1969 and it is still found on Russian attack submarines like the Akula and Yasen class subs. While sonar is the go-to in submarine detection tech, there are a host of different methods that militaries around the world are taking up. With updates in detection tech over the years, it can be said that complete stealth might not really be possible anymore. Chinese scientists in June this year, made a breakthrough in quantum magnetometers. The strange thing about the whole situation was that the scientific publication was taken down after a few days and put away after a journalist pointed out the tech's possible military applications. Using this tech, it could be possible for the Chinese to completely lock down the South China Sea, says New Scientist (NS).The device apparently worked like a magnetometer that looks for anomalies in the Earth's magnetic field in the ocean. A submarine is essentially a large piece of metal that interacts with the magnetic field and so they can be detected underwater. The drawback is that it has a limited range, so they are only used when an enemy has already been caught on sonar. What the Chinese had stumbled upon is based on a superconducting quantum interference device (SQUID), which can widen and lengthen the reach of a basic magnetometer notes the NS report. Till now, SQUID devices were only useable in lab conditions and are overly sensitive, says the report. They were known to get affected by even solar activity, so they are not known to be able to shut out background noise. It is not clear if the Chinese team actually overcame this obstacle and after the study was taken offline, it might not ever be released to the world again.

Last memo from Argentine submarine reveals start of a battery fire.

The last communication from the missing Argentine submarine ARA San Juan revealed a leak of sea water had caused a short circuit and “the beginnings of a fire” in the batteries, according to a copy of the message published by Argentine television. “Entry of sea water through the ventilation system into battery tank No. 3 caused a short circuit and the beginnings of a fire in the battery room. Bow batteries out of service. At the moment in immersion propelling with split circuit. No updates on personnel, will keep informed,” the document obtained by the channel A24 said. The message was purportedly sent by the commander of the ARA San Juan by radio and received as a transcription. A24 did not say how it had obtained the document, on which the Argentine Navy has not commented. The communication appears to contradict some of the information released by the Navy. It was sent at 8.52am on the morning of the sub’s disappearance on Wednesday, November 15, while the authorities have said the vessel’s last message was received at 7.30am. It also goes into greater detail regarding the faults allegedly suffered by the ARA San Juan. The Navy waited five days to confirm rumours the submarine had suffered a battery fault, and then insisted it was unrelated to the disappearance. On Monday, before the leaked document was broadcast, Captain Enrique Balbi, the Navy spokesperson, told a press briefing that the sub had reported “the entry of water through the snorkel, a short circuit and the beginnings of a fire, which for us is smoke without flames. It was corrected, they isolated the battery and navigated with another circuit, it was being propelled with the circuit of the stern”. Almost two weeks after it disappeared, the only trace of the sub and its 44 crew members has been the reports of an apparent explosion close to its last known location at approximately 11am that morning. The message is also likely to raise further questions over the Navy’s decision to wait two days to begin a physical search for the ARA San Juan. While the force has insisted this was in accordance with protocol for a submarine that had lost communication, the existence of such faults has generated doubts over that decision.

 

DEEPFLIGHT

Two men wearing red knit caps sit inside a sleek, winged vehicle as it bobs on the ocean’s surface. They’re seated one behind the other, and their features appear slightly magnified inside twin glass domes that enclose each cockpit. A third man wearing a mask and snorkel circles the vehicle, then gives a thumbs-up to its pilot, Graham Hawkes.  Hawkes engages two propellers and directs the vessel, which looks more like a bulbous airplane than any kind of watercraft, into a dive. This isn’t the scene from some futuristic fantasy movie — it’s GoPro footage filmed in 2013. The men are travelling in a Super Falcon submersible made by DeepFlight, the company Hawkes founded with his wife, Karen, more than 20 years ago.“We’re really not like any other submarines that you’ve ever seen,” Karen Hawkes said during a recent visit to the company’s headquarters in Point Richmond. She compared DeepFlight’s design to early fixed-wing airplanes, and drew a similar connection between conventional submarines and hot-air balloons. Balloons and submarines move up and down by changing their density, she said, but their range of movement can be limited. DeepFlight’s submersibles, like airplanes, rely instead on propulsion systems to rise and sink—allowing them to manoeuvre freely once they’re in motion, Hawkes explained. She said the submersibles have taken many forms since the first prototype was developed: A single-person craft in which the pilot lay prone to navigate.“I always thought we had to take more than one person down so we could share the experience,” said Hawkes, who has served as a willing passenger in each of the company’s subsequent designs. Most of these have wound up in the hands—and on the yachts—of the extremely wealthy. Billionaire Richard Branson, who founded the Virgin business empire, is among DeepFlight’s previous clients. Even in fiction, the submersibles have been linked with the super-rich; an early model belonged to the Greek business magnate who served as James Bond’s nemesis in the film For Your Eyes Only. But the company plans to expand both the submersibles’ accessibility and passenger count in the future, said CEO Adam Wright. He gestured to a scaled model of the Super Falcon 3S, a three-person submersible that will be used to launch DeepFlight’s first commercial tourism service next year. Partnering with an island resort, the company will offer tours at a price similar to “comparable activities like sky diving or a fishing charter,” said Wright.“More people have been to space than have seen the depths of the ocean,” said Charles Chiau, the company’s engineering director. He views the new three-person craft as more than a tourism novelty. By bringing more people into the ocean, he hopes to “affect a lot more of the future policies” surrounding marine conservation. A scuba diver and ocean enthusiast himself, Chaiu said he’d also settle for “getting more people excited about the oceans.”DeepFlight was previously in the process of testing an exploratory sub—the Challenger—designed to travel to the bottom of the Mariana trench, the deepest part of Earth’s ocean floor at 36,070 feet. That project has been postponed following the disappearance of its planned pilot, explorer Steve Fossett, in the Sierra Nevada. Wright said DeepFlight’s latest design, the Super Falcon 3S, represents a shift in focus toward more conventional markets; it’s designed to travel at depths of about 300 feet—near the point light ceases to be visible underwater. Anyone wishing to explore the ocean through underwater flight, however, will have to travel farther than the Richmond marina. After an initial life-support test in the bay, Wright said, the Super Falcon 3S will move to its beach-side home where the water is clear and blue: in the Maldives.

Russia’s New Missile Submarine

 Russia’s latest nuclear-powered ballistic missile sub taken design cues from Western submarines, improving the sub’s efficiency and ability to stay undetected. The result is a submarine that will be better able to protect its deadly cargo of 16 nuclear missiles from U.S. and NATO hunter killers in wartime. The Borei-class subs are simply enormous. Each one is 525 feet long, 45 feet wide, and displaces 21,000 tons fully submerged. A single OK-650B 190-megawatt nuclear power plant drives the sub to speeds of 15 knots on the surface and 29 knots submerged, and allows the submarine to cruise underwater indefinitely, its range restricted only by the food supply. The Borei subs are some of the deadliest ever built. Each carries sixteen RSM-56 Bulava ballistic missiles, allowing it to strike targets worldwide with nuclear weapons. This makes the submarines an indispensable leg of Russia’s nuclear triad, providing a powerful second-strike retaliatory capability against any country that launches a nuclear attack on Moscow. Russia’s first submarine of the class, Yuri Dolgoruky, was laid down in 1996. Becaus of funding woes, it wasn't commissioned into the Russian Navy until 2014. According to submarine authority H.I. Sutton, author of World Submarines: Covert Shores Recognition Guide, the fourth boat, Count Vladimir, was recently launched and incorporates some design features borrowed from U.S. and other NATO submarines. According to Sutton, “The tail features all-moving rudders and end-plates on the horizontal stabilizers just like the US Navy’s Ohio class ballistic missile submarines.” The subs also feature a pumpjet propulsion system instead of a typical submarine propeller. “Pumpjets were pioneered by the Royal Navy but have also been used on US Navy submarines since the Seawolf class in the 1990s. The Borei class were the first Russian nuclear-powered submarines to be fitted with them.” “The smoothly faired base of the submarine’s sail is another Western influence and looks a lot like US Navy submarines, although it is still much longer. The original  Borei class submarines had an unusual raked leading edge to the sail.”All that said, the new version of the Borei class isn’t entirely Western in design influence. Sutton says the Count Vladimir has “a traditional Russian double-hull construction which has an outer casing over the occupied part of the hull. Western boats are single-hulled meaning that there is only one layer of steel between the crew and the ocean.”Another unusual aspect of the Borei submarines: their high number of torpedoes and torpedo tubes. Ballistic missile submarines operate defensively, spending all of their time at sea hiding. Typically they only have four torpedo tubes. According to Sutton the entire front-end of the Borei Class was taken from unfinished Akula class attack submarines and have eight torpedo tubes, “an unusually high complement of torpedoes for a ballistic missile submarine.”

Germany has the world's best submarines, but none of them work.

 

The U33, U34 and U36 submarines are at the Eckerfoerde German Navy base. Germany is effectively without its entire submarine fleet, and won't have one vessel operational for months to come. Each one of the navy's vaunted U-boats is either on maintenance or in desperate need of repairs. The German navy once boasted that its cutting-edge Type 212A submarines equipped with hydrogen fuel cells allow them to navigate submerged for over two weeks before resurfacing, thus giving them an edge over most diesel submarines that can stay submerged for only a few days. Each such vessel costs the German budget some €400 million ($469.9 million), according to the German ARD broadcasting corporation. However, the German military have recently admitted that all of their six precious vessels are out of action. Berlin lost the last of its submarines this October when the Type 212A vessel named U-35 suffered serious damage to its rudder after hitting a rock during a diving manoeuvre off the Norwegian coast. The damage was so severe that the submarine had to be escorted to the German port of Kiel by testing ship the Helmsand. The rest of the submarine fleet, it turned out, was already out of service by that point. Two of the Type 212A vessels are undergoing scheduled maintenance and will be ready for deployment no sooner than in the second half of 2018, while another two suffered some damage and are in an urgent need of repairs, with no estimated time of completion available. The sixth vessel was commissioned just in October and will become fully operational only after passing all the relevant trials no sooner than in May 2018.“This a real disaster for the navy,” the German parliament’s Defence Commissioner Hans-Peter Bartels told ARD and another German broadcaster, NDR, in early December, adding that submarine operations were once Germany’s “top capabilities.” He went on to say that “it is the first time in history that none [of the U-boats] would be operational for months.”Bartels then blamed major deficiencies in spare parts for the submarines as well as the government’s cuts of the defence budget for this unfortunate turn of events. He explained that after the end of the Cold War the German authorities decided to give up on stockpiling spare parts for the military equipment due to its high costs and instead opted for ordering them upon occurrence. The commissioner, however, said that this trend “has been reversed” and the government is once again ready to spend money on the military needs. He added though that “it will take years” before one can see the real results of the new policy. In the meantime, even if Germany manages to put all its submarines back into action, it still will not be able to operate them all at the same time. According to the ARD, the navy now has only three submarine crews while more are still in training.

 

NARCO-SUBS.

One year after the ratification of their historic peace agreement, the Colombian government and Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC; Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) continue to make joint steps towards the peaceful demobilization and assimilation of former FARC members into Colombian society. A few hiccups aside, the deal has seen the reintegration of over 7,000 former fighters into camps designed to facilitate their transition into society.1 While countless points regarding FARC’s innovation and longevity merit examination, one infrequently analyzed item stands out: FARC’s drug submarines. Drug submarines (hereafter referred to as narco submarines) are manufactured in the thick jungles of eastern Colombia and are not the primitive vessels of one’s imagination. FARC’s narco submarines boast sophisticated anti-detection features and navigation, can haul up to 10 tons of cocaine, and can cost upwards of ten million U.S. dollars. Narco submarine development has spurred many scholars into hazy gesticulations of narco-terrorism. This paper provides an expose of the issue and more thoroughly considers its implications. 

The Development of Narco submarines

Narco submarines did not appear overnight. They are the technological by product of a shifty competitive relationship between trafficking groups and those that pursue them.2 As security forces improved their tracking strategies in the 1990s and 2000s, drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) responded in kind to avoid them. They are notoriously flexible. Once Caribbean mainstays, DTOs switched to Pacific trafficking routes to avoid detection. They often utilize other clever modes of cocaine transport, such as underwater containers bolted underneath the hulls of boats. Originally, creatively-named ‘go-fast’ boats were the first vehicles of choice in moving cocaine up the coasts of Central America. Yet improvements in radar surveillance as well as increased patrolling saw more speedboats interdicted. The development of sub-surface vessels became increasingly attractive. Sub-surface activity was first documented with the 1993 discovery of the ‘San Andrés’ self-propelled semi-submersible (SPSS) near the San Andrés islands of Colombia. A crude ship, it was smaller and slower than contemporary subs and could be easily spotted by air. SPSSs were soon supplemented by low profile vessels (LPVs), which avoid detection by riding just above water level. Meanwhile, the first fully-submersible submarine was discovered dense jungle terrain near the town of Facatativá, Colombia in 2000. This Russian-designed sub was not completed, but was predicted to feature advanced navigation equipment, a carrying capacity of 150-200 tons, and the ability to dive to over 300 feet underwater. While a precise estimate is impossible to establish, analysts have theorized that dozens of these subs are being churned out every year. While high-profile submarine seizures garner attention in the press,6 the combined efforts of U.S. and Central American governments have been unable to seriously address the overall stream of drugs. For one, drug trafficking events are extremely difficult to detect:“American operations analysis shows that given good intelligence of a drug event and a patrol box of a certain length and width, a surface vessel operating alone has only a 5 percent probability of detecting (PD) that event. A surface vessel with an embarked helicopter increases the PD to 30 percent, and by adding a Maritime Patrol Aircraft to the mix, the PD goes up to 70 percent. Analysis by the Colombian Navy shows that adding one of their submarines to the mix raises the PD to 90 percent.”Even with the luxury of advanced warning, a resource-intensive, multi-faceted, and (ideally) intergovernmental effort is needed to make interception of the vehicle likely. Sufficient resources are not in place for these missions. Due to budget cuts, “SOUTHCOM is unable to pursue 74 percent of suspected maritime drug trafficking.” General John F. Kelly of the U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) lamented to Congress in 2014 that:“I simply sit and watch it (drug trafficking) go by…”Further still, when narco subs are actually interdicted, crew members will typically scuttle the vessel via a system of sophisticated drainage valves.11 Millions of dollars’ worth of evidence can be sunk in a matter of minutes. The recovery of cocaine then morphs into the recovery of the crew members which sank it. Although the United States’ Drug Trafficking Vessel Interdiction Act of 2008 now incriminates unidentified submarine crews for attempting to evade authorities, law enforcement cannot typically prosecute for the submarine and its cargo lying on the ocean floor. Finally, in a general sense, interdiction is a problem of scale. 30 percent of the maritime flow of drugs from South America up through Central America is estimated to make use of narcosubmarines.12 Given that maritime routes are roughly estimated to account for 80 percent of drugs shipped north, narco ubmarines carry around 24 percent (0.8 x 0.3) of total product, almost a quarter of the entire drug stream. While a single narcosub interdiction may eradicate hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of cocaine, DTOs’ diversified drug portfolio still renders their cost-benefit analyses profitable. Yet their innovation with respect to narco submarines poses challenges for more than the U.S. Coast Guard and regional partners. It raises compelling concerns for U.S. national security.  

Narco-Terrorism.

The wealth garnered by DTOs undermines national security through the endemic corruption and poor rule of law it breeds in its host countries. Many DTOs are powerful enough to form pseudo-states, areas of military primacy (especially in rural or isolated areas) where centralized federal government authority is weak. In this vein, FARC has been characterized as possessing: “…an enormous capacity to leverage economic resources, to control some territory, and to maintain a superficial presence in others…[as] their local, armed patronage and their ability to take advantage of rural youth unemployment keeps them afloat and even enables them to establish pockets of legitimacy and support in many regions of the country.”Narco submarines also pose international security threats. While a more sophisticated analysis of these threats may exist in the classified sphere, open source literature provides a useful primer of the issue. Lamentably, analyses of terrorism are always an exercise in a sort of speculative predication which may very well fail to materialize. A narco submarine-based attack on the United States might be shelved as a ‘black swan’ event, a game-changing development difficult to even contrive hypothetically.15 Still, a number of points are difficult to dismiss. Three factors must be considered: the establishment of motive, the acquisition of a narcosub, and the execution of an attack. Many scholars have posited that South America provides fertile ground for terrorist groups and their ideologies. While some have cited widespread disaffection amongst Latin America’s citizenry as a possible motive for terrorism, frustrations with policy, inequality, corruption, and other shortcomings related to governance provide conditions that promote insurgencies. A 2016 congressional report on the subject noted that “most terrorist acts occur in the Andean region of South America,” specifically FARC and the National Liberation Army (ELN) in Colombia and the Shining Path (SL) in Peru.16 Kidnappings, attacks on infrastructure, and the killing of civilians and local authorities are common tactics. With a focus on domestic politics, grassroots terrorism has not accompanied drug shipments in their northward journeys to countries like the United States. Latin America does not present the United States with extreme, anti-Western ideological sentiments common in other regions afflicted with insurgency. Nor is the measurable level of anti-Americanism amongst the general populace especially high. Putting domestic terrorism aside, the intersection of foreign terrorist organizations (FTOs) and DTOs must subsequently be considered. FTOs have been active in South America in their own right. Two bombings of the Israeli embassy and the Argentine-Israeli mutual association took place in Argentina the early 1990s.18 Venezuela has been frequently accused of collaborating with Iran and funding extremist groups like Hezbollah, which holds documented connections with FARC.19 Russian engineering was responsible for the birth of the Facatativá sub, and Russia has maintained connections with the Cali cartel, another Colombian DTO.20 In 2001, three members of the Irish terrorist group the Provisional Irish Republic Army (PIRA) were arrested for “training FARC militants in the use of explosives, including homemade mortars.”21 FARC utilized this kind of training in its subversive campaigns against Colombian urban centers. Most importantly, South America’s security framework has difficulty preventing these kinds of events. Counterterrorism efforts with respect to FTOs have been plagued by “corruption, weak government institutions, insufficient interagency cooperation, weak or non-existent legislation, and a lack of resources.”22 In this globalized environment, the insertion of FTOs into the narco submarine context is entirely plausible. While terrorist attacks in Latin America are relatively infrequent and usually domestic in nature, the combination of weak government authority in isolated regions and verified connections to well-established terrorist organizations cannot conclusively rule out the possibility of a group plotting a narco submarine-enabled attack on the United States.  

Submarine Acquisition.

On a basic level, the acquisition of a narco submarine is a purely pecuniary issue. Given a prospective buyer operating near the location of the submarine and the means to negotiate an exchange, purchasing technological blueprints or the submarine outright would only require a monetary transfer. Yet the story is much more complex. First, in all likelihood, terrorist organizations would need to purchase an entire sub. Obtaining the necessary materials and chartering the technological know-how to bring them together would be burdensome and time-consuming. At best, the finished products – which would also require familiarity with local supply chains and the tropical terrain – would be far inferior to the original submarine models. Secondly, Donald Davis stresses that for a DTO such as FARC, the “opportunity cost of a single voyage could exceed $275 million USD.” In other words, DTOs would need to reap a profit greater than that which the sub could otherwise garner, calculated to approach a whopping three hundred million dollars. These sums are well beyond the means of the wealthiest terrorist organizations. Further still, a successful terrorist strike on the United States would immediately engender “a swift and decisive military response…[that] could significantly alter the DTO’s ability to function…” Inciting retaliatory measures would cut into profits if not totally destroy the DTO. In this way, the chartering of a narco submarine appears beyond the means of even the most fanciful ITO. The most compelling threat is the break-up of FARC, a wild-card variable that presents an uncertain trajectory. FARC’s demilitarization has created a power vacuum in rural Colombia. The Colombian NGO Indepaz has predicted “a territorial reorganization of the ‘narco-paramilitary groups’ in the aftermath of a peace accord with the FARC with the Bacrim (Spanish acronym for ‘bandas criminales’) groups vying to take over FARC drug and illegal mining businesses.” Relegated to the peripheries26 under FARC, these groups are competing amongst themselves for dominance in the emerging power vacuum. According to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Center (IDMC), fighting amongst competing groups “has resulted in more than 56,000 displacements in the first half of 2017.” These paramilitary organizations include the Ejército de Liberación Nacional (ELN; National Liberation Army) and the Ejército Popular de Liberación (EPL; Popular Liberation Army), as well as a host of smaller gangs. Even indigenous communities — many of which are hostile to the federal government and its efforts to eradicate coca production — are prone to violence. At least one narco submarine has been produced post-demilitarization. In July, the Colombian military seized a narco submarine built by the ELN. With the opportunity generated by FARC’s retirement and less formalized, looser hierarchical structures, peace agreements with these organizations a la FARC appears unlikely. Finally, one must consider FARC’s organizational structure. Prior to the settlement, FARC was “divided into six different commands, each composed of at least five fronts that represent different geographic territories,” all relatively decentralized and autonomous.32 Breakdown of the structural hierarchy raises the probability that individual members33 transfer submarine technology to external agents. When not trafficking cocaine, the aforementioned cost-benefit scenario changes: why not profit from the sale of idle narco submarines or the jungle laboratories that built them? Like the ‘loose nukes’ unaccounted for after the breakup of the USSR, control of narco submarines, the expertise related to their production, and their assembly sites post-accord is unclear. With FARC’s abdication and continued power swings amongst old and emerging groups in present-day Colombia, the sale of a loose narco sub remains a serious concern. Although DTOs and FTOs have many reasons to shun technological exchanges, the uncertainty with respect to changing power dynamics amongst sub-national groups in Colombia today cannot rule out FTO acquisition of a narco submarine. How might a drug submarine be used in a terrorist attack? Transportation and detonation of a weapon of mass destruction (WMD) would clearly represent the gravest of scenarios. On paper, many narco subs are large enough to carry a WMD. Delivery on the water additionally allows submarines to reach urban centers on both the East and West Coasts. Yet the list of prohibitive hurdles involved in such an endeavor is enormous, the most pressing of which are not specific to submarines. The use of narco submarines for improvised attacks is most concerning. Described by Admiral James Stavridis in 2008 as “…clearly the next big thing,” autonomous narco submarine technology has outpaced anti-submarine defences. They are particularly difficult to expose. Kenneth Sherman notes that “submerged submarines are detected almost exclusively acoustically, and unlike the louder Soviet nuclear subs of the Cold War, modern diesel-electric submarines are extremely difficult to detect, localize, and track.” The electric subs FARC regularly employed are “virtually impossible to detect using passive acoustic measures.” Amid sequestration and budget cuts, the U.S. Coast Guard’s defences are even less likely to detect and neutralize a narco submarine on their own.  An attacking blueprint could take many forms. In 2000, the USS Cole was rammed by a small boat laden with explosives. Seventeen Americans were killed and scores more injured in this suicide attack. An attack on a Navy vessel like the USS Cole in this style is altogether feasible. A sub-surface approach with a large payload could do even more damage with little to no warning. In this sense, U.S. harbours on both coasts could be susceptible. And the target need not be military-affiliated. Large groups of people (often headed by and including American citizens) frequent cruise ships which regularly traverse the Caribbean and Pacific coastline. These cruise ships are bulky, difficult to manoeuvre, and possess no inherent defence systems. Stavridis reiterates the point: cruise ships are ‘lucrative’ targets for terrorists. Total destruction of a cruise ship, the worst-case scenario, could result in hundreds of deaths and almost $2 billion dollars’ worth of damages. The fallout from such an event would be unprecedented. Even a failed attack with respect to cruise ships could send worldwide cruise markets into sharp decline, as evidenced by the infamous ‘Poop Cruise’ of 2013.Above all, the definitive features of a terrorist attack are the reverberations it induces in society. Here narco submarines would add a unique and powerful twist to the panic. As Davis dryly remarks, “the overall shock value would be stunning.”44 Submarines possess a tangible mystique which borders on enchantment. Gliding silently along the depths of the ocean, submarines represent a sort of impalpable yet eerily present threat, alarming if activated. In the public eye, characterization of a narco sub attack could read as follows: A lone submarine built painstakingly by hand in the dense jungles of South America by a demilitarized non-state entity travelled thousands of miles north utterly undetected to successfully strike the shores of the United States, which boasts the strongest and most technologically advanced Navy of all time. Given the improbable establishment of motive and the acquisition of the necessary technologies, a submarine-based terrorist attack on the United States is not inconceivable given the scenarios considered here and envisaged elsewhere. Given the difficulties charting modern submarines post-USSR,46 the security forces of the United States should pay special attention to the evolving world of external submarine development by non-state actors. Narco-terrorism in Colombia follows a fairly intuitive procedural logic on paper. While the idea may seem far-fetched, prudent U.S. policy should continue to plan for the possibility of such an attack.  

 

ALVIN.

The deep submergence vehicle Alvin is an advanced, state-of the-art, deep-diving submersible available for direct observation and investigation of the deep ocean. Alvin provides a diving experience that is unmatched by remote imaging systems, enabling excellent investigations of deep sea environments. Alvin’s numerous sensors provide large quantities of high-quality data, and new digital network interfaces allow integration of unique scientific devices and sampling tools. Digital images, HD video, and dive data travel over a new fiber-optic computer network for superb image collection and advanced systems monitoring and data analysis. Alvin recently completed the most extensive period of systems upgrades and improvements in its 50-year history. New systems include a larger personnel sphere, ergonomically designed interior, enhanced five window viewing area, digital command and control system, improved propulsion system, advanced imaging system with high-definition still images and 4K/HD video, digital scientific instrument interface system, enhanced science workspace, and manipulator positioning as well as numerous other improvements. The Alvin Program’s engineers and technicians are available to assist with any project, utilizing their many decades of engineering and operational expertise toward solving complex and challenging problems in the deep sea. In 2020, Alvin will complete the final systems conversions for operations to 6,500 meters, enabling access to over 95% of the world’s oceans. Alvin is owned by the U.S. Navy’s Office of Naval Research (ONR) and operated as a part of the National Deep Submergence Facility (NDSF) at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

 

 

SEAmagine Hydrospace.

A California based company established since 1995 and a leading designer and manufacturer of small manned submersibles with over 12,000 dives accumulated by its existing fleet. The company produces two to six-person models with depth ratings ranging from 150 to 1,500 meters for the professional, scientific, and super yacht markets. All SEAmagine submersibles are classed by the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) and are based on the company’s patented technologies. The company has been producing its two and three-person Ocean Pearl models for many years and is now additionally offering its latest three to six-person Aurora submarine product line. The Aurora design is based on a hyper-hemisphere acrylic cabin but with its field of view greatly enhanced by moving the access hatch away from the top of the window into a separate compartment behind the main cabin. This design’s unique ability to tilt at surface provides an extremely stable platform that does not require obtrusive forward pontoons that severely restrict peripheral viewing. The Aurora-3C is the lightest and most compact three-person Aurora model with a dry weight of only 3,800 kilograms and a depth rating of 450 meters. This model will fit a standard shipping container and offers the largest hull interior in its weight category. The Aurora-3 to Aurora-6 are larger three to six-person models with deeper depth ratings up to 1,000 and 1,500 meters.

 

Aquatica Submarines.

Delivers stunning productions in the newest format. Underwater filmmaking is notoriously problematic. Multiply the requirements of operating one camera underwater by six, and you have arrived at the crux of 360° cinematography’s difficulty. In telling the story of the ancient glass sponge gardens of Howe Sound, the crew of Aquatica Submarines encountered and solved some of the greatest challenges to immersive underwater filmmaking— for media dynamo National Geographic. The crew created a filming environment full of vibrant, multidimensional light and worked with a large team of underwater.

 

 

OceanGate.

An operator of manned submersible services for site survey and inspection, data collection, media production, and deep sea testing will soon launch Cyclops 2, a five-man submersible to reach depths of 4,000 meters. When completed, it will be the only privately owned submersible in the world capable of diving to such depths and the first since 2005 to survey the historic RMS Titanic shipwreck. Featuring the largest viewport of any deep-diving submersible, her carbon fiber and titanium construction makes Cyclops 2 lighter than any other deep-sea submersible so she can be more efficiently mobilized. Outfitted with external 4K cameras, multibeam sonar, laser scanner, inertial navigation, and an acoustic synthetic baseline positioning system, the submersible hosts the most advanced technology available. Evolving the launch platform designed by HURL, OceanGate’s mobile subsea launch and recovery platform and deep-sea manned submersible, Cyclops 2, work in tandem to form an integrated dive system used to launch and recover the sub and serve as a service and maintenance platform. The integrated system eliminates the need for A-frames, cranes, and scuba divers, allowing expedition crews to efficiently mobilize and operate in remote locations on a wide variety of ships. Initial dives will begin in January 2018 in Puget Sound before deploying to the Bahamas for deep-sea validation in April. The 2018 Titanic Survey Expedition is a six-week expedition to capture the first ever 4K images of the iconic wreck. These images will be paired with high-definition laser scans to create an interactive 3D model of the wreck and provide an objective baseline to assess the decay of the wreck over time.

 

 

JFD

JFD, has demonstrated why it is a global leader in submarine rescue after two weeks of intensive exercises at sea off the coast of Western Australia. In some of the world’s most challenging waters, “Black Carillon 2017” showcased JFD Australia’s superior ability to save lives in a deep-sea submarine emergency. As a trusted and proven strategic capability partner of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN,) JFD Australia conducted the annual safety exercise with the support of a robust local supply chain that helped deliver and install critical submarine rescue equipment to the two participating ships, MV BESANT and MV STOKER. Launching from the deck of MV STOKER, JFD’s free-swimming LR5 rescue vehicle with a pilot and two crew, was sent down to depths of 400 meters to locate the underwater target seat and simulate the safe “mating” to the rescue seat of a real submarine. This is a crucial exercise as it also serves to maintain the submersible’s third party certification ensuring that it is ready and fit for its hazardous duty year-round. “This year threw up some very tough conditions, the weather was closing in and our operations team, engineers, and technicians really needed to put their knowledge and experience to the test,” The fortnight of exercises also included mock rescues in shallower waters of 136 meters, using the RAN submarine, HMAS WALLER.  JFD Australia is also soon to deliver a hyperbaric equipment suite to the Australian Government that will offer lifesaving medical and decompression treatment for up to 65 survivors with room for a further 14 chamber operators and medical staff . “JFD Australia has a solid track record in offering a full submarine rescue system from the maintenance and service centre at Bibra Lake, south of Perth. That is on standby at all times and ready to respond within 12 hours.

 

Rosoboronexport. Small Submarines With Air Independent Propulsion

 Rosoboronexport to Promote Small Submarines With Air Independent Propulsion . Rosoboronexport, part of Rostec State Corporation, announced in a press release last week that it will continue to promote small and midget submarines in the external market in 2018. “Rosoboronexport notes the growing interest in small and midget submarines in South-East Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East. Russia’s shipbuilding industry and Navy have considerable experience in their development and operation, which gives grounds for success in promoting such boats in the world market. According to preliminary estimates, the capacity of this segment of the arms market will be approximately US$4 billion for the coming five years,” said Igor Sevastyanov, Deputy Director General of Rosoboronexport. Rosoboronexport is ready to supply its foreign partners with custom-designed small and midget submarines of up to 10 different models. These include the boats displacing 130 to 1000 tons that meet the needs of most potential customers. The special exporter carries out after-sales service of the delivered products under a separate contract. Small and midget submarines are designed to guard coastal maritime borders through covert patrolling; to destroy single surface ships and vessels; to destroy submarines; to deploy (retrieve) commandos; to plant minefields; to conduct reconnaissance in designated areas and suppress enemy forces; to conduct electronic intelligence; to evacuate people from local conflict areas; and to attack enemy shore facilities located on the coast and deep inside its territory. “Small and midget submarines are a unique segment of the naval market. Despite their small size, they carry various weapons, including torpedoes and mines, and can be armed with cruise missiles. Advanced electronics enables them to timely detect targets and proactively attack the enemy, while remaining stealthy due to low noisiness and electromagnetic signatures,” added Igor Sevastyanov. Work is under way to fit such boats with AIP systems which will significantly extend their submerged endurance. Among the key advantages of small submarines are the low intensities of their physical fields, significantly reducing the probability of their detection by ASW forces. This is achieved through their small size, the application of appropriate materials and advanced noise reduction technologies, as well as other design solutions. For small submarines intended for special operations, a special lockout chamber can be provided through which combat swimmers can covertly leave the submarine. The basing of small submarines will not require radical re-equipment of existing naval bases, so their commissioning into the navy does not entail significant capital investments to build the appropriate coastal infrastructures. A specially equipped relatively small surface ship can be used as a tender for small submarines at mobile basing sites.

 

Iranian Submarine

 

Iran attempted to launch a cruise missile from a “midget” submarine that appears to be based on a Pyongyang design type that sank a South Korean warship in 2010. The missile launch was attempted in the Strait of Hormuz on May 2, the Trumpet reported Sunday. The submarine design is similar to that of North Korean ones, indicating that North and Iran are collaborating on their missile and nuclear programs. The only few countries in the world that operate Midget submarines are Iran and North Korea. The Midget submarines can travel and hide in shallow water. Probably it is the most worrisome for the US as Iran attempted this missile launch from a midget sub Tuesday in the narrow and crowded Strait of Hormuz, where much of the world’s oil passes each day. Nonproliferation experts have long suspected North Korea and Iran are sharing expertise when it comes to their rogue missile programs.“The very first missiles we saw in Iran were simply copies of North Korean missiles,” Jeffrey Lewis of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey said. “Over the years, we’ve seen photographs of North Korean and Iranian officials in each other’s countries, and we’ve seen all kinds of common hardware.” Lewis added. “In the past, we would see things in North Korea, and they would show up in Iran,” said Lewis. “In some recent years, we’ve seen some small things appear in Iran first and then show up in North Korea, and so that raises the question of whether trade—which started off as North Korea to Iran—has started to reverse,” he added.

 

 

No leakages from sunken nuclear sub, yet

After more than 10 years on the seafloor of the Barents Sea, no detectable levels of radiation are measured from K-159. The scrap o the 55-years old November class submarine should, however, be monitored closely, reads the recommendation in a newly published report by a joint Norwegian-Russian expert group that made measurements near the wreak during an expedition in 2014. K-159, holding two nuclear reactors with spent nuclear uranium fuel, sank during towing from the naval base Gremikha towards the Nerpa scrapping yard north of Murmansk in August 2003. Laying at a depth of 246 meters in one of the most important fishing areas of the Barents Sea, just west of the Kildin Island of the coast of the Kola Peninsula, the submarine has caused concern for possible leakages of radionuclides to the marine environment. During inspection with a remote operated underwater vehicle (ROV), the radiation expert from Norway and Russia discovered damage and break in the outer hull of the submarine. After years of analyzing the samples from the area, both seawater and sediments, the results are now published in the report and show no urgent need to worry.

«There is no indication of any leakage from the reactor units of K-159 to the marine environment.» Like most Soviet submarines, also the K-159 had two reactors on board. The reactor compartment, inside the inner hull, was not possible for the researchers to examine. Both reactors had been shut down for 15 years before the submarine sank. Despite being old, the amount of radioactivity in the two reactors is still high and sooner or later the submarine should be lifted, both Russian and Norwegian experts agree. «Monitoring of the marine environment around K-159 should be followed closely, especially in connection with any future plans for the recovery of the submarine,» the report concludes. The K-159 is the only nuclear submarine on the seafloor of the Barents Sea. The Kursk submarine, that sank after a huge torpedo explosion in 2000, was lifted and brought to land for decommissioning two years after. In Arctic waters, the «Komsomolets» submarine lays at 1,600 meters depth in the Norwegian Sea with one reactor and two plutonium warheads. In the Kara Sea, east of Novaya Zemlya, 16 reactors are dumped on purpose, including the entire submarine K-27 and a reactor from the Soviet Union’s first civilian nuclear powered icebreaker, the «Lenin».

Will your next super yacht have a submarine on board?

For the next generation of super yacht owners - as well as plenty of traditional yachties - owning a yacht is often about much more than merely possessing a high-value material object. Experience is the keyword of the year. It is no surprise, then, that the ultimate exploration opportunity is becoming more and more popular among super yacht owners: diving down into the ocean in your very own personal submarine. Personal submarines began to appear in the super yacht market around 2007, and have steadily increased in popularity since then, with many high-profile yachts sporting their own submersible vessels, including the iconic 88-metre Maltese Falcon and the 55.75-metre explorer Alucia famously used in the recent filming of the BBC series, Blue Planet II. Indeed, for owners who are interested in deepening their involvement with oceanic scientific research, either personally or by allowing scientists to make use of their super yachts’ capabilities, owning a submarine makes complete sense. But what about the less scientifically-minded super yacht owner, whose vessel has not been purpose-built for submarine capabilities? Is a submarine more expense and hassle than it's worth? To get to grips with this question, we spoke to submersibles experts and discovered the incredible exploration and recreation possibilities which owners can benefit from, that there are surprising financial benefits to hosting a sub on board, and that with relative ease, submarines can be incorporated into many vessel’s standard tender garage. DeepFlight, as an example, offers the DeepFlight Dragon submarine designed to fit on smaller yachts and is currently being integrated into the new build of a 40-metre Princess M Class.

One explanation for the growth in submarine popularity is linked to a palpable desire to attain the ultimate experience. As Louise Harrison from Triton Submarines explains, this trend has comparisons with bygone history. “I believe we’re entering a new age of the gentleman and gentlewoman explorer. Just like in the past, we are back to having a huge unexplored realm suddenly accessible to us that has not been seen at all. Ninety-five percent of the ocean has never been explored, so it means that every time you go out there you might see something for the first time.” Although there are many high-profile research vessels which have made amazing discoveries by submarine (Alucia provided the first-ever footage of a giant squid using a Triton Submarine in 2012 as one example!) the use of personal submarines opens up these exploration opportunities for non-scientists too, democratising these experiences in what is often dubbed ‘underwater tourism’. As Karen Hawkes from DeepFlight explains, “Aside from opening up the oceans, DeepFlight submarines also enable a wholly new experience of underwater flight: yacht owners are now able to skim over reefs and fly alongside marine mammals in a way that was heretofore impossible. It’s not just about going deep; it’s about accessing the oceans in a safe and environmentally friendly way, and seeing a piece of our planet no one else has seen before.”The latest generation of personal submarines now combine high technical performance with aesthetic appeal, enabling owners and guests to dive below the surface in stylish and comfortable settings, with many contemporary submarine interiors customisable for each owner. Harrison describes the personal submarine experience for the super yacht guest: “You’re sitting there, you’re breathing and talking naturally and normally with the people around you, listening to your favourite music, taking some photos. It’s kind of like going out in your family car but in the ocean - who wouldn’t be attracted by that?” Of course, even with these potential benefits in mind, canny super yacht owners will inevitably have concerns about the practicalities of incorporating a submarine into their vessel: will it be expensive, how do I get the submarine on board, and will I need to hire extra crew to operate the submarine? First things first, as Erik Hasselman from U-Boat Worx explains, it is easiest to incorporate a submarine on board your super yacht if you know from day one that you want a submarine, since it can be included into the initial yacht design. However, the latest submarines, such as the recent Super Yacht series from U-Boat Worx, the Triton 1650/3 LP ‘Low Profile’ sub and the DeepFlight Dragon, are increasingly being designed to suit the traditional super yacht market and can be added to your yacht long after she is just a concept on a piece of paper. The designs of these subs are both compact and lightweight, meaning they can be stored in a standard tender garage, and thus on much smaller yachts. As Hasselman told us, “I’m not guaranteeing that any 40-metre yacht will fit a submarine, but the increasingly compact units have certainly doubled, tripled, quadrupled the number of yachts that can carry a sub on board.” Hawkes adds that launching, recovering and storing submarines can be as straightforward as how yachts currently handle their tenders. In short, if you have access to a tender garage, a crane, and a power supply to charge the submarine, it could well be possible for your next super yacht to have a submarine on board. 

The Super Yacht Sub 3LX

Naturally, it cannot be denied that adding a submarine to your super yacht comes with associated costs and complications: it certainly should not be viewed as just another toy - or even a toy at all. With the cost of the submarine itself representing a substantial sum (some of the most expensive submersibles can cost several million dollars), why would super yacht owners want to commit to this additional financial investment? As the experts explain, however, investing in a submarine is exactly that: an investment. Submersibles do not depreciate in value over time because of their relative rarity and are therefore a worthwhile and somewhat risk-free investment in that regard. Secondly, when it comes to charter, it’s a no-brainer. Choosing between several yachts in the same size class, the same build quality, and similar charter fees, it’s only logical that a vessel with a submarine is infinitely more attractive to most than those without. When it comes to operating the submarine for the dives themselves, this is also a surprisingly straightforward endeavour and can be an enjoyably hands-on experience for owners and guests alike. DeepFlight has always designed its submarines for owners and their crews to operate themselves. After all, as Hawkes says, “You don’t give the keys to your Ferrari to a chauffeur.” Triton and U-Boat Worx offer fantastic crewing services, but also provide training programmes so that owners and crew can learn to safely operate and maintain the submarine themselves in just a few weeks. This can be a highly cost-effective decision: piloting training for up to six people is included in the cost of buying a Triton submarine, for example. As Harrison explains, piloting a Triton sub is both easy and enjoyable: “The physical piloting is simple and intuitive. You just have a joystick, and go forward and back and side to side and up and down: that part is very straightforward! It’s even possible to install a guest joystick so passengers can try piloting under the watchful eye of the pilot.” The same goes for U-Boat Worx, in which their already six-year-old MANTA controller allows passengers to take control of the sub under supervision. So, whether you want to explore historic shipwrecks, fly in the water alongside whales and dolphins, add your own contribution to the scientific research of the future, or truly stand out in the charter market, adding a submarine to your vessel can open up a new world of possibilities for any yacht. As Erik Hasselman concludes: “The submarine experience has been described using many different words, but, trust me - there is really nothing that can come close to seeing it with your own eyes.”

Attack Submarines Are Getting Quieter and Deadlier

Air-independent propulsion is shifting the balance of power at sea. Over the past decade, air-independent propulsion — or AIP — for submarines has spread rapidly around the world. The technology, which allows conventionally powered submarines to operate without access to outside air, has the potential the shift the balance away from the big nuclear attack submarines, or SSNs, that have dominated undersea warfare since the 1950s, and back towards small conventional boats. In global terms, this might again make submarines the great strategic equalizer; small, cheap weapons that can destroy the expensive warships of the world’s most powerful navies. Does this mean that the United States should invest in these kinds of boats? Probably not.

Invention

Several navies experimented with AIP during the 20th century. The earliest work began in World War II in the German and Soviet navies, although none of the experiments produced operationally suitable boats. After the war Britain, the United States and the Soviet Union took advantage of German research to produce their own experimental boats, but nuclear propulsion seemed to offer a more fruitful direction for submarine development. In the mid-2000s, converging technological developments enabled several major submarine producers around the world to begin to develop practical AIP systems. France, Germany, Japan, Sweden and China all laid down AIP-capable boats, in some cases exporting those submarines to customers around the world.

 Engineering

AIP systems allow conventional submarines to recharge their batteries without surfacing for air, which enables them to remain underwater for extend periods of time and not expose themselves to detection. Three main types of AIP are found in extant diesel-electric submarines:

Closed Cycle Steam Turbines

Used on French-built submarines, closed cycle steam turbines mimic the energy production process found on nuclear subs — where a nuclear reactor provides heat that turns water into steam — by mixing oxygen and ethanol. This system — dubbed MESMA by the French — is complex, generates a lot of power, but is somewhat less efficient than the alternatives.

Stirling Cycle

A Stirling cycle engine uses diesel to heat a fluid permanently contained in the engine, which in turn drives a piston and generates electricity. The exhaust is then released into the seawater. This is slightly more efficient, and somewhat less complicated, than the French variant, and is used on Japanese, Swedish and Chinese boats.

Fuel Cell

Fuel-cell technology is probably the state of the art in AIP. A fuel cell uses hydrogen and oxygen to generate electricity, and has almost no moving parts. They can generate a lot of energy with minimal waste product, and are very quiet. German-built submarines have successfully taken advantage of fuel cell technology, and the French, Russians and Indians are also moving in this direction.

Procurement trends

The great thing about AIP is that the technologies involved can be retrofitted into older submarines through the insertion of a hull section. Germany has done this with some boats, including a Type 209, and reports suggest Russia has managed to retrofit a Kilo. Sweden has retrofitted four older boats, and Japan at least one. For navies that want to maximize the lethality of their existing sub flotillas, retrofits can be cost effective. However, most navies are more interested in new construction. Germany has four types of SSPs under construction for various navies. Newly constructed Type 209s may also have AIP. Sweden has three classes of boats with AIP; the large Japanese Soryus will have AIP, as will the French Scorpenes, French-built Agosta 90Bs (for Pakistan) and Scorpene-inspired Kalvaris (for India). The new Spanish S-80s have AIP, as do the two small Portuguese Tridente boats. Russia’s troubled Lada class has AIP propulsion, and it is expected that the next diesel-electric class (Amur) will also have it. China’s 15 Type 041 (Yuan) boats have AIP, with another five on the way.

Combat implications

SSPs can exceed the performance of SSNs under certain conditions. They can take advantage of good endurance and extreme quiet to lay in ambush for approaching enemy vessels, although this requires good intelligence about enemy fleet deployments. They can also conduct short and medium range surveillance of enemy naval forces. In situations that favour small, manoeuvrable boats — shallow littorals, for example — they can pose a serious combat threat to their larger nuclear cousins.

What this means for the United States. Should the United States build SSPs? The United States has not built a diesel-electric submarine since 1959. Much of the know-how associated with the construction of nuclear subs is transferable to their conventional cousins, but it would nevertheless involve a significant learning curve. The United States is a global leader in the development of fuel-cell technology, so it is likely that American sub builders would go that route. However, the U.S. Navy is nearly unique for its global focus; it intends to fight in areas distant from U.S. shores. Diesel electrics, even with AIP, have shorter ranges than nuclear boats and therefore require nearby bases. Moreover, cost-consciousness in the U.S. Navy has manifested largely in terms of personnel reductions, meaning that the organization tends to prefer smaller numbers of high-end, expensive platforms to large numbers of inexpensive vessels. Before investing in AIP boats, the U.S. Navy should also take care to rigorously game out future submarine warfare scenarios that involve Undersea Unmanned Vehicles. Autonomous and semi-autonomous drone submarines potentially have many of the advantages of AIP boats, without requiring investment in new submarine designs. All in all, there is no question that AIP-equipped boats pose a threat, under some conditions, to the large nuclear attack submarines that many great navies have come to rely on. However, this does not necessarily mean that the best response for the U.S. Navy is to invest in these conventional subs. They cannot do many of the tasks that the navy requires of its submarine force, and in coming years technology may eclipse many of the advantages that they bring.

Captain who saved White Sea from nuclear disaster dies at 67.

 

When a training missile exploded in the silo, Captain Igor Grishkov immediately dived his enormous Typhoon submarine to flush away burning rocket fuel before the other nuclear weapon-tipped missiles were set on fire. One of Russia’s most unknown heroes, submarine captain Igor Grishkov, is dead 67 years old, the blog site Korabel reports. After retirement, he moved to Severodvinsk by the White Sea where he lived until his death this week. Severodvinsk Mayor, Igor Skubenko, is quoted saying Captain Grishkov will remain forever in the history of Severodvinsk and his successful experience and struggle to rescue the submarine will be adopted by many other submarine commanders. What happened in the White Sea in September 1991 is little known to open public sources. Captain Igor Grishkov was sailing out the White Sea to the area where he was told to launch a ballistic test missile supposed to hit the designated target on the Chukotka Peninsula in the Far East of the Soviet Union. Grishkov’s vessel, TK-17, was the fifth of the six giant Typhoon class submarines. On board the 170 meters long vessel was a crew of 160 and, for the Soviet Union more important; a capacity of 20 SS-N-20 ballistic missiles, each tipped with up to 10 warheads. Fully armed, such submarine could carry 200 nuclear warheads. In other words, one of the deadliest machines ever built by humans. For Moscow, the test was of high political importance. This was just a month after the failed coup against Mikhael Gorbachev and showing the outside world that everything was still intact became a priority mission for the strategic nuclear weapon forces of the USSR. The test-shooting voyage in the White Sea became nothing but a terrifying failure. First 23 years later, in 2014, parts of the story were published in Pravda Severa, the regional newspaper in Arkhangelsk. Other pieces of what happened are mentioned in navy blog sites and other Russian navy publications.  Sailing in subsea position to the area where the test-launch should take place, Captain Igor Grishkov knew the procedures. At this time, his vessel was only four years old and a proud for the Soviet Navy. Internationally, the Typhoons were well known from the thriller film from 1990 - The Hunt for Red October - based on Tom Clancy’s novel with the same name published in 1984.

Ready to launch

The Typhoon submarines and the on board SS-N-20 nuclear missiles are designed to launch its nuclear weapons from submerged position. So also for this test on September 27, 1991. 0-9-8-7-6….. , then suddenly the missile exploded, blowing off the cover of the silo. Captain Grishkov ordered his men in the command centre of the submarine to blow the tanks with air and make an emergency surfacing. At surface, the crew could see a massive fireball over the deck. All 20 nuclear missile-silos on the Typhoons are in front of the tower. The fire came from the solid propellant of the exploded missile that had leaked inside the silo and all around the deck near the blown-to-pieces part of the silo-cover. Also the rubber-cover of the outer hull was on fire. Within seconds, Captain Grishkov reportedly understood the danger. What would happen if the fire spread and triggered overheating of the highly flammable propellant in the other 19 missiles. Those who were not on board for test shooting but aimed for real nuclear war. There was only one option; dive down again and hope the seawater would extinguish the fire. He warned his crew members in the missile compartment to be prepared for flooding. Diving a more than 30,000 tons heavy vessel just after emergency surfacing is not easy, it is dangerous and its risky. But the alternative was so much worse. The commanders on bridge managed the task quickly and then surfaced again. The manoeuvre was successful and a real nuclear catastrophe in the White Sea was miraculously prevented. A Typhoon submarine is powered by two 190 Mat reactors. How many of the possible maximum of 190 nuclear warheads that were on board at the time of the accident is not known. Information about exact numbers of nuclear weapons is surrounded by secrecy, in the Soviet Union, like in today’s Russia. And in other nuclear weapons states. TK-17 sailed back to the yard in Severodvinsk, some 40 kilometres west of Arkhangelsk on the south coast of the White Sea. Back in port, the accident was kept secret to most people. Damage control was done, the burnt silo was cleaned and sealed off and the rubber on the outer hull was repaired. The silo in question was never used again, and TK-17 continued to sail with 19 missiles until she was laid up in 2004 and put in reserve. Although the heroically saving of his crew and submarine, Captain Igor Grishkov was never awarded with the medal “Hero of the Soviet Union” or today’s “Hero of Russia”.  For the last 14 years, TK-17, also holding the name “Arkhangelsk” stays side-by-side with another Typhoon class submarine, the “Severstal” TK-20 in Severodvinsk. Both two vessels are awaiting decommissioning.

 

1968 was the deadliest year for submariners post-WWII

It almost seems like something out of a James Bond movie, heavily armed submarines suddenly disappearing without a trace while underway. But sadly, in 1968, the truth would turn out be far worse than fiction when four countries reeled after the successive losses of four submarines. 318 sailors from Israel, France, the Soviet Union, and the United States were tragically committed to their eternal rest in the Atlantic Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, and the Mediterranean Sea. While some details have surfaced over the years, the causes behind the losses of each of these four submarines remain unclear to this day, posing a mystery for historians, researchers, and naval engineers alike.

 

INS Dakar

The Dakar, an Israeli vessel, was the first of the four submarines to go missing that fateful year. Originally produced for the British Royal Navy in 1943 during the Second World War, Dakar was a diesel-electric submarine sold to Israel in the mid-1960s after being put through a considerable refurbishment which streamlined the sub’s hull and superstructure, upgraded the engines, and diminished the sub’s noise while underwater. After spending most of 1967 undergoing a refit and sea trials after being sold to the Israeli navy, Dakar set sail on its trip across the Mediterranean Sea to Israel in mid-January of the following year, where she would be formally welcomed into active service with a large ceremony. Expected back by Feb. 2, Dakar never arrived. Transmissions from the sub ceased after Jan. 24. Immediately, all nearby naval vessels from a number of countries, including Great Britain, the United States, Turkey, and Greece, began a sweeping search-and-rescue mission to find the Dakar. Despite finding one of the sub’s emergency buoys in 1969, Dakar remained hidden in the murky depths of the Mediterranean, lost with all hands. It wasn’t until 1999 that Dakar was be found, laying on the seabed near Crete and Cyprus. Parts of the submarine were raised to the surface, including its conning tower and a few smaller artifacts. To this day, a number of theories on the loss of Dakar exist, though none of them appear to be the definitive answer behind why the submarine went down.

Minerve (S647)

Minerve, another diesel-electric submarine, was the second loss of 1968, going down just two days after Dakar in January. Typically staffed with a crew of 50 sailors, the Minerve was a smaller patrol sub, though retooled to conduct experiments on behalf of the French Navy. Able to carry missiles, it could stay submerged for 30 days before resurfacing to recharge its batteries and resupply. On Jan. 27, Minerve was roughly 30 miles from base when its crew made contact with a French Navy aircraft to confirm their arrival time of less than an hour. After that transmission, the Minerve went silent. Now with their submarine overdue and unresponsive, the French Navy kicked into high gear, launching a large search-and-rescue operation including an aircraft carrier and smaller research submersibles. To this day, the Minerve has never been found, even though it was lost a relatively short distance from its homeport. The sub’s entire crew of 52 sailors perished with their ship.

K-129

A Golf II class submarine, similar to K-129, running on the surface in 1985. Built for the Soviet’s Pacific Fleet as a ballistic missile submarine, K-129 had been active for over 7 years by the time it was lost in early March of 1968. With sharp and sleek lines, the K-129 looked more like a shark than it did a traditional submarine. Armed with nuclear-tipped torpedoes and missiles, it was far more dangerous than the average diesel-electric submarine in service at the time. While on a combat patrol in the Pacific Ocean, the submarine went unresponsive, having failed to check in on assigned dates. The Soviet Navy began a frantic search for their lost sub, worried that it was lost with all hands. After sweeping the area where K-129 was supposed to conduct its patrol for weeks, the search was called off and the sub was declared lost with its 98-man crew. That, however, wasn’t the end of the K-129’s story. The U.S. Navy, with its SOSUS intelligence system, was able to triangulate the location of the missing sub, having detected an underwater “bang” on March 8. After the K-129’s loss, the Central Intelligence Agency saw a major opportunity in finding the wreck and extracting code books and encryption gear from the sub’s bridge. It would give them a huge advantage in snooping on Soviet military and espionage activities. Code-naming the operation “Project Azorian,” the CIA used a gargantuan ship called the Glomar Explorer, outfitted with a big mechanical claw to grip and collect the submarine. Project Azorian proved to be something of a mixed bag of results. While attempting to raise the K-129 from the seabed, the large grappling claw holding the stricken submarine malfunctioned and the vessel cracked in two. The forward half of the submarine was lifted into the Glomar Explorer, but the aft fell back into the ocean, taking with it the control room and all-important code books and cryptographic gear. Nevertheless, the bodies of six of the sub’s lost crew were recovered and buried by the CIA at sea with full military honours. The CIA has still kept silent on what else they recovered from the front section of K-129. The sub’s missiles remain in the ocean.

USS Scorpion

Commissioned in 1960, the Scorpion was a Skipjack-class fast attack submarine designed to prowl around near Soviet patrol sectors, waiting to hunt down and destroy enemy surface and subsurface warships. In early 1968, Scorpion departed for the Mediterranean from Norfolk, Virginia after undergoing a hasty 9-month refit. In May, the Scorpion and its crew found themselves at Rota, Spain, where they provided a noise cover for a departing Navy ballistic missile submarine by making high-speed, “loud” dashes as the larger missile sub slipped away. This was to keep nearby Soviet subs and spy ships from monitoring and recording the Navy’s newest nuclear deterrent’s noise signature for further reference. Less than a week later, Scorpion went missing. Overdue by nearly a week for its return to Norfolk, its homeport, the Navy began searching for its submarine. Five months later, the remains of the attack submarine were found on the ocean floor near the Azores. It had been lost with all hands. A number of differing theories exist on the destruction of the Scorpion, with some claiming that the sub was deliberately torpedoed by the Soviet Union in retaliation for supposed American involvement in the loss of K-129. The last received transmission from the submarine seems to lend a margin of credibility to these claims — the sub’s captain reported contact with Soviet vessels and declared his intention to reconnoitre the area. Others say that the unusually fast refit that Scorpion underwent in 1967 left considerable room for technical error, thanks to Navy contractors cutting corners to get the sub back out to sea. As a result, mechanical failure was to blame. Further groups of researchers and historians believe that the submarine could have gone down due to a malfunctioning torpedo exploding aboard the vessel. Even to this day, the majority of Scorpion’s last patrol is still classified, and the Navy’s official position on the loss is “inconclusive.”

 

JFD completes harbour acceptance trials for DSRV

JFD, the world leading underwater capability provider serving the commercial and defence markets and part of James Fisher and Sons plc, has completed the first stage of harbour acceptance trials of its first deep search and rescue vehicle (DSRV) for the Indian Navy’s 3rd Generation Submarine Rescue System, the company has announced. The initial harbour acceptance trials of the first DSRV, which were undertaken at Glasgow’s King George V dock, are now complete. As part of this process the system has been comprehensively tested in a variety of conditions. The DSRV hull previously underwent factory acceptance tests in December 2017 at the JFD-owned National Hyperbaric Centre in Aberdeen. These tests included thorough pressurised testing on the system’s pressure hulls and command module – all of which were completed successfully. Upon completion of the harbour acceptance trials, the DSRV will be fully integrated with the rest of the rescue system at a site in Glasgow including the offshore handling system, intervention suite and 90 person decompression facilities. Speaking on the development, Ben Sharples, India DSRV Project Director at JFD said “The completion of the initial harbour acceptance trials for the first DSRV, to be delivered to the Indian Navy, is an important step in the delivery of this contract. This is part of the progressive acceptance of the system designed to drive out risk during the later stages of sea acceptance.  JFD’s 3rd Generation DSRV marks a significant and pioneering step-change in real world submarine rescue capability. It is one of the deepest submarine rescue vehicles available and is weight optimised for maximum payload and optimum transportability. It has high levels of in-water performance including speed and manoeuvrability and can mate with submarines that might be subject to inclination on the seabed. We are pleased of the progress that has been made in delivering on this important contract and look forward to the DSRV becoming operational later this year.” The 3rd Generation Submarine Rescue System has been developed by JFD to maximise the chances of successfully rescuing the crew of a distressed submarine (DISSUB). Using its 30 years of experience and knowledge it has challenged the convention and brought to market an innovative new system that ensures the highest standards in safety, quality, flexibility and speed, thereby better protecting the lives of submariners. Under the £193m contract, awarded in March 2016, JFD is providing two complete flyaway submarine rescue systems to the Indian Navy, including DSRVs, Launch and Recovery Systems (LARS) equipment, Transfer Under Pressure (TUP) systems, and all logistics and support equipment required to operate the service. The equipment has been designed, manufactured, integrated and tested by JFD prior to shipping in March 2018 for final commissioning and trials. The full, certified systems are due to be delivered to the customer in June 2018.

In 2003, a Chinese Submarine Sank. How the Crew Died Is Horrifying.

On April 25, 2003 the crew of a Chinese fishing boat noticed a strange sight—a periscope drifting listlessly above the surface of the water. The fishermen notified the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) which promptly dispatched two vessels to investigate. At first the PLAN believed the contact to be an intruding submarine from South Korea or Japan. But when Chinese personnel finally recovered the apparent derelict they realized it was one of their own diesel-electric submarines, the Ming-class 361. When they boarded on April 26, they found all seventy personnel slumped dead at their stations. Military commissioner and former president Jiang Zemin acknowledged the tragic incident on May 2, 2003, in a statement honouring the sacrifice of Chinese sailors lives and vaguely characterizing the cause as “mechanical failure.”A month later, an inquiry by his commission resulted in the dismissal of both the commander and commissar of the North Sea Fleet, and the demotion or dismissal of six or eight more officers for “improper command and control.” Jiang and President Hu Jintao later reportedly visited the recovered submarine and met with the families of the deceased. The Chinese government is not disposed to transparency regarding its military accidents. For example, it does not release the results of its investigations into jet fighter crashes and it never publicly acknowledged earlier submarine accidents. At the time, some commentators expressed surprise that Beijing acknowledged the incident at all, and speculated it was obliquely related to contemporaneous criticism of Beijing’s attempts to downplay the SARS epidemic. The Type 035 Ming-class submarine was an outdated second-generation design evolved from the lineage of the Soviet Romeo-class, in turn a Soviet development of the German Type XXI “Electric U-Boat” from World War II. The first two Type 035s were built in 1975 but remained easy to detect compared to contemporary American or Russian designs. Though China operated numerous diesel submarines, due to concerns over seaworthiness, they rarely ventured far beyond coastal waters in that era. Nonetheless, Chinese shipyards continued to build updated Ming-class boats well into the 1990s. Submarine 361 was one of the later Type 035G Ming III models, which introduced the capability to engage opposing submerged submarines with guided torpedoes. Entering service in 1995, she and three sister ships numbered 359 through 362 formed the North Sea Fleet’s 12th Submarine Brigade based in Liaoning province. 361 had been deployed on a naval exercise in the Bohai Sea, the Yellow Sea gulf east of Beijing and Tianjing. Unusually, a senior naval officer, Commodore Cheng Fuming was aboard. In its last ship’s log on April 16, the submarine was practicing silent running while off the Changshang island, heading back to a base in Weihai, Shandong Province. Because it was maintaining radio silence, the PLAN didn’t realize anything was amiss until ten days later. The method by which 361 was recovered after its presence was reported remains unclear. Several accounts imply the ship was submerged, but the fact that it was promptly towed back to port implies that it had surfaced. The lack of clear official explanation has led to various theories over the years. The typical complement of a Type 035 submarine is fifty-five to fifty-seven personnel, but 361 had seventy on board. Officially these were trainers, but conditions would have been quite cramped. The presence of the additional personnel and the high-ranking Commodore Cheng leads to the general conclusion that 361 was not on a routine mission. Indeed, some commentators speculated that the additional crew were observing tests of an experimental Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) system which would have offered greater stealth and underwater endurance. As it happens, another Type 035G submarine, 308, was used to test an AIP drive, and Stirling AIP drives would soon equip the prolific Type 041 Yuan-class submarines which prowl the seas today. Another theory is that leaks allowed seawater to mix with battery acid, forming deadly chlorine gas that poisoned the crew. The Hong Kong Sing Tao Daily claimed the submarine had embarked on a “dangerous” antisubmarine training, and that “human error” led it to nose-down uncontrollably, causing it to get stuck on the seafloor. However, the most widely accepted explanation today was first published by the Hong Kong Wen Wei Po, a pro-Beijing newspaper: the crew was suffocated by the sub’s diesel engine. A conventional diesel electric submarine uses an air-breathing diesel engine to charge up its batteries for underwater propulsion. This is usually done while surfaced—but a submarine attempting to remain undetected can also cruise submerged just below the surface and use a snorkel to sip air. The snorkel is designed to automatically seal up if the water level gets too high. According to Wen Wei Po, 361 was running its diesel while snorkeling when high water caused the air intake valve to close—or the valve failed to open properly due to a malfunction. However, its diesel engine did not shut down as it should have in response. You can find what appears to be a translated version of the article here. Apparently, the motor consumed most of the submarine’s air supply in just two minutes. The crew might have felt light headed and short of breath during the first minute, and would have begun losing consciousness in the second. The negative air pressure also made it impossible to open the hatches. A 2013 article by Reuters repeats this theory as well as mentioning the possibility that was exhaust was improperly vented back into the hull to fatal effect. Any of these explanations would reflect serious failings in both crew training and mechanical performance. The recent tragic loss of the Argentine submarine San Juan, the fire raging amongst moored Russian Kilo-class submarines at Vladivostok (a drill, Moscow claims), and the fortunately nonfatal but highly expensive flooding of the Indian nuclear-powered submarine Arihant highlight that despite being arguably the most fearsome weapon system on the planet, submarines remain dangerous to operate even when not engaged in a war. Even brief breakdowns in crew discipline or mechanical reliability can rapidly turn the stealthy underwater marauders into watery coffins. Only high standards of maintenance, manufacturing and crew training can avert lethal peacetime disasters—standards which are difficult for many nations to afford, but which the PLA Navy likely aspires to it as it continues to expand and professionalize its forces at an extraordinary rate.

The Chamber is a new film set in a sinking submarine

Film audiences who aren’t already claustrophobic might feel that way after watching The Chamber, a new thriller set almost entirely off the coast of North Korea in the cabin of an overturned submarine stuck at the bottom of the Yellow Sea. The plot — a looming conflict between the US and North Korea — is either poorly timed or extremely well-timed, given recent global events, but the real story is the classic moral quandary of how humans behave when trying to survive. Mats, a Swedish submarine ship captain for hire (played by Force Majeure star Johannes Bah Kuhnke), gets entangled in espionage when his boss orders him to pilot an American special ops team to an undisclosed location in a rickety Cold War-era submarine called the Aurora. The American mission is led by the steely Edwards (Charlotte Salt), with Denholm (Elliot Levey) and Parks (James McArdle), rounding out the three-person unit. Before they submerge, Mats says, “This isn’t some fancy Navy Seal submarine. She isn't a high-tech sporty thing.” Only Mats knows how to manoeuvre the old finicky sub, but his boss has agreed to let the Americans call the shots. The film’s conflict comes from the team’s mysterious mission, which revolves around destroying what appears to be an RQ-170 surveillance drone that’s been hidden from the North Koreans in the Yellow Sea. When Edwards first spots the hidden drone, she marvels at it. “An RQ4, a global hawk UAV, a US unmanned aircraft with full targeting and surveillance capabilities. It’s a drone. Beautiful, isn’t she?” It becomes clear the she will go to any lengths to destroy the drone, even if they destroy the fragile submarine in the process. In an interview with The Verge, writer-director Ben Parker says the premise of the film was inspired partly by the terror of drone strikes. “A drone that crashed in the ocean was where the kernel of the story came from. I’ve always been fascinated, or rather terrified, by drones. My first fascination, as a child, was of planes and aeronautics. I would have posters of planes on my walls.” But with the advent of remotely piloted, weaponized drones, his admiration turned to fear. “The disconnect of using unmanned aircraft for attacks is something that scares me. And The Chamber was really about all my darkest fears rolled into one, so I wanted the plot to revolve around the recovery of one of these drones.”More than one of Parker’s fears makes its way into the film. He is claustrophobic, and the movie often feels that way as well. Jon Bunker, a concept artist on Gravity, conceptualized the close quarters of the submarine. The set was slightly larger than a real cockpit to make space for the camera, but the cramped space still feels oppressive — and on the verge of falling apart. I wanted it to be a raggedy submarine... to be fairly old and broken, because I saw, first hand, how advanced and safe modern subs were,” Parker says. “I wanted to be able to create a sense of dread in the audience, that this sub was like an old beat-up car, on its last legs and ready to collapse. And that this was the only option available. I think the use of an old, beat up ship must be influenced by my love of the Millennium Falcon as a kid. A reluctant hero, piloting a patched up tin-can.” Parker also got inspiration and insight from his uncle, who was also a submarine pilot. “He was in the Special Forces, and he used to tell me stories about submarines. When I wrote the script, he was someone I could go back to and see what was plausible... He’d go down to great depths in these submarines and I was in suspense [to hear] what he found down there.” As part of his research, Parker visited a NATO rescue submarine at Fort William in Scotland and was struck by the ordinary cameras on the exterior. “They were there for durability, not beautiful camera footage, so when it came to shooting the exterior viewpoints, I thought why not use the same thing they do on the real sub?” he says. “Using GoPros allowed us to get the look and with most manoeuvrability among the miniatures and sets. I really wanted to use on board GoPro footage for some of the interior action too again, to ramp up the realistic feel, but we didn’t end up using this in the film.” Nor was The Chamber itself a high-tech or big-budget endeavour. With a budget of less than a million dollars, the crew had to be creative to film believable action sequences. “I didn’t want it to look low-res, but I did like the idea of confining things to a small space. It was even more fun. Four people stuck in a prison cell wouldn’t have been as dynamic,” Parker says. Instead of CGI, the crew used old Hollywood tricks to create murky underwater sequences with GoPro cameras. “I realized I was emulating a lot of my B-movie inspirations, shooting models, higher camera rates, and then slowing it down,” says Parker. He cites the clever, sometimes outrageous camera work of filmmaker Roger Corman as an influence to create the effect of the ocean, and a way around budget constraints.. The film was shot in 23 days in a warehouse in Wales. “We constructed [the submarine] from the ground up ourselves. We had to film everything in sequence,” Parker says. As they filmed scenes where sub begins to fill with water, the actors had to stand in water for hours at a time, often while it was too cold or too hot. And then there was the unnerving pairing of electricity and water. “We used visual effects where we needed to, but to also have real, practical effects wherever we could. And of course, being a ‘submerged’ thriller, I knew the limitations of mixing practical water and CGI effects. I wanted to try and do as much in-camera as I could,” he says. “We had a big net above the models with flour. Someone would tap the net, and little bits would come down with dust.” For the final sequence, the cast and crew shot off the south coast of the UK near Devon. “We all jumped into the water and slowly drifted out to the sea,” says Parker of the last days filming on location.

Iron Coffin: Inside North Korea’s infiltration submarine

 

An unusual tourist attraction outside the Olympic city of Gangneung tells a nightmare story – one that holds lessons for US war planners preparing strikes on North Korea. Balanced on a stand on the rocky shoreline of northeastern South Korea perches a small submarine, just 100 meters from one of the many, many concrete bunkers that stand sentry over this strategic stretch of surf-smashed coast. The bunkers and tangles of razor wire are South Korean. The vessel is not: She is a North Korean infiltration boat which ran aground here in 1996.  On the night of September 17, 1996, a taxi driver motoring along the coastal road just outside the city of Gangneung spotted something odd in the dark water. Curious, he stopped his car and looked closer. What he was looking at was a North Korean Sango (“Shark”) class infiltration submarine. He contacted police. At dawn, South Korean naval commandos gingerly boarded the boat and breached her hull. She was empty. Inside, a fire had been lit in an unsuccessful attempt to destroy onboard equipment, but her crew – and the commando unit they had been conveying – had disappeared. A security alert was issued at 05:00 on the morning of the 18th for the whole of Gangwon Province, the area where the Winter Olympics and Paralympics are currently underway. According to a detailed report on the operation published by specialist website NK News, over 40,000 South Korean troops deployed into the rugged hills and mountains to track down the infiltrators. Among the hunters were two full brigades of South Korea’s own killer elite: “black berets,” or airborne special forces. One of their first finds on a hillside was a row of 11 dead men. All had been shot in the head. There was no sign of a struggle. They are believed to have lacked physical fitness, so been executed – apparently without resisting – by their comrades. The remaining sailors – some of whom had special forces training – and a three-man commando team split up and headed north. Their plan was to exfiltrate through 150 km of South Korean territory, then cross the DMZ into friendly territory. Some of the escapees were dressed in dark-colored civilian clothes and tennis shoes; others were in South Korean uniforms and carried South Korean weapons. These men were elite troops of the Reconnaissance General Bureau, or RGB: North Korea’s 200,000-strong directorate for espionage, special operations and, more recently, cyber warfare. Over the next days and weeks, scattered firefights would take place across Gangwon’s autumnal forested terrain as groups of infiltrators were discovered and engaged. When it was over, 13 had been killed in gunfights. One surrendered to local police. (He was debriefed, turned, and now works as a special advisor to the South Korean Navy.) One was never found. He is presumed to have escaped back to North Korea – a masterly feat of tactical field craft. In the 49-day search operation, 12 South Korean troops and four South Korean civilians were killed. It was later discovered that the commandos, using scuba gear, had carried out a successful reconnaissance of South Korean military installations ashore before their vessel ran aground as it came inshore to pick them up. It would not be the last such operation.  In 1998, a Yono (“Salmon”) class mini-submarine was trapped in the nets of a South Korean fishing boat outside the nearby port of Sokcho – like Gangeung, on the Sea of Japan, or what Koreans all the East Sea. The vessel sunk as it was being towed into shore; by accident, or as a result of scuttling by the crew is unclear. This time, the crew did not escape. Inside, was a gruesome scene. When the boat’s hatches were forced open, it was discovered that the nine men aboard, crew and commandos, had shot each other and themselves rather than face capture. An RGB-controlled midget submarine is widely believed to have launched the deadliest attack on South Korea in recent years – albeit on the other side of the peninsula, in the Yellow Sea. The submarine was blamed for the sinking of the corvette Cheonan in 2010, for the loss of 46 South Korean sailors. North Korea denies that attack. However, North Korea did, belatedly, admit to the 1996 incident: It called it a training operation that went wrong. As a result of Pyongyang’s admission, the cremated remains of the infiltrators were returned to North Korea. The submarine, however, was not. German U-boat men of World War I dubbed their craft “iron coffins,” but the North Korea boat, at just 35 meters long and less than four meters wide, is smaller than their wartime vessels. Her interior is cramped to the extreme. The three compartments are lined with a tangle of tubing, valves and communications equipment; fire damage can be seen in the conning tower. The only sanitation facility aboard is a single sink. To picture 26 men, complete with scuba gear and weapons, compressing themselves into this tiny underwater space is a claustrophobe’s nightmare. In repeated operations – in 1968, 1969, and the two submarine incursions – these troops have fought to the death, killed each other or killed themselves to avoid capture. And each time, they have taken a heavy toll on their South Korean opponents. While their equipment may be primitive, their training and motivation are clearly top-tier.

 

Mystery drama on the high seas: A princess, a spy and an escape plan gone wrong

Did the UAE snatch a US-registered yacht from Goan waters in a bid to take back Dubai ruler's daughter, who'd escaped with a former French spy? Worse, was India a silent bystander or an active accomplice?
Reports say that Herve was on a mission to rescue 33-year-old Sheikha Latifa, daughter of Dubai's ruler Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Saeed Al Maktoum, from Dubai by sea. In a video, Latifa has claimed she was being beaten and tortured and hence wanted to escape to the USA, to freedom. Herve had packed Latifa and her companion and capoeira (Brazilian martial art) instructor Tiina Johanna Juahiainen into a yacht, Nostromo, registered in the US, and was headed from the Dubai coast towards India. But, the yacht, cite reports, lost contact mid-sea. Reports then state that the founder and CeO Radha Stirling of the NGO Detained in Dubai, which was formed to assist victims of injustice in the United Arab emirates (UAe), got an SOS on March 4 from Latifa, who is reported to have said she had heard gunshots on the yacht. "After that, contact with all on board has ceased." At the time, the Nostromo was traced to 50 miles off the Goa coast. As the story gained international traction, with social media abuzz and media reporting skeletal details, fears about the fate of those on board the Nostromo grew. early on March 23, there was some news, said Stirling, in an email to mid-day on Friday. "Herve is currently at sea and we do not have an exact location confirmed and neither do we have information as to whether he is safe or free," she said. She said, "Nostromo actually had six passengers onboard. There were three Fillipino nationals, too, with Herve, Tiina and Latifa. The next that Nostromo was seen was at a military base in the United Arab emirates. This shows that the US registered yacht was seized from Indian or international waters by the UAe and with the knowledge and/or assistance of the Indian government." Asked specifically about Herve and Tiina, Stirling said that they know for sure that, "Both Herve and Tiina had been released from the custody of the UAe and Tiina had been confirmed to be home with her family in Finland after leaving Dubai on an emirates flight. There has been no official announcement about the whereabouts or safety of Latifa but she is presumed to be in the custody of the UAe. If this is accurate, then the UAe has apprehended her from what is legally US territory and she should legally have been returned to that same yacht that Herve is now sailing on." Stirling said, "The passengers onboard Nostromo had planned to disembark in India and fly from Mumbai to the United States where Latifa had intended to seek safety and asylum." In fact, the proposed landing in Mumbai will mirror Herve's own flight from Dubai in 2008, encapsulated in his book called 'escape from Dubai'. In August 2009, Herve had spoken to this newspaper about his escape from Dubai where he had claimed that he was wrongly indicted for embezzlement, fraud and sexual harassment. At the time, Herve had said that, "I created exomos in Dubai in 2004, a subsidiary of a company called Dubai World to make submarines for the leisure market." The Dubai downturn meant hard times and Herve said he was accused of wrongdoings and knew he had to get out. By May 2008, he began to plan his escape. On the eve of his escape, Herve disguised himself in an abaya – the full cover worn by Muslim women, including the niqaab, which is a face veil. Herve had said, "I escaped from a beach off Fujeirha, on a dinghy. I sailed for six hours before I met a friend at a rendezvous point, who had taken my sailboat out of Fujeirha. Once on the sailboat, I sailed to India." In that report, published in this paper on Aug 23, 2009, Herve had said, "I landed in Gateway of India at 2am on May 28, 2008 after approximately a week on the sea." One feels this is the same way Herve may have planned Latifa's escape, only something went wrong near Goa, and what exactly will be known only by establishing contact with those who were on the yacht. It is evident though that the world has not heard the end of this story. Stirling says, "No intelligence as to what happened that night on Nostromo has yet been provided, but will be demanded through legal channels."

Small Swedish Submarine “Sank” an American Fleet On Its Own

A small Swedish submarine was able to “destroy” a Nimitz class aircraft carrier from the mighty US Navy 7th Fleet during War Games 2005 exercises. The United States has the largest and most diverse armada on the planet, which stands out especially for its Nimitz-class aircraft carriers, true billion-dollar floating air bases. The power of the American aircraft carriers is so great that it makes the US Navy the second largest air force in the world – behind only the US Air Force itself. However, during War Games 2005, a small Swedish submarine managed to “destroy” one of these impregnable North American forts and part of its escort, says Real Engineering, the “portal that teaches you to think like an engineer” in your channel on YouTube. During NATO manoeuvres in the Atlantic in 2005, a small Gotland-class Swedish submarine was able to enter the “red zone” of the 7th US Navy Attack Fleet, pass among the ships escorting the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier, launch several exercise torpedoes against your hull and escape undetected. A Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, such as the $ 4.5 billion USS Ronald Reagan, carries twice as many airplanes and helicopters as any other aircraft carrier: no less than 90 fighter-bombers and helicopters. However, a Gotland class submarine, which costs about 100 million dollars (the cost of a single F-35 fighter-bomber) seems to be more useful. The US Navy chiefs were so confused by the results of the manoeuvres that they decided to ask the Swedish Navy some Gotland lent for two years to improve the US submarine detection systems. Finding the submarine in the depths of the ocean, the portal points out, is not easy at all. The small 1,600-ton ship stands out for having air-independent propulsion, with Stirling cycle engines that are quieter than diesel engines and allow them to stay underwater for a long time. The Gotland class of the Swedish Navy was built between 1992 and 1997. The ship, with a crew of 27 people and 60 meters in length, is capable of reaching a speed of 20 knots. Each submarine is equipped with four 533 mm and two 400 mm torpedo tubes. Despite being an unusual result, this is not the first time a small submarine “sinks” a powerful aircraft carrier into naval exercises. In 2015, during joint exercises between the French and US Navy in the North Atlantic, a French Saphir-class nuclear submarine, which manoeuvred “on the side of the enemy”, “sank” an American aircraft carrier and most of its escort. Saphir trained with the 12th US Navy Attack Fleet, consisting of USS Theodore Roosevelt, several Ticonderoga cruisers, an Arleigh Burke-class counter-torpedo, and several Los Angeles-class attack submarines. In 2007, also a diesel-electric submarine of the navy of Canada, in exercises with the British navy, “sank” the carrier HMS Illustrious. In naval carrier exercises, submarines are often used, which represent a real and significant threat to the safety of the American war fleets – something that does not seem to be necessary to prove.

 

Aston Martin submarine.

Aston Martin and Triton have announced the completion of their joint design for Project Neptune – a submarine. Bring on the Bond references. Aston Martin and Triton Submarines have unveiled their collaborative design for Project Neptune, a joint project to create a limited number of mini subs. Production of the first model is due to commence shortly ahead of a public unveiling later in 2018. Since the announcement of the project back in September 2017, both Triton and Aston Martin have pushed the boat out to ensure styling and detailed design remains par with the more conventional road-going vehicle. To boast the Aston Martin emblem, every 'vehicle' must tick all the boxes in terms of refinement, performance, beauty and elegance. In addition to these strict criteria, the submersible must also be safe, dependable and – in this case, at least – offer passengers near 360º visibility. To mark this key accomplishment, Project Neptune's final technical specification was announced as of this afternoon; confirming an ability to dive down to depths of 500 meters while carrying two passengers and a pilot. Top speed is quoted as 5 knots (6mph). A spokesperson for the project explained: 'By improving the hydrodynamic efficiency, reducing frontal area, and increasing the power; the submersible will have an anticipated sprint speed in excess of 5 knots and approximately four times the acceleration of Triton’s flagship 3300/3 model.'Marek Reichman, Aston Martin EVP and Chief Creative Officer commented: 'The exterior design of Project Neptune owes a lot to the pursuit of performance. As with the Aston Martin Valkyrie, the hyper-car we are developing with Red Bull Advanced Technologies, we have afforded as much attention to the hydrodynamics of the underside as we have the visible surfaces. Some of that detail may never be seen, but its effect will certainly be felt. 'Project Neptune’s interior was a great challenge. Unlike a sports car where the interiors are installed into an open-sided cabin before the doors are fitted, everything you see inside will be lowered through the upper-hatch and assembled within the completed sphere of the pressure hull. We have been able to present a congruous aesthetic that defies its multi-part complex installation.'

John Ramsay, Chief Technical Officer at Triton Submarines, commented: 'The work we have done together on the exterior of the submersible pleases me most. I’m particularly proud of our joint development of the acrylic canopy and iridium coating. The prototypes look incredible, being simultaneously functional and beautiful. John added: 'The interior is quintessentially Aston Martin – a luxurious mix of hand-stitched leather and high-performance carbon fibre, assembled without obstructing the panoramic sight-lines that Triton submersibles are famous for.' If having one of these luxurious submersibles isn't quite enough, you can select from a range of three designer specifications, crafted by Aston Martin’s in-house design team.  Fancy having an up-close look? Aston Martin and Triton Submarines will be welcoming prospective buyers to explore the submersible at this week’s LYBRA Superyacht Show in Barcelona, Spain. Already sold? Although numbers are strictly limited, you can register interest through your local Aston Martin dealer or their nominated Triton Submarine’s representative.

Lurid tale of bribery and murder looms anew for Malaysia's Najib

Ousted Malaysian premier Najib Razak is already in hot water over allegations he looted state funds, but his legal woes could worsen as calls grow for a fresh look at an even darker past scandal involving the grisly slaying of a young model. The lurid earlier affair centred on allegations that Malaysian officials took huge kickbacks in the 2002 purchase of Scorpene submarines from France when Mr Najib was defence minister. The sensational saga transfixed Malaysia for years until the authoritarian former regime used its leverage to eventually bury it, though whispers persist that Mr Najib, 64, and his wife Rosmah Mansor were deeply involved. But Mr Najib was trounced in a stunning May 9 election and Malaysia's new government has vowed to investigate not only current allegations that Mr Najib stole billions from sovereign wealth fund 1MDB, but also lift the lid on other unresolved scandals under the graft-plagued former government. "We are very encouraged by the quick moves so far on (1MDB) and that the government is taking previous corruption seriously," said Ms Cynthia Gabriel, who heads the Centre to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4), a Malaysian NGO. "In this regard, scandals like Scorpene cannot be ignored. Pressure is building and its going to get more interesting." Mr Najib's immediate concern is allegations that he, his family, and cronies pillaged billions from 1MDB. He is barred from leaving Malaysia and police have seized large amounts of cash, jewels and luxury items from his home and other sites. But 1MDB pales in many ways to the Scorpene affair, which has sex, submarines, assassins on the run, and an unfortunate Mongolian model and translator. It centres on allegations that French submarine maker DCNS paid "commissions" of more than 114 million euros (S$180.50 million) to a shell company linked to Mr Abdul Razak Baginda, a close Najib associate who brokered the US$1.1 billion submarine deal. Mr Najib's opponents said the payments were kickbacks. Mr Abdul Razak's Mongolian mistress Altantuya Shaariibuu, who was said to have demanded a payoff for working as a translator in negotiations, was shot dead, her body blown up with military-grade plastic explosives near Kuala Lumpur in 2006. Allegations that Mr Najib and Madam Rosmah were involved in the killing - carried out by two government bodyguards - were steadfastly denied by Mr Najib. He also was forced to publicly deny having had an affair with Altantuya. The case sank off the radar after a Malaysian court in 2008 cleared Mr Abdul Razak of abetting the murder, sparking allegations of a huge cover-up to protect Mr Najib, promoted to deputy prime minister by then. But a key figure now looms as a potential game-changer. Sirul Azhar Umar was convicted along with another police bodyguard in the killing, but he has said they were patsies for "important people" who ordered the murder, and has previously threatened to tell all. Before he could be jailed, Sirul somehow managed to flee in 2015 to Australia, where he is believed to be in custody.  He told a Malaysian news outlet on Saturday he was ready to reveal who ordered the murder. “I am willing to assist the new government to tell what actually transpired provided that the government grants me (a) full pardon,” Sirul, who is in Australian immigration custody, told news website Malaysiakini. "At that time, the judiciary was compromised," Mr Anwar, 70, said in an interview. "I don't know to what extent Najib was involved or not, but he's certainly implicated in some way," he added. He noted that all traces of Altantuya entering Malaysia before her murder were eliminated, saying that "had to be a higher-up decision". Also looming is a slow-moving effort in French courts that could reveal more. French judicial sources last year told AFP that investigators there had indicted two former top French executives linked to the Scorpene deal, as well as Mr Abdul Razak. Following Malaysia's election, C4 publicly called for an immediate investigation of Mr Najib and others over the submarines and Altantuya's murder, calling the affair "one of the (previous) government's greatest robberies". Ms Gabriel admits that the sheer backlog of scandals under the former government, including dodgy land deals, looting of timber resources, and numerous suspicious deaths of government critics while in police custody, could delay justice for Altantuya. Powerful vested interests also remain, including former establishment figures now aligned with the new government. "It might be tricky. But if they truly are now behind the rule of law, no stone should be unturned," she said. Dredging up the truth in the Scorpene case can be risky. In 2008, a private investigator deeply involved in the affair, Mr P. Balasubramaniam, implicated several government officials, including Mr Najib, in the murder. He quickly recanted, later saying he had been threatened, and fled to India. He returned in 2013 vowing to tell all in the scandal, just as Mr Najib was facing crucial elections, but died two weeks later. Authorities blamed a sudden heart attack.

 

Titanic Survey Expedition Rescheduled To 2019

Lightning damage to Titan and uncharacteristically stormy conditions in the Bahamas prevented the team from completing the first 4000-meter dive 45 days prior to the Titanic Survey Expedition. This milestone was a key decision point in the testing timeline and a trigger for a go/no-go decision to conduct the expedition in 2018. Deep sea testing began in late April near Marsh Harbour in the Bahamas. Upon arrival, the sub’s electronics sustained lightning damage that affected over 70% of its internal systems.  This delay and persistent poor weather in the Bahamas lead us to change the testing plan to accommodate maintenance and electronics improvements needed for our 4,000m manned tests. To quickly validate the hull design, Titan will first be lowered unmanned to 4,000 meters on a cable from a support ship. This test in June will provide real-time data on hull performance and prove her ability to dive to her designed depth. In parallel, our engineers continue to troubleshoot and improve all electrical systems. As soon as these essential systems are back online, we will resume incremental depth testing with Stockton Rush piloting the submersible to 4,000 meters over a series of dives – and becoming the second person in history to solo dive to this depth.

Malaysia mulls task force to probe French submarine deal

MALAYSIA'S Cabinet is discussing setting up a special task force to investigate alleged corruption during the purchase of two French submarines in 2002 when the defence ministry was headed by ousted prime minister Najib Razak. Since his surprise defeat in an election last month, Mr Najib has been barred from leaving the country, and anti-corruption agents have relaunched a probe into how billions of dollars went missing from a state fund that he founded. Mr Najib has denied any wrongdoing, but during nearly a decade in power he was dogged by scandal - mostly financial - including over suspected kickbacks paid in the submarine deal. French financial prosecutors are probing the sale of the Scorpene-class submarines built by state-controlled warship builder DCN International (DCNI), and have placed Abdul Razak Baginda, a former aide to Mr Najib, under formal investigation in connection with the deal. Malaysia's new defence minister said on Monday that a proposed task force looking into the deal will be discussed in Cabinet, but did not elaborate further. "It's too early for me to comment because this task force will be discussed with Cabinet," Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu was quoted as saying in an online report by Channel News Asia. Abdul Razak advised Mr Najib on the 2002 submarine deal. He has denied wrongdoing, and the previous Malaysian government denied allegations of corruption. Telephone calls made by Reuters to Abdul Razak were unanswered. The French probe began after Malaysian human rights group Suaram alleged that the sale resulted in some US$130 million of commissions being paid to a company linked to Mr Najib. There has been no evidence linking Mr Najib directly to corruption in the deal, and he and his supporters have consistently denied any wrongdoing. Mr Najib could not be reached on Monday for a comment on the task force. DCNI later became a new entity called DCNS, which in turn rebranded itself as Naval Group last year. French defence company Thales owns around a third of Naval Group. Suaram also linked the 2006 murder of a 28-year-old Mongolian model to the submarine sale. Altantuya Shaariibuu, an interpreter and associate of Abdul Razak, was killed and blown up with military grade explosives in a forest on the outskirts of Malaysia's capital. Last month, Mongolia's President Battulga Khaltmaa urged Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad to reopen investigations into her murder.

 

Real story of how the Titanic shipwreck was discovered

IT TOOK 73 years to find the wreckage of the Titanic at the bottom of the sea — but it might never have been discovered if it wasn’t for a curious navy chief on a completely different mission. A new exhibit, Titanic: The Untold story, at the National Geographic Museum in Washington has revealed the once top-secret story about oceanographer Robert Ballard’s discovery of the wreck while searching for two nuclear submarines. The navy commander, who found the wreck on the first day of September 1985 after only 12 days of searching, was tasked to explore sunken submarines the USS Thresher and the USS Scorpion using submersible technology. The submarines sank in the North Atlantic Ocean during the Cold War, and the US government wanted to learn the environmental impact on the subs and find out whether foul play was involved. But Ballard wanted more from the mission and asked for funding to locate the Titanic after several expeditions to find the wreckage had previously failed, largely due to the difficulty of reaching a wreck that lies nearly 4km below the surface, where the water pressure is over 3000kg per square inch.   But Ballard believed its remains were near the submarines and wanted a chance to find it. Others were given months to locate the ship. Ballard and his team had less than two weeks after completing their first mission. He studied every detail of the Titanic and decided to seek not the ship itself, but the debris field. He (correctly) theorised it had broken in half and left a debris trail as it sank. At 2am on September 1, they found the RMS Titanic wreckage at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Newfoundland, about 2000km from New York.  Ballard and several crew members watched the robotic submersible technology deliver images of the Titanic’s boiler, which hadn’t been sighted since it was above water all those years ago. “We were at the very spot Titanic sank. We were there,” Ballard told National Geographic. The Navy didn’t expect Ballard would find the Titanic, so when that happened, “they got really nervous because of the publicity,” he said, which is why the story is only now being told. The story is being told in detail at the National Geographic exhibit, which is now open to the public through January 6, 2019.

Sweden Makes Some Tough Submarine (1 Sunk a U.S. Aircraft Carrier)

For decades, submarines came in two discrete flavours: traditional diesel-electric submarines that need to surface every day or two to recharge their noisy, air-breathing diesel engines, and nuclear-powered submarines that could quietly hum along under the sea at relatively high speeds for months at a time thanks to their nuclear reactors. The downside to the nuclear-powered variety, of course, is that they cost many times the price of a comparable diesel submarines and require nuclear propulsion technology, which may not be worth the trouble for a country only interested in defending its coastal waters. A diesel submarine may also run more quietly than a nuclear submarine by turning off its engines and running on batteries—but only for a very short amount of time. Still, there remains a performance gap in stealth and endurance that many countries would like to bridge at an affordable price. One such country was Sweden, which happens to be in a busy neighbourhood opposite to Russian naval bases on the Baltic Sea. Though Sweden is not a member of NATO, Moscow has made clear it might take measures to ‘eliminate the threat,’ as Putin put it, if Stockholm decides to join or support the alliance. After a Soviet Whiskey-class submarine ran aground just six miles away from a Swedish naval base in 1981, Swedish ships opened fire on suspected Soviet submarines on several occasions throughout the rest of the 1980s. More recently, Russia has run an exercise simulating a nuclear attack on Sweden and likely infiltrated Swedish territorial waters with least one submarine in 2014. Back in the 1960s, Sweden had begun developing a modernized version of the Stirling engine, a closed-cycle heat conversion engine first developed in 1818. This was first used to power a car in the 1970s, then the Swedish ship-builder Kockums successfully retrofitted a Stirling engine to power a Swedish Navy A14 submarine Nacken in 1988. Because the Stirling burns diesel fuel using liquid oxygen stored in cryogenic tanks rather than an air-breathing engine, it can quietly cruise underwater at low speeds for weeks at a time without having to surface. Kockums went on to build three Gotland-class submarines in the late 1990s, the first operational submarines designed with Air-Independent Propulsion systems. The Gotland became famous for sinking a U.S. aircraft carrier in a 2005 military exercise; its characteristics and operational history are further described in this earlier article. Stirling AIP technology has subsequently been incorporated into numerous Japanese and Chinese submarines, while Germany and France developed more expensive fuel-cell and steam-turbine based AIP submarines instead. Sweden, meanwhile, converted her four late-80s vintage Västergötland diesel-electric submarines between 2003 and 2005 to use Stirling AIP engines—refits which involved cutting the submarines in two and stretching them out from forty-eight to sixty meters! Two of these submarines were re-designated the Södermanland-class, while the other two were sold to Singapore. The latter Archer-class boats are climatized for operations in warmer waters and boast improved navigation and fire control systems.

Sweden’s Ghostly Super Sub of the Future

Sweden intends to retire its Södermanland boats between 2019 and 2022. Since the 1990s, Kockums had been bouncing around a concept for a next-generation AIP submarine designated the A26 to succeed the Gotland-class, but encountered numerous setbacks. Stockholm cancelled A26 procurement in 2014, and at one point there was even a raid by the Swedish government attempting to confiscate blueprints from the German parent firm Thyssen-Krupp which was confronted by company security. Since then, Kockums has been purchased by the Swedish firm Saab. Finally in June 2015, Swedish defence minister Sten Tolgfors announced Stockholm was finally committing to procure two A26s at a price equivalent to $959 million—less than a fifth the unit cost of a nuclear-powered Virginia class submarine of the U.S. Navy.

 

OceanGate tests the Carbon Fiber and Titanium Hull of Titan, to a Depth of 4,000 Meters.

OceanGate has successfully completed unmanned depth tests validating the carbon fiber and titanium hull of Titan, to a depth of 4,000 meters (13,123 feet). The monumental milestone opens the opportunity for manned exploration of more than 50% of the ocean. As part of Titan’s extensive testing program, the OceanGate team conducted a series of unmanned dives by lowering the submersible on monofilament line incrementally to 4,000 meters. Onboard the sub, strain gauges and acoustic emission sensors measured the health of the hull, providing data for the team to analyze between dives. These sensors are permanently mounted in the sub and give the pilot real-time feedback on hull behavior on all manned dives. The cable test was just one phase in a test program that began nearly three years ago with the construction of a one-third scale model of the pressure vessel and the launching of Cyclops 1. The scale model underwent four rigorous pressure tests in a chamber at the University of Washington, which validated carbon fiber as a viable material for the hull design. Following the cable test, Stockton Rush, OceanGate’s CEO and Chief Pilot, will dive solo in incremental depths until reaching 4,000 meters; In doing so, he will join James Cameron as one of only two people in history to solo dive to this depth.

Singapore Navy’s newest, custom-made German submarine

More than 30m under the waters around Singapore, where light hardly penetrates the murky depths, noise is perhaps the last thing you would expect. But the Republic of Singapore Navy’s (RSN) latest submarine, the Type 218SG, hears and senses a cacophony of chatter. Not of people, but of the 2,000 ships that sail through the Singapore Strait every day.  “Many of the boats in the world are not designed for such environments: Warm, shallow, noisy, crowded,” RSN’s head of naval operations Cheong Kwok Chien told Channel NewsAsia in an exclusive interview on Saturday (Jun 30). “The operating environment makes a lot of difference to a submariner, and if you design a boat meant for this type of environment, you can make a lot of difference to whoever you’re up against.” And so the RSN searched all over the world for a submarine that could replace its ageing Archer-class and Challenger-class predecessors. A submarine that could truly be made for Singapore from scratch. “We’ve operated second-hands for 20 years,” Rear-Admiral (RADM) Cheong said of the retrofitted Swedish submarines. “Over 20 years, we’ve built up knowledge of what a submarine would be that’s designed for local waters.” In the end the Germans, masters of the submarine craft, “offered the best deal” in terms of technology, logistics, training and knowledge exchange. It has been reported that the contract for the first two Type 218SGs is worth more than 1 billion euros (S$1.6 billion). The deal clincher? “The Germans were also very willing to listen to our requirements and change a lot of the original design to suit what we need in our waters,” RADM Cheong said. The manufacturer, ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS), also prepared high-resolution, virtual reality goggles for Singapore officials to put on and “walk” through the submarine, allowing them to tweak even the smallest details. “We can actually know the ergonomics,” RADM Cheong said. “For a Singaporean’s height, can I reach the top? We could also make the pathways smaller and put more equipment because we are smaller in size.” The Defence Ministry said Singapore will get four Type 218SGs, with delivery from 2021. The programme is “progressing well”, with the first two and remaining two submarines having commenced construction and steel-cutting, respectively. But perhaps the most crucial customisations are in the Type 218SG’s combat system. Its improved sonar, which listens to sounds like propeller noises and water flow, locates enemies faster and identifies them more accurately. “That’s when digital audio recognition comes in. We will hear frequency, sound wave profiles, and compare to known sounds that we have,” RADM Cheong said. “That basically helps us light up the underwater world.” With the waters around Singapore so shallow and congested, the Type 218SG can tell whether it’s facing a merchant ship, cruise liner or warship better than RSN’s current submarines. “It’s like going into a disco and picking up the sweetest voice,” RADM Cheong added. “You need to be quite capable. If not you will be blasted, and in our environment everybody gets blasted.” Once the target is locked on, then come the torpedoes. A Type 218SG model that TKMS had displayed at an exhibition last year indicated that the submarine will be fitted with eight forward-firing torpedo tubes for heavyweight torpedoes. The "big improvement", however, lies in the submarine’s electronics and computers that enable fewer crew members to do more with the weapons. “If you watch the old war movies, it’s a whole bunch of people trying to hear (the enemy) then get the torpedo ready; there’s a whole lot of activity on the boat,” RADM Cheong said. “No, what we are going for now is one guy pressing a button to release the torpedo.” Another improvement is the Type 218SG’s air-independent propulsion (AIP) system, which RADM Cheong said is more efficient than the one in the Archer-class submarine. The AIP allows submarines to stay underwater longer before surfacing to recharge the battery that powers its systems. The battery is charged by a diesel engine that needs air to operate. As such, the Type 218SG can last underwater two times longer than RSN’s current submarines. “That makes the submarine even more stealthy and mysterious because it can be all over the place without coming up,” RADM Cheong said. This stealth is what makes the Type 218SG so lethal, as RADM Cheong spoke in broad terms about how the submarines fit into RSN’s overall strategy. “All over the world, submarines are what we call strategic capabilities,” he said. “Because they are stealthy, can go to a lot of places and deliver a very impactful strike. So, most navies will use the submarine to deliver these effects.”   Besides hunting ships, submarines can do surveillance, deliver special forces, unmanned underwater vehicles and high-end weapons like nuclear missiles. “Sometimes, you have to strike at the Achilles heel of the adversary, somewhere he thinks he’s quite safe and doesn’t expect anybody to come,” RADM Cheong said, highlighting the “psychological threat” a submarine poses. When RSN’s submariners go for exercises, they typically train in some of these skills. “It makes all the seagoers, especially people on ships, quite fearful because you don’t know where it is,” RADM Cheong added. “Surface ships dislike submarines a lot, because most egos are broken by submariners.” In a one-on-one situation with conventional warships, RADM Cheong stated that submarines “always win”. “When the submarine hears you, with the range that it shoots, there’s not much you can do about it.” However, submarines are not invincible. RADM Cheong pointed out that they lack speed and are prone to being spotted when they surface. "So, these are inherent vulnerabilities,” he added. “Fast things and aircraft hunt submarines. To hunt a submarine, you must operate out of its element. If you operate in water, you must be something that it cannot or doesn’t want to kill." One example of a low-value target is an unmanned underwater vessel.

 

Nevertheless, RADM Cheong said a good submariner can remain undetected if he knows where to position the vessel in relation to how sound waves travel underwater. “If he exploits all these black holes underwater, nobody can hear him and he can hear everybody else,” he added. “He can be quite silent and maybe even invisible.” For the Type 218SG, RSN’s submariners will train in simulators and abroad with their German counterparts, who RADM Cheong described as some of the best in the world. “They like to have a worthy partner to spar with,” he said. “We also take this opportunity to learn from them.” RADM Cheong said the Germans were also grateful that the RSN wanted to fully customise its submarine, pointing out that they gained “a lot of interesting insights”. “They said not many customers are so forthcoming in saying that this doesn’t work.” To that end, RADM Cheong said the Type 218SG answers a lot of challenges. “German submarines are like BMWs, so we are very glad we decided on this class of submarine,” he added. “This new build is designed for Singapore roads, tailored to our ergonomics, size and driving range. Even the horn sounds better.”  The RSN also ensured that the internal systems, like the engine and electronics, were cost-efficient and maximised the crew’s capabilities. “On board, every submariner you bring is a huge investment,” RADM Cheong said. “So in terms of combat fighting, you want the submarine to be able to do a lot but not by putting in a lot of people.” RADM Cheong said this is crucial to tackle the “ever-present” threat of terrorism at sea with an increasingly constrained manpower base. The saying is that one US aircraft carrier carries more people than the number of active personnel the RSN has. “Almost everything that we wear, eat and the energy that we consume every day comes through the sea,” he added. “So, what the Navy has done is to look at this environment and recognise that we need to defend our lifelines."

Legoland's most costly attraction  — an "undersea" submarine ride.

When SeaWorld San Diego unveiled its now closed Submarine Quest attraction last year, passengers quickly discovered that the closest they were going to get to seeing sea life during the three-minute long ride was a brief encounter with a digital version of a giant octopus in a darkened enclosure. Not so for Legoland California, which plans to deliver an abundance of marine life — more than 1,000 sea animals, from stingrays to sharks — when it debuts this week its version of a submarine ride that really does go underwater. Standing in for an actual ocean is a 300,000-gallon aquarium populated with multiple species of sharks, rays and tropical fish, a feature that will differentiate the park’s Lego City Deep Sea Adventure attraction from other theme park submarine rides, including the last incarnation of Disneyland’s longstanding Submarine Voyage, now dubbed Finding Nemo. None incorporate real sea life.

Legoland in Carlsbad unveiled its latest ride for youngsters called Lego City Deep Sea Adventure Submarine Ride. Inspired by a similar ride at three other Legoland parks overseas, Deep Sea Adventure marks parent company Merlin Entertainments’ single largest investment in an attraction in any Legoland park, outside of Carlsbad’s Sea Life Aquarium. Park officials, however, will not disclose how much was spent on the ride. The attraction, which opens Monday, is located in the northeast corridor of the park where its miniature golf had previously been situated. While the Carlsbad park is no stranger to underwater life considering it also operates the Sea Life Aquarium, it is no small feat creating a massive concrete-walled tank and the accompanying infrastructure needed to navigate 12-seat vehicles through the watery environment. “This is a big deal because any other submarine ride is mostly simulated and there isn’t even water in them much less sea life,” said Larry Wyatt, owner of Pasadena-based Wyatt Design Group, which does design work for theme parks and was involved in the original planning for Legoland California. “For a lot of these it’s animation or animatronics so this is something no one has done, not even Disney. “There is a lot of competition in Southern California so every so often you have to do something really big to make a difference.” The ride inevitably invites comparisons with SeaWorld’s ill-fated Submarine Quest, a ride that ran on an elevated track and did not traverse water. It has been closed since early this year with little explanation for the closure. In a May post on his website, ThemeParkInsider.com, editor Robert Niles said of Legoland’s Deep Sea Adventure: “no matter how this turns out, it's got to beat last summer's Submarine Quest ride at SeaWorld San Diego.” Conceived four years ago, the attraction has a direct tie-in to Lego's Deep Sea Adventure line of toys and complements its aquarium that opened eight years ago. It also builds on the popularity of similar attractions at the Windsor, Dubai and Japan parks. “Sea Life Aquarium is an extremely popular attraction here and part of the formula that makes Legoland a successful resort,” said park president Peter Ronchetti. “So bringing that into the ride in a very controlled way opens up a whole new area of discovery for the children. It checks all the boxes for us, it’s something different for us, it’s in an exciting environment, and we’re bringing the ride and fish together in a whole new way.” It’s also designed to appeal to Legoland’s demographic of young children who likely haven’t been exposed to submarines or even sharks, Ronchetti said. “How many 10-year-olds have been on a submarine and looked out and seen a shark?” he said. “The industry benchmark in North America has been submarines with animation and mechanical fish. But this is real so we’ve broken new ground for North America.” The ride’s story line is structured around a voyage in which the passengers are searching for sunken Lego artwork, swords and other treasures strategically located on the “ocean” bottom. In keeping with the Legoland tradition of Lego model-building, the journey starts in the ride’s queue area where children are invited to construct sea creatures at a large table dominated by a 5-foot-tall shark crafted from more than 80,000 Lego bricks. As they move through the line, submarine passengers are treated to a bit of high-tech wizardry as they’re given a briefing on the mission that awaits them by a 3-foot-tall Lego diver whose face appears to be moving as he speaks. Except the figure itself isn’t really moving. “This was specifically developed for Legoland California,” said Tom Storer, senior project manager with Merlin. “We spent a lot of R & D to find the projector that would fit into the microphone so you can feel like the figure is talking to you. This came from Merlin Entertainments creative team, so this is a unique idea developed for this project.” The real treasure-hunting quest begins as passengers step down to board the submarine while it advances very slowly along the track. Once seated, riders can gaze out at the water via portholes in front and back or through large picture windows on either side of the vehicle. They are soon greeted by the voice of a master diver. “There’s incredible sea creatures and treasures to discover out in the deep,” he says. “We’re going to have a whale of a time.” As exotic fish glide by and an occasional nurse shark or southern stingray with a 5-foot-wide wing span come into view among the faux coral, the guide says excitedly, “Wow, there must be hundreds of fish here. Keep your eyes open, too, for black tip reef sharks. Above are individual touch screens where kids and adults can tap icons of treasures as they spot them in plain sight. The more treasures they successfully detect, the better their outcomes at the end of the ride as they strive to become a master explorer. “Keep looking explorers,” the guide urges, “you’re off to a flying start.” An occasional cloud of bubbles erupts outside the windows, designed to mimic a sub descending. While the vehicle itself does not descend, the depth of the tank changes at one point from 7-½ feet to 10-½ feet. Most of the fish that have been captured for the attraction are native to Australia and were acquired from multiple sources, including accredited zoos and aquariums in the U.S. and Europe, said Marie Collins, displays curator for the Sea Life Aquarium and Deep Sea Adventure. Eventually, there will be more than 2,000 sea animals. The fish are fed throughout the day, occasionally in sight of those riding the subs, but before the park opens, aquarium staff do the heavy feedings. Because of the variety of fish, food varies from algae and garlic-soaked nor to shrimp, clams, tuna and salmon. With eight submarine cars continuously operating, Legoland hopes to process 1,000 passengers an hour on the ride. Storer of Merlin was formerly a lieutenant in the Navy and recalls not so fondly his training on submarines. “Compared to that, I like this a lot more,” he said. “There are no windows on a real submarine so it’s refreshing to look out and see real sea creatures as opposed to a white wall.” SUBMARINE RIDE: FUN FACTS. Length of ride: 4 minutes. Number of passengers per sub: 12. Weight of submarine: 22,000 pounds. Tank size: 300,000 gallons. Animal species: Eventually 2,000, including black tip reef shark, southern stingray, and bigscale soldierfish.

New Seabourn expedition ships to include onboard submarines

Seabourn has signed a "letter of intent" for two new expedition ships to include a pair of submarines onboard for underwater exploration. The Carnival Corp-owned brand has signed a deal with ship builders T.Mariotti and Damen to build the two 264-passenger vessels, which will be delivered in June 2021 and May 2022. The 23,000-tonne ships will offer 132 veranda suites and will meet PC6 Polar Class standards allowing it to explore regions such as the Arctic and Antarctica. Both ships will carry two submarines onboard as well as 24 Zodiac inflatable boats. Richard Meadows, Seabourn’s president, said: “The combination of immersive experience, fine accommodations and sumptuous amenities offered by these new ships builds on the success of our current product and further demonstrates our leadership as innovators as we continue offering the finest ultra-luxury cruises available.” Seabourn plans to announce design and service details for the ships later this year, with itineraries and booking information to be released in early 2019. Current plans are for the first ship to sail in the Arctic in late summer 2021 followed by a full winter season in the Antarctic.

RAN grants operational licence for JFD submarine rescue system

 

The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) and the Australian government have granted an operational licence for a new AUD19.7 million (USD14.7 million) submarine rescue system developed by JFD, the Australian subsidiary of the UK-based company announced in a 3 July statement.The move means that for the first time the whole crew of an Australian submarine can be treated at once using the new hyperbaric equipment, Toff Idrus, general manager of JFD Australia, was quoted as saying in the statement.“What it means for submariners is extremely significant as up to 88 people can now receive life-saving medical treatment in the hyperbaric equipment suite and pressurised transfer chamber at any one time.“When you consider that a Collins-class submarine has a crew of 48–60, this new capability is very significant and represents an important milestone for submarine rescue in Australia,” said Idrus.The equipment, which consists of a transfer-under-pressure chamber and a recompression treatment suite, is able to withstand and operate effectively in rough, continuous seas with swells of 5 m, according to JFD.The system, which took two years to build, will undergo further naval testing and evaluation in August, culminating in the annual ‘Black Carillion’ naval exercises set to be held in November 2018, added the company.s Jane’s reported in April, JFD is contracted to provide submarine escape-and-rescue services for the RAN under the James Fisher Submarine Rescue Service (JFSRS) brand.For its Australian JFSRS, JFD utilises the 21.5-tonne LR5 free-swimming submarine rescue vehicle (SRV), which is designed to mate with a distressed submarine in the event of an emergency, and transfer the rescued personnel onto the deck of its host ship.The rescued submariners are then moved through the transfer-under-pressure chamber and into the hyperbaric equipment suite, with doctors monitoring their wellbeing and helping them overcome any life-threatening effects that come from being rescued from pressurised waters.

Russia to develop rescue system for distressed submarines.

Russia’s Defense Ministry has announced a closed tender for creating a modular rescue system for the crews of submarines in distress, according to materials posted on the state procurement web portal on Tuesday. "The fulfillment of the R&D work: ‘Developing a Modular System of Rescue for the Crews of Distressed Submarines Lying on the Seabed (codenamed Luchina),’" the materials say. The R&D work should be completed by November 10, 2020 and is estimated at 221 million rubles ($3.5 million). "The initial (maximum) price of the state contract is 221 million rubles, with budget appropriations to equal 26.5 million rubles ($419,300) in 2018, 91.5 million rubles ($1.4 million) in 2019 and 103 million rubles ($1.6 million) in 2020," the accompanying documents say. The contractor will be selected in September this year.

Thailand to develop midget submarines

A project by the Royal Thai Navy (RTN) to develop a midget submarine – provisionally known as the Chawalan class – has been approved by the Thai government, it has been confirmed to Jane’s . Under the project, the RTN has been allocated THB200 million (USD6 million) to develop and build a submarine prototype over the next seven years. Initial research on the project started in late 2017. The design and development of the midget submarine will take four years, with a further two years to build the prototype and an additional 12 months to undertake trials and evaluations. If the project is successful, construction of the platform is expected to commence in the mid-2020s

SUBMARINES for 'suicide missions' on enemy targets.

CHINA'S military is planning to launch robot submarines for 'suicide missions' to sink enemy targets, scientists have revealed.  The hi-tech submarines, which are in development, will be powered by artificial intelligence (AI) to replace human crew members. This will allow the vessels to navigate independently and work alongside China's existing fleets of submarines. Beijing hopes to launch the new submarines in the early 2020s to become a naval superpower to rival the United States. The unmanned subs are expected to patrol the South China Sea and Pacific Ocean, home to many disputed military bases. The AI has no soul, it is perfect for this kind of job. They will be used to plant sea mines and even carry out 'kamikaze'-style attacks on enemy fleets, according to reports. An anonymous Chinese researcher told the South China Morning Post: "The AI has no soul. It is perfect for this kind of job. "The submarine can be instructed to take down a nuclear-powered submarine or other high-value targets. "It can even perform a kamikaze strike." The AI-powered subs are not expected to fully replace traditional manned submarines. Luo Yuesheng, an automation expert at China's Harbin Engineering University, said: "AI will not replace humans. "The situation under water can get quite sophisticated. I don't think a robot can understand or handle all the challenges." However, Chinese officials hope the technology will help the country challenge assert its power in the South China Sea. China lays claim to most of the strategic waters, which are a key trading route. However, the United States carries out regular naval patrols in the region to assert its right to freedom of navigation. China has long objected to Washington's military operations, accusing the US of breaching Beijing's sovereignty.

Global sales of submersibles are on the rise,

Louise Harrison, sales director of Triton in Europe, attributes their increasing popularity to a growing desire among younger members of the super-rich to explore areas of the world that were once exclusively the purview of dedicated researchers and explorers. Between 25 and 30 submersibles were sold in 2017, ranging in price from £1 million to £30 million. There is a growing desire among younger members of the super-rich to explore areas of the world that were once exclusively the purview of dedicated researchers and explorers.

 

Submarine commanders who fired nuclear torpedoes at Novaya Zemlya

It was early morning 10th October 1957 when Captain Georgy Lazarev slowly sailed his «S-144» submarine into the quiet waters of the Chernaya Guba to conduct the first ever launch of a nuclear torpedo. More than 60 years later, his devastating blast is honoured with a monument on site. It was a deadly arms race going on and the Soviet Union was intensely developing its nuclear weapons program and conducting high-risk testing.Georgy Lazarev was only 37 years old, but already among the most experienced submariners in the Soviet Navy. He had served in the Northern Fleet during the 2WW and in 1948 completed the Frunze Naval School in Leningrad.But he had never been close to executing an order similar to the one he got in early fall 1957.Lazarev and his crew had in May that same year first been ordered to sail from the home base of Polyarny near Murmansk to Severodvinsk. There, a local shipyard had strengthened the vessel’s torpedo compartment. Then, the submarine was ordered to set course for Balushya Bay in Novaya Zemlya.The mission was top secret and none of the crew members, including Captain Lazarev himself, knew about their assignment, ship navigator on board the «S-144» Igor Murzenko recalls.All through August and September the submarine crew conducted comprehensive preparations in Novaya Zemlya, in the area of the Balushya Bay and the nearby Chernaya Bay, Murzenko reveals in conversations made with Professor Georgy Kostev.Soviet authorities had in July 1954 decided that Novaya Zemlya, the Arctic archipelago situated between the Barents Sea and Kara Sea, would become test ground for nuclear weapons. Hectic subsequent developments took place on site. Only about 14 month later, a first testing with a nuclear-armed torpedo model T-5 was conducted. That, however, did not include a launch from a vessel, but only the submerging of the torpedo into the water and subsequent detonation.It was only in 1957 that the T-5 was ready for real shooting. In April that year, the Soviet Council of Ministers had issued a secret decree that ordered test firing of nuclear weapons on surface and underwater, including with torpedoes, in the area.The T-5 had been engineered in the early 1950s and final testing without ammunition reportedly took place in the Ladoga Bay near St Petersburg immediately prior to the operation in Novaya Zemlya.Captain Lazarev had an utmost systematic approach to his work and he paid great attention to the younger officers, he patiently listened to their assessments and points of view, Lieutenant-navigator Igor Murzenko says about his former boss.They were serving on board a powerful vessel. The «S-144» had been in service since 1953. It was one of the first submarines of project 613, in NATO countries referred to the Whiskey-class. The 76 meter long diesel-engined attack submarine could hold a speed of 13,1 knots in submerged position and the weaponry was far more deadly compared with previous subs.

 

Commander Lazarev early in the morning 10th October 1957 got the instructions he had been waiting for: he was to sail to the Chernaya Bay and there from submerged position launch the nuclear torpedo. There was no specific target. The torpedo was simply to explode in the middle of a group of vessels placed in the area. A total of ten vessels, among them four submarines and three destroyers, were on site, the closest only 240 meters from the detonation point. The weapons developers wanted to study the effect of the detonation on nearby vessels.It was absolute silence in the command post of the «S-144» as the clock approached 10 that morning. Then came the launch, and then again silence. Only the ticking seconds of the timer device could be heard, Igor Murzenko recalls. Then, on 9 o’clock 54 minutes, 32 seconds, the torpedo detonated. The depths were 30 meters and a powerful shockwave soon afterwards hit the «S-144».«It was like crisp, almost metallic, knock on the ship, as if someone was lashing huge and heavy chains on the hulls,» Igor Murzenko describes.The «S-144» was located about 10 km from the site and Captain Lazerov could through the periscope see a huge vertical column of water and subsequent fire mushroom.However, instead of leaving the area, the sub was instructed to sail to the middle of the detonation point. Several people, among them both Lazarev and Murzenko entered the bridge as the vessel reached the site. But they quickly returned back inside when they turned on the dosimeter which showed overwhelming radiation.All the vessels that had been within a radius of 500 meters from the detonation were destroyed and sunk. Several of the other vessels got serious damage, but some of them were considered still fit for sailing and continued service after the blast.The «S-144» itself returned to Belushya Bay and a week later sailed to Liinakhamari, the port in the Kola Peninsula located only few kilometers from the border to Norway. There, the ship was decontaminated. Later, it returned to its base in Polyarny. However, also the «S-144» had got damage from the blast in Chernaya Bay and was never again used as attack submarine. After 1957, the vessel was rebuilt and subsequently served as training target, Professor Georgy Kostev writes.Captain Lazarev was released from duty and moved to St.Petersburg where he got a post in the Naval Academy.None of the sailers involved in the operation had knowledge about the level of radiation to which they had been exposed. They had been told by their superiors that underwater detonations posed no threat to their health. However, several of the crew members of the «S-144» later experienced otherwise.The situation was worst for the crews of the ships that had been used as targets in the Chernaya Bay. These sailors had viewed the explosion from the nearby shores and later, many of them sailed the same vessels back to their original bases.The archipelago of Novaya Zemlya was subsequently intensively used as test area for the Soviet Union’s nuclear weapons developers. A total of 224 nuclear- and thermonuclear tests were carried out in the area, the last two on October 24, 1990.As the remote Arctic lands of the Novaya Zemlya today again attract increasing attention from the Russian Armed Forces, the memory of heroes from the 1950s and early 1960s is brought to the forefront.In July this year, the Northern Fleet conducted a major expedition in the Novaya Zemlya, including in the areas around Chernaya Bay. In that connection, the expedition members laid the foundation for what will become a memorial monument for the submarine commanders that executed nuclear torpedo testing.On the monument will be listed the name of Georgy Lazarov and three other sub commanders; Nikolay Shumkov, Gennady Kaymak and Fyodor Kupriakov, the Northern Fleet informs.It was Shumkov, who on 23rd October 1961 from his «B-130» submarine, first fired a torpedo with a 4,8 kilotons warhead that exploded under water in the Chernaya Bay and then four days later on the same site shot a torpedo with a 16 kilotons warhead that exploded on the surface.The shooting was part of the exercise named «Coral». Also Gennary Kaymak was part of that exercise. On the 20th of October, he became the first ever to fire a nuclear missile that hit a target on the land surface of the Novaya Zemlya. Kaymyk was commander of the  «K-102», a project 629 submarine («Golf»-class).

The Wacky, Risky World of DIY Submarines

When marine scientist Shanee Stopnitzky learned that police had hauled her stolen yellow sub out of San Francisco Bay and taken it to an impound lot, she was relieved. Not for the vehicle, but for whoever took it for a joy ride. “If you don’t know what you’re doing, you can die,” Stopnitzky told Earther. Stopnitzky knows the risks better than most, having spent the last year immersing herself in the wild west world of DIY submersibles. This past spring, she quit her PhD program at UC Santa Cruz to become captain of two submersibles, and to lead the Berkeley-based Community Subermersibles Project, a 300-strong cooperative of volunteer engineers and fabricators dedicated to upgrading the machines and piloting them at sea. Fangtooth, a bright yellow 2-person sub with a top-hatch painted to look like Captain America’s shield, was the group’s first acquisition, purchased in March 2018 on six thousand dollar loan. Shortly after its misadventure at the hands of an unknown thief, in June, the group purchased their second submersible, Noctiluca, on a $100,000 loan from a generous individual. Larger and more powerful than Fangtooth, Noctiluca—formerly S-101—is a diesel-electric sub with a storied history, built by the British-based Marlin Submarines in the 1980s and upgraded by amateurs over the years. In the ‘90s, the sub briefly fell into the hands of to anti-whaling activist organization Sea Shepherd, where it acquired its distinctive orca whale paint job. The Community Submersibles Project purchased it from its last owner, U.S. Submarines co-founder Ellis Adams, who’d had it in storage in Florida for the past five years. Ultimately—once both subs are paid off and upgrades and repairs are completed—Stopnitzky and her crew hope to use them conduct exploratory research in some of the most poorly-studied ocean environments on Earth. Their dream destination? The mysterious Tonga trench in the South Pacific. “The end goal is for our crew to do our own expeditions,” Stopnitzky said. “I would basically be trying to target areas that have been least studied.”Virtually every type of locomotion has spawned a hobbyist community, from tinkerers who build their own cars to moonlighting aerospace engineers who fly their own ultra-light aircraft. But somehow, the idea of a homemade sub feels even more unusual and dangerous than taking to the skies in a DIY-plane. Perhaps it’s the fact that most of us will never step into a commercial sub in our lives, or that a great deal of technical training is required to safely explore the deep, from knowing how to operate life support systems to navigating poorly-mapped undersea geology, sometimes in total darkness. You’ve also got to keep any personal claustrophobia and anxiety about being mere inches away from the crushing pressure of the cold, dark sea in check. In that sense, diving in a sub is more like piloting a spaceship than an aircraft. “There are endless numbers of hazards” at the bottom of the ocean, John Wiltshire, the director of Hawaii Undersea Research Laboratory at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa told Earther. He named just a few, including getting stuck under a ledge, trapped in a cave, or simply becoming so mesmerized with your surroundings you forget to keep an eye out for danger. Those hazards haven’t deterred a niche community of DIY-ers from trying to explore the ocean on their own, without insurance or the aid of an expensive, certified vehicle. Perhaps the most famous of them is Karl Stanley, a self-taught engineer who turned his passion for DIY subs into a thriving business by skirting US government oversight and offering thrill-seekers the chance for a deep sea dive in one of his homemade subs off the coast of Honduras. He’s the one who sparked Stopnitzky’s interest in submersibles, after she spent a week last year doing volunteer work at his business in Roatán in exchange for a dive to 2,000 feet. “I realized it’s actually not out as far out of reach, engineering wise, as I was expecting,” she said. “The systems are often really simple.” Now, the Community Submersibles Project is in a position to try and prove that. Skilled engineers can volunteer to work on the subs, which need upgrades and repairs. Or, folks can pay a membership fee to become part owner of Noctiluca, with higher tier memberships including a comprehensive submarine training course, after which members are allowed to pilot the sub for any non-commercial purpose, from pelagic pleasure-cruises to filmmaking. Think of it like a food co-op, but for ocean exploration. Fangtooth is currently only equipped to dive to about 30 feet for half an hour. Stopnitzky says the group would like to upgrade it to become capable of dives to 120 feet for up to 72 hours, by adding an oxygen-diffusing, CO2-scrubbing life support system. Those upgrades are ongoing, but when the sub will be ready to hit the waves again depends on how quickly the Community Submersibles Project can crowdfund the money needed to finish them. Noctiluca, meanwhile, already has a life support system and is rated for 72 hours underwater and dives of up to several hundred feet. But the sub’s diesel motor, which gives it the somewhat unusual ability to cruise hundreds of miles along the ocean’s surface, needs repairs, and the batteries that power it during dives need replacing. The sub’s loan also needs to be paid off before it can be used, something the group hopes to accomplish through a mix of crowdfunding, renting it out as a prop, and their membership club.  “It’s mostly financially constrained,” Stopnitzky said. “We have the expertise to make it [the repairs and upgrades] happen right away.” But while the Community Subermersibles Project may indeed have technical expertise, not everyone’s comfortable with this model of community-led ocean exploration. Industry experts cited safety concerns with subs built and upgraded outside the purview of a shipping classification organization, non-governmental groups that maintain standards for the construction and maintenance of subs. In the US, certification is necessary for subs to become insured for commercial purposes. While Noctiluca is insured against theft or damage, neither submersible has liability insurance should something go wrong on a dive. “Strictly speaking I wouldn’t recommend someone go out in a sub like this,” said Bruce Jones, co-founder and President of Triton submarines, where Noctilcua was housed before Stopnitzky and her crew decided to purchase it. Triton builds a wide array of personal submersibles, geared toward everyone from wealthy thrill-seekers to film crews. Unlike a DIY sub, all of its wares are built to the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) submarine classification standards or to a complementary set of European standards. While certification is, in Jones’ words, “a very arduous process” it ensures every component and life support system is tested and retested before a civilian is allowed to take the vessel out for a spin. Folks in the commercial sub business like to point out that classed civilian subs are, statistically speaking, the safest form of transit in the world. Most U.S. scientific research also happens in an ABS-certified vessel, according to Wiltshire. He explained that a researcher working with an uncertified vessel won’t get funding from a major U.S. granting organization like the National Science Foundation or the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration. Even if private funds could be procured, most major marine science universities’ dive safety officers wouldn’t let their scientists step aboard a backyard sub.  But while certification and major US research partnerships may be out of reach for a group like Community Submersibles Project, there’s not much stopping them from shipping off to sea when their subs ready to go. As far as safety goes, Stopnitzky emphasized that personal subs have an “excellent safety record” and are typically designed by “very serious engineers.” “Having a good engineer and skilled fabricators makes for a good submersible, not certification,” she said. Stopnitzky’s ultimate goal is to travel to parts South Pacific that have seen very little undersea exploration. She’d like to survey biodiversity and study the ecology of the diel migration, a vast daily disaspora of ocean life to the surface at night and back into the ocean’s depths when the sun rises. She says she’s hoping to start another PhD overseas in a year or two, with a department that’ll support such work. In theory, the possibilities are as wide as the open ocean, given that we’ve only explored a small percentage of it carefully. And Wiltshire—although he felt homemade subs weren’t necessarily safe—admitted there’s likely no shortage of scientists who’d jump at the opportunity to take one for a spin. “If you’re willing to provide the sub,” he said, “they’re gonna be lined up down the block.”

In 1972, the Navy Used a Spy Submarine to Wiretap the Russian Navy

Since 2015, there have been reports of Russian submarines and spy ships trawling the waters near the ocean-spanning underwater fiber-optic cables vital to trans-oceanic Internet access. In fact, reported activity by spy ship Yartar off the U.S. nuclear-armed submarine base in King’s Bay, Georgia is likely in search of secret military cables used exclusively by the Pentagon.  The Russians might be interested in hacking into those cables because the U.S. Navy pulled of such an exploit forty-six years earlier using a specially-modified spy submarine, a nuclear-powered wiretap, and some helium-swilling aquanauts.  Commissioned in 1960, the USS Halibut was a one-of-a-kind nuclear-powered submarine designed to launch Regulus II nuclear-tipped cruise missiles. The 5,000-ton submarine housed two 17.5-meter-long Regulus II missiles in a grotesquely bulged hangar on her foredeck. The missiles were launched while surfaced from a hydraulically extended ramp to strike targets up to 1,150 miles away.  However, by the time the Halibut entered service, the Navy had developed the Polaris, the U.S.’s first Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile, which could be fired from underwater into space to strike target nearly 3,000 miles away. The obsolete Regulus II was canceled a year before the Halibut was commissioned in 1960, and the submarine spent four years lugging five older Regulus I missiles on deterrence patrols before these too were retired.  Still, the Navy saw useful potential in the Halibut’s unconventional layout, and in 1968 she received a unique overhaul. The bulged missile hangar was converted into the ‘Bat Cave’ (inspired by comic book character’s lair) stuffed full of spy equipment, including a rare 60s-era 24bit UNIVAC computer, a retractable seafloor-scanning sonar, and a photo-developing lab. A well underneath the Bat Cave could deploy two 2-ton ‘Fish’—remotely operated underwater spy vehicles. Halibut’s lower hull had special thrustors and anchoring winches to maintain its position on the sea floor and later received four skids allowing it to safely ‘land’ there. An apparent mini-submarine was prominently strapped onto the Halibut’s rear deck, which the Navy publicly boasted was a Deep Submergence Rescue Vehicle (DSRV) simulator. This was a deception: the pod actually housed a special pressurized chamber for use by saturation divers, with an integrated diving lock. Deep-sea divers risk decompression sickness (the ‘bends’) caused by gas bubbles forming within the body when reacclimatizing to regular air pressure. Based on technology pioneered in the SEALAB underwater habitats, the pressure chamber was designed to give divers a long-term pressure-stable habitat so they would only need to depressurize once at the end of their mission. The divers used oxygen mixed with helium rather than heavier nitrogen to aid acclimatization. You can see an amazing diagram by HI Sutton of the Halibut and its gadgets here . The Halibut’s first mission was to locate the Soviet ballistic missile submarine K-129, which on March 8, 1968 sank nearly 5,000 meters to the bottom of the Pacific Ocean under mysterious circumstances. The Soviet Navy searched for K-129 for months, but it was the Halibut that finally found her with her “Fish” that August, after having the search radius narrowed to ‘only’ 1,200 square miles using data from the Navy’s SOSUS hydrophone network. In 1972, the Captain James Bradley of the Office of Naval Intelligence thought of a new use for the Halibut. The Soviet Navy maintained a major nuclear-missile armed submarine base at Petropavlovsk on the remote Kamchatka Peninsula. Bradley felt it was likely that the base maintained an undersea communication cable to transmit messages directly across the Sea of Okhotsk. However, the cable’s presence was not even confirmed, so how was it to be located? Bradly was inspired one day by recollecting the signs he had seen on the side of the Mississippi River warning ships not to lay anchor in areas near underwater cables. (Anchors remain a frequent cause of damaged cables.) Reasoning the Soviets would use similar signs, he dispatched the Halibut off the coast of Kamchatka to search for them. The Halibut was not particularly quiet by the standards of modern submarines, and she risked being attacked if she was discovered penetrating the perimeter formed by Soviet naval bases on the Kuril Islands seized from Japan at the end of World War II. In fact, the Halibut had a self-destructive device to ensure she and her crew could not be captured. After a week of snooping, the Halibut’s crew finally spotted beach signs in Cyrllic warning ships not to lay anchor. Discretely, the technicians in the Bat Cave began scanning the seafloor with her ‘Fish’, and in a matter of hours spotted the cable 120-meters below the sea via a grainy video feed. The 5,000-ton submarine carefully settled close to the seafloor, deploying her special anchors. The elite saturation divers in the pod swam out to the cable and wrapped a three-foot long magnetic induction device around the cable. Rather than risking damage and detection by piercing inside cables, the tap recorded the activity passing through the cable. The operation was considered so secret that most of the Halibut’s crew were told their mission was to recover fragments from a P-500 “Sandbox” missile test for analysis. The supersonic anti-ship missile was rumored to use an advanced infrared-seeker. To reinforce the cover, after recording several hours of conversation, the Halibut sailed to the site of the test and her dovers did recover two million tiny P-500 missile fragment, which were reassembled jigsaw-like until it was discovered that Sandbox used only radar guidance! The brief tape was brought back to Pearl Harbor and found to be highly promising. The Navy rapidly commissioned a new six-ton wiretap device from Bell Laboratories called ‘the Beast’ (photo here ) which used a nuclear power source and a massive tape recorder to records of weeks of conversation across multiple lines at the same time. The Halibut returned and installed this new device, and the sub’s crew were soon listening in on Soviet telephone conversations, celebrating their success by feasting on a spider crab scooped up from the sea floor. Thenceforth, the Halibut and other submarines began regular courier runs to install new tapes on the tap while bringing back the old tapes for analysis by the NSA in what was called Operation Ivy Bells. The Halibut herself was decommissioned in 1975, and the courier runs taken over by the USS Parche, Sea Wolf and Richard B. Russell. The tapped cables provided a treasure trove of intelligence for the NSA: mixed in between personal calls to family and sweethearts were private conversations on sensitive political topics and detailed information on Soviet submarine operations. Much of the Soviet traffic was unencrypted because cables were considered a highly secure form of communication. This candid, unfiltered portrait of the Soviet Navy’s state of mind vis-à-vis the United States reportedly influenced U.S. military leaders to deescalate activities which were threatening to panic Moscow, and also apparently informed the Washington’s negotiating posture for the SALT II treaty which limited the size of strategic nuclear weapons forces.

SEAmagine sets the ultimate standard in personal submarines .

 

SEAmagine has been defining ingenuity in submersible engineering for over two decades and the company’s brand-new Aurora-3C model is truly an underwater adventurer’s dream machine.  This exquisitely crafted personal submersible defines excellence in design, elegance, performance, safety, and comfort alike.Over the past twenty-two years, the California-based SEAmagine Hydrospace Corporation has manufactured small, personal submarines with passion, imagination, and precision engineering at the helm of their operation.  The Aurora-3C is, thus far, the crowning jewel of their never-ending drive to create the ultimate underwater experience for sea-adventurers via this new vessel’s unbelievable field of view, spacious environment, exceptionally easy boarding and exiting arrangement, and its unparalleled safety and comfort. 

OVERVIEW

Compact and lightweight in design, this new, 3-person, luxury submarine offers the most spacious interior and comfortable entry arrangement in its weight category.  With a diving depth of 457 m, this model has a dry weight of only 3,800 kg and its large, front acrylic window along with the second 180-degree hemispherical window integrated into the entry hatch offers passengers and the pilot an expansive field of view in all directions.  Compact in its external configuration while still spacious in its interior, this ssel has a low height and an even lower hoist point making it ideal for setup in confined spaces. To ensure safety and comfort during boarding, this ABS-classed submersible turns into a high freeboard platform when floating at surface, and the top deck’s retractable handrails guide passengers to a staircase going through an extra-large entry hatch leading to the leather seating area, featuring a panoramic view of the underwater world.

STYLE & COMFORT WITH BENEFITS

Aboard the elegant, air-conditioned cabin, two passengers are seated in the front two luxury leather seats with the pilot sitting in the equally comfortable center-rear section. The passengers’ custom seats have a covering of stitched leather and were designed specifically for this particular submarine interior to maximize comfort while ensuring the optimum in ergonomics. Each passenger seat features a leather-covered side armrest equipped with a, high-tech, user-friendly computer screen where passengers can choose between displaying diving depth and navigation data or streaming the HD video camera feed from the underwater camera located externally on the front of the craft.  Furthermore, these passenger armrests are each fitted with a BOSE® sound system which can be connected to passengers’ smartphones through Bluetooth technology.

The Aurora-3C’s incredible field of view, provided to the three occupants via the large front acrylic window, is greatly enhanced by the vessel’s patented design.  This craft is unencumbered by the requirement of long, forward pontoons which restrict peripheral viewing from the front and are often found in traditionally designed submersibles.  To further maximize views, the access hatch holds a large second window which is surrounded by a clear windshield.  In addition to the breathtaking front view, this second window provides the rear pilot with a remarkable upward, sideways and rear view.  Not only does this 180-degree, acrylic hemisphere offer a significant additional field of view, it also invites a lovely cascade of natural light into the cabin.

POWERFUL ELECTRIC VESSEL

This fully electric vessel is powered by the latest lithium polymer battery technology and consists of 6000 m depth-rated, pressure-balanced batteries installed externally in two separate oil-filled compartments, providing 40kWh of power, The Aurora-3C’s hydrodynamic design, equipped with six powerful propulsion thrusters, has over 600 Kg of thrust, and the thrusters’ arrangement, controlled from a single joystick, offers ultra-high agility of movement under water in all directions. With direct drive, (no gearbox) and 90% reverse thrust, these thrusters also offer a perfectly smooth response when starting and stopping. To engage passengers in the most thrilling of underwater adventures, a second, optional, handheld joystick control is available to front passengers affording them the opportunity to maneuver the craft under the supervision of the trained pilot who always maintains override capability from the main rear control station.

SPECIAL SAFETY FEATURES

The Aurora-3C is designed to be positively buoyant at all times and, for this reason, the vessel will always want to rise up and float to surface when it is under water. This submarine is kept under water by two vertically-oriented thrusters which push it down and control the diving depth. Should the propulsion system be turned off, the vessel will always gently float back to surface on its own due to its natural positive buoyancy. This feature makes the submarine intrinsically safe.  As another safety feature, the Aurora-3C is equipped with a robust emergency buoy release system that can be activated either by the pilot or remotely through the water by the topside support crew. This Emergency Buoy’s tether is attached to the submarine by a 600 m long coiled line which has a 3900 kg breaking-strength rating. The Aurora-3C is the only submarine in its weight and size category with such a substantial emergency buoy release system.

TECHNOLOGY AT HAND

With underwater lights, a robotic arm, sonar, HD camera filming, and a sophisticated navigation system, this vessel is equipped with the latest subsea technology in every aspect of its design.  A total of twelve highly efficient, powerful, underwater LED lights mounted around the vessel provide exceptional lighting when deep under water where the sunlight does not reach. The pilot and the two passengers each have access to the external HD camera through convenient, hand-held controls and everyone can take turns filming using the monitors mounted on each armrest. Similarly, all three occupants can use the hand-held controls to direct the robotic arm giving them the ability to pick up items from the seafloor.

STAIRCASE WITH HANDRAILS ENTRY & EXIT

The Aurora-3C entry and exit arrangement for passengers is superior to all other submarines in its weight category. The top deck, made of synthetic teak decking, offers an excellent boarding platform supported by two retractable hand rails on each side. A staircase leads passengers to the large entry hatch located over the pilot seat, and the pilot seat transforms itself into two additional steps extending the upper staircase all the way inside to the cabin floor.  Once inside, passengers are assisted in securing themselves into their individual seats by sturdy handles on the sides of each front seat.  The remarkable amount of space within the very large entry hatch and the roomy entry area inside the submarine hull is a standout feature unique to the Aurora-3C which distinguishes it from any other, compact submarine designs.

SUBMARINE PILOT TRAINING

SEAmagine offers a comprehensive submarine pilot and support crew training program which the company initially developed twenty years ago in conjunction with the U.S. Coast Guard.  The program has since evolved into a well-structured, highly effective training curriculum that SEAmagine conducts on a worldwide scale. Depending on the number of trainees, the training curriculum (in combination with the setup of a new submarine on a yacht) will typically take around three to four weeks to complete. 

SEAMAGINE THE COMPANY

SEAmagine Hydrospace Corporation is a California based company established in 1995 and a leading manufacturer of small manned submersibles with over 12,000 dives accumulated by its existing fleet. The company produces 2 to 6 person models of its submersibles for depths from 150 meters to 1500 meters deep. All SEAmagine submersibles are classed by the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) and are approved by the Cayman Island Shipping Registry. SEAmagine’s submersibles have been used in scientific, commercial, and superyacht sectors and have also been used in numerous film projects produced by National Geographic, BBC, and others.  SEAmagine maintains a flawless safety record, has built a solid track record of reliability and practicality over the past 24 years in both the professional and superyacht markets, and has garnered an enviable reputation for reliable, top-tier support worldwide.

 

Scenic Unveils Submarine for Eclipse

When the Scenic Eclipse launches from Uljanik in January, it will carry the U Boat Worx Cruise Submarine 7, giving guests unique underwater access. Capable of diving to a depth of 300 metres with seating for up to six guests, the submarine has been custom-built for optimal sightseeing of marine wonders, the company said. The U-Boat Worx submarine is designed to meet international noise standards, and to provide unmatched comfort, space and style, with maximum legroom and headroom while keeping overall weight and size to a minimum. Scenic Founder and Chairman, Glen Moroney said the submarine will offer guests a unique opportunity to go below and beyond. “Scenic has always sought to venture beyond the horizon and with our submarine we provide guests with the opportunity to enjoy unparalleled access to some of nature’s most beautiful marine environments. From inside the U-Boat Worx submersibles, each guest will enjoy an uninterrupted view thanks to the strategic placement of all components and the use of an ultra-clear acrylic hull, expertly engineered to make you feel “at one” with the ocean," Moroney said. The submarine design consists of a three-person pod on the front and at the back of the sub for a total of six guests plus the pilot, who is located behind the guests. The seats are mounted on a platform that can swivel 180 degrees, so the guests are able to see both sides of the submarine. Strong exterior lights will allow guests to take in the colors and details of wrecks and other underwater sights. “The sub is able to do from 8 up to 12 dives per day, depending on the length of dive, giving as many guests as possible access to this unique opportunity,” said Moroney. “Because the cabin is pressurized, there is also no need for a slow ascent or descent. One of the thrills for guests is a fast, upward journey where they pop out from below the ocean with a splash."

 

South Korea launches its first missile-capable submarine.

South Korea launched its first ever missile-capable attack submarine on Friday, despite a recent diplomatic thaw with the nuclear-armed North. The £535 million, 3,000-tonne Dosan Ahn Chang-ho submarine is capable of firing both cruise and ballistic missiles and is the first of three planned diesel-electric boats to go into service in the next five years. It represented a "leap forward in the country's" defence industry, President Moon Jae-in told a launch ceremony at the Daewoo shipyard where it was designed and built. "Peace through power is the unwavering security strategy of this government." Mr Moon will head to Pyongyang next week for a third summit with the North's leader, Kim Jong-un, at a time when US-led efforts to persuade Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons have stalled. "We have set off on a grand journey toward the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula," Mr Moon said. "But peace is not given gratuitously," he added. The new submarine is fitted with six vertical launch tubes and features indigenous sonar and combat management systems. Aside from the new vessels, South Korea has an existing fleet of 18 smaller submarines, all built in co-operation with Germany. According to the defence ministry, the North has 70 ageing submarines and submersibles, and Yonhap news agency reported that it has also developed a new 2,500-tonne submarine fitted with a vertical launch system.

Hollywood movies about Russian nuclear submarines

Donovan Marsh/G-BASE; Millennium Films, 2018 During the Cold War, Soviet nuclear submarines haunted the U.S. Navy like underwater ghosts. And American and European directors continue to take inspiration from the ocean battles between Washington and Moscow's sub-aquatic monsters.

 1. K-19: The Widowmaker (2002)Featuring Harrison Ford and Liam Neeson, K-19 tells the true story of the Soviet ballistic missile nuclear submarine staring disaster in the face under the sea in 1961. The crew is forced to act fast to try and prevent a massive nuclear disaster, but is the sub's destiny already decided? Interesting fact: The first script was completely rewritten after sailors involved in the real life drama complained it was not accurate.

2. The Hunt for Red October (1990)Based on Tom Clancy's bestselling novel, the movie follows Marko Ramius, captain of a new Soviet submarine, who secretly wants to defect to the Americans with his boat. The problem is that the U.S. doesn't know his plans, and sees the approaching Soviet submarine as a real threat. The movie features cinematic heavyweights Sean Connery and Alec Baldwin.

3. Hostile Waters (1997)Another movie based on real events, Hostile Waters is about the Soviet K-219 submarine that collided with the USS Aurora not far from America's eastern coast. To prevent the onboard ballistic missiles exploding, the Soviet captain, played by Rutger Hauer, decides to sink the submarine.

4. Phantom (2013)Ed Harris portrayed Dmitry Zubov, the captain of a Soviet nuclear submarine with KGB agent Bruni (David Duchovny) on board. Soon Zubov realizes that Bruni is a renegade, who plans to use the submarine to start a world nuclear war.

5. Crimson Tide (1995)It's the mid-1990s and Russia, suffering from an economic and political crisis, is slipping into civil war. The U.S. is worrying about the country's nuclear weapons amid the chaos, and sends its underwater fleet to Russia's coast to try and control the situation, as the threat of a global nuclear war looms large.

6. Kursk (2018)The upcoming French-Belgian drame (the only film on the list not from Hollywood) tells the story of the tragedy that befell the Russian K-141 submarine in 2000, when 118 crew members died. The movie features Hollywood stars including Matthias Schoenaerts, Lea Seydoux, Colin Firth, and Matthias Schweighöfer.

7. The Bedford Incident (1965)During its mission off the Greenland coast, the American destroyer USS Bedford detects a Soviet submarine. The captain decides to play cat-and-mouse with the Soviets, but he has no idea it will have tragic consequences for both sides.

8. Hunter Killer (2018)Russia's president is overthrown and captured by the minister of defense during the visit to the Northern Marine base. Joe Glass (Gerard Butler), captain of the USS Omaha submarine, is sent to Russian waters to rescue the president. As you can imagine, hardcore action ensues.

If using any of Russia Beyond's content, partly or in full, always provide an active hyperlink to the original material. Russian navy hollywood submarine More exciting stories and videos on Russia Beyond's Facebook page Read more Where do nuclear submarines leave their "hearts"?The biggest, deepest, and fastest: The record-breaking world of Soviet subs5 new Western movies and series that star Russian actors 10 best Russian war movies

UK to upgrade SBS capabilities with 3 new  mini-submarines

US approves $90 million sale to the UK of 3 SDV Shallow Water Combat Submersibles, likely for Britain's SBS. The U.S. State Department approved the sale to the United Kingdom of three mini-submarines designed for special forces use, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in a release. The proposed sale includes three SEAL Delivery Vehicle (SDV) Mark 11 Shallow Water Combat Submersibles, along with spares, handling and test equipment, U.S. Government and contractor engineering and training, and other services and support. The total estimated program cost is $90 million. DSCA noted that the U.K. “has a proven track record of successfully deploying predecessor system,” a reference to the Mark 8 Mod 1 SDV, which the U.K. procured for the Special Boat Service, the Royal Navy’s special forces and counter-terrorism unit, which is the maritime sister service of the SAS. The prime contractor will be Teledyne Brown Engineering, and implementation will require multiple trips to the U.K. by U.S. government and contractor personnel for reviews, training and support.

The Shallow Water Combat Submersible is the latest iteration of the SEAL Delivery Vehicle (SDV) mini-submarine, designed for operation by specialist U.S. Navy SEAL special forces teams. Designated the SDV Mark 11, the SWCS is a battery-powered free-flooding wet submersible platform intended primarily for the clandestine insertion and extraction of special forces. The covert nature of its operational use means that the majority of its capabilities and performance requirements are classified. The first production SDV, the Mark 7, began experimental service in 1967, and its first mission was off the coast of North Vietnam in June 1972. It was replaced with the Mark 8, which was introduced in the 1980s and subsequently improved. Mark 8 SDVs were used for reconnaissance and demolition during Operation Desert Storm and to secure offshore oil terminals during Operation Iraqi Freedom. The Mark 8 Mod 1 SDV cruises at 4 knots (7.4 km/h) and has of up to 12 hours endurance, giving it a range of around 18 nautical miles (33 km) carrying a dive team of four along with its pilot and co-pilot. Under a 2010 contract, Teledyne Brown Engineering developed a full-scale interior mockup of a new SDV submarine and provided a demonstration of the system’s functionality. The company was then awarded a $383 million U.S. Special Operations Command contract in 2011 to design, develop, test, manufacture and sustain the Shallow Water Combat Submersible. The SWCS was designed to replace the Mark 8 SDV, improving a variety of capabilities including range, speed, payload, navigation and communications, all based on a modern modular subsystem design to ease processor and sensor upgrades. According to HI Sutton, the new vessel is 6.8 m (22.4 ft) long, 1.5 m (5 feet) wide and high, weighs 10,000 lbs (4,500 kg) and can carry 6 or more sailors. Teledyne delivered the first SCWS test unit in 2014. The Shallow Water Combat Submersible is deployable from surface ships as well as from larger submarines able to carry the Dry-Deck Shelter used to launch the vessel. In May 2014, the U.S. Navy had eight Ohio- and Virginia-class submarines able to carry the Dry-Deck Shelter, with a ninth expected later that year, according to War is Boring. Also in 2014, the Royal Navy nuclear submarine HMS Astute (S119) was pictured in Gibraltar fitted with a similar deck pod. Mark 8 SDVs can also be launched and recovered from amphibious carriers and other surface ships or from the shore. They can even be airdropped from a C-130 Hercules or heavy-lift helicopter.

Russian Kursk Submarine Disaster

In 2000, one of the worst peacetime submarines accidents ever took place off the coast of Russia. A huge explosion sank the giant nuclear-powered submarine Kursk, killing most of its crew and stranding nearly two dozen survivors hundreds of feet underwater. An international rescue team assembled to save the sailors, but was unable to reach them in time. Colin Firth stars in a new movie about the disaster called Kursk, which comes out this year. Here's the true story of the doomed

Carrier Hunters sub.

One of the Soviet Union’s biggest worries during the Cold War was America’s fleet of aircraft carriers. The Soviets saw American carriers as both delivery platforms capable of launching thermonuclear airstrikes against the motherland and as hunters of the USSR’s own nuclear ballistic missile fleet. The USSR spent enormous sums on weapon systems meant to hunt down American carriers in wartime. The Antey-class submarines were one such solution. The subs, nicknamed “Oscar II” by NATO, made up a large class of nuclear-powered boats designed to to kill large ships—particularly aircraft carriers. The Oscar IIs were 508 feet long with a beam of nearly 60 feet and displaced 19,400 tons, twice as much as a destroyer. To keep up with American nuclear-powered carriers, the Soviet subs were each powered by two OK-650 nuclear reactors that together provided 97,990 shipboard horsepower. Such power gave them a top speed of 33 knots underwater.  The Oscar IIs were big because they carried big missiles. Each submarine carried 24 P-700 Granit missiles, which themselves were each the size of a small plane—33 feet long and weighing 15,400 lbs. each. The missiles had a top speed of Mach 1.6, a range of 388 miles, and used the now defunct Legenda satellite targeting system to home in on their aircraft carrier targets. A Granit could carry a 1,653-lb. conventional high explosive warhead (enough to damage a carrier) or a 500-kiloton warhead (enough to vaporize an aircraft carrier with a single hit.)  Thirteen Oscar I and Oscar II submarines were built, including K-141—also known as Kursk.

The Torpedo That Failed

The Kursk was completed in 1994 and assigned to the Russian Northern Fleet. On August 15, 2000 the Kursk was involved in a major fleet exercise, along with the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov and battlecruiser Pyotr Velikity. Kursk was fully armed with Granit missiles and torpedoes and was to make a simulated attack on Kuznetsov.  At 11:20 AM local time, an underwater explosion rocked the exercise area, followed two minutes later by an even larger explosion. A Norwegian seismic monitoring station recorded both explosions. One Russian account claims the 28,000-ton battlecruiser Pyotr Velikiy shook from the first explosion.

Racked by explosions, Kursk sank in 354 feet of water at a 20-degree vertical angle. One of the explosions ripped a large gash in her forward bow, near the torpedo compartment. A Russian Navy board of inquiry later determined that one of the submarine’s Type 65-76A super heavyweight torpedoes had exploded, causing the gash. The explosion was likely caused by a faulty weld that failed to hold the hydrogen peroxide fuel chamber together. Like many torpedoes, the Type 65-76As used hydrogen peroxide as underwater fuel. The danger was that this chemical compound can become explosive if it comes in contact with organic compounds or a fire. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, “Hydrogen peroxide is not itself flammable but can cause spontaneous combustion of flammable materials and continued support of the combustion because it liberates oxygen as it decomposes.” In one instance recorded by the NLM, “Leakage from drums of 35% hydrogen peroxide onto a wooden pallet caused ignition of the latter when it was moved. Combustion, though limited in area, was fierce and took some time to extinguish. Leakage of 50% peroxide onto supporting pallets under polythene sheeting led to spontaneous ignition and a fierce fire.”

The Fateful Moments

So what happened on board the Kursk? The likely chain of events was something like this: A hydrogen peroxide leak started a fire, which in turn detonated the Type 65-76A’s 900-lb. high explosive warhead. This probably started the gash in the hull above the torpedo section. The second explosion would have been the detonation of the remaining torpedoes aboard the submarine. The Kursk’s sinking didn’t kill all of its 118 crewmembers—at least not right away. One of the ship’s officers, Lieutenant Captain Dmitri Koselnikov left a note dated two hours after the second explosion recording 23 survivors. Despite a hastily organized rescue effort, including British and Norwegian rescue teams, the Russian government was unable to reach any of the survivors in time. The wreck of the submarine was recovered in 2001 and returned to the Russian Navy submarine shipyards at Roslyakovo.

Thailand’s New Mini-Submarine Quest

Last week, a British engineering group announced that it had won the contract to help Thailand design its midget submarines. Though few specifics have been publicly disclosed thus far, the development has nonetheless put the spotlight once again on Bangkok’s decades-old aspirations in this domain. As I noted before in these pages, over the past few years, Thailand has made some notable advances in terms of realizing its decades-long aspiration to acquire submarines. The most headline-grabbing of these was the approval of a deal to purchase submarines from China, initially concluded back in 2015. In July, on a separate note, news publicly surfaced that the current Thai government under Prayut Chan-o-cha was moving forward with a new project to design a so-called “midget” or mini-submarine, which had been in the works since late last year.At the time, the suggestion was that the planned construction of a prototype, a vessel in the unofficially named “Chalawan Class,” would take approximately seven years, with a surface displacement of 150-300 tons, a crew of 10, and a range of 300 nautical miles. But few additional specifics were offered, and it remained to be seen how quickly Thailand would move to turn this idea into reality. Last week, we saw another development in Thailand’s midget submarine quest when U.K. engineering group BMT won the contract to help design it for the RTN. The official announcement came from BMT in a statement issued on October 17. According to BMT, under the new contract, which was signed in September, it will provide assistance to the RTN during the design phase of the project as an overseas independent consultancy. BMT said it had been contracted “to recommend submarine-specific engineering management best practice to help the RTN minimize risk during the design phase.” Few additional specifics were provided on the nature of BMT’s work, including the specific value of the contract. But the work is due to be completed in the first quarter of 2019, suggesting that Thailand continues to want to move quite quickly on this within the broader context of its long-held submarine ambitions. As I have noted before, the extent to which Bangkok will actually be able to do so remains to be seen. There have been a range of challenges getting in the way of inroads in the past, and some of them remain today, including cost issues and domestic political transitions that could affect the speed at which certain defense projects can move through

$48-million Triton 36000/2 submersible for the deepest oceans


If you like the water, don't mind cramped spaces, and have a spare US$48 million lying around, then Triton Submarines has a submersible that can take you and a passenger to the bottom of the deepest ocean. With its support ship thrown in for the sticker price, the
Triton 36000/2 Hadal Exploration System is designed to make repeated visits to the nadir of the seabed for science, exploration, or the ultimate joyride. Submersibles have come a long way in the past half century. In the 1960s they were the reserve of major navies, scientific institutes, and pioneering deep-sea engineering firms. Today, they've become the playthings of the very rich. For the right price, you can buy a wide variety of underwater vessels, with Triton even working on a luxury submersible with Aston Martin. But as with all luxury items, the private submersible market is a game of oneupmanship and the Triton 36000/2 is about as oneupmany as you can get. This isn't just an acrylic sphere with electric motors and some ballast that can be dropped off the boat dock of a superyacht for a quick spin around the coral reef. It's a cutting-edge deep-sea vessel that can rival the real record breakers.
And though anyone with the scratch can buy it, the system is also being marketed to governments, philanthropic organizations, and research institutes.
What sets the Triton 36000/2 apart is its spherical, 3.54-inch-thick (90-mm) titanium pressure hull that Triton says took new, advanced forging techniques to produce without any welds or similar weak spots. With an inner diameter of 59 in (1.5 m), it can carry two passengers in its ergonomically-designed leather seats to the deepest spot in the ocean – the Challenger Deep, which bottoms out at about 36,000 ft (11,000 m). At that point, the water is always near freezing, in total darkness, and the pressure is in excess of 16,000 psi (1,089 ATM). This is a place that only three people have visited before and only as one-offs.
According to Triton, the Triton 36000/2 has been tested at the Krylov State Research Center in St. Petersburg, Russia to 20,305 psi (1,382 ATM), as well as on deep dives in the Bahamas. It has a pressure safety factor at least 20 percent greater than it will ever encounter. In addition, it can go to those depths repeatedly on trips of over 16 hours – including the 2.5-hour descent. Triton claims that this repeatability is a first for manned submersibles operating that such depths.
To achieve this, the 11.7-tonne (25,700-lb) vessel has a 64-kWh, 24-V electrical power system running on Li-Fe-P batteries that supply the life support systems, manipulator, 10 electric thrusters, four wide-angle cameras and ten 20,000-lumen LED lamps. In the event of an emergency, it has life support for 96 hours and can jettison its batteries, thrusters, manipulator, and ballast to achieve positive buoyancy. Because the Triton 36000/2 is designed for extreme ocean depths, the purchase price includes its support ship, the DSSV Pressure Drop. This 224-ft (68-m) diesel electric vessel displaces 2,000 gross tons and can carry 47 passengers and crew as well as the Triton 36000/2. The former US Navy submarine seeker and NOAA science and survey vessel has a stern-mounted A-frame for releasing and recovering the submersible, as well as a climate-controlled hangar, support systems, wet and dry labs, specimen freezers, and a media suite. In addition it has the latest Kongsberg-Simrad EM-124 multi-beam sonar for topographic mapping of the ocean floor. And like any good seller, Triton is also throwing in three unmanned landers with L3 Systems-supplied acoustic modems to aid in the Triton 36000/2's navigation and to relay communications to the mothership. They also have six push-core samplers for collecting geological and biological samples from the seafloor, as well as up to 10 L (2.6 gal) of seawater. They can also record data on the way up and down using their conductivity, temperature and depth sensors, and their time-lapse cameras. The Triton 36000/2 is currently on a world expedition during which it will conduct over 50 dives to the five deepest locations on Earth. These include the Puerto Rican Trench, the Meteor Deep in the Southern Ocean, the Molloy Deep off Greenland, and the Challenger Deep in the Marianas Trench, along with other dives to historic shipwrecks. Once these are completed, the Triton 36000/2 submersible will be available for delivery in 2019.

 

 Submarine rescue record reached in Indian Ocean trials

JFD has demonstrated key submarine rescue capabilities with a series of successful rescue trials in the Indian Ocean, smashing previous records for submarine rescue. This successful procedure confirmed the high flexibility of the system to adapt to very harsh recovery situations and means the Indian Navy has now joined a select group of nations with the sovereign capability to rescue submariners in a transportable or 'fly-away' kit that is easily mobilised. Working in partnership with the Indian Navy, which in March accepted delivery from JFD of the first of two free-swimming submarine rescue vehicles, JFD’s team of highly-skilled personnel oversaw and helped achieve the following:

  • Deepest ever submarine rescue dive of 666 metres; 
  • Deepest ever submarine hatch opening of 655 metres; and
  • Deepest ever JFD remotely operated vehicle dive of 750 metres. 

This means that JFD can safely rescue submariners at depths that were once considered unattainable and further shows why it is the world’s triple-0 number for submarines in distress. JFD Australia managing director, Toff Idrus said, "The system was tested in particularly challenging conditions, not unlike those you would see in Australia. "It is a similar capability to the one JFD provides to the Royal Australian Navy from our advanced manufacturing base at Bibra Lake, in Perth and as we prepare for the annual Black Carillon ocean exercises off the West Australian coast in early November where similar scenarios will be conducted, it gives us great confidence," Idrus said. The records came during final testing of the submarine rescue system’s capability in challenging conditions off the coast of Mumbai which included a mock rescue from a disabled submarine on the ocean floor. After finding and then attaching to the submarine, JFD and the Indian Navy carried out a safe transfer of personnel from the submarine to the rescue vehicle. "Time to the first rescue is critical in operations of this nature and from our base here in Australia and at other locations, which now include India, we are “rescue ready” and able to respond within 12 hours to a disabled submarine anywhere in the world," Idrus explained. JFD is a underwater capability provider, serving the commercial and defence markets with innovative diving, submarine and hyperbaric rescue, technical solutions and services. The company is at the forefront of Hyperbaric Rescue, along with being the leading supplier of commercial and defence diving equipment and saturation diving systems to the commercial industry. JFD was created in 2014 through the merger of James Fisher Defence and Divex. In 2015 JFD acquired the National Hyperbaric Centre to further boost the services offered to its customers. In 2016 LEXMAR was acquired to enhance the capability and offering within JFD’s diving capability and suite of saturation diving systems. JFD acquired diving and recompression specialist Cowan Manufacturing in February 2018. 

The SMX-31 could be the first of a new generation of submarines. A French defense contractor is showing off a submarine design unlike any other. Inspired by the sperm whale, the SMX-31, also known as the “Electric,” is heavily armed and supports a wide range of unmanned vehicles, and can even function as a mothership to naval special forces. The submarine is also heavily automated, with a crew of just 15.Unveiled at the Euronaval exhibition in Paris, SMX-31 breaks almost every convention of submarine design. The vessel lacks a conventional sail, giving it an organic, whale-like appearance—indeed, its design was influenced by the deep-diving sperm whale. It has retractable hydroplanes that fold into the hull, a hexagonal-patterned skin with built-in sensor antennas, and a pair of rim drive propulsors (pump jets) housed in the stern of the craft.  Internally, the sub is a two-hulled design, with a lighter outer and heavier inner hull. The ship is electrically powered, with lithium ion batteries providing a power source instead of diesel engines or a nuclear reactor. Maximum diving depth is unknown but at least 800 feet. Electric can also act as a mothership for unmanned vehicles. It can launch unmanned aerial vehicles from a tethered launcher that floats to the surface while the submarine itself remains submerged. It will disgorge unmanned undersea vehicles from a rear hangar. SMX-31 will also accommodate underwater delivery vehicles such as the six-man Propulsor Sous-Marins 3rd Generation used by naval special forces to infiltrate coastal areas. SMX-31 carries a whopping 46 heavy torpedoes and missiles, including the F21 Artemis heavyweight torpedo and SCALP land attack cruise missile recently used in NATO air strikes against Syria. The submarine has vertical launch silos in the bow and horizontally mounted stern-mounted launch tubes. All of this capability is packed into a very small ship: “Electric” is just 229 feet long and displaces 3,400 tons. The submarine will be able to operate at sea for 30-45 days, depending on battery capacity, with a maximum underwater speed of 20 knots. One reason such a small submarine can do so much is that it has a crew of just 15. Submarines smaller than SMX-13 typically have crews of 60 or more.

The True Story of the Russian Kursk Submarine Disaster

In 2000, one of the worst peacetime submarines accidents ever took place off the coast of Russia. A huge explosion sank the giant nuclear-powered submarine Kursk, killing most of its crew and stranding nearly two dozen survivors hundreds of feet underwater. An international rescue team assembled to save the sailors, but was unable to reach them in time. Colin Firth stars in a new movie about the disaster called Kursk, which comes out this year. Here's the true story of the doomed sub.

Carrier Hunters

One of the Soviet Union’s biggest worries during the Cold War was America’s fleet of aircraft carriers. The Soviets saw American carriers as both delivery platforms capable of launching thermonuclear airstrikes against the motherland and as hunters of the USSR’s own nuclear ballistic missile fleet. The USSR spent enormous sums on weapon systems meant to hunt down American carriers in wartime.  The Antey-class submarines were one such solution. The subs, nicknamed “Oscar II” by NATO, made up a large class of nuclear-powered boats designed to to kill large ships—particularly aircraft carriers. The Oscar IIs were 508 feet long with a beam of nearly 60 feet and displaced 19,400 tons, twice as much as a destroyer. To keep up with American nuclear-powered carriers, the Soviet subs were each powered by two OK-650 nuclear reactors that together provided 97,990 shipboard horsepower. Such power gave them a top speed of 33 knots underwater. The Oscar IIs were big because they carried big missiles. Each submarine carried 24 P-700 Granit missiles, which themselves were each the size of a small plane—33 feet long and weighing 15,400 lbs. each. The missiles had a top speed of Mach 1.6, a range of 388 miles, and used the now defunct Legenda satellite targeting system to home in on their aircraft carrier targets. A Granit could carry a 1,653-lb. conventional high explosive warhead (enough to damage a carrier) or a 500-kiloton warhead (enough to vaporize an aircraft carrier with a single hit.)

The Torpedo That Failed

The Kursk was completed in 1994 and assigned to the Russian Northern Fleet. On August 15, 2000 the Kursk was involved in a major fleet exercise, along with the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov and battlecruiser Pyotr Velikity. Kursk was fully armed with Granit missiles and torpedoes and was to make a simulated attack on Kuznetsov.  At 11:20 AM local time, an underwater explosion rocked the exercise area, followed two minutes later by an even larger explosion. A Norwegian seismic monitoring station recorded both explosions. One Russian account claims the 28,000-ton battlecruiser Pyotr Velikiy shook from the first explosion. Racked by explosions, Kursk sank in 354 feet of water at a 20-degree vertical angle. One of the explosions ripped a large gash in her forward bow, near the torpedo compartment. A Russian Navy board of inquiry later determined that one of the submarine’s Type 65-76A super heavyweight torpedoes had exploded, causing the gash. The explosion was likely caused by a faulty weld that failed to hold the hydrogen peroxide fuel chamber together. Like many torpedoes, the Type 65-76As used hydrogen peroxide as underwater fuel. The danger was that this chemical compound can become explosive if it comes in contact with organic compounds or a fire. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, “Hydrogen peroxide is not itself flammable but can cause spontaneous combustion of flammable materials and continued support of the combustion because it liberates oxygen as it decomposes.” In one instance recorded by the NLM, “Leakage from drums of 35% hydrogen peroxide onto a wooden pallet caused ignition of the latter when it was moved. Combustion, though limited in area, was fierce and took some time to extinguish. Leakage of 50% peroxide onto supporting pallets under polythene sheeting led to spontaneous ignition and a fierce fire.”

The Fateful Moments

So what happened on board the Kursk? The likely chain of events was something like this: A hydrogen peroxide leak started a fire, which in turn detonated the Type 65-76A’s 900-lb. high explosive warhead. This probably started the gash in the hull above the torpedo section. The second explosion would have been the detonation of the remaining torpedoes aboard the submarine. The Kursk’s sinking didn’t kill all of its 118 crewmembers—at least not right away. One of the ship’s officers, Lieutenant Captain Dmitri Koselnikov left a note dated two hours after the second explosion recording 23 survivors. Despite a hastily organized rescue effort, including British and Norwegian rescue teams, the Russian government was unable to reach any of the survivors in time. The wreck of the submarine was recovered in 2001 and returned to the Russian Navy submarine shipyards at Roslyakovo.

 

In 1942, Japan Used Mini-Submarines to Assault Sydney

Australia was situated considerably closer to the action in the Pacific than the United States during World War II. Japanese aircraft bombed the northern city of Darwin, while ground forces advanced dangerously close in New Guinea. However, the Imperial Japanese Navy’s plans to capture nearby Port Moresby were frustrated at the Battle of the Coral Sea . The Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN)’s next strike would target the U. S. naval base at Midway Island in June 1942. However, 8th Submarine Squadron was tapped to launch two diversionary raids using Type A Ko-hyoteki midget submarines to infiltrate harbor defenses. Japan’s devastating Pearl Harbor attack included five Ko-Hyoteki—but not one of them succeeded in its mission . Carried atop large cruiser-submarine motherships, the two-person minisubs measured twenty-four meters long and carried two 17”-diameter torpedoes. Their lead-acid batteries afforded them only twelve hours of propulsion at slow speed. Though not intended to be suicide weapons, the Ko-hyoteki crew’s odds of escape and recovery remained extremely low. Two cruiser-submarines sallied to ambush British ships besieging French-held Madagascar. Meanwhile, submarines I-22, I-24, I-27, and I-28 transited to Truk to load Ko-hyoteki for a southern raid, embarking a revised model with wider hulls, improved gyro-compasses, bow-mounted net-cutters on to slice through harbor nets, and accessways to allow manning while submerged. Meanwhile, I-21 and I-29 scouted out potential targets in Fiji, New Zealand, New Caledonia and Australia using E14Y two-seat float-planes stowed in their submersible hangars. Reports of battleships in Sydney harbor led to the city’s selection as a target. However, the plan rapidly went south, literally and metaphorically. On May 11, I-22 was torpedoed heading for Truk by the American submarine USS Tautog. Then the mini-submarine on I-24 suffered a battery explosion, forcing the sub to double back and pick up the spare Ko-hyoteki. The surviving cruiser-submarines finally assembled thirty-five miles away from Sydney harbor on May 29 and launched a second scout-plane mission—this time only spotting the cruisers USS Chicago and HMAS Canberra and Adelaide in the harbor, rather than the expected battleships. The floatplane then crash-landed in heavy waters. On May 31, the mothership-submarines approached points six to eight miles from Sydney Harbor and launched mini-subs M-14, M-21, and M-24. Sydney’s harbor defenses included small patrol boats, anti-submarine nets and “indicator-loops” of electromagnetic sensors. However, there were two 400-meter gaps on the edge of the loops—and only two of the eight loops were operational due to a lack of personnel. As M-14 attempted to slip through the western gap, however, she collided with rocks and became entangled in the submarine net. A watchman spotted the floundering sub and informed the patrol boat Yarroma. She and another converted launch located M-14 at 10 PM and lobbed two depth charges towards the trapped submarine—but their pressure-sensitive fuses failed to detonate in the shallow water. Abruptly, M-14 exploded at 10:30 as her crew detonated her 300-pound scuttling charge. M-24 brushed with disaster when she scraped the hull of a schooner, but then slipped into the harbor behind a ferry passing through an opening in the anti-submarine nets. At 10:30, she was illuminated by the Chicago’s searchlight—but the cruiser’s 5” guns couldn’t depress low enough to strike her, though quad. 50-caliber anti-aircraft machine guns did rake the submarine. Dodging two Australian corvettes, M-24 dove out of sight…and circled around. At 11 PM, M-21 was also caught in a patrol boat’s searchlight. The armed steamer Yandra rammed the midget submarine and blasted the nearby waters with six depth charges, but M-21 finally escaped by diving to the seabed. Harbor commander Rear Admiral Muirhead-Gould had been partying with the Chicago’s captain when submarine reports began trickling in at 10 PM. Though he raised the alarm, he then drunkenly snapped at the anti-submarine crews, implying they were jumping at ghosts. But at 12:30, M-24 finally lined up a shot at the Chicago’s stern and launched both Type 97 Special torpedoes—but misjudged the angle. One plowed into Garden Island without detonating. The other narrowly skimmed under Dutch submarine K-IX and struck the dock beside the depot ship Kuttabul. The blast from the 772-pound warhead snapped the converted ferry in two, killing twenty-one sailors. This finally triggered a more vigorous sub-hunt. At 3 AM, the loops detected M-21 sneaking back into the harbor. After a prolonged depth-charge bombardment by three hounding patrol boats, M-21’ crew committed suicide. Only M-24 escaped—but though the motherships waited three days for the Ko-hyoteki to return, she never did. To complete their mission, at midnight on June 8, I-24 surfaced off Sydney and blasted the city’s eastern suburbs with ten 140-millimeter shells. Two hours later, I-21 emerged seventy miles northeast off Newcastle and lobbed thirty-four shells at that city’s steelworks. The inaccurate bombardment resulted in only one injury, most of the shells failing to explode. Australian coastal guns at Fort Scratchley spat back four 6” shells as the Japanese submarines hastily ducked back underwater. Later in June, the subs sank three freighters off Australian waters—a relatively meager catch. The Sydney attacks had little material effect considering the resources invested in them. Indeed, all of the Japanese submarines involved in the action, as well as both Allied heavy cruisers in the harbor, were sunk in combat over the next two years. Nor was the raid a successful diversion. U. S. naval cryptographers decoded the plans for the Midway attack, and ambushing U.S. carriers dealt an irrecoverable blow to IJN by sinking four carriers between June 4-7. However, despite the efforts of Allied censors, the Sydney raids did impart a sense of vulnerability to Australians. Civilians moved away from coastal zones, a coastal convoy system was implemented, and additional resources were devoted to shoring up demonstrably spotty defenses. M-14 and M-21 were dredged up and rebuilt into a single submarine for display. The crew’s remains were buried with full military honors and returned to Japan in 1943. Sixty-four years later, M-24’s bullet-pocked wreck was finally discovered submerged twenty miles in a site now registered as a war grave.

Alvin Submersible Makes 5,000th Dive

Alvin, the country's only deep-diving research submersible capable of carrying humans to the sea floor, reached another milestone in its long career on November 25, 2018, when the sub made its 5,000th dive during an expedition to the Guaymas Basin in the Gulf of California. Officially commissioned June 5, 1964, the Navy-owned and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI)-operated sub has been through a series of upgrades and advances that have completely re-made the vehicle and vastly expanded its capabilities. As a result, Alvin has remained at the forefront of ocean science and exploration for over 50 years. On a 1977 expedition, scientists using Alvin made an astounding discovery—jets of hot, chemical-rich fluids flowing from the seafloor. With the discovery of these hydrothermal vents, Alvin enabled scientists to solve a puzzling riddle about heat flow from the planet’s crust into the ocean. It also gave them their first look at communities of deep-sea organisms where they previously thought little—if any—life existed. Out of the reach of sunlight, the communities were not fueled via photosynthesis, but rather by chemosynthesis, utilizing the chemicals flowing from the seafloor. “Alvin revolutionized our understanding of the extremes that life can tolerate and caused us to re-think the origin of life on our planet,” says Adam Soule, Chief Scientist for the National Deep Submergence Facility (NDSF), which operates the sub and other underwater vehicles, such as the remotely operated vehicle Jason, for the entire oceanographic community. “The sub also continues to expand our knowledge of where and how life might exist on other planets.” Alvin has had many milestones over the decades, including aiding in the recovery of a lost hydrogen bomb, exploring the wreck of the RMS Titanic, and examining impacts to deep-sea coral communities in the Gulf of Mexico following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Alvin, which is supported by funding from the National Science Foundation, is one of only five deep-sea research submersibles in the world. The workhorse sub executes about 100 dives per year, and over its life has accounted for more than half of all of the scientific dives carried out by human-occupied submersibles worldwide. Scientists and students from colleges, universities, and research organizations around the country regularly use Alvin and the NDSF for a variety of scientific and ocean engineering studies that benefit from a human presence in the ocean and on the seafloor.  Currently, Alvin reaches a depth of 4,500 meters (15,000 feet), which gives researchers in-person access—on dives lasting up to ten hours—to about two-thirds of the ocean floor. The sub will soon complete the final phase of its current upgrade, which will enable Alvin to dive to 6,500 meters (21,000 feet), putting 98 percent of the seafloor within its reach. “Alvin helped inspire the development of new generations of deep-submergence technology and vehicles,” says Andy Bowen, Director of the National Deep Submergence Facility at WHOI. “And it continues to inspire generations of future scientists, engineers, and explorers.”

 

 

STOCKTON RUSH COMPLETES TITAN’S 4000 METER VALIDATION DIVE

OceanGate is thrilled to announce that CEO and Founder, Stockton Rush, completed Titan’s 4000 meter validation dive. Not only did this dive completely validate OceanGate's innovative engineering and the construction of Titan's carbon fiber and titanium hull, it also means that all systems are GO for the 2019 Titanic Survey Expedition – the world’s deepest adventure – scheduled to begin next summer.

 

 

A series of deep manned dives were conducted in the Bahamas from July into December and followed a methodical approach to validate the sub at specific depths. The first manned dive to 4,000 meters took place on Monday, December 10, 2018 approximately 12 miles east of Little Harbour on Great Abaco Island. It took Stockton over seven hours to complete the record-breaking dive which included multiple pauses during the descent to assess the integrity of the hull on OceanGate’s patent-pending Real Time Monitoring system (RTM) that monitors acoustic emissions from the carbon fiber structure.

 

Titan is sure to usher in a new era of exploration by providing access to 50% of the ocean for direct human observation.

 

 

A floating capsule hotel is coming to Japan

 

The spherical, two-story vessels are literal capsule dwellings, each carrying up to four people across nearly 3.75 miles of water. Huis Ten Bosch plans to put the new floating hotel rooms into operation by the end of the year. Guests will be charged between $260 and $350 a night, falling asleep during the leisurely drift out to sea and waking up at the company’s 420,000-square-foot sister island. Currently uninhabited, the island is being built out with brand-new attractions (hopefully on par with the bonkers mode of transport used to get to them).

New Personal Submarines Unveiled  

 

Dutch submersible manufacturer U-Boat Worx introduces five new research submarines that open up the deep to private explorers and oceanographic research organizations.  The deepest diving submersible of the new C-Researcher series is the two-person C-Researcher 2, which has an operating depth of 2,000 meters.  The two-person model also comes in a 500 meter rated version, while the three-person designs are built for 480 meters, 1,100 meters and 1,700 meters. Two key innovations on the C-Researcher submersibles are the Pressure-Tolerant Lithium-ion battery technology and the automatic trim weight system.  The battery system, developed in-house by U-Boat Worx, results in a 350 percent increase of battery capacity when compared to traditional submersibles using lead-acid. The technology has been tested to 4,000 meters and stores a total of 62 kWh in compact battery modules.

 

HyperSub: A Speedboat That Transforms Into A Submarine.

This might sound like an idea coming straight out of a 'Fast & Furious' movie but believe us, it is 100% real. The HyperSub has two modes, one as a speedboat and the other as a submarine. We'll take a look at both individually.

As a speedboat, the HyperSub is ideal since it can be deployed from just about any beach or dock. It has a couple of engines which help it attain speeds of up to 26 knots. That's just as good as any regular 900hp speedboat you could find on the market today. As a submarine, it provides an on demand deep dive option as well as high endurance submarine abilities. It can dive repeatedly since it works on rechargeable batteries. It protects the crew inside against changes in pressure too.

 

The Submarine Sports Car

Now we’re really in Bond territory. I’m having a hard time deciding how useless the unimaginatively named Submarine Sports Car Is. Sure, it drives underwater, but it being an open top doesn’t provide much in the way of protection. It does however use the same steel chassis used in the lotus Elise. Two water jets mounted behind rotating louvers at the front of the vehicle provide steering and lift and propellers at the rear provide forward movement up to 2 knots at depths down to 33′. The two built-in scuba tanks and diving regulators allow two people to remain underwater for an hour. The zero-emission vehicle uses a 54 kW 160 NM electric motor powered by six 48-volt Lithium-ion batteries, allowing it to reach a maximum speed of 75 mph. You can pick one up from an underwater car yard for US$2,000,000.

Super Falcon

Deepflight has created a range of submersibles, including the easy to maneuver Dragon and the commercial grade Super Falcon 3S, but the original Super Falcon sits at the nice mid-point for personal subs. Using an inverted wing design the Super Falcon is almost more like an underwater plane than anything else. At 1800 kg and only 5.9 m in length, if you can afford this then you can afford a yacht to fit it onto. The cockpit uses fly-by-wire technology and newbies should be up and flying in no time with a little training. It has an operational depth of 330 feet.

Triton Submarine

While the Triton doesn’t have the racing profile of the previous submarines on this list, it still does its job well, and since the cockpit is in a transparent acrylic bubble, you have a near 360 degree view. You won’t get a better view in just about any other sub, that’s for sure. This sort of sub is perfect for marine biologists as well as weekend warriors. A single three axis joystick gives the pilot complete control over the sub with multiple thrusters and dynamic vectoring. The Triton can also take up to 500kg of equipment, such as cameras, robotic arms, scientific gear, or a picnic hamper with half a ton of ham in it. If you get into trouble inside the Triton it can provide life-support and a backup battery that lasts 96-hours. The sub can also easily be tracked by its host vessel at all times.

Neyk Submarines

While it’s still in the design phase Ocean Submarine, Rolls-Royce, MTU, and Bosch are teaming up to create a multi-function submarine that’s both perfect for the private sector while also having enough bells and whistles for the navy. With an overall length of 19m, maximum displacement of 100 tonnes of water, and fully pressurized hull, the Neyk is capable of reaching depths of  300m. Designed in a range of options depending on the weight limitations of your host vessel the Neyk can come in sizes from 2 to 20 seats. Other options allow for a pressure chamber, making this a top tier sub for all mission types. It has life support enough for 96 hours, with an additional 96 for emergencies when you accidentally touch park into a coral reef or something. The Neyk has an underwater cruise speed of 7 knots. And the best bit is you can drive it right out of the water at the end of your trip due to a retractable undercarriage.

Everett submarine firm will take people to the Titanic

When a big ship sinks in the open ocean, it does not gently drift to rest on the seabed. It slams into it, coming to a crushing stop. "Each wreck lands on the bottom and cracks," submarine driver David Lochridge explained, slapping his right hand into his left to punctuate his point. The impact's violence only adds to any damage that may have led to the sinking. Once on the bottom, natural conditions wear down even the biggest shipwrecks given enough time. That deterioration can create dangers for divers and submarines exploring the site — downed lines, loose nets and collapsed bulkheads, to name a few. Lochridge can feel the adrenaline coursing through his body every time he approaches a wreck, he said. "You have to take your time," using powerful sonar equipment to identify loose lines and nets and other hazardous debris before cautiously proceeding. That is the approach he took last year when Lochridge piloted OceanGate's Cyclops I submarine to the wreck of the Andrea Doria, an ocean liner that sank in 1956 after colliding with another ship in fog off Nantucket Island, Massachusetts. As Lochridge eased Cyclops I toward the wreck, the five-man sub's lights lit up a sliver of the carcass of the grand ship. Lying on its side in about 240 feet of water, it is shallow enough for some sunlight to reach. "Looking out the sub's top hatch, I could see this massive object," he said in his chipper Scottish accent. He stretched his arms wide to emphasize the magnitude. Lochridge and OceanGate plan to return to the site this summer to conduct further research. It is part of the startup company's effort to push ocean exploration. It is also training for its deepest dive yet: the wreck of the RMS Titanic, which lies about 12,000 feet — more than two miles — below the waves in the Atlantic. OceanGate, which is based on Everett's waterfront, plans to dive on the famous wreck in 2018 — and it is taking along paying passengers. They will not be tourists, though. Each one has to pass a physical and will work alongside other expedition members, said Stockton Rush, OceanGate's chief executive officer and co-founder. The former McDonnell Douglas test pilot launched the company with Guillermo Söhnlein, who left OceanGate five years ago. It developed Cyclops I with the University of Washington. The sub that will take Rush and Lochridge to Titanic, Cyclops II, is still being manufactured. Rush said he hopes to have it in the water for testing in November. Catching a ride to the Titanic is not cheap: $105,129. It is an awkward number — but one with meaning. That roughly is how much a first-class ticket aboard Titanic would cost in today's dollars. The Vanderbilts, Astors and other giants of their time paid $4,350 in 1912 to cross the Atlantic on the ship's maiden voyage. Of course, Titanic never reached New York. It struck an iceberg about 400 miles off Newfoundland. The massive ocean liner sank in the frigid North Atlantic waters, and some 1,500 of the 2,344 passengers and crew aboard died. The wreck lay undisturbed until 1985, when a team led by ocean explorer Robert Ballard discovered it. Since then, a handful of manned and unmanned submersibles have visited the site. Diving on wrecks can be controversial. Some, including the Titanic, are grave sites for the victims. Exploring a site can also damage it; in 1995, one of the MIR submersibles used by James Cameron to get footage for his film "Titanic" collided with the wreck. It can also be accompanied by looting. Ballard and others openly have criticized the cavalier attitude many have taken to what he considers a sacred grave. Cruise ships circling above have dumped trash on the wreck. "And a New York couple had even plunked down on Titanic's bow in a submersible to be married," he wrote in National Geographic in 2004. "I'd urged others to treat Titanic's remains with dignity, like that shown the battleship Arizona in Pearl Harbor. Instead they'd turned her into a freak show at the county fair." OceanGate will treat the site with respect and dignity, Rush said. The scheduled dives will further map and document the site using more sophisticated tools than previously available, and it will conduct scientific research to better understand how shipwrecks deteriorate. What is learned can help authorities determine how best to clean up existing and future wrecks that could cause ecological damage as they deteriorate, he said. The dives are also a key stepping stone for OceanGate as a business. "With the Titanic, we'll be profitable," Rush said. He and angel investors put "tens of millions" of dollars into the company, he said. More significant, visiting Titanic will give the startup deep-sea diving experience, something it has to have to expand its list of clients. "The industry guys, the first question they ask is 'How many dives to 3,000 meters have you done?,'" he said. "When you say 'none,' they say, 'OK, come back when you have.'" Most small submarines and underwater remotely operated vehicles are privately owned, making it difficult to rent one. But most companies, public agencies and academic researchers don't need to own their own sub or remotely operated vehicle. OceanGate aims to fill that gap, offering the underwater equivalent of chartering a private jet rather than buying one. OceanGate's potential customers include university scientists, adventure travelers, petroleum companies and even the state's Department of Transportation, which regularly inspects bridges and other underwater structures. In 2014, the company had its best-known passenger, hip hop artist Ben Haggerty, or Macklemore, as he is better known. The Seattle native tagged along with the crew of OceanGate's first sub, Antipodes, on a dive in Puget Sound to find six gill sharks. The voyage was filmed for the Discovery Channel's "Shark Week" series. As for Titanic, "we plan to go every year as long as the world thinks it's worthwhile," Rush said.

China's first AIP submarine reaches 10-year service milestone

China has mastered air-independent propulsion (AIP) technology, and the country's navy submarines can now be equipped with the system to reach the advanced level of similar systems throughout the world. This information was disclosed in a feature published on the website of the Ministry of National Defence on June 14. According to the article, China's first AIP submarine has already completed over 50 important tasks and safely voyaged hundreds of thousands of miles since it was put into service 10 years ago. An industry insider who asked not to be named told the Global Times on June 14 that China's command of AIP technology is mature, and the system is widely used in the country's submarine units. This news release emphasizes the confidence of the Chinese navy, the insider noted.AIP allows non-nuclear submarines to operate without access to atmospheric oxygen, prolonging operation duration and increasing stealth. The new submarine is based on Type 035 and 039 submarines, both diesel-electric vessels. The new units are expected to greatly increase the combat capacity of the Chinese navy. The insider also disclosed that a batch of AIP professionals have been cultivated to both satisfy the needs of routine training and military preparedness, and to carry out maintenance and fault deletion.

 

Triton wants to explore the deepest 2% of the ocean.

This submarine can take two people 2,000 metres beneath the surface of the ocean - and its makers aim to go even deeper. Florida-based Triton wants to explore the deepest two per cent of the ocean, although for the moment it's confined to the relative shallows. "We're revamping this model so it will be capable of carrying a pilot and a passenger to depths of 2,200 metres," says Patrick Lahey, the company's president. To achieve this, Triton needs to make the cabin of its 7500/2 model (pictured) thicker to withstand deep-ocean pressure. It's currently made from 235mm-thick acrylic glass known as PMMA. The cabin for the new sub will be 261mm, making it the thickest transparent acrylic barrier ever produced. "It's possible for a person to go to the Black Sea's deepest point inside a transparent pressure boundary," Lahey says. To mould the cabins to withstand such depths, the acrylic is cut and formed in an autoclave. Originally designed as recreational vehicles for super yacht owners, Triton's submersibles are now being used by marine scientists and documentary makers to research and film previously unseen corners of the ocean. But Lahey wants to go further, exploring the hadal zone, a series of underwater trenches that reach depths of 11,000 metres. "Ninety-eight per cent of the ocean lies within 6,000 metres of the surface, so if we can hit 6,000 metres we can explore most of the ocean. But the remaining two per cent is actually quite a big area," he says. Triton has designed a model that could theoretically dive to this depth: "[The cabin] couldn't be made of acrylic because it can't withstand those sorts of pressures - instead, it would be made of glass."  

 

Rescue sub that tragically failed during Kursk disaster has now made successful dive to 1,000 meters in Norwegian Sea

 

Russian navy tries to put the rescue submarine AS-34 into the waters in a failed rescue attempt where the Kursk submarine sank in the Barents Sea in August 2000. Photo: Northern Fleet. The Northern Fleet’s red and white rescue submarine became world famous in August 2000 when it repeatedly failed to assist the ill-fated «Kursk» submarine that sank in the Barents Sea killing all 118 personnel on board. This week, the very same mini-submarine for the first time has managed to dive to 1,000 meters depth during an submarine rescue exercise in the Norwegian Sea, regional newspaper Murmanski Vestnik reports. This is the first time a Northern Fleet deep-sea rescue vehicle has dived to a depth of 1,000 meters, says press spokesman Captain 1st rank Vadim Serga. During the exercise the Northern Fleet rescue service has trained on surface and underwater maneuvering, search for sunken objects, and most important; practice how to provide assistance to distressed submarines. 17 years ago, the entire world was watching how the Russian Navy struggled with different submersibles to get down to the «Kursk» submarine laying on the seabed 108 meters below the surface of the Barents Sea. AS-34 was one of two Russian mini-submarines participating in the rescue efforts. At first attempt, the rescue sub reported colliding with the stern stabiliser of «Kursk» and had to surface to repair the damage. In a second attempt after the damage was repaired batteries were depleted before able to attach to Kursk’s escape trunk. After surfacing, waves of up to 2,4 meters made it impossible to put the sub on the sea again. Two other attempts in the days after also failed, first when AS-34 again was damaged when it struck a boom while being lowered into the sea and second when it managed to dive but failed two times to attach to the escape hatch. Five days after «Kursk» sank, President Vladimir Putin accepted an offer from the Norwegian and British governments to assist. Seven days after the disaster the Norwegian ship «Normand Pioneer» carrying a British rescue submarine and deep-sea divers arrived and a few days later managed to open the hatch only to find the rescue trunk full of water. Russian officials, including the President, were strongly criticized for not having adequate rescue means themselves, and also for not accepting foreign assistance at an earlier stage. In the years after the Kursk disaster, the Russian Navy participated at several joint submarine search- and rescue exercises together with the Nordic countries’ navies and other NATO states. AS-34 underwent complete modernization in the period 2014-2016. In early July this year, the mini-submarine successfully completed a test dive in the Kola Bay to a depth of 50 meters and located an object on the seabed, the military channel TV Zvezda reported. This week’s diving in the Norwegian Sea is done because the Barents Sea are too shallow to dive deeper than 200 to 250 meters. Russia’s submarine force uses the trench northwest of mainland Norway for deep-sea testing and exercises. Waters here are down to 2,000 meters. It was during deep-sea diving tests here in 1989 that the Soviet nuclear-powered submarine «Komsomolets» sank after a fire to a depth of 1,680 meters about 180 kilometers southwest of Bear Island. The waters between North Cape and Bear Island are also of key importance for the Northern Fleet’s submarine sailing out on patrols to the North-Atlantic. AS-34  is 13,5 meters long, has a displacement of 55 tons, a crew of 3-4 people and can carry up to 20 rescued. It has a autonomy of navigation of up to 120 hours.

A Grim Future For Russia’s Nuclear Sub Fleet

 

In March 2017, Russia’s new Yasen-class nuclear attack submarine Kazan launched at the northern port city of Severodvinsk. Perhaps the quietest Russian submarine ever, the event was further evidence the Kremlin can still build capable and lethal subs capable of a variety of missions, including cruise-missile attack. But it won’t be enough. The Russian navy — already badly depleted since the collapse of the Soviet Union — can’t quickly replace most of its existing nuclear submarine fleet, which is approaching the end of its collective lifespan. The outcome will likely mean a shrinking of the Russian nuclear submarine force in the years ahead. By 2030, the bulk of Russia’s nuclear-powered attack and cruise-missile submarines will be in their mid-thirties at least — with some pushing into their forties. For perspective, the three oldest active American attack submarines, the Los Angeles-class USS Dallas, Bremerton and Jacksonville, are all 36 years old and waiting to be decommissioned during the next three years. Submarines wear out in old age, particularly due to hull corrosion. Another serious concern is corrosion affecting components inside the nuclear reactor compartments, but data surrounding this subject are tightly guarded secrets among the world’s navies. More to the point, naval vessels staying in service during old age require more maintenance and longer rest periods. Given that only around half of Russia’s submarine force — a charitable estimate — can be at sea at any given time, a force made up of mostly old boats will strain operational readiness. The Kremlin’s relatively new multi-role Yasen class, of which two — the Severodvinsk and Kazan — launched in 2010 and 2017 respectively, cannot make up for the future retirements of Russia’s 11 Akulas, three Sierras, four Victor III attackers and eight Oscar II cruise missile subs, which are all getting long in the tooth. The youngest Akula class, Gepard, entered service in 2000. Most date to the early 1990s. The Yasen is a late-Soviet design with seven planned submarines, with the last one planned to enter service in 2023. This is again being generous given the Yasen class’ enormous expense, which is twice as high as one of Russia’s new ballistic missile subs. While Russia could attempt to keep its Cold War-era subs going as long as possible, “given the obvious risk of rising costs, Russia will be able to have no more than 50 percent of the current number of nuclear submarines [by 2030],” the Russian military blog BMPD warned in a particularly grim assessment. Russia’s ballistic missile submarines will be in somewhat better shape in 2030. Few countries possess “boomers” capable of dumping nuclear warheads into enemy cities — the United States, India, China, France, the United Kingdom and North Korea. Russia currently has 13, including three from the new Borey class, with up to five more on the way. But by 2030, Russia’s three Delta III, six Delta IV-class boomers and its one Typhoon class will all be at least 40 years old if they remain in service. Nevertheless, even if Russia scrapped these boats and only relied on its newer Boreys, no country can likely match them in numbers except for the United States, China and possibly India.

Russia could attempt to further make up the gap in attack- and cruise-missile-submarines with its tentatively-titled Project Husky, which is still in the design phase. The Husky could come in three variants for attack missions, cruise-missile strike — or SSGN — and ballistic missile roles. Dedicated SSGNs are particularly important for Russia, which has long based its naval doctrine around long-range missile attacks on American carrier groups. Russian anti-ship cruise missiles are especially fearsome. But the most optimistic estimates have Russia possessing a mere three Huskies by 2030 if construction of the first of the class begins in the early 2020s — and that’s if the Russian navy keeps up ordering one every two years with a four-and-a-half year build period. While the Yasens probably have the ability to launch cruise missiles as well, that would still leave Russia with around 10 modern nuclear-powered SSNs and dedicated SSGNs alongside two-dozen boats in their thirties and forties facing looming retirement. The diesel-electric fleet isn’t in much better shape, with most of Russia’s 17 Kilo-class hunter-killers dating to the early 1990s. Although more advanced versions, the Project 636 Varshavyanka and the Lada class, have been commissioned at a brisker pace than the nuclear-powered Yasens.

Cold War spy missions

Picture a nuclear submarine listening in on Cold War communications by tapping into deep, underwater cables near Soviet territory in 1979. Later the sub would go back and send divers down to retrieve the recordings that were to be sorted out by federal agents on board.  The submarine, USS Parche, was built extra-sturdy for navigating under ice caps. It managed the Sea of Okhotsk near the Soviet Union. Local historian Dr. Chris Wiggins’ new book, “Ingalls’ Cold War Nuclear Submarines,” starts off with the spy tale of the USS Parche, the most decorated warship in the U.S. Navy and built at Ingalls. Wiggins’ book tells how the Mississippi shipyard, known for building cargo ships, came to build and overhaul nuclear subs, “the world’s most technologically advanced craft at the time, rivaling the manned space program in complexity” during the yard’s heyday of the 1960s and 70s. Ingalls built or refurbished more than 24 of the nuclear vessels. Wiggins told the Sun Herald, “It’s been long enough that what these submarines did in the Cold War — their spy missions — have been declassified. “We living here would see those ships built and launched,” he said, “Then they’d sail off, and we would forget about them.” The USS Parche spied on the Soviet Union naval bases, he said. It would find a cable crossing, and they would send out divers to tap the cable.  “It was a direct line into the Soviet naval system,” he said. “It was our most successful spy ship, but the least known submarine. .... It would go under the polar ice pack to get to the northern Soviet Union.” During those times it was easier for the Soviet military to call than to use coded wireless messages, so the Parche was tapping into phone cables from land lines, he said. “They first had to find the cable,” Wiggins said. “Nuclear subs could stay under forever, until they ran out of food. That’s what limited them.” They put a temporary tap on the cable, let it record for a week, and they released divers to retrieve the information recorded. “CIA agents aboard would listen and decide which were the best lines. Then go back and pick up the tap and switch it out.” Eventually a spy gave away the project in the Okhotsk, he said, “but they didn’t realize we also had a cable tap in the North Atlantic. The Soviets found one, but never thought to look in other places.” Wiggins gets a kick out telling the spy stories from a half century ago. The tale of how Ingalls made the technological conversion to nuclear subs is just as intriguing. The book is the fourth in a series of books by Wiggins to preserve Jackson County history. Like the others, this book is a fundraiser for the Jackson County Historical and Genealogical Society.  His books, over several years, have raised more than $11,000 for the cause. “Ingalls’ Cold War Nuclear Submarines” is available on Amazon.com (search terms “Ingalls” and “submarine”) and also can be purchased in the Pascagoula Public Library’s Genealogy Department.   Wiggins set the stage with these words, “The Cold War was in full swing. Both sides had nuclear weapons. The Soviets were ahead in rocketry and conventional submarines. The United States needed to maintain strategic leadership.” It was decommissioned in October 2004, “the last Ingalls submarine to be in service. In her time she was the nation’s most super-secret surveillance naval vessel,” Wiggins writes.  “Even today she remains as the most decorated U.S. vessel of all time. With her passing, the era of nuclear-powered vessel and submarine construction at Ingalls became history.  Ingalls’ sojourn into submarine work extended from June 1956, when the company got the contract for USS Blueback, until its successor management company, Litton Ingalls, completed its last nuclear vessel overhaul and USS Sunfish sailed out of Pascagoula harbor in October 1980. “During this 24-year period, the shipyard evolved from a facility constructed on the eve of World War II to a high-tech and mainstream player in the nation’s defense industry. In that, the submarine business played an essential role, leading the company to where it is today, a main contributor to our nation’s military strength.”

This Impressive Seagoing Vessel Is Both a Speed Boat and a Submarine

A dual seagoing vessel doesn’t often come readily available especially with the advanced technology required to achieve certain functionalities. But there is a bespoke and advanced vessel that fulfills the duty of both a speedboat and a submarine. The Hyper-Sub vessel offers next-generation technologies that allow it to perform underwater as well as on the surface. With all its advanced features, the seagoing vessel is ideal for use within the patrolling, oil and gas, military and defense industries.

As a multi-purpose seagoing vessel, Hyper-Sub fuses the long-range and high-speed abilities of a surface craft along with the deep diving attributes of a submarine. It’s considered to be the first 2-in-1 sea vessel of its kind, which redefines small, submersible technology. When used as a speedboat, the Hyper-Sub is easily and immediately deployed from almost any dock, beach, port, and other seaside locations. After deployment on speedboat mode, the vessel can cruise to the desired destination at a speed of 26 knots or 38 mph. The convenient method of deployment eliminates the need for expensive vessel support making it ideal for immediate purposes like sea emergencies and rescues. Hyper-Sub uses two advanced submersible technology, which produces a watercraft that is safe, cost-effective, and scalable. The Hyper-Buoyancy technology of the vessel allows it to control and compartmentalize more than 30,000 lbs of lift. This means that Hyper-Sub still has the capability to resurface even during a complete systems failure. It also gives the vessel the power to rapidly ascent in case of any emergencies or in the event that the cabin becomes flooded. If the vessel happens to invert due to adverse weather conditions, the Hyper-Buoyancy technology allows it to submerge and invert itself back to the upright position. Hyper-Sub was intentionally designed in a modular form where the Sea-Frame and Dry Chamber components make up the entire vessel. The Sea-Frame houses the ballasts, engine, batteries, and dive chamber, which are collectively used for submerging and resurfacing operations. On the other hand, the Dry Chamber module of the vessel accommodate passengers, crew, cargo, battery payload, and other required items for the journey. The Dry-Chamber unit is customizable to any specific mission requirements so the vessel is applicable for use in various operations. As the Hyper-Sub is designed for both surface and underwater operations, the vessel is ideal for patrolling areas from above and below the water. It’s equipped with advanced instruments allowing it to scan ship hulls for explosives, perform underwater inspections, and detection operations. The oil and gas industry could also benefit from this dual seagoing vessel in terms of surveying shallow waters and inspecting pipelines. The Hyper-Sub is particularly effective in this sort of operation as it doesn’t require a full crew to operate a large submersible vessel. The same difficult task can be accomplished by the dual vessel at a fraction of the cost and time.

 

Of course, this type of submersible technology is attractive to the military and defense branch as well as for scientific explorations. The combination of the Sea-Frame and Dry-Chamber modular units offers solutions to a wide variety of operations and missions. Or if you have the money to burn, the Hyper-Sub could simply be a luxury watercraft for use whenever you want. The customizable Dry-Chamber unit is perfect for including all the amenities a private owner would need in a high-end vessel. Hyper-Sub’s price has not been disclosed and it highly depends on Dry-Chamber’s customized finishings. However, the vessel is available for both public and private inquiries.

How Cold War-era CIA duped U.S. in $350M effort to steal Soviet submarine.

At the height of the Cold War, using eccentric billionaire Howard Hughes for cover, the CIA spent $350 million trying to steal a Soviet submarine. One of the most astonishing covert operations in U.S. history is detailed by author Josh Dean in his new book “The Taking of K-129." The tale, a spy story on steroids, arrives in stores on Sept. 5. The Cold War had grown deadlier by the decade as each side's nuclear capability turned ever more lethal. By the late sixties, the Soviets were patrolling the Pacific Ocean with a small fleet of diesel-powered subs armed with nuclear weapons. The subs would launch, submerge and stand by, in position to devastate America's West Coast cities in the event of a nuclear war. The K-129, equipped with three nuclear missiles, launched from Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula in February 1968. It was destined for a remote section of the Pacific Ocean far northeast of Hawaii. On March 9, a U.S. Navy surveillance ship reported unprecedented activity off Kamchatka. The Soviets had suddenly unleashed a flotilla of subs racing at full bore, with no attempt to avoid detection. The K-129 was lost at sea, presumably sinking to the bottom of the ocean floor. Cold War warriors in Washington envisioned a trove of buried intelligence in both missile technology and possible code-breaking materials.At CIA headquarters in Langley, Va., Project Azorian was born. The mandate of the top-secret mission was the construction of a behemoth ship capable of sucking the sunken Soviet sub into its belly.

But the agency needed a cover story to get the ship built without revealing its role. A publicly traded company couldn't be used as a front for a $350 million deceit. Howard Hughes, 64, was holed up on the top floor of one his hotels, the Desert Inn, in Las Vegas. The famously reclusive billionaire was well into his long, bizarre decline. The increasingly erratic Hughes agreed to front the hoax. When the key players met at a hotel in Los Angeles to work out the "black contract," Hughes's lawyer was repeatedly summoned from the room at critical junctures. It struck at least one of the government representatives that Hughes was nearby, getting briefed by unseen means on the negotiations. The agreed-upon cover story: Hughes' company was funding a first of its kind exploration into deep-ocean mining. The next step: Foisting the hoax on an unsuspecting media. While it could be easily sold as yet another one of Hughes' crazy ventures, the operation required sufficient plausibility to keep the Soviets from getting suspicious. Manfred Krutein, an expert in ocean mining, was hired to manufacture a string of convincing rationales for the monstrous ship’s construction. The specs for the Hughes Glomar Explorer needed a lot of explaining. The ship had to be massive enough to pick up 3.92 million pounds, lift it more than three miles, then carry it home undetected. Months later, Krutein watched a Hughes spokesman announce the birth of an "entirely new industry" of deep-ocean mining at a lavish press conference in Hawaii. None of the details raised any questions. His work was done. While the ship could be built in public, the capture vehicle — to be hidden in the world's largest submersible barge — had to be constructed under deep cover. Secrecy was maintained almost until launch. A break-in at a Hughes' storage facility in mid-1974 should have sounded more alarms than it did. But when the thieves turned out to be small-time crooks, the CIA let the matter slide. On July 4, the Explorer reached the target site, 40 degrees latitude and 180 degrees longitude. Due to technical problems, weeks passed before the hull opened to release the giant claw dubbed Clementine. Clementine had only just descended deep enough to be hidden from view when a small salvage tug, the kind the Soviets routinely used for undercover intelligence, started dogging the Explorer. The boat would come close, retreat and then return, tightly circling the ship at the critical moment Clementine grasped its prey. On Aug. 4, the slow process of raising the wrecked submarine began. Everyone on board could feel the ship straining as they settled in for what was going to be a long haul. But suddenly the ship relaxed. Closed circuit cameras broadcast Clementine's failure to the Mission Control station up top. At 9,000 feet from the ocean floor, the claw used to grab the submarine had failed. The larger part of the craft was now back on the ocean floor. At Langley, John Parangosky, the mastermind of the Azorian Project, broke the news to his boss Carl Duckett. Duckett stunned Mission Control with a cable ordering a return to the bottom to recover the "target." He then demanded an open, unsecured radio channel to the Explorer to personally deliver the command. Parangosky had to convince him it couldn't be done. For one thing, the remainder of the submarine had likely fractured into pieces on impact. It was time to alert Washington the mission had ended in partial failure. As the days at sea wore on, the Soviet vessel continued to menace the Explorer. The stolen section of sub was nearing the surface when the tug charged close enough for the Explorer's captain to issue another warning. This time there was a response. The entire Russian crew gathered on deck, dropping their pants to moon the Explorer. After that parting shot, the tug finally sailed away. The Explorer was soon thick with the stench of rotting flesh. The corpses of six sailors were found inside the sub but not much else. Only one missile had been retrieved. Plans were already underway at Langley to launch a return mission. But early the next year, the Los Angeles Times broke a story revealing the U.S. had raised a piece of a Soviet submarine from the deep. The two LA cops who headed the robbery case had leaked word that they were warned by the CIA that confidential files were possibly stolen. The paper started investigating. The CIA managed to convince other major papers too much was at stake to risk alerting the Soviets of the ongoing covert operation. The story was contained. Shortly afterward, an ambitious Los Angeles County tax assessor slapped Hughes' Summa Corporation with an astronomical tax bill based on the value of the Explorer. Several high-powered attempts to make the tax man back down failed. The Securities and Exchange Commission then launched an investigation into perceived financial irregularities at Global Marine, the firm hired to design the ship. A secret meeting with the CIA nipped that threat. All the efforts were for nothing. In March, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Jack Anderson broke his story about the massive CIA $350 million "boondoggle." Secretary of State Henry Kissinger advised President Ford to admit nothing. The second retrieval mission was quietly laid to rest. In the end, there was no pushback from the Soviets. What happened in the ocean depths stayed there. The K-129 was left to rest in pieces.

Submarine cruise offers view of Titanic wreckage.

 

The subject of an iconic movie, the famed “Titanic” wreckage is truly one marvellous sight to behold. But since the storied British passenger liner  is now submerged some 13,000 feet below sea level, only a select few divers are able to see it with their own eyes. One luxury travel company in the UK plans to offer its customers a chance to witness the legendary “RMS Titanic” up close, via a mini-submarine cruise. Aptly named “Dive the Titanic,” Blue Marble Private provides willing customers a chance to descend the depths of the North Atlantic Ocean and tour the world’s most doomed ocean liner, which sank some 105 years ago. According to Thrillist, the eight-day trip, which can accommodate nine passengers at a time, will circle the wreckage and offer a complete view of the ship’s massive deck and staircase.

Before embarking on an adventure inside the state-of-the-art submarine, passengers will also be acquainted during in-depth sessions with the Titanic’s history as well as the mechanics of deep-sea exploration. If the weather permits, they’ll board the specialized titanium and carbon-fiber submersible and descend into the fabled site. The depths of the wreckage have been visited by  fewer people than those who have summited Everest or traveled to space, the report said. Meanwhile, a deep-sea exploration of this magnitude won’t come cheap, as each traveler is expected to shell out $105,129 each.

Mystery deaths of Hunley submarine crew solved - they accidentally killed themselves

The mystery of how the crew of one of the world’s first submarines died has finally been solved - they accidentally killed themselves. The HL Hunley sank on February 17 1864 after torpedoing the USS Housatonic outside Charleston Harbour, South Carolina, during American Civil War. She was one of the first submarines ever to be used in conflict, and the first to sink a battleship. It was assumed the blast had ruptured the sub, drowning its occupants, but when the Hunley was raised in 2000, salvage experts were amazed to find the eight-man crew poised as if they had been caught completely unawares by the tragedy. All were still sitting in their posts and there was no evidence that they had attempted to flee the foundering vessel. Now researchers at Duke University believe they have the answer. Three years of experiments on a mini-test sub have shown that the torpedo blast would have created a shockwave great enough to instantly rupture the blood vessels in the lungs and brains of the submariners. "This is the characteristic trauma of blast victims, they call it 'blast lung,'" Dr Rachel Lance. “You have an instant fatality that leaves no marks on the skeletal remains. Unfortunately, the soft tissues that would show us what happened have decomposed in the past hundred years.” The Hunley's torpedo was not a self-propelled bomb, but a copper keg of 135 pounds of gunpowder held ahead and slightly below the Hunley's bow on a 16-foot pole called a spar. The sub rammed this spar into the enemy ship's hull and the bomb exploded. The furthest any of the crew was from the blast was about 42 feet. The shockwave of the blast travelled about 1500 meters per second in water, and 340 m/sec in air, the researchers calculate. While a normal blast shockwave travelling in air should last less than 10 milliseconds, Lance calculated that the Hunley crew's lungs were subjected to 60 milliseconds or more of trauma. "That creates kind of a worst case scenario for the lungs," added Dr Lance. “Shear forces would tear apart the delicate structures where the blood supply meets the air supply, filling the lungs with blood and killing the crew instantly. “It's likely they also suffered traumatic brain injuries from being so close to such a large blast. "All the physical evidence points to the crew taking absolutely no action in response to a flood or loss of air. If anyone had survived, they may have tried to release the keel ballast weights, set the bilge pumps to pump water, or tried to get out the hatches, but none of these actions were taken.”

The fate of the crew of the 40-foot Hunley remained a mystery until 1995, when the submarine was discovered about 300 meters away from the Housatonic's resting place. Raised in 2000, the submarine is currently undergoing study and conservation in Charleston by a team of Clemson University scientists. Initially, the discovery of the submarine only seemed to deepen the mystery. The crewmen's skeletons were found still at their stations along a hand-crank that drove the cigar-shaped craft. They suffered no broken bones, the bilge pumps had not been used and the air hatches were closed. Except for a hole in one conning tower and a small window that may have been broken, the sub was remarkably intact. Speculation about their deaths has included suffocation and drowning. The new study involved repeatedly setting blasts near a scale model, shooting authentic weapons at historically accurate iron plate and calculating human respiration and the transmission of blast energy.

 

LEGOLAND SUBMARINE

Embarking on its most costly attraction yet, Legoland announced Thursday that it will introduce a submarine ride next year that will traverse a “deep-sea” habitat populated with tropical fish, stingrays and exotic sharks. Lego City Deep Sea Adventure, as it is being called, will feature eight 12-seat submarines, completely enclosed and outfitted with large portholes for viewing more than 2,000 sea creatures, as well as octopi and scuba divers fashioned from Lego bricks. The new attraction, expected to debut next summer, will occupy what is referred to as the Castle Hill area in the back part of the park where its miniature golf had previously been located. Also opening next year, in the spring, is Legoland’s second 250-room resort hotel, which will be designed to resemble a castle, complete with knight-, princess- and wizard-themed rooms. The premise of the submarine ride, which was inspired by Lego’s Deep Sea Adventure line of toys, is built around a voyage where the passengers are searching for lost treasure on a sunken Lego shipwreck. As they pass through what will effectively be a 300,000-gallon underground aquarium, they will use their touchscreens to help the dive team of Lego mini figures identify gems, pearls, and gold coins. A similar, although not identical, ride is already at Legoland parks in the United Kingdom, Dubai and Japan. “We do have some experience from our other parks, which is very positive, but when planning ahead, we put concepts out to research, and the research on this came out very strong, especially with an environment where the fish literally swim up to you and stare at you,” said Legoland California General Manager Peter Ronchetti. “One of our guiding principles is we want to be ‘my first experience’ for a child: my first car where I steer it, my first coaster, and although there is some visual trickery, you absolutely feel like you’re in a submarine looking at real fish and the sensation is very exhilarating, which is very different from walking through an aquarium.” While Legoland will not reveal the cost of the new attraction, Ronchetti said that it represents the single largest investment made in any Legoland theme park by parent company Merlin Entertainment. Within the entire Legoland California resort, only the hotels and the Sea Life Aquarium were more costly. Ronchetti characterized the creation of the underground aquarium, which will be housed inside a themed building, an ambitious feat of engineering. “Most attractions occur on the ground, so here we have to dig down which is a new angle for us,” he said. Although the planned Legoland subs won’t actually submerge — they will already be under water — passengers will feel as though they are, and a cascade of bubbles will enhance the effect. Riders will step down into the under-water vehicles that will hang from a rack, and they will sit on a long bench inside, facing the portals that are below the water line.

 

Confederate Sub's Torpedo May Have Killed Its Crew.

The crew of the Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley, the first combat submarine to sink an enemy ship, may have instantly killed themselves with their own weapon, according to a new study. This finding may have solved a mystery that has endured for more than 150 years about the fate of the sub. The first and last combat mission of the Hunley took place during the Civil War on the night of Feb. 17, 1864. It attacked a steam-powered Union warship, the USS Housatonic, which was blockading the harbor entrance to Charleston, South Carolina. The Hunley was a narrow, cigar-shaped submarine that measured 40 feet (12 meters) long and no more than 4 feet (1.2 m) wide. It was built from the wrought-iron boiler of a previous ship in 1863 and carried a crew of eight men and a powerful torpedo. [10 Epic Battles that Changed History] The Hunley's torpedo delivered a blast from about 135 lbs. (61.2 kilograms) of explosive black powder below the waterline of the Housatonic's stern. The assault sank the Union ship in less than 5 minutes and killed five of its crewmembers. The rest escaped in lifeboats or were rescued by other members of the blockading force. However, after the successful attack on the Housatonic, the Hunley failed to return to its base. The fate of the sub and its crew remained a mystery for more than 150 years. In 1995, the Hunley was discovered about 985 feet (300 m) away from the watery grave of the Housatonic. The submarine was raised from the depths of Charleston Bay in 2000, and is undergoing study and conservation. The discovery of the Hunley initially only deepened the mystery of its fate. Except for a hole in one conning tower and a small window that might have been broken, the vessel was remarkably intact, raising questions as to what killed everyone within. In addition, the skeletal remains of the Hunley's crew were found seated at their respective stations, with no physical injuries or apparent attempts to escape. Moreover, the sub's bilge pumps, designed to pump water out of the sub, had not been used and its air hatch was closed. All the evidence suggested that the crew took absolutely no response to a flood or loss of air, said study lead author Rachel Lance, a biomechanist at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.

A graphic reconstruction of the eight-man submarine H.L. Hunley as it appeared just before its encounter with the Union ship Housatonic, which it sunk. The barrel on the end of the 16-foot spar contains 135 pounds of black powder. Now, researchers suggest that a deadly blast wave from the Hunley's own weapon may have killed its crew. "Blast injuries are consistent with the way the remains were found inside the boat, as blast waves would not have left marks on the skeletons, and would not have provided the crew with the chance to try to escape," Lance told Live Science. "Blast waves are capable of inflicting lethal injuries on someone without ever physically moving them." The Hunley's torpedo was not an underwater missile, but a copper keg of black powder held ahead of the submarine on a barbed pole, called a spar, that was about 16 feet (4.9 m) long. The sub rammed this spar into its target's hull and the bomb exploded, with the crew, at most, about 42 feet (12.8 m) from the blast. [Civil War Shipwreck: Photos of the USS Monitor]. To figure out how the Hunley's torpedo may have affected its own crew, the scientists conducted a series of experiments over the course of three years. This included repeatedly setting off pressurized-air blasts and black-powder explosions near a 6.5-foot-long (2 m) scale model of the Hunley, nicknamed the Tiny, that was fitted with sensors and floating in water. The experiments often proved exasperating:"I was often frustrated with pressure gauges that wouldn't work, with black powder that got too wet to explode, or with weather that seemed to oscillate between freezing hurricane and blistering heat," Lance said. "These experiments were very difficult to conduct." The findings from the experiments suggested that the Hunley's crew died instantly when the blast wave from the torpedo traveled through the soft tissue of their bodies, especially their lungs and brains. "You have an instant fatality that leaves no marks on the skeletal remains," Lance said in a statement. "Unfortunately, the soft tissues that would show us what happened have decomposed in the past hundred years." The kind of trauma the Hunley crew may have experienced is linked to a phenomenon that Lance called "the hot chocolate effect." This effect is linked to how vibrations such as shock waves travel at different speeds in water than they do in air — for instance, the shock wave from the Hunley blast would have traveled about 3,355 mph (5,400 km/h) in water but only about 760 mph (1,224 km/h) in the air, the researchers said. "When you mix these speeds together in a frothy combination like the human lungs, or hot chocolate, it combines and it ends up making the energy go slower than it would in either one," Lance said in the statement. This slowdown amplifies the tissue damage, Lance said. While a normal blast shock wave traveling in the air should last less than 10 milliseconds, Lance calculated that the Hunley crew's lungs were subjected to 60 milliseconds or more of trauma. "That creates kind of a worst-case scenario for the lungs," Lance said in the statement. The force of the Hunley shock wave would have ripped apart the delicate structures of the lungs where the blood supply meets the air supply, filling the lungs with blood. This would have had at least an 85 percent chance of killing each member of the crew immediately, Lance calculated. It's also likely that these individuals suffered traumatic brain injuries from the blast, she added. According to Lance, the way the torpedo's explosion may have killed the Hunley's crew was different from how traumatic blast injuries from modern-day improvised bombs kill soldiers in vehicles. "In that case, there are shrapnel effects and effects from the damage to the vehicle that cause broken bones and other injuries," Lance said in the statement. "But the crew of the Hunley were protected by the hull. It was just the blast wave itself that propagated into the vessel, so their injuries would have been purely in the soft tissues, in the lungs and in the brain." Still, it's possible for blast waves to travel through surfaces and still be powerful enough to kill, according to Lance. "The Hunley is the first proven case study of lethal injuries from blast waves propagating through a solid surface," she said. The designers of the Civil War-era torpedo may have recognized the dangers of getting too close to a blast in water. Lance's historical research found that the weapon's developers stayed hundreds of feet away from test blasts of explosives significantly smaller than the bomb the Hunley deployed. [Busted: 6 Civil War Myths]. "Blast travels really far underwater," Lance said in the statement. "If you're practicing 200 yards [182 m] away, and then you triple the size of your bomb and put it 16 feet [4.9 m] away, you have to be at least aware that there's a possibility of injury." Torpedoes were new technology at the start of the Civil War, Lance said. "While their utility was immediately obvious, people were constantly concocting new designs and trigger mechanisms to try to improve them as the war progressed," Lance said. "The specific design used against the Housatonic, known as a Singer's torpedo, was one of the designs to emerge as the most successful. The early tests of submarines with torpedoes used smaller charges at a farther distance. The concerns were not that the blast would propagate through the hull; the science at the time was not nearly advanced enough to understand that that was possible. Rather, their concerns were that the torpedoes might damage the submarine itself." The researchers think that after the attack, the Hunley then drifted out with the tides and slowly took on water before sinking. The sub's design was precarious — during development and testing, the Hunley had sunk twice, drowning 13 crewmen, including its namesake, the privateer Horace L. Hunley. "I hope that, even though the mystery is now solved, people still visit and appreciate the Hunley for the incredible artifact that it is," Lance said. Lance and her colleagues detailed their findings online Aug. 23 in the journal PLOS ONE. In addition, Lance is working on a book about the Hunley and the experiments that helped solve the mystery of its crew's fate.

 

Submarine designs give glimpse into the future.

 

A series of futuristic submarine designs which mimic real marine lifeforms have been created for a Royal Navy project to show how underwater warfare could look in 50 years' time. The concepts unveiled include a crewed mothership shaped like a manta ray, unmanned eel-like vessels equipped with sensor pods which dissolve on demand to avoid enemy detection, and fish-shaped torpedoes sent to swarm against enemy targets. Young British scientists and engineers from UKNEST, a not-for-profit organisation which promotes science, engineering and technology for UK naval design, took part in the design challenge.

 

A Royal Navy spokesman said: "The UK's brightest and most talented young engineers and scientists came up with the designs after being challenged by the Royal Navy to imagine what a future submarine would look like and how it would be used to keep Britain safe in decades to come." Commander Peter Pipkin, fleet robotics officer, added: "With more than 70% of the planet's surface covered by water, the oceans remain one of the world's great mysteries and untapped resources. "It's predicted that in 50 years' time there will be more competition between nations to live and work at sea or under it. So it's with this in mind that the Royal Navy is looking at its future role, and how it will be best equipped to protect Britain's interests around the globe. "Today's Royal Navy is one of the most technologically advanced forces in the world, and that's because we have always sought to think differently and come up with ideas that challenge traditional thinking."If only 10% of these ideas become reality, it will put us at the cutting edge of future warfare and defence operations."  The project, named Nautilus 100, was set up to mark the 100th anniversary of the launch of the USS Nautilus, the world's first nuclear-powered submarine. Describing the designs, the spokesman said: "The whale shark/manta ray-shaped mothership would be built from super-strong alloys and acrylics, with surfaces which can morph in shape. "With hybrid algae-electric cruising power and propulsion technologies including tunnel drives which work similarly to a Dyson bladeless fan, the submarine could travel at unprecedented speeds of up to 150 knots. "This mothership would be capable of launching unmanned underwater vehicles shaped like eels, which carry pods packed with sensors for different missions. "These pods can damage an enemy vessel, or dissolve on demand at the end of an operation to evade detection." Rear Admiral Tim Hodgson, the Ministry of Defence's director of submarine capability, said: "We want to encourage our engineers of the future to be bold, think radically and push boundaries. "From Nelson's tactics at the Battle of Trafalgar to Fisher's revolutionary dreadnought battleships, the Royal Navy's success has always rested on a combination of technology and human skill.  "The pace of global innovation is only going to increase, so for the UK to be a leader in this race it needs to maintain its leadership in skills and technology.

List of  Early Submarines.

 

Name

Builder

Launched

disposed/lost

Notes

unnamed

Magnus Pegel

1605

 

first sub constructed in modern times

unnamed

Cornelis Drebbel

1620

 

propelled by oars

unnamed

Denis Papin

1690

 

 

unnamed

Yefim Nikonov

1720

 

build for Peter the Great in Russia

Turtle

David Bushnell

1775

1777

first submarine vessel used in combat

Nautilus

Robert Fulton

1797

1802

built for the French navy

Submarino Hipopótamo

Jose Rodriguez Lavandera

18 Sep 1837

 

tested in Ecuador

Brandtaucher

Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft

1851

1 Feb 1851

designed by Wilhelm Bauer, sank during trials, model displayed in the Bundeswehr Military History Museum in Dresden

Alligator

Neafie & Levy

1 May 1862

2 Apr 1863

first US Navy Submarine

Pioneer

Horace Lawson Hunley

Feb 1862

25 Apr 1862

first submarine built for the CSA, replica is at the Warren Lasch Conservation Center

Bayou St. John

unknown

1861

1863

built for the CSA. On display at the Capitol Park Museum - Baton Rouge

Plonguer

Arsenal de Rochefort

16 Apr 1863

2 Feb 1872

Built for French Navy, converted to water tanker in 1873, sold for scrap in 1937

American Diver

Horace Lawson Hunley

Jan 1863

Feb 1863

built for the CSA, sank in Mobile Bay

Hunley

Horace Lawson Hunley

Jul 1863

17 Feb 1864

built for the CSA, first combat submarine to sink a warship. Located at the Warren Lasch Conservation Center in Charleston

Intelligent Whale

Price and Bushnell

1863

Sep 1872

on exhibit at the National Guard Militia Museum of New Jersey

Sub Marine Explorer

Kroehl and Patterson

1865

1869

abandoned on shore of the island of San Telmo in the Pearl Islands

Ictíneo II

Narcís Monturiol

20 May 1865

Dec 1867

intended for Spanish Navy, sold for scrap, replica on display at harbor of Barcelona

Flach

Karl Flach

1866

3 May 1866

built for Chile, lost in the Bay of Valparaiso

Resurgam I

George Garrett

1878

 

 

Resurgam II

George Garrett

26 Nov 1879

25 Feb 1880

sank in in Liverpool Bay, replica on display near Woodside terminal of Mersey Ferry

Holland I

John Philip Holland

22 May 1878

1878

scuttled, raised in 1927, on display at at the Paterson Museum in New Jersey

unnamed

Stefan Drzewiecki

1878

 

human powered, model in the National Maritime Museum in Gdansk .

Toro Submarino

Puruvian Navy

1880

16 Jan 1881

scuttled to avoid capture

Fenian Ram (Holland II)

John Philip Holland

1881

1883

on display at at the Paterson Museum in New Jersey

unnamed

Russia

1881

 

converted from human to electric propulsion by Stefan Drzewiecki in 1884, on display in the Central Naval Museum, Saint Petersburg

Holland III

John Philip Holland

1881

Nov 1883

stolen and sunk in Hudson River

Zalinski Boat (Holland IV)

John Philip Holland

Sep 1885

1886

funded by Edmund Zalinski, sold in 1886

Nordenfelt I

Thorsten Nordenfelt

1886

1886

Sold to Turkish Government, scrapped 1901

Abdül Hamid (Nordenfelt II)

Barrow Shipyard

6 Sep 1886

1910

Nordenfelt class, first submarine to launch a live torpedo underwater, scrapped

Abdül Mecit (Nordenfelt III)

Barrow Shipyard

1886

1910

Nordenfelt, scrapped

Nautilus

Ash and Campbell

1886

 

became stuck in the mud during trials and was discontinued

Porpoise

James Franklin Waddington

1886

 

never sold, broken up for scrap

Nordenfelt IV

Thorsten Nordenfelt

1887

1887

Sold to Russian Government, scrapped

Gymnote

Zédé & Krebs

24 Sep 1888

1908

research sub, completed over 2000 dives, scrapped

Peral

Isaac Peral

1889

1890

build for Spanish Navy, on display at Cartagena Naval Museum

Plunger (Holland V)

John Philip Holland

7 Aug 1897

1899

scrapped in 1917

Argonaut Junior

Simon Lake

1894

1895

 

Argonaut 1 & 2

Simon Lake

1897

1901

Argonaut 2 was an enlarged reconstruction of Arganaut 1

Protector

Simon Lake

1901

1904

sold to Russia in 1904

 

Russian Submarines Are the Best Around

In the field of submarine design and construction Russia is second to none. This is a hard fact even the Americans can have to agree uponwith, RIA contributor Alexander Khrolenko wrote. Khrolenko offered a short list of technological breakthroughs which have put Russia onat the cutting edge of modern-day submarine warfare. Aside from protecting Russia interests on the high seas, Russian submarines have for decades been setting technological records no other country has yet been able to break. Sixty-two years ago, in September 1955 the Soviet B-67 submarine carried out the first ever launch of a ballistic missile. Over the course of the next three years, Russia added five Project AV611 (NATO reporting name – Zulu) ballistic missile submarines to its submarine fleet. They were the first mass-produced submarine carriers of ballistic missiles around. Each submarine carried a pair of R-11FM missiles placed in vertical silos inside the sub’s pressure hull. The first brigade of strategic missile submarines appeared inat the Soviet Northern Fleet in 1957. In December 1970 the Project 661 K-162 multi-role nuclear submarine established a world underwater speed record of 44.7 knots (51 miles per hour) which remained unbeaten for several decades. The world’s first all-titanium submarine, the K-162 featured powerful nuclear reactors and was armed with underwater launched Ametist anti-ship missiles. Experts compared the launch of the K-162 to the first human space flight, Alexander Khrolenko wrote. The K-162 was able to hunt down and destroy any warship that was afloat at the time. The Project 702 Lira-class multi-role submarines that came along in the late-1970s were relatively small and, were powered by a unique liquid-metal core nuclear reactor that ensured a very impressive submerged speed of 41 knots (47 miles per hour). Though not armed with missiles, the Lira sub was equipped with enough torpedoes to take on entire enemy carrier groups. Western submarine experts said that there was no way a ship or even ships could possibly avoid an attacking Lira submarine and taking it out with torpedoes, even self-homing ones, was akin toalmost mission impossible. The all-titanium Project 685 submarines (NATO reporting name – Mike) could dive to 1,000 meters (3,280 feet), which made them virtually immune even to all existing means of antisubmarine warfare. Moreover, these subs could fire 533 mm torpedo at a record depth of 800 meters (2,624 feet). A pilot K-278 Project 685 submarine of the third generation entered service with the Northern Fleet in 1983 and established an all-time diving record  to a staggering depth of 1,027 meters (3,369 feet). In 1981 the Northern Fleet got the world’s largest submarine — the Project 941 Akula-class heavy missile cruiser (NATO reporting name –Typhoon). Each such behemoth was 172 meters (564 feet) long, more than 23 meters (75 feet) wide and had a displacement of 48,000 tons. For comparison’s sake, US Ohio-class subs have a submersed displacement of just 18,700 tons. The Akulas carried 20 RSM-52 solid-fuel ballistic missiles each with ten 100 kiloton individually-targeted warheads. Cold War-era experts said that a single broadside of such missiles was enough to erase the entire US West Coast off the face of the Earth, Alexander Khrolenko wrote. Meanwhile, the Russian Defense Ministry has greenlighted a contract to design a fifth-generation multirole submarine whose construction is slated to begin after 2020.

 Russia’s New ‘Invisible’ Nuclear Submarines

 “In the whole world, Russia has only two true allies,” Russian Tsar Alexander III “The Peacemaker” loved to explain to his advisors, “her Army and her Navy.” Almost 150 years later, Russians wholeheartedly support this motto. In 2015, Vladimir Putin happily repeated it while answering a concerned citizen’s question. Ten years ago, Russia started to ambitiously modernize her ground and air forces. The country successfully demonstrated the results in Syria and last week declared “the end of the civil war” there. Russia is modernizing the Navy too, with heavy emphasis on a new class of noiseless nuclear submarines. The newest Russian nuclear submarines of the Borey-A and Yasen-M classes will soon be invisible to the sonar radars of NATO submarines, anti-submarine ships and aircraft, reports Russian newspaper Izvestia. The submarines will be equipped with new, sealed pumps. The circulation of liquids in the submarine’s reactor, the cooling of its systems and equipment, the submarine’s surfacing and diving, and, most importantly, the filling of torpedo launch tubes with water before firing all depend on the pumps. The noise from these pumps is a major risk and detection factor for any submarine. The technical characteristics of these new noiseless sealed pumps are top secret, since they define the physical portrait of each particular submarine. If these parameters become known, the submarine can be easily detected against the background of natural noises in the ocean. According to Izvestia, the new pumps “have a simple design, small dimensions, and improved vibro and sound insulation.” Working at full capacity, one of these pumps can hold a mid-size coin standing on its edge of its lid. “The amount of noise that a submarine makes is influenced by a lot of factors,” Vladimir Shcherbakov, an expert on naval weaponry, told the newspaper. “First of all, it’s influenced by the main power plant—the nuclear reactor, pumps, diesel engines, shafts, propellers and water jets. In the case of propellers and water jets, noise reduction is achieved by improving their designs. Reducing the detectability of working diesel engines or of auxiliary motors can be achieved with the help of suspension systems and rubber mats onto which they are placed. It’s more complicated with the reactor, since it cannot be placed on the vibro-platform or covered with rugs. Therefore, it’s possible to achieve noise reduction by improving the operation of the reactor’s pumps. The noise of continuously circulating liquid is the loudest sound on the nuclear submarine.” Moscow promised to build 5 Borey-A and 6 Yasen-M class nuclear submarines by 2020. In addition to noiseless pumps, these Russian submarines will be equipped with “wet” mufflers to fire torpedoes. New torpedo launch tubes have also been designed to make Russian submarines invisible. They work the same way as silencers on small arms; they drown out the sound of the shot. Currently, Russian submarines’ torpedo launch tubes are built based on the air-pressure method, meaning that the torpedo’s launch is achieved by highly compressed air. The system requires several minutes to prepare and limits the depth application of torpedoes to 1,000 to 1,300 feet. It also makes the submarine visible to its enemy’s sonic radars, which easily pick up on the noise that the compressed air makes while entering and leaving the torpedo launch tubes. After the torpedo is fired, air bubbles left behind reveal the submarine’s location. Russian nuclear submarines’ new “wet” torpedo launch tubes will operate on unique impulse-turbo-pump engines that can drive 1,321 gallons of water through their systems in a single second. “Modern Russian torpedoes will be placed into the launch tubes already in drowned state,” Roman Pykhtin, executive director of the “Vane Hydraulic Machine” company that produces the launch tubes, told Izvestia. “The crew just has to press the button, and our pump instantly creates the necessary water pressure. As a result, the torpedo will be propelled 23 feet from the submarine. It is the safe distance at which the torpedo’s engine turns on, and the missile starts pursuing its target.” “Preparation for torpedo launch is a very noisy experience,” Viktor Karavaev, lead designer of the nuclear submarines, told Izvestia. “The process takes only minutes, but it is enough for an enemy to ‘hear’ that an attack is being prepared and take retaliatory measures. Under water, the opening of the torpedo launch tube alone is audible for miles. A new impulse-electronic trigger system provides the weapon’s instant launch, which remains completely unnoticed by the enemy since no preliminary steps, no ‘impulse’ of the launch, and no subsequent perturbations of the environment occur.” Vadim Kozyulin, professor of the Academy of Military Science in Russia, said that the deployment of the “wet” torpedo launch tubes excludes the use of compressed air, which means that firing missiles will be entirely noiseless and hidden. He explains, “The maximum depth of torpedo weapons’ ‘air’ launch is 1,000 feet. Deeper, it gets impossible to produce the necessary air pressure inside the torpedo launch tube. Modern submarines descend up to 1,650 feet. Currently, a unique deep sea submarine is being created in Russia. It’s the underwater robot carrier ‘Khabarovsk.’ According to available information, the depth of her immersion is 3,280 feet. The use of the impulse-turbo-pump systems for launching torpedo weapons will allow it to shoot them without regard to the fact that the compressed air cylinders simply do not have enough power to push the robot to a safe distance from the submarine. ‘Drones,’ launched at such a depth, are completely invisible to the enemy.” Torpedo launch tubes are used not only to launch torpedoes, cruise missiles and drones; they set mines and serve as exits for marine saboteurs. Additionally, Russia is developing another new device to deceive the enemy that can be released from the torpedo launch tube. The device is called a “small-size hydroacoustic countermeasure device Vist-2.” It is 2.6 feet long and weighs 30 pounds. Vist creates a powerful acoustic hindrance that silences the homing heads of torpedoes and submarines’ sonar. It emits a special signal that simulates the sound of a ship or submarine. According to experts, the device, whose operation life is more than five minutes (enough to evade a torpedo or hide from the enemy’s hydroacoustic complex) seriously increases the Russian submarine fleet’s combat capabilities. Russia’s new generation of noiseless submarines, which can be hidden anywhere around the world in the depths of the oceans—the “black holes” that carry cruise missiles or drones armed with nuclear warheads—is part of Vladimir Putin’s plan to show Washington that no Missile Defense Shield in Europe and no great ocean will protect American soil in case of military conflict.

 

Borei-Class Submarines: Principal Component of Russia's Nuclear Triad

On Thursday, during a major year-end press-conference Russian President Vladimir Putin underscored the importance of Russia’s military modernization program. In particular, the president noted: "We did a lot to modernize the nuclear and missile capabilities of the Russian armed forces. This relates to the navy. New strategic submarines with new missiles are entering service." US troops land with parachutes at the military compound near Torun, central Poland, on June 7, 2016, as part of the NATO Anaconda-16 military exercise © AFP 2016/ JANEK SKARZYNSKI Russia Will Not Be Dragged Into a 'New Arms Race Imposed by US, NATO' Putin also underscored that Russia was acting in strict accordance with all international commitments, including the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START). The same day, the eighth Borei-class (project 955) submarine was laid down at the Sevmash shipyard. The new missile-carrying strategic submarine was named the Knyaz Pozharsky. It is expected to be the last in a series of eight Borei-class submarines for the Russian Navy. In recent years, Russia has been putting many efforts in building a modern-day nuclear submarine fleet. Russia Building Fleet of Eight Borei Subs In terms of combat power, one Borei-class submarine surpasses a combined arms army. In January 2013, when the first submarines of this class entered service, at a ceremony President Putin said: "The Yuri Dolgorukiy is a new-generation nuclear-powered submarine. Submarines of this class will be an important component of the Russian strategic forces and will guarantee global power balance and the security of Russia and its allies." Crew of the Alexander Nevsky nuclear submarine topside at a welcome ceremony for the Navy's new Borei-class project 955 vessel at Kamchatka's Vilyuchinsk base. © Sputnik/ Ildus Gilyazutdinov Russian Navy to Stop Production of Borei-Class Nuclear Subs - Deputy Commander Since that time, the Russian Navy has already received three Borei-class submarines – the Yuri Dolgorukiy, the Alexander Nevsky and the Vladimir Monomakh. By December 23, another four modernized submarines of Borei-A class were built at the Sevmash shipyard, including the Knyaz Vladimir, the Knyaz Oleg, the Generalissimus Suvorov and the Emperor Alexander III. Nuclear submarines are the most effective, autonomous and stealthy component of the Russian nuclear triad. They do not depend on weather conditions and can operate hundreds of miles from the Russian coast. Starting 2020, the Borei-class submarines will be the main naval component in the Russian nuclear strategic deterrence forces. Eight submarines and 16 rotating crews will maintain Russia’s permanent presence and capabilities in different areas of the World Ocean. A Borei-class missile-carrying nuclear submarine (project 955A, Borei-M) was developed by Rubin design bureau. It has a length of nearly 170 meters, a width of 13.5 meters and a displacement of 24,000 tons. It can carry 16-20 Bulava-30 intercontinental ballistic missiles and several cruise missiles. The Bulava-30 has a maximum operation range of 8,000 km. It has a solid-fuel engine and a compact design. The sub can reach high speeds and boasts an outstanding maneuverability. It can also override certain advanced missile defense systems. By 2020, a fleet of eight Borei and Borei-A subs will be able to carry 148 R-30 Bulava missiles with a total of 1,480 guidance blocks, 100-150 kilotons each. Lada-class submarine © Photo: Admiralty Shipyards Sankt Peterburg Submarine Fires Cruise Missiles During Barents Sea Drills A Borei-class submarine also has eight 533-mm forward torpedo tubes, nearly 40 torpedoes, missile-torpedoes and torpedo mines. It also carries autonomous sonar countermeasures devices. Borei’s sonar system allows for detecting enemy ships at a distance 50 percent farther than that of Virginia-class submarines of the United States Navy. This system is a complex of digital devices providing communications, acquisition and detection of targets and a range of auxiliary functions. A Borei-class submarine has a maximum depth of 480 meters. It carries a 90-days food supply for crew. As for its life-support systems, it can operate autonomously for decades. Its crew numbers 107 members. In comparison with a Borei and Borei-A submarines, the Borei-M (developed in 2011) submarine has increased stealth capabilities and advanced communications and weapons control systems. There is also a modernization plan for the entire Project 955. Cutting-Edge Technologies Despite hostile rhetoric in Western political circles and mainstream media, Russia proves that its defense industry has the most advanced technologies, including in building submarines. Some of those technologies are unavailable for more economically developed countries. The West has repeatedly expressed concerns over Russia investing into the newest defense technologies. Business Insider placed Borei-class submarines among the "10 most terrifyingly advanced weapons used by the Russian army." First multirole Yasen SSBN adopted by Russian Navy © Photo: press-service of JSC "PO "Sevmas Russia to Launch Lead Submarines of Borei-A, Yasen-M Classes in 2017 - Navy Currently, there are 75 operational submarines of different classes with the Russian Navy. They incorporate the most advanced technologies of the Russia defense industry, including bodies made of special steel alloys and titan for increased stealth capabilities, reliable underwater missile launchers and sophisticated sonar systems. Russia expects to develop a fifth-generation multipurpose submarine by 2020. Moreover, it was reported that on November 27, Russia tested a nuclear-propelled torpedo capable of firing a 100-megaton thermonuclear charge at a distance of up to 10,000 km.

 

Submarine global market analysis to 2022.

The demand for military submarines is expected to be driven by the need to replace aging submarines, and disputes over maritime borders and trade routes. In addition to a nuclear deterrent role, submarines play more crucial roles such as surveillance and reconnaissance, intelligence gathering, and patrolling and securing maritime borders and trade routes. The growing importance of submarines in these roles is driving the demand for submarines and related MRO services in countries with substantial maritime borders, by compelling them to invest heavily in procurement, mid-life upgrades, and MRO submarine programs. The global submarine market is worth US$22.8 billion in 2016, and is expected to increase to US$36.3 billion by 2026, at a CAGR of 4.74% during the forecast period. The market is expected to be dominated by North America, occupying 37% of market share, followed by Asia Pacific and Europe, with shares of 32% and 24% respectively. The Middle East, Latin America, and Africa are expected to account for the remaining 7% of the overall submarine market. The SSN segment is estimated to account for 38.3% of the global submarine market. SSK and SSBN segments are also expected to account for a significant portion of the total submarine market during the forecast period, with shares of 35.3% and 26.4% respectively. Global spending on submarine MROs is projected to increase from US$2.8 billion in 2016 to US$3.3 billion in 2026, registering a CAGR of 1.67% during the forecast period.

 

Russian Super Torpedo That Kills Submarines at 200 Miles Per Hour.

Imagine the sudden revelation of a weapon that can suddenly go six times faster than its predecessors. The shock of such a breakthrough system would turn an entire field of warfare on its head, as potential adversaries scrambled to deploy countermeasures to a new weapon they are defenseless against. While a lull in great power competition delayed the impact of this new technology, the so-called “supercavitating torpedo” may be about to take the world by storm. During the Cold War, the Soviet Union placed a heavy reliance on its submarine fleet to negate America’s advantage in naval forces. The U.S. Navy was not only tasked to help protect the flow of reinforcements into Europe in the event of World War III, it also threatened the Soviet Union directly and would have hunted down and sunk her ballistic missile submarines. The USSR at first used sheer numbers of diesel electric submarines, then more advanced nuclear attack submarines, to whittle down the odds. One of the most innovative underwater weapons developed by the Soviet Union was the VA-111 Shkval (“Squall”) supercavitating torpedo. Highly classified, Shkval was virtually unknown before the end of the Cold War and only became common knowledge in the mid-1990s. Powered by a rocket engine, it was capable of astonishing speeds of up to 200 knots an hour. But in a world where physics ensured most ships and underwater weapons topped out at 50 knots, how did Russian engineers accomplish such a breakthrough in speed? Traditionally, torpedoes use propellers or pumpjets for propulsion. Shkval, on the other hand, uses a rocket engine. That alone is enough to make it fast, but traveling through water creates major drag problems. The solution: get the water out of the path of the torpedo. But how, exactly does one get water of the path of an object in the middle of an ocean? The solution: vaporize liquid water into a gas. Shkval solves this problem by diverting hot rocket exhaust out of its nose, which turns the water in front of it into steam. As the torpedo moves forward, it continues vaporizing the water in front of it, creating a thin bubble of gas. Traveling through gas the torpedo encounters much less drag, allowing it to move at speeds of up 200 knots. This process is known as supercavitation. The trick with maintaining supercavitation is keeping the torpedo enclosed in the gas bubble. This makes turning maneuvers tricky, as a change of heading will force a portion of the torpedo outside the bubble, causing sudden drag at 230 miles an hour. Early versions of Shkval apparently had a very primitive guidance system, and attacks would have been fairly straight torpedo runs. Considering the warhead would have been nuclear, that would probably have been good enough to destroy the target. It’s clear the Soviet Union believe there were times when torpedo speed was more important than maneuverability. Shkval was originally designed in the 1960s as a means of quickly attacking NATO nuclear missile submarines, delivering a nuclear warhead at previously unheard-of speeds. The torpedo is of standard 533-millimeter torpedo diameter and carries a 460 pound warhead. It has a maximum range of 7,500 yards. Shkval began mass production in 1978 and entered service with the Soviet Navy that year. Like any weapon, there are drawbacks. For one, the gas bubble and the rocket engine are very noisy. Any submarine that launches a supercavitating torpedo will instantly give away its approximate position. That having been said, such a fast-moving weapon could conceivably destroy the enemy before it has time to act on the information, as the enemy suddenly has a both an enemy submarine and a 200 knot torpedo to contend with. Another drawback to a supercavitating torpedo is the inability to use traditional guidance systems. The gas bubble and rocket engine produce enough noise to deafen the torpedo’s built-in active and passive sonar guidance systems. Early versions of the Shkval were apparently unguided, trading guidance for speed. A newer version of the torpedo employs a compromise method, using supercavitation to sprint to the target area, then slowing down to search for its target. Is there a future for the supercavitating torpedo? The U.S. has been working on such a weapon since 1997, apparently without a deployable weapon. Indeed, the U.S. Navy is currently in the process of upgrading the venerable Mark 48 submarine torpedo for service into the foreseeable future. Then again, the Navy’s requirements were far greater than Shkval’s capabilities, including turning, identifying, and homing in on targets. In the meantime Russian submarines are the only subs in the world equipped with supercavitating torpedoes, modernized versions of Shval armed with a conventional warhead. Russian industry also offers an export version, Shkval E, for sales abroad,

 

Israel’s German-made submarines engulfed by controversy, shrouded in secrecy

Silently cruising in the depths of the seas, near and far from Israel’s Mediterranean coastline, the Israeli Navy’s growing submarine fleet conducts missions that are shrouded in secrecy and are considered essential for national security. Currently, the navy has five German-made Dolphin submarines, with a sixth due for delivery in 2019.  After arriving in Israel, the platforms receive advanced communications and weapons systems that are produced by Israeli defense companies, and which are specially tailored for the navy’s needs.  During routine times, the submarines are primarily engaged with intelligence-gathering missions, Maj. Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror, former national security advisor to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, told JNS.org. “The submarines have a uniqueness that no other vessel has,” said Amidror, a senior fellow at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies think tank. “As soon as it is underwater, its location cannot be tracked,” he added. “It can reach any coastal location, and poke out a periscope [for visual intelligence] or an antenna, to listen in [on communications].” In wartime, submarines continue with intelligence-gathering, and can also be ordered to block enemy ports or target hostile ship traffic at sea.  If submarines can rendezvous with a large ship, refueling the submarines and resupplying their sailors with food, the submarines’ range and mission length is theoretically “almost endless,” Amidror said.  Yet recently, the submarines made headlines for all the wrong reasons after Israeli media outlets accused government decision-makers of being in a conflict of interest when they ordered three additional submarines from German manufacturer ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS). The controversial order is designed to replace Israel’s three oldest submarines with state-of-the-art vessels, enabling the Jewish state to maintain a modern fleet of six submarines.  But the fact that Netanyahu’s personal attorney, David Shomron, represents TKMS in Israel led to a media firestorm in recent weeks, despite denials by the prime minister and by Shomron of any improper decision-making or undue influence during the acquisition. Subsequent revelations that Iran holds a 4.5-percent share in TKMS did nothing to allay concerns. But Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman asserted that Iran’s financial involvement in the company has long been known and poses no security risk. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu helps raise the Israeli flag at a welcoming ceremony for Israel’s new INS Rahav submarine at the Israeli Navy base in Haifa Jan. 12, 2016. Credit: Kobi Gideon/GPO. The fact that Germany—conscious of its dark past—sells submarines at a reduced rate to Jerusalem likely plays a major role in Israel’s decision to keep buying German-made vessels. The submarines are, according to media reports, capable of carrying nuclear missiles, thereby reportedly greatly enhancing Israeli power projection and second strike capability in the event of an exchange with a nuclear-armed foe. In October 2015, Netanyahu flew to Germany with Yossi Cohen, former head of the Israeli National Security Council and current director of the Mossad overseas intelligence agency, to discuss the purchase of the three additional submarines with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. A year later, a framework agreement between Israel and Germany was signed. Throughout the current controversy, the Israeli submarines and their on-board crews have continued to prowl the depths of the seas, spending long periods away from their home port at the Haifa naval base. The vessels’ activities remain a closely guarded secret, and according to Yiftah Shapir, head of the Middle East Military Balance Project at the Tel Aviv University-affiliated Institute for National Security Studies think tank, there is no telling what the submarines are actually doing on any given day. “One of the problems when discussing the question of whether to acquire three more submarines is that I, as a researcher, cannot say anything [about what they do]. I really do not know,” Shapir told JNS.org. “In open sources, there is no information whatsoever on the roles played by submarines, other than occasional references to patrols and intelligence gathering,” said Shapir. “And foreign sources say that they enable Israel’s nuclear deterrence. But as a researcher, I have a problem, because I really cannot say what they do….I cannot explain why Israel needs the submarines. It is possible that they are very much needed. It is possible they are not.” Referring to the three new-age Dolphin submarines that have already started entering service, Shapir said that during discussions about acquiring them, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) General Staff was against the purchase and the Defense Ministry was in favor of it. “This shows that a big part of the General Staff of the IDF is not aware of their roles. And that only the defense minister and a few others can decide, and say that they are more important than Namer (armored personnel carriers), Merkava tanks and other things,” Shapir argued. Nevertheless, sources from the Israel Navy have dropped significant hints about their roles. In March 2015, for example, a naval source said submarines had conducted dozens of covert operations off enemy shores, according to the Jerusalem Post. "We conducted a series of operations in various sectors. Some lasted weeks," the source said in the report. The two latest additions to the fleet, second-generation Dolphin submarines, use an advanced means to move around, called Air Interdependent Propulsion (AIP), meaning that they can travelunderwater for longer and further without the need to resurface frequently to charge their electrical batteries. The latest submarine which came into service in 2016, the INS Rahav, joins its fellow vessel, the INS Tanin—both AIP submarines—in carrying out covert missions based on their increased submersion capabilities. It seems safe to assume that Israel’s submarines and their crews are in the midst of many secretive missions at this very moment, far away from the stormy public debate about them back on land. From the navy’s perspective, the fact that so few know what the submarines are doing is a central aspect of mission success.

 

China Resumes Production of Its Quietest Attack Submarine

After a three-year hiatus, China has reportedly resumed production of one of its quietest submarine classes.  China has apparently resumed construction of Type 039B Yuan-class diesel-electric attack submarines (SSK) after a three year hiatus, IHS Jane’s Defense Weekly reported on January 5. Images posted on Chinese online forums reportedly show three Type 039B Yuan-class boats in various stages of completion being out fitted out at the Wuchang Shipyard in Wuhan, central China. The last of the three subs, built by China State Shipbuilding Industrial Corp (CSIC), was purportedly launched on December 12. The Yuan-class is purportedly one of the quietest submarine classes in the inventory of the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN). The original Type 039A Yuan-class (also known as the Type 041) made its first public appearance in 2006 as the successor of the Type 039 Song-class of diesel-electric attack submarines. Analysts have identified a total of four Type 039 Yuan-class variants, with the Type 039B boats as the latest iteration of the SSK class. There is very little open source data available on the Type 039B boats. With a length of 77 meters (254 feet) and a beam of 8.4 meters, they allegedly displace around 2,700 tons surfaced and 3,600 tons when submerged and hold a crew of 38. Type 039B boats feature a modified hull and redesigned conning tower, as well as a flank sonar array. “The hulls of the Yuan class are clad with anechoic tiles, to minimize any return echoes when pinged by active sonars,” according to IHS Jane’s Defense Weekly. The subs are allegedly fitted with diesel-electric engines supplemented by an air independent propulsion (AIP) system. Type 039B subs are also reportedly fitted with the Kockums Stirling AIP technology, which increases the boats’ submerged endurance from days to weeks. It is unclear what combat control systems are installed aboard the latest Yuan-class boats. Fitted with six 533-millimeter torpedo tubes, the sub can reportedly launch YJ-2 (YJ-82) anti-ship cruise missiles, launched in a buoyant capsule, and a combination of Yu-4 (SAET-50) passive homing and Yu-3 (SET-65E) active/passive homing torpedoes. There has also been speculation that some boats of the class will be fitted with a vertical launch system for newer anti-ship cruise missiles such as the YJ-18, China’s most modern supersonic anti-ship missile specifically designed to defeat the Aegis Combat System. The YJ-18 has allegedly already been deployed on PLAN surface warships. The PLAN currently operates a fleet of 13 to 15 Yuan-class subs with a total of 20 boats of the class planned for production, according to a 2016 Pentagon study. The exact production schedule remains unknown. Chinese submarine technology is still generally considered to be a generation behind the West and the PLAN continues to rely on imported foreign technology for its SSK force, often license-built in China.

 

Pakistan Likely To Acquire Chinese Nuclear Attack Submarines.

A Chinese Navy nuclear-powered attack submarine which docked at the Karachi harbour in May took aboard Pakistani naval officers and sailors to give them a first-hand glimpse of how the submarine works. This was not a simple case of access being given to a close military ally. The Indian Navy is convinced that it is a matter of time before Islamabad leases a Chinese nuclear submarine. The Pakistan Navy personnel who were on the submarine may be part of their first team to train on Chinese nuclear submarines, it is believed. On Friday, NDTV broadcast images of an advanced 'Shang' class nuclear submarine which was placed, through a satellite image, at Karachi last year. The images were first spotted by a satellite imagery expert (@rajfortyseven) who posts on Twitter. Displacing 7,000 tonnes when it operates underwater, and armed with six torpedo tubes, the Shang class submarine is part of the latest generation of nuclear attack submarines designed and commissioned by China. The submarine also has the ability to fire cruise missiles - including the Babur missile that Pakistan yesterday claimed to test-fire off its coast, a claim that has been disregarded by the Indian Navy. Pakistan's acquisition of a 'Shang' class submarine will have an impact on the naval balance in the Indian Ocean, which is currently skewed heavily in favour of the Indian Navy. India's navy is significantly larger and more capable than its regional rival. Unlike conventional diesel electric submarines that Pakistan has been operating for decades, a nuclear attack submarine has practically unlimited endurance. Its nuclear reactor is unlikely to require refueling during the life of the submarine, which means the 'Shang' can theoretically operate indefinitely under water. Even though realistically, it will be limited by the amount of food and supplies it can carry for its crew. The mechanical reliability of key systems also limits the submarine. The Pakistani acquisition of a 'Shang' class submarine is meant to counter the Indian Navy's 'Akula-2' class nuclear attack submarines which New Delhi has been leasing from Russia. Considered among the most powerful submarines of its class, the Akula-2 - named INS Chakra - has been leased for 10 years and will be returned to Russia within four years, by which time the Navy will have acquired a second submarine of the same class. The terms were recently worked out between the two countries. Now for the first time, details are emerging on how the Indian Navy has been able to track the movement of Chinese submarines, which first started operating in the Indian Ocean in 2013, a clear signal of how Beijing intends to expand its strategic reach to include areas of the Indian Ocean which New Delhi has typically considered its own backyard. The Chinese 'Shang' class submarine, which docked in Karachi, entered the Indian Ocean through the Malacca straits off Singapore between April 19 and 20. Picked up almost immediately by the Indian Navy's US-made Boeing P8-I maritime surveillance aircraft, the submarine - accompanied by a large 10,000 ton fleet support and replenishment tanker - was constantly tracked on its way to Karachi. The P8-Is dropped sonobuoys across the projected route of the submarine. Sonobuoys - small listening devices that transmit the sound of submarines to reconnaissance aircraft operating overhead - are key to detecting submarines. Interspersed with the 'passive' sonobuoys deployed by the P8-Is, were 'active' sonobuoys which ping the ocean with sound waves reflecting off the submarine surface. Using a combination of both sensors, the Navy's P8-Is were able to force the Chinese submarine into making evasive maneuvers. The exact location of the submarine was also passed on to India's own submarines, which were also monitoring the movement of the 'Shang'. The 'Shang' entered the Karachi harbour on May 19, its exact location constantly plotted by the Indian Navy's assets, which have determined that the sound radiated by the Shang class is higher than the considerably quieter new generation American or Russian submarines, which are tougher to detect. The 'Shang' and its support ship spent seven days in Karachi, leaving on May 26. It was during this period that Pakistani Navy sailors and officers were allowed access to one of the Chinese Navy's most sensitive assets. It's still unclear if the 'Shang' returned to Karachi to disembark the Pakistani Naval personnel or whether they were transferred to another vessel as the submarine proceeded south along the Indian peninsula before setting course for the Malacca straits. On June 14, the 'Shang' submarine exited the Indian Ocean region.  Senior Navy officers have pointed out that the deployment of Chinese Navy submarines in the Indian Ocean coincides with active efforts to establish a ring of ports to strategically encircle India. On Sunday, the Maldives leased China an island for 50 years at just 3 million dollars. Earlier, China had also invested heavily in the Ihaven atoll in the Maldives chain, which lies just south of the southernmost Indian island in the Arabian Sea, the Minicoy Islands. Located on a key East-West shipping route, Ihaven could give the Chinese the possibility of berthing naval ships and submarines very close to the Indian mainland. As significantly, China has secured an 80% share of the Hambantota deep sea port in Sri Lanka as well as land for a new industrial zone in the area. According to the plan, land in this area will be ceded to Beijing for the next 99 years in exchange for $1.1 billion towards debt relief. Pakistan and China, meanwhile, continue to work closely on developing the strategically located Gwadar port, central to the $46 billion China-Pacific Economic Corridor (CPEC) that is under development. China also continues to expand its naval base in Djibouti situated in the Horn of Africa. In August last year, Pakistan State Radio announced a deal to acquire eight Chinese conventional diesel-electric powered submarines and Bangladesh has just received two submarines for the first time from China.

 

Egypt Upgrades Submarines.

At the end of 2016 Egypt received the first of four Type 209 submarines from manufacturer. These German built boats displace 1,300 tons, are 59 meters (183 feet) long, have eight torpedo tubes, and carry 14 torpedoes (or anti-ship missiles) and a crew of 36. Top speed on the surface is 21 kilometers an hour and twice that submerged. That speed difference is because of the tear-drop shape hull, which the 209 was among the first diesel-electric boats to adopt it. The 209s can operate for up to 50 days on internal fuel and supplies. Operating with a snorkel (a periscope like device which allows the diesel engine to be use while submerged) they can operate for 30 days. Operating submerged on battery power they can operate for about 100 hours (moving at 7 kilometers an hour, a third of the cruising speed while using the diesels). Max depth is 500 meters (1,600 feet).  These are world class subs that first appeared in the early 1970s and are still in production. Only two of the 61 put into service have been retired because these boats proved quite durable and amenable to refurbishment and upgrades. Currently Type 209s cost $500-600 million each, depending on how you equip them. These 209s replace four Chinese Type 033s acquired in the mid-1980s and were refurbished and upgraded by the United States in the late 1990s. Neighbor Israel has six Dolphin class subs, which replaced older German Type 206s by 2002. These are much upgraded Type 209s. The first one entered service in 1999 and the fifth one in 2016. The sixth one is under construction. The first three were 1,600 ton boats, the second three were 2,100 ton subs that were more advanced than the Type 2012.

 

China's new secret 'humpback' stealth submarine which carries 12 nukes capable of reaching US mainland

The "Jin" Type 094A rear can carry 12 ballistic missiles hidden in its "hump" rear. China's new secret nuclear stealth submarines been tipped to enhance its nuclear capabilities amid reports it may carry missiles capable of reaching the United States.  These pictures of the "Jin" Type 094A rear has triggered belief it can carry 12 ballistic missiles hidden in its "hump" rear. The missiles are reportedly known as "big waves" and have a range of over 11,000km. The shape is believed to make the vessel more aerodynamic in the water. The vessel was first seen late last year. But it is slightly different to an earlier model, the Type 094 SSBNs. It has a "curved conning tower and front base that's blended into the submarine hull, possibly to reduce hydrodynamic drag", it was reported. The earlier Type 094 SSBN (Photo: Pakistan Defence) . The Type 094A also has a retractable towed array sonar which would make it easier for the craft to "listen" for threats and avoid them, Popular Science reports.  "The new missile could reach virtually the entire United States without leaving the heavily defended Yulin Naval Base (itself complete with underground shelters and docks for submarines) in Hainan Island," the website said. "This vessel's ability to reach global targets while lurking in heavily defended coastal waters will significantly boost China's second strike capability (that is, the ability of a nuclear power to launch a retaliatory nuclear attack even after suffering a devastating conventional or nuclear attack)".

 

China's First Nuclear Powered 'Boomer' Submarine Was a Total Disaster.

During the early 1980s, the People’s Republic of China attempted to modernize its nuclear deterrent force. One concrete results of the effort was the construction of a single nuclear ballistic missile submarine, a “boomer” in arms-control parlance. Constructed at enormous cost, the Xia class of submarines was such a disappointment that a follow-on class was not fielded for twenty years. For a country with a population of more than a billion, the People’s Republic of China has a remarkably small nuclear force—and a restrained nuclear policy. The country detonated its first nuclear device in 1964, and its first thermonuclear device in 1957. The country’s nuclear weapons, under the control of the People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force, are estimated to total approximately 260 weapons, equipping both land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles and sea-based submarine-launched ballistic missiles. China’s nuclear policy is a pragmatic one, largely anchored in the country’s former poverty. Rather than pursue a first-strike capability and thousands of nuclear weapons, something it could not afford during the Cold War, the country largely pursues a countervalue strategy that places an emphasis upon survivable weapons that can stage devastating revenge attacks against enemy cities. As a result, land-based missiles dominated the PLA during the early years. Upon coming to power in 1978, Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping cut military research and development spending, concentrating what was left on the “Three Grasps”—the development of an intercontinental ballistic missile, a submarine-launched ballistic missile and a communications satellite. Sea-based nukes, which are much more difficult to locate and destroy than other basing strategies, were more in line with China’s countervalue strategy. This made a ballistic-missile submarine a national priority, and construction began that same year. The Type 092 was designed by the Nuclear Powered Submarine Overall Design Section of the Seventh Academy, with Chief Designer Huang Xuhua overseeing the project. Despite most of China’s submarines using a traditional World War II–derived submarine hull, Huang pressed for a teardrop hull, the kind pioneered by the U.S. Navy with great success in the experimental sub USS Albacore. The first draft of the submarine plans was finished in October 1967. China’s nuclear-submarine development effort, code-named Type 09, would produce two ships: the Type 091 attack submarine and Type 092. The priority given to the Three Grasps accelerated the Type 092’s developmental pace, which had been stalled by political maneuvering and even the carnage of the Cultural Revolution. The first submarine of the so-called Xia class was launched in 1981, and went to sea for the first time in 1983. The Xia class was designed to carry twelve Julang (“Great Wave”) JL-1 ballistic missiles. The JL-1 was a solid fueled design with a range of just 1,770 kilometers and a 250-kiloton warhead. The JL-1 was first test-fired from a modified Golf-class submarine in September 1982. The missile’s range was disappointing: fired from the Yellow Sea, it could barely hit the northern half of Japan, and while it could hit the Soviet city of Vladivostok, it could not range as far as the important military hub of Khabarovsk. Indeed, a PLA boomer would have to be parked in the Baltic Sea to place Moscow at risk. The single Xia-class submarine was not a military success. Ship construction was notoriously difficult and likely strained the limits of China’s submarine building abilities. The ship became operational in 1983, but faced enduring problems with reliability and radiation leakage from its onboard reactor. The ship is also allegedly the noisiest of all U.S., Russian and Chinese ballistic missile submarines underwater, making it easy to detect and track. The sub undertook a single patrol and then never sailed again, staying pierside for so long there were rumors it had caught fire and sank in 1985. It has allegedly never sailed beyond Chinese waters. The Xia-class boat was thought to have gone into refit in 1995, and was not seen for years. It surfaced briefly in 2000 at a military exercise, but then resumed its fairly indolent career. It went back to drydock at the Jianggezhuang Submarine Base between 2005 and 2007. While China’s first ballistic-missile submarine was meant to be a real, operational submarine and part of China’s nuclear deterrent, the obstacles encountered during construction forced lower expectations. The boat was more of a test bed, allowing China to test new underwater technologies as it gradually placed more emphasis on naval forces in general. Today the ship has been replaced by the Type 094 Jin-class submarines. Although by no means perfect (the subs have their own noise issues) the four Jin submarines are closer to China’s original vision of a sea-based nuclear deterrent capability, and they almost certainly owe their existence to the groundbreaking Type 092.

 

Russia's First Nuclear Attack Submarine Was a Real Killer (Of Lots of Russian Sailors).

The United States launched the first nuclear-powered submarine, the USS Nautilus, in 1954, revolutionizing undersea warfare. The Nautilus’s reactor allowed it operate underwater for months at a time, compared to the hours or days afforded conventional submarines. The following year, the Soviet Union began building its own nuclear submarine, the Project 627—known as the November class by NATO. The result was a boat with a few advantages compared to its American competition, but that also exhibited a disturbing tendency to catastrophic accidents that would prove characteristic of the burgeoning Soviet submarine fleet during the Cold War. The original specifications drafted in 1952 for a Soviet nuclear submarine had conceived of employing them to launch enormous nuclear torpedoes at enemy harbors and coastal cities. At the time, the Soviet Union lacked the long-range missiles or bombers that could easily hit most of the continental United States. However, as these capabilities emerged in the mid-1950s, the Project 627 design was revised to reflect an antiship role, with eight torpedo tubes located in the bow and combat systems taken from Foxtrot-class diesel submarines. The first Project 627 boat, the K-3 Leninsky Komsomol, launched in 1957 and made its first voyage under nuclear power in July 1958 under Capt. Leonid Osipenko, using a reactor design supervised by renowned scientist Anatoly Alexandrov. The large, torpedo-shaped vessel displaced more than four thousand tons submerged and was 107 meters long. Its double-hulled interior was divided into nine compartments, housing a crew of seventy-four seamen and thirty officers. K-3 rapidly demonstrated the extraordinary endurance of nuclear submarines, embarking upon two-month long cruises while submerged. In 1962, it became the first Soviet vessel to travel to the North Pole, while a sister ship, K-133, was the first submarine to traverse the Drake Strait submerged in a twenty-one-thousand-mile cruise that lasted fifty-two days. K-3 was soon joined by twelve additional November-class vessels of a revised design designated the Project 627A, distinguishable by a bulbous sonar dome under the bow, as well as a single Project 645 prototype powered by an experimental VT-1 liquid metal reactor with greater power efficiency. The fourteen November-class boats were deployed to the Third and Seventeenth Divisions of the Northern Fleet, though later four were transferred to the Pacific Fleet by transiting under Arctic ice. The 627’s VM-A reactors were more powerful than their American contemporaries, speeding the Project 627s along up to thirty knots (34.5 miles per hour). However, the 627 lacked another quality generally expected of a nuclear submarine: the reactors were extremely noisy, making the Project 627 boats easy to detect despite the use of stealthy propellers and the first anti-sonar coating applied to a nuclear submarine. This lack of discretion, combined with its inferior sonar array, made the November class ill suited for hunting opposing submarines. Nonetheless, the 627s still dealt the U.S. Navy a few surprises. In 1965, K-27 managed to sneak up on the antisubmarine carrier USS Randolph off of Sardinia and complete a mock torpedo run before being detected. In 1968, another November-class boat proved capable of matching pace with the carrier USS Enterprise while the latter moved at full power, causing a minor panic in the Navy leadership that led to the adoption of the speedy Los Angeles–class attack submarine, some of which remain in service today. However, the power of the November class’s reactors was bought at the price of safety and reliability. A lack of radiation shielding resulted in frequent crew illness, and many of the boat suffered multiple reactor malfunctions over their lifetimes. This lack of reliability may explain why the Soviet Union dispatched conventional Foxtrot submarines instead of the November-class vessels during the Cuban Missile Crisis, despite the fact that the diesel boats needed to surface every few days, and for this reason were cornered and chased away by patrolling American ships. In fact, the frequent, catastrophic disasters onboard the Project 627 boats seem almost like gruesome public service announcements for everything that could conceivably go wrong with nuclear submarines. Many of the accidents reflected not only technological flaws, but the weak safety culture of the Soviet Navy. K-8 started the trend in October 13, 1960, when a ruptured steam turbine nearly led to a reactor meltdown due to loss of coolant. The crew was able to jury-rig an emergency water-cooling system, but not before radioactive gas contaminated the entire vessel, seriously irradiating several of the crew. K-14, which would distinguish itself in the medical evacuation of an Arctic expedition in 1963, also experienced a reactor breakdown in 1961, necessitating its replacement the following years. In February 1965, radioactive steam blasted through K-11 on two separate occasions while it underwent refueling at base. The repair crews misdiagnosed the implications of the first event and followed incorrect procedures during the second, and were ultimately forced to evacuate the reactor room, leading to fires breaking out across the ship. The Soviet crew flooded the vessel with 250 tons of water to put out the flames, spreading radioactive water throughout the entire vessel. Seven men were badly irradiated, and the reactor required a complete replacement before it could be returned to active duty three years later. K-3, the first Soviet submarine to sail on nuclear power, was on a Mediterranean patrol on September 8, 1967, when a hydraulic fire broke out in its torpedo tubes, with the resulting buildup of carbon monoxide killing thirty-nine sailors. The entire command crew passed out, save for a lone petty officer who managed to surface the ship, saving the vessel. A later investigation concluded the fire may have been caused by a sailor smoking in the torpedo compartment. K-27, the lone Project 645 boat, experienced a breakdown in its port-side reactor on May 24, 1968, in the Barents Sea—despite the crew warning that the reactor had experienced a similar malfunction in 1967 and had yet to test that it was functioning properly. The entire crew of 124 was irradiated by radioactive gas, but Captain Leonov refused to take emergency measures until hours later due to his faith in the reactor. Shortly after the ship limped home on its starboard reactor, five of the crew died from radiation exposure within a month, with twenty-five more to follow in subsequent years. Repair of K-27 ultimately proved too expensive a proposition, so it was scuttled by ramming in Stepovoy Bay in waters only thirty-three meters deep—rather than the three to four thousand meters required by the IAEA. In 1970, the ill-fated K-8 was participating in the Okean 70 war games off the Bay of Biscay when it suffered simultaneous short circuits in its command center and reactor control room, spreading a fire through the air conditioning system. The captain managed to surface the boat, and the crew nearly escaped with only moderate loss of life—except that the Soviet Navy ordered about half of the men back on board to conduct emergency repairs and pilot the ship home. An encounter with a sea squall led to the damaged boat sinking to the ocean floor, taking fifty-eight crew and four nuclear torpedoes with it. The November-class boats finally began to enter retirement in the 1980s and early 1990s—but not before being subject to a final few accidents, not of their own making. In August 1985, K-42 was berthed next to the Echo-class submarine K-433 near Vladivostok when the latter suffered a nuclear refueling accident that killed ten and irradiated 239. K-42 was deemed so badly contaminated that it, too, had to be decommissioned. As the Soviet Union was succeeded by an economically destitute Russia, many decommissioned nuclear submarines were left to rust with their nuclear fuel onboard, leading to safety concerns from abroad. International donors fronted $200 million to scrap the hulks in 2003. Flimsy pontoons were welded onto K-159 to enable its towing to a scrapping site, but on August 30 a sea squall ripped away one of the pontoons, causing the boat to begin foundering around midnight. The Russian Navy failed to react until hours later, by which the time submarine had sunk, taking eight hundred kilograms of spent nuclear fuel and nine of the ten seamen manning the pontoons with it. Plans to raise K-159 have foundered to this day due to lack of funding. This is just an accounting of major accidents on the November-class boats—more occurred on Echo- and Hotel-class submarines equipped with the same nuclear reactors. Submarine operations are, of course, inherently risky; the U.S. Navy also lost two submarines during the 1960s, though it hasn’t lost any since. The November-class submarines may not have been particularly silent hunters, but they nonetheless marked a breakthrough in providing the Soviet submarine fleet global reach while operating submerged. They also provided painful lessons, paid in human lives lost or irreparably injured, in the risks inherent to exploiting nuclear power, and in the high price to be paid for technical errors and lax safety procedures.

 

Into the abyss: Bermuda dive with Nekton submarines

 

A Triton submarine and diver. Picture: Triton and Nekton. The radio crackles into life and the command is given from somewhere far away. “You’re clear to dive. Dive, dive, dive.” We tip forwards then slosh backwards, like an ungainly ice cube bobbing in a glass. There’s a hiss of bubbles as the ballast tanks vent and the sea swallows us whole, in one frothy burst.  All is suddenly quiet, apart from the gentle thrum of our engine as we begin our descent into the deep blue. At about 30m a jellyfish pulses somewhere in the distance and a small shoal of rainbow runners darts past, but we are otherwise alone, falling through an endless expanse of steadily darkening cerulean blue. This should be a peaceful experience, but my heart is beating triple-time and the heat is almost unbearable. Neatly ensconced inside a $US2.2 million ($2.9m) piece of apparatus that wouldn’t look out of place on the moon, it is as hot as a greenhouse thanks to our time on the surface on a cloudless Bermudan day. The underwater pilot explains that at more than below 300m sea level — the depth at which this two-person submersible best operates — the temperature is significantly cooler. But today we are only venturing to 60m in this electrically powered inverted human fishbowl. The aquanaut in charge is Patrick Lahey, president of Triton Submarines and one of the most experienced sub pilots in the world, who has accrued more than 1000 dives in 30 years. Unlike with scuba, there is no need to decompress thanks to a pressurised transparent hull made from 90mm-thick acrylic, almost like a giant eyeball, that passengers sit inside, giving them a 360-degree view of the seascape around. It is what Lahey calls, in his Florida drawl, a “shirtsleeve environment”.

The view of the ocean floor from the Triton submersible. Picture: Nekton. In 2015 David Attenborough explored the Great Barrier Reef in a similar model, and the giant squid, a creature that can grow to the length of a bus but is hardly ever seen because of the great depth at which it resides, was first filmed in its natural habitat from one in the north Pacific Ocean four years ago. But the reason for its deployment today is considerably more important than sightseeing or looking for deep-ocean monsters. Nekton, a scientific-research charity, named after aquatic animals that swim against the current, aims to open our eyes and minds to the deep ocean. It has assembled 30 organisations from across the world to form an alliance of leading scientists, philanthropists, business leaders, divers and explorers in compiling the Nekton/XL Catlin Deep Ocean Survey. The initiative will pioneer a standardised methodology for marine biologists to measure the function, health and resilience of the deep ocean. The $US8m venture, backed by XL Catlin, is led by Oliver Steeds, one part Captain Nemo and one part Steve Zissou of The Life Aquatic, with a background in investigative journalism. He believes we know little about our oceans. On board Baseline Explorer, Nekton’s mother ship and submersible launch pad for the trip’s duration, Steeds bellows with some vigour above a roaring engine as we power away from the Bermuda coast: “While trillions of dollars are spent going into outer space, there is so little spent on our oceans.

Mission director Oliver Steeds. Picture: Nekton. “The deep ocean is the beating heart of our planet, which regulates our atmosphere, water, food and climate [and] it’s a race against time to explore and understand this critically important ecosystem before it’s too late.” The facts, at least, are these. Just 0.05 per cent of our ocean floor has been mapped in any great detail, which means we have better maps of Mars, Venus and the moon than the seabed. The 2010 Census of Marine Life estimated that 250,000 marine animal and plant species have been described by science and at least 750,000 await discovery. Only 0.0001 per cent of the deep-sea floor has been biologically sampled. Baseline Explorer and CCGS Hudson (a Canadian vessel) are spending five weeks probing the depths of the northwest Atlantic around Bermuda, Nova Scotia and the Sargasso Sea, testing for everything from bioluminescence and acidification to new species and microplastics. Their arsenal includes two manned submersibles, a remote-operated vehicle (ROV) capable of reaching 2000m, and 10 divers, also responsible for taking samples and video transects. When I arrive, on day three of the mission, it’s like walking on to the set of a James Bond film as a sampling kit is being assembled, subs are winched into the air, GoPros are ferried about and lab is equipment unpacked. Before my sub dive, at a site called North North East, 16km off the coast of Bermuda, I’m told to expect one of the best areas in the vicinity. Once we get down it’s more like an eerie underwater moonscape: no coral, few fish, only wispy patches of seaweed, and a bright green sponge resembling broccoli. Later, it is proven to be a rhodolith bed, a type of red algae that can occur as a result of eutrophication — water pollution caused by fertilisers and agricultural run-off — and the historic effects of overfishing. “That’s just it,” beams Alex Rogers, the expedition’s ever-cheerful principal scientist and professor of conservation biology at Oxford University. “We have no idea what to expect. These beds still have a high diversity of life, but much less is known about them than coral.” It was in Bermuda that American naturalist William Beebe and engineer Otis Barton made history in 1934 by descending to just less than a kilometre below the surface in what, really, should have been a steel coffin. The bathysphere, designed by Barton, was a hollowed-out steel sphere with two small viewing portholes made from fused quartz, tougher than glass and able to withstand immense pressure. At the time, no one had descended that deep and survived. The craft was lowered by cable from a boat and the duo became the first humans to see deep-sea life in situ and describe bioluminescent animals. In the 82 years since, 12 people have walked on the moon yet only three have visited the deepest part of our ocean, the Marianas Trench in the western Pacific, a location that would submerge Everest with more than 1600m to spare; a location where the pressure is 1200 atmospheres — equivalent to 50 jumbo jets pressing down on you. “When you look at the ocean you see its skin but you don’t think about what is underneath,” Rogers says. He blames a lack of scientific funding. Analysts estimate that 95 per cent of scientific data focuses on land, not sea. He has been instrumental in the discovery of more than 100 new species, including a zombie snot worm, a name he recalls with relish.

The research submarine and Baseline Explorer support ship. Picture: Nekton. Heidi Hirsh, a PhD student at Stanford University specialising in carbonate biogeochemistry, and Melissa Price, who recently completed a master’s in underwater ecology at East Carolina University, specialising in shipwrecks, are two of his underlings. Hirsch shows me to a container-cum-laboratory to discuss microplastics. “Plastic pollution does not go away. It just breaks up into tiny little pieces,” she says. Price believes young minds hold the key to better ocean stewardship. With tattoos of sea creatures and plants covering her arms, including a squid inked as a reminder of being attacked by one during a dive, she makes a compelling ambassador. “The most important place to spread the news from this mission is in universities and schools. We need to plant that seed in students’ minds and encourage them into oceanography.” To that end, Nekton is supporting and providing resources for Submarine STEM, an educational program focused on ocean science. Then there are the divers. Martin McClellan, from Nevada, is hanging dry suits up on a line on deck. He is a colourful advocate for the ocean and has spent 40 years diving, much of it with a group called Global Underwater Explorers. “Yesterday, I was floored ... I’ve never seen that sort of vegetation in the ocean. We are seeing a lot of algae, moss and grass, not coral, which is really strange.” He suspects eutrophication might be a cause (although full data analysis of the mission will not be available until later this year). Upon the expedition’s completion I speak to Rogers, who has some encouraging news. He estimates they are on the way to confirming the discovery of more than 100 new species and seven types of algae. Vast communities of black coral gardens and sea whips were found, as was a new yellow and pink sea fan and a massive glass sponge “about the size of a football”. Intriguingly, shallow pelagic fish such as jacks, tuna and wahoo were frequently found feeding in deeper water. “It suggests a stronger link between deepwater and shallow-water habitats than previously suspected, which means we should be considering deepwater ecosystems into the design of, for example, marine protected areas.” They might also have found a new variety of rough-tongued bass, first described by Beebe, which they’ll call Beebe’s Rough-Tongued Bass in homage to the great oceanic explorer. The security of our oceans, a primary food source for 1.5 billion people, lies in protection. UNESCO has put forward a case for extending World Heritage status to five open ocean sites, a move supported by Nekton, and ahead of the World Conservation Congress last year, President Barack Obama signed a proposal to quadruple the size of Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument in the Hawaiian Islands for the protection of coral reefs, fish and sea mammals. Meantime Steeds is looking towards Nekton’s second deployment, in the Mediterranean.

 

New Manned Submersible on the Market.

 

Having completed sea trials and its first commercial dive, the Stingray 500, first in a series of new models from Canadian manned submersibles manufacturer and operator Aquatica Submarines and Subsea Technology Inc., is now poised to make waves in the defense, research and offshore commercial markets.  After completing sea trials to 690 feet with classification society DNV-GL, the sub has made its commercial expedition on artificial reefs off the coast of Vancouver for the Artificial Reef Society of British Columbia.  Now Aquatica said it has signed several strategic partner agreements to accelerate sales into the North American, European and Asian markets, enabling the manufacturer to promote the Stingray 500 for specific contracts in several key markets. “Each of these individual companies has expertise and a strong leadership role in the regions where we seek sales representation,” said Harvey Flemming, CEO and Founder of Aquatica Submarines. Under the terms of the first agreement with MJM Offshore, an international offshore project consulting and service supplier to the offshore oil and gas industry, MJM will exclusively represent Aquatica in China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan, as well as in the U.K. and parts of Europe and the Middle East. “When I first came across Aquatica Submarines and Subsea Technology Inc., I reached out them immediately, as I thought the company and technology had tremendous potential,” stated Mario John McCabe, MJM Proprietor and Managing Director. “This versatile, stylish and compact vehicle is built for ease of fast track dispatch, transportation and deployment for any assignment in all waters worldwide.”  The second agreement is with Singapore based MILWAVES Technology Pte. Ltd, a sales and service provider that serves the interests of a number of companies in defense technology and underwater systems to the military and maritime agencies in South East Asia. MILWAVES will be Aquatica’s exclusive representative for the entire line of submersibles and subsea services in Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Brunei, Myanmar, Philippines and the Maldives. Richard Lee Business Development Director MILWAVES Technology Tte. Ltd., said, “The commercial submarine industry is fairly new to SEAsia markets, and this will be a good challenge for us to start the ball rolling in this region. In addition, the defense industry here is active, we just have to innovate suitable products to all customers need.” Aquatica’s third partnership agreement is formed with Oceaneos Environmental Solutions, Inc., a scientific research company focused on the development of ocean seeding technology. Oceaneos’ proprietary technology and process is designed to rehabilitate human-impacted marine ecosystems through targeted ocean fertilization methods that increases wild fish populations. Since early 2016, Oceaneos has promoted the use of Aquatica submersibles as part of its offerings worldwide, and  the company is positioned to introduce Aquatica’s products into the Fisheries Research market.

 

WW1 submarines stranded on English coast revealed.

A hundred years ago during World War One, Germany declared unrestricted submarine warfare and started targeting hundreds of ships without warning. The submarines shown were surrendered by Germany at the end of the war and sank off the coast of Cornwall. The German submarines - known as U-boats - wrecked on the Cornish coast in Falmouth and some remains can still be seen. German forces surrendered the submarines in 1918 and having been stripped of their engines, they became difficult to tow and occasionally sank or wrecked on British beaches. In the year before unrestricted submarine warfare was declared by Germany, 431 ships were sunk by U-boats worldwide. The following year, that number reached 1,263. Roger Bowdler, from Historic England, said the declaration was "a decisive moment" in World War One. He said: "It was seen as uncivilised, un-gentlemanly and ultimately brought the might of the United States into the war." The pictures were taken by naval officer Jack Casement and donated to the Historic England Archive by his family. Image copyright Historic England Image caption The National Submarine War Memorial commemorates the lives of those who died as part of the Submarine Service. One third of the Submarine Service's total personnel died during World War One, the highest proportion of any branch of the armed services.

 

Marine Explorer Finds Second Missing US WWII Submarine Wreck.

Tim Taylor, president of Tiburon Subsea Services Inc. based in New York City, USA, has discovered the missing wreck of the USS S-26 submarine 75 year after it sank in the Second World War. This is the eighth submarine discovered out of 52 missing US WWII submarines, and the second discovery for Mr Taylor. A return expedition to fully survey the site is scheduled for later this year. The USS S-26 was the first US submarine to sink underway in action during WWII, exactly 75 years ago. On 24 January 1942 the USS S-26 submarine was proceeding from Pacific Panama Canal Zone to its patrol station in company of submarines S-21, S-29, S-44 and their escort vessel, 154’ long PC-460. At 22:10 the escort vessel sent a visual message to the submarines that she was leaving the formation and that they should proceed on their assigned mission. The S-21 was the only submarine to receive this message and shortly thereafter, in the darkness of night, PC-460 mistook submarine USS S-26 (SS-131) for a German U-boat and rammed her on the starboard side of the torpedo room. The submarine sank within a few seconds. The sinking of the USS S-26 and the loss of her crew of 46 is a story of survival and ultimate tragedy. A total of 36 brave men of the S-26 survived the initial sinking of their submarine and hoped that they would be rescued before time ran out. A buoy containing a message was sent to the surface by trapped sailors. The message read that they were trapped inside the three middle compartments awaiting rescue. Tragically those men sat for days in their “ocean coffin" waiting for a rescue that never came. They still remain entombed on the ocean floor today, 75 years after the sinking of the USS S-26. The submarine rests in deep water in the Pacific Ocean and is designated an official war grave.

 

Upcoming submarine war film Ghazi.

 

Rana Daggubati is always busy with multiple projects and is currently the only Telugu actor to work across all the film industries. Right now, he is excited about his upcoming film Ghazi, which has submarine war as its subject, a first of its kind in Indian cinema. “I am always trying to do something new. This film is based on the Submarine PNS Ghazi attack which happened in 1971 at Visakhapatnam,” reveals Rana. Once the script was completed, Rana realised that it was a big budget film and would work only when made into multiple languages. “The story happened in Visakhapatnam but the war is between Pakistan and India, so it works for Hindi audiences too,” he says.

The film needed a submarine set, which was built near Tank Bund in Hyderabad. “To create the submarine set, it took about four to five months. The warship was a 1971 model and we had to do a lot of research for it. We specially designed the hydraulic set to give the feel of a submarine,” says Rana. He adds that they first made a set in a swimming pool. “We took an Olympic size swimming pool on lease for three months,” he shares The submarine set had six compartments, with sections like war room, meeting and dining room. “We would go to the sets in the morning and shoot till late evening. We spent a lot of time inside and there was no natural light. For months, we didn’t see daylight and everyone started feeling disconnected. So, immediately we stopped shooting there and started the outdoor scenes,” says Rana.The story of the film is completely fictional with a few references of that time. “No one knows what exactly happened inside the submarine. It is a classified file, so we created this story from public information. It is told from the Indian point of view,” says Rana. He reveals that they shot separately for the Telugu and Hindi versions.

 

HK$11.63 million submarine makes for luxury underwater adventures

The market’s lightest and smallest two-person submarine can fly and hover in the ocean. Not everyone can be a pilot, but the easy operation of the market’s lightest and smallest two-person submarine DeepFlight Dragon makes it a private underwater jet that allows anyone to explore the vast ocean. Weighing 1,800kg, the Dragon can operate at a depth of 120 metres. The submarine is designed specifically as a personal vehicle for amateurs to get behind the wheel – or the quad brushless DC thrusters – to cruise freely under the sea or to hover steadily with its hovering capability, the first from the house to be equipped with this function. Driven by an underwater lithium battery pack which can operate for up to six hours, the submersible is monitored and managed by proprietary technology called DeepFlight Dive Manager, which acts as a second brain to limit the diving depth and perform other functions. It comes with two independent oxygen systems and a buoyant mechanism that helps it to float to the surface automatically. The pilot can take control with minimal training while enjoying a quiet and safe underwater ride.In collaboration with Shanghai-based Rainbowfish Ocean Technology, DeepFlight excursions will start this year in Hawaii. Guests at luxury resorts around the world can soon enjoy these exclusive leisure activities.

 

Russia Built the Largest (and Most Terrifying) Nuclear Submarine.

 

The existence of the Akula-class was not widely known and probably would not ever have been but for the novel The Hunt for Red October. Published by Naval Institute Press in 1984, it was the debut novel of military enthusiast and insurance salesman Tom Clancy. Clancy envisioned a modified Akula-class submarine, Red October, whose disillusioned captain and crew were attempting to defect to the United States. The largest submarines ever built were not built in American shipyards, but Soviet ones. Named after sharks, these Cold War leviathans could devastate up to two hundred targets with warheads six times as powerful as those that exploded over Hiroshima. The Akula-class submarines were some of the most terrifying weapons ever created. The Akula (“Shark”) class, or Project 941 as it was known during development, was designed to form the basis of the Soviet Union’s nuclear deterrent forces at sea. The Soviet Union had gotten wind of the U.S. Navy’s impending Ohio-class fleet ballistic-missile submarines, which would be 564 feet long and pack 192 nuclear warheads. The Soviet leadership decided it needed a submarine of its own to respond to the looming threat, and the Akula class was born. The Akulas were designed to launch their missiles from relatively close to the Soviet Union, allowing them to operate north of the Arctic Circle, where Soviet air and naval forces could protect them. As a result the submarines were designed with a reinforced hull that was capable of breaking through polar ice, a large reserve buoyancy to help it surface through ice and a pair of shielded propellers to protect them from collisions with ice. Another result was the development of a new nuclear-tipped missile with a long enough range to strike the the United States from arctic bastions. The R-39 Rif (NATO code name: SS-NX-20 “Sturgeon”) was a huge three stage ballistic missile fifty-three feet long and weighing eighty-four tons. With a range of 4,480 nautical miles, the R-39 could strike any point in the continental United States. The Cold War arms race was above all a competition, and warhead count was important. Because the Akulas carried only twenty missiles to the twenty-four missiles of the Ohio class, each Soviet missile had to carry more nuclear warheads than the American Trident C-4. A single R-39 packed ten one-hundred-kiloton warheads, each independently targetable so that a single missile could strike ten different targets within reasonably close range of one another. This drove up the size and weight of the missile, but it also meant that each Akula had a grand total of two hundred warheads—eight more than the Ohio class. The Akula class was 564 feet long, just four feet longer their American equivalents. While the Ohio boats had a beam of forty-two feet, the Akulas were a staggering seventy-four feet wide—necessary to pack both missiles and such a large reserve buoyancy into her bulk. The result was a submarine that, at forty-eight thousand tons, was more than twice the submerged displacement of the American submarine. The Rif missiles were built in two rows of ten missile silos each. Unlike other missile submarines, the silo field was in front of the sail, giving the Akula class its unconventional appearance. The giant submarines were capable of twenty-two knots on the surface and twenty-seven knots submerged thanks to two OKB-650 nuclear reactors—the same reactors that also powered the Alfa- and Mike-class submarines—giving them a total of nearly one hundred thousand shaft horsepower. Eight Akula subs were planned but only six were eventually built. Those six were inherited by the Russian Navy after the collapse of the Cold War, and today only one, Dmitriy Donskoy, is still in service, with two others in what seems like limbo. Donskoy has served as a trials submarine for the development of the new 3M14 Bulava missile. The development of the Bulava, lengthy and difficult as it was, appears complete and it is likely the sub will be decommissioned soon. The existence of the Akula-class was not widely known and probably would not ever have been but for the novel The Hunt for Red October. Published by Naval Institute Press in 1984, it was the debut novel of military enthusiast and insurance salesman Tom Clancy. Clancy envisioned a modified Akula-class submarine, Red October, whose disillusioned captain and crew were attempting to defect to the United States. Red October was larger than a standard Akula, with twenty-six missile launch tubes instead of twenty. Red October was also fitted with a quiet-running pumpjet drive that, according to the novel, would theoretically allow it to sneak up on the East Coast of the United States and launch a devastating “decapitation strike” that would destroy Washington, DC. In the novel, this made the Red October a first-strike weapon and a treasure trove of technology the U.S. Navy was eager to get its hands on. Thirty-two years after publication, pumpjet engines are now a mainstay on submarines across the world. The Royal Navy’s Astute-class and the U.S. Virginia-class attack submarines both use pumpjets. The Russian Borei-class subs, Moscow’s first real post–Cold War design and in many ways the successor to the Akula class, also uses pump-jet technology. Just another case of fiction becoming reality.

 

An Inside Look at a Propaganda Submarine, 1917

 

The interior of the cargo submarine “Deutschland,” painted during the sub’s visit to Baltimore while the U.S. and Germany were still at peace. Credit: Scientific American, February 10, 1917. In an attempt to get around the iron grip of the British naval blockade of Germany, a North German Lloyd subsidiary built two unarmed cargo submarines, capable of sneaking underneath the screen of Royal Navy warships. In early July of 1916, one of these submarines, the Deutschland, slipped into Baltimore harbor, stuffed with 700 tons of cargo. The weight of goods carried was small in comparison with an average freighter, but the reaction from the British and French was outsize. The Allies, knowing their naval blockade was in jeopardy, protested loudly. The Americans, obliged to cling to a veneer of neutrality, dismissed the protests because the submarines were unarmed, and commerce was still legal. The crew were treated as plucky heroes. The propaganda value for Germany was priceless. The Deutschland made a second visit in November 1916, and as with the first visit, it was a poke in the British eye. In the earlier visit an American had been invited onboard the vessel to take a tour: the noted marine artist Henry Reuterdahl. Unlike most artists of the day, this one was well acquainted with technical aspects of modern warships: he was also at one point a lieutenant commander in the United States Naval Reserve. He provided a cover illustration and a description of the interior of the submarine that was published in the issue of Scientific American from 100 years ago today: “The policy of secrecy which the owners of the merchant-submarine ‘Deutschland’ have followed was broken recently in the case of the marine artist, Mr. Henry Reuterdahl, when he was permitted to make sketches of the interior, which were worked up by the artist in the very interesting drawing which is shown on the cover of the present issue. The following article is based upon notes taken by Mr. Reuterdahl during his several hours’ stay aboard the vessel.” “The ‘Deutschland’ is 230 feet in length and is built on the usual system of a circular hull proper, with what might be called an enlarged false hull outside of this. The beam of the hull proper is 17 feet, the full beam of the ship, out to out, is about thirty feet. She is driven by Diesel engines, developing 1,200 horse-power, the engines being six-cylinder, two on each shaft. The speed on the surface is 14 knots, and submerged 7 1/2 knots. The time to submerge from surface conditions is two minutes.”

Detailed key to color image of the interior of the World War One cargo submarine “Deutschland.” Credit: Scientific American, February 10, 1917 . “According to Capt. Koenig, the total distance run under the submerged condition on the last trip from Germany was 180 miles. It is estimated by American shipping men and naval architects that her cargo capacity is about 750 tons. According to Capt. Koenig, it is 1,000 tons. The entire crew with the officers consists of 29 men. There are three navigating officers, including the captain, and one chief engineer who attends to the submerging of the vessel. The engineers and mechanicians, who come from Krupps in Kiel, are all civilians. The head man from Krupps remained in the United States, thereby indicating that other German submarines are expected to arrive.”   The sister ship, a cargo submarine named Bremen, was less fortunate, and disappeared at sea on its first voyage to the U.S. in September 1916. But perhaps it mattered little: within two months of this image being published, America had declared war on Germany, ironically over the matter of Germany using its submarines to sink  American ships. The German navy had by then appropriated the Deutschland and installed torpedo tubes and deck guns.

 

Travel in Your Own Submarine in the Caribbean

It’s one of the coolest experiences in the Caribbean: Substation Curaçao’s personal submarine rides. The company’s Curasub offering descends four times a day to travel to depths unreachable for divers. And it also means that, with no effect of pressure change on the body, even those people who are unfit to dive are almost always allowed to dive with the submarine. the standard dive takes travelers around 500 feet deep on a 1.5-hour plunge, while the “Deep Dive” takes people to depths of nearly 1,000 feet — beyond the light. Substation Curacaco even offers a night dive option. For more information, visit Substation Curacao.

Midget Submarines at Kalbådagrund

The open archive of CIA FOIA files include a large number of documents dealing with Soviet vessel movements in the Baltic Sea. Most of these are rather unspectacular, doing little but dispelling the idea that intelligence work is anything like a Bond-adventure. There are however exceptions, like file number CIA-RDP80-00810A007600280010-0, dated 13 October 1955. ‘Kalbod Shallows light’ likely refers to Kalbådagrund lighthouse southeast of Helsinki, where a caisson-type lighthouse was erected on a dangerous shoal in 1952. Here, a flotilla of 10 to 12 midget submarines passed by under tow in the evening of 27 May 1955. But where did they come from, and why were they outside of Helsinki in 1955? In the closing years of World War II the surface units of the German Navy faced pressure from ever increasing numbers of Allied aircraft and naval ships. The logical answer was to start using the submarine force also for missions closer to shore. This called for smaller vessels, capable of manoeuvring in the more confined waters of the Atlantic coastline. Probably the most successful of the host of different craft created was the Typ XXVII B, better known as Seehund. The 12 meter (~40 feet) long submarine had a crew of just two man, and as opposed to most midget submarines it wasn’t fitted for operations with limpet mines or divers, but was armed with two G7e torpedoes, the standard weapon of the German submarine force. As the submarine was so small, these were strapped on externally. They were sighted through a fixed periscope, located in the forward part of the tower. The Soviet captured a number of these vessels, though exactly how many remains unclear. Some sources claim that only a very limited number was in use[1], but most list a significantly larger force. The British Royal Navy’s Director of Naval Intelligence in 1952 commented that the Soviet Navy “acquired some 50-70 ex-German, Italian and Japanese midget submarines after the war, but it seems likely that they have produced their own post-war version, which, from reports, seems to incorporate parts from the design of all above. There are also reports which indicate training in midget S/Ms in the Soviet Navy at the present time.”[2] The CIA is also looking at a similar number, stating that the Soviet Navy had “at least 70 midget submarines” in service in November 1953, of which around 20 are ex-German Seehund vessels, the rest being an “improvement on the previous type and made use of German SEEHUND plans”. These Soviet improved Seehunds were built after 1947. Notable is also that CIA has no information “regarding specific bases for these submarines”, but they also concede that they can be operated from “any existing base”, or from a properly equipped support ship.[3] Other sources support this picture. The Swedish intelligence service was also on the trail, with the so called T-office reporting in 1946 that “On pier in Kronstadt harbour lies some midget submarines, probably ex-German”. Russian naval historian Vladimir Shcherbakov notes that the Seehunds “were used rather intensively”. Swedish historians von Braun and Gyllenhaal puts the confirmed number of complete Seehunds captured as “at least two”.[4] But how did the Soviets manage to build up a sizeable force from war trophies and modified designs? The majority of the Seehunds were built at Schichau-Werke in what was then Elbing in East Prussia (today the Polish city of Elblag). The yard escaped relatively unscathed during the war and the immediate post-war, and in 1947 it was one of few factories listed as being in service, having just delivered the first new built vessels postwar (these being torpedoboats).[5] In the same year, it was reported that Soviet (and Polish) companies tried to recruit former “technicians, employees, and workmen” of the yard in East Germany. Most refused, but “a certain number” accepted and left for East Prussia, presumably to work at the former Schichau subsidary at Contienen, which had produced parts for submarines and minesweepers during the war. The Contienen yard as well was reported to have seen relatively little damage during the war, and escaped dismantling after the Soviet forces occupied it.[6] In 1949, the operations at Schichau-Werke in Elbing was reported to have risen back to 80 percent of its wartime capacity. Around 120 German prisoners of war were still employed as “skilled workers”, pointing to the fact that the earlier attempts to recruit workers hadn’t produced enough volunteers. The yard featured a modern welding current distribution system, and an expansion program of the yard was planned, the aim being to double the capacity by spring 1951. Interestingly, the CIA file reporting this includes a comment that the recent information “essentially confirms” other information on the shipyard, and that “it appears likely that no vessels other than small submarines are now being constructed there”.[7] To remember is that during the last six months the yard was in operation during the war, the number of Seehunds produced in Elbing seems to have been over 100. If the CIA report was correct, even at 80 percent production the yard would have built 50 new vessels in a matter of months. But where did they go? When the Continuation War ended, amongst the Soviet demands was one which prime minister Paasikivi described as “horrendous”. The Porkkala peninsula was to be leased to the Soviet Union for 50 years, i.e. until 1994. This replaced the earlier deal under which the Soviets had leased the Hanko peninsula further west after the end of the Winter War, and included a very favourable transit agreement. Under this, the Finnish customs authorities had no right to inspect the cargo holds of trucks or trains transiting  between the naval base and the Soviet mainland. Soon it became apparent that foul play was involved, as sometimes the trucks could make the trip in four hours, while sometimes the time on the road stretched to up to ten hours. A SIGINT station for listening to Finnish radio communications was created at the Majvik mansion, today a meetings and convention hotel, and suitably located on top of a large hill close to the shore. In the early 1950’s the station was manned by 24 NCOs and four officers, working in three shifts to maintain a constant surveillance of the Finnish radio networks. The station was not part of the naval base’s chain of command, but instead reported directly to the intelligence section of the Leningrad Military District in all matters.[8] In addition to being a naval base, the most well-known vessel of which was the monitor Vyborg (former Finnish coastal defence ship Väinämöinen), the base also played a significant role as an intelligence hub. A number of arrests were made and dead drops uncovered in connection to the transit traffic mentioned above, including that of air force captain Martti Salo of the aerial photography unit in Tikkakoski. It appears that the main responsibility for intelligence gathering in Finland was placed upon GRU, likely in part due to the heavy use of the military trucks travelling to and from Porkkala.[9] Amongst the most important units of the bases was its intelligence unit. In a report covering the third quarter of 1945, the unit had not only counted and identified the nationality of all vessels sailing  past the base (1 371 vessels in total), they had also, as a collaborative effort between the “officers of the base’s staff and units situated in Finland”, gathered information and systematically categorised this into a file covering multiple aspects of Finland, including:

  • Much information on the Pansio naval base
  • Information on the Army and Coastal Artillery units located in the Turku region
  • A description of the oil depot being built in Naantali
  • A description of Finland’s coastal defences
  • Information regarding the Finnish coast guard and all its bases

The information gathered also went down to the individual level, covering 96 Finnish officers, including their service records and personal evaluations.[10] The continuous building of trenches and bunkers as well as the naval activity came to an abrupt halt in 1955. In September, Khrushchev suddenly informed Finland that the base would be returned. This doomed the heavily fortified base, and all defensive works were demolished, including the almost-finished command bunker Los which stretched over 100 meters through the mountainside. The personnel, numbering over 15,000, was transferred away, as was the tens of naval vessels and small crafts that were stationed there. But did the intelligence gathering extend to other methods as well? My theory is that the convoy sighted on an easterly heading south Helsinki in May 1955 indeed did consist of Seehund-type submarines (either ex-German or modified new-builds). I further believe that they were in transit from Porkkala naval base to Kronstadt, either due to a unit transfer (possibly due to having received early notice of the upcoming closure) or after a finished exercise/mission. In other words: in addition to the surface and land-based units known to have been stationed there, Porkkala played host to a unit of midget submarines in the first half of the fifties. These have been either exercising or permanently stationed there. Considering the unique nature of the Finnish archipelago, it isn’t far-fetched to conclude that any exercises held there were made with an eye towards either the Finnish or Swedish coast. Furthermore, considering the extensive intelligence work done by the GRU out of Porkkala, it is likely that the submarines would have participated in covert intelligence gathering against Finnish targets. Especially as the intelligence work is known to have in part been directed against naval and other coastal sitesAre there alternative explanations? Certainly. The submarines might have been misidentified barges, or they might have come from Tallinn and turned north to get around heavy weather. However, the most likely explanation in my opinion is that the vessels were transiting from Porkkala to Kronstadt: The sketch captures the general outline of the Seehund well, including the approximate location and general shape of the conning tower and the location of the fixed periscope. Riding high would be explained by the lack of torpedoes, which are unlikely to have been carried during transit. It is assumed that the Soviet Navy operated a number of Seehund-type submarines, including of an improved design. The Soviets did capture one of the main production sites of the Seehund, and this resumed operation relatively soon after the war, with part of the workforce being German. The ability to produce the improved design appears to have been there. The Seehunds were sighted in Kronstadt, as well as in other parts of the Baltic Sea during the time frame in question. Porkkala held an important dual role as a naval base and intelligence gathering hub. The later was led by GRU, with some units being directly subordinated to the Leningrad Military District. Amongst the targets for the intelligence gathering operation were Finnish Navy, Coast Guard, and harbour locations. Using midget submarines for covert intelligence gathering would fit that pattern. The location in the northern half of the Gulf of Finland also seems more likely for a unit coming from a Finnish port than from a location on the southern shore of the Gulf.

 

Antalya dives into tourist season with new submarine attraction

 

Antalya Governor Münir Karaloglu made a trial dive with the new touristic submarine "Nemo Primero" in Antalya. During its inaugural dive, the submarine went 20 meters under the sea near "Rat Island" off the shore of the Turkish Mediterranean city of Antalya. Governor Karaloglu along with his wife Sevim and his daughters Elif Meva and Meral Su participated in the two-hour long dive. During the dive, Governor Karaloglu said, "In Antalya, we always talk about the diversification of tourism. We are trying to move Antalya towards tourism that isn't just about resorts, sea, and sand. There is an effort right now to find alternative forms of tourism. We hope that the 2017 season will be much better than 2016." Yunus Emre Yavuzyigit, Sub Marine Turkey General Manager, explained that Nemo Primero was purchased from Finland, but it's modernization upgrades were performed in Spain. The modernizations took one year to complete and cost between 4.5 and 5 million euros. The submarine has capacity of 46 people and can operate up to 110 meters under the sea. The electric powered vessle is 18 meters long and four meters wide. It weighs 106 tons and can stay underwater for up to 10 hours. Nemo Primero is equipped with 22 observations windows that are 80 centimeters in diameter to allow for easy sea viewing, as well as mini-seats to make passengers feel comfortable. The underwater vessel will officially be available to tourists starting on April 1. The diving cost will be about 200 Turkish lira and the tour will last one hour and 15 minutes.

 

See-Through Submersible

We’re still discovering the mysteries of the ocean — an undertaking that, until now, required either A) a prohibitively expensive personal submarine, or B) a willingness to plunge a few stories underwater with scuba gear lashed to your back. But a South Korean company called Gocean has a new alternative for leisurely explorers: the newly released Penguin 2.0, the world’s first compact semi-submarine. While not completely submersible, the Penguin boats do allow for greater passenger immersion in our oceans. Four people can sit below the hull and gaze into the water via a 25mm pane of plexiglass, while up to eight more passengers can relax on deck. As mentioned by 2Luxury2, the Penguin boats are primarily used by resorts in the Maldives, Seychelles and Chengdu in China. More interesting is what the company has coming up. According to a promotional video, version 3.0 will be an electric-powered semi-sub for aquariums, 4.0 a glass-bottom boat, and 5.0 a personal submarine.

 

Submarine rescue system put to the test

The submarine rescue system has been taken from its home at HM Naval Base Clyde to Norway - but a major logistical headache had to be overcome to get it there. Elements of the NATO Submarine Rescue System (NSRS) were deployed from the base near Helensburgh and moved in a huge logistical exercise to Prestwick airport for onward transport to Norway. It was all part of Exercise Northern Sun, designed to test the mobilisation of the NSRS and exercise its capabilities in the waters off Norway. The system, which is jointly-owned by the UK, France and Norway, is in three main parts - an Intervention Remotely Operated Vehicle (IROV), a Submarine Rescue Vehicle (SRV) and the Transfer Under Pressure System (TUP). Over the next few weeks the system, and the Faslane-based crew who operate it, will be put through their paces, but first was the not inconsiderable challenge of moving the sophisticated kit. The last piece of the puzzle, the Submarine Rescue Vehicle, rolled-out of HM Naval Base Clyde on the back of a transport lorry on Wednesday, January 25. 25 trucks were used to transport all the equipment to Prestwick airport where it was unloaded and then re-packed into the back of giant C17 and Antonov aircraft. Flights to Norway then followed, after which the system was once again unloaded, placed onto yet more trucks and driven to a waiting Norwegian Coastguard "mother-ship". The NSRS can be transported anywhere in the world within just 72-hours, a target time which the team have practised, and achieved, during training exercises with 23 different submarines in eleven countries. The quick response time is vital in the life-saving mission to save stricken submariners. The tri-national NSRS was introduced in 2006, is based at the Home of the UK Submarine Service at HM Naval Base Clyde, and project managed on behalf of the three nations from MOD Abbey Wood in Bristol. In the highly unlikely event of a sinking incident involving a submarine the IROV would be first to deploy with the aim of getting to the stricken vessel within the first 52-hours. The small, remote-controlled, vehicle can then be used to deliver vital supplies to the submarine and prepare the way for the next stage – the SRV.  The Submarine Rescue Vehicle has the ability to dive to a stranded submarine, engage with the vessel’s escape hatch and begin the gradual process of ferrying the crew off the vessel to the waiting TUP system. From the outside the 360 tonne Transfer Under Pressure system resembles a series of giant shipping containers, but its actual purpose is to cleanse the rescued crew from contaminants and crucially, re-compress the oxygen-saturated sailors. Expert Royal Navy Divers from the Clyde-based Northern Diving Group operate this part of the system.

Who invented the submarine? An Irish man from County Clare

 John Philip Holland, the inventor of the submarine, from County Clare.

Editor’s Note: John Philip Holland was born today (Feb 24) in 1841 in a coastguard cottage in Liscannor, County Clare. Today we celebrate the incredible life of an Irish engineer who developed the first submarine to be formally commissioned by the U.S. Navy, and the first Royal Navy submarine, Holland 1. In 1904, two of the most innovative lights of the Age of Invention were reflecting upon the merits of their creations. The younger man, Thomas A Edison, “The Wizard of Menlo Park”, numbered the light bulb, the phonograph and the first motion pictures amongst his hundreds of inventions, and was an acclaimed star of the industrialized turn of the century world. In their correspondence, Edison was let known in no uncertain terms by his older associate and kindred spirit about the profound impact the latter’s showcase invention would have upon humanity. ''Submarines have assuredly come to stay, animated with the desire of helping to end naval warfare'' wrote the Irishman, John Philip Holland, father of the modern submarine. He genuinely believed that so lethal was his creation that it would serve as a deterrent to war. Ten years later as Holland lay dying in August 1914 the Great War had just begun and within days the lethal potential of the Irishman’s submarine invention finally dawned. The depths of the ocean have always spawned mass fascination from the time one of Holland’s contemporaries, the novelist Jules Verne, penned Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea to the ancient myths.  One of the most revolutionary developments in man’s quest for superior weaponry, the submarine’s mystique has always captured the public imagination, with its fascination for the underworld. Just off the Atlantic coast from where Holland was born in Liscannor, West Clare on 24 February 1841 to a coastguard officer father and a Gaelic speaking mother, lay the legendary land of Kilstephen, or Cill Stíopháin. There are constant references throughout the ages to this mystical place, which is said to have been submerged at the time of the great 8th century earthquake.

Holland climbing out of one of his creations. Ironically, legend has it that once every seven years it rose above the surface of the waves but with it came a terrible curse. It is written in the Annals of the Four Masters in 799A.D. ‘A great storm of wind, thunder and lightning happened this day before St. Patrick’s festival this year, and it killed ten and one thousand persons in the Territory of Corca Baiscainn, and the Sea divided the island of Inis Fithae into three parts.’ Holland would also have been aware of the religious belief that a monstrous eel burst forth from the depths of Liscannor Bay to feast on the corpses laid to rest at the graveyard, and that the local saint, MacCreehy tackled this great beast and slew it after a long fight. Holland grew up close to where the Cliffs of Moher begin at Hags Head where the rock assumes the shape of a seated woman, a Sphinx like head looking eternally westward to the setting sun. He would have learned at the local school of the Spanish Armada ship, the Zuniga, which succeeded in landing and in getting some provisions in Liscannor. Holland knew of the sea’s secrets from the cradle. John Holland was born at the beginning of a decade of famine in Ireland and a cholera epidemic raged in its wake. When defaulting-tenants were evicted from their cottages, landlords saw to it that the thatch was stripped off the roof to prevent impoverished families coming back. It was a process known as ‘leveling’ and the young Holland would have witnessed such tragedy growing up. To him it symbolized the tyranny of imperial domination, and it fired him to hit back. When the English man looked out to sea, he saw the waves which Britannia ruled with its all-conquering navy, when the Irish man gazed upon the ocean, he heard beyond the sea of tears, the call of new lands. Holland’s mechanical genius was to be dedicated towards altering this state of affairs.  His invention was to change the course of modern warfare. John Philip Holland- Philip was the religious name given him - joined the Order of the Irish Christian Brothers in 1858 and became a teacher. He was sent to the North Monastery in Cork for his first assignment and there he met Brother Dominic Burke a noted science teacher. Burke encouraged Holland’s scientific experiments. In these formative years, he studied astronomy, and worked on the theory of flight which experts said was accurate.  Indeed, he later developed this theory in The Practicality of Mechanical Flight, published in 1891, which was hailed by peers as an extraordinary achievement at a time when the Wright brothers were contemplating the opening of a bicycle shop. While in Cork city he started to experiment with small models of submarine boats and a pond in the school grounds was used to test his designs. He was thinking along the same lines of David Bushnell whose Turtle (a full-size model of which is exhibited at the Royal Navy Submarine in Gosport, Britain) was designed to attack British men-of-war in New York Harbor during the American War of Independence. In 1862, the American Civil War was receiving worldwide publicity and Holland noted the use of ironclad ships in the battles. He also noted the use of submarine type vessels in the battles, such as the Confederate semi-submersible Hunley, which sank its much stronger Federal foe the Housatonic in 1864. In 1872, Holland’s mother and his brother Alfred immigrated to the United State, and in that same year he decided not to take his final perpetual vows.  Instead in 1873 he departed for Boston in the USA carrying with him submarine designs, which formed the basis of his initial submission in 1875 to the US Naval Department. He soon after began courting his future wife Margaret Foley and they were to later have three sons and a daughter. In 1874, he had found himself in a teaching post in St. John’s Parochial School in Paterson, New Jersey. It was here that John Philip Holland immersed himself in the working design of the submarine. This Clare exile was soon to come to prominence in Fenian circles. There was much revolutionary fervor in the Irish American circles that Holland moved in.  At a New York fund-raising social for the Catalpa expedition, John’s brother, Michael, who was an activist, introduced him to members of the Clan na Gael leadership, who saw the potential of his designs in a covert naval war against Britain’s powerful fleet.

The Holland 1.  The US Naval Department had already rejected his submarine plans as impractical, “a fantastic scheme of a civilian landsman”. The Irish World newspaper launched an appeal fund.  The successful testing of Holland’s 33-inch model submarine at Coney Island, New York, convinced the Fenian leadership to sponsor Holland’s $4,000 construction of a full-sized ‘wrecking boat’ from its ‘Skirmishing Fund’.  The success of this 14-foot model led to the $20,000 funding by the Fenians on a second venture by Holland in 1881. This craft, over twice as large as its predecessor and dubbed the ‘Fenian Ram’ by a New York Sun reporter, was also successful. While Holland was engaged on a third prototype project, an internal rift developed amongst the Fenians, some of whom were growing impatient about slow progress on the diving boat. One group decided to take the ‘Ram’ into their own hands.  One source suggested that this was primarily to avoid legal sequestration while their monies were in dispute. Led by John Breslin, with forged papers, they towed away the Fenian Ram and Boat No. 3 up the East River into Long Island Sound.  Just off Whitestone Point the prototype was sank, while the Fenian Ram was taken to Mill river in New Haven where it remained in a shed until the 1916 Rising, where it was displayed at Madison Square Gardens to raise money for dependents of the Rising in Dublin.  The Fenian Ram is today on display at Paterson Museum, New Jersey. Holland was furious, declaring ‘I’ll let her rot on their hands’, and thus ended the great ‘Salt Water Enterprise’. Holland went on to eventually sell the designs to his Holland VI model, which used a gasoline engine on the surface and electric motors under water as propelling machinery to the US and Japanese navies and ironically to the very power he had originally intended to employ the submarine against, the Royal Navy, although, due to the deception of erstwhile litigious colleagues, Holland never bore the full financial fruits of his labor.  He was, however, honored with the Fourth-Class Order of Merit Rising Sun Ribbon by the Japanese Ambassador for his distinguished service to the Japanese nation. The New York Times, following Holland’s death in 1914 reported that “although he was interested in submarines, Mr. Holland was opposed to war, and his idea of submarines was to incapacitate war ships and not to destroy them and kill the men on them”. This was after all a man, who in his 1907 Sketches and Calculations, planned a 40-passenger submarine “for amusement at seaside resorts”, with large circular ports for viewing the underwater world. He also explored the peacetime uses of the submarine and discussed its potential role in scientific research. Within 40days of John Philip Holland’s death however the lethal potency of Holland’s creation was to unveil itself. One single submarine in one day alone turned a small area of the North Sea off the Dutch coast into a struggling mass of humanity when it claimed over 1400 lives in the sinking of three British light cruisers. Although the Holland VI was formally commissioned into the United States Navy on 12 October 1900, the date it was officially bought, 11 April 1900, is celebrated by the US Navy as the submarine birthday. Another day when Holland is now perpetually commemorated is 1 May. It was on this date in 2006 that John Philip Holland Day was declared in Paterson New Jersey. The day is now established in tribute to the Liscannor born inventor of the ‘Modern Day Submarine’ John P. Holland.

 

Bored With Your Megayacht? Add a Cruise-Liner Personal Submarine.

 

We've already told you about the very Zissou-esque two-man sub that lets you go 6,600 into the deep blue to explore at a cool 3.5 mph. Now the underwater pioneers at Florida-based Triton Submarines are turning their eye towards the leisure-minded set, and have built a 12.5-foot-long monster of a sub that can accommodate seven people. Because leisure = party. Capable of reaching depths of 1,000 feet, the Triton 1000/7 cruise-liner sub is "designed for operations from cruise-liners and megayachts" and can hold up to 2,220 pounds, hit a maximum speed of 3.5 knots and stay submerged for 18 hours with a full battery. So it's not built for the level of exploration the two-man sub can handle, but it'll still make a splash. Equipped with A/C and a humidity control system to make the cabin as comfortable as possible, the eight-foot-diameter sphere at the front of the sub provides stunning panoramic views. To show off your pilot skills, get $4.9 million handy, hit up Triton, and prepare to wait two years.

 

World’s First Deep-Diving Transparent Sub  

 

A new deep-diving submersible might not take you all the way 20,000 leagues, but it will go to 6,600 feet — something no other personal sub on the market can claim. The Triton 6600 can spend 4.5 days more than a mile underwater. The Triton 6600 features a transparent acrylic hull that is the “thickest ever made” and “optically perfect,” according to the Florida-based manufacturer. Dubbed the “world’s deepest diving sub” to have a clear hull, the 13-foot-long boat is controlled via a PLC touchscreen and comes equipped with six standard 20,000-lumen LED lights. It also packs enough air to support a pilot and passenger for up to 12 hours (with an additional 96 hours of air in reserve in case of emergency). Triton — which previously competed with Richard Branson and James Cameron in a contest to explore the 36,000-foot-deep Mariana Trench — operates with the philosophy that a “truly memorable, visually captivating and immersive underwater experience is only possible in a submersible equipped with a transparent pressure hull.” The 17,640-pound machine maxes out at 3.5 MPH, so it will take a while to make your descent, but a trip to Davy Jones’s Locker will be worth the wait. "I'm not a scientist or an engineer, just a high school graduate who became a hard-hat diver," says Triton’s Patrick Lahey. "But more people have been to the moon than have been to the bottom of our own ocean. That doesn't make any goddamn sense." The $5.5 million submarine isn’t cheap, but it may pay for itself in sunken treasure.

In 1996, a Dead North Korean Spy Submarine (Armed with Commandos) Nearly Started a War

 

In September 1996, it was the turn of a North Korean spy submarine to experience such a mishap. But due to the North Korea’s fanatical military culture, what could have ended as a diplomatic embarrassment ended in a tragic bloodbath. At 5 a.m. on September 14, 1996, a North Korean spy submarine commanded by Capt. Chong Yong-ku slipped out of its base in Toejo Dong. The thirty-four-meter-long Sang-O (“Shark”) normally had a crew of only fifteen. This time, however, it carried a special cargo, including a team of three special forces operatives from the elite Reconnaissance Bureau, accompanied by Col. Kim Dong-won, director of the unit’s maritime intelligence department. At the time, North Korea was in the midst of a devastating famine that would claim hundreds of thousands of lives. This only inspired Pyongyang to grow more paranoid that South Korea, with which it had never declared peace, would exploit its disastrous condition. Before departing, the crew of the submarine had sworn an oath not to return home without completing their mission: to spy on the South Korean military bases around the area of Gangneung, ninety miles south of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) separating the two countries. Captain Chong’s mission was relatively mundane as North Korean special operations went. Another submarine had performed the same mission exactly a year earlier. During the 1960s and 1970s, North Korea had infiltrated thousands of operatives into South Korea, many of whom died on sabotage and assassination missions targeting South Korean leaders. North Korea also pursued a program of abducting civilians off the coast of Japan to serve as language instructors. The little submarine arrived a few hundred meters off of Gangneung the following day. Around 9 p.m., the special operatives swam ashore in scuba gear, accompanied by two divers to provide assistance. The infiltrators proceeded inland to pursue their mission, while the divers returned to the submarine, which crept back along the coastline to photograph South Korean military installations. The following evening, the mini submarine returned to recover the special-ops soldiers. But something had gone wrong, and the infiltration team was nowhere to be found. The submarine withdrew to the sea, and again attempted to recover the spies the night on the seventeenth. This time, though, the submarine ran aground on a rocky reef around 9 p.m. The 325-ton boat came to a rest just twenty meters off of An-in Beach, three miles away from Gangneung, its screw jammed with seaweed. The crew feverishly attempted to dislodge the vessel to no avail. Finally, Captain Chong gave the order to abandon ship near midnight, setting fire to the interior of his vessel before disembarking with his crew. As fortune would have it, at 1:30 a.m. that morning a passing South Korean taxi driver noticed the silhouette of the stranded submarine in the water—and the nearly two dozen men assembled near the beach. He alerted the South Korean military, which dispatched police and soldiers to investigate. By 5 a.m. the South Korean military had all of Kangwon Province on alert. The abandoned submarine was boarded at 7 o’clock that morning, and soon more than forty-two thousand troops from the Eighth Corps and the Thirty-Sixth Infantry Division were mobilized to hunt down the missing crew, assisted by helicopters and police tracking dogs. The Republic of Korea Navy organized a blockade in case additional submarines were present. That afternoon, a farmer reported a strange man walking in his fields. South Korean soldiers descended upon the area and managed to capture the submarine’s thirty-one-year-old helmsman, Lee Kwang-soo, at 4:30 p.m. Lee claimed his submarine had experienced an engine failure while on a training mission, causing it to drift into South Korean territory. He did not mention the presence of the Special Forces operatives. Just a half hour later, South Korean troops made a horrifying discovery on the top of a nearby mountain—the bodies of ten men in a neat row, dressed in white civilian tee shirts and tennis shoes. Among them was Captain Chong and members of the submarine crew. An eleventh victim, Colonel Wong, lay dead on his side a short distance away. Every one of them had been shot in the head at short range. The government subsequently instituted a curfew across the entire coast.  Meanwhile, the interrogation of Lee Kwang-soo progressed, assisted, as legend has it, by four bottles of soju, the popular mild Korean liquor. Lee confessed that his boat had been involved in an espionage mission, and noted the crew had been instructed “to commit suicide to avoid capture.” The dead crewmen had been executed because they were “not strong and might have been captured.” It’s thought their deaths may have a punishment for their accidental grounding of the sub, or due to their lacking the combat skills necessary to escape back to North Korea. Soo also revealed an important fact: his submarine had carried a total of twenty-six men, including the Special Forces personnel. This meant fourteen infiltrators were still unaccounted for. Starting at 10 a.m. the following morning, South Korean troops searching around the mountain lands around Gangdong-myeon engaged in the first of three firefights with dispersed teams of North Korean crew, killing seven by that afternoon at the cost of two wounded. Another four were killed in gun battles by the end of September, their bullet-riddled bodies displayed to the South Korean media, while one of the infiltrators killed a South Korean police officer on the twenty-ninth while he was leaving work in Gangbori. The three elite Reconnaissance Bureau operatives, however, were still on the run. South Korean president Kim Young-sam had issued a statement on September 20 that he might be forced to retaliate if there were further provocation. Pyongyang replied that its spy sub had “encountered engine trouble and drifted south, leaving its crew with no other choice but to get to the enemy's land, which might cause armed conflict.” It also threatened retaliation for the deaths of the crew. When South Korean consular officer Choe Deok-geun was assassinated in Vladivostok on October 1, it was generally believed his death was arranged in revenge for the crew. The poison used to kill Choi was identical to the type found aboard the captured North Korean submarine, which by then had been towed to Tonghae for inspection. The hunt for the North Korean agents would last forty-nine days as they sought to escape across the DMZ. On October 9, police found the bodies of three civilians who had been picking mushrooms near Tongdang-ri. Spent 5.56 millimeter casings from M16 assault rifles were found close to their bodies. Two weeks later, an off-duty Korean soldier was strangled to death . Finally, on November 4, a civilian driver spotted two strange men crossing a highway near Inje, just twelve miles short of the border, and called the police. The following morning, South Korean troops cornered the two agents in a running gun battle on Hyangro Peak. The North Korean operatives responded with blazing M16s and more than a dozen hand grenades, killing three ROK soldiers before being shot to death. A diary found on their bodies recorded their killings of civilians and their journey across nearly eighty miles of South Korean territory. This marked the end of the manhunt, which cost the province over 200 billion won ($187 million) dollars in economic damage. The North Korean spies killed four civilians, eight soldiers, a policeman and a reservist attempting to escape. In return, of the twenty-six men aboard the submarine, only two remained alive. The third North Korean special force soldier, Li Chul-jin, is believed to have escaped. On December 29, the North Korean government offered a rare statement of regret for the incident. In reciprocation, Seoul repatriated the cremated remains of the twenty-four North Korean agents the following day—the first ever such exchange between the two Koreas. Unfortunately, Pyongyang’s habits had not truly changed. Another one of its spy submarines would meet a terrible—and again, avoidable—fate a year and a half later off the coast of the South Korean city of Sokcho, but that is a tale for another time. The failure to detect the spy submarine led to a shakeup of the Republic of Korea military, with twenty officers disciplined and two general relieved of their posts. In 2011, the South Korean military even staged a military exercise recreating the circumstances of the incident, in order to test whether it could respond more effectively. The incident at Gangneung demonstrated how deeply the North Korean regime has indoctrinated its troops, to the point that they would commit murder and suicide rather than face capture. Indeed, they likely did not expect mercy from their own government in the event they were captured and repatriated to North Korea alive. This led to the tragic and needless deaths of dozens in an incident emblematic of the perpetual state of conflict and provocation Pyongyang has maintained between the two Koreas for more than a half a century. As an interesting postscript to the event, Lee Kwang-soo, the captured helmsman, defected to South Korea and became a naval instructor. More than a decade later, he would speak out publicly that the sinking of the South Korean frigate Cheonan was the work of a North Korean submarine. As for the submarine he used to pilot, it is now on display in the Tongil Unification Park built at Gangneung.

 

Russian submariners to get new escape gear


According to the Navy’s spokesman, the escape equipment will allow working outside a submarine at depths of up to 20 meters.
The crews of nuclear-powered submarines under construction for the Russian Navy will get the submariner’s improved escape gear, Navy spokesman Igor Dygalo said on Monday. "The crews of nuclear-powered and diesel-electric submarines will be supplied with the submariner’s improved escape gear designated for the personnel’s individual escape from a stricken submarine from depths of up to 220 meters," Dygalo said. The submariner’s escape gear has undergone operational evaluation at the Research Institute of Rescue Works and Underwater Technologies of the Navy’s Military Training and Research Center, the spokesman said. "The submariner’s improved escape gear is planned to be supplied to the crews of nuclear-powered strategic and multipurpose submarines that are under construction for the Russian Navy, as well as to the crews of Project 636.3 diesel-electric submarines, a series of which comprising six underwater cruisers will be built for the Pacific Fleet," the Navy’s spokesman said. Simultaneously, there are plans to supply the improved escape gear to the crews of submarines already operational with the Russian submarine force. The submariner’s escape gear comprises an insulating respiratory system and an escape and immersion suit. It can also be supplied with the PP-2 parachute system to brake the submariner’s surfacing and prevent Caisson’s disease (the decompression sickness). According to the Navy’s spokesman, the escape equipment will allow working outside a submarine at depths of up to 20 meters.

 

Israelis can explore ‘Titanic’ for $105,000 .

Spots are open for three separate delegations of 10 to 12 passengers to participate in the eight-day trips scheduled for June 2018.  The manned submarine passengers will board to explore the Titanic 3,800 meters under the sea. A trip being marketed in Israel allows passengers the unique opportunity to explore the dark depths of the Atlantic Ocean and see the wreckage of the RMS Titanic, the infamous British passenger ship that sank in 1912. There’s only one catch: the $105,000 price tag. Spots are open for three separate delegations of 10 to 12 passengers to participate in the eight-day trips scheduled for June 2018. Travelers will submerge to a maximum depth of 3,800 meters to visit the sunken ship. During the trips, passengers are expected to take an active part in research tasks, learn about the technology making the experience possible and take part in collecting data about the ship. The trips are being organized jointly by Israeli tour company Geographic Society and US tour company Bluefish, and the submarines are operated by the Moscow-based P.P. Shirshov Institute of Oceanology. According to a statement by the Geographic Society, the trips will cost $105,000, but the tours are also being advertised directly on the Bluefish website for $60,000. The Jerusalem Post was unable to obtain an explanation for the difference in price by press time. According to the Geographic Society, the submersibles, which can hold four people at a time, are the world’s only manned submarines that can reach a depth of 4,000 meters and are not government-owned. The submarines also have the largest windows of any other submarine for viewing the deep sea. The eight-day trips depart from St. John’s in Newfoundland and include seven days at sea with researchers on the Russian research vessel Akademik Mstislav Keldysh. The journey to the depths of the ocean takes approximately 90 minutes in total darkness. Travelers will then cruise the ocean bottom for four hours, with high-powered lights illuminating the wreckage and the unusual sea life that populates those extreme depths. After sinking in 1912, resulting in the deaths of approximately 1,500 passengers and crew, the Titanic was detected in 1985. Most of the previous research was done using sonar, robots or unmanned submarines and only a small number of people have descended into the depths to see the wreckage in person. Besides an expensive price tag, passengers must be 18 years or older, be able to pass through the entrance to the submarine, which is 54 cm. in diameter, and be able to “live on a ship under favorable but not luxurious conditions for at least a week.” In announcing the tour on Thursday, Geographic Society CEO Raanan Ben-Bassat said he is “proud to be project partners with [Bluefish CEO] Steve Sims” and promised to “continue to offer our customers unconventional ideas that will enable unabated extraordinary experiences.”

 

How a North Korean Spy Submarine's Mechanical Meltdown Ended in Shocking Tragedy

 

At 4:30 p.m. on June 22, 1996, Capt. Kim In-yong noticed a curious site from the helm of his fishing boat as it sailed eleven miles east of the South Korean city of Sokcho: a small submarine, roughly sixty feet in length, caught in a driftnet used for mackerel fishing. Several crew members were visible on the submarine’s deck, trying to free their vessel. Upon noticing the fishing boat, they gave friendly waves of reassurance. Captain Kim was suspicious. The entangled submarine was located twenty miles south of the demilitarized zone separating North and South Korea. Likely, he recalled an incident two years earlier when a North Korean spy submarine ground ashore further south near the city of Gangneung. Rather than surrendering, the heavily armed crew first turned on itself and then tried to fight its way back to the border, resulting in the death of thirty-seven Koreans from both nations. Perhaps he was aware that while Republic of Korea Navy operated three Dolgorae-class mini-submarines at the time, North Korea had roughly fifty small submarines of several classes. So the South Korean fisherman informed the Sokcho Fishery Bureau. The submarine, meanwhile, freed itself from the nets and began sailing north, with Captain Kim following it at a distance. However, before long the submarine rolled on its belly, stalled and  helpless in the water. 

By 5:20 p.m. the Republic of Korea dispatched antisubmarine helicopters, and the submarine’s location was confirmed nearly an hour later. The vessel was a Yugo-class mini-submarine, imported from Yugoslavia to North Korea during the Cold War. The boats in the class vary from sixteen to twenty-two meters long and seventy to 110 tons in weight, and can’t go much faster than ten knots (11.5 miles per hour), or four knots underwater. Though some carried two torpedo tubes, they were primarily used to deploy operatives on spying missions, with the five-man vessels able to accommodate up to seven additional passengers. Later inspection of the Yugo-class boat revealed it had a single rotating shaft driving its two propellers, which had skewed blades for noise reduction, and that the hull was made of plastic to lower visibility to Magnetic Anomaly Detectors. ROK Navy surface ships surrounded the vessel and attempted to communicate with the stranded boat, first via signaling charges and low-frequency radio, then loudspeakers and even hammers tapped on the boat’s hull—without response. Unwilling to risk opening the submarine while at sea, the South Korean sailors ultimately hitched the mini-sub to a corvette at 7:30 that evening and began towing it for port of Donghae. The timing was inauspicious. South and North Korea were about to hold their first major talks in years at Panmunjom. Recently elected South Korean president Kim Dae-jung was promoting his “Sunshine Policy,” attempting to promote reconciliation and openness between two nations that had been officially at war since 1950. On January 23, North Korea declared that a submarine had suffered a “training accident.” According to Pyongyang, the submarine’s last communication reported “trouble in nautical observation instruments, oil pressure systems, and submerging and surfacing machines.” South Korean officials told the New York Times they didn’t believe the Yugo-class boat had actually been involved in a spy mission. There was of course something a bit comical about the South Korean Navy coming to the unwanted rescue of a submarine that was spying in its waters. However, as frequently happens in tales of North Korean espionage, the absurd becomes horrific. South Korea had readied a special team to open the ship and negotiate with the North Korean crew, including defector and former submariner Lee Kwang-soo, one of only two North Korean survivors of the Gangneung incident. However, while still being towed on July 24, the submarine sank abruptly to the bottom of the ocean. South Korean officials were uncertain: had the boat succumbed to mechanical difficulties, or had it been scuttled by the crew? On June 25, a South Korean salvage team recovered the boat from one hundred feet underwater and an elite team bored into the hull. They found a horrid tableau inside. The submarine’s interior had taken on only two and a half feet of water—but the five submariners had been gunned down, with bullet wounds visible across their bodies. Four elite North Korean Special Forces also lay dead, each shot in the head. North Korean military culture stresses that its soldiers should kill themselves rather than accept capture. It seemed likely that the more fanatical Special Forces had murdered the crew—perhaps after they had refused an order to commit suicide—then killed themselves. The nine dead men aboard the submarine were buried in South Korea’s Cemetery for North Korean and Chinese Soldiers, as Pyongyang has mostly refused to accept back the remains of its own spies and soldiers. The more than two hundred items recovered from the submarine were also revealing. The crew had been packing AK-47s, machine guns, grenades, pistols, a rocket-propelled grenade and three sets of “American-made infiltration gear.” The presence of an empty South Korean pear juice container also suggested that the Special Forces personnel had made it ashore, as did a 1995 issue of Life magazine. If there was any doubt of the boat’s espionage activities, the ship’s log indicated the submarine had landed agents into South Korea on multiple occasions in the past. The incident underscored South Korea’s inability to consistently detect and interdict North Korean mini-submarines, leading some commenters to joke that the nation relied on fishermen and taxi drivers (as occurred in the Gangneung incident) to patrol her waters. To be fair, however, small submarines like the Yugo-class boats are extremely difficult to detect in the shallow waters off the Korean coast, a threat underscored by the sinking of the South Korean corvette Cheonan in 2010. Shallow, rocky waters also led to a collision between much larger Russian and American submarines in 1992, due to their inability to detect each other over background noise. Despite the death of its crew, Pyongyang did not make a big fuss as it was eager to receive South Korean economic aid to assist its recovery from a devastating famine. Seoul did it best to overlook the spying in an effort to make the Sunshine Policy work. 

However, North Korea never ceased its espionage activities, nor did it change its death-over-surrender policy. In July that year, South Korea recovered the body of an armed North Korean agent with an underwater propulsion unit. And in December, another North Korean mini-submarine opened fire when challenged by South Korean ships, resulting in the Battle of Yeosu, the subject of the next piece in this series.

It’s Full Speed Ahead For Titanic Dives, Tour Companies Say

But it’s not icebergs you have to worry about — some tickets cost more than $100,000. Two tour companies plan to start offering dives to Titanic’s watery grave, some six years after the last such company reportedly called it quits. Companies Blue Marble Private and Bluefish said this month they will begin offering tours of the famous wreck in submersible vessels, beginning in 2018. More than 1,500 people lost their lives at the site as the ship sank on April 15, 1912.  Penny pinchers beware: These trips are going to cost you. Nearly 105 years after the Titanic sank, two companies have announced plans to provide deep-sea tours of the wreckage to brave adventurers.  Blue Marble Private’s eight-day excursion, which features several dives according to its website, will cost $105,129 per person, reports Refinery 29.  According to ABC, Blue Marble described their six-digit fare in a press release as the equivalent ? after inflation ? to a first class fare on Titanic at the time of its 1912 voyage. (Fun!) Bluefish lists its 13-day trips at $59,680 a head on its website; those trips feature just one dive. In both trips, passengers will be treated to views of the famous ship’s deck and grand staircase, which lie approximately 2.4 miles beneath the Atlantic’s surface. Bluefish further advertises views of the Marconi Room, from which the ship’s SOS signals were broadcast, as well as Titanic’s boilers and propellers. Blue Marble touts the trip on its website as a rare opportunity that “very few have seen, or ever will.” Both companies have offered to provide first-hand views of the ship’s grand staircase, seen above before before Titanic sank in 1912.  “Far fewer people have visited the wreck of the Titanic than the number who have been to space or summited Mt. Everest – this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and an expedition designed only for those with a truly adventurous spirit,” the company’s website reads. According to a previous CNN report, the company Deep Ocean Expedition was the last to offer public dives to the Titanic. The company reportedly discontinued their tours in 2012 over a desire to “move on.” “We’ve been to Titanic 1,987 times and it’s time to do other things,” expedition leader Rob McCallum previously told the news network. Bluefish will transport passengers in vessels like this MIR submarine, according to the company’s website. This one was used to film underwater footage in the movie “Titanic.” Those interested in venturing out to the site with either Blue Marble or Bluefish shouldn’t expect a vacation of sunbathing and never-ending margaritas. Passengers will instead be treated to lectures and scientific briefings. According to Blue Marble’s website, its trips are being planned with the help of submersible company Ocean Gate Inc. The partnership will provide first-hand opportunities for passengers to interact with explorers, scientists, submersible pilots and the expedition crew involved in the deep-sea dives. Passengers will learn how to assist the crew, operate sonar, use the undersea navigation system, and prepare the submersible for diving, according to Ocean Gate’s website.

 Inside the unfinished nuclear-proof Soviet submarine hideout.

The dark maze of tunnels was supposed to serve as a nuclear shelter for Soviet Union submarines. The Pavlovsk, Russia, base features two large tunnels joined together by a series of smaller tunnels. Construction on the tunnels started in the 1960s, but it slowed in the 1980s and the hangar was left unfinished. Four friends from Vladivostok, Russia, who go by the name of KFSS, went to the base to see the tunnels. Eerie images of an abandoned submarine hideout in Russia show the insides of a base that could be revived if a new war were to break out. The dark maze of tunnels was believed to be built to serve as a nuclear shelter for the Soviet submarines of Soviet Pacific Ocean fleet in the mid-1900s, but it appears that the hangar never had a chance to be used. Construction began in the 1960s, but it slowed in the 1980s and the hangar was left unfinished. The Pavlovsk, Russia, base features two large tunnels joined together by a series of smaller tunnels made large enough for massive submarines to safely travel through. A group of four friends from Vladivostok, Russia, who go by the name of KFSS, went to the base to see the network of tunnels themselves.  The dark maze of tunnels was believed to be built to serve as a nuclear shelter for the Soviet submarines of Soviet Pacific Ocean fleet in the mid-1900s, but it appears that the hangar never had a chance to be used. The Pavlovsk, Russia, base features two large tunnels joined together by a series of smaller tunnels made large enough for massive submarines to safely travel through. It seems as though the nuclear shelter has remained untouched since it was abandoned in the 1980s. The water tunnels, however, are still in tact and could likely be revived if needed. A group of four friends (one pictured below) from Vladivostok, Russia, who go by the name of KFSS, went to the base to see the network of tunnels themselves. One of the tunnels is still filled with frozen-over water, which, when not frozen, could serve as a canal for submarines to travel through. KFSS said of their visit: 'This is the nuclear-proof hide for Soviet submarines of Soviet Pacific Ocean fleet at the the former secret object number 6. 'They started to build it in '60s but in the '80s the construction slowed down and finally stopped building, leaving it unfinished. 'But from our point of view the hide is almost finished, just not equipped. 'In the 90s the USSR signed some arms limitation agreements with USA which we believe to be the reason why this object was left and not used since. 'The central part of the hide consists of two huge parallel tunnels joined together with smaller tunnels. The tunnel system was building into the side of a cliff in Pavlovsk. The tunnels go almost half a mile deep into the cliff side. The unfinished base opens up to a larger body of water, and is mainly hidden in the cliffside of Pavlovsk, a town surrounded by volcanoes and cliffs. The Soviet Pacific Ocean Fleet, which was supposed to use the submarine hangar now serves as the Pacific Fleet as part of the Russian Navy. 'One of the huge tunnels is a water tunnel of 19 meters width and 450 metres long according to our measurements but satellites suggest the length is 650 meters. 'The other tunnel is 225 meters long, eight metres wide and ten to 12 metres high. There are three gated from the Western coast. 'The hide is enormous but it's really hard to evaluate the real sizes as some tunnels are under water and we don't know where they go to. 'Now it's impossible to get in as this base is on the territory of the active navy base and guarded so it's probably going to be used in the near future. 'The background radiation level strangely is higher than normal there for some reason unknown to us.' The frozen-over submarine canals could house several watercraft in the underground tunnels, as they are nearly half a mile long.

The Pacific fleet is now headquartered in Vladivostock, with another large base - Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky - in Avacha Bay on the Kamchatka Peninsula, near where they Pavlovsk base would have been. The maze of tunnels has several offshoot passageways, likely used for storage and to get from one side of the base to another. The Soviet Pacific Ocean Fleet now serves as the Pacific Fleet as part of the Russian Navy. It's stationed in the Pacific Ocean, and once secured the Far Eastern Borders of the Soviet Union. In Soviet years, the fleet was responsible for the administration and operation of the Soviet Navy's Indian Ocean 8th Squadron. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the fleet lost all of its aircraft carriers, and by early 2000, only one cruiser remained. In recent years, the fleet was shrunken to just one large missile carrier, five destroyers, ten nuclear submarines and eight diesel-electric submarines. Today, the fleet is headquartered in Vladivostock, with another large base - Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky - in Avacha Bay on the Kamchatka Peninsula. The location has a a major submarine base located at Vilyuchinsk in the same bay. It is unknown if the base will ever be renovated or revived, but the secret tunnels of the unfinished hangar have sat abandoned for more than 30 years. The base was supposed to serve as a nuclear shelter, hiding the Soviet Union's secrets during nuclear fears of the Cold War. KFSS said that there was a high background radiation level in the submarine shelter, but they were unsure as to why that was.

 

 

The Irishman who invented the modern submarine

The story of how an Irish teacher invented the modern submarine and sold it to the United States Navy rather than Irish revolutionaries is told in a new documentary. The producer, Derry film-maker Deaglán Ó Mochán, spoke to Joanne Sweeney

 

The Irishman who invented the modern submarine

 

John Philip Holland in the conning tower of one of his prototype submarines. His 'Fenian Ram', built for the IRB, is today on display in the Paterson Museum in New Jersey. In this scene from John Philip Holland: The Inventor of the Modern Submarine, Holland meets members of the Fenian Brotherhood, US sister organisation of the IRB, at a submarine test site. THE extraordinary story of an Irish teacher and would-be Christian brother who invented the modern submarine will be told next week in a documentary made by a Derry film production company and broadcast on TG4. It's the tale of trial and error, disappointment, subterfuge and a partnership with the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB) – which commissioned a submarine for use against the British – before the US Navy finally put John Philip Holland’s design into operation at the turn of the 20th century. Holland was born beside the sea at Liscannor, Co Clare on February 24 1841 and died in Newark in New Jersey in August 4 1914, a month before the start of the First World War – the first conflict in which his invention saw military use. Produced by Deaglán Ó Mochán of Derry-based Dearcán Media and directed and voiced by Co Armagh broadcaster and film-maker Macdara Vallely, the 55-minute programme seeks to highlight the scientific brilliance and contribution of the Irishman who was a peer of inventors such as Thomas Edison (the electric light bulb) and Rudolf Diesel (the diesel engine) but whose name history has largely overlooked. Holland was said to be a 'natural born teacher' who loved to introduce his students to science and engineering. He taught at Christian Brothers schools in Cork, Drogheda, Dundalk and Armagh before emigrating to the United States after deciding not to take his vows with the Catholic educational order. The son of a coastguard, it's said that his first thoughts of submarines and underwater travel came after he read a newspaper article about an American Civil War sea battle featuring two iron-clad ships. Holland realised that the more powerful navies of the world could be countered by a vessel that could attack from underwater. He felt that a vessel of this sort also had the potential to make naval warfare redundant, and give smaller nations an opportunity to defend themselves. His first submarine designs pre-date Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea so at that point his ideas were still considered to be science fiction or impossible. But when he left Ireland for the US in 1872 he began to seriously develop his plans. "We called Holland the inventor of the first modern submarine as there were others across the world who were trying to do the same thing," explains Ó Mochán. "But he was the first one to make one that was commercially successful as the US navy bought it." “His is a classic Irish American immigrant story. I liked the link with Irish history and the contradictions built into the story based on his own personality; him being a teacher and yet having this fascination with science that led him to make this terrible weapon. "I came across him a long time ago and the name 'the Fenian Ram' stuck out with me but I didn't really know the extent of his achievement until I had a chance to do this project." Holland's first prototype sank on its maiden voyage in 1878 but three years later came the Fenian Ram, a 10m by 2m wide and high vessel that Holland developed for the IRB, at a cost of $15,000, after he became involved with them in the US through his brother, who was a supporter. Just as, decades later, there was a race into space, so it was a race to build a submarine and the programme tells of how Holland fell out over money with the IRB, the US Navy and the Electric Boat Company, which was established as part of the 'submarine race' and whose descendent company continues to build US naval submarines to this day. "Holland died weeks before a German submarine sank three British ships in an hour killing 1,500 sailors," Ó Mochán says. “I wonder what he would have made of that as he seemed to have genuine pacifist beliefs – but on the other hand he was developing submarines and torpedoes. "When he fell out with the Electric Boat company, they wrote him out of history but then he was resurrected again in the 1920s. I think that ever since then, the US navy has done more than anyone who keep his name and achievements alive."

 

Submarines: Russia Also Recycles SSBNs

In early October 2016 Russia finally sent its second “special operations” SSN, the Podmoskovie (BS64), to sea for trials. This sub is actually a Delta IV class SSBN (nuclear powered ballistic missile submarine) that began its career in 1986 as K64 Podmoskovie. Since 1999, K64 has been undergoing conversion to BS64, which appears to be something similar to customized U.S. SSNs that have been in service since the 1970s. The current American example of this is the USS Carter, a Seawolf class SSN converted (while under construction) to be 30 percent longer and 20 percent heavier than the other two Seawolfs. The additional space was to hold mini-subs for carrying the fifty SEALs it can carry, or to tap into underwater communications cables and perform other intelligence gathering tasks. The Carter entered service in 2005 and replaced an older Sturgeon class SSN (USS Parche) that entered service in 1991 and was retired in 2004. The Parche replaced earlier SSNs that had performed these intel missions throughout the Cold War. The 13,500 ton Podmoskovie had its 16 ballistic missile silos replaced with facilities for launching remotely controlled mini-subs for intelligence missions. The renovations resulted in the sub becoming about five percent longer. This meant that the converted Podmoskovie was somewhat lighter (probably about 12,000 tons). The first Russian SSBN to undergo a similar conversion was the K129 Orenberg, a Delta III class SSBN whose conversion (to BS136) began in 1994 and entered service in 2008. The Delta III is about the same size and displacement as the Delta IV but the Podmoskovie conversion seems to be more extensive than the Orenberg. Both the Orenberg and Podmoskovie carry the new (since 2003) smaller (65 meters long) nuclear powered sub, the Losharik. This sub carries a crew of 25 to great depths (up to 6,000 meters) and has a top speed (for emergencies only) of 72 kilometers an hour. Losharik is believed to be for checking Russian underwater data cables for bugs (or damage in general) and more easily tamper with underwater cables and other equipment belonging to the United States and other Western states. Because Losharik can dive deeper than any other sub and is quite large for a deep diving sub it can find and retrieve useful items that end up in very deep waters (electronics from Western aircraft or ships). Losharik can also survey very deep sea bottoms for suitable sites for placing various electronic devices. The United States has also converted four SSBNs, but not for intelligence work. On March 19th 2011 the USS Florida, American Ohio class SSGN fired its Tomahawk TLAM-E cruise missiles in combat for the first time off Libya. Most of the hundred or so Tomahawks launched that day were fired by the SSGN. This was not the first time nuclear subs have fired cruise missiles in wartime as U.S. SSNs have fired Tomahawks several times. But the Ohio class SSGNs carry 154 cruise missiles, more than ten times the number carried by some SSNs. The four Ohio class SSGNs are SSBNs converted to cruise missile submarines (SSGN) and these first entered service in 2006. Each of these Ohio class boats now carry cruise missiles as well as many as 66 commandos (usually SEALs) and their equipment. The idea of converting ballistic missile subs, that would have to be scrapped to fulfill disarmament agreements, has been bouncing around since the 1990s. After September 11, 2001, the idea got some traction. The navy submariners love this one, because they lost a lot of their reason for being with the end of the Cold War. The United States had built a powerful nuclear submarine force during the Cold War, but with the rapid disappearance of the Soviet navy in the 1990s, there was little reason to keep over a hundred nuclear subs in commission. These boats are expensive, costing over a billion each to build and over a million dollars a week to operate. The four Ohio class SSBN being converted each have at least twenty years of life left in them. The idea of a sub, armed with 154 highly accurate cruise missiles, and capable of rapidly traveling under water (ignoring weather, or observation) at a speed of over 1,200 kilometers a day, to a far off hot spot, had great appeal in the post-Cold War world. The ability to carry a large force of commandos as well was also attractive. In one sub you have your choice of hammer or scalpel. More capable cruise missiles are in the works as well. Whether or not this multi-billion dollar investment will pay off remains to be seen, but it certainly worked off Libya. The SSGNs are carrying a new version of Tomahawk, the RGM-109E Block IV Surface Ship Vertical Launched Tomahawk Land Attack Missile. Each of these weighs 1.2 ton, have a range of 1,600 kilometers and travel at 600-900 kilometers an hour. Flying at an altitude of 17-32 meters (50-100 feet) they will hit within 10 meters (32 feet) of their aim point. The Block IV Tomahawk can be reprogrammed in flight to hit another target and carry a vidcam to allow a missile to check on prospective targets.

 

Russian Nuclear Submarine (Sank Not Once, but Twice)

 

 

The Cold War saw numerous submarine accidents, especially on the Soviet side. For much of its existence, the USSR tried to maintain a world-beating military with a second-rate economy. Throughout the era, the Soviets struggled to maintain their magnificent weapons of war. In the effort to close this gap, the crews of Soviet submarines often paid with their lives. But only one submarine had the poor luck to sink twice. The Charlie class (Project 670) was the third class of cruise-missile submarines (SSG) deployed by the Soviet Union, and the second to use nuclear propulsion (SSGN). The Soviet Navy expected to use early SSGs and SSGNs to attack American land targets, primarily cities and naval bases, with conventional and nuclear warheads. The cruise missiles of the time lacked sophisticated guidance mechanisms, making attacks against the interior impossible. Over time, the improvement of radar-homing technology (as well as improvements in ballistic-missile technology) allowed the Soviets to reconceptualize the use of cruise missiles. The Echo II class, the immediate predecessor to the Charlies, were built with an anti-shipping role in mind. Antiship missiles appealed to the Soviets because of the noise of their submarines; the Soviet Navy did not expect that its boats could close within sufficient range to hit American capital ships with torpedoes. Designed in the early 1960s, the first Charlie entered service in late 1967. Displacing 4900 tons and capable of twenty-four knots, the Project 670 submarines fired the P-70, a subsonic missile which could deliver a conventional warhead or a two-hundred-kiloton nuclear device up to thirty-five miles. This was not a particularly long distance, almost certainly within the anti-submarine warfare (ASW) reach of a carrier battle group or other major NATO asset, but development problems with a new missile forced the design choice. In any case, the ability of the Project 670 boats to fire while underwater gave NATO planners new headaches. Tenth in its subclass, K-429 entered service in September of 1972. She joined the Pacific Fleet, homeported in Petropavlovsk. In early 1983, she entered port for an extensive refit, with her crew departing on leave. Nuclear-armed cruise missiles and torpedoes remained aboard the boat during refit. In spring of 1983, tensions between the United States and the USSR ran as high as at any point in the Cold War. In addition to supporting anti-Soviet guerrillas in Afghanistan, the United States had begun aggressively testing Soviet air and sea defenses all along the USSR’s extensive border. In April, the U.S. Navy and several partners began Fleetex ‘83, a major exercise in the North Pacific. The exercise included the USS Midway and USS Coral Sea carrier battle groups, as well as numerous additional surface ships, aircraft, and submarines. At one point, U.S. aircraft overflew islands in dispute between the USSR and Japan. Possibly in part because of the heightened tensions, the Soviet Pacific Fleet ordered K-429 back to duty before expected, and before the completion of her overhaul. Captain Nikolai Suvorov could not find his crew, and so went to sea (under protest) with an ad hoc crew assembled from several different submarines, including 120 men and two captains. Few of the men onboard K-429 had any direct familiarity with her systems. The ensuing disaster was altogether predictable. Suvorov was unaware that the overhaul process had locked the ventilation system open. Instrumentation on the boat was not properly set up, and in any case the crew had little experience with the boat, or with each other. The captain ordered a test dive, which resulted in an extremely fast descent because of misunderstandings about the ballast tanks. At that point, one compartment of the boat began to flood quickly. Response procedures were slow because of crew inexperience, and fourteen sailors quickly died. Shortly afterward, the boat hit bottom, about 160’ below the sea. The escape capsules and emergency buoys had, of course, been welded to the hull; losing a buoy was a serious offense. Captain Suvorov initially hoped that the descent of the submarine would be noted at the naval base, but after several hours grew concerned. It didn’t help that the temperature in parts of the submarine had reached 120 degrees, or that one of the boat’s main batteries had exploded. One of the captains asked for volunteers to swim to the surface, and report on the plight of the boat. Two sailors exited through the torpedo compartment, swam to land, and were promptly arrested under suspicion of spying. Several hours later a rescue contingent arrived; divers entered the boat, supplied the crew with sufficient numbers of diving apparati, and led the escape of most of the remainder of the men. Three months later, Suvorov and one of his compartment chiefs were arrested, tried, and convicted for violation of fleet rules. Suvorov received a ten year sentence, of which he served three. Overall, sixteen men died. The Russian public only learned of the accident in the 1990s; the original crew of K-429 only found out when they arrived in port with their submarine nowhere to be found. K-429 had not suffered irreparable damage; she was refloated, repaired, and returned to service. Her second life was brief, however; in September 1985, the boat sank at dockside with the loss of one crewmember. The causes of the second sinking remain hazy, but appear unrelated to the first incident. K-429 was again raised, but not returned to sea; for the rest of her career she served as a training hulk. She was scrapped, along with her sisters, in the 1990s. The Cold War forced the USSR to compete with the United States, a state that enjoyed huge advantages in transportation and infrastructure, even setting aside the profound ideological edge of capitalism over state-socialism in producing innovative technology. Under these conditions the workers, soldiers, and sailors of the Soviet Union did as well as they could. But the immense pressure of the Cold War inevitably produced accidents, often in the cutting edge systems that the Soviets needed most. K-429 sank because the Soviet leadership grew paranoid about American military advantages, and then sank again because the Soviets lacked the resources to maintain basic port facilities.

 

Ortega Mk.1C Personal Submarine Can dive to 310ft.

 

Ortega Mk 1C Personal Submarine

 

If you fancy exploring up to 95 m under the waves in style you may be interested in a new personal submarine which has been developed called the Ortega Mk. 1C. Unfortunately no information on pricing or worldwide availability has been released as yet by Ortega, but if looks are anything to go by then the 6.5 m submersible is sure to be a lot of fun under the waves and allows up to three. people to experience the action. Proudly introducing a luxurious yet accessible maritime commodity. Ortega Submersibles has redefined a revolutionary way of underwater travel by using highly advanced naval technology. Powered by two high-power, electric motors and constructed for both over and under water activity, fully equipped with a trimming tank, on-board breathing apparatus and HUD navigation system, each vessel can also have Magnetometers, Sonar, FLIR, extra air supply or an extended cargo hold of up to 250 liters; all on-board equipment supports dive depths of up to 95 metres / 310 feet. The Ortega Submersibles Mk. 1C is an ergonomic, multi-purpose submersible vessel of the highest quality in modern Dutch engineering. Specification of the Ortega Mk. 1C Personal Submarine include :

Range: 80 Nautical Miles / 92 Miles
Beam: 115 Centimeter / 45 Inch
Length: 650 Centimeter / 256 Inch
Surface Speed: 9 Knots / 10.4 Mph
Submersed Speed: 11 Knots / 12.7 Mph
Cargo / Utility Space: 250 Liters / 66 Gallons

 

Black hole': What makes Russia's newest submarine unique.

The Russian defense industry has completed the construction of a diesel-electric submarine of Project 636.3, the Kolpino, for the Black Sea Fleet. The submarine, dubbed by NATO naval experts as the "Black Hole" for its stealth and underwater capabilities, is equipped with the newest Kalibr-PL cruise missiles with an effective range of up to 2,500 kilometers (1,550 miles). The submarine will be based at a new Russian naval base in the city of Novorossiysk in the Krasnodar Territory, 760 miles south of Moscow. However, until a dock for it has been completed, the new submarine will be carrying out service duty in the Black Sea and will undergo maintenance at the port of Sevastopol. According to Igor Kasatonov, a former deputy commander-in-chief of the Russian Navy and former Black Sea Fleet commander, the submarine is capable of detecting targets at a distance three to four times in excess of the capabilities of enemy radar systems. "The capabilities of these new submarines were first demonstrated late last year when [a submarine of this project] the Rostov-na-Donu carried out a strike with Kalibr missiles against terrorist targets in Syria," Kasatonov told RBTH. Once the Kolpino comes into service, the Russian Black Sea Fleet will have completed the formation a full-fledged submarine brigade based in Novorossiysk. By 2020, six similar submarines will be built for the Pacific Fleet too, said Kasatonov. Initially, the new base in Novorossiysk, on the Black Sea coast, was set up because of disagreements in Russian-Ukrainian relations after the breakup of the Soviet Union. After 1991, the naval base in the Crimean port of Sevastopol, part of newly independent Ukraine, was leased to Moscow, though any upgrade of the fleet (up to the very last cartridge) had to be agreed with the Ukrainian parliament. After Russia's seizure of the peninsula in 2014, a large-scale upgrade of the Russian Black Sea Fleet began. "Sevastopol Bay creates unique opportunities for Moscow. Together with the new base in Novorossiysk, Russia can fully control the Bosphorus, the military infrastructure in Bulgaria and can neutralize the threat posed by the U.S. missile defense base in Romania," TASS military observer Viktor Litovkin told RBTH. Alexander Khramchikhin, head of the Institute of Political and Military Analysis, a Moscow-based independent research body, explained that the key threat that the American ABM system in Eastern Europe poses for Russia is that the U.S. bases can in an instant be converted from defensive into offensive ones. "It is possible to develop the U.S. missile defense system and deploy cruise missiles in launch silos. In particular, launchers for Standard SM-3 interceptor missiles can be used to carry out strikes with Tomahawk strategic cruise missiles against targets on Russian territory," said Khramchikhin. A significant benefit offered by the new base of the Russian Black Sea fleet is that it makes it possible to divide ships and submarines between several naval bases in the same region, say experts. However, the Novorossiysk base is very susceptible to local weather conditions. "The coast in Novorossiysk is regularly affected by powerful northern winds coming from the Caucasus, which hit ships and houses in their path. The wind can throw ships ashore and destroy the whole military infrastructure," Viktor Litovkin told RBTH. "From the start, the base was built in such a way so that blasts of the wind could not be so destructive," he said, adding that Russia was building an additional tunnel in the Caucasus to eliminate the threat posed by destructive winds.

 

Project 636.3 Varshavyanka submarines:

Surface speed over 17 knots (31.4 km per hour). Underwater speed  20 knots (37 km per hour). Cruising capacity 45 days. Crew 52. Surface displacement  2,350 tons; displacement when submerged  3,950 tons. Length  73.8 meters. Width  9.9 meters. Draft 6.2 meters. Operational depth  240 meters, maximum depth  300 meters. Armaments:  four cruise missiles of the Kalibr-PL class. six torpedo tubes of 533 mm caliber. Total ammunition 18 torpedoes and 24 mines.

 

 

A Rare Look at the Chinese Navy's Submarines

A news report on Chinese state television provided a rare look inside one of the submarines of the Chinese Navy. The Kilo-class submarine was purchased from Russia during the 1990s and is the tip of Beijing's spear in its disputes with neighbours. The People's Republic of China bought twelve 636-class submarines in the 1990s and early 2000s. The submarines, known as the "Kilo" class to NATO, were originally designed by the Soviet Union to operate in Cold War European coastal waters. After the fall of the USSR and the end of the Warsaw Pact, the 636 class became a useful means for Russia to earn hard currency, and the submarines were exported to China, Algeria, India, Iran, and Vietnam. The 636 class is fairly small by modern standards, just 238 feet long by 32 feet wide. They displace 3,076 tons submerged, less than half that of an American nuclear attack submarine. The subs are powered by diesel engines that allow them to move at speeds of up to 10 knots on the surface and 17 knots underwater. They have a maximum operating depth of 984 feet, but normally dive to a maximum of 787 feet. The 636 class excels in two areas: silence and shallow water operations. Nicknamed "Black Holes" by the U.S. Navy, their teardrop hulls reduce water resistance and offer a huge leap over China's older Ming class diesel electric subs. The 636's propulsion plant is isolated on a rubber base to prevent vibrations from being picked up by enemy submarine hunters. Each ship is covered from bow to stern with rows of rubber tiles that deaden sound. A pair of ducted props powered by low-speed motoring motors allow it to operate closer to the sea floor, a useful feature when operating in shallow water.

 

 

U.S. Navy surveillance photo of a 636-class submarine en route from Russia to China. The sub could conceivably be the same submarine in the CCTV report. U.S. Navy photo. The "Kilo" subs are armed with six 533-millimeter standard diameter torpedo tubes that can fire homing torpedoes, SS-N-15A Starfish anti-submarine rockets, and Klub anti-ship missiles. In the video, the Chinese submarine is shown firing a torpedo underwater. It's also shown launching what appears to be a missile straight up, as though from an underwater silo. That's particularly weird because the Kilo doesn't have silos, so it is probably footage from another submarine inserted for dramatic effect. China has based its 636 boats in the East and South China Seas, opposite Taiwan and the new "islands" in the South China Sea. They are the ideal submarines for the task. Close to China, the the average depth of the Taiwan Strait is only sixty meters. The South China Sea, while on average quite deep, has several connecting channels that are also shallow. If tensions between China, its neighbors in the South China Sea, and Taiwan come to a boil, you can be pretty sure a 636 class submarine isn't far away.

 

Undersea Aquahoverer  a two-seater personal submarine.

 

undersea aquahoverer personal submarine designboom

 

Capable of exploring the twilight zone down to a depth of 400′. ‘undersea aquahoverer’s’ streamlined composite pressure hull can keep two passengers safe in custom carbon fiber seats, with acrylic domes optimized for clear underwater sightseeing. Intuitive and fly-by-wire controls (from either cockpit); two independent digitally monitored oxygen systems; and a closed-circuit internal (and VHF-to-surface) communications system provide submariners with a safe, flexible environment for investigating underwater anomalies. Can be controlled from either cockpit. Power: 15kWh battery. Dimensions: 16 1/2′ l x 75″ w x 43 1/4″. Total weight: 3,968 lbs.

 

Nazi Germany's Super Submarines (That Never Fired a Shot).

 

On May 4, 1945 one of the most advanced submarines in the world crept up to a British Royal Navy cruiser. U-2511 was one of Germany’s new Type XXI-class “wonder” submarines, and she was hunting for Allied ships. She also represented one of the Third Reich’s biggest failures. More than 250 feet long and displacing 1,620 tons, the Type XXI packed six hydraulically-reloaded torpedo tubes capable of firing more than 23 stored torpedoes. This arsenal could turn a convoy into sinking, burning wreckage. But the real improvement lay deep inside the U-boat’s bowels. There rested an advanced electric-drive engine that allowed the submersible to travel underwater at significantly higher speeds—and for longer periods—than any submarine that came before. It was perhaps the world’s first truly modern undersea warship. The engine, which was radical for its time, allowed the boat to operate primarily submerged. This is in contrast to other war-era submersibles, which operated mainly on the surface and dived for short periods to attack or escape. But for the fortunate crew of that British cruiser, the war in Europe had just ended. Adolf Hitler shot himself on April 30. Word of the European ceasefire had also just reached U-2511. The submarine did not fire its torpedoes at the cruiser, instead merely carrying out a mock practice attack. Neither U-2511 nor its sister ship U-3008 ever fired a torpedo in anger during the war. But the Kriegsmarine—the Nazi navy—had put its hopes in winning the naval war on these Type XXI U-boats. What went wrong, and the lessons learned from the submarine program, is also the subject of new research. It was featured in Adam Tooze’s 2006 book The Wages of Destruction: The Making and Breaking of the Nazi German Economy as an example of what not to do. Now in a recent article for the quarterly Naval War College Review, Marcus Jones—an associate professor at the U.S. Naval Academy—describes the submarine as one of the preeminent examples of Germany’s “irrational faith in technology to prevail in operationally or strategically complex and desperate situations.” The Type XXI project dates to 1943. Germany was well into a submarine war in the Atlantic, and aimed to choke and starve the United Kingdom from its colonies. Germany’s goal was to surround the British isles with hundreds of submarines, preventing anything from getting in or out. Initially, this was successful. In October 1942 alone, U-boats sank 56 ships … and that was justin the passage between Iceland and Greenland. But these successes turned badly against Germany—and fast. By 1943, new convoy tactics, radar and anti-submarine patrol planes caused serious problems with Germany’s predominantly Type VII submarines. Germany’s existing submarines were now vulnerable to being detected and sunk in huge numbers. Their electric engines—used when underwater and recharged with diesel on the surface—were not capable of holding a charge lasting more than a few hours. And they were slow. Really slow. Many convoys could simply outrun them. If the Allies detected a sub lurking underwater, they could simply wait it out. In May 1943 alone, the Allies destroyed 43 U-boats, or 25 percent of Germany’s entire operational submarine strength. At this point, Hitler and Germany’s senior military commanders realized that “no amount of willpower or doctrinal ingenuity on the basis of existing boat types could overcome the collective effects of the countermeasures the Allies employed so well by 1943,” Jones writes. The result was building a new kind of submarine that—in theory—would fundamentally change the nature of the war at sea. Designed by propulsion engineer Helmuth Walter, the Type XXI had a unique figure-eight interior which allowed for a significantly larger electric battery. It only had to surface rarely surface and recharge its battery with conventional diesel fuel. It was also fast enough to keep up with convoys. It could run silent for 60 hours at five knots. It could also pick up the pace, traveling for an hour and a half at a breakneck speed of 18 knots. By contrast the Type VII could not travel faster than eight knots underwater—and then only for short periods. As Jones points out, the new design also included “sensors, countermeasures, and other devices understood to be indispensable in the commerce war.” These devices included active radar and sonar and a more advanced passive sonar to pick up the sounds of enemy ships. But everything about the Type XXI was a mistake. To put it simply, it wasn’t a war-winning weapon. Worse for Germany, it didn’t really do anything … and arguably hastened the Third Reich’s defeat. For one, the submarines—only two were ever operational—suffered from several technical problems that forced engineers to work overtime to resolve. The hydraulic torpedo loading systems didn’t work at first. The engines and steering systems were defective. This made the submarines “decidedly less of a threat than originally foreseen,” Jones writes. Germany largely ironed out these problems. But even if the submarines had worked perfectly at the outset, it’s unlikely they would have had much of an effect on the outcome of the war. This is because the submarines were tied to a losing strategy. And in 1945, German naval strategy was a hopeless cause. Navies expect their submarine commanders to operate independently. But a mission as huge as stopping shipping across the Atlantic takes much more than submarines. The Germans had a severe shortage of both maritime patrol planes and air bases. In the harsh, rough seas and stormy weather of the North Atlantic, this meant the Germans were limited by what they could hear and see from their U-boats. By comparison, Allied patrol planes were hunting them. While technologically advanced for its time, the Type XXI still existed before the age of nuclear submarines, cruise missiles and nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles. These strategic weapons turned Cold War submarines into the truly decisive platforms they are today. Submarines during World War II were used mainly for defending friendly coastlines, harassing enemy warships and interdicting enemy convoys. The Type XXI was meant to carry out these same missions, but simply more effectively. But in all three areas, Germany had already lost. Germany’s coastlines were under regular attack by Allied bombers. Allied ground armies were already closing in on the Rhine. And Allied convoys were so numerous, Germany would have to build its new submarines by the hundreds to make much of a dent. This was not physically possible. As Germany’s ports were no longer secure, engineers had to construct the submarines in sections and transport them on a complex system of cranes and barges to their launch points. This made fixing problems—expected on new ship designs—much harder to fix. Another problem is that putting too much emphasis on wonder weapons distracts from practical war efforts. In terms of steel committed to the project, “the program cost the war effort some five thousand tanks, a very consequential figure, and could be said to have hastened the defeat of Germany on the Eastern Front,” Jones writes. This mentality amounted to a “disease” in German war planning, Jones argues. From V1 and V2 rockets, super-heavy Tiger II tanks and jet fighters, Germany built radical weapons that would fail to turn the tide against an inevitable defeat brought about by larger economic, political and technological disadvantages. As the war turned against Berlin, the Nazi commanders accelerated development of new weapons, which distracted from other areas. Then the war worsened, accelerating new weapon development further in a perverted, vicious cycle. However, the Type XXI would last through the Cold War. Some were used for target practice. Others were captured and commissioned into the Soviet and French navies. The only surviving vessel of its class today is the Wilhelm Bauer, which the modern German navy converted into a research vessel. It’s now a museum ship in Bremerhaven. But mainly, the Type XXI provides several lessons in how technology—while important—doesn’t alone win wars. It’s also a lesson in how the fanatical pursuit of advanced weapons can make winning wars a lot harder.

 

The Ghazi Mystery: What Caused the Sinking of the Pakistani Submarine Near Vizag In 1971.

The first rays of dawn had just illuminated the Vizag harbour on December 5, 1971, when Lieutenant Sridhar More steered the INS Akshay out towards the open sea. The previous day a few local fishermen had visited the Eastern Naval Command with pieces of wreckage and reported the presence of a large oil slick in the area. As a result, the fast moving patrol ship, also called a SDB (Seaward Defense Boat), had been dispatched to investigate the same. As the INS Akshay made its way to the spot mentioned by the fishermen, Lieutenant More saw the reported oil slick immediately, stretching out as far as the eye could see. As soon as the  reached the spot, a diver was quickly sent into the water to investigate. Surfacing after a few minutes, the excited diver gasped, “Sir, it’s a submarine.” A second diver was sent in to confirm that first one had not been mistaken. He surfaced half an hour later, bringing back more details and confirming that the source of the oil slick was indeed a sunken submarine. Lieutenant More immediately sent a message that he had located a bottomed submarine to the Maritime Operations Room (MOR) in Vizag. Soon after, the divers could make out the initials on the black shape. With the information they provided, Lieutenant More sent his second message to the operations room, “Confirmed submarine is Pakistani.” When the divers came back with the information that the submarine’s estimated length was over 300 feet, Lieutenant More was stunned. He knew that Pakistan had four submarines and only the largest one in the fleet was longer than 300 feet. After referring to Jane’s Fighting Ships (an annual resource book on all the warships in the world) to confirm his suspicion, he sent his last signal to the operations room at Vishakapatnam. The message, which sent ripples through the operations room, said, “It is the Ghazi.” The sinking of PNS Ghazi during the the Indo-Pak war of 1971 has long been an unsolved mystery. With Karan Johar sharing the first poster of his movie, The Ghazi Attack (India’s first war-at-sea film that is based on the mysterious sinking of PNS Ghazi) yesterday, the debate on what caused the blast on board the Pakistani vessel has been renewed. Let’s take a look at the many theories about this enigmatic incident that is believed to have tilted the 1971 war in India’s favour.

 

mixnews1817

 

In mid-November 1971, millions of refugees were pouring into India to escape the Pakistani Army’s genocidal rampage in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). In an effort to provide shelter to the refugees, the governments of West Bengal, Bihar, Assam, Meghalaya and Tripura had established refugee camps along the border. With the flood of impoverished East Pakistani refugees placing an intolerable strain on India’s already overburdened economy, a full scale war only seemed a matter of time. On November 14, 1971, PNS Ghazi, crammed with food and ammunition, quietly sailed out of the Karachi Harbour into the Arabian Sea. While the submarine had been ostensibly dispatched to Chittagong in East Pakistan, its real mission was to target India’s aircraft carrier, INS Vikrant. Formerly USS Diablo, PNS Ghazi had been built during World War II. Leased out to Pakistan, it had been renamed ‘Ghazi’ or ‘holy warrior’. South Asia’s first submarine, PNS Ghazi was Pakistan’s only submarine with a capacity to travel over 11000 nautical miles to reach Bay of Bengal and undertake operations on India’s eastern coast. Intercepted transmissions had led the PNS Ghazi to believe that INS Vikrant near Vizag. As a result, the pride of Pakistani Navy was sailing to the eastern coast of India to destroy India’s flagship aircraft carrier. What the Pakistani Navy didn’t know was that this was a smart wartime ruse planned by Vice-Admiral Krishnan, the Commanding Flag Officer of the Eastern Naval Command. Signal intercepts of Pakistani Navy had indicated an imminent deployment of the Ghazi in the Bay of Bengal. So Vice-Admiral Krishnan decided to set a trap by letting Ghazi believe that INS Vikrant was in the area near Vizag. He summoned Lt. Commander Inder Singh, the captain of INS Rajput, and gave him an important mission. INS Rajput, an ageing WWII destroyer had actually been recently sent to Vishakapatnam for decommissioning. As a part of the mission, the ship was to pretend to be INS Vikrant, sail out of the Vizag harbour and generate heavy wireless traffic – leading the PNS Ghazi to believe that it had received the right intel about the aircraft carrier. The wily Vice-Admiral also informed the authorities in Madras (now Chennai) that the aircraft carrier would be arriving shortly. Not leaving anything to chance, he also ordered huge quantities of food rations to indicate that the ship was in harbour near Vizag. As he hoped, the bait was snapped up. In a signal, later recovered from the sunken Ghazi, commodore submarines in Karachi had sent a signal to the Ghazi that “intelligence indicates carrier in port. Occupy Victor Zone (a code name for Vizag) with all dispatch”. Reaching Vizag on November 27, 1971, PNS Ghazi prowled perilously close to the Indian coast, searching for its elusive quarry. Unknown to the Ghazi, INS Vikrant and her escorts had already sailed into ‘Port X-Ray’, a secret anchorage in the Andaman Island, nearly a 1000 miles away! On the night of December 3-4, 1971, an explosion tore through the PNS Ghazi, blowing open its bow, crumpling the hull and cracking open the water-tight compartments. Seawater rushed in, drowning the crew as the submarine crashed to the seabed. On December 6, three days after the sinking of the PNS Ghazi, INS launched its first airstrike. On the same day, the Indian navy’s Soviet-built submarine rescue ship INS Nistar arrived at site of Ghazi’s sinking with a specialist underwater salvage team. On exploring the sunken submarine, the team reported that the entire forward part of the submarine had been destroyed and blown outwards on the starboard side. Four bodies had to be removed to access the submarine’s interior, and as per the worldwide naval custom, they were reburied at sea with military honors. Among the objects recovered from the interiors were a chart detailing the voyage from Karachi, the captain’s stationary pad, the ship’s log, radio messages, a Pakistani flag, and the characteristic American “flying bridge” curved windshield. What caused the blast on PNS Ghazi? This is where the debate arises. Indian Navy claims the submarine was destroyed by depth charges fired by its ship INS Rajput. Pakistani authorities say the submarine sank because of either an internal explosion or accidental blast of mines that the submarine itself was laying around Vizag harbour. According to the Indian Navy: At 00:14 on 4 December 1971, INS Rajput’s sonar room reported what sounded like a submarine changing depth, about half mile ahead. Captain Inder Singh ordered a sharp turn and immediately fired two depth charges from the the ship’s Mk.IV DCTs. Less than a minute later, at 00:15, a massive underwater explosion shook the destroyer. The crewmen of INS Rajput were unsure what had happened; some sailors briefly thought their destroyer had been torpedoed due to the force of the explosion. Lookouts on INS Rajput saw what was possibly an oil slick in the area. Singh felt certain he had sunk a Pakistani submarine and relayed this to Vice Admiral Krishnan at Vizag. Several minutes later, Vice Admiral Krishnan was informed that a beach patrolman in Vizag had also heard a huge explosion at 00:15. INS Rajput then departed the area and proceed to join up with the INS Vikrant battle group. After sunrise, local fishermen saw an oil slick and some floating debris in the area. Included in the debris was an unused submariner life vest labelled “USS DIABLO”. According to the Pakistani Navy:  PNS Ghazi commenced laying a small minefield east of the Vishakapatnam harbor mouth on the overnight of 2-3 December 1971. Then at daybreak on 3 December, it headed out to deeper water to search for the INS Vikrant battle group. Not finding it, PNS Ghazi returned to the Vishakapatnam harbor mouth area at sunset to resume laying the minefield. As the lights ashore were blacked out, PNS Ghazi may have misjudged her position and doubled back into her own minefield around midnight; about 10-15 minutes before the INS Rajput depth charging. Thus, it was the accidental detonation of its own mines that destroyed the Ghazi and not INS Rajput‘s depth charges. Over the years, the mystery surrounding the sinking of PNS Ghazi has endured. Today, the submarine lies embedded in the Vizag seabed about 1.5 nautical miles from the breakwaters. Close to the harbour channel, the spot has been marked on navigational maps to help ships avoid the wreck. In 2003, an attempt was made by the Eastern Naval Command to check the condition of the debris. A team of 10 drivers of the Eastern Naval Command was sent down for another look at an old enemy that had come so close and failed.

 

ussdiablo

 

The images of Ghazi, taken with underwater cameras, revealed that the submarine, in death, was teeming with life. Still sitting on an even keel, the submarine’s hull, chipped away to reveal its steel skeleton, was covered with thousands of fishing nets. However, the cause of the blast still remains unclear and the decades-old-puzzle still remains unsolved. As Vice Admiral (retd) G M Hiranandani (whose book, Transition to Triumph, gives a detailed history of the Indian Navy) says, “The truth about the Ghazi, which remains on what the submarine community calls the ‘eternal parole’, lies somewhere between the Indian and Pakistani versions of the sinking but no one knows exactly where.”

 

In 1985, a Freak Accident Caused a Russian Nuclear Submarine to Explode.

 

 

In 1985, a Soviet submarine undergoing a delicate refueling procedure experienced a freak accident that killed ten naval personnel. The fuel involved was not diesel, but nuclear, and the resulting environmental disaster contaminated the area with dangerous, lasting radiation. The incident, which remained secret until after the demise of the USSR itself, was one of many nuclear accidents the Soviet Navy experienced during the Cold War. The Soviet Union’s nuclear war planners had a difficult time targeting the United States. While the United States virtually encircled the enormous socialist country with nuclear missiles in countries such as Turkey and Japan, the Western Hemisphere offered no refuge for Soviet deployments in-kind. One solution was the early development of nuclear cruise missile submarines. These submarines, known as the Echo I and Echo II classes, were equipped with six and eight P-5 “Pyatyorka” nuclear land attack cruise missiles, respectively. Nicknamed “Shaddock” by NATO, the P-5 was a subsonic missile with a range of 310 miles and 200- or 350-kiloton nuclear warhead. The P-5 had a circular error probable of 1.86 miles, meaning half of the missiles aimed at a target would land within that distance, while the other half would land farther away. The missiles were stored in large horizontal silos along the deck of the submarine. In order to launch a P-5 missile, the submarine would surface, deploy and activate a tracking radar, then feed guidance information to the missile while it flew at high altitude. The system was imperfect—the command link was vulnerable to jamming, and the submarine needed to remain on the surface, helpless against patrol aircraft and ships, until the missile reached the target. Eventually the P-5 missiles were withdrawn and the P-5 missile was replaced with the P-6, a similar weapon but one with its own radar seeker for attacking U.S. aircraft carriers. The introduction of the P-6 gave the Echo II a new lease on life. By 1985, the submarine K-431 was already twenty years old but still technically useful. Like all Echo IIs, K-431 was powered by two pressurized water reactors that drove steam turbines to a total of sixty thousand shipboard horsepower. As old as it was, K-431’s nuclear fuel supply needed replenishing, and by early August the process had started at the Soviet Navy’s facilities at Chazhma Bay. On August 10, the submarine was in the process of being refueled. Reportedly, the reactor lid—complete with new nuclear fuel rods—was lifted as part of the process. A beam was placed over the lid to prevent it from being lifted any higher, but incompetent handling apparently resulted in the rods being lifted too high into the air. (One account has a wave generated by a passing motor torpedo boat rocking the submarine in its berth, also raising the rods too high.) This resulted in the starboard reactor achieving critical mass, followed by a chain reaction and explosion. The explosion blew out the reactor’s twelve-ton lid—and fuel rods—and ruptured the pressure hull. The reactor core was destroyed, and eight officers and two enlisted men standing nearby were killed instantly. A the blast threw debris was thrown into the air, and a plume of fallout 650 meters wide by 3.5 kilometers long traveled downwind on the Dunay Peninsula. More debris and the isotope Cobalt-60 was thrown overboard and onto the nearby docks. According to Nuclear Risks, the accident scene was heavily contaminated with radioactivity. Gamma ray radiation was not particularly bad; at an exposure rate of five millisieverts per hour, it was the equivalent of getting a chest CT scan every hour. However, the explosion also released 259 petabecquerels of radioactive particles, including twenty-nine gigabecquerels of iodine-131, a known cause of cancer. This bode very badly for the emergency cleanup crews, especially firefighters who needed to get close to the explosion site, and the nearby village of Shkotovo-22. Forty-nine members of the cleanup crew displayed symptoms of radiation sickness, ten of them displaying acute symptoms. One bright spot in the incident was that the it had involved the new fuel rods and not the old ones, and thus large amounts of particularly dangerous isotopes generated during nuclear plant operation, such as strontium-90 and cesium-137, were not present. While the Chazhma Bay region appears contaminated to this day with radiation, it is unknown how much of it is the result of the K-431 incident and how much the result of the many nuclear-powered submarines that were junked and forgotten in the area. The K-431 incident was one of several involving Soviet submarine reactors. Ten Soviet submarines experienced nuclear accidents, and one other, K-11, also suffered a refueling criticality. The U.S. Navy’s nuclear submarine fleet, by contrast, suffered zero nuclear accidents—not only during the Cold War but all the way up to the present day. The accident rate is even more disturbing when one considers the loss of a submarine or crew to a nuclear accident could have inadvertently led to a military crisis between Washington and Moscow. As tensions between the two capitals begin to reach Cold War levels, accidents such as the K-431 incident are important reminders that events can and will happen that threaten to spiral dangerously out of control, and that cooler heads must always prevail.

 

Super-Secret U.S. Navy Spy Submarine (And What It Did to Russia)

One of the most unusual submarines of the Cold War was named after one of the most unusual fish in the sea. Halibut are flatfish, bottom-dwelling predators that, unlike conventional fish, lie sideways with two eyes on the same side of the head and ambush passing prey. Like the halibut flatfish, USS Halibut was an unusual-looking submarine, and also spent a considerable amount of time on the ocean floor. Halibut was a “spy sub,” and conducted some of the most classified missions of the entire Cold War. USS Halibut was built as one of the first of the U.S. Navy’s long-range missile ships. The submarine was the first built from the ground up to carry the Regulus II missile, a large, turbojet-powered cruise missile. The missile was designed to be launched from the deck of a submarine, with a ramp leading down into the bow of the ship, where a total of five missiles were stored. This resulted in an unusual appearance, likened to a “snake digesting a big meal.” Halibut also had six 533-millimeter torpedo tubes, but as a missile sub, would only use torpedoes in self-defense. Halibut was a one-of-a-kind submarine. At 350 feet long, with a beam of twenty-nine feet, she was dimensionally identical to the Sailfish-class radar picket submarines, but her missile storage spaces and launch equipment ballooned her submerged displacement to five thousand tons. Her S3W reactor gave her an underwater speed of more than twenty knots and unlimited range—a useful trait, considering the Regulus II had a range of only one thousand miles. Regulus II was quickly superseded by the Polaris submarine-launched ballistic missile, whose solid rocket fueled engine made for a more compact missile with a much longer range. The combination of the Polaris and the new George Washington–class fleet ballistic missile submarines conspired to put Halibut out of a job—Regulus II was canceled just seventeen days before the sub’s commissioning. Halibut operated for four years as a Regulus submarine. In 1965 the Navy, recognizing that a submarine with a large, built-in internal bay could be useful, put Halibut into dry dock at Pearl Harbor for a major $70 million ($205 million in today’s dollars) overhaul. She received a photographic darkroom, hatches for divers to enter and exit the sub while submerged, and thrusters to help her maintain a stationary position. Perhaps most importantly, Halibut was rebuilt with spaces to operate two remotely operated vehicles nicknamed “Fish.” Twelve feet long and equipped with cameras, strobe lights and sonar, the “fish” could search for objects at depths of up to twenty-five thousand feet. The ROVs could be launched and retrieved from the former missile storage bay, now nicknamed “the Bat Cave.” A twenty-four-bit mainframe computer, highly sophisticated for the time, analyzed sensor data from the Fish. Post overhaul, Halibut was redesignated from nuclear guided-missile submarine to nuclear attack submarine, and assigned to the Deep Submergence Group, a group tasked with deep-sea search-and-recovery missions. In mid-July 1968, Halibut was sent on Velvet Fist, a top-secret mission meant to locate the wreck of the Soviet submarine K-129. K-129 was a Golf II–class ballistic missile submarine that had sunk that March, an estimated 1,600 nautical miles off the coast of Hawaii. K-129 had sunk along with its three R-21 intermediate-range ballistic missiles. The R-21 was a single-stage missile with a range of 890 nautical miles and an eight-hundred-kiloton nuclear warhead. The loss of the submarine presented the U.S. government with the unique opportunity to recover the missiles and their warheads for study. Halibut was the perfect ship for the task. Once on station, it deployed the Fish ROVs and began an acoustic search of the ocean floor. After a painstaking search and more than twenty thousand photos, Halibut’s crew discovered the ill-fated Soviet sub’s wreckage. As a result Halibut and her crew were awarded a Presidential Unit Citation, for “several missions of significant scientific value to the Government of the United States.” Halibut’s contribution to efforts to recover K-129 would remain secret for decades. In 1970, Halibut was again modified to accommodate the Navy’s deep water saturation divers. The following year, it went to sea again to participate in Ivy Bells, a secret operation to install taps on the underwater communications cables connecting the Soviet ballistic missile submarine base at Petropavlovsk on the Kamchatka Peninsula with Moscow’s Pacific Fleet headquarters at Vladivostok. The taps, installed by divers and their ROVs, allowed Washington to listen in on message traffic to Soviet nuclear forces. Conducted at the bottom of the frigid Sea of Okhotsk, the Ivy Bells missions were conducted at the highest level of secrecy, as the Soviets would have quickly abandoned the use of underwater cables had they known they were compromised. Halibut was decommissioned on November 1, 1975, after 1,232 dives and more than sixteen years of service. The ship had earned two Presidential Unit citations (the second in 1972 for Ivy Bells missions) and a Navy Unit Citation. The role of submarines in espionage, however, continued: she was succeeded in the role of special missions submarine by USS Parche. Today, USS Jimmy Carter—a sub with a particularly low profile—is believed to have taken on the task. The role of submarines in intelligence gathering continues.

 

China Has Built the Biggest and Baddest Conventional Submarine in the World

 

In 2010, China’s first and only, so far Qing-class submarine sailed out to sea following nearly six years of construction. Displacing 6,628 tons submerged and measuring exactly the length of a football field at one hundred yards long (ninety-two meters), it is by most accounts the largest diesel submarine ever built. Unlike the vast majority of diesel submarines, the Type 032 can fire not only long-range cruise missiles, but submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) with the capacity to send a nuclear warhead across the ocean. Beijing prefers to keep its cards close to the chest, leading to speculation about the Type 032—is it purely a missile testing submarine, as is officially claimed, or is it the precursor of a fleet of low-cost ballistic-missile subs? Or was the Type 32 actually built as a prototype vessel for export to Pakistan? In the past, nuclear submarines enjoyed an enormous advantage in submerged endurance and noise compared to traditional diesel submarines. A diesel submarine could swim quietly for days before having to resurface, but a nuclear-powered submarine can do it for months. That China would even consider developing such a large diesel submarine is due to the advent of Air-Independent Propulsion (AIP) systems, which encompass a variety of technologies that allow engines and generators onboard a submarine to operate while consuming little or no oxygen. AIP systems can be even quieter than the reactors onboard nuclear submarines, and can efficiently propel the ship electrically for weeks, albeit only at slower speeds. The first operational AIP powered submarine was the Swedish Gotland, which entered service in 1996. Using a Stirling engine, it could operate submerged for thirty days at a time. The small and nearly silent diesel sub successfully penetrated the antisubmarine defenses of U.S. aircraft carrier task forces in several war games. Since then, China has built fifteen Yuan-class Type 039A (aka Type 041) diesel submarines using Stirling AIP technology, with another twenty planned. The torpedo-armed Yuan-class subs are intended, like the Swedish Gotland, to serve as stealthy short-range boats for stalking enemy vessels in coastal waters. The Stirling-powered Qing class, however, marks a dramatic departure from that modus operandi. Situated on the vessel’s elongated sail are two or three Vertical Launch Systems (VLS) tubes used to fire JL-2A Ju Lang (“Big Wave”) ballistic missiles. The JL-2A is believed to have a range approaching five thousand miles and can carry a single one-megaton nuclear warhead, or three or four ninety-kiloton independent reentry vehicles (MIRVs). The JL-2 was first tested in 2001 and constitutes the main armament of China’s Type 094 Jin-class nuclear submarines. A Type 094 sub embarked on China’s first nuclear deterrence patrol in 2015. Hypothetically, the Type 032 would offer a cheaper, shorter-endurance compliment to the Type-094. Four or five additional VLS cells on the Qing class’s bow can fire JL-18B Yingji (Eagle Strike) antishipping cruise missiles, which surge to speeds of Mach 2.5 on their terminal approach. The JL-18B is supposedly satellite guided, and is variously credited with a range of 110 to more than three hundred miles. The Type 032 can also launch the slower but longer-range CJ-20A cruise missiles, a derivative of the CJ-10. Rounding out the Qing class’s armaments is an unconventional pairing of a single standard 533-millimeter torpedo tube with an extra-large 650-millimeter tube. The Type 032 also has facilities to accommodate and deploy up to fifty special-forces personnel—an increasingly common feature in modern submarines. In other respects, the Type 032 is less impressive. It’s slow—with a maximum speed of sixteen miles per hour submerged, nearly half the speed of a Virginia-class nuclear-powered attack submarine. Its maximum dive depth is reported to be 160 to 200 meters—again, less than half the depth that many modern designs can submerge. The Qing class is understandably not designed for a knife-fight. In any case, the fact that only a single Type 032 has been built reinforces the claims that it is intended as an affordable testing platform for missile armament. It indeed appears to have replaced the sixties-era Type 031 Golf-class sub used to test the JL-2 ballistic missile. In addition to its crew complement of eighty-eight, it claimed that the Type 032 can carry an additional one hundred “scientists and technicians.” The sub has also reportedly been used to test submarine-launched surface-to-air Missiles and a new underwater escape pods. Some suggest the Type 032 may be applied to deploying undersea drones. However, a 2011 report claimed that China would sell six Type 032 submarines to Pakistan. The two countries hold a long-time alliance opposing India. China remains wary of the potential future superpower, and sees reinforcing its archrival Pakistan as a strategic hedge. However, the initial claim to a Type 032 deal was either inaccurate or fell through. More recently, Beijing confirmed in October that it would sell eight Project S-26 and Project S-30 submarines for $4–5 billion—a price roughly equivalent to the cost of two nuclear submarines. Four of each subtype will be constructed in China and Karachi, Pakistan, with first delivery no sooner than 2020 and completion of the contract by 2028. However, it’s unclear what type of submarines these will turn out to be. Several of official reports appear to state that these are derivatives of the Type 032, but most experts believe they are instead down-scaled version of the ship-hunting Yuan-class submarine. However, some descriptions of the S-30 imply it is based on the Type 032, with an intended armament of four Pakistani-developed Babur nuclear-capable land-attack cruise missiles as well as retaining two SLBM tubes. Nuclear submarines still possess advantages over AIP-powered diesel submarines. Deterrence patrols tend to be lengthy, so the three-to-four-month endurance of nuclear subs still handily beats the thirty days of a Stirling-powered sub. And even though the ability to remain underwater for months at a time may be less vital for coastal defense subs, nuclear submarines can also sustain higher underwater speeds over long distances. Still, most navies across the world aren’t like United States, which operates submarines thousands of miles across the length of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Countries like China, Pakistan or, hypothetically, Iran or Saudi Arabia, have naval security interests closer to home and don’t need their submarines to cross vast oceans. Particularly for countries like Pakistan with access to nuclear arms, a missile-armed diesel submarine could offer an affordable means to threaten nuclear retaliation that would remain very difficult to counter, potentially starting a new worrisome trend in nuclear proliferation.

 

 

Navy SEALs to acquire new, dry mini-submersibles.

 

Navy SEALs to acquire new, dry mini-submersibles

 

According to a report in The Hill newspaper, which we first linked here on SOFREP back in September, the Navy SEALs are in the process of procuring a new mini-submersible vehicle to complement (and one day, perhaps replace) their fleet of SEAL Delivery Vehicles (SDVs). I thought I would go a little further in depth on these new mini-subs, since they are a significant new capability for the SEAL teams. While SDVs are “wet” submersibles, meaning that the SEALs are exposed to the water during the entirety of their operation, and must breathe from a self-contained breathing apparatus while operating them, the new vessels will be “dry,” or pressurized in the same manner as a full-sized submarine. The new dry submersibles should help keep the SEALs more comfortable in the course of their underwater operations, thus allowing for longer mission profiles, and access to waters possibly heretofore too hostile because of cold temperatures. This is where the new vessels are a value added for the SEALs. According to The Hill, the new mini-subs will be called Dry Combat Submersibles, and will allow SEALs more effective inter-squad communications as well. Instead of the usual use of hand signals and unintelligible grunting throughout an underwater operation, which currently often defines underwater communications for the SEALs, the dry mini-subs will have an internal communications system for use by the naval commandos while in transit. Former SEAL and current Montana Republican congressman Ryan Zinke stated that the missions these SDV-based SEALs are undertaking are “national command authority missions. Can’t fail. So in those niche missions, it’s really important we have technology that’s cutting edge.” The new Dry Combat Submersibles would seem to be just that, if reports about them are true. The Hill was able to tour a demonstration model of one such vehicle near Norfolk, Virginia, and reported that the “demonstrator” was about 39 feet long, seven to eight feet in diameter, and weighed about 30 tons. The vehicle has also traveled up to five knots for 60 nautical miles, according to The Hill, which might or might not be its normal operational capability, depending upon how much the Navy revealed to the newspaper during its tour. The first vehicles were reportedly to be delivered in July of 2018, and would become operational as early as the fall of that year. Final testing would not be completed, however, until 2019. As with all new weapons and transportation systems, those schedules are always subject to changes and delays. The Hill went on to report that the new mini-subs would hold eight SEAL operators and their gear, as well as a navigator and a pilot. They would be constructed with three separate compartments: one for the navigator and pilot, one for the SEALs in transit, and one from which the SEALs would lock in and out of the vehicle to undertake their dive operations. This is also significant, since it frees up the SEALs from having to focus on the operation of the vessel, as well as navigating to the objective. This is another added benefit of the new mini-subs. The Dry Combat Submersibles would also be launched from the surface, instead of from a dry dock shelter (DDS) as current SDVs are. This means that, instead of being transported to the area of operations on the back of a Navy submarine, then launched underwater, the new vehicles would be lowered into the water by a crane or from a surface ship. This is a significant change, and should allow for easier deployment, as DDS operations are complicated and time consuming. The total cost for the initial phase of the project, which would include three new vehicles, is reported to be $236 million. U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) finalized the contract with Lockheed Martin in July of 2016. After delivery of the first submersible in July 2018, there is an option to procure two more by 2020. While this appears to be a significant new operational platform for the SEAL teams, this author, at least, is a bit surprised that the Navy provided so much information about them to the press. Historically, these types of programs have remained shrouded in secrecy. Surely there is more that was not reported, and which shall remain classified. Either way, the new vessels appear to be a worthwhile addition to the Navy SEAL teams.

 

In 2009, Two Nuclear Submarines Collided Under the Sea.

Late at night on February 3, 2009 the crew of the French nuclear submarine Triomphant, experienced something of a shock. The 138-meter-long submarine, the lead boat of four serving today as a key part of France’s nuclear strike force, was returning to port submerged under the heavy seas of the East Atlantic when something impacted violently upon its bow and sail. On February 6 the French Ministry of Defense reported that the submarine had suffered a collision with an “an immersed object (probably a container).” The same day the Triomphant returned to its base in Ile Longue, Brest escorted by a frigate. Curiously, the HMS Vanguard, a Vigilant-class British Royal Navy nuclear submarine also experienced a collision that evening. The first of her class, the Vanguard measures 150 meters long and displaces 16,900 tons when submerged. At some point, the two navies compared notes. On February 16 they announced the two submarines “briefly came into contact at a very low speed while submerged.” Fortunately, no crew members were harmed in the accident, though repairs were estimated to cost a minimum of 50 million pounds. When the Vanguard returned to its base in Faslane, Scotland, it was visibly badly mangled around its missile compartment and starboard side. “The French submarine had took a massive chunk out of the front of HMS Vanguard and grazed down the side of the boat,” later claimed William McNeilly, a whistleblower who served in the U.K.’s nuclear submarine program. “The High Pressured Air (HPA) bottle groups were hanging off and banging against the pressure hull. They had to return to base port slowly, because if one of HPA bottle groups exploded it would've created a chain reaction and sent the submarine plummeting to the bottom.” On the French side of things, official statements indicated the damage to the Triomphant was confined to its Thales active sonar dome on the tip of the starboard bow. However, a regional newspaper later reported that its conning tower and the starboard sail plane attached to it were both deformed, implying multiple impacts. Of course, particularly alarming was that both ships were designed to carry nuclear missiles: sixteen M45 ballistic missiles on the Triomphant and the same number of Trident II missiles onboard the Vanguard, each carrying 4 and 6 nuclear warheads respectively. Losing such apocalyptic firepower on the ocean floor would have been a catastrophe. However, nuclear warheads are not susceptible to “going off” as a result of a collision.The same cannot be said of the nuclear reactors powering the two ships. A sufficiently serious collision could have breached the containment of the reactors, irradiating the crew and the surrounding expanse of oceanic waters. Fortunately, the British defense ministry assured “there was no compromise to nuclear safety.”So, who was at fault for this potentially catastrophic brushing of cold, watery steel? In a way, what’s most alarming may be that the crew did not make any mistakes and that the error may truly lie with secretive ballistic missile submarine strategy that may be difficult to change. While an attack submarine is always on the lookout for other ships and submarines and often seeks to shadow those of foreign nations a ballistic missile submarine just wants to be left alone and undetected under the ocean. Such submarines serve as a stealthy guarantor that any deadly attack on its home country could be reciprocated with a nuclear strike from a Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile (SLBM) launched from underwater. While a hypothetical aggressor might hope to take out a nation’s ground and air-based nuclear forces with a preemptive strike, submarines concealed deep underwater across the globe would be impossible to reliably track down and destroy—at least not all of them, and only as long as they don’t broadcast their presence. However, one might think that two submarines passing close enough to scratch each other’s backs should be able to detect each other’s presence. However, modern subs have become very quiet, benefitting from tear-drop shaped hulls, superior propellers, and sound-absorbing anechoic tiles, among other technologies. As French defense minister Hervé Morin humble-bragged, “We face an extremely simple technological problem, which is that these submarines are not detectable.”A submerged submarine can use either active or passive sonar to detect other subs. Passive sonar basically entails using audiophones to listen to the surrounding water, but that might not be adequate to detect a slow-moving modern submarine. A submarine could employ its active sonar to create sound waves which reflect off of other undersea objects, improving its detection power. However doing so would also broadcast the submarine’s position to anyone else who is listening. Because a missile sub’s chief priority is to avoid detection, both the Triomphant and Vanguard were relying purely on passive sonar—and neither submarine detected the other with it. Submarine collisions are hardly unknown. Usually these involved one submarine shadowing another just a bit too closely, such as happened in the collision of the Russian K-407 and the USS Grayling in 1993. This has led to speculation that the Triomphant was chasing after the Vanguard. However, these kind of cat and mouse games are the province of attack submarines, not missile submarines. It may seem vastly improbable that two submarines bumped into each other randomly across the vast volume of the ocean. However, the explanation may be that submariners are inclined to operate in certain common undersea regions—increasing the still remote chance of collision significantly. “Both navies want quiet areas, deep areas, roughly the same distance from their home ports,” nuclear engineer John Strong remarked in an interview with the BBC. “So you find these station grounds have got quite a few submarines, not only French and Royal Navy but also from Russia and the United States.” The solution to avoiding further collisions would be to coordinate sub patrols between nations to avoid operating in the same place at the same time—but that runs counter to the paranoid logic underlying ballistic missile patrols. After all, even information shared between allies could theoretically be obtained by a hostile nation to help track down the missile submarines and take destroy them. While France was singled out for criticism for not sharing its patrol routes with NATO, in reality even the water space management information shared between the United Kingdom and United States did not include ballistic missile submarines according to the New York Times. The Triomphant-Vanguard collision suggests that what seemed extraordinarily unlikely event—a collision between nuclear submarines in the middle of the ocean doing their best to remain discrete—may not be so in fact. Sharing more data between allies to mitigate the risks of future collisions would likely enhance, not weaken, the security of both those submarines and the nations they defend.

 

U.S. Navy Nuclear Submarine Smashed into an Underwater Mountain and Survived

In 2005, a U.S. Navy attack submarine collided head-on with an undersea mountain at more than thirty miles an hour. Despite the damage the ship sustained and the crew’s injuries, the USS San Francisco managed to limp to her home port of Guam on her own power. The incident was a testament to the design of the submarine and the training and professionalism of her crew. USS San Francisco is a Los Angeles-class nuclear attack submarine. Submarine builder Newport News Shipyard began construction on her in 1977, and she was commissioned on April 24, 1981. The submarine joined the U.S. Pacific Fleet and served there throughout her career. Like all Los Angeles subs, she displaced 6,900 tons submerged, was 362 feet long, and had a beam of 33 feet. A General Electric PWR S6G nuclear reactor provided 35 thousand shipboard horsepower, driving the submarine to a speedy 33 knots. A typical crew consisted of 129 officers and enlisted men. On January 8, 2005, the USS San Francisco was traveling at flank (full) speed—approximately 38 miles an hour at a depth of 525 feet. She was 360 miles southeast of Guam heading to Brisbane, Australia for a liberty stop. Navigation plotted the route based on undersea maps that were generally agreed to give the most complete view of the seabed. According to The New York Times, the captain went to lunch and the navigation officer, believing it was safe to do so, dived the sub from 400 to 525 feet and accelerated to flank speed. At approximately 11:42 local time, while transiting the Caroline Islands mountain chain, the submarine came to an abrupt—and unexpected—halt. There was a shudder and then a tremendous noise. Men throughout the ship were thrown from their stations against their surroundings. In an instant many suffered bruises, lacerations, broken bones and fractures. A chief petty officer described the scene as looking like a “slaughterhouse”, with blood running everywhere. Ninety eight crewmen were injured with one, Machinist's Mate Second Class Joseph Allen Ashley, fatally injured.Despite their injuries, and not having any idea what had just happened, the captain and his crew rushed to surface the boat. The crew threw the emergency blow activator, known as the “chicken switch”, that immediately blast compressed air into the San Francisco’s ballast tanks. Unknown to the crew, the impact of the explosion had punched huge holes in the forward ballast tanks. The submarine was supposed to immediately rise, but it was an agonizing thirty seconds before the sub began to surface. By 11:44 the sub had surfaced. Damage control reported the San Francisco’s inner hull was intact, her Mk. 48 torpedoes and Tomahawk cruise missiles were unharmed, and remarkably, her nuclear reactor was completely undamaged. All alone in the Pacific, the submarine began the long trip back to Guam. The sub limped back into Apra Harbor in Guam thirty hours later on January 10th, the crews of other moored submarines manning their rails in the stricken sub’s honor. Later, an investigation would reveal the submarine had crashed into a seamount rising 6,500 feet from the ocean floor. The seamount had not appeared on the charts that San Francisco’s crew had used to plot their course, but appeared on other charts as a “potential hazard.” The hazard was reported two miles from the site of the collision and the Captain of the San Francisco has stated that had he known about it, he would have given the potential obstacle a wide berth. The chart used by San Francisco’s crew were prepared by the Defense Mapping Agency in 1989. According to a study of the incident prepared by the University of Massachusetts in 2008, a Landsat satellite image showed a seamount in the area of the collision that rose to within one hundred feet of the surface. The Navy’s charts were not updated with the new data—according to the UMass report, the Navy believed that with the cessation of the Cold War the crash site area was not a high priority for mapping, and that priority had instead been given to the Middle East region to support the Global War on Terror. After repairs to ensure hull integrity, San Francisco traveled under her own power to Puget Sound, Washington. The damaged portion of the boat’s bow was removed. The bow of sister submarine USS Honolulu, soon to be retired, was removed and welded onto San Francisco. The submarine rejoined the fleet in 2009 and served for another seven years. In January, it began a two year conversion that will turn her into a permanently moored training submarine. The heroic actions of the crew were essential to the submarine’s survival. Still, how did a submarine survive a high-speed collision with a mountain? In 1963, immediately after the loss of USS Thresher, the Navy instituted the SUBSAFE program. The goal of the program was to ensure that a submarine’s hull would retain pressure in the event of an accident and she would be able to surface. The Navy’s Nuclear Propulsion Program made safe, resilient nuclear reactors an absolute top priority.

Egypt receives first German-built submarine

 

Submarine [Martín Otero/Wikipedia]

 

The Egyptian Navy today officially received its first Type-209/1400 submarine from Germany, government sources revealed. The Egyptian Armed Forces spokesperson said today that the submarine, named S41, was manufactured by the ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems Company in the northern German coastal city of Kiel. During a ceremony in Kiel city yesterday, the Commander of the Egyptian Navy Lieutenant General Osama Mounir hoisted the Egyptian flag on the submarine signalling its beginning of service at the Egyptian military forces. In his speech at the inauguration, Mounir stated that the new submarine is a “great technological addition” to Egypt’s navy and will further its capability to bolster Egyptian national security. Egypt Independent reported that this event comes within a deal made between the two nations for four submarines to help protect the Egyptian national security and its economic interests. Egypt initially ordered two Type-209/1400mod submarines in 2011 and later ordered two more in 2014. According to the Germany’s Deutsche-Presse Agentur (DPA) news agency, the contract for the first two ships was worth around €900 million, while the other two submarines’ contract is estimated at well over €500 million. The diesel-electric Type 209 submarine is 211 feet long, has a submerged speed of 22.5 knots and a submerged range of 400 nautical miles at a speed of 4 knots. The 64-meters long submarine is capable of firing missiles against both land and naval targets. The second HDW 209/1400 submarine was also officially handed over to the Egyptian navy. Egyptian technical teams travelled to Germany earlier for training on operating the new submarines.  In a statement, German Ambassador to Egypt Julius Georg Luy said that both Berlin and Cairo have common interests in confronting issues of regional stability and terrorism.

 

In 1992, a Russian Nuclear Attack Submarine Slammed into an American Sub (Right off Russia's Coast)

 

 

It’s tempting to think of sonar as a sort of radar that works underwater. However, water is a far less compliant medium than air even for the most modern sensors, and wind conditions, temperature variations and sounds rebounding off the ocean floor can all dramatically degrade its performance. When attempting to detect the extremely quiet submarines currently in use, just a few adverse factors can turn a very difficult task into an impossible one. Therefore, a submarine spying close to an adversary’s home port might not be able to spot another submarine heading towards it until after the collision—which can be worse than embarrassing for everyone involved. On February 11, 1992, the USS Baton Rouge, a nuclear-powered Los Angeles–class attack submarine, was lurking twenty meters deep in the shallow waters off of Kildin Island, fourteen miles away from the Russian port of Murmansk. The Soviet Union had dissolved just two months earlier—but the Navy still wanted to closely monitor what had become of Russia’s powerful navy. The exact nature of the Baton Rouge’s espionage activities has never been clarified. It could have involved recording the sounds produced by Russian submarines for later identification, or depositing and recovering intelligence-gathering devices.At 8:16, something massive struck the 110-meter long Baton Rouge from below, scratching the nuclear-powered submarine’s hull and causing tears in its port ballast tank. Fortunately, the American submarine’s hull was not further compromised. It turned out a Russian Sierra-class nuclear-powered attack submarine, the B-276 Kostroma, had attempted to surface underneath the American submarine. Swimming at around eight miles per hour, the Russian boat’s conning tower had impacted the belly of the American ship. The titanium-hulled Kostroma’s sail was partially crushed from impacting the Baton Rouge’s belly, and pieces of the American submarine’s anti-sonar tiles were later found embedded in its surface. Both submarines were designed to launch cruise missiles from their torpedo tubes, some of which could theoretically be armed with nuclear warheads. However, Russia and the United States had recently agreed to withdraw such warheads under the START I treaty, and it was likely that the Baton Rouge at least no longer carried them. Still, a worse collision could have breached the reactors on either vessel, irradiating the submarines and the surrounding waters.Fortunately, this did not occur. The Baton Rouge circled around and contacted the other submarine to make sure it wasn’t in need of assistance, and then both vessels returned to port for repairs. The accident caused one of the United States’ first diplomatic incidents with the newborn Russian government, with Secretary of State James Baker having to meet in person with Yeltsin and assure him that the United States would scale back its spying in Russian waters, a message belied the following year by another submarine collision off the Kola peninsula. The incident also highlighted differences on the definition of “international waters.” The United States follows the standard of measuring them twelve miles away from the nearest landmass. The Baton Rouge was in compliance with this principle. Moscow, however, defined them as extending twelve miles from a line formed by the two sides of a gulf, by which standard it considered the Baton Rouge in violation of its territorial waters. The second in the prolific Los Angeles class, the Baton Rouge was only seventeen years old. However, the cost of repairing the 110-meter-long vessel, combined with the already scheduled expenses of nuclear refueling, was judged excessive and the boat was decommissioned in January 1995.The Kostroma, however, was repaired and put back to sea by 1997, and remains active to this day. Russian sailors have painted a kill marking on its conning tower to commemorate the “defeat” of the Baton Rouge.

Stealth in Shallow Water

How did this accident even happen? Some articles in the press characterized the subs as having been involved in a cat-and-mouse game that had gone too far. Indeed, such games were common between the attack submarines of rival nations, and had resulted in collisions in the past. However, that account remains unlikely because a submarine can only play a cat-and-mouse game if it is able to detect the other ship. And in the shallow waters off of Kildin Island, it is unlikely either vessel could. This is because in shallow water, breaking waves create at least ten times the background interference for sonar operators, making it extremely hard to discern a submarine’s quiet propeller screw. Furthermore, even signals that are detected will have reflected off the ocean floor and the surf so that it would become difficult to isolate them against the background interference. Analyst Eugene Miasnikov calculated in 1993 that the detection range using passive sonar of a slow-moving Sierra-class submarine in such a noisy environment would likely have been between one hundred and two hundred meters, or fewer if it was a windy day. And detection range might have fallen to zero if the Russian sub approached from a sixty-degree arc behind the Baton Rouge, which is not covered by the submarine’s fixed sonar array. The Russian submarine would also have had little chance of detecting the quieter Los Angeles–class submarine. More powerful fixed antisubmarine sensors might only have been effective at ranges of three to five kilometers in such conditions, too short to reach the Baton Rouge’s position. Submarines can also deploy towed sonar arrays behind them to increase their sonar coverage, but these are difficult to control in shallow waters and were therefore not in use during the incident. A submarine or surface ship could also use active sonar to emit sound waves that would reflect off another submarine’s hull. In shallow water, this might have increased detection ranges to a few kilometers. However, doing so would also reveal the platform using the active sonar. The Baton Rouge surely did not use active sonar so as to remain undetected. Nor did it detect active sonar from the Kostroma. Thus, neither vessel was using active sonar, and their passive sonars were likely not strong enough to detect the other in the noisy shallows. This explains why submarines measuring longer than a football field in length can run into each other, oblivious to the other’s presence until the crunch of impact. As evidenced by the alarming collision in 2009 between the nuclear missile–armed French Triomphant and the British Vanguard, the risks of underwater collisions between nuclear submarines remain quite real today. The Russian submarine would also have had little chance of detecting the quieter Los Angeles–class submarine. More powerful fixed antisubmarine sensors might only have been effective at ranges of three to five kilometers in such conditions, too short to reach the Baton Rouge’s position. Submarines can also deploy towed sonar arrays behind them to increase their sonar coverage, but these are difficult to control in shallow waters and were therefore not in use during the incident. A submarine or surface ship could also use active sonar to emit sound waves that would reflect off another submarine’s hull. In shallow water, this might have increased detection ranges to a few kilometers. However, doing so would also reveal the platform using the active sonar. The Baton Rouge surely did not use active sonar so as to remain undetected. Nor did it detect active sonar from the Kostroma. Thus, neither vessel was using active sonar, and their passive sonars were likely not strong enough to detect the other in the noisy shallows. This explains why submarines measuring longer than a football field in length can run into each other, oblivious to the other’s presence until the crunch of impact. As evidenced by the alarming collision in 2009 between the nuclear missile–armed French Triomphant and the British Vanguard, the risks of underwater collisions between nuclear submarines remain quite real today.

 

Why Russia and China Feared America's Skipjack-Class Submarines

The Skipjack-class submarines were arguably the first truly modern postwar submarines of the U.S. Navy. Combining two new innovations—a new high-speed hull design and nuclear power—the innovative, fish-shaped subs were the basis of all future American submarines up to the present day. The United States Navy officially entered the Nuclear Age on September 30, 1954. That was the day the USS Nautilus, the first nuclear-powered attack submarine ever produced, entered service. Powered by a S2W reactor, Nautilus had a virtually unlimited striking range. Nautilus was a technological triumph, heralding a new age in submarine warfare. Although successful, Nautilus was a one-of-a-kind, proof-of-concept boat. The Skipjacks, with their improved S5W pressurized water reactors, introduced nuclear power to the bulk of the fleet. The S5W was a highly successful design that produced fifteen thousand shaft horsepower and was the standard U.S. Navy reactor until the introduction of the S6G reactor that powers the Los Angeles class. The reactor was also provided to the United Kingdom, where it powered the Royal Navy’s first nuclear powered warship, HMS Dreadnought. Still, nuclear power represented just half of what the Skipjack class brought to the table. Although the Navy had introduced the nuclear-powered Skate-class subs to the fleet, they were built to a conventional design that made them more resemble late war submarines. As a result, their speed was limited to maximum of twenty knots. A new, hydrodynamic hull that would fully exploit the power of the reactor was needed. In 1953 the Navy introduced a new diesel electric boat, the experimental research submarine USS Albacore. Albacore introduced a new teardrop-shaped hull, pioneered by legendary submariner Adm. Charles “Swede” Momsen. The symmetrical, tuna-like hull was a radical break from conventional, cigar-shaped hulls. While the Nautilus emphasized nuclear propulsion, Momsen wanted a submarine that was fast and agile. Indeed, Albacore was fast—its sleek hull propelled it to twenty-six knots, and with the introduction of silver-zinc batteries and contra-rotating propellers it reached an amazing thirty-three knots. It could also turn quickly, at a rate of 3.2 degrees per second, instead of the average 2.7 degrees per second of conventional submarines. The two innovations, a teardrop hull and nuclear power, proved complementary in the Skipjack class. Nuclear powered, the Skipjacks did not spend most of their time on the surface, and thus could dispense with design characteristics that improved seakeeping on the surface. A nuclear-powered boat could spend all of its time underwater, so it made sense to make their hulls as underwater efficient as possible. The Skipjack’s sensor suite was centered around the BQS-4 active/passive sonar array, which had a range of six to eight thousand yards. It also had a BQR-2 passive array with a maximum detection range of thirteen thousand yards. It also had search and attack periscopes in the sail and a surface radar for navigating on the surface. The submarines were also well armed, with six Mk. 59 bow torpedo tubes. Unlike previous classes, they did not have aft-firing torpedo tubes—their large single propeller made firing torpedoes rearward hazardous. They could fire the Mark 16 antiship torpedo, a veteran of the latter days of World War II. They could also fire the Mark 37 antisubmarine torpedo, a homing torpedo with both active and passive guidance. Eventually the single Mark 48 torpedo replaced both the Mark 16 and Mark 37. Finally, the class could also launch the Mark 45 ASTOR antisubmarine wire-guided nuclear torpedo, which had a range of eight miles and packed an eleven-kiloton nuclear warhead. Six Skipjacks were built—Skipjack, Scamp, Scorpion, Sculpin, Shark and Snook. The third ship in the class, Scorpion, was lost with all hands in 1968 under mysterious circumstances.  Although generally regarded as a success, the accelerated pace of weapon development during the Cold War ensured that a replacement for the Skipjacks was just around the corner. Just halfway though the design cycle, a new class, the Thresher class (later the Permit class, after Thresher was lost), was already on the drawing board. These kept the nuclear propulsion and teardrop hull form of their speedy predecessors, but as a larger, heavier sub were slower. The Skipjack’s hull was later used as the basis of the first purpose-built fleet ballistic missile submarines, the USS George Washington class. A 130-foot-long missile compartment was inserted between the navigation/control areas and the nuclear reactor. Each of the five George Washington boats was fitted with sixteen Polaris A1 missiles. The first submarine-launched ballistic missile, each Polaris A1 had three two-hundred-kiloton nuclear warheads and a range of 2,500 nautical miles. The Skipjack class was an example of how innovative new technologies can combine to produce a weapons system with vastly improved characteristics. The design was so successful that it provided a basis for future submarines, not only in the United States, but elsewhere around the world. Skipjack’s motto was “Radix Nova Tridentis,” or “Root of a New Sea Power”—an accurate description of this unique class of submarines.

 Navy submarines dock in Chittagong port

 

Navy submarines dock in Chittagong port

 

Two newly-acquired submarines have reached Chittagong on Thursday evening. A Chittagong port official told the Dhaka Tribune the two submarines were carried by a Chinese heavy-lift ship docked at Chittagong Container Terminal.  The Type 035G-class submarines, BNS Nabajatra and BNS Joyjatra, were assembled at Chinese state-owned Liaonan shipyard in the Dalian state of China.Bangladesh paid a reported $203m for the two submarines, a deal that reflects the country’s growing economic and defence ties with Beijing. Type 035G-class submarines, also known as Ming-class, is a class of diesel-electric submarines of the People’s Liberation Army Navy. A total of 12 were built and commissioned between 1990 and 1999. The primary weaponry for Type 035G is the Yu-3 torpedo. It uses French-made sonar DUUX-5 unit. The 035G-class is also renowned for its anti-submarine weapon capabilities. They were built with further improvements, especially in terms of noise reduction, weapons, sensors and crew living standards. The Type 035G is frequently used for coastal patrols. Bangladesh has about 118,813 sq km of maritime territory, much of it won in disputes with India and Myanmar.

 

China submarine fleet

 

 

 

Russia's Super Secret Spy Submarine Returns to Sea.

 

 

Earlier this month, a Russian ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) called Podmoskovie slipped out of its pier at Severodvinsk for the first time in 16 years. But BS-64 Podmoskovie—which was commissioned in 1986 as a Project 667BDRM Delfin-class (NATO: Delta IV) SSBN designated K-64—is no ordinary boomer. Over the course of nearly two decades, the massive submarine was modified to conduct special missions. But exactly what those missions might be remains somewhat of a mystery. Podmoskovie was photographed leaving the shipyard for contractor sea trials on Oct. 22 by Oleg Kuleshov, who writes for the BMPD blog—a product of the Moscow-based Centre for the Analysis of Strategies and Technologies. Podmoskovie and her sister BS-136 Orenburg—a former Delta III SSBN—are roughly analogous to the U.S. Navy’s secretive USS Jimmy Carter (SSN-23)—which is a highly modified Seawolf-class boat. Carter is roughly 100ft longer that her two Seawolf-class sisters with the addition of a Multi-Mission Platform (MMP), which allows the submarine to launch and recovery of various unmanned vehicles and support special operations forces. Podmoskovie is thought to be similar in concept—but the Russians are not exactly keen on sharing those details for obvious reasons. What is known about Podmoskovie is that the massive vessel entered the shipyard in 1999 under the Russian Ministry of Defense’s Project 09787—which ostensibly performs deep-sea research. By 2002, the boat had its missile tubes removed and the special compartments similar to those on Orenburg were installed. Indeed, externally, Podmoskovie looks very different from a standard Project 667BDRM boat aft of the sail and she appears to have had her hull lengthened. Podmoskovie is able to launch and recover unmanned underwater vehicles, which dock on top of the submarine where the missiles used to be located. One such unmanned submarine is the Klavesin-1R—which was developed by Russia’s Institute of Marine Technology. The unmanned submarine is able to dive to depths as great as 6000m—or nearly 20,000ft. The unmanned vessels are equipped with a variety of high and low frequency sonars. Podmoskovie is also thought to be able to host the secretive AS-12 Losharik—a nuclear-powered mini-submarine designed for intelligence and special operations missions at extreme depths—perhaps as great as 20,000ft. While very little is known about Losharik, the vessel is believed to be tasked with tapping undersea cables among its various other missions. Additionally, Podmoskovie will almost certainly host the Project 1851 Paltus and Project 1910 Kashalot nuclear-powered special operations mini-submarines. Like Losharik, the Paltus and Kashalot are thought to have both a research and military role. However, due to the level of secrecy surrounding these programs, there is very little information available about these vessels. It will take some time for Podmoskovie to complete its various sea trials, but all indications suggest that she will be a capable addition to the Kremlin’s arsenal when she returns to operational service. Podmoskovie is expected to joint the Russian Northern Fleet’s 29th Submarine Brigade when she rejoins the fleet.

 

Russia Has a Dead Nuclear Submarine (Armed With Nuclear Weapons) Sitting at the Bottom of the Ocean.

In the mid-1980s, the Soviet Union constructed a super submarine unlike any other. Fast and capable of astounding depths for a combat submersible, the submarine Komsomolets was introduced in 1984, heralded as a new direction for the Soviet Navy. Five years later, Komsomolets and its nuclear weapons were on the bottom of the ocean, two-thirds of its crew killed by what was considered yet another example of Soviet incompetence. The history of the Komsomolets goes as far back as 1966. A team at the Rubin Design Bureau under N. A. Klimov and head designer Y. N. Kormilitsin was instructed to begin research into a Project 685, a deep-diving submarine. The research effort dragged on for eight years, likely due to a lack of a suitable metal that could withstand the immense pressures of the deep. In 1974, however, the double-hulled design was completed, with a titanium alloy chosen for the inner hull. Project 685, also known as K-278, was to be a prototype boat to test future deep-diving Soviet submarines. The Sevmash shipyard began construction on April 22, 1978 and the ship was officially completed on May 30, 1983. The difficulty in machining titanium contributed to the unusually long construction period. K-278 was 360 feet long and forty feet wide, with the inner hull approximately twenty-four feet wide. It had a submerged displacement of 6,500 tons, and the use of titanium instead of steel made it notably lighter. It had a unique double hull, with the inner hull made of titanium, that gave it its deep-diving capability. The inner hull was further divided into seven compartments, two of which were reinforced to create a safe zone for the crew, and an escape capsule was built into the sail to allow the crew to abandon ship while submerged at depths of up to 1,500 meters. The submarine was powered by one 190-megawatt OK-650B-3 nuclear pressurized water reactor, driving two forty-five-thousand-shipboard-horsepower steam-turbine engines. This propelled it to a submerged speed of thirty knots, and a surface speed of fourteen knots. The sub had the MGK-500 “Skat” (NATO code name: Shark Gill) low-frequency passive/active search and attack spherical bow array sonar system, the same sonar used in today’s Yasen-class attack submarines, which fed into the Omnibus-685 Combat Information Control System. Armament consisted of six 533-millimeter standard diameter torpedo tubes, including twenty-two Type 53 torpedoes and Shkval supercavitating antisubmarine torpedoes. The submarine joined the Red Banner Northern Fleet in January 1984 and began a series of deep diving experiments. Under Captain First Rank Yuri Zelensky the submarine set a record depth of 3,346 feet—an astounding accomplishment considering its American equivalent, the USS Los Angeles class, had an absolute maximum depth of 1,475 feet. Crush depth was estimated at approximately 4,500 feet. The submarine had a special surfacing system, “Iridium,” which used gas generators to blow the ballast tanks. The Soviet Navy considered K-278 invulnerable at depths greater than one thousand meters; at such depths it was difficult to detect and enemy torpedoes, particularly the American Mark 48, which had a maximum depth of eight hundred meters. Although the submarine was originally to be a test ship, it was eventually made into a fully operational combat-ready ship in 1988. It was given the name Komsomolets, meaning “member of the Young Communist League.” On April 7, 1989, while operating a depth of 1266 feet, Komsomolets ran into trouble in the middle of the Norwegian Sea. According to Norman Polmar and Kenneth Moore, it was the submarine’s second crew, newly trained in operating the ship. Furthermore, its origins as a test ship meant it lacked a damage-control party. A fire broke out in the seventh aft chamber, and the flames burned out an air supply valve, which fed pressurized air into the fire. Fire suppression measures failed. The reactor was scrammed and the ballast tanks were blown to surface the submarine. The fire continued to spread, and the crew fought the fire for six hours before the order to abandon ship was given. According to Polmar and Moore, the fire was so intense that crewmen on deck watched as the rubber anechoic coating tiles coating the outer hull slid off due to the extreme heat. The ship’s commanding officer, Captain First Rank Evgeny Vanin, along with four others, went back into the ship to find crewmembers who had not heard the abandon ship order. Vanin and his rescue party were unable to venture farther—the submarine was tilting eighty degrees headfirst—and entered the rescue chamber. The chamber failed to dislodge at first, but eventually broke free of the mortally wounded sub. Once on the surface, the abrupt pressure change caused the top hatch to blow off, throwing two crewmembers out of the chamber. The chamber, as well as the captain and the rest of the rescue party, sank under the waves. Only four men had been killed in the incident so far, but after the submarine sank many men succumbed to the thirty-six-degree (Fahrenheit) water temperatures. After an hour the fishing boats Alexi Khlobystov and Oma arrived and rescued thirty men, some of whom later succumbed to their injuries. Of the original sixty-nine men on board the submarine when disaster struck, forty-two died, including Captain First Rank Vanin.

 

Successor-Class: The Largest Submarines Ever Built For the Royal Navy

The United Kingdom has started production on its new Successor-class ballistic missile submarines (SSBN). The four new boats will be the largest submarines ever built for the Royal Navy—displacing 17,200 tons with a length of about 502ft—but they will only have 12 missile tubes rather than the 16 found onboard the current Vanguard-class. The new boomers will also share technology with their U.S. Navy counterparts—the Columbia-class Ohio Replacement Program SSBNs—using a common missile compartment (CMC) design. Once completed, the new boomers will enter service in the 2030s. “Britain’s ballistic missile submarines are the ultimate guarantee of our nation’s safety – we use them every day to deter the most extreme threats,” said British defense secretary Michael Fallon. “We cannot know what new dangers we might face in the 2030s, 2040s and 2050s so we are acting now to replace them.” At the start of this month, the British government approved an initial £1.3 billion—roughly $1.6 billion—in funding for the new ballistic missile submarines. That initial outlay will cover long-lead items—as the CMCs—and preparing the shipyard at Barrow-in-Furness for the task of building the enormous new vessels. “This additional financial investment by the MOD [Ministry of Defense] is an expression of confidence in our ability to build these sophisticated vessels,” said Tony Johns, managing director of BAE Systems Submarines. “We have been designing the new class of submarine for more than five years and thanks to the maturity of our design, we're now in a position to start production on the date we set back in 2011. This is a terrific achievement and I pay tribute to all those who have made this possible.” There is not much information available about the technical characteristics of the British Successor-class design. While the 17,200-ton boats will be larger than their 15,900-ton Vanguard-class predecessors, the new SSBNs will carry four fewer missiles. Part of the reason for the vessels’ larger size is likely due to the need for enhanced stealth—larger submarines are inherently quieter. But it is also possible that the British have adopted an all-electric permanent magnet motor to drive the boat—similar to what is planned for the Columbia-class—for their new SSBNs, which might also account for the increased displacement. Indeed, the British submarines’ PWR-3 pressurized water reactor plant is thought to draw heavily upon the technology used on the U.S. Navy’s General Electric S9G reactor plant found onboard the Virginia-class attack submarines. However, the Columbia-class will have a newer 42-year life-of-the-boat reactor that is significantly more powerful than the S9G. The Successors are already going to be sharing their CMC modules with their Columbia-class counterparts, thus such an arrangement might not be outside the realm of the possible. Indeed, according to General Dynamics Electric Boat’ Will Lennon—the company’s vice president of engineering and design programs, who spoke to The National Interest earlier this year—the CMCs will be built in modular units of four tubes—or Quad-Packs. While the Columbia-class will use four Quad-Packs for a total of 16 missiles, the smaller British Successors will use only three for a total of 12 tubes. The tubes are the same 87-inch diameter vessels as the current Trident II D5 launchers on the present day Ohio-class and Vanguard-class, but are a foot longer—leaving some margin for a future missile design. Other innovations found onboard the new British boomers focus on crew comforts. The new submarines will have separate classrooms and study areas, a sickbay with a doctor, a gym as well as separate berthing for female crewmembers. Additionally, the submarine will have a new lighting system to better simulate nighttime and daytime. Thus, life onboard a Successor should be more pleasant than onboard a Vanguard.

 

Indonesia’s PT Palindo Marine showcases mini-submarine design.

 

Mock-up of PT Palindo Marine's mini submarine design. Photo credit: Jakarta Greater

 

Indonesian shipbuilder PT Palindo Marine has showcased its mini-submarine design, named Kapal Selam Mini, at Indo Defence 2016. The 22-metre submarine is intended for special forces operations in littoral waters (IHS Jane’s). Thus, the Kapal Selam Mini submarine does not possess torpedo tubes, which larger conventional submarines use to carry anti-submarine warfare torpedoes and anti-ship missiles. As per IHS Jane’s, PT Palindo Marine will begin constructing the prototype and technology demonstrator boat in 2017 with the aim of completing it in 2019. The Kepal Selam Mini was collaboratively designed by Indonesia’s Ministry of Defence, University of Indonesia, and PT Palindo Marine, Institut Teknologi Sepuluh Nopember (IHS Jane’s). The Kapal Selam Mini will carry a crew of five alongside seven special forces operatives. The submarine will have a submerged displacement of 127.1 tons. It will be able to remain submerged without snorkeling for up to three days and dive to up to 150 metres. The Kepal Selam Mini is a very lightweight submarine, though PT Palindo Marine’s decision to omit armaments is a notable decision considering that older designs, such as the Italian MG110, possess torpedo tubes. There could be a case of managing complexity, but one should not preclude further design changes between the technology demonstrator under construction and what could ultimately be in the product catalogue. The Indonesian Navy expressed interest in acquiring midget submarines to patrol its littoral waters, which is a valid need since Indonesia is an archipelago. With numerous islands, each sustaining major segments of the total Indonesian economy, one can understand Jakarta’s interest in maintaining the security of its coasts, which can emanate conventional and asymmetrical military threats, and from crime (e.g. piracy). If the Kepal Selam Mini comes to fruition and if Indonesia matures the design, PT Palindo Marine could one day have an internationally competitive design on its hands. Numerous segments of the worldwide defence industry are bifurcating between very expensive, but very capable, high-end solutions, and very inexpensive, but relatively very capable, low-end solutions. This is plainly evident in the combat aircraft market, which is seeing many developing world air forces embrace turboprop-powered attack aircraft. The submarine market could be worth examining in that respect. A low-cost but capable anti-access and area denial submarine could be of interest to many countries, which may not be able to enter the current marketplace due to cost. DCNS and ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems toyed with the idea (through the SMX-23 and Type 210mod, respectively), but in contrast to France and Germany, PT Palindo Marine’s small conventional submarine initiative is being backed by domestic need.

 

Industry Perspective on New Aussie Subs

During a recent visit to Australia to participate in the Williams Seminar on air-land sea integration, I had the chance to visit with DCNS Australia and get their perspective on the way ahead in building a new class of submarines. I was able as well to discuss with senior Royal Navy officers how they view this new way forward, and will discuss that in later articles. In mid-August 2016, I sat down with Brent Clark, Director of Strategy at DCNS Australia. An experienced submariner with the Royal Australian Navy, he wanted to continue to work on naval systems after retiring from the RAN. He found opportunities in the private sector, including at Thales Naval Systems in Australia. When DCNS Australia was created in early 2015, Clark joined the company to help guide the competitive bid, which won Australia’s submarine contract earlier this year. We started by discussing why he believed that DCNS won the competition. He emphasized that French domain knowledge in the submarine business and operations as well as the French commitment to sovereignty in the area had an important impact on Australian thinking. Clearly, the Aussies wanted a submarine that operates throughout the Pacific and one their own industry could build and support in a sovereign manner. “There are actually only two countries in the West who still understand what sovereignty is and requires in the development and manufacture of military platforms – the United States and France. If Australia wants to learn what sovereignty in this area means, they clearly have to work with a nation that does know, and exercises such capabilities.” Given that the United States does not build diesel submarines, the only other real candidate in Clark’s view was France, and hence DCNS. The competition was among three contenders: Japanese, German and French. Of these, only the French company, DCNS, had the kind of long-standing experience in operating a submarine at the distances that Australia wanted. “The French had been operating submarines in a very tactical, fully-deployed way for a very long period of time, which is in clear contrast to either Japan or Germany currently. France deploys its submarines into the Western Indian Ocean and operates on long deployments similar to Australia or the United States. In contrast, Germany and Japan operate their submarines at sea for about a month at a time. And being able to support and sustain longer deployments is crucial to Australia for its next generation submarine as well.”We went on to discuss the impact of the Collins-class experience on how Australia is considering its next generation submarine. Clark underscored that Collins was a one-off variant of a Swedish submarine and, as such, meant that Australia had to operate in a sui generis space with regard to the evolution of these submarines. “We had a Swedish exchange officer come to sea with us when I was onboard a Collins-class submarine and we deployed to New Zealand,” noted Clark in explaining this. “On Day-28 of the deployment he walked into the wardroom and stated that ‘I’ve now set a record as a Swedish submariner for the most continuous days at sea.’ We all looked at him and thought “we’re only at sea for 28.” Clark contrasted the experience with the Oberon-class submarine, which preceded the Collins, in that there were 19 different countries using Oberon-class submarines, which constituted a comprehensive user group. This meant that Australia could leverage other nation’s operational experiences. “With Collins, we ended up operating six boats by ourselves with very little reach back to Sweden because they didn’t operate the same way, and they hadn’t operated that submarine either. So it took Australia an awful long time to realize what that means.” Clearly Australia does not want to pursue a sui generis program with a country that does not have extensive long distance operating experience. The DCNS offering allows Australia to draw upon French operational experience and evolving technologies, to be part of a larger submarine enterprise, and, with the combat systems being American, being able to leverage U.S. combat systems technology. In other words, much like the rest of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) which is moving towards buying platforms where they are part of global fleets or systems, the Navy wanted to ensure that they did the same with regard to their new submarine class. And DCNS brings to the Australian Navy significant experience with regard to cooperative building and sustaining of submarines in the manner in which Australia will want to operate in the extended battlespace. “We were very confident of the operating cycle of the submarine. We’re very confident of the maintenance of the submarine, and the maintenance philosophy. The French maintain their sovereignty exactly in the same sort of cycle that the Australians wanted.” We then discussed the track record of DCNS in transferring the kind of technology Australia wants to build the new generation submarine, and particularly the ability to leverage what Australia has already invested in the infrastructure at Adelaide. “The company is very good at transferring technology, which was a requirement for Australia,” noted Clark. “The Brazilian example was important for Australia as, in that case, DCNS provided the Brazilians with the ability to create a sovereign production capability for their Scorpion-class submarines. You don’t have to go back to France for anything if you don’t wish to.” DCNS will be working with Australia to ensure a 21st century infrastructure for the build and the sustainment of the submarine. Clark also explained that DCNS builds submarines differently than do the Japanese and Germans. “We vertically integrate sections as opposed to horizontally integrate them for a whole range reasons, including occupational health and safety. Having worked in a variety of shipyards, one of the big problems you have is lots and lots and lots and lots of eye injuries from dust and rubbish going to people’s eyes. That’s because welders end up welding on their back. The way we build is basically the welders stand up. So that’s it. It is more efficient and more productive.” Reportedly, stealth, or the lack of it, also contributed to choosing the French Barracuda, but such details are classified. A key part of the program is to shape a new way to build ships in Australia, which will almost certainly happen with the new air warfare destroyer as well. The design contract between DCNS and Australia was signed on September 30th, and Australian technicians will move to Cherbourg and start the process of preparing for the technology transfer necessary to build the new submarine in Australia. Over time, the French manpower involvement in the program will decrease as the Australians ramp up their manpower numbers in the submarine build process. “Where the requirement for French supervision starts to end really depends on how quickly we can get the Australian workforce skilled, and productive,” noted Clark. In late September, Lockheed Martin Australia was selected by the Australian government as the Combat Systems Integrator (CSI) for the submarine program, and DCNS Australia will work closely with them also. “We have said the three entities – DCNS, the CSI and the Commonwealth – must work together to deliver a whole warship performance. We are going to co-contract with the CSI for performance.” This evolving and integrated approach is also in contrast with the Collins class experience. “If we go back to the combat system on Collins which was basically supplied as government-furnished equipment (GFE) – the builder had no ability to interact – boxes would turn up and the builder was told to install them. The builder did that, but of course when the combat system was turned on, it didn’t work properly.” These lessons have contributed to the DCNS message and way of doing business explained Clark. “We consistently and constantly said during the competitive evaluation process that we could not work any other way but collaboratively with the CSI – and that clearly is the way ahead for a successful program.

 

History: The Sinking of the USS Thresher

In the United States Navy, submarines lost at sea are said to be on “eternal patrol.” One such submarine was USS Thresher. In the United States Navy, submarines lost at sea are said to be on “eternal patrol.” One such submarine was USS Thresher. Meant to be the first in a new generation of fast nuclear-attack submarines, today it rests in more than eight thousand feet of water, along with its crew. Thresher is one of two American submarines lost since the end of World War II. In the mid-1950s, the U.S. Navy was still pushing nuclear propulsion out to the submarine fleet. USS Nautilus, the world’s first nuclear submarine, had just been commissioned in 1954, and nine classes of submarines were created, including the Sailfish, Barbel, Skate and Skipjack classes, before the Navy felt it had a design worthy of mass production. Preceding classes of nuclear submarines were built in small batches, but Thresher would be the first class to build more than five. Altogether fourteen Threshers would be built. The Threshers were designed to be fast, deep-diving nuclear attack submarines. They were the second class, after the pioneering Skipjack class, designed with the new streamlined hull still in use today. They were the first submarines to use high strength HY-80 steel alloy, which was used through the 1980s on the Los Angeles class. The submarines were just 278 feet long, with a beam of thirty-one feet. They weighed 4,369 tons submerged, making them about 30 percent larger than the Skipjacks. Their S5W pressurized water reactor drove two steam turbines, which turned a single propeller to a combined thirty-thousand-shaft horsepower. This gave them a surface speed of twenty knots, and thirty knots submerged. This was a noticeable improvement over the underwater speed of the older Skate class, which could manage only twenty-two knots underwater. The ship primary sensor was a BQQ-2 bow-mounted sonar, the first bow-mounted sonar in any American attack submarine. This necessitated moving the four torpedo tubes amidships, an arrangement that is carried on to this day in the Virginia-class subs. The submarines could carry Mark 37 homing torpedoes, Mark 57 deep-water mines [3], Mark 60 CAPTOR mines and the SUBROC antisubmarine weapon. The Thresher would be a powerful addition to the U.S. Navy’s submarine fleet. On April 9th, 1963, USS Thresher was conducting dive tests 220 miles east of Cape Cod. Though it had been in service for two years, the U.S. Navy was still attempting to determine the true strength of its hull. At the time of the incident it was reportedly at a test depth of 1,300 feet, with the submarine rescue ship USS Skylark waiting above. Onboard were its standard complement of sixteen officers and ninety-six enlisted, plus seventeen civilian contractors on board to observe the tests. At 9:13 a.m., fifteen minutes after reaching test depth, Thresher reported to Skylark, “Experiencing minor difficulties. Have positive up angle. Am attempting to blow [ballast tanks]. Will keep you informed.” Two more garbled messages followed, then a sound [4] “like air rushing into an air tank.” Thresher was never heard from again. Its hull was found at the bottom of the ocean, under a mile and a half of water, ruptured into six pieces. What sank Thresher? The best available theory is the extensive use of silver brazing on piping throughout the ship. An estimated three thousand silver-brazed joints were present on the ship, and the theory goes that up to four hundred of them had been improperly made. Experts believe that a pipe carrying seawater experienced joint failure in the aft engine spaces, shorting out one of the main electrical bus boards and causing a loss of power. But a loss of electrical power was only half of the problem. According to Navy testimony provided in 2003 [5] to the House Science Committee, the crew was unable to access vital equipment to stop the flooding. As the submarine took on water, the ballast tanks failed to operate. Investigators believe restrictions on the air system and excessive moisture in the air system led to a buildup of ice in the ballast valves, preventing them from being blown and counteracting the effects of the flooding. The U.S. Navy immediately moved to prevent such as tragedy from happening again. Less than two months later it created SUBSAFE, a program designed to ensure the structural integrity of submarine hulls at pressure and, if an emergency occurred, ensure that the submarine could safely surface. It established submarine design requirements and certified construction procedures [6] “as specific as cataloging the source of alloy for each piece of equipment that is SUBSAFE approved.” The creation of SUBSAFE lead directly to tougher, and safersubmarines. (Another U.S. Navy submarine, Scorpion, was lost in 1968 but there is no conclusive explanation for the sinking.) In 2005, the USS [7]San Francisco [7] collided [7] with a seamount at maximum speed—an estimated thirty miles an hour at a depth of 525 feet. SUBSAFE’s careful watch over submarine design and manufacture is credited with ensuring [6] the San Francisco not only failed to sink, but that only one sailor died and the ship could even make it back to Guam on its own power. Although the loss of Thresher to eternal patrol was a painful one, the reforms undertaken by the Navy ensured the 129 lives lost would not be in vain.



Exploration and Research.

 

 

Two young engineers will soon be attempting a 250 kilometer crossing of the English channel in a pedal powered submarine. The two friends, Antoine Delafargue and Michael de Lagarde, are passionate about technical challenges, exploration, and sustainable management of natural resources. Their plan is to travel from Plymouth, England to Saint-Malo, France just a few meters above the sea floor in their human powered sub equipped with variety of observation instruments. The two pilots will provide propulsion through pedals attached to a crankshaft which is connected to a drive train that turns the sub’s propeller. The sealed hull is constructed of wood, fiberglass and a resin composite and has many of the features found on full a size submarine including ballast tanks, CO2 scrubbers, bow thrusters, and a sonar.  The sub also has a number of safety features such as an emergency buoy and an acoustic pinger. The pinger will allow a surface vessel to track the sub throughout its journey and pinpoint its precise location in the event of an emergency.   The pair had hoped to make the crossing in the summer of 2016, but equipment problems caused them to postpone the trip. Antoine reported, “We had a few good dives down to 50 meters and the sub worked very well, but there was an issue with a gas sensor in the cabin. Traces of hydrogen were escaping from the sub’s batteries and were messing up our carbon monoxide sensor. We were able to test the pinger and found it worked well, getting ranges of up to 3 nautical miles. The 16 kHz transmission was clearly noticeable inside the sub, but not annoying.” The pinger the team chose for their mission is JW Fishers SLFP-1. The advantage of this low frequency pinger is it’s acoustic signal can be detected at a range of several miles, an obvious benefit when tracking a moving target across such a wide expanse of ocean.   Sea trials will resume next spring with the onset of better weather. The team will be running the sub down to depths of 250 meters and practicing extended underwater operations staying submerged for periods of up to 24 hours. If all goes well, Delafargue and Lagarde will launch the official crossing sometime next summer.  Once the expedition is complete, the two intend to create a 250 kilometer long photographic mosaic of the seabed between the two countries.Once the expedition is complete Delafargue and Lagarde want to create a 250 kilometer long photographic mosaic of the seabed between the two countries. They then intend to exhibit their submarine and underwater images at aquariums and museums across France, Monaco and the United Kingdom.    Another group using the low frequency pinger is Leidos; a spin-off of Science Applications International Corp (SAIC). Leidos is the fourth largest contractor to the US Department of Defense. They also work with the National Security Agency (NSA), US Department of Homeland Security, and the US Intelligence Community. In 2016 Leidos merged with Lockheed Martin’s Information Systems and Global Solutions (IS&GS) business to form a company with almost 40,000 employees and nearly 12 billion in annual revenues. One of their missions is to provide maritime ISR (intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance) solutions by applying ocean physics, advanced sensors, communications, and unmanned underwater solutions for intelligence and defense. The company recently acquired a JW Fishers SLFP-1 acoustic pinger for an undisclosed research project. A few of the many other organizations using Fishers pingers are Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Canada’s Naval Engineering and Test Establishment (NETE), Prince William Sound Science Center in Alaska, the US Navy’s Expeditionary Combat Command and the Surface Warfare Center, the Ministry of National Defense in Lebanon, Ocean Sciences and Information Services in Ireland and numerous universities around the world.

 

South Korea launches eighth 1,800-ton submarine.

South Korea launched its eighth 1,800-ton submarine on Tuesday in an effort to reinforce its maritime combat capability in the face of North Korea's growing threat, including its submarine-launched missiles. The submarine Lee Beom-seok, named after a renowned independence fighter, was unveiled in the shipyard of its manufacturer Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co. (DSME) in Geojedo, 333 kilometers (207 miles) south of Seoul. It is scheduled to be deployed in late 2018, the Navy said. South Korea is striving to catch up with the North in terms of submarine capability. Seoul currently has 15 submarines, nine 1,200-ton and six 1,800-ton vessels, far fewer than Pyongyang’s 70, according to the defense ministry. The Navy plans to increase the number to 18 by 2019 and add nine 3,000-ton submarines in the 2020s. In 2000, South Korea began the new submarine project, dubbed KSS-II, and selected the German shipbuilder Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft's 214-type subs as its

next-generation submarines.

 

This photo, taken on Nov. 8, 2016 and provided by the Navy, shows the KSS-II submarine launched at a local shipyard operated by Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co. in Geoje, South Gyeongsang Province. (Yonhap)

 

This photo, taken on Nov. 8, 2016 and provided by the Navy, shows the KSS-II submarine launched at a local shipyard operated by Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co. in Geoje, South Gyeongsang Province. (Yonhap). The KSS-II submarine, 65 meters (213-foot) long and 6.3 meters wide, has a crew of 40 and a maximum underwater speed of 20 knots (37 km/hour), according to the Navy. It is capable of striking aircraft and submarines, and planting mines in enemy-controlled waters. It also carries long-range cruise missiles that could hit the enemy's core facilities. It is the eighth of nine same-class submarines ordered by the Navy from Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. and Daewoo Shipbuilding in the early 2000s, DSME spokesman Yoon Yo-han said. Hyundai Heavy has built five out of six vessels under the contract and Daewoo Shipbuilding has delivered all of three ships, he said. The new submarine's name came from Gen. Lee Beom-seok, who fought for the country's independence from Japan's colonial rule (1910-45) and served as prime minister and defense minister after liberation. The Navy makes it a rule to name new submarines after patriotic heroes.

 

World's fastest 'personal submarine' will take divers to depths of 310ft in just seconds.

Ortega Submersible was developed by a Dutch company based in the region of Twente, the Netherlands. Two models are available and they can carry two or three divers with additional room for 250l of cargo. They can travel up to 11 knots under water and have already been successfully tested on the water by divers. For keen divers, getting to spend as long under water as possible is the dream. But the reality is that perhaps half of a dive will be spent lugging on your equipment and getting to and from the dive spot, instead of exploring it. This could all change soon, however, as a new 'personal submarine' enters the market. The machine will take divers to the waters' depths faster than ever before, meaning that they can spend more time under the water exploring. And far from being just a concept idea, prototypes of the submersible has already been tested under the waters.

 

The Ortega Submersible has been billed as the 'fastest, safest and most versatile submersible boat in the world'

 

Two models have been created, MK.1B and MK.1C (above), which are capable to carrying two and three divers respectively

 

Two models have been created, MK.1B and MK.1C (above), which are capable to carrying two and three divers respectively The Ortega Submersible was developed by a Dutch company based in the region of Twente, the Netherlands. It's billed as the 'fastest, safest and most versatile submersible boat in the world' and can take divers down to depths of 310ft in seconds with the help of two electric motors. Thanks to the powerful custom-built batteries, the vessel can reach dive points quicker so divers can spend more time under water. While under the water, they can travel up to speeds of 11 knots (12.7mph). There is on-board breathing equipment, navigation and space to carry up to 250l of cargo, meaning that divers could carry back-up oxygen if necessary. Two models have been created, MK.1B and MK.1C, which are capable to carrying two and three divers respectively. While the underwater vehicle is aimed at marine biologists, underwater archaeologists and special forces, it could also be used for leisure. Footage of the submersible being tested showed it easily glide across the surface of the water like a electric-powered canoe, armed with fins to keep it steady. At the touch of a button however, the vessel starts diving under the the surface of the water. The top of the submersible is uncovered so the diver must already have his diving gear in place before going under water. And as test footage shows, the submersible can be parked at the bottom of a body of water as you might park a car on the road. The submersible is also designed to take the diver back to the surface, emerging from the waves like a submarine. While the underwater vehicle is aimed at marine biologists, underwater archaeologists and special forces, according to Dezeen, it could work for any keen diver.

Audit finds Japanese submarines lacked life-saving equipment.

Most submarines in the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force lacked sufficient life-saving equipment for their crews when the boats left port in fiscal year 2015, a Board of Audit investigation has determined, The Asahi Shimbun newspaper reported on 8 November. There were not enough individual underwater rescue gear sets aboard during the missions of 18 submarines between 1 April 2015 and 31 March 2016, the report said. The equipment is designed to enable crewmen to escape their vessel in the event of an emergency.The report said that 875 units were found in storage.

 

In 1968, A US Nuclear Submarine Went On a Russia Super Secret Spy Mission (And It Never Came Back).

In May 1968, a U.S. nuclear-powered attack submarine was sent on a secret mission to spy on the Soviet navy. Seven days later, with the families of the crew waiting dockside for the USS Scorpion to return from a three-month patrol, the U.S. Navy realized that the submarine was missing. Scorpion had been the victim of a mysterious accident, the nature of which is debated to this day. The USS Scorpion was a Skipjack-class nuclear attack submarine. It was one of the first American submarines with a teardrop-shaped hull, as opposed to the blockier hull of World War II submarines and their descendants. It was laid down in August 1958 and commissioned into service in July 1960. The Skipjacks were smaller than nuclear submarines today, with a displacement of 3,075 tons and measuring just 252-feet long by 31-feet wide. They had a crew of ninety-nine, including twelve officers and eighty-seven enlisted men. The class was the first to use the Westinghouse S5W nuclear reactor, which gave the submarine a top speed of fifteen knots surfaced and thirty-three knots submerged. The primary armament for the Skipjack class was the Mk-37 homing torpedo. The Mk-37 had an active homing sonar, a range of ten thousand yards with a speed of twenty-six knots, and a warhead packed with 330 pounds of HBX-3 explosive. Scorpion was only eight years old at the time of its loss, relatively new by modern standards. Still, complaints from the crew that the sub was already showing its age were rampant. According to a 1998 article in the U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, Scorpion had 109 unfulfilled work orders during its last deployment. It had “chronic problems” with its hydraulics, its emergency blow system didn’t work and emergency seawater shutoff valves had not yet been decentralized. At the start of its final patrol, 1,500 gallons of oil leaked from its conning tower as it left Hampton Roads. Two months before its loss, Scorpion’s captain, Cdr. Francis Atwood Slattery, had drafted an emergency work request for the hull, which he claimed “was in a very poor state of preservation.” He also expressed concern about leaking valves that caused the submarine to be restricted to a dive depth of just three hundred feet—less than half of the Skipjack’s test depth. Many had taken to calling the submarine the USS Scrapiron. On May 20, the commander of the Navy’s Atlantic submarine fleet had ordered Scorpion to observe a Soviet flotilla in the vicinity of the Canary Islands. The Soviet task force, which consisted of an Echo-II-class submarine, a submarine rescue vessel, two hydrographic survey ships, a destroyer and an oiler were thought to be taking acoustic measurements of NATO surface ships and submarines. On May 21 Scorpion checked in by radio, noting its position and estimating its return to Norfolk on May 27. The report noted nothing unusual. By May 28, the Navy knew the submarine had been destroyed. The SOSUS underwater surveillance system, designed to detect Soviet submarines, had heard it explode underwater. Scorpion’s remains would later be found by deep-diving submersibles under two miles of water, in a debris field 3,000 by 1,800 feet. What happened to Scorpion? The U.S. Navy’s report on the incident is inconclusive. A number of theories—and at least one conspiracy have arisen to explain the loss of the ship and ninety-nine crew members, but all lack hard evidence. One theory advanced by a technical advisory group convened by the Navy to examine the physical evidence is that the Scorpion had fallen victim to a “hot-run” torpedo, a torpedo that accidentally becomes active in the tube. Unlike other gas-ejected torpedoes, the Mk-37 swam out of the tube, a quieter egress that prevented submarine detection. This theory is bolstered by reports that the submarine was headed in the opposite direction at the time of destruction as was anticipated—a common solution for a hot-run torpedo was to turn 180 degrees to activate its anti-friendly-fire failsafe, which prevented it from turning on the firer. Another theory is that the Trash Disposal Unit (TDU) had experienced a malfunction that flooded the submarine, spilling seawater on its sixty-nine-ton battery and causing it to explode. The Scorpion had in fact been awaiting a new TDU latch, and the system had caused the submarine to flood in the past. A final theory is that the Scorpion experienced a hydrogen explosion during or immediately after charging its batteries. At the time of the explosion, the submarine was at periscope depth and likely at “Condition Baker”—the closing of watertight hatches. An anachronistic holdover from the non-nuclear days, the closing of hatches could have caused a buildup of explosive hydrogen in the battery area, a process that occurred during battery charging. A single spark from the batteries could have caused a hydrogen gas explosion that then led to a battery explosion. This correlates with two small explosions aboard the submarine that were picked up by hydrophones a half-second apart. The conspiracy theory is that the Scorpion was somehow caught up in some kind of Cold War skirmish, and that the Soviet flotilla had sunk the sub. An unusually high number of submarines were sunk in 1968, including the Israeli submarine Dakar, the French submarine Minerve, and the Soviet submarine K-129. According to conspiracy theorists, the Cold War had briefly turned hot under the waves, leading to the loss of several submarines. Unfortunately, there is no actual proof, nor an explanation for why a Soviet task force with only two combatants could manage to kill the relatively advanced Scorpion. There will likely never be a conclusive explanation for the loss of USS Scorpion. While disconcerting, the U.S. Navy has not lost a submarine since. The loss of Thresher and Scorpion and their 228 crew were hard lessons for the Navy to absorb, but absorb them it did. Tens of thousands of submariners ultimately benefitted—and returned safely home.

 

Bangladesh receives two refurbished Type 035 submarines from China.

The Bangladesh Navy has taken delivery of two refurbished Type 035 (Ming)-class diesel-electric submarines (SSKs) from China, the Bangladesh defence ministry's inter-services public relations directorate (ISPRD) confirmed with IHS Jane's on 15 November. The boats, which were previously in service with the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) with pennant numbers 356 and 357, were handed over to Bangladesh Navy chief, Admiral Nizamuddin Ahmed, on 14 November at a shipyard in Dalian, China. The SSKs have since been named Nabajatra, and Joyjatra respectively, said Taposhi Rabeya, a spokeswoman at the ISPRD, in response to questions from IHS Jane's . "The vessels are expected to arrive in Bangladesh either in January or February 2017", she added. Citing a Dhaka-based news agency, IHS Jane's reported in December 2013 that Bangladesh has acquired the two submarines under a BTD16 billion (USD203 million) contract. The report also noted that Bangladesh is believed to be building a submarine base near Kutubdia Island in preparation for the submarine deliveries. According to IHS Jane's fighting Ships, the 1,800-tonne Ming class features an overall length of 76 m, and overall beam of 7.6 m and a hull draught of 5.1 m. The platform has a top speed of 18 kt when dived, 15 kt when surfaced, and 10 kt while snorting. The submarine features eight 533 mm tubes that can deploy the weapons such as the Yu-4 anti-surface heavyweight torpedo, and can carry up to 32 naval mines in lieu of torpedoes. Each boat can accommodate a crew of 57 including 10 officers. Nabajatra and Joyjatra are scheduled to undergo a series of crew familiarisation exercises over the next few weeks, in preparation for their departures to Bangladesh in early 2017.

 

North Korea is Developing Nuclear Submarine

Japanese media has claimed that King-Jong-un led North Korea is secretly developing nuclear-capable submarines. The outlets say that the information came from an anonymous but reliable source. The war-machine will be fully operational by 2020.  If the North Korean regime manages to develop nuclear submarines, it will be a major boost for its navy that boasts of 50-60 diesel-electric submarines. The report said that work is in full swing in North Korea’s Nampo Naval Shipyard. The North Koreans have managed to get support from Chinese and Russian engineers. A nuclear submarine is much better than the diesel-electric submarines as they have longer range and are quicker. They are stealthier as well. A missile fired from a submarine is difficult to detect. Paired with ballistic missiles, nuclear submarines greatly increase country’s firepower. North Korea has been strengthening its ballistic missile program. It has tested their Pukguksong-1 submarine-launched ballistic missile six times. Nuclear submarines are an important part of USA’s nuclear triad. If the US is attacked by a nuclear weapon, it is impossible to destroy its fleet of nuclear submarines before it can retaliate. North Korea has taken a very aggressive stance on its weapons programs. Korean dictator Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump were recently engaged in a war of words. North Korea carried out a hydrogen-bomb test recently despite US warning.

Billionaires Might Be Able to Buy Bond-Villain Luxury Submarines

 



So, you've finally arrived.  HYPERLINK "https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FNyi3nAuLb0" \t "_blank" That "See Food" app took off like a rocket, and with many millions to burn, you've bought yourself  HYPERLINK "http://www.thedrive.com/news/5976/this-230-foot-yacht-can-do-30-knots-has-its-own-waterfall?iid=sr-link10" \t "_blank" a 230-foot super yacht with all the fixings and a 4,000-nautical-mile range. How very tawdry. Let's talk about real wealth. We're talking $2 billion, James-Bond-villain, private-luxury-submarine wealth.  HYPERLINK "https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-09-15/before-you-spend-2-billion-on-your-own-submarine-read-this" \t "_blank" Bloomberg has a deep dive on the burgeoning world of companies aiming to build these full-size, yacht-like submarines  HYPERLINK "https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Spy_Who_Loved_Me_%28film%29" \t "_blank" for people with underwater bases and steel-toothed assistants. The gilded tube concepts being bandied about are a world away from the cramped submersibles used by private exploration outfits around the world, ranging in size from a 64-footer that looks more like a private jet to a hulking 928-foot monster whose arrival in any territorial waters seems like it would be likely to set off some kind of military response. [Fun fact: That's twice as long as  HYPERLINK "http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/14309/why-the-navys-top-spy-submarine-flew-a-pirate-flag-while-pulling-into-port" \t "_blank" the U.S.S. Jimmy Carter, the U.S. Navy's cutting-edge Seawolf-class submarine—which is in turn about 100 feet longer than other American hunter-killer submarines. If someone actually steps up and orders one, that is. Nobody's done so yet, so it's all vaporware for now. And that's the sticky wicket: Even though there are multiple company is offering a full lineup of right-sized subs—plus additional luxury designs available from two other firms—there are currently no private U-boats skulking around the waters of the world. Every render you've seen is just that: a render. The whole private submarine industry seems to be one expensive test of the If you build it, they will come theory of business. But it's possible the gamble will pay off. Bloomberg reports Ocean Submarine is currently building its first customer vessel, with delivery of the 64-foot Neyk L3 reportedly scheduled for 2018.Even if the thought of owning a private sub seems far outside the real-life experience of normal people,  HYPERLINK "http://www.neyksubmarine.eu/pagina9.html" \t "_blank" the $23.8-million Neyk L3 is a surprisingly straightforward take. It takes its design cues from the Gulfstream G650s and Cessna Citations of the world (going so far as to apparently use renderings based on pictures of private jet interiors), transporting up to 20 passengers in stately, aircraft-like accommodations. The  L3 will reportedly be built to international submarine safety standards; Ocean Submarine says it will also be able to maintain a fixed position underwater and  HYPERLINK "https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2ZbyfFUBd0" \t "_blank" pull smoothly up onto any sandy beach. Buyers can also opt to add custom touches, like a pressure chamber for impromptu scuba diving sessions. But if that's not big enough for your dreams of undersea luxury, you might want to look to Migaloo Private Submersible Yachts—the Austrian company behind  HYPERLINK "http://www.migaloo-submarines.com/" \t "_blank" the roughly-$2 billion, 308-yard-long M7 design concept, The company (boldly) promises way more amenities than your average Ohio-class  HYPERLINK "http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/14309/why-the-navys-top-spy-submarine-flew-a-pirate-flag-while-pulling-into-port?iid=sr-link2" \t "_blank" boomer; Migaloo claims its diesel-electric vessel will be equipped with a helipad, an open-deck swimming pool with an automatic cover, so-called "VIP suites," and several smaller boat hangers. It will purportedly be able to dive to 1,500 feet, and theoretically cruise at about 20 knots. (To be fair, Migaloo's concepts have been bouncing around the Internet for a few years now, so it's all together possible we'll never see it reach the light of day. But hey, all the company needs is one guy willing to spend $2 billion or so, right?) Of course, safely piloting a  HYPERLINK "http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/13939/a-u-s-navy-nuclear-submarine-once-submerged-in-a-river-to-ride-out-a-hurricane?iid=sr-link4" \t "_blank" submarine is a little more complicated than a speedboat...or even a super yacht. A new owner could opt to train for months and work towards various national certification standards—but if you've got that kind of money, you probably don't have that kind of time. So hiring a trusted, trained crew will be a must. On the plus side, since there aren't any full-size private submarines out right now, there are also scant regulations about where you can travel underwater. We wouldn't recommend nosing up to the nearest U.S. Navy base unannounced, but the world is basically your oyster. If you've got this kind of dough, though, it probably was already.

NATO Submarine Rescue Exercise Concludes in Turkey.


MARMARIS, Turkey (September 22, 2017) NATO led submarine exercise Dynamic Monarch concludes today at Aksaz Naval Base in Turkey after two weeks of multi-national training and practice in Submarine Escape and Rescue (SMER) procedures. Centered around the International Submarine Escape and Rescue Liaison Office (ISMERLO), an organization created in the wake of the Kursk tragedy as an international hub for information and coordination on submarine rescue, the exercise is designed to demonstrate multi-national submarine rescue co-operation and interoperability as well as share SMER related knowledge amongst worldwide partners. Nine NATO Allies participated in the exercise this year with equipment or personnel including Canada, France, Italy, Norway, Poland, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States. In addition, observers from Bangladesh, Indonesia, Japan, Pakistan, Poland, Spain, South Korea, Sweden and the United Kingdom experienced various portions of the exercise as well. The exercise ran multiple scenarios over the two week period focused on both support to escaping submariners and rescue of submariners trapped in a sub at depth. If a submarine is in distress at a shallow depth, the sailors may be able to escape from the submarine and get to the surface of the water. During the exercise a special team of Turkish medical personnel called the Submarine Parachute Assistance Group (SPAG) practiced parachuting into open water to set up temporary floating medical support for escaping submariners. This floating medical support would be used until a ship could get to the location to pick up the sailors. The rescue phases of the exercise aligned with the primary phases of a submarine rescue: locate the distressed submarine, stabilize the environment aboard and extricate the sailors from the distressed submarine. Each situation is different and must take into account the dangers and complexity of operating at significant depths.  To find a distressed submarine, Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) were used as well as ship and helicopter based sonar.  Once found, rescuers can use the ROV, or send down a rescuer in an Atmospheric Diving Suit to conduct a survey of the submarine and possibly connect cables to ventilate the submarine chambers from a surface ship (bringing in fresh air and removing built up carbon dioxide) to stabilize the environment inside the submarine.  To practice rescuing sailors from depth, a variety of equipment was used including two different types of submarine rescue chambers and two types of mini submarine. These vehicles made multiple dives throughout the two weeks to the three submarines participating in the exercise. Upon reaching the submarines, they practiced connecting to the submarine escape hatches at depth and bring sailors to the surface. In total, the exercise included approximately 1,000 personnel, command and control ship TCG Gemlik, three submarines (TCG Burakreis, TCG Preveze and ESPS Tramontana), four submarine rescue ships (TCG Alemdar with Turkish and US submarine rescue chambers onboard, TCG Inebolu, ITS Anteo and SD Northern River with embarked NATO Submarine Rescue System (NSRS) operated by the United Kingdom, France and Norway), four Turkish patrol boats, four Turkish aircraft (helicopters, Maritime Patrol Aircraft and a C-130), diving teams from Canada, Italy, Poland and Turkey, Medical teams from Canada, Turkey and NSRS (France, Norway and the UK), a Submarine Parachute Assistance Group from Turkey and significant support from host nation Turkey in administration, accommodation, contracting, logistics, transportation and personnel.

 

The race is on to build the most luxurious super submarine.

Companies are racing to build the most luxurious private submarine in a new market catering to the ultra-wealthy of the world. With features including helipads, pools, VIP suites and the ability to dive into total seclusion, the next generation of civilian subs promise to be among the world's most expensive private objects.At the highest end of the market, three companies are vying for supremacy: Austria's Migaloo Private Submersible Yachts, the Netherlands' Ocean Submarine, and US Submarines. Currently on the drawing board from Migaloo is the 928-foot-long M7, with an eye-watering estimated price of $2.3billion. The M7 boasts a helipad, swimming pool, VIP suites and multiple hangar bays for boats, mini-submersibles and other 'toys'. Of the three, only Ocean Submarine has a civilian vessel under contract. The company is set to deliver its 64-foot Neyk L3 in 2018, with features including a a bar, galley, library and landing gear allowing the sub to land directly on beaches. The L3's price tag is $23.8million, and CEO Martin van Eijk would say only that the buyer is 'a very rich client'.

 

THE ULTIMATE LUXURY SUBS COMPARED

 Migaloo M7

  • Price: $2.3billion (estimated)
  • Length: 928 feet
  • Dive depth: 1,500ft
  • Submerged speed: 20 knots
  • Features: swimming pool, helipad

 US Submarines Phoenix 1000

  • Price: $90million (estimated)
  • Length: 213 feet
  • Dive depth: 1,000 feet
  • Submerged speed: 10 knots
  • Surface Range: 4,000 miles 

 Ocean Submarine Neyk L3

  • Price: $23.8million
  • Length: 64 feet
  • Dive depth: 328 feet
  • Submerged speed: 15 knots
  • Passenger capacity: 20 

Currently on the drawing board at Migaloo is the 928-foot-long M7, with an eye-watering estimated price of $2.3billion. For comparison, the tallest building in the world, Dubai's Burj Khalifa, cost roughly $1.5billion. Styled after the US Navy's Zumwalt-class destroyer, the Migaloo M7 boasts a helipad, swimming pool, VIP suites and multiple hangar bays for boats, mini-submersibles and other 'toys'. The proposed sub will be able to dive to 1,500 feet and cruise underwater at 20 knots.

 

The planned Phoenix 1000 from US Submarines is designed to be 213 feet long with 5,000 square feet of interior. The $90million Phoenix 1000 is designed with large viewing portals for enchantment under the sea. An interior view of the Phoenix 1000 shows the decks of the underwater super yacht. A third ultra-luxury sub contender is the planned Phoenix 1000 from US Submarines. The 213-foot-long submarine is designed with 5,000 square feet of interior and has an estimated cost of $90million.  The submarine's specs indicated a diving depth of 1,000 feet and a submerged speed of 10 knots. Not everyone is convinced that a boom in ultra-luxury submersibles is on the horizon, though. 'It seems like a massively expensive engineering exercise—and an unproven one—in the recreational sector,' Stewart Campbell, editor of Boat International, told Bloomberg. 'You're not getting much volume for the money, and the equivalent yacht will give you more of everything.'  

OceanGate builds a craft to visit the Titanic shipwreck

 

In just a couple of months, the carbon-fiber cylinder sitting on OceanGate’s shop floor will serve as the heart of a five-person submersible that’s destined to visit the Titanic, the world’s most famous shipwreck. The Cyclops 2 submersible and its future mission represent the culmination of an eight-year-old dream for Stockton Rush, the Everett-based company’s co-founder and CEO. “The whole project from Day One was to go deep. … Three years ago, it became pretty clear that the real market opportunity was the Titanic,” Rush told GeekWire on Friday during a company open house. This summer, Rush and his team reached a milestone when they attached two titanium rings to the ends of the central cylinder, beginning the assembly process for Cyclops 2. The next steps include bolting titanium domes onto the rings, installing a clear acrylic viewport and outfitting the pressure vessel inside and out. The process was prototyped with the construction of Cyclops 1, OceanGate’s current flagship, which has been employed on expeditions including last year’s visit to the wreck of the Andrea Doria. Cyclops 1 is designed to dive to depths of 500 meters, or 1,640 feet. Cyclops 2 will be built even stronger, to handle the extreme pressures 13,000 feet (4,000 meters) beneath the ocean’s surface. It will arguably be the world’s most capable crewed submersible in private hands. OceanGate’s schedule calls for completing construction in time for initial underwater tests off the coast of Washington state by the end of the year, followed by deep-water validation dives off the coast of California. The first visits to the Titanic, 380 nautical miles off the coast of Newfoundland, are due to take place next June. Cyclops 2 takes advantage of innovations in materials science as well as traditional (and not-so-traditional) marine engineering. The key piece is the cylindrical pressure vessel, which was spun from carbon fiber and will be outfitted with strain gauges and acoustic transducers for underwater tests. In preparation for assembly, a subscale model of the sub was tested repeatedly, under pressure conditions that were eventually amped up so high that the vessel imploded. Cyclops 1 is steered by a Sony PlayStation video-game controller, and Cyclops 2 is expected to make use of similar off-the-shelf technology. OceanGate’s president, Joel Perry, got a kick out of reading that the U.S. Navy was installing Microsoft Xbox controllers on some of its submarines. “We did it first,” he said. The full-scale cylinder sitting on OceanGate’s shop floor will be outfitted in place as the parts arrive. A webcam already has been set up to capture a time-lapse video of construction over the weeks ahead. At the same time, OceanGate and its partners are reviewing the arrangements for the Titanic dives ahead. As anyone who’s seen the film “Titanic” knows, the luxury liner struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic during its maiden voyage in 1912. The ship sank within hours, resulting in the loss of more than 1,500 passengers and crew. Only 706 survived. For decades the Titanic lay undisturbed on the ocean floor, at a depth of 13,000 feet, but a deep-sea expedition relocated the wreck in 1985. Since then, scientists have documented the site during a series of crewed and robotic dives. Tourists have visited as well. Next summer’s expedition will include researchers from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution as well as other passengers who are paying more than $100,000 to be part of the adventure. During a roughly six-week-long research season, the passengers will take turns being flown out on a helicopter for weeklong stays on the Island Crown, a Norwegian-flagged supply ship that will serve as the expedition’s oceangoing base of operations. OceanGate shies away from calling any of its passengers “tourists.” “We’re giving our crew members, our mission specialists, a chance to be in the control room, communicate with the sub, do tracking and analyze data — do all of those parts that are important for us, and valuable for them,” Perry said. “It’s a win-win.” He said the appeal of the Titanic expedition has a lot in common with other extreme adventures — for example, taking a suborbital space ride on Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo rocket plane. “The first nine people [to sign up]were all Virgin Galactic clients,” Perry said. He said the spots for 2018 have been filled, although some customers are dropping out and others are taking their place as part of the travel business’ typical churn. Passengers have to demonstrate that they’re physically and mentally up to the trip. “We’ve turned people away for health reasons, and we’ve turned people away for attitude reasons,” Perry said. “As we like to say, ‘Are you someone we’d like to be in the sub with for eight hours?’ Essentially the vetting process is to answer that question.” OceanGate is also vetting potential partners for the media extravaganzas to come. Perry said the company has been contacted by 40 different studios, seeking to make the exclusive deal for a documentary about the expedition. A show about the Titanic survey is certain to pop up on one of the big networks, such as the BBC, National Geographic and/or the Discovery Channel. Perry said OceanGate expects to make its choices for media partnerships sometime in the next few weeks, so that the run-up to the project’s climax can be recorded from its early stages. Rush said it’s important that the documentary project focuses on the science and engineering rather than the personalities. “We don’t want to do ‘Deadliest Catch: Submarine,’” he said. “There’s enough of a story about going to the Titanic and answering the question, ‘How long will it be around?’” In addition to capturing video for a documentary, OceanGate plans to acquire high-definition imagery that can be presented as a virtual-reality experience. The VR angle will be a big part of the company’s media plans. Rush said companies such as Microsoft, Apple and Intel may be in the mix. Rush envisions a setup that would let users put on a virtual-reality device and navigate their way through the Titanic’s debris field, zooming in on artifacts and annotating their discoveries. Users could return to the VR world after each year’s expedition to find out what’s new — and find out what happened to their finds. “There’s a certain gamification to exploring the debris field,” he said.

Bored With Multimillion-Dollar Yachts? Now You Can Buy A Luxury Submarine.

Owning a multimillion-dollar megayacht is one of the highest pinnacles of luxury, one that is primarily reserved for royalty and Russian billionaires. But for those of us who are bored with oversized boats covered in helipads and jacuzzis, Austrian company Migaloo Private Submersible Yachts has designed a 928-foot long luxury submarine titled the M7. The M7 contains all the trappings of your typical megayacht, with a swimming pool, VIP suites, and multiple hangar bays. But unlike a boring yacht that just sits around floating like an awkward $200 million dollar piece of wood, the M7 can dive down 1,500 feet and cruise underwater at 20 knots to explore the true beauty of the sea. The added luxury will put you back an estimated $2.3 billion, making it the most expensive private object in the world. The M7 isn't the only submarine available on the market. Triton Submarines, DeepFlight Adventures, U -Boat Worx BV, and Seamagine Hydrospace Corp. have been producing and selling smaller submersibles capable of taking two to eight passengers thousands of feet down to explore the ocean for a few hours. These submersibles can't regenerate their own power and still rely on yachts or other vessels for long-distance transport and services. Full-on submarines like M7 are a new breed. Migaloo has seen recent competition from Florida-based U.S. Submarines Inc. and Ocean Submarine in the Netherlands. These yacht-style submarines can travel over 1,000 miles unassisted and become the perfect kind of luxurious underwater headquarters for plotting world domination or hosting an international meeting for ocean exploration. U.S. Submarines' Nomad 1000 seats between 10 to 24 passengers and starts at $6.5 million, whereas their high-end, Phoenix 1000 is estimated to cost around $90 million. Currently, no one has put in an order for one of these luxury subs, and the companies remain focused on submersibles until that happens. Safety concerns may hinder potential buyers, though all sub makers must adhere to safety standards from their home countries. All of the companies claim to have perfect records for their dives with as many as 1 million passengers per year. Only Ocean Submarine, which also supplies the military, is under contract for a civilian vessel designed for a rich client. The Neyk L3 is a 64 foot submarine with bar, galley, and library that seats up to 20 passengers. Instead of the huge size offered by Migaloo, they've marketed their submarine as both comfortable and high-performing, with vertical thrusters to prevent interference from ocean currents, landing gear to avoid having to deal with a marina, and a quiet and precise ride. Their sub is more affordably priced at around 20 million euros ($23.8 million in USD). Training a crew to pilot the luxury submarines is essential. On the surface, it's just like any other ship, but underwater there are many more rules to understand. Ocean Submarines has a German training center that uses the same simulator as an airplane. The training typically takes around four months. Once you've got the sub and your trained crew, you're able to go wherever you like. Unlike civilian airplanes, there are no specific legal restrictions on civilian subs anywhere in the world, though the coast guard may not take nicely to your unannounced presence. Most submarine companies advise against diving in France and Greece because of a number of antiquities on the bottom of their waters. The submarine companies advise buyers to involve the local authorities and give them a chance to get involved with your exploration. And whenever the press arrives to spy on what you're doing, you can just dive and hide out underwater.

First composite, personal submarine classed by LR .

LR has classed the DeepFlight Super Falcon 3S in accordance with its Rules for the Construction and Classification of Submersibles and Diving Systems, making it the first personal, composite submarine to enter into LR class.  Although not explicitly covered by class rules, LR has applied a goal-based approach using an advanced risk assessment process. Plan appraisal work has been backed up by the use of materials from LR assured sources worldwide. Survey of component parts has been undertaken in the UK and the USA alongside the auditing of fabrication facilities. Subsequent to final assembly both prototype and production hulls have been successfully pressure tested. Final trials and testing of the first of class unit is due to complete in November 2017. Following this, the first two Super Falcon 3S submarines will be shipped to the Maldives for the launch of DeepFlight Adventures.  DeepFlight Adventures partners with luxury resorts to offer resort guests and tourists underwater flight experiences in the Super Falcon 3S submarines. Beginning this winter, trained pilots will take two guests at a time on underwater excursions directly from the hotel properties. DeepFlight has an existing submarine already in constant tourism operation at Laucala Island Resort in Fiji. DeepFlight has completely re-designed the concept of a personal submarine for underwater adventure and exploration through its innovative use of composite materials, and by applying the dynamics of underwater flight. With their light weight and small footprint, DeepFlight submarines are ideal for tourism and super yacht operations. The submarines are being presented at the Monaco Yacht Show September 27-30 at the Super yacht Tenders and Toys Stand (TT14). Adam Wright, CEO of DeepFlight said: “We are delighted to be working with Lloyd’s Register to class all DeepFlight submarines. We see our work with LR as a great leap forward in allowing us to innovate submarines to open the oceans for personal exploration.”

 

The fastest military submarine ever built

The Soviet Union was known for fielding extreme machines — from the largest submarines ever built to gargantuan nuclear-powered battle cruisers — unmatched by any other country in history. So it should come as no surprise that during the Cold War, they also built what is believed to be the fastest submarine in history. Though NATO dubbed the submarine as part of the “Papa” class, it was the only boat of its kind ever built. The Soviet Navy commissioned the vessel the K-162 in , just around 10 years after the project which led to its creation was initiated. Using the teardrop-shaped architecture which at the time was new and revolutionary in the submarine world, the K-162 was optimized for speed to the tune of nearly 45 knots (51 miles per hour) underwater during a high-speed dash. It was armed with a complement of 10 cruise missiles and 12 torpedoes with the purpose of attacking and destroying surface formations and flotillas of enemy ships. At the time, the Soviet Navy sought to deal with the rising threat of American battle groups centered around the “supercarrier.” These battle groups, guarded by heavily-armed destroyers, cruisers and submarines, were incredibly powerful projections of American naval force, and were without equal in the USSR. Instead of building up similar carrier groups, the Soviet Navy decided to task its submarines with inflicting irreparable damage on American groups to render them ineffective. The K-162 became a part of this solution, with its missiles serving as the primary method of attacking enemy surface vessels. Using a pair of nuclear reactors coupled to steam turbines, the K-162 could achieve blistering speeds which would allow it to surprise a carrier group, launch an attack and then leave the area before the group could respond with a counterattack of its own. In 1971, the submarine demonstrated its ability to dash at high speeds, supposedly achieving 44.85 knots at maximum power. However, for its incredible speed, the K-162 came with a laundry list of limitations and drawbacks. The costs involved with designing and building the submarine, to begin with, were sky-high, and quickly deemed a poor investment as only one boat would be created, not an entire class. The K-162’s speed proved to be its own undoing, as well. Noise is the primary method of detection for submarines, and the K-162 generated a lot of it, especially during its underwater high-speed runs. Its various engineering components and machinery were not appropriately “noise dampened,” making the vessel extremely detectable while at sea. Further, the K-162 could not perform its high speed dashes without damaging itself. Any protrusions on the surfaces of the sub were buckled or bent out of shape due to the pressure of the water rushing over and around the hull. With poor hydrodynamics, the submarine couldn’t achieve the same speeds after, without a return to port for repairs and a refit. Yet another failing was the fact that K-162 could only fire the opening shots of battle before having to return to port. In combat, a submarine could return to its tender, sailing a safe distance away, to rearm and reload. The K-222 could rearm with torpedoes, but its cruise missiles — its main armament for its primary mission — were only able to be replenished after returning to port. The K-162 later renamed K-222, and was removed from active service in the early 1980s, though it has since been suspected that it was used to test technologies and practices that would later be used on future Soviet nuclear submarines like the Alfa and Victor class of hunter/killer attack boats. The Russian Navy completed the K-222’s scrapping by 2010, marking the end of the fastest submarine to have ever existed.

 

Israeli Submarine

Remember in our last newsletter the story about the tragic loss of the Israeli submarine Dakar on her maiden voyage in 1968, and the discovery by Nauticos Corp. 30 years later. The Dakar was a WWII T-class boat, built by the British and sold to the Israelis after modifications, upgrades, and sea trials. In 1968, the Dakar was en route to Haifa via Gibraltar on her maiden voyage for delivery to the operational fleet. During this transit, communications inexplicably ceased and the submarine disappeared. Under contract for the Israeli Navy, Nauticos -- along with subcontractors Williamson & Associates Inc. (Seattle, Washington) and Phoenix International Inc. (Landover. Maryland) -- set out to find the Dakar in May 1999. The submarine was found badly damaged and resting at depth of 10,000 feet in the Mediterranean.
Well as an addition to this story we received the following letter from Stephen Donaghey.

Dear Alan
Thanks for your info and news letter.
I noticed a feature on the Totem submarine, and just thought I'd let you know my father served on HMS Totem. He told me that there was a totem pole mascot, which they were never allowed to sail without, apparently bad luck. When this sub was sold to the Israeli's we kept the totem pole, and the submarine sunk! ! Submariners are superstitious.
Just thought I would let you know.
Regards Stephen

 

Taurus Submarine.

Our Taurus submarine (normally six man, depth 1000ft) has recently carried out diving operations at the South African Navy base in Simonstown. In addition to the commercial, salvage, and scientific research operations that this submersible undertakes, Taurus is also designed to operate as a submarine rescue vessel (DSRV). In the rescue mode DSRV Taurus can shuttle twenty passengers at a time from a stranded military submarine. Currently a number of NATO navies as well as the South African navy are discussing this capability.
Contact Silvercrest for details.

Submersibles for sale.

For sale in excellent condition, this four- man (1000ft depth rated) submersible with diver lockout facility. We also have immediately available a range of multi passenger tourist submarines (ten to forty passenger). Small two / three man submersibles, and one man ADS units. Pilot training and maintenance courses are arranged to support every submarine sale if required. Please contact us to discuss your exact requirements.

Submarine web sites for your collection.

The following web sites will be of interest to all submarine and Rov enthusiasts.
www.Submarines-Rovs.com and www.euronaut.org and www.oceanexplorer.us

 

For Sale - the world's most advanced Tourist submarine.

The DS100 all acrylic submarine with support vessels . This amazing tourist submarine is currently available for sale complete with Support Barge/Dry-dock and passenger Catamaran for only US $2.965 million. An ideal package for an instant tourist submarine business. Actual replacement value for all three vessels is US$7.3 million. Available for immediate inspection. Joint venture may also be considered at US$1.5 million minimum. Submarine operating depth - 100 m. Passengers - 45. Crew - 2 . Length - 19 m. Weight in air - 90 tons. The Support Barge was built specifically to support the DS100's operations. This 85 foot long, 95-ton vessel has extraordinary manoeuvring capability through two Schottel drives. It has an integrated hydraulic lift for dry-docking the DS100 from the water. The support barge also has the battery chargers, high-pressure air compressors, oxygen transfer pump, workshop space, tools and spare parts necessary to operate and maintain the submarine. The DS100 Passenger Catamaran (14m long) is a high-speed passenger transfer vessel powered by twin 350 hp Caterpillar diesels. The catamaran is able of carry 90 passengers at speeds of 18 knots. Passengers are transferred to the stable support platform of the Support Barge where the DS100 docks after each dive. The replacement value is US$525,000.

Hardsuit Diving Systems to Russia.

BOT has delivered four crane-based LARS to Oceanworks International Inc. (Houston, Texas) to be used with its Hardsuit atmospheric diving systems. These systems were supplied to the Russian Navy as part of a major investment in submarine escape and rescue equipment, made in the wake of Russia's Kursk submarine disaster. The four LARS are self-contained, air-transportable modular systems mounted on an ISO container base, allowing for easy shipment and installation on vessels of opportunity.

Ohio Class Submarines.

Electric Boat Corp., Groton, Connecticut, was awarded a $38.3 million contract modification to exercise an option for the procurement and manufacturing of long-lead-time material for the conversion of Ohio-class SSBN submarines to Ohio-class SSGN submarines. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity. Raytheon Co., Marlborough, Massachusetts, was awarded a $24.5 million contract for procurement of the Advanced Communications Mast (ACM). The ACM is a super high frequency antenna system to be operated on the SSN-23 submarine. It consists of electronic control equipment located in the radio room and antenna/transmitter equipment located in the sail. The ACM must interface with existing submarine systems as well as unique data source equipment installed only on the SSN-23 submarine.

Lockheed Martin Corp.

Naval Electronics and Surveillance Systems, Manassas, Virginia, was awarded a $69.96 million contract modification to exercise an option for the Acoustics Rapid Commercial Off-the-Shelf Insertion (ARCI) sonar system. ARCI integrates and improves towed array, hull array, sphere array, and other ship sensor processing on SSN 688, SSN 688I, SSN 21, and SSBN 726 class submarines.

Dual Deepworker submersibles for sale.

This exciting package of dual (2) Deepworker submersibles is now available for sale.

Dual Deepworker submersible

Each Deepworker is a one-man tetherless submersible capable of working in depths up to 2000ft.

  • Length: 8.25 ft.
  • Beam: 5.3 ft.
  • Height: 5.6 ft.
  • Weight in Air: 4700 Ibs.
  • Operating Depth: 2000 fsw.
  • Payload: 300 Ibs./variable
  • Life Support: 72 man hrs.
  • Max Speed: 2.5 knots
  • Crew: 1 pilot
  • Sonar: 675Khz Imagenix
  • Acoustic Modem: Datasonics ATM-870
  • Hydraulics: 2200psi Hydro-Lek
  • Manipulator: HLK-CRA6 6 function
  • Certification: Lloyd's Register of Shipping

Submersible pilots in the past have been constrained to only piloting the vehicle and monitoring his systems, which are critical tasks. Deepworker operators can be alleviated from a number of these tasks due to technology, modernization and the inherent ergonomic design of this particular vehicle. In this design the pilot is seated upright. The view port is a 25" hemispherical dome. The pilot can enter desired depth and heading data into the PLC and Instruct the PLC to maintain that course, depth and heading. The PLC will continue to perform that function until cancelled by the pilot. The versatility of the PLC along with the ancillary computer also allows for other capabilities such as acoustic electronic communication of critical operational information with the surface vessel. The submersible is outfitted with a six-function manipulator. Additional hydraulic tooling is easily integrated such as water jets, suctions, and guillotines. If necessary ,an additional manipulator can be installed for specific dexterity requirements.

Submarine/Auv Autopilot.

H Scientific Ltd. successfully commissioned its 3DMC autopilots on a manned submarine, on a fast RHIB (more than 30 knots), and on an airship. The firm's Dr. Henry Robinson said the firm's autopilot is "the world's first off-the-shelf autopilot for AUVs." The 3DMC, developed in collaboration with Chelsea Technologies Group (West Molesey, Surrey, U.K.), is designed to be applicable to a wide range of vehicles. Software configuration allows the autopilot to be connected to many different sensors and actuators. Recent trials illustrate the versatility of the autopilot, Robinson said, "working not only on such different vehicles in such different speed regimes, but also in different media, air, as well as surface and subsea. These successes demonstrated how effectively it can learn the characteristics of a new vehicle, typically in less than a minute." In each case the learning process worked first time, with no pre-tuning needed, he added. Visit the website at www.h-scientific.co.uk/

Marlin Building a new Submarine.

A small specialist company is currently building a diesel electric manned submarine. Classified as an American Bureau of Shipping +A1 submersible, the Marlin AP6 will be a six-passenger, 18 tonne tourist submarine capable of diving to 302 meters depths. Richard Dawson said the intention is to provide a specialized service to enable interested tourists, scientists, and environmentalists to observe a wider spectrum of marine life and seabed conditions. The passenger section of the pressure hull will consist of two intersecting transparent acrylic spheres, 1.85 meters inside diameter and 100 millimeters thick. The passengers and crew will be treated to a spectacular all round view previously enjoyed only by the most advanced research submersibles, he said. The vessel will be the first ever to employ this twin sphere geometry. Construction is currently well advanced, and delivery of the pressure hull components (the only items that are not made in-house) is expected early in 2003. The craft is due for completion in early summer 2003, and after the completion of the sea trials off Plymouth in Devon, will be available for charter.
To charter your submarine please contact us.

Autosub for the Antartic.

Dr. David Vaughn of the British Antarctica Survey will be using Southampton Oceanography Centre's Autosub to investigate the cavity under Pine Island Glacier, one of the fastest Antarctic ice streams. Satellites show that the grounded portion of the glacier thinned by up to 1.6 meters per year from 1992 to 1999. A large iceberg, 42 by 17 kilometers, broke off the Pine Island Glacier in early November 2001. Ice shelves are the floating edges of the ice sheets that cover Greenland and Antarctica. These shelves are involved in the waxing and waning of the ice sheets as climate changes. They contain over 70% of the world's freshwater -- enough to increase sea level by 80 meters if they melted entirely. But what takes place in the vast water cavities beneath ice shelves -- which can be a thousand meters thick -- is largely unknown. The autonomous underwater vehicle Autosub's unique capabilities will allow Vaughn to make the first direct measurements of the newly exposed bed of a retreating ice stream. The AUV will be diving to depths below 1,000 meters to gain access to the glacier cavity. On previous research missions in the open ocean, Autosub has been programmed to surface if she gets into difficulties. The engineering team at SOC designed a completely novel navigation system to overcome the dangers of working in an enclosed space. This research project is the first in the Autosub Under Ice Program funded by the U.K. Natural Environment Research Council.www.soc.soton.ac.uk/

 

Two Rov's for Immediate Sale.

a) Hyball Rov available for sale in excellent condition, all latest circuit boards and modifications. Extensive spare parts package included. Training course available. Fantastic buy, a bargain.
b) Phantom Rov for sale in good condition and dive ready, complete with spare parts, shipping container and a hoisting crane. Standard operating depth 1500 ft. 3 Function MlNlpulator, 2 * 500w lights fixed position, 2 * 250w linked to camera pan/tilt. Sony DXC 3000 AP Video camera (PAL), Heading compass, and Depth gauge. Power requirement 230 volt, 50 Hz, 15 KVA. Umbilical is 23mm diameter equipped with full conductors and fibre optic video link. Six one horsepower thrusters.

Rus 6000 submersibles.

RUS, a 6000m submersible, built by Malachite for the Ministry of Geology in Russia. Uses silver zinc batteries, Russian manufactured syntactic foam, and a welded titanium hull. Malachite has considerable experience in welding thick titanium. Two submarines were built in Russia in 1991. Now in operation supporting scientific research. Depth 6000m. Crew 2/3.

SilverFish 4000 Submersible.

The SilverFish 4000 is a complete new build submersible being constructed in Europe, and designed by Ramsey Martin, Organisations interested in purchasing this submersible will have the opportunity to customise the unit to meet their specific operational requirements. The titanium sphere has now been constructed and tested for an operational depth of 4000m (12,800ft). Internal and external design is currently being undertaken prior to final outfitting. The basic design of this submersible offers the maximum adaptability to optimise the configuration of the vehicle for the roles required by the client. As a very deep diving one atmosphere submersible, the main tasks envisaged will be seabed search and survey, scientific research, and military applications.

Viking Submarine Project Enters New Phase.

The Viking Project has now reached the tendering phase. The Swedish, Norwegian and Danish navies - have recently submitted specifications that will form the basis of this tender. The Viking Submarine Corporation is a joint venture between Kockums AB of Sweden, Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace of Norway and Odense Staalskibsvaerft A/S of Denmark. The company will now submit a tender for project planning, which will form the basis for decision regarding design and construction of ten submarines: four each for Denmark and Norway, and two for Sweden. The submarines will be designed to operate under widely differing conditions, in terms of range, operational duration and deep-diving capability. A document has been drafted outlining the joint specifications of participating countries, covering the special requirements of each country. This is made possible by adopting a joint basic design that is sufficiently flexible to allow for modifications and add-on capabilities as required. This basic design specifies a submarine that combines completely air-independent propulsion with a substantial punch and extreme efficiency. The Viking class submarines will offer significant advances in stealth capability and a dramatic improvement in the surveillance function, featuring advanced sonars. The Norwegian version, with a mission profile involving extended periods on the surface, covering considerable distances, will be fitted with a diesel as well as AIP propulsion system.

Kittredege Submarine for sale.

We have two Kittredge submarines for sale( operating depth 350ft and 600ft). These are small one/two man units that are great fun and very easy to operate and maintain. Training courses available at your own dive site if required.

 

Investment and Business Opportunity.

We currently have two exciting investment opportunities that you may wish to investigate.
Adventure Submarine Company. This European based company has negotiated to obtain a deep diving submersible. In conjunction with a mothership, the Company will take adventurers on exciting dives to remote dive sites and unseen wrecks. Minimum investment of US$100,000 gives an equity stake in this exciting venture.
Tourist Submarine Operation. This Australian based company is negotiating a passenger submarine for operations at a resort off Australia. Minimum investment of US$150,000 buys an equity position in the company. Senior management position may also be available to selected investors.

Dates for your Diary.

September 24-25, 2003, UUVS: Fourth Unmanned Underwater Vehicle Showcase, Southampton Oceanography Centre, Southampton, Hampshire, U.K. Information and registration at www.uuvs.net/

March 14-15, 2003, 22nd Diving for Science Symposium of the American Academy of Underwater Sciences, Greenville Hilton, Greenville, North Carolina. Information and registration at www.aaus.org/

 


Iran Seeks to Send Submarines to Syria's Mediterranean Ports.

 

A truck carries a submarine with a member of Iranian Naval forces sitting on it, past President Hassan Rohani and military commanders during the Army Day parade in Tehran on April 18, 2015. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that Iran is seeking to use its close ties with Syria to dock its submarines in Syrian ports. The Iranian navy operates several types of submarines, including midget or mini submarines it would deploy if attacked by navies in the Persian Gulf. By docking submarines in Syrian ports, the Iranians could gather intelligence or conduct sabotage operations against Israel.

 

Navy Sailors Train On Rescue Submarines That India Is Buying

Last year, the government signed a 1,900-crore deal with a British firm for the supply of two complete submarine rescue systems and navy personnel have now begun training on the system in Fort William, Scotland before they are delivered to India next year.  Twenty four officers and sailors from the navy are now training on the world's most advanced rescue submarines in Scotland with systems that India has sought for decades - state-of-the-art technology and equipment that can be used to save sailors trapped underwater in submarine catastrophes. Last year, the government signed a 1,900-crore deal with a British firm for the supply of two complete submarine rescue systems and navy personnel have now begun training on the system in Fort William, Scotland before they are delivered to India next year. The submarine rescue kits which include two Deep Search and Rescue Vehicles (DSRV) or mini-submarines will be positioned in Mumbai and Visakhapatnam where the Indian Navy bases its 14 conventional and 2 nuclear powered submarines. So far, the navy has relied on a 1997 contract with the US for help in case an Indian submarine has an accident underwater. In the event of such a crisis, the US Navy would fly out its own DSRVs on massive transport aircraft before they are transferred to a ship which would need to sail out to the site of the submarine accident, a time-consuming affair that could cost lives. Now, with its dedicated kit, the Indian Navy will be self-reliant and able to quickly deploy its submarine rescue systems on board ships or fly them out on the Indian Air Force's own C-17 heavy transport jets. According to James Fisher, the manufacturer of the UK submarines that India is buying, "The innovative design and tightly integrated components [of the system being sold to India] will ensure Time-to-First-Rescue - the time measured between deployment of the system and commencement of the rescue itself - is minimised. The systems are heavily optimised for ease of transport and speed of mobilisation to a Vessel of Opportunity." The two rescue submarines are designed to dock with the hatches of a submarine in distress at depths upto 650 metres, more than three times the operating depth of the rudimentary rescue "bells" which are containers that can be lowered to the submarine in distress and which the navy can operate from its diving support ship, the INS Nireekshak. This ship was originally meant for offshore oil exploration work but was commissioned in 1989 by the cash-strapped navy for SOS operations. Each "bell" can rescue only a handful of sailors in each rescue attempt. The new rescue submarines being acquired by the navy function independent of the mothership, can locate and engage in a rescue mission more effectively, and rescue a greater number of sailors in each operation. In August 2013, the INS Sindhurakshak, a Russian built "Kilo" class submarine, sank at the Naval dockyard after an explosion on-board in which 18 sailors were killed. In February 2014, a pair of Lt. Commanders of the Indian Navy were killed after smoke engulfed a compartment of another Indian Navy "Kilo'' class submarine, the INS Sindhuratna, during a training mission off the coast of Mumbai. This prompted the then Navy Chief Admiral DK Joshi to resign while taking responsibility for other accidents in the navy during his watch.

Even the most secretive submarines leave a trail.

In the late 1980s, the Soviet Union claimed a feat many military experts thought impossible. K-147, a Victor-class nuclear-powered attack submarine, secretly followed the trail of a U.S. boomer (most likely the USS Simon Bolivar) in an underwater game of chase that continued for six days. U.S. observers at the time thought the Soviets lacked the tech for effective sonar, at least in comparison to the capabilities of the U.S. and its NATO allies. Now, a newly declassified CIA report shows how hunter submarines like the K-147 went on secret missions to track American subs without using sonar at all. The CIA's Directorate of Science & Technology produced the report on Soviet Antisubmarine Warfare Capability in 1972, but it was declassified only this summer. Even forty-five years on, lines, paragraphs, and even whole pages are redacted. A lengthy portion about Soviet technology under development gives details never previously revealed about devices with no Western equivalents. While NATO were concentrating almost all their efforts on sonar, the Russians created something else entirely. Why Sonar Is King. Seawater blocks radio waves. So radar, while effective on the surface, is useless underwater. Sound waves, on the other hand, travel better through water than they do through air, and as early as WWI they were put to work finding submarines. Sonar comes in two basic types. There's active sonar, which sends out 'pings' that are reflected by the target, making it an underwater version of radar. Passive sonar, on the other hand, is based on sensitive listening devices that can pick up sound from a sub's engines or propeller—and unlike active sonar, it does not give away your position. Depending on conditions, sonar can find a submarine from many miles away and in any direction. The U.S. and its allies developed sophisticated sonar systems, which soon became so effective that other methods of detection were left behind or forgotten. For decades, non-acoustic methods were considered inferior for being limited in range and reliability compared to sonar. "It is unlikely any of these methods will enable detection of submarines at long ranges," concludes a 1974 intelligence report. In the USSR, it was a different story. The Soviets were hampered by primitive electronics and struggled to make sonar work at all. So instead they developed other weirdly clever means of submarine detection. One such method highlighted in the report is the Soviet's mysterious SOKS, which stands for "System Obnarujenia Kilvaternovo Sleda" or "wake object detection system." This device, fitted to Russian attack submarines, tracks the wake a submarine leaves behind. SOKS is actually visible in photos of Russian subs as a series of spikes and cups mounted on external fins.

The Soviet claim of following subs without sonar sounded like typical Russian bluster, but without knowing how (or whether) SOKS worked, a realistic assessment was impossible. The Pentagon has classified this entire area of research and scientists simply didn't talk about it. Rumours out of Russia about SOKS have been inconsistent and often contradictory, with some saying SOKS measured changes in water density, or detected radiation, or even used a laser sensor. What the West knew for sure was that SOKS gear first appeared on K-14, a November-class sub, in 1969. Since then, subsequent versions with codenames like Colossus, Toucan, and Bullfinch have appeared on every new generation of Soviet and Russian attack submarines, including the current Akula and forthcoming Yasen class. According to these newly declassified documents, the old rumours were accurate in one way – the Soviets did not develop just one device, but several. One instrument picked up "activation radionuclides," a faint trail left by the radiation from the sub's onboard nuclear power plant. Another tool was a "gamma ray spectrometer" that detects trace amounts of radioactive elements in seawater. "The Soviets had reportedly had success detecting their own nuclear submarines [several words redacted] with such a system," the document says. The report also describes how submarines leave behind a cocktail of chemicals in their wake. Sacrificial anodes that prevent corrosion leave a trail of zinc in the water. Minute particles of nickel flake off the pipes circulating seawater to cool the reactor. The system that makes oxygen for the crew leaves behind hydrogen that's still detectable when dissolved in seawater. Together these chemical traces may measure only a few tenths of a part per billion, but sophisticated equipment can find them. And as you'd expect, a nuclear reactor also leaves behind tons of heat. According to the report, a large nuclear submarine requires "several thousand gallons of coolant a minute". This water, used to take heat from the reactor, may be 10 degrees Celsius warmer than the surrounding seawater, creating a change in the water's refractive index—a change that's detectable with an optical interference system. And the Soviets did exactly that. "A localization system based on this technique, capable of detecting wakes up to several hours after the passage of a submarine, could theoretically be built now," says the report, though it was not known for sure if the Russians had done so. While many of these techniques had been suggested before, there was no indication of which ones were theoretical and which ones were actually used. "This report lends a lot of credibility to submarine detection systems that many still believe are little more than myths," defence analyst Jacob Gunnarson told Popular Mechanics. Previously, a 1994 U.S. study found it doubtful whether submarine wakes could be detected, stating that "whether or not hydrodynamic phenomena are exploitable is open to question." "This report lends a lot of credibility to submarine detection systems that many still believe are little more than myths." The sensors would not simply say "here is a sub," but would generate a stream of numerical data. Picking out the signature of a submarine from the background noise in the data takes some computing power, and the report notes that, in the 70s, the Soviets were far behind in this area. These days the Russians can acquire commercial machines thousands of times more powerful than any they had then, and that may have given SOKS a major boost. The report shows that even in 1972 intelligence agencies were aware of how U.S. subs might be tracked. Countermeasures surely would have been put in place since then, such as reducing the chemical and radioactive trails, which is probably why it took 45 years for this document to be brought to light. Still, new versions of these technologies are far more capable than their water-snooping forebears. Recent scientific papers suggest the Chinese are now investigating new submarine tech, and even the U.S. Navy and DARPA have started to take an interest in wake tracking, suggesting that the tech isn't quite as inferior as previously thought. Whether Russians can still stealthily follow submarines, or if the U.S. found a way to foil them, is impossible to know. We'll probably have to wait another 45 years for the [heavily redacted] answer.

 

Submarine History

A submarine (or simply sub) is a watercraft capable of independent operation underwater. It differs from a submersible, which has more limited underwater capability. The term most commonly refers to a large, crewed vessel. It is also sometimes used historically or colloquially to refer to remotely operated vehicles and robots, as well as medium-sized or smaller vessels, such as the midget submarine and the wet sub. The noun submarine evolved as a shortened form of submarine boat;[  by naval tradition, submarines are usually referred to as "boats" rather than as "ships", regardless of their size (boat is usually reserved for seagoing vessels of relatively small size). Although experimental submarines had been built before, submarine design took off during the 19th century, and they were adopted by several navies. Submarines were first widely used during World War I (1914–1918), and now figure in many navies large and small. Military uses include attacking enemy surface ships (merchant and military), attacking other submarines, aircraft carrier protection, blockade running, ballistic missile submarines as part of a nuclear strike force, reconnaissance, conventional land attack (for example using a cruise missile), and covert insertion of special forces. Civilian uses for submarines include marine science, salvage, exploration and facility inspection and maintenance. Submarines can also be modified to perform more specialized functions such as search-and-rescue missions or undersea cable repair. Submarines are also used in tourism, and for undersea archaeology. Most large submarines consist of a cylindrical body with hemispherical (or conical) ends and a vertical structure, usually located amidships, which houses communications and sensing devices as well as periscopes. In modern submarines, this structure is the "sail" in American usage, and "fin" in European usage. A "conning tower" was a feature of earlier designs: a separate pressure hull above the main body of the boat that allowed the use of shorter periscopes. There is a propeller (or pump jet) at the rear, and various hydrodynamic control fins. Smaller, deep-diving and specialty submarines may deviate significantly from this traditional layout. Submarines use diving planes and also change the amount of water and air in ballast tanks to change buoyancy for submerging and surfacing. Submarines have one of the widest ranges of types and capabilities of any vessel. They range from small autonomous examples and one- or two-person vessels that operate for a few hours, to vessels that can remain submerged for six months—such as the Russian Typhoon class, the biggest submarines ever built. Submarines can work at greater depths than are survivable or practical for human divers. Modern deep-diving submarines derive from the bathyscaphe, which in turn evolved from the diving bell.

Early submersibles

Two Greeks submerged and surfaced in the river Tagus near the City of Toledo several times in the presence of The Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, without getting wet and with the flame they carried in their hands still alight. In 1578, the English mathematician William Bourne recorded in his book Inventions or Devises one of the first plans for an underwater navigation vehicle. The first submersible of whose construction there exists reliable information was designed and built in 1620 by Cornelis Drebbel, a Dutchman in the service of James I of England. It was propelled by means of oars. By the mid-18th century, over a dozen patents for submarines/submersible boats had been granted in England. In 1747, Nathaniel Symons patented and built the first known working example of the use of a ballast tank for submersion. His design used leather bags that could fill with water to submerge the craft. A mechanism was used to twist the water out of the bags and cause the boat to resurface. In 1749, the Gentlemen's Magazine reported that a similar design had initially been proposed by Giovanni Borelli in 1680. By this point of development, further improvement in design necessarily stagnated for over a century, until new industrial technologies for propulsion and stability could be applied. The first military submarine was the Turtle (1775), a hand-powered acorn-shaped device designed by the American David Bushnell to accommodate a single person It was the first verified submarine capable of independent underwater operation and movement, and the first to use screws for propulsion.  In 1800, France built a human-powered submarine designed by American Robert Fulton, the Nautilus. The French eventually gave up on the experiment in 1804, as did the British when they later considered Fulton's submarine design. In 1864, late in the American Civil War, the Confederate navy's H. L. Hunley became the first military submarine to sink an enemy vessel, the Union sloop-of-war USS Housatonic. In the aftermath of its successful attack against the ship, the Hunley also sank, possibly because it was too close to its own exploding torpedo. In 1866, the submarine Explorer was the first submarine to successfully dive, cruise underwater, and resurface under the control of the crew. The design by German American Julius H. Kroehl (in German, Kröhl) incorporated elements that are still used in modern submarines.

The first submarine not relying on human power for propulsion was the French Plongeur (Diver), launched in 1863, which used compressed air at 180 psi.  The first air–independent and combustion powered submarine was Ictineo II, designed by the Spanish intellectual, artist and engineer Narcís Monturiol, launched in Barcelona in 1864. The submarine became a potentially viable weapon with the development of the Whitehead torpedo, designed in 1866 by British engineer Robert Whitehead. The first practical self-propelled or 'locomotive' torpedo. The spar torpedo that had been developed earlier by the Confederate navy was considered to be impracticable, as it was believed to have sunk both its intended target, and probably H. L. Hunley, the submarine that deployed it. Discussions between the English clergyman and inventor George Garrett and the Swedish industrialist Thorsten Nordenfelt led to the first practical steam-powered submarines, armed with torpedoes and ready for military use. The first was Nordenfelt I, a 56-tonne, 19.5-metre (64 ft) vessel similar to Garrett's ill-fated Resurgam (1879), with a range of 240 kilometres (130 nmi; 150 mi), armed with a single torpedo, in 1885. A reliable means of propulsion for the submerged vessel was only made possible in the 1880s with the advent of the necessary electric battery technology. The first electrically powered boats were built by Isaac Peral y Caballero in Spain, Dupuy de Lôme and Gustave Zédé in France, and James Franklin Waddington in England.

Submarines were not put into service for any widespread or routine use by navies until the early 1900s. This era marked a pivotal time in submarine development, and several important technologies appeared. A number of nations built and used submarines. Diesel electric propulsion became the dominant power system and equipment such as the periscope became standardized. Countries conducted many experiments on effective tactics and weapons for submarines, which led to their large impact in World War I. The Irish inventor John Philip Holland built a model submarine in 1876 and a full-scale version in 1878, which were followed by a number of unsuccessful ones. In 1896 he designed the Holland Type VI submarine, which used internal combustion engine power on the surface and electric battery power underwater. Launched on 17 May 1897 at Navy Lt. Lewis Nixon's Crescent Shipyard in Elizabeth, New Jersey, Holland VI was purchased by the United States Navy on 11 April 1900, becoming the Navy's first commissioned submarine, christened USS Holland. Commissioned in June 1900, the French steam and electric Narval employed the now typical double-hull design, with a pressure hull inside the outer shell. These 200-ton ships had a range of over 100 miles (161 km) underwater. The French submarine Aigrette in 1904 further improved the concept by using a diesel rather than a gasoline engine for surface power. Large numbers of these submarines were built, with seventy-six completed before 1914. The Royal Navy commissioned five Holland-class submarines from Vickers, Barrow-in-Furness, under licence from the Holland Torpedo Boat Company from 1901 to 1903. Construction of the boats took longer than anticipated, with the first only ready for a diving trial at sea on 6 April 1902. Although the design had been purchased entire from the US company, the actual design used was an untested improvement to the original Holland design using a new 180 horsepower (130 kW) petrol engine. These types of submarines were first used during the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–05. Due to the blockade at Port Arthur, the Russians sent their submarines to Vladivostok, whereby on 1st January 1905 there were seven boats, enough to create the world's first "operational submarine fleet". The new submarine fleet began patrols on 14 February, usually lasting for about 24 hours each. The first confrontation with Japanese warships occurred on 29 April 1905 when the Russian submarine  Som was fired upon by Japanese torpedo boats, but then withdrew.

World War I

Military submarines first made a significant impact in World War I. Forces such as the U-boats of Germany saw action in the First Battle of the Atlantic, and were responsible for sinking RMS Lusitania, which was sunk as a result of unrestricted submarine warfare and is often cited among the reasons for the entry of the United States into the war. At the outbreak of war Germany had only twenty submarines immediately available for combat, although these included vessels of the diesel engine U-19 class with range (5,000 miles) and speed (8 knots) to operate effectively around the entire British coast. By contrast the Royal Navy had a total of 74 submarines, though of mixed effectiveness. In August 1914, a flotilla of ten U-boats sailed from their base in Heligoland to attack Royal Navy warships in the North Sea in the first submarine war patrol in history. The U-boats' ability to function as practical war machines relied on new tactics, their numbers, and submarine technologies such as combination diesel-electric power system developed in the preceding years. More submersibles than true submarines, U-boats operated primarily on the surface using regular engines, submerging occasionally to attack under battery power. They were roughly triangular in cross-section, with a distinct keel to control rolling while surfaced, and a distinct bow. During World War I more than 5,000 Allied ships were sunk by U-boats.

World War II

During World War II, Germany used submarines to devastating effect in the Battle of the Atlantic, where it attempted to cut Britain's supply routes by sinking more merchant ships than Britain could replace. (Shipping was vital to supply Britain's population with food, industry with raw material, and armed forces with fuel and armaments.) While U-boats destroyed a significant number of ships, the strategy ultimately failed. Although the U-boats had been updated in the interwar years, the major innovation was improved communications, encrypted using the famous Enigma cipher machine. This allowed for mass-attack naval tactics (Rudeltaktik, commonly known as "wolfpack"), but was also ultimately the U-boats' downfall. By the end of the war, almost 3,000 Allied ships (175 warships, 2,825 merchantmen) had been sunk by U-boats. Although successful early in the war, ultimately the U-boat fleet suffered a casualty rate of 73%, almost all fatalities. The Imperial Japanese Navy operated the most varied fleet of submarines of any navy, including Kaiten crewed torpedoes, midget submarines (Type A Ko-hyoteki and Kairyu classes), medium-range submarines, purpose-built supply submarines and long-range fleet submarines. They also had submarines with the highest submerged speeds during World War II (I-201-class submarines) and submarines that could carry multiple aircraft (I-400-class submarines). They were also equipped with one of the most advanced torpedoes of the conflict, the oxygen-propelled Type 95. Nevertheless, despite their technical prowess, Japan chose to utilize its submarines for fleet warfare, and consequently were relatively unsuccessful, as warships were fast, manoeuvrable and well-defended compared to merchant ships. The submarine force was the most effective anti-ship weapon in the American arsenal. Submarines, though only about 2 percent of the U.S. Navy, destroyed over 30 percent of the Japanese Navy, including 8 aircraft carriers, 1 battleship and 11 cruisers. US submarines also destroyed over 60 percent of the Japanese merchant fleet, crippling Japan's ability to supply its military forces and industrial war effort. Allied submarines in the Pacific War destroyed more Japanese shipping than all other weapons combined. This feat was considerably aided by the Imperial Japanese Navy's failure to provide adequate escort forces for the nation's merchant fleet. During World War II, 314 submarines served in the US Navy, of which nearly 260 were deployed to the Pacific.[21] When the Japanese attacked Hawaii in December 1941, 111 boats were in commission. 203 submarines from the Gato, Balao, and Tench classes were commissioned during the war. During the war, 52 US submarines were lost to all causes, with 48 directly due to hostilities. US submarines sank 1,560 enemy vessels, a total tonnage of 5.3 million tons (55% of the total sunk). The Royal Navy Submarine Service was used primarily in the classic Axis blockade. Its major operating areas were around Norway, in the Mediterranean (against the Axis supply routes to North Africa), and in the Far East. In that war, British submarines sank 2 million tons of enemy shipping and 57 major warships, the latter including 35 submarines. Among these is the only documented instance of a submarine sinking another submarine while both were submerged. This occurred when HMS Venture engaged U-864; the Venture crew manually computed a successful firing solution against a three-dimensionally manoeuvring target using techniques which became the basis of modern torpedo computer targeting systems. Seventy-four British submarines were lost, the majority, forty-two, in the Mediterranean.

Cold-War military models

The first launch of a cruise missile (SSM-N-8 Regulus) from a submarine occurred in July 1953, from the deck of USS Tunny, a World War II fleet boat modified to carry the missile with a nuclear warhead. Tunny and its sister boat, Barbero, were the United States' first nuclear deterrent patrol submarines. In the 1950s, nuclear power partially replaced diesel-electric propulsion. Equipment was also developed to extract oxygen from sea water. These two innovations gave submarines the ability to remain submerged for weeks or months. Most of the naval submarines built since that time in the US, the Soviet Union/Russian Federation, Britain, and France have been powered by nuclear reactors. In 1959–1960, the first ballistic missile submarines were put into service by both the United States (George Washington class) and the Soviet Union (Golf class) as part of the Cold War nuclear deterrent strategy. During the Cold War, the US and the Soviet Union maintained large submarine fleets that engaged in cat-and-mouse games. The Soviet Union lost at least four submarines during this period: K-129 was lost in 1968 (a part of which the CIA retrieved from the ocean floor with the Howard Hughes-designed ship Glomar Explorer), K-8 in 1970, K-219 in 1986, and Komsomolets in 1989 (which held a depth record among military submarines—1,000 m (3,300 ft)). Many other Soviet subs, such as K-19 (the first Soviet nuclear submarine, and the first Soviet sub to reach the North Pole) were badly damaged by fire or radiation leaks. The US lost two nuclear submarines during this time: USS Thresher due to equipment failure during a test dive while at its operational limit, and USS Scorpion due to unknown causes. During the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, the Pakistan Navy's Hangor sank the Indian frigate INS Khukri. This was the first sinking by a submarine since World War II. During the same war, the Ghazi, a Tench-class submarine on loan to Pakistan from the US, was sunk by the Indian Navy. It was the first submarine combat loss since World War II. In 1982 during the Falklands War, the Argentine cruiser General Belgrano was sunk by the British submarine HMS Conqueror, the first sinking by a nuclear-powered submarine in war.

Before and during World War II, the primary role of the submarine was anti-surface ship warfare. Submarines would attack either on the surface, using deck guns or submerged, using torpedoes. They were particularly effective in sinking Allied transatlantic shipping in both World Wars, and in disrupting Japanese supply routes and naval operations in the Pacific in World War II. Mine-laying submarines were developed in the early part of the 20th century. The facility was used in both World Wars. Submarines were also used for inserting and removing covert agents and military forces, for intelligence gathering, and to rescue aircrew during air attacks on islands, where the airmen would be told of safe places to crash-land so the submarines could rescue them. Submarines could carry cargo through hostile waters or act as supply vessels for other submarines. Submarines could usually locate and attack other submarines only on the surface, although HMS Venturer managed to sink U-864 with a four torpedo spread while both were submerged. The British developed a specialized anti-submarine submarine in WWI, the R class. After WWII, with the development of the homing torpedo, better sonar systems, and nuclear propulsion, submarines also became able to hunt each other effectively. The development of submarine-launched ballistic missile and submarine-launched cruise missiles gave submarines a substantial and long-ranged ability to attack both land and sea targets with a variety of weapons ranging from cluster bombs to nuclear weapons. The primary defence of a submarine lies in its ability to remain concealed in the depths of the ocean. Early submarines could be detected by the sound they made. Water is an excellent conductor of sound (much better than air), and submarines can detect and track comparatively noisy surface ships from long distances. Modern submarines are built with an emphasis on stealth. Advanced propeller designs, extensive sound-reducing insulation, and special machinery help a submarine remain as quiet as ambient ocean noise, making them difficult to detect. It takes specialized technology to find and attack modern submarines. Active sonar uses the reflection of sound emitted from the search equipment to detect submarines. It has been used since WWII by surface ships, submarines and aircraft (via dropped buoys and helicopter "dipping" arrays), but it reveals the emitter's position, and is susceptible to counter-measures. A concealed military submarine is a real threat, and because of its stealth, can force an enemy navy to waste resources searching large areas of ocean and protecting ships against attack. This advantage was vividly demonstrated in the 1982 Falklands War when the British nuclear-powered submarine HMS Conqueror sank the Argentine cruiser General Belgrano. After the sinking the Argentine Navy recognized that they had no effective defence against submarine attack, and the Argentine surface fleet withdrew to port for the remainder of the war, though an Argentine submarine remained at sea.

Although the majority of the world's submarines are military, there are some civilian submarines, which are used for tourism, exploration, oil and gas platform inspections, and pipeline surveys. Some are also used in illegal activities. The Submarine Voyage ride opened at Disneyland in 1959, but although it ran under water it was not a true submarine, as it ran on tracks and was open to the atmosphere. The first tourist submarine was Auguste Piccard, which went into service in 1964 at Expo64. By 1997 there were 45 tourist submarines operating around the world. Submarines with a crush depth in the range of 400–500 feet (120–150 m) are operated in several areas worldwide, typically with bottom depths around 100 to 120 feet (30 to 37 m), with a carrying capacity of 50 to 100 passengers. In a typical operation a surface vessel carries passengers to an offshore operating area and loads them into the submarine. The submarine then visits underwater points of interest such as natural or artificial reef structures. To surface safely without danger of collision the location of the submarine is marked,  and movement to the surface is coordinated by an observer in a support craft. A recent development is the deployment of so-called narco submarines by South American drug smugglers to evade law enforcement detection. Although they occasionally deploy true submarines, most are self-propelled semi-submersibles, where a portion of the craft remains above water at all times. In September 2011, Colombian authorities seized a 16-meter-long submersible that could hold a crew of 5, costing about $2 million. The vessel belonged to FARC rebels and had the capacity to carry at least 7 tonnes of drugs.

Technology

All surface ships, as well as surfaced submarines, are in a positively buoyant condition, weighing less than the volume of water they would displace if fully submerged. To submerge hydrostatically, a ship must have negative buoyancy, either by increasing its own weight or decreasing its displacement of water. To control their displacement, submarines have ballast tanks, which can hold varying amounts of water and air. For general submersion or surfacing, submarines use the forward and aft tanks, called Main Ballast Tanks (MBT), which are filled with water to submerge or with air to surface. Submerged, MBTs generally remain flooded, which simplifies their design, and on many submarines these tanks are a section of interhull space. For more precise and quick control of depth, submarines use smaller Depth Control Tanks (DCT) – also called hard tanks (due to their ability to withstand higher pressure), or trim tanks. The amount of water in depth control tanks can be controlled to change depth or to maintain a constant depth as outside conditions (chiefly water density) change. Depth control tanks may be located either near the submarine's center of gravity, or separated along the submarine body to prevent affecting trim. When submerged, the water pressure on a submarine's hull can reach 580 psi for steel submarines and up to 1,500 psi for titanium submarines like K-278 Komsomolets, while interior pressure remains relatively unchanged. This difference results in hull compression, which decreases displacement. Water density also marginally increases with depth, as the salinity and pressure are higher. This change in density incompletely compensates for hull compression, so buoyancy decreases as depth increases. A submerged submarine is in an unstable equilibrium, having a tendency to either sink or float to the surface. Keeping a constant depth requires continual operation of either the depth control tanks or control surfaces. Submarines in a neutral buoyancy condition are not intrinsically trim-stable. To maintain desired trim, submarines use forward and aft trim tanks. Pumps can move water between the tanks, changing weight distribution and pointing the sub up or down. A similar system is sometimes used to maintain stability. The hydrostatic effect of variable ballast tanks is not the only way to control the submarine underwater. Hydrodynamic manoeuvring is done by several surfaces, which can be moved to create hydrodynamic forces when a submarine moves at sufficient speed. The stern planes, located near the propeller and normally horizontal, serve the same purpose as the trim tanks, controlling the trim, and are commonly used, while other control surfaces may not be present on all submarines. The fairwater planes on the sail and/or bow planes on the main body, both also horizontal, are closer to the center of gravity, and are used to control depth with less effect on the trim. When a submarine performs an emergency surfacing, all depth and trim methods are used simultaneously, together with propelling the boat upwards. Such surfacing is very quick, so the sub may even partially jump out of the water, potentially damaging submarine systems.

Hull

Modern submarines are cigar-shaped. This design, visible in early submarines is sometimes called a "teardrop hull". It reduces the hydrodynamic drag when submerged, but decreases the sea-keeping capabilities and increases drag while surfaced. Since the limitations of the propulsion systems of early submarines forced them to operate surfaced most of the time, their hull designs were a compromise. Because of the slow submerged speeds of those subs, usually well below 10 kts, the increased drag for underwater travel was acceptable. Late in World War II, when technology allowed faster and longer submerged operation and increased aircraft surveillance forced submarines to stay submerged, hull designs became teardrop shaped again to reduce drag and noise. USS Albacore (AGSS-569) was a unique research submarine that pioneered the American version of the teardrop hull form (sometimes referred to as an "Albacore hull") of modern submarines. On modern military submarines the outer hull is covered with a layer of sound-absorbing rubber, or anechoic plating, to reduce detection. The occupied pressure hulls of deep diving submarines such as DSV Alvin are spherical instead of cylindrical. This allows a more even distribution of stress at the great depth. A titanium frame is usually affixed to the pressure hull, providing attachment for ballast and trim systems, scientific instrumentation, battery packs, syntactic flotation foam, and lighting. A raised tower on top of a submarine accommodates the periscope and electronics masts, which can include radio, radar, electronic warfare, and other systems including the snorkel mast. In many early classes of submarines (see history), the control room, or "conn", was located inside this tower, which was known as the "conning tower". Since then, the conn has been located within the hull of the submarine, and the tower is now called the "sail". The conn is distinct from the "bridge", a small open platform in the top of the sail, used for observation during surface operation. "Bathtubs" are related to conning towers but are used on smaller submarines. The bathtub is a metal cylinder surrounding the hatch that prevents waves from breaking directly into the cabin. It is needed because surfaced submarines have limited freeboard, that is, they lie low in the water. Bathtubs help prevent swamping the vessel.

Single and double hulls

Modern submarines and submersibles, as well as the oldest ones, usually have a single hull. Large submarines generally have an additional hull or hull sections outside. This external hull, which actually forms the shape of submarine, is called the outer hull (casing in the Royal Navy) or light hull, as it does not have to withstand a pressure difference. Inside the outer hull there is a strong hull, or pressure hull, which withstands sea pressure and has normal atmospheric pressure inside. As early as World War I, it was realized that the optimal shape for withstanding pressure conflicted with the optimal shape for seakeeping and minimal drag, and construction difficulties further complicated the problem. This was solved either by a compromise shape, or by using two hulls; internal for holding pressure, and external for optimal shape. Until the end of World War II, most submarines had an additional partial cover on the top, bow and stern, built of thinner metal, which was flooded when submerged. Germany went further with the Type XXI, a general predecessor of modern submarines, in which the pressure hull was fully enclosed inside the light hull, but optimized for submerged navigation, unlike earlier designs that were optimized for surface operation. After World War II, approaches split. The Soviet Union changed its designs, basing them on German developments. All post–World War II heavy Soviet and Russian submarines are built with a double hull structure. American and most other Western submarines switched to a primarily single-hull approach. They still have light hull sections in the bow and stern, which house main ballast tanks and provide a hydrodynamically optimized shape, but the main cylindrical hull section has only a single plating layer. Double hulls are being considered for future submarines in the United States to improve payload capacity, stealth and range.

Pressure hull

The pressure hull is generally constructed of thick high-strength steel with a complex structure and high strength reserve, and is separated with watertight bulkheads into several compartments. There are also examples of more than two hulls in a submarine, like the Typhoon class, which has two main pressure hulls and three smaller ones for control room, torpedoes and steering gear, with the missile launch system between the main hulls. The dive depth cannot be increased easily. Simply making the hull thicker increases the weight and requires reduction of onboard equipment weight, ultimately resulting in a bathyscaphe. This is acceptable for civilian research submersibles, but not military submarines. WWI submarines had hulls of carbon steel, with a 100-metre (330 ft) maximum depth. During WWII, high-strength alloyed steel was introduced, allowing 200-metre (660 ft) depths. High-strength alloy steel remains the primary material for submarines today, with 250–400-metre (820–1,310 ft) depths, which cannot be exceeded on a military submarine without design compromises. To exceed that limit, a few submarines were built with titanium hulls. Titanium can be stronger than steel, lighter, and is not ferromagnetic, important for stealth. Titanium submarines were built by the Soviet Union, which developed specialized high-strength alloys. It has produced several types of titanium submarines. Titanium alloys allow a major increase in depth, but other systems must be redesigned to cope, so test depth was limited to 1,000 metres (3,300 ft) for the Soviet submarine K-278 Komsomolets, the deepest-diving combat submarine. An Alfa-class submarine may have successfully operated at 1,300 metres (4,300 ft), though continuous operation at such depths would produce excessive stress on many submarine systems. Titanium does not flex as readily as steel, and may become brittle during many dive cycles. Despite its benefits, the high cost of titanium construction led to the abandonment of titanium submarine construction as the Cold War ended. Deep–diving civilian submarines have used thick acrylic pressure hulls. The deepest deep-submergence vehicle (DSV) to date is Trieste. On 5 October 1959, Trieste departed San Diego for Guam aboard the freighter Santa Maria to participate in Project Nekton, a series of very deep dives in the Mariana Trench. On 23 January 1960, Trieste reached the ocean floor in the Challenger Deep (the deepest southern part of the Mariana Trench), carrying Jacques Piccard (son of Auguste) and Lieutenant Don Walsh, USN. This was the first time a vessel, manned or unmanned, had reached the deepest point in the Earth's oceans. The onboard systems indicated a depth of 11,521 metres (37,799 ft), although this was later revised to 10,916 metres (35,814 ft) and more accurate measurements made in 1995 have found the Challenger Deep slightly shallower, at 10,911 metres (35,797 ft). Building a pressure hull is difficult, as it must withstand pressures at its required diving depth. When the hull is perfectly round in cross-section, the pressure is evenly distributed, and causes only hull compression. If the shape is not perfect, the hull is bent, with several points heavily strained. Inevitable minor deviations are resisted by stiffener rings, but even a one-inch (25 mm) deviation from roundness results in over 30 percent decrease of maximal hydrostatic load and consequently dive depth. The hull must therefore be constructed with high precision. All hull parts must be welded without defects, and all joints are checked multiple times with different methods, contributing to the high cost of modern submarines. (For example, each Virginia-class attack submarine costs US$2.6 billion, over US$200,000 per ton of displacement.)

Propulsion

The first submarines were propelled by humans. The first mechanically driven submarine was the 1863 French Plongeur, which used compressed air for propulsion. Anaerobic propulsion was first employed by the Spanish Ictineo II in 1864, which used a solution of zinc, manganese dioxide, and potassium chlorate to generate sufficient heat to power a steam engine, while also providing oxygen for the crew. A similar system was not employed again until 1940 when the German Navy tested a hydrogen peroxide-based system, the Walter turbine, on the experimental V-80 submarine and later on the naval U-791 and type XVII submarines. Until the advent of nuclear marine propulsion, most 20th-century submarines used batteries for running underwater and gasoline (petrol) or diesel engines on the surface, and for battery recharging. Early submarines used gasoline, but this quickly gave way to kerosene (paraffin), then diesel, because of reduced flammability. Diesel-electric became the standard means of propulsion. The diesel or gasoline engine and the electric motor, separated by clutches, were initially on the same shaft driving the propeller. This allowed the engine to drive the electric motor as a generator to recharge the batteries and also propel the submarine. The clutch between the motor and the engine would be disengaged when the submarine dived, so that the motor could drive the propeller. The motor could have multiple armatures on the shaft, which could be electrically coupled in series for slow speed and in parallel for high speed (these connections were called "group down" and "group up", respectively).

Diesel-electric

Early submarines used a direct mechanical connection between the engine and propeller, switching between diesel engines for surface running, and battery-driven electric motors for submerged propulsion. In 1928, the United States Navy's Bureau of Engineering proposed a diesel-electric transmission. Instead of driving the propeller directly while running on the surface, the submarine's diesel drove a generator that could either charge the submarine's batteries or drive the electric motor. This made electric motor speed independent of diesel engine speed, so the diesel could run at an optimum and non-critical speed. One or more diesel engines could be shut down for maintenance while the submarine continued to run on the remaining engine or battery power. The US pioneered this concept in 1929, in the S-class submarines S-3, S-6, and S-7. The first production submarines with this system were the Porpoise-class of the 1930s, and it was used on most subsequent US diesel submarines through the 1960s. No other navy adopted the system before 1945, apart from the Royal Navy's U-class submarines, though some submarines of the Imperial Japanese Navy used separate diesel generators for low speed running. Other advantages of such an arrangement were that a submarine could travel slowly with the engines at full power to recharge the batteries quickly, reducing time on the surface or on snorkel. It was then possible to isolate the noisy diesel engines from the pressure hull, making the submarine quieter. Additionally, diesel-electric transmissions were more compact. During World War II the Germans experimented with the idea of the schnorchel (snorkel) from captured Dutch submarines, but didn't see the need for them until rather late in the war. The schnorchel was a retractable pipe that supplied air to the diesel engines while submerged at periscope depth, allowing the boats to cruise and recharge their batteries while maintaining a degree of stealth. It was far from a perfect solution, however. There were problems with the device's valve sticking shut or closing as it dunked in rough weather; since the system used the entire pressure hull as a buffer, the diesels would instantaneously suck huge volumes of air from the boat's compartments, and the crew often suffered painful ear injuries. Speed was limited to 8 knots , lest the device snap from stress. The schnorchel also had the effect of making the boat essentially noisy and deaf in sonar terms. Finally, Allied radar eventually became sufficiently advanced that the schnorchel mast could be detected beyond visual range. While the snorkel renders a submarine far less detectable, it is not perfect. In clear weather, diesel exhaust can be seen on the surface to a distance of about three miles, while 'periscope feather' (the wave created by the snorkel or periscope moving through the water), is visible from far off in calm sea conditions. Modern radar is also capable of detecting a snorkel in calm sea conditions. The problem of the diesels causing a vacuum in the submarine when the head valve is submerged still exists in later model diesel submarines, but is mitigated by high-vacuum cut-off sensors that shut down the engines when the vacuum in the ship reaches a pre-set point. Modern snorkel induction masts use a fail-safe design using compressed air, controlled by a simple electrical circuit, to hold the "head valve" open against the pull of a powerful spring. Seawater washing over the mast shorts out exposed electrodes on top, breaking the control, and shutting the "head valve" while it is submerged.

Air-independent

During World War II, German Type XXI submarines (also known as "Elektroboote") were the first submarines designed to operate submerged for extended periods. Initially they were to carry hydrogen peroxide for long-term, fast air-independent propulsion, but were ultimately built with very large batteries instead. At the end of the War, the British and Soviets experimented with hydrogen peroxide/kerosene (paraffin) engines that could run surfaced and submerged. The results were not encouraging. Though the Soviet Union deployed a class of submarines with this engine type (codenamed Quebec by NATO), they were considered unsuccessful. The United States also used hydrogen peroxide in an experimental midget submarine, X-1. It was originally powered by a hydrogen peroxide/diesel engine and battery system until an explosion of her hydrogen peroxide supply on 20 May 1957. X-1 was later converted to use diesel-electric drive. Today several navies use air-independent propulsion. Notably Sweden uses Stirling technology on the Gotland-class and Södermanland-class submarines. The Stirling engine is heated by burning diesel fuel with liquid oxygen from cryogenic tanks. A newer development in air-independent propulsion is hydrogen fuel cells, first used on the German Type 212 submarine, with nine 34 kW or two 120 kW cells and soon to be used in the new Spanish S-80-class submarines.

Nuclear power

Steam power was resurrected in the 1950s with a nuclear-powered steam turbine driving a generator. By eliminating the need for atmospheric oxygen, the time that a submarine could remain submerged was limited only by its food stores, as breathing air was recycled and fresh water distilled from seawater. More importantly, a nuclear submarine has unlimited range at top speed. This allows it to travel from its operating base to the combat zone in a much shorter time and makes it a far more difficult target for most anti-submarine weapons. Nuclear-powered submarines have a relatively small battery and diesel engine/generator power plant for emergency use if the reactors must be shut down. Nuclear power is now used in all large submarines, but due to the high cost and large size of nuclear reactors, smaller submarines still use diesel-electric propulsion. The ratio of larger to smaller submarines depends on strategic needs. The US Navy, French Navy, and the British Royal Navy operate only nuclear submarines, which is explained by the need for distant operations. Other major operators rely on a mix of nuclear submarines for strategic purposes and diesel-electric submarines for defence. Most fleets have no nuclear submarines, due to the limited availability of nuclear power and submarine technology. Diesel-electric submarines have a stealth advantage over their nuclear counterparts. Nuclear submarines generate noise from coolant pumps and turbo-machinery needed to operate the reactor, even at low power levels. Some nuclear submarines such as the American Ohio class can operate with their reactor coolant pumps secured, making them quieter than electric subs. A conventional submarine operating on batteries is almost completely silent, the only noise coming from the shaft bearings, propeller, and flow noise around the hull, all of which stops when the sub hovers in mid-water to listen, leaving only the noise from crew activity. Commercial submarines usually rely only on batteries, since they operate in conjunction with a mother ship. Several serious nuclear and radiation accidents have involved nuclear submarine mishaps. The Soviet submarine K-19 reactor accident in 1961 resulted in 8 deaths and more than 30 other people were over-exposed to radiation. The Soviet submarine K-27 reactor accident in 1968 resulted in 9 fatalities and 83 other injuries. The Soviet submarine K-431 accident in 1985 resulted in 10 fatalities and 49 other radiation injuries.

Oil-fired steam turbines powered the British K-class submarines, built during World War I and later, to give them the surface speed to keep up with the battle fleet. The K-class subs were not very successful, however. Toward the end of the 20th century, some submarines—such as the British Vanguard class—began to be fitted with pump-jet propulsors instead of propellers. Though these are heavier, more expensive, and less efficient than a propeller, they are significantly quieter, providing an important tactical advantage. Magnetohydrodynamic drive (MHD) was portrayed as the operating principle behind the titular submarine's nearly silent propulsion system in the film adaptation of The Hunt for Red October. However, in the novel the Red October did not use MHD, but rather something more similar to the above-mentioned pump-jet.

Armament

The success of the submarine is inextricably linked to the development of the torpedo, invented by Robert Whitehead in 1866. His invention is essentially the same now as it was 140 years ago. Only with self-propelled torpedoes could the submarine make the leap from novelty to a weapon of war. Until the perfection of the guided torpedo, multiple "straight-running" torpedoes were required to attack a target. With at most 20 to 25 torpedoes stored on board, the number of attacks was limited. To increase combat endurance most World War I submarines functioned as submersible gunboats, using their deck guns against unarmed targets, and diving to escape and engage enemy warships. The importance of guns encouraged the development of the unsuccessful Submarine Cruiser such as the French Surcouf and the Royal Navy's X1 and M-class submarines. With the arrival of Anti-submarine warfare (ASW) aircraft, guns became more for defence than attack. A more practical method of increasing combat endurance was the external torpedo tube, loaded only in port. The ability of submarines to approach enemy harbours covertly led to their use as minelayers. Mine laying submarines of World War I and World War II were specially built for that purpose. Modern submarine laid mines, such as the British Mark 5 Stonefish and Mark 6 Sea Urchin, can be deployed from a submarine's torpedo tubes. After World War II, both the US and the USSR experimented with submarine launched cruise missiles such as the SSM-N-8 Regulus and P-5 Pyatyorka. Such missiles required the submarine to surface to fire its missiles. They were the forerunners of modern submarine-launched cruise missiles, which can be fired from the torpedo tubes of submerged submarines, for example the US BGM-109 Tomahawk and Russian RPK-2 Viyuga and versions of surface–to–surface anti-ship missiles such as the Exocet and Harpoon, encapsulated for submarine launch. Ballistic missiles can also be fired from a submarine's torpedo tubes, for example missiles such as the anti-submarine SUBROC. With internal volume as limited as ever and the desire to carry heavier warloads, the idea of the external launch tube was revived, usually for encapsulated missiles, with such tubes being placed between the internal pressure and outer streamlined hulls. The strategic mission of the SSM-N-8 and the P-5 was taken up by submarine-launched ballistic missile beginning with the US Navy's Polaris missile, and subsequently the Poseidon and Trident missiles. Germany is working on the torpedo tube-launched short-range IDAS missile, which can be used against ASW helicopters, as well as surface ships and coastal targets.

A submarine can have a variety of sensors, depending on its missions. Modern military submarines rely almost entirely on a suite of passive and active sonars to locate targets. Active sonar relies on an audible "ping" to generate echoes to reveal objects around the submarine. Active systems are rarely used, as doing so reveals the sub's presence. Passive sonar is a set of sensitive hydrophones set into the hull or trailed in a towed array, normally trailing several hundred feet behind the sub. The towed array is the mainstay of NATO submarine detection systems, as it reduces the flow noise heard by operators. Hull mounted sonar is employed in addition to the towed array, as the towed array can't work in shallow depth and during manoeuvring. In addition, sonar has a blind spot "through" the submarine, so a system on both the front and back works to eliminate that problem. As the towed array trails behind and below the submarine, it also allows the submarine to have a system both above and below the thermocline at the proper depth; sound passing through the thermocline is distorted resulting in a lower detection range. Submarines also carry radar equipment to detect surface ships and aircraft. Submarine captains are more likely to use radar detection gear than active radar to detect targets, as radar can be detected far beyond its own return range, revealing the submarine. Periscopes are rarely used, except for position fixes and to verify a contact's identity. Civilian submarines, such as the DSV Alvin or the Russian Mir submersibles, rely on small active sonar sets and viewing ports to navigate. The human eye cannot detect sunlight below about 300 feet (91 m) underwater, so high intensity lights are used to illuminate the viewing area.

Early submarines had few navigation aids, but modern subs have a variety of navigation systems. Modern military submarines use an inertial guidance system for navigation while submerged, but drift error unavoidably builds over time. To counter this, the crew occasionally uses the Global Positioning System to obtain an accurate position. The periscope—a retractable tube with a prism system that provides a view of the surface—is only used occasionally in modern submarines, since the visibility range is short. The Virginia-class and Astute-class submarines use photonics masts rather than hull-penetrating optical periscopes. These masts must still be deployed above the surface, and use electronic sensors for visible light, infrared, laser range-finding, and electromagnetic surveillance. One benefit to hoisting the mast above the surface is that while the mast is above the water the entire sub is still below the water and is much harder to detect visually or by radar.

Military submarines use several systems to communicate with distant command centers or other ships. One is VLF (Very Low Frequency) radio, which can reach a submarine either on the surface or submerged to a fairly shallow depth, usually less than 250 feet (76 m). ELF (Extremely Low Frequency) can reach a submarine at greater depths, but has a very low bandwidth and is generally used to call a submerged sub to a shallower depth where VLF signals can reach. A submarine also has the option of floating a long, buoyant wire antenna to a shallower depth, allowing VLF transmissions by a deeply submerged boat. By extending a radio mast, a submarine can also use a "burst transmission" technique. A burst transmission takes only a fraction of a second, minimizing a submarine's risk of detection. To communicate with other submarines, a system known as Gertrude is used. Gertrude is basically a sonar telephone. Voice communication from one submarine is transmitted by low power speakers into the water, where it is detected by passive sonars on the receiving submarine. The range of this system is probably very short, and using it radiates sound into the water, which can be heard by the enemy. Civilian submarines can use similar, albeit less powerful systems to communicate with support ships or other submersibles in the area.

With nuclear power or air-independent propulsion, submarines can remain submerged for months at a time. Conventional diesel submarines must periodically resurface or run on snorkel to recharge their batteries. Most modern military submarines generate breathing oxygen by electrolysis of water (using a device called an "Elektrolytic Oxygen Generator"). Atmosphere control equipment includes a CO2 scrubber, which uses an amine absorbent to remove the gas from air and diffuse it into waste pumped overboard. A machine that uses a catalyst to convert carbon monoxide into carbon dioxide (removed by the CO2 scrubber) and bonds hydrogen produced from the ship's storage battery with oxygen in the atmosphere to produce water, is also used. An atmosphere monitoring system samples the air from different areas of the ship for nitrogen, oxygen, hydrogen, R-12 and R-114 refrigerants, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and other gases. Poisonous gases are removed, and oxygen is replenished by use of an oxygen bank located in a main ballast tank. Some heavier submarines have two oxygen bleed stations (forward and aft). The oxygen in the air is sometimes kept a few percent less than atmospheric concentration to reduce fire danger. Fresh water is produced by either an evaporator or a reverse osmosis unit. The primary use for fresh water is to provide feed water for the reactor and steam propulsion plants. It is also available for showers, sinks, cooking and cleaning once propulsion plant needs have been met. Seawater is used to flush toilets, and the resulting "black water" is stored in a sanitary tank until it is blown overboard using pressurized air or pumped overboard by using a special sanitary pump. The black water–discharge system is difficult to operate, and the German Type VIIC boat U-1206 was lost with casualties because of human error while using this system. Water from showers and sinks is stored separately in "grey water" tanks and discharged overboard using drain pumps. Trash on modern large submarines is usually disposed of using a tube called a Trash Disposal Unit (TDU), where it is compacted into a galvanized steel can. At the bottom of the TDU is a large ball valve. An ice plug is set on top of the ball valve to protect it, the cans atop the ice plug. The top breech door is shut, and the TDU is flooded and equalized with sea pressure, the ball valve is opened and the cans fall out assisted by scrap iron weights in the cans. The TDU is also flushed with seawater to ensure it is completely empty and the ball valve is clear before closing the valve.

A typical nuclear submarine has a crew of over 80; conventional boats typically have fewer than 40. The conditions on a submarine can be difficult because crew members must work in isolation for long periods of time, without family contact. Submarines normally maintain radio silence to avoid detection. Operating a submarine is dangerous, even in peacetime, and many submarines have been lost in accidents.

Most navies prohibited women from serving on submarines, even after they had been permitted to serve on surface warships. The Royal Norwegian Navy became the first navy to allow females on its submarine crews in 1985. The Royal Danish Navy allowed female submariners in 1988. Others followed suit including the Swedish Navy (1989), the Royal Australian Navy (1998), the German Navy (2001) and the Canadian Navy (2002). In 1995, Solveig Krey of the Royal Norwegian Navy became the first female officer to assume command on a military submarine, HNoMS Kobben. On 8 December 2011, British Defence Secretary Philip Hammond announced that the UK's ban on women in submarines was to be lifted from 2013. Previously there were fears that women were more at risk from a build-up of carbon dioxide in the submarine. But a study showed no medical reason to exclude women, though pregnant women would still be excluded. Similar dangers to the pregnant woman and her fetus barred females from submarine service in Sweden in 1983, when all other positions were made available for them in the Swedish Navy. Today, pregnant women are still not allowed to serve on submarines in Sweden. However, the policymakers thought that it was discriminatory with a general ban and demanded that females should be tried on their individual merits and have their suitability evaluated and compared to other candidates. Further, they noted that a female complying with such high demands is unlikely to become pregnant. In May 2014, three women became the RN's first female submariners. Women have served on US Navy surface ships since 1993, and as of 2011–2012, began serving on submarines for the first time. Until presently, the Navy only allowed three exceptions to women being on board military submarines: female civilian technicians for a few days at most, women midshipmen on an overnight during summer training for Navy ROTC and Naval Academy, and family members for one-day dependent cruises. In 2009, senior officials, including then-Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, Joint Chief of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen, and Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Gary Roughead, began the process of finding a way to implement females on submarines. The US Navy rescinded its "no women on subs" policy in 2010.Submarine - Wikipedia.htm - cite_note-women-on-virginia-71 Both the US and British navies operate nuclear-powered submarines that deploy for periods of six months or longer. Other navies that permit women to serve on submarines operate conventionally powered submarines, which deploy for much shorter periods—usually only for a few months. Prior to the change by the US, no nation using nuclear submarines permitted women to serve on board. In 2011, the first class of female submarine officers graduated from Naval Submarine School's Submarine Officer Basic Course (SOBC) at the Naval Submarine Base New London.[Additionally, more senior ranking and experienced female supply officers from the surface warfare specialty attended SOBC as well, proceeding to fleet Ballistic Missile (SSBN) and Guided Missile (SSGN) submarines along with the new female submarine line officers beginning in late 2011. By late 2011, several women were assigned to the Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine USS Wyoming. On 15 October 2013, the US Navy announced that two of the smaller Virginia-class attack submarines, USS Virginia and USS Minnesota, would have female crew-members by January 2015.

Abandoning the vessel

In an emergency, submarines can transmit a signal to other ships. The crew can use Submarine Escape Immersion Equipment to abandon the submarine. The crew can prevent a lung injury from the pressure change known as pulmonary barotrauma by exhaling during the ascent Following escape from a pressurized submarine, the crew is at risk of developing decompression sickness. An alternative escape means is via a Deep Submergence Rescue Vehicle that can dock onto the disabled submarine.

 

ALVIN.

The deep submergence vehicle Alvin is an advanced, state-of the-art, deep-diving submersible available for direct observation and investigation of the deep ocean. Alvin provides a diving experience that is unmatched by remote imaging systems, enabling excellent investigations of deep sea environments. Alvin’s numerous sensors provide large quantities of high-quality data, and new digital network interfaces allow integration of unique scientific devices and sampling tools. Digital images, HD video, and dive data travel over a new fiber-optic computer network for superb image collection and advanced systems monitoring and data analysis. Alvin recently completed the most extensive period of systems upgrades and improvements in its 50-year history. New systems include a larger personnel sphere, ergonomically designed interior, enhanced five window viewing area, digital command and control system, improved propulsion system, advanced imaging system with high-definition still images and 4K/HD video, digital scientific instrument interface system, enhanced science workspace, and manipulator positioning as well as numerous other improvements. The Alvin Program’s engineers and technicians are available to assist with any project, utilizing their many decades of engineering and operational expertise toward solving complex and challenging problems in the deep sea. In 2020, Alvin will complete the final systems conversions for operations to 6,500 meters, enabling access to over 95% of the world’s oceans. Alvin is owned by the U.S. Navy’s Office of Naval Research (ONR) and operated as a part of the National Deep Submergence Facility (NDSF) at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

 

 

SEAmagine Hydrospace.

A California based company established since 1995 and a leading designer and manufacturer of small manned submersibles with over 12,000 dives accumulated by its existing fleet. The company produces two to six-person models with depth ratings ranging from 150 to 1,500 meters for the professional, scientific, and super yacht markets. All SEAmagine submersibles are classed by the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) and are based on the company’s patented technologies. The company has been producing its two and three-person Ocean Pearl models for many years and is now additionally offering its latest three to six-person Aurora submarine product line. The Aurora design is based on a hyper-hemisphere acrylic cabin but with its field of view greatly enhanced by moving the access hatch away from the top of the window into a separate compartment behind the main cabin. This design’s unique ability to tilt at surface provides an extremely stable platform that does not require obtrusive forward pontoons that severely restrict peripheral viewing. The Aurora-3C is the lightest and most compact three-person Aurora model with a dry weight of only 3,800 kilograms and a depth rating of 450 meters. This model will fit a standard shipping container and offers the largest hull interior in its weight category. The Aurora-3 to Aurora-6 are  three to six-person models with deeper depth ratings up to 1,000 and 1,500 meters.

 

 

Aquatica Submarines.

Delivers stunning productions in the newest format. Underwater filmmaking is notoriously problematic. Multiply the requirements of operating one camera underwater by six, and you have arrived at the crux of 360° cinematography’s difficulty. In telling the story of the ancient glass sponge gardens of Howe Sound, the crew of Aquatica Submarines encountered and solved some of the greatest challenges to immersive underwater filmmaking— for media dynamo National Geographic. The crew created a filming environment full of vibrant, multidimensional light and worked with a large team of underwater.

 

OceanGate.

An operator of manned submersible services for site survey and inspection, data collection, media production, and deep sea testing will soon launch Cyclops 2, a five-man submersible to reach depths of 4,000 meters. When completed, it will be the only privately owned submersible in the world capable of diving to such depths and the first since 2005 to survey the historic RMS Titanic shipwreck. Featuring the largest viewport of any deep-diving submersible, her carbon fiber and titanium construction makes Cyclops 2 lighter than any other deep-sea submersible so she can be more efficiently mobilized. Outfitted with external 4K cameras, multibeam sonar, laser scanner, inertial navigation, and an acoustic synthetic baseline positioning system, the submersible hosts the most advanced technology available. Evolving the launch platform designed by HURL, OceanGate’s mobile subsea launch and recovery platform and deep-sea manned submersible, Cyclops 2, work in tandem to form an integrated dive system used to launch and recover the sub and serve as a service and maintenance platform. The integrated system eliminates the need for A-frames, cranes, and scuba divers, allowing expedition crews to efficiently mobilize and operate in remote locations on a wide variety of ships. Initial dives will begin in January 2018 in Puget Sound before deploying to the Bahamas for deep-sea validation in April. The 2018 Titanic Survey Expedition is a six-week expedition to capture the first ever 4K images of the iconic wreck. These images will be paired with high-definition laser scans to create an interactive 3D model of the wreck and provide an objective baseline to assess the decay of the wreck over time.

 

JFD

JFD, has demonstrated why it is a global leader in submarine rescue after two weeks of intensive exercises at sea off the coast of Western Australia. In some of the world’s most challenging waters, “Black Carillon 2017” showcased JFD Australia’s superior ability to save lives in a deep-sea submarine emergency. As a trusted and proven strategic capability partner of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN,) JFD Australia conducted the annual safety exercise with the support of a robust local supply chain that helped deliver and install critical submarine rescue equipment to the two participating ships, MV BESANT and MV STOKER. Launching from the deck of MV STOKER, JFD’s free-swimming LR5 rescue vehicle with a pilot and two crew, was sent down to depths of 400 meters to locate the underwater target seat and simulate the safe “mating” to the rescue seat of a real submarine. This is a crucial exercise as it also serves to maintain the submersible’s third party certification ensuring that it is ready and fit for its hazardous duty year-round. “This year threw up some very tough conditions, the weather was closing in and our operations team, engineers, and technicians really needed to put their knowledge and experience to the test,” The fortnight of exercises also included mock rescues in shallower waters of 136 meters, using the RAN submarine, HMAS WALLER.  JFD Australia is also soon to deliver a hyperbaric equipment suite to the Australian Government that will offer lifesaving medical and decompression treatment for up to 65 survivors with room for a further 14 chamber operators and medical staff . “JFD Australia has a solid track record in offering a full submarine rescue system from the maintenance and service centre at Bibra Lake, south of Perth. That is on standby at all times and ready to respond within 12 hours.

 

Submarines: Sex, Drugs And SSBNs

During October 2017 the British Royal Navy dismissed nine sailors from HMS Vigilant one of its four SSBNs (nuclear powered ballistic missile submarines) when they tested positive for cocaine use. These drug tests took place because of an investigation of the sub commander violating navy rules prohibiting sexual relations between male and female crew, especially senior and junior officers. The captain, it turned out, was rather too close to one of his two female junior officers. The Royal Navy has several female officers qualified to serve on nuclear subs and recent photos indicate one of them was involved with the sub commander. In addition numerous members of the crew are accused of participating in parties involving drug use. This has led to mandatory drug tests for all sailors assigned to nuclear subs. So far about ten percent of the HMS Vigilant crew are charged with serious violations. Problems like this on modern subs, both nuclear and non-nuclear, are increasingly common. That’s because the countries with the high tech subs, especially the nuclear ones, also have the personnel qualified to join the navy, complete the training and serve on these costly (multi-billion dollars for an SSBN) boats. The problem the skilled people on SSBN crew are expected to spend long periods of time at sea and out of touch with the world (for security purposes). One solution to the skilled sailor shortage is to recruit women. That works better on shore bases and surface ships than it does on SSBNs. The HMS Vigilant was an example and now recruiting will be more difficult because of the bad publicity and crew shortages will get worse. There is no easy answer and it even occurs with high-end diesel-electric subs. The drug use and fraternization rules are there to maintain crew capabilities, especially in a crisis. There is no easy or simple solution for this. Meanwhile the British SSBN force has other problems. There were revelations earlier in 2017 year of a mid-2016 incident where another of the Royal Navy SSBNs had conducted a test firing of a Trident SLBM (sea launched ballistic missile) and malfunction caused the missile to head towards the U.S. east coast rather than out into the Atlantic. It was the only Royal Navy test firing since 2012 and only the fifth since 2000. There are not a lot of these live tests because they are very expensive ($22 million each). But these tests are necessary to be sure the huge investment in SSBNs (several billion dollars each) and weapons actually work. This Trident failure was rare and is believed specific to the British version of the Trident. In any event details of the problem are kept secret lest potential enemies benefit from that knowledge. Problems with SLBMs are not new. During the early 1960s, a flaw in the warheads of the American Polaris SLBM meant the nuclear device would not detonate. The error was not detected for a while. When it was, the problem proved immune to numerous solutions. Meanwhile, the missiles might as well have carried rocks in their warheads. Polaris was eventually replaced by Trident but that particular bit of wisdom motivated SLBM manufacturers and users to pay attention to quality control and testing.

 

Royal Navy Submarine Problems.

Britain has had more than its share of technical problems with its smaller SSBN force. In late 2012 one of the British SSBNs suffered a rudder failure after test firing a SLBM off North America (Florida). The sub (the HMS Vanguard) has just undergone a midlife refurbishment that cost over half a billion dollars. After the rudder problem was discovered, the Vanguard entered an American shipyard in nearby Georgia for repairs. The Royal Navy has not revealed details of how a sub fresh out of a three year refurbishment could suffer a rudder failure four months later. This is not the first such embarrassment for the Vanguard. The rudder problem comes years after the sub collided with a French SSBN while submerged in the mid-Atlantic. The damage to both boats was superficial but it was embarrassing how two SSBNs could have bumped into each other in the middle of an ocean. There are other problems with the Vanguard and its three sister ships. The major one is that there is, as yet, no certainty that they will be replaced when they wear out by 2030 or so. There is some work under way to design and build a new generation of British SSBNs. In 2009 Britain hired an American submarine builder (General Dynamics) to design a Common Missile Compartment (CMC) for Britain’s next class of SSBN, which are to begin replacing the current Vanguard class boats in the 2020s. The current Vanguard boats are 150 meters (465 feet) long, displace 14,000 tons, have a crew of 135, and entered service in the 1990s. They carry 16 Trident II missiles, weighing 59 tons, with a range of 11,300 kilometers and carrying up to eight warheads. A new class of SSBNs is expected to be about the same size but that will cost up to $30 billion, and there is growing support in Britain for doing away with their SSBNs altogether. The British government had ample support in parliament to design and build four new Dreadnought class SSBNs to enter service by 2030 and replace the elderly Vanguard SSBNs. The U.S. Navy will use the CMC for its next class of SSBNs. This makes sense because Britain buys the ballistic missiles for its SSBNs from the United States. It would be too expensive for Britain to design and build its own SSBN ballistic missiles. Thus the CMC will have to be designed by an American firm, with access to data on the characteristics (especially the dimensions) of future missiles for SSBNs. Britain and the United States have long cooperated on designing nuclear submarines, especially SSBNs. The U.S. and Britain are designing two different SSBNs. But each sub will have many common features, like the CMC, and that will save a lot of money for both nations. The 18 U.S. Ohio class SSBNs were built between 1979 and 1997. The 16,000 ton Ohios were built to serve for twenty years, but that has been extended at least 15 and possibly 30 years. The U.S. has decided to replace the Ohios with a similar design that incorporates more modern tech as has been used in the Seawolf and Virginia class SSNs. One option Britain may consider is simply buying four of the new American SSBNs, although such boats would be full of British designed and built equipment as are the current Vanguards. Meanwhile the U.S. Navy is upgrading and refurbishing its Trident II SLBMs so that these weapons will still be effective until 2040. There have already been upgrades to the electronics and mechanical components in the guidance system. Upgrades are underway to the reentry body (heat shield and such that gets individual warheads to the ground intact). Some of the upgrades are classified and details on all of them are kept secret for obvious reasons. The Trident II is one of those rare complex systems that consistently perform flawlessly. They do exist. For example, test firings of production models of the Trident II have never failed. There have been 148 of these missile launches each involving an SSBN (ballistic missile carrying nuclear sub) firing one of their Trident IIs, with the nuclear warhead replaced by one of similar weight but containing sensors and communications equipment. The test results for the Trident while in development were equally impressive, with 87 percent successful (in 23 development tests) for the Trident I and 98 percent (49 tests) of the Trident II. The Trident I served from 1979-2005, while the Trident II entered service in 1990 and may end up serving for half a century. Trident II is a 59 ton missile with a max range of 7,200-11,000 kilometers (depending on the number of warheads carried). Up to eight W76 nuclear warheads can be carried, each with the explosive power equal to 100,000 tons of high explosives. The navy recently bought another 108 Trident IIs at a cost of $31 million each. The success of the Trident is in sharp contrast to the problems Russia and China have had developing SLBMs. The latest Russian SLBM, the Bulava (also known as R-30 3M30 and SS-NX-30), was almost cancelled because test flights kept failing. The Bulava finally successfully completed its test program on December 23rd, 2011. That made 11 successful Bulava test firings out of 18 attempts. The last two missiles make five in a row that were successfully fired. As a result of this, the Bulava has been accepted into service, with a development test firing success rate of 61 percent, but some last minute glitches led to more tests and Bulava entering service in 2013. But since then there have been failures during tech launches. While the Bulava has problems the Russians have a track record of eventually getting workable SLBMs into service. Not so the Chinese (so far) and their JL (Julang) 2 SLBM, which was supposed to enter service in 2008 and finally (according to the Chinese) did so in 2015. In the meantime the new Type 94 SSBN designed to carrly the JL-2 also has problems. There are four in service but they spend little time at sea and there have not been many test launches of the JL-2 SLBM. The JL-2 has had a lot of problems, as have the SSBNs that carried them. The 42 ton JL-2 has a range of 8,000 kilometers and would enable China to aim missiles at any target in the United States from a 094 class SSBN cruising off Hawaii or Alaska. Each 094 boat can carry twelve of these missiles, which are naval versions of the existing land based 42 ton DF-31 ICBM. Few Chinese SSBNs have yet gone on an extended combat cruise because these boats have been very unreliable and the twelve JL-2 SLBMs each carries are not much better off. But the Chinese are persistent and eventually they get modern weapons systems of their own design and manufacture to work. With their SSBNs and SLBMs it’s not a matter of if but when.

Take a real submarine trip to the deep

The unknowable expanse of the oceans has become a little more familiar after Blue Planet II. Now it is set to become more familiar still to tourists with enough cash to spare. The BBC series is the most-watched show of 2017, with 14.1 million viewers tuning in for unseen wonders like cannibalistic Humboldt squid, methane belching from the ocean floor and an underwater lake of brine. Scenes like these are beyond the view of anyone except TV crews, scientists and explorers – but not for much longer. Submarine tourism is riding a wave of interest that is likely to swell as the series continues. Bubble-shaped submarines like the ones used in Blue Planet II are the new must-have accessory for high-end cruise liners around the world. The first large deep-diving tourist submarine will go into service in Vietnam in 2019, and next year a luxury submarine will start running tours to the bottom of the Atlantic to see the Titanic. One of the companies investing in submarines is Scenic, which is equipping its newest cruise ship, the Eclipse, with two six-seater subs for its launch next year. The 226-berth vessel will begin operations in the Mediterranean, then make its way to the Arctic, according to brand manager Nichola Absalom. “The fact we can take people to the Arctic and Antarctic means people can see the whales and the polar bears and penguins in their natural environment,” Absalom said. The Eclipse’s submarines will reach depths of about 200m – the edge of the mesopelagic zone, the oceans’ twilight zone where not enough light penetrates the water to support plant life. Other tour operators have their sights set much deeper, on the bathypelagic or midnight zone. Elizabeth Ellis, the founder of Blue Marble Private, a luxury travel company in London, has been working with the US firm OceanGate Expeditions to build a nine-berth submarine that will sail from Newfoundland to reach the wreck of the Titanic, about 3,800 metres (12,500 ft) below sea level. The tours start next year, with two already sold out and more planned for 2019, although with tickets priced at more than $100,000 it’s not for everyone.  “When you have a submarine that can go to those depths, the possibilities are endless,” Ellis said. “The Titanic is obviously an iconic site, but as Blue Planet showed there are many other places, hydro-thermals for example. We are on the cusp of something extraordinary.” The number of cruise ships with submarines has been growing steadily over the past two years. The Malaysian company Genting has four ships equipped with submarines made by the Dutch company U-Boat Worx, which has five more in production. Other cruise ship and superyacht subs are made by Triton, based in Miami, which also built the submarines used by the BBC. Triton’s co-founder, Patrick Lahey, is one of the pioneers of the new bubble subs. Aston Martin recently announced a tie-up with Triton to produce a $4m submarine for the super-rich as the ultimate super-yacht accessory. “Ten years ago I was going round yacht shows and people would laugh at me: ‘Here’s the guy who wants to put a submarine on your yacht’. Now the yacht manufacturers are coming to us,” Lahey said. Triton is building a new 24-seater submarine for a Vietnamese company, which will operate in depths of 100m. The smaller leisure subs will go down more than 300m. Key to the growth of leisure and tourist submarines is acrylic engineering.. “There’s nothing quite as exciting as a transparent pressure boundary,” Lahey said, referring to the clear acrylic domes seen in the Blue Planet II subs which are 30cm thick. “The ability to manufacture them, to make them bigger and better, has really made a difference.” Submarines are a more convenient way for people to see the ocean depths than scuba diving, Lahey said, because they are pressurised at about one atmosphere. It means passengers can go straight back up the surface and step out of the vessel. Scuba divers typically go no deeper than 30m and must ascend gradually to avoid decompression sickness, known as “the bends”. The other improvement fuelling the growth of submarines is batteries, according to Eric Hasselman of U-Boat Worx, who pointed out that basic submarine technology had not changed conceptually since a Dutchman called Cornelis Drebbel managed to take a submarine down the Thames in 1620, burning saltpetre to create oxygen. “What’s changed is battery technology,” Hasselman said. “With the same volume and weight we have 10 times more battery power now. It means our submarines can go 18 hours without recharging.” “All submarines apart from military ones are battery-powered, so there’s no pollution. Fish are not scared of submarines and big mammals come close to observe what has come into their territory.

Trident submarine plans facing problems, says MoD report

 

UK plans for the next generation of Trident submarine reactors are under threat from staff shortages and spending cuts, according to an expert report for the Ministry of Defence. The report criticises the MoD’s nuclear submarine programme as “introspective”, “somewhat incestuous” and warns it’s facing a “perfect storm” of problems. It also urges the MoD to work more closely with the civil nuclear power industry. Critics warn that the MoD is putting public safety at risk by cutting corners, and that nuclear defence could be “cross-subsidised” by the civil industry. The submarine report was commissioned by the MoD in 2014 after a radiation leak at the Vulcan reactor testing facility near Dounreay in Caithness. The leak forced a £270 million re-jig of the refuelling programme for existing Trident submarines based on the Clyde. But the report has been kept secret since then, until a heavily-censored version was released by the MoD earlier this month under freedom of information law. It was written by three academics close to the nuclear industry – Professor Robin Grimes from Imperial College in London, Professor Dame Sue Ion who used to be a director of British Nuclear Fuels Limited, and Professor Andrew Sherry from the University of Manchester. They were asked to review plans for a new reactor to power the Dreadnought submarines due to replace the four existing Trident-armed Vanguard submarines in the 2030s. The availability of specialist nuclear staff “appears to be at the bare minimum necessary to deliver the programme”, their report concluded.  “We believe the naval nuclear propulsion programme could soon be facing a perfect storm with an ageing expert community facing competition from a resurgent civil nuclear industry.” Capability is “sparse”, they warned. They criticised the programme for a “culture of optimism” that assumed success. Research groups were “introspective and closed”, and the programme was viewed as “somewhat incestuous”. They said that driving down cost was “potentially introducing consequent risks which do not to us appear to have been properly addressed.” The MoD should, they said, “seek imaginative methods to better engage with the emergent civil new build programme on nuclear matters to the benefit of defence.” The SNP insisted safety had to be paramount. “It is absolutely clear from this report, and many others we have seen, that the MoD is dangerously trying to cut corners – and that is clearly very worrying,” said the party’s defence spokesperson at Westminster, Stewart McDonald MP. “I don’t know which is the more alarming, the amount of this report that is redacted or what we actually can read about the continued pressure to find savings in nuclear programmes.” Dr Phil Johnstone, a nuclear researcher at the University of Sussex, said: “This report reveals that the difficulties experienced by the UK submarine programme are even more serious than was known before.” There was great pressure “to engineer a cross-subsidy from electricity consumers to cover the huge costs of maintaining the military nuclear industry,” he argued. His colleague at Sussex University, professor Andy Stirling, added: “Military pressures for secretive support to an uneconomic civil nuclear power industry are not just placing a burden on UK electricity consumers, but are threatening the rigour of public accounting and the accountability of UK democracy.” Nuclear Information Service, the research group that obtained the report, pointed out that the public were already paying for submarine reactor mishaps. “Plans for the new Dreadnought submarines are based on the assumption that nothing will go wrong,” he said.“This cavalier attitude virtually guarantees that taxpayers will be picking up the bill for the MoD's complacency for decades to come.” An MoD spokesman said, “The MoD ,of course, faces challenges in this highly-specialised area, which we work to meet,” said a spokesman. “Our spending is carefully managed so we can rightly focus our rising budget on our priorities to keep the country safe whilst delivering value for money for the taxpayer. Our nuclear programme is fully accountable to ministers and faces regular independent scrutiny.” He stressed that the MoD’s nuclear programme “absolutely” meets required safety standards. “This has not and will not be compromised and remains our priority,” he said. None of the three authors of the MoD report responded to requests to comment.

 

 

SUBSEA, SUBMERSIBLE, ROV ELECTRIC MOTORS.

Silvercrest/SME can design and build Motor-pump sets, ROV HPU, SUBSEA, SUBMERSIBLE, ROV motors to suit any requirement due our totally flexible design capabilities:



      Flexible External Dimensions to suit all applications.

       Dimensions to allow drop in replacement for existing units.

       Anodised aluminium, or, 316 stainless steel.

       Power drive to load using an output shaft with a standard coupling, or, close coupled, etc.

       Single drive shaft, or, a drive shaft at both ends, (double shaft extension).

SME can design and build a motor with a completely new lamination to meet special design requirements, if necessary.

 

SME design their motors so they do not run hot. Typical motors can run on deck for at least 10 minutes on full load, with no cooling, without overheating. The motors are designed to be compact in size and suitable for heavy duty applications, like trenching.

If weight is important SME can design the motor for minimum weight by utilising an aluminium construction and a hollow motor shaft, etc., while still ensuring the motor is generously rated for full load operation. If the motor is going to drive a hydraulic pump we recommend a close coupled arrangement to save the weight of the coupling and the coupling housing.

SME can design and build motors for all voltages from 24 Volts to 4160 Volts with 50Hz or 60Hz frequencies, or for VVVF requirements. High Voltage motors can have random stator windings, or formed coils, depending on space and weight constraints. The winding wire for the High Voltage motors is double insulated and passes a twisted wire test at 16,000 volts and is rated up to 155 Deg.C. All windings are designed to keep 'turn to turn' voltage to a minimum. All winding materials and cables, etc. are specially selected to be suitable for use in hydraulic oil.

 



In general the SME SUBSEA motors have low loss lamination steel (3 Watts/kg), which allows for higher flux densities, and less heat, with less material and weight.

All motors are oil filled and we recommend hydraulic oils for good lubrication characteristics in preference to electrical oil which has better di-electric capabilities, but worse lubrication capabilities.

If motors are going to drive a water pump SME can design the motor to take the thrust load from the pump, and keep the sea water out of the motor with a single or double mechanical seal arrangement.

Thruster motors can be designed and built for voltage/speed control, which is a relatively simple speed control system, and they can also be built with a thrust bearing incorporated to take the thrust load from the impeller.

To ensure the integrity of the motor housing SME does not use castings. All components are machined from solid or from extrusions. The external aluminium components are typically 6061 T6 marine grade aluminium and hard anodised to a military specification.

All ball bearings are from well known brands such as SKF, FAG, or NSK. Oil seals are high temperature and typically made from Viton. Mechanical seals are typically Burgmann.

All hardware used on SME SUBSEA motors is 316SS.

All fixing holes are blind except the "oil in" and "oil out" fittings and the stator pack fixing bolt, if applicable.

The preferred power cable entry system for SME motors is to use an "oily tube" connected to an adaptor which is part of an oil tight rubber gland which is fixed to the stator frame. SME do not recommend bringing the power cables through the endshields of the motor because this creates additional complications when the motors are stripped down during service, because the endshields cannot be readily removed from the stator. Subsea connectors can be offered as an alternative to the Oily Tube if requested.

 



SME strongly recommend that the motors are supplied with PT100s fitted in the windings and also in the bearings and that the internal motor temperatures are monitored and set up to alarm if the temperatures rise above the "norm". SME can also offer additional protection with a water detector, etc. The auxiliary connections for PT100s, etc. can be made through standard high pressure, water tight, plug and sockets as supplied by "Subconn", "Impulse", and "Burton". These are also fitted to a connection block on the stator, not on the endshield.

All finished motors are pressure tested to ensure they are "oil tight" and suitable for compensated operation down to 4000 metres.

All motors are rated for continuous operation and all prototype motors are full load performance tested at rated voltage and rated frequency to confirm their performance characteristics. All motors can be issued with a "Type Test Certificate" or even full load tested at additional cost, if required.

SME can also offer to arrange for hydraulic pumps to be set up and tested on the motors at rated voltage and frequency.

SME can offer to supply Hydraulic Power Units, ROV HPU, complete with the addition of a customer specified Hydraulic Pump. Also motor-pump sets for both hydraulic and water jetting applications.

SME is a fully quality assured company to ISO 9001.2000 for "Design, development, manufacture, and testing of submersible electric motors and electric motors for remotely operated vehicles".

SME Subsea motors can be designed and built for all subsea applications, such as ROVs, Trenchers, Ploughs, Submarines, Dredges, etc.

All makes of subsea motor can be serviced, repaired and tested by SME. In some cases the original motors can be significantly upgraded. If you are having problems with your existing subsea motors please contact SME - we are keen to help and we are very price competitive.

At SME we are continually working on improving the performance of our products and for this reason we reserve the right to make changes without notice to any of the data in this brochure.

 

SUBSEA/ROV MOTORS:

 

 

 

Silvercrest/SME build and repair ROV submersible motors for all subsea applications. We design, manufacture, and supply, submersible electric motors for all SUBSEA and ROV, SUBSEA equipment, also for any special purpose submersible electric motor requirements.

Silvercrest/SME offer SUBSEA electric generators for Tidal Power Generation.

We repair and rewind large high voltage (500kW, 6600V) submersible electric motors.

High Temperature Submersibles in 6-inch to 20inch frames suitable for operation in ambient temperatures of 75 Deg. C.

Supply High Voltage water filled submersible motors (3300V, 4160V and 6600V)

Supply Upgraded Temperature Monitoring units, with new improved user-friendly parameter settings.

Manufacture Subsea and ROV motors suitable for depths of 4000M.


Manufacture Subsea Electric Generators for Tidal Generation.

Induction Generators or slow speed Permanent Magnet Synchronous Generators unto 500kW.

 

SUBMERSIBLE MOTORS and PUMPS.


We offer a wide range of electric submersible motors with matched hydraulic and water pumps.

We have our own submersible motors that are drop-in replacements for most of the popular models in use today. 

We can supply ROV HPU submersible motors from 30kW to 250kW, trenching HPU submersible motors from 100kW to 500kW, trenching jetting pumps, plough HPU submersible motors, plough jetting pump sets, turbine and centrifugal water pumps, and hydraulic pumps (Rexroth A7 and A10 series, Sauer 90 series and Kawasaki KV3 series).

   
We offer AC thrusters as direct replacements to existing DC thrusters from 1kW to 50kW in size.

Silvercrest/SME design and build specialized Submersible ROV motors for use SUBSEA in the offshore industry. These motors are usually made to order and vary from 1kW to 600kW, from 400 to 6600 Volts, 50 or 60 Hz, 2 Pole, 4 Pole, 6 Pole and 8 Pole.

We can repair, rewind, rebuild, and redesign any ROV submersible electric motor.

Silvercrest/SME design and manufacture specialized motors for use on SUBSEA equipment used in the offshore industry.

There are two common methods of construction - stainless steel construction or Marine Grade aluminium that is Black anodized to resist corrosion. We can also offer motors manufactured from Duplex and Super Duplex stainless steel.

Our subsea motors are usually oil filled and pressure compensated. The common operating voltages are 400 volts, 3300 volts, 4160 volts and 6600 volts (even for small 5kW motors). Our motors operate at depths down to 4000 metres, or deeper by special request.

Silvercrest/SME manufacture complete submersible electric motors, motor-pump sets, and ROV HPU.

We offer submersible motor rewinding / rebuilding  /electrical conversion / and original construction modification.

SME can repair and completely rebuild most submersible electric motors (for example: Alstra, Aturia, Bamsa, B. J., Elmaksan, Exodyne/EEMI, G.E., Hayward Tyler, Hitachi, Mercury, Oddesse, Pleuger, Saer, S.M.E., Subteck, Sumo, Sun Star, U.S.).

 

Company Profile.

Silvercrest/SME manufactures new Submersible and ROV Motors. SME also services and repairs all brands of Submersible and ROV Motors. Including Hitachi, Pleuger, Grundfos, Mercury, Byron Jackson, Haywood Tyler, and Franklin.

Our business is to manufacture, supply and service Submersible Electric Motors, Subsea and ROV motors. With a compliment of 30 service orientated staff members, we have the ability to service and technically support all makes and models of Submersible Electric Motors at our Maddington, Perth facility. Our sales department, with a total of 75 years experience in the Submersible and Electric motor business, are happy to assist with any enquiries on the purchase of Submersible Motors, HPU, and motor-pump sets, ranging from 3.7kw to 1500kw, in various voltages and frequencies. 

In our 1200 ft facility, purpose built for manufacture and service of Submersible Electric Motors we offer the following in-house services:

Full Machine Shop capacity.

Voltage Testing through 10,000 volts.

ISO9001 quality assured workshop.

An Overhead crane through 10 ton capacity.

A state of the art Water Pressure Test facility with full international certification.

High POT and Surge Testing.

Full Load / Dyno testing to 250kw of all types of Electric Motors with detailed test reports.

Balancing Facility available, to 250 kg.

SME are a fully integrated manufacturing facility and in addition to our Standard range of submersible motors we also offer the following:

Special Motors for specialist applications.

4 Pole, 6 Pole and 8 Pole motors.

All Stainless Steel or more exotic material construction. 

Special Thrust ratings.

Special Lead manufacturing. 

NEMA and other couplings in a variety of materials.

Replacement parts of obsolete products. 

Technical assistance during Commissioning.

Trouble Shooting.

Repairs to all makes (Oil and Water filled).

Rewinds of all Voltages (200 volt to 6.6kv) with 1 Year Warranty on all rewinds.

Dynamic testing.

Non-Destructive testing.

Welding and Machining.

On site or Factory Based Cable Splicing.

Retro Fitting of Condition Monitoring Equipment.

Modification of existing motors to upgrade them higher specifications.

Refurbishment of ROV motors using more technically advanced materials.

 

Please contact us direct for confirmation of any drawing dimensions or performance data.

To Contact us:

Silvercrest/SME.

Tel: (+44) 1285.760620

Email: sales@SilvercrestSubmarines.com

 

Please contact us at anytime to discuss your submarine project or submarine purchase. We are always happy to offer suggestions and advice, and put you in contact with our worldwide group of contacts.


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