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 SILVERCREST SUBMARINES NEWSLETTER (2009-2011).

  Unisex bedrooms for submarines.

Separate sleeping quarters for men and women on submarines have been scrapped - a move the federal government says should offer women more career opportunities. Both sexes will now bunk together on all three of Australia's operational submarines, doing away with the usual female-only six-berth cabins. Defence Science and Personnel Minister Warren Snowdon said the old setup meant that women sometimes missed out on postings because of a lack of bed space. "This move will ensure that our female submariners access the same training and career progression opportunities as their male crew mates," he said in a statement on Wednesday. Women, who began working onboard the navy's submarines in 1998, were previously restricted to working on only two Australian navy submarines which had female cabins. He said officers and senior sailors had completed successful trials of the new system. Strict rules will apply to privacy. Mr Snowdon said new rules relating to women will also be brought in, preventing women from being posted where they are the only female onboard, or where there are no senior female officers. If there are only two women serving on a submarine and one is posted elsewhere, she will be replaced by another female. The first unisex bedrooms for junior sailors will open in July, shortly after a community forum is held in Rockingham, Western Australia on June 23 to seek feedback on implementation. It's considered a first for the defence force, which usually provides separate accommodation for men and women. There are currently 560 submariners, and 44 of them are women, a spokeswoman from Mr Snowdon's office said.

 

More Iranian Mini subs

Iran recently announced that it had put four more mini-submarines into service, for a total of eleven in the last five years. Over the last decade, Iran has, apparently with technical help from North Korea, been building mini-submarines for operations along its coasts, and throughout the Persian Gulf. The first two entered service about five years ago. The sub has a two man crew, and can carry three divers, or several naval mines, or a torpedo. The Iranians say they will use the mini-subs to lay mines or launch underwater commando attacks. While the North Koreans provided some technical assistance, the Iranian sub is a local design, smaller than most North Korean mini-subs, which is a reflection of the more turbulent seas found off the Korean coast. The Iranian subs appear to be based on the North Korean M100D, a 76 ton, 19 meter (58 foot) long boat that has a crew of four and can carry eight divers and their equipment. The North Koreans got the idea for the M100D when they bought the plans for a 25 ton Yugoslav mini-sub in the 1980s. Only four of those were built, apparently as experiments to develop a larger North Korean design. There are believed to be over 30 M100Ds, in addition to eleven of the Iranian variation.

Building subs like this are not high tech. A drug gang in Ecuador was recently caught building a 30 meter/98 foot long submarine on a jungle river. This boar was three meters/nine feet in diameter and capable of submerging to about 30 meters. The locally built boat had a periscope, conning tower and was air conditioned. It was captured where it was being assembled, and a nearby camp, for the builders, appeared to house about fifty people. This was the first such sub to be completed, but not the first to be built. Nearly a decade ago, Russian naval architects and engineers were discovered among those designing and building a similar, but larger, boat. However, that effort did not last, as the Russian designs were too complex and expensive. It was found easier to build semi-submersible craft. But more and more of these are being caught at sea. The recently discovered sub was not military grade. It could travel submerged, but not dive deep. It was built using the same fiberglass material used for the semi-submersible craft, but was larger, and had berths for six crew. There was space for about ten tons of cocaine. It probably cost several million dollars to build and was weeks away from completion and sea trials. The drug sub was similar to the small subs being built since the 1970s for offshore oil operations and underwater tourism.

North Korea has developed several mini-sub designs, most of them available to anyone with the cash to pay. The largest is the 250 ton Sang-O, which is actually a coastal sub modified for special operations. There is a crew of 19, plus either six scuba swimmer commandos, or a dozen men who can go ashore in an inflatable boat. Some Sang-Os have two or four torpedo tubes. Over thirty were built, and one was captured by South Korea when it ran aground in 1996. North Korea is believed to have fitted some of the Song-Os and M100Ds with acoustic tiles, to make them more difficult to detect by sonar. This technology was popular with the Russians, and that's where the North Koreans were believed to have got the technology. The most novel North Korean design is a submersible speedboat. This 13 meter (40 foot) boat looks like a speedboat, displaces ten tons and can carry up to eight people. It only submerges to a depth of about ten feet. Using a schnorkel apparatus (a pipe type device to bring in air and expel diesel engine fumes), the boat can move underwater. In 1998, a South Korean destroyer sank one of these. A follow on class displaced only five tons, and could carry six people (including one or two to run the boat). At least eight of these were believed built.

 

Looted Millions in Bribes from French Submarines Deal.

Asif Ali Zardari Looted Millions of Dollars of Bribes Paid to him in  a French Submarine Corruption Deal. Official Pakistani documents detailing how the country’s [illegal] president, Asif Ali Zardari, benefited from massive, secret payments connected to the sale of French submarines to Pakistan have been seized as evidence by a Paris magistrate investigating a suspected widespread scam surrounding the deal. The documents, revealed here for the first time by MediaPart, show that the payments to Zardari and others took place on the fringes of the sale of three Agosta-class submarines by the French defence contractor, the DCN, to Pakistan in the 1990s. The French sale succeeded against rival offers by Swedish and German contractors.  The sale, and the payment of bribes associated with it officially termed as commissions are at the core of what has become known as the ‘Karachi Affair’, currently the subject of two French judicial investigations and which has rocked the French political establishment with its potential far-reaching ramifications within France. A key allegation in the developing affair is that the cancellation of commissions paid out in the submarine deal was the motive behind a  ‘suicide’ bomb attack in Karachi on May 8th, 2002, that left 11 French engineers dead. They were in Pakistan to help build one of the Agosta submarines. Increasing evidence suggests that cancellation of the commissions, ordered by former French President Jacques Chirac, was decided after it was discovered they were in part re-routed back to France to fund political activities of Chirac’s principal political rival, Edouard Balladur. The documents, now in possession of Paris-based judge Renaud Van Ruymbeke, were found during a French police search in June 2010 of the home of Amir Lodhi, one of the intermediaries involved in securing the Agosta contract. Lodhi held a copy of a report by a Pakistani anti-corruption service, the Ehtesab [Accountability] Cell. Lodhi, 61, the brother of a former Pakistani ambassador to the United States [Maleeha Lodhi], is a close friend of Zardari, who [illegally] became president of Pakistan in 2008 one year after the assassination of his wife, Benazir Bhutto. The raid on Lodhi’s home in the French capital [Paris] was carried out by detectives from the French police national financial investigation division, the DNIF, (Division nationale des investigations financiers). The Ehtesab Cell documents were the object of a formal report by the DNIF, established on June 17th, 2010, and reveals that Zardari received backhanders worth 6,934,296 euros between October and December 1994. That report is now among the evidence collected by Van Ruymbeke in his investigations launched last autumn into the financial aspect of the Agosta submarine sale, and in particular whether commissions paid abroad were re-routed to fund political activities within France. Originally written in English, the Pakistani document was translated by the DNIF investigators and now provides the first clear details about the scale of the payments made to Zardari, amounting to several million euros, as well as the channels used, including offshore companies, bank accounts and a British tax haven. Bank Transfers to the Virgin Islands.The Agosta submarine contract was signed between the two countries [France and Pakistan] on September 21st, 1994, just weeks before the first payments began. At the time, Zardari was a minister in the Pakistani government then led by his wife, Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. Importantly, Zardari was the key figure for all public contracts signed with foreign countries. That position earned Zardari the unflattering nickname in his own country of “Mister 10%”. The main document seized by French investigators is a photocopy of an original dated November 9th, 1997, concerning a request by Pakistan to Switzerland for cooperation in a judicial investigation. The request by the Pakistani authorities to Switzerland aimed, according to the officer, “to obtain all the necessary information to pursue a criminal investigation and to try the former prime minister of Pakistan, Madame Bhutto, her husband, Monsieur Asif Ali Zardari, her mother, Begum Nusrat Bhutto and the other members of the Bhutto government, public servants and civilians implicated in the conspiracy of Madame Bhutto and/or her husband to misappropriate public funds for their own profit.” The French police report said the document explicitly referred to the Agosta contract: “This request concerns several cases of malpractice including that of the purchase of French submarines.” According to the DNIF investigators “the chronology and the currency [of the sums paid] suggest that these payments are secret commissions paid by the DCN-I [the commercial arm of the submarine builders DCN] to Monsieur Zardari and Monsieur Lodhi for their considerable service in assuring that DCN-I got the contract.” Huge sums are recorded at the end of 1994 alone, when a company called Marleton Business Inc. was set up through a lawyer in the tax haven of the British Virgin Islands for use by Zardari. A first payment of some of 5.5 million francs (about 838,000 euros) took place in October 1994  “of which 70% goes to Monsieur Zardari (AAZ) and 30% to Monsieur Lodhi  (AL),” noted the French police report.

Sarkozy’s Ministry ‘Approved’ Bribe Sums.

A second transfer took place two months later, in December, for an altogether larger sum of 59.48 million francs, (about 9.06 million euros) “divided into 41.636 million [francs] for Monsieur Zardari and 17.844 million for Monsieur Lodhi”. That represented 6,934,296 euros for the current [unlawful] president of Pakistan, and 2,971,841 euros for his partner. According to the French investigators, the official Pakistani documents seized in Lohdi’s Paris home also explain that “Messieurs Lodhi and Zardari received their bribes in the bank accounts of a series of offshore companies.” The report says they are all based in the Virgin Islands and they are identified by the DNIF as: Marvil Associated Inc., Penbury Finance, Oxton Trading, Crimities Holding and Dustan Trading. The banks involved in the payments were also recorded in the Pakistani documents, as well as the bank accounts used. “The commissions paid into the accounts, notably opened by these companies at the Pasche bank and the bank of Piguet et Cie, in Switzerland, were probably supplied by transfer from the Banque francaise du Commerce exterieur [French bank of Foreign Trade], account number 2700 0008358 or  IV10000083580.” Several high-profile witnesses questioned in November and December 2010 by judge Van Ruymbeke have insisted that the bribes paid in 1994 were perfectly legal and were approved by France’s then-Defence Minister, Francois Leotard, and its budget minister, now France’s President, Nicolas Sarkozy. In a statement he gave to Van Ruymbeke on November 9th, 2010, former DCN-I Finance Director, Gerard-Philippe Menayas, said “the total volume of the commissions was validated, contract by contract, by the ministers of the budget and defence.” In a statement given to judge Van Ruymbeke on December 7th, 2010, Jacques Dewatre, who in 1994 was head of the French foreign intelligence service, now called the DGSE, testified that “The approval for commissions is the responsibility of services which depend upon the Minister of Defence and the Minister of the Budget.”

MediaPart has learnt Van Ruymbeke’s investigation has already established that, in order to convince the Pakistani authorities to choose the French submarines, a very structured network of corruption was established by a French state company dedicated to such activities. This was the Societe francaise de materiels armement, the SOFMA, which partnered the designers and builders of the submarines, the DCN. Van Ruymbeke has evidence that the SOFMA set aside the equivalent in francs of 51.6 million euros for bribes to be paid out in the Pakistan deal. Influential agents working with the SOFMA used the money to gain the favours of numerous Pakistani dignitaries, in both military and political spheres. While the practice of commission payments was then legal for France, the reception of bribes was illegal in Pakistan. Asif Ali Zardari was one of the main benefactors of the paid bribes, according to a former SOFMA Managing Director, Henri Guittet. He evaluated the sum paid to Zardari as being 4% of the total value of the sales contract, which amounts to a value of 33 million euros. “I believe there was one percent paid upon the signature of the sales contract, which means at the moment when everything can get underway and when notably the deposit and [partial] down payment has been paid, and one percent later,” he said in a formal statement. “The remaining two percent was pro rata with the payment of the clients.” But French judicial investigators are investigating whether the Agosta contract also involved illegal payments in France. It was in the summer of 1994, despite the fact that negotiations with Pakistan over the sale were already successfully concluded, that the government of then-Prime Minister Edouard Balladour imposed two Lebanese intermediaries in the contract, Ziad Takieddine and Abdulrahman El-Assir. They were promised supplemantary commission payments worth more than 30 million euros. Both judge Van Ruymbeke and judge Marc Trevedic, who is heading investigations into the murders of the French engineers, have collected evidence suggesting that part of the supplementary commissions was destined for Balladur’s 1995 presidential election campaign. Trevedic’s investigation has discarded the theory touted by the Pakistani authorities that the engineers were targeted by al-CIA-da. He is now centering on suspicions that the bomb attack was directly or indirectly linked to the secret financial arrangements surrounding the Agosta deal. More precisely that it was in retaliation for the non-payment of commissions promised to Pakistanis after they were all blocked by Balladur’s rival Jacques Chirac, after he won the 1995 elections.

 

Canada to buy Nuclear Submarines.


CBC News has learned the Harper government is considering buying nuclear submarines to replace its problem-plagued fleet of diesel-powered subs, all of which are currently awash in red ink and out of service for major repairs. The four second-hand subs Jean Chrétien’s Liberal government bought from the British navy in 1998 for $750 million were portrayed at the time as the military bargain of the century. Instead, they have spent almost all of their time in naval repair yards, submerging Canadian taxpayers in an ocean of bills now totalling more than $1 billion and counting. One of the subs, HMCS Chicoutimi, has been in active service of the Royal Canadian Navy exactly two days in the 13 years since it was purchased from the Brits. The Chicoutimi caught fire on its maiden voyage from the U.K. to Canada, killing one sailor and injuring a number of others. It has been in the repair shop ever since, and isn’t expected back in service for at least another two years and $400 million more in repairs and retrofits. National Defence said this week that one of the subs, the Victoria, could be back in service in 2012. The other three would remain out of service until at least 2013. One may not be out of the repair shop until 2016. By that time, the submarines will have cost taxpayers an estimated $3 billion, almost enough to have bought all new subs in the first place. But the real problem is that by the time the whole fleet is in active service for the first time in 2016, the submarines will already be almost 30 years old with only perhaps 10 years of life left in them. High-ranking sources tell CBC News the government is actively considering cutting its losses on the dud subs, and mothballing some if not all of them. Defence Minister Peter MacKay is hinting they might be replaced with nuclear submarines that could patrol under the Arctic ice, something the existing diesel-electric subs cannot do. Outside the Commons this week, MacKay told CBC News the government is anxious to have its submarine fleet fully operational as soon as possible, providing a “very important capability for the Canadian Forces.” But asked whether the government might look at other subs, MacKay said: “Well there was a position taken some time ago to go with diesel-electric. “But you know, in an ideal world, I know nuclear subs are what's needed under deep water, deep ice.” Nuclear submarines are hugely expensive — they start around $3 billion apiece — and it is unclear where the Harper government would find that kind of money, much less how it could justify such an enormous expenditure during a period of supposed austerity. The last time a Canadian government seriously considered nuclear subs was in the late 1980s before then prime minister Brian Mulroney sank the whole program amid a public uproar. A decade later, the Chrétien government bought the four used diesel subs from the British navy in large part because it was seen as such a huge bargain. Senator Art Eggleton, who was Liberal defence minister at the time, told CBC News Thursday that his government gave "absolutely no consideration" to buying nuclear submarines, although some inside the navy were pushing for them. "We were coming out of a period of budget-cutting and nuclear submarines would have been far too expensive." Instead, the British navy was offering a deal Eggleton said the Canadian military couldn’t refuse — the four diesel-electric submarines mothballed after only two years in service when the Royal Navy switched to nuclear subs. "We got them at a quarter of the cost it would have cost to build new ones," Eggleton says. "We wouldn’t have had the money to build new ones." He concedes the Liberal government gave serious consideration to not having submarines at all. "It was either buy these subs, or get out of the submarine business altogether." Some defence critics think that’s exactly what the current Conservative government should be considering — scrapping the problem-plagued diesel-electric fleet rather than throwing what they see as good money after bad. “When you look at the cost of trying to get these things seaworthy again, it just doesn’t make sense," said Steven Staples, president of the Rideau Institute on defence issues. The Harper government has just awarded a $25-billion contract to build a new fleet of Canadian destroyers and frigates, and Staples says that should be enough. “Once you are in a hole, the first thing that you should do is stop digging, so I think that it is time to say goodbye to the submarines right now and focus on the new surface fleet.” Staples says the history of the diesel subs suggests Canada could get by without them. "The fact that all four submarines are sitting tied up at a dry dock right now doesn’t mean that Canada is in any great danger. It makes no difference to our security.”

New Nuke-carrying Borey Class Submarine Tested.


Sea trials of the new Rusian Borey class submarine, the Aleksandr Nevsky, has started in the White Sea. The boat is the first series-produced vessel of its kind and is to become part of Russia’s nuclear deterrence. The submarine was laid down in March 2004 and first launched in December 2010 reports Itar-Tass. The company trial of the Nevsky is done under the command of Captain 1st rank Vasily Tankovid. His crew come from the Pacific Fleet and have passed special training course to man the modern submarine. The first vessel of this class, the Yury Dolgoruky, is currently involved in fire tests of the nuclear ballistic missile Bulava and its upgraded version the Liner. Producer of the submarines, Sevmash shipyards, are building another boat of the series, the Vladimir Monomakh, at the moment. The Navy wants a total of eight Borey class submarines deployed by 2020. They will be the backbone of Russian naval nuclear deterrence for at least several decades to come. Each vessel costs about $750 million, according to the producer. The submarines are 170 meters long, 13.5 meters wide, have a displacement of 24,000 tonnes, can submerge up to 450 meters and travel at speeds of up to 29 knots. They can carry between 12 and 20 MIRVed nuclear missiles, depending on the vessel. They are also armed with six 533-caliber torpedo tubes, which fire Vyuga cruise missiles. The vessels are manned by 107 officers and sailors. They are equipped with a rescue capsule, which can bring call crew members back to the surface in an emergency.

Turkish submarine deal with Germany.

A major loan deal between German banks and the Turkish Treasury has rescued a multibillion-dollar submarine contract between the Turkish state and German shipyard Howaldswerke Deutsche Werft, or HDW. Turkish officials and HDW had long been in tough negotiations over the terms of finance for the submarine deal, and some industry sources had expected a collapse of talks as they dragged for several months. Still the Turkish Treasury announced on the last day of 2010 that a financing deal finally had been reached. “For the financing of the production of [six] submarines in Turkey, an export credit agreement in the amount of 1.878 billion euros was signed between the Undersecretariat of the Treasury and bank consortium led by Bayerische Landesbank, and a commercial loan agreement in the amount of 309 million euros was signed between the Undersecretariat of the Treasury and a bank consortium led by WestLB London Branch on Dec. 31. The total amount of financing provided equals 2.187 billion euros,” the statement said. A procurement official familiar with the program said the loan deal has paved the way for finalization of the contract. “The deal has removed the last obstacle against the contract taking effect,” he said. Turkey and HDW, an affiliate of the conglomerate ThyssenKrupp, signed the submarine contract in July 2009, but no price was disclosed at the time. HDW won the contract in partnership with the Britain-based Marine Force International LLP. Industry sources said submarines were probably the only naval platform that Turkey needed nearly full foreign technology to obtain. "That situation will not change in the foreseeable future despite major progress at Turkish shipyards," said a source, on condition of anonymity. Turkey is building its own corvette-type ships and hopes to produce its own frigates by the end of this decade. Several Turkish shipyards already are producing patrol boats, coast guard boats and other amphibious platforms. Turkey originally selected HDW against French and Spanish rivals in the summer of 2008, when officials said the German offer was worth 2.5 billion euros. Renegotiations over price and a clear road map for Turkish local participation have led to a final agreement on a price reduction of over 500 million euros, bringing down the final cost to around 2 billion euros. Under the Turkish modern submarine program, the non-nuclear vessels will be built at the Navy’s Gölcük Shipyard on the Marmara Sea coast near Istanbul. The submarine program will form Turkey's largest defense modernization project after a planned $11 billion deal to buy 100 next-generation F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Lightning II aircraft for the Air Force. Ankara is hoping the new U-219 submarines will enter service shortly after 2015. This is two years later than the original schedule drawn up when the program originally was launched a few years ago. With a decision to go ahead with the new submarine program Turkey scrapped an earlier modernization plan for its older Ay-class submarines, also built by HDW.

 

Mini-Submarines to investigate Lake Geneva pollution.


Two mini-submarines that have filmed the wreckage of the doomed luxury cruise liner Titanic will dive into Lake Geneva to gauge its pollution levels, Swiss researchers said Tuesday. Lionel Pousaz, spokesman for the Federal Polytechnic of Lausanne, said that final trials by submarines Mir 1 and Mir 2 were carried out at the lake on Tuesday and that the three-month-long exploration would begin Wednesday. The two submarines have plumbed depths of more than 4,000 metres (13,000 feet) at the bottom of the Arctic ocean, and were also used to film the wreckage of the ill-fated Titanic and the Bismarck battleship. The exploration of Lake Geneva, lying between France and Switzerland with a surface area of some 600 square kilometres (230 square miles), will focus on bacteria in the lake's sediments at a depth of more than 300 metres. "The bacteria are indicators of pollution" and will help the scientists measure the presence of toxic elements, Pousaz said. The mini-submarines, equipped with gauges capable of determining the density of molecules in the water, will also track micropollutants which may have escaped treatment plants. These elements are expected to be found in the lake's plankton and fish. In addition, scientists are planning to examine how water circulates in the lake by taking temperatures of different layers. "A drop of water can take up to 12 years to cross the lake," Pousaz noted.

 

Fatal Shooting on Nuclear Submarine.

One person has been killed and another is in a critical condition after being shot on board a British nuclear submarine. A navy serviceman has been arrested after the incident on HMS Astute, which is docked in Southampton. Hampshire police and the Ministry of Defence have said the incident was not terrorist related and there had been no risk to the public. All three involved were Royal Navy personnel. Several police vehicles were sent to the Eastern Docks and officers could be seen on the gangway of the £1bn submarine. A police spokesman said: "Hampshire police were called by their Ministry of Defence colleagues at 12.12pm today and are currently liaising with them to establish the exact circumstances of the incident." An MoD spokesman said: "Two Royal Navy personnel have been involved in a firearms incident at Southampton docks where HMS Astute is alongside. Sadly one has now died as a result of his injuries. "The Royal Navy is now attempting to inform their families as a matter of urgency. A third Royal Navy serviceman has been arrested by Hampshire constabulary and is now in custody. "This incident was not terrorist-related and there is no threat to the wider public. We are co-operating fully with the police investigation and a Royal Navy service investigation will begin in due course." Police were refusing to confirm reports that the shooting took place in a control room, or that the two victims were officers and the person arrested an able seaman. A spokesman said details would not be given until next of kin had been informed. A navy source said it was believed a pistol was used. Detectives are meeting naval officials on board the vessel. Astute was not open to the public while in Southampton but civic leaders, sea cadets, scouts and school and college parties were being invited on board. Visitors on board at the time of the shooting included the leader of Southampton city council, Royston Smith; the mayor, Carol Cunio; and the chief executive, Alistair Meill. Southampton Itchen MP and former cabinet member John Denham expressed concern about security issues relating to the incident. "It is a matter of grave concern that an incident like this could occur on a visiting Royal Navy vessel. In due course I will be asking ministers to ensure this incident is fully explained with complete openness about any potential risk to the public. "I wish to express my deepest sypathy to the victims of this incident and their families." HMS Astute is described by the Royal Navy as the first of a new class of vessel designed to be the largest and most powerful nuclear attack submarine it has ever sailed. This is Astute's first trip south. It was built in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, and is based at Faslane, in Scotland. The five-day visit to Southampton was billed as the first chance for people outside north-west England and Scotland to see it. Astute's commanding officer, Commander Iain Breckenridge, said before arriving in Southampton: "My ship's company and I are very much looking forward to the visit and meeting the people of the city. And I'm sure scouts, school pupils and other visitors will be impressed with the capabilities of this formidable vessel." Since commissioning last August the Astute has had what the navy calls an interesting time, including running aground off the Isle of Skye. It is in the middle of a "demanding" trials programme. The submarine's Spearfish torpedoes and Tomahawk cruise missiles are capable of delivering pinpoint strikes from 1,240 miles with conventional weapons. Its nuclear reactor means it does not need refuelling and it makes its own air and water, enabling it to circumnavigate the globe without surfacing. It was the first in a fleet of six that will replace the Royal Navy's Trafalgar class submarines.

 

China And The Blue Water Fleet.


A year after it commissioned its first ASR (submarine support and rescue ship), China recently launched a second one. These Dalao (Type 926 Submarine Tender) class ASRs displace 9,500 tons each and have a winch aft (in the rear of the ship) that can lower a rescue capsule 300 meters (930 feet) to rescue 18 sailors at a time from a submarine. The winch can also handle a new LR7 rescue mini-sub. China is buying at least one LR7 rescue submarine from Britain. The LR7 can go down to 500 meters (1,550 feet) and stay submerged for four days. The 25 ton LR7 is an improved version of the 21 ton LR5. The Chinese are investing more in submarine rescue because they are sending their subs to sea more often. The Chinese know that their sub crews are largely inexperienced, and that inexperienced crews have more accidents. The Chinese also accept that the only way to get experience is to send subs out a lot, and deal with the problems as they arise. The worse problems are those that involve a submarine losing power, ending up on the ocean bottom and in need of rescue before the air runs out. This is where the ASRs and their rescue equipment come in. The ASRs are also very useful in helping with repairing subs that are far at sea. In short, investing in ASRs means China is serious about building a blue water (way beyond “brown” coastal waters) submarine fleet.

WWII GERMAN U-BOAT DISCOVERED.
The remains of the German submarine U-513 were recently discovered off the coast of Brazil. The sub was sunk by bombs dropped from an American plane in July 1943. Only 7 of the 53 men on board survived the attack. One survivor reported, “suddenly the bombs began to fall, one fell off the starboard side, and 3 fell right in front, then exploded....” Although Brazil had been technically neutral at the beginning of the war, it allowed the US to establish air bases from which it could launch attacks on submarines that were becoming a serious threat to allied shipping. As a result, Brazilian ships became a prime target for the U-boats. During the first half of 1942, German subs sank 13 Brazilian merchant vessels. In August, the U-507 sank 5 Brazilian ships in 2 days killing more that 600 people. In all, 21 German and two Italian submarines were responsible for the sinking of 36 Brazilian merchant ships, causing 1,691 drownings and 1,079 other casualties. The sinkings were a major reason the Brazilian government ultimately declared war against the Axis. Researchers from Kat Schurmann Institute and Vale do Itajai University located the U-513 almost 68 years to the day after it sank. Using a combination of high tech equipment the 252 foot long submarine was discovered lying at a depth of 245 feet, 75 miles off the Brazilian state of Santa Catarina. Members of the Schurmann family, founders of the Kat Schurmann Institute, were actively involved in the search. The family had procured a JW Fishers side scan system shortly after opening the institute, an organization that was devoted to fostering sustainability and preservation of the oceans and coastal habitats. The primary use for the sonar was to map the reef structures off the Brazilian coast. The hunt for the submarine started out as a hobby for family patriach Wilfredo when he was told the story of the sub’s demise by a fellow mariner while sailing the Caribbean. Over the next eight years he spent many hours gathering information. He studied official accounts of the sinking, read survivors stories, talked to submarine officers in the Brazilian Navy, and even acquired a book titled “The U-Boat Commanders Handbook”. But one of the most useful sources of information proved to be local fisherman. They told him about the “rippers”, obstructions on the ocean floor that would grab fishing nets and tear them up. Wilfredo was provided with the coordinates of some of these rippers. Combining pieces of information gleaned from historical accounts along with the position coordinates, the researchers were able to determine the most probable locations that would hold their prize. At every opportunity a group from the institute, including Schurmann’s sons, would take the side scan out and survey the underwater obstructions. The youngest son, Wilhelm, had attended a training course at Fishers factory in Massachusetts and was well versed on the operation of the side scan and use of the SONAR VIEW software. On July 14, 2011 their hard work paid off and the side scan produced definitive images of the remains of a pressure hull on the ocean bottom. The final resting place of the U-513 was had been uncovered. Interestingly, the submarine was captained by Friedrich Guggenberger, who was one of the seven survivors of the sinking. The captain had gained notoriety in the submarine corps while commanding another U-boat in 1941. He torpedoed the aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal, which despite the British Navy’s efforts to tow it to port, sank the next day. After the war, the German Navy was reestablished and Guggenberger joined the service again. In the 1950s he travelled to US and studied at the Newport War College in Rhode Island. He eventually rose to the rank of admiral in the German Federal Navy and went on to become Deputy Chief of Staff in the NATO command Allied Forces Northern Europe.

 

Jinxed Nuclear Submarine’s malfunction could have killed its entire crew.


The Royal Navy’s latest £1.2 billion nuclear submarine, HMS Astute, has been towed back to base after a malfunction which could have killed the entire crew, the Sunday Herald can reveal. The hi-tech stealth vessel was taken to the Faslane Naval Base on the Clyde late on Friday when it suffered “a technical issue with hydraulics”, according to a Ministry of Defence (MoD) source. “This needs to be fixed to make sure it can dive properly,” the source said. “It could take days, or it could take weeks.” Experts say that the boat’s hydroplanes, which enable it to dive or surface, are hydraulically controlled. If they fail, the boat could be lost, along with its entire crew of 98. The ill-fated HMS Astute is infamous for being the scene of a fatal shooting a month ago when it was docked in Southampton, and for accidentally running aground off the Isle of Skye last October. The boat has been plagued by a series of other mishaps, including a fire, being hit by a falling ramp and problems with its toilets. HMS Astute left Faslane on Wednesday for sea trials, but returned soon after just two days. One insider told the Sunday Herald that the captain, Commander Iain Breckenridge, had “no confidence in the performance of the vessel”. The nuclear consultant, John Large, who has advised governments on submarine safety, pointed out that the hydraulics that controlled the hydroplanes were “a fundamental safety system that can’t be ignored”. He said: “If you don’t have the hydraulics, the boat could sink with all hands on board. It’s a serious problem.” The danger that submarines like HMS Astute could have difficulties surfacing was highlighted in a secret report by the MoD’s own nuclear safety watchdog. Commodore Andrew McFarlane, the chief defence nuclear safety regulator, warned that there was a “risk of multiple fatalities resulting from loss of depth control”. His report was released under freedom of information law with large sections blacked out. But researchers discovered that the censored text could be read simply by cutting and pasting it into a new document. This revealed that British submariners were more likely to drown than their American counterparts if the reactor that powered their boat failed while they are under water. British submarines “accept a much lower reliability from the main propulsion system” and the back-up system “will not provide sufficient dynamic lift”, McFarlane said. HMS Astute is the first of seven “state-of-the-art” Astute class submarines, which are being built at Barrow in Cumbria. They have been beset by delays and budget overruns, and could end up costing over £10bn. The Royal Navy operates 10 other nuclear-powered submarines out of Faslane, including four Vanguard class boats, which carry Trident nuclear missiles. The Sunday Herald disclosed in April that one of them, HMS Vengeance, had to cut short a training exercise in the North Atlantic when its propeller became blocked with debris.

 

HMS Astute “the toilets won't work”.


JINXED submarine HMS Astute has suffered another mishap - after its toilets broke down. The Royal Navy's most advanced sub had to return to port at Faslane naval base after the malfunction left her 90 crew members unable to spend a penny. Astute, which made the headlines in October after running aground during trials near Skye, was also hit by a failure to her weapons support systems during her latest sea trials. Naval sources said the nuclear-powered vessel will be confined to port for up to six weeks as engineers carry out repairs. A Ministry of Defence spokesman said yesterday: "Work is ongoing to fix the weapons support and sewage problems." The submarine, which was completed four years late and massively over budget, has been hit by problems since it was commissioned into the Navy last August. Astute ran aground near the Skye Bridge on October 22 and was stuck on a shingle bank for around 10 hours before being towed free. The Record later revealed the sub was damaged when coastguard tug Anglian Prince - which had been sent to free it - collided with the sub and tore off one of its navigation fins. Astute's captain, Commander Andy Coles - dubbed Captain Calamity - was relieved of command in November following a probe into the grounding. He was replaced by Commander Iain Breckenridge but the new chief's maiden voyage was short lived. Astute broke down in December on its first day back at sea and had to again limp back to Faslane after experts identified a fault in the sub's steam plant. Astute, the first in a class of six new submarines, was launched in 2007 and commissioned into the Navy four years behind schedule. It can sail around the world without having to surface.

 

Chinese Jin-SSBNs Getting Ready?


New Jin-class nuclear ballistic missile submarines have sailed to the Xiaopingdao naval base near Dalian, a naval base used to outfit submarines for ballistic missile flight tests. The arrival raises the obvious question if the Jin-class is finally reaching a point of operational readiness where it can do what it was designed for: launching nuclear long-range ballistic missiles. The Pentagon reported a year ago that development of the missile – known as the Julang-2 (JL-2) – had run into developmental problems and failed its final test launches. Even if the Jin subs are in Xiaopingdao to load out for upcoming missile tests and manage to pull it off, the submarines are unlikely to become operational in the sense that U.S. missile submarines are operational when they sail on patrols. Chinese ballistic missiles submarines have never sailed on a deterrent patrol or deployed with nuclear weapons on board. Chinese nuclear weapons are stored on land in facilities controlled by the Central Military Commission (CMC), and the Chinese military only has a limited capability to communicate with the submarines while at sea. It is possible, but unknown, that the two submarines are the same two boats that have seen fitting out at the Huludao shipyard for the past several years. One submarine was also seen at Jianggezhuang naval base in August 2010 (see below). Prior to that a Jin-class SSBN was seen seen at Xiaopingdao in March 2009, and at Hainan Island in February 2008. The first Jin-class boat was spotted in July 2007 on a satellite photo from late-2006.. Indeed, it is unclear how China intends to utilize the Jin-class submarines once they becomes operational; they are unlikely to be deployed with nuclear weapons on board in peacetime like U.S. missile submarines, so will China use them as surge capability in times of crisis? Deploying nuclear weapons on Jin-class submarines at sea in a crisis where they would be exposed to U.S. attack submarines seems like a strange strategy given China’s obsession with protecting the survivability of its strategic nuclear forces. The Jin-class SSBN force seems more like a prestige project – something China has to have as a big military power.

 

Israel gets ready to receive German new submarines.

The Israel Navy is making advanced preparations to absorb two new German-made Dolphin-class submarines, IDF journal Bamachaneh reported in its latest issue. The number of soldiers selected for submarine warfare has grown by 30% in the latest IDF recruitment batches, in order to man the additional submarines. The Navy currently has three submarines, also of the Dolphin class, so the addition of two subs means that the force is growing 66% bigger. “We are in mid-process and are slowly adding more crews to be trained for service in the submarines,” explained Naval Instruction Base Commander Col. Ronen Nimni. “We are also taking care to add crew commanders who closely mentor the soldiers.” More officers are being trained for submarine posts as well. The number of cadets who will be trained for submarine command positions is rising by 35%.

 

Drug Sub.

Remember the drug smugglers’ submarine that was captured by Ecuadoran police last year? The 75-foot boat was capable of shipping about 9 tons of cocaine. Jim Popkin of Wired wrote a detailed look at its design after reading a report by the US Navy: The hull, they discovered, was made from a costly and exotic mixture of Kevlar and carbon fiber, tough enough to withstand modest ocean pressures but difficult to trace at sea. Like a classic German U-boat, the drug-running submarine uses diesel engines on the surface and battery-powered electric motors when submerged. With a crew of four to six, it has a maximum operational range of 6,800 nautical miles on the surface and can go 10 days without refueling. Packed with 249 lead-acid batteries, the behemoth can also travel silently underwater for up to 18 hours before recharging. The most valuable feature, though, is the cargo bay, capable of holding up to 9 tons of cocaine—a street value of about $250 million. The vessel ferries that precious payload using a GPS chart plotter with side-scan capabilities and a high-frequency radio—essential gadgetry to ensure on-time deliveries. There’s also an electro-optical periscope and an infrared camera mounted on the conning tower—visual aids that supplement two miniature windows in the makeshift cockpit.

 

India to issue $11 bn tender for six more submarines.


To shore up its depleting submarine fleet, India will this year issue a $11 billion global tender for building six more next generation vessels, navy chief Admiral Nirmal Verma said here Wednesday. The new submarine programme, known as Project 75I, will be added to the six Scorpenes that are being built at the Mumbai-based Mazagon Docks Limited (MDL) under Project 75. 'The government has already cleared Project 75I. At the moment we are going through the process of Request For Information (RFI). I hope within this year we will be able to push the tender,' Verma said on the sidelines of a National Maritime Foundation seminar on submarines. French firm DCNS is now executing the Project 75 Scorpene orders in collaboration with MDL at a cost of $4 billion. The Indian Navy operates 14 diesel-electric submarines at present after it decommissioned two Foxtrot class submarines last year. Of the 14 submarines, 10 are Kilo class Soviet-origin vessels and the rest are HDW German-origin vessels. The navy issued the RFI for Project 75I in September last year and some of the global firms that have responded to it are Russian Rosoboronexport, French DCNS/Armaris, German HDW and Spanish Navantia. The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) chaired by Defence Minister A.K. Antony had given a nod for Project 75I last July. On the capabilities of the Project 75I submarines, Verma said they would have better capabilities to detect and hide from enemies and an improved combat management system, sensors and detection range. Under Project 75I, the Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) technology will be incorporated in the submarines to increase their capability to remain submerged for longer periods of time. India is expected to induct the 12 Project 75 and 75I submarines in the next decade-and-a-half. The submarine induction programme of the navy has sufferred due to a three-year delay in the Scorpene project, resulting in the fast depletion of the fleet. The 12 vessels would now be inducted one after the other over six years beginning 2012. The vessels are part of the 30-vessel submarine induction plans of the navy that was approved early in the last decade. The number of navy's submarines is likely to be just the half of the current 14 vessels in 2015, as most of them are aging and would be decommissioned in the next five years. Under the plans for Project 75I, India would order two submarines from a collaborating foreign shipyard while the rest four would be built at two different Indian shipyards -- Mazagon Docks Limited and Visakhapatnam-based Hindustan Shipyard. The navy was keen on a private domestic shipyard to tie-up with a foreign vendor for the six new submarines as it was of the view that Mazagon Docks was already 'busting at its seams' with orders and timely delivery of the second line of submarines was 'critical' to maintaining its operational readiness. But the DAC decided otherwise, holding that the capabilities acquired by Mazagon Docks through the Scorpene project should not be wasted.

 

Indian Navy wants Deep Submergence Rescue Vessels.


Indian Navy says that it intends to procure two kits of free swimming deep submergence rescue vessels (DSRV) and associated equipment for operation from diving support vessels (DSV’s) or mother ships. Indian Navy has requested information from firms who have designed and constructed a modern free swimming DSRV which is currently in service with any navy or under going sea trials. The final date for submissions is 17 January 2011. One of the parameters Indian Navy is looking for is continuous operation for 72 hrs. Although, the number of submarines in Indian navy is dwindling, it is expected to field two nuclear submarines in near future. Indian navy has limited experience in handling the nuclear submarines. In addition, the existing submarines are not of new make. Indian Navy recently retired last of its Foxtrot submarines. On 10 January 2008, INS Sindhughosh had met with an accident. The second ramification is the absence of a Deep Sea Rescue Vehicle (DSRV). The Canadian contract for a DSRV is under investigation of corruption. Indian Navy has not purchased another one. It is a wake up call. The status of India-U.S. agreement for Submarine rescue is not yet clear.

 

Twenty Years since Komsomolets Sank.


On April 7, 1989, the Soviet Union’s most advanced and unique nuclear powered submarine -Komsomolets - sank in the Norwegian Sea following a fire. 42 submariners died, while a Norwegian surveillance aircraft was circling over the sinking submarine. Komsomolets was on her way home to the Northern fleet’s submarine base at Zapadnaya Litsa on the Kola Peninsula after a patrol in the northern waters in the morning on April 7. The submarine, called the "Golden Fish" among the Northern fleet's officers, was the only Mike-class, a unique titanium-hulled submarine commissioned in 1984. Komsomolets could go deep, very deep. Able to dive down to 1,000 meter (3,000 feet) under the surface she was impossible to spot from any American satellites or underwater sound-detections systems. Cold War analysts said Komsomolets was the Soviet Unions answer to Ronald Reagen’s Star Wars programme. When the Americans went high up to space, the Soviets dive deeper down with its nuclear weapons. Cruising submerged at 1000 meters she could elude NATO anti-submarine systems and bring its two nuclear warheads right up to North America's eastern seaboard. Komsomolets was armed with two nuclear-tipped torpedoes on the last voyage. This April morning was as normal on board. The crew was looking forward to disembark after 37 days at sea. At home, in Zapadnaya Litsa, their wives or girlfriends, maybe some children, relatives and friends were waiting for the crew to come home. Like many times before. Zapadnaya Litsa is the most western located submarine base on the Kola Peninsula. Its distance from the border to Norway is just some 50 kilometres. Then, at 11:03 Moscow time the alarm bell started to ring. The crew ran to their different emergency posts and tasks. They had done this many times before during drills. But this morning it was no drill. A fire had started in the very rear compartment of the submarine. When the alarm bell went off Komsomolets was at a depth of 160 meters some 180 kilometres south of Bear Island. Eleven minutes after the fire was detected Komsomolets made an emergency surfacing. At surface the commanding officer made emergency signals to the Northern fleets head command in Severomorsk. The fire onboard had caused short circuits in the electrical system and the nuclear reactor triggered its emergency systems and was shut-down. The fire spread to other compartments and attempts to extinguish the flames by the crew were unsuccessful. The submarine lost power and ran out of compressed air necessary to keep the submarine floating. At 17:00, Komsomolets lost buoyancy and stability. The crew began to lower the life rafts. But there were not enough rafts, and the rafts within reach didn’t float properly. At 17:08 Komsomolets sank. In the following hour 42 submariners lost their life in the cold sea. The crew of a Norwegian surveillance Orion aircraft circling over witnessed the tragedy happening. Just after 18:00 the first vessels arrived. The survivors were taken aboard the Soviet trawler Oma and the cargo vessel Aleksandr Khlobystsov. By then the evacuated crew had been in frigid seawater for more than one hour. The freezing survivors and the bodies of the victims were taken to Severomorsk on the Kola peninsula aboard the nuclear-powered cruiser Kirov. 25 of the 67 crew members from Komsomolets survived. The submarine, with its nuclear reactor and two nuclear-tipped torpedoes, remains at the seabed at a depth of 1685 meters. Compounding the tragedy, the crew's families did not receive notice of any deaths until April 10th, three days after the accident. In another comment on the times, Northern Fleet commanders never asked Norwegain authorities for rescue assistance. The Cold War had not yet thawed. The reason why Komsomolets sank following the fire may never be clear. Two investigations, one by a USSR state commission and another conducted independently, failed to furnish evidence sufficient enough to explain why the accident occurred and why it was so costly. Survivors and the still-mourning families are still without the answers that might at least bring understanding. The USSR state commission concluded that no one was to blame for the submarine's sinking. But the independent commission suggested there was reason to believe that Komsomolets had several construction flaws. Others claim the crew was insufficiently trained to operate the advanced submarine. On the 10 year's anniversary in April 1999, the Murmansk daily Polyarnaya Pravda used their editorial space to conclude the truth will forever be buried in the seabed off Norway's continental shelf. Today, 20 years after, at least Norway and Russia have a friendly relation and can cooperate together on possible future rescue operations in the north.

Pedal-Boat Submarine.

A team of engineers plan to venture where no man has gone before after unveiling a pedal-boat submarine on the French Riviera. Nicknamed "the Scubster", the 3.5 metre-long one-man yellow submarine has echoes of the fancy gadgets from fictional spy James Bond.
Powered by twin propellers connected to a pedal belt, the mini-sub can reach speeds of 8 km an hour (5 mph) if its pilot is in good shape, and can reach depths of 6 metres (20 ft). "I've been up in the air by pedalling, underwater with my bike and now underwater with a submarine," Stephane Rousson, the man behind the invention, told Reuters. The vessel managed an hour under water in the Mediterranean waters off the Cote d'Azur this week and is entirely controlled by hand or pedal. Hermetically sealed, the passenger breathes with a mask and a bottle of oxygen. Whether it will have commercial success remains to be seen, but Rousson believes it may capture the attention of an emerging high-end market of yacht owners with "pocket submarines". "And if it doesn't take off, I'll race it," said the 40-year old from Nice, who plans to take part in the 2011 International submarine race in the United States.

 

Historic Submarine goes to a New Museum.

The submarine Lembit was hauled to dry land on special air cushions in one of the most complicated water engineering operations ever to be carried out in Estonia. Preparations for the opening of North Europe’s biggest new maritime museum are well underway in Estonia with the world’s oldest in the water submarine having been lifted to land. The legendary Estonian submarine Lembit was hauled from the water at its home port in Tallinn as it is prepared to become the centrepiece at the new maritime museum at the Seaplane Harbour (Lennusadam). The unique museum will be opened at the former seaplane hangars in 2012. Lembit is the only warship in Estonia’s pre-war fleet to survive intact. It is the crown jewel of Estonia’s military history, being in excellent condition and offering a glimpse of state of the art technology in the 1930s. Having made its maiden voyage almost 75 years ago, Lembit was hauled to dry land on special air cushions in one of the most complicated water engineering operations ever to be carried out in Estonia. Once on land, the submarine’s interior is being thoroughly restored to give visitors an opportunity to see the submarine as it was in its heyday. Estonia’s two identical submarines, Lembit and Kalev, were built at the British Vickers-Armstrongs shipyards in Barrow-in-Furness and made their maiden voyage on 7 July 1936. The ships reached Estonia in the summer of 1937 after thorough trials at sea and the training of the crew. After the Soviet Union’s occupation of Estonia on 6 August 1940, the red communist flag was raised on the ships of the Estonian Navy and the crews and officers were replaced by Russians. Lembit was part of the Soviet Union’s Baltic Fleet during the Second World War. After the war, the vessel survived thanks to its state of the art technology and the Soviet Army’s keen interest to investigate the British engineering solutions of the time. The submarine fell into disappear until war veterans who had served on the ship during the war came across it docked on the River Volga in the 1970s. After lengthy and often contentious negotiations, Lembit was brought back to its hometown in 1979, becoming part of the Baltic Red Fleet Museum. It was opened to the public in 1981. In April 1992, after a campaign by the defence forces and naval veterans, the Estonian Maritime Museum took control of the ship. On 2 August 1994, the ensign of the Estonian Navy was raised on the submarine and it became ship Number 1 of the reinstated Estonian Navy. When it opens next year, The Seaplane Harbour will become a home not only to the Lembit but also to an impressive three level permanent exhibition which includes the best of Estonian historic maritime technology and wartime weapons. The seaplane hangars, which were built between 1916 and 1917 as part of the Peter the Great’s Naval Fortress, are currently under reconstruction and are expected to be finished next year. The complex of seaplane hangars at the Seaplane Harbour is included in the Estonian architectural heritage list as one of the first shell concrete structures in the world. When finished, the Seaplane Harbour will be a rare combination of objects, the architecturally unique hangars, a maritime museum, and a functioning harbour.

 

Growth forecast in submarine market.


Forecast International’s ‘The Market for Submarines’ analysis projects that 111 submarines worth $106.7 billion will be produced from 2011-2020. The average value of these submarines will be $960 million, an indicator of the growing complexity of the modern submarine and the increasing use of air-independent propulsion, both of which add substantially to the cost of diesel-electric boats. The submarine market is divided into three sub-sectors. The first is the market for ballistic missile submarines, or SS BILLIONs. There are 13 such submarines on order or under construction. These represent 11.7 per cent of the total market in terms of numbers but are valued at $26 billion, representing 24.5 per cent of the total value of the market. The average unit cost of the SS BILLIONs is $2 billion. The second sector is the market for nuclear-powered attack submarines, or SSNs. The projections show sales of 27 such submarines, representing 24 per cent of the total number and valued at $48.32 billion. The final sector is the market for SSKs, or diesel-electric submarines. From 2011-2020, 71 of these boats will be built, representing 64 per cent of the total. They are valued at $32.4 billion, representing 30.36 per cent of the total expenditure on submarines from 2011-2020. A notable factor this year is that the average cost of diesel-electric submarines has increased to $456 million. Defence minister Stephen Smith has dismissed arguments by several analysts and affirmed the government’s commitment to the assembly of 12 submarines in South Australia.

 

Greek ex-minister linked to bribery case.


German prosecutors are targeting a former Greek defense minister in a corruption investigation involving the sale of four German Type 214 submarines to Greece. Prosecutors in Munich claim that Akis Tsohatzopoulos, the Greek defense minister from 1996-2000 accepted bribes in a deal involving four submarines built by German company Ferrostaal, the weekly news magazine Der Spiegel reports. Tsohatzopoulos strongly denied the allegations. "I have never asked for or received money or other advantages in connection with the sale of submarines to Greece," he told Der Spiegel. The Munich prosecutors have named Tsohatzopoulos in connection with proceedings they launched against two former Ferrostaal top managers. The corruption case affects hundreds of millions of dollars in kickbacks to win contracts in Greece and Turkmenistan. The Ferrostaal deal for the subs, built by Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft, was secured after kickback payments to several government and military officials, with a significant sum also ending up in the hands of Tsohatzopoulos, Der Spiegel cites the prosecution's charge sheet as saying. Tsohatzopoulos has been a subject of unrelated corruption inquiries in Greece. The country's current defense minister, Evangelos Venizelos, last month accused German companies including Siemens, Ferrostaal and its former parent MAN as encouraging corruption. It would be naive to believe that German arms sales are free from bribery, an expert familiar with the industry said last year. "It's not unusual that major export deals are linked to bribery payments and that's true for the arms industry as it is for most big export industries," said Otfried Nassauer, director of the Berlin Information Center for Trans-Atlantic Security, a security think tank. "If a submarine costs 500 million euros ($725 million), then it's easy to hide a few millions here and there." There are rumors that German companies sold submarine technology to South Africa when it was still under an embargo. It is also alleged that senior managers of German and French companies received bribery payments for arms deals with South Africa. Germany is one of the world's major arms exporters. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, the country is No. 3 in the global market, trumped only by Russia and the United States. Companies including ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems, Rheinmetall and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann develop high-quality submarines, ships, armored vehicles and tanks. And European Aeronautic Defense and Space Co., a multinational giant producing several models of airplanes and helicopters, has a strong German profile.

 

China Tweaks Russian Designs.

China recently launched a new diesel-electric submarine. There was no official information released, but based on photos available it appears to be another development in China's taking Russian submarine technology and adapting it for Chinese designs. China has been doing this for as long as it has been building subs (since the 1960s). But this latest version of what appears to be the Type 41 design, shows Chinese naval engineers getting more creative. The Type 41A, or Yuan class , looks just like the Russian Kilo class. In the late 1990s, the Chinese began ordering Russian Kilo class subs, then one of the latest diesel-electric design available. Russia was selling new Kilos for about $200 million each, which is about half the price other Western nations sell similar boats for. The Kilos weigh 2,300 tons (surface displacement), have six torpedo tubes and a crew of 57. They are quiet, and can travel about 700 kilometers under water at a quiet speed of about five kilometers an hour. Kilos carry 18 torpedoes or SS-N-27 anti-ship missiles (with a range of 300 kilometers and launched underwater from the torpedo tubes.) The combination of quietness and cruise missiles makes Kilo very dangerous to American carriers. North Korea and Iran have also bought Kilos. The Chinese have already built three Yuans, the second one an improvement on the first. These two boats have been at sea to try out the technology that was pilfered from the Russians. The third Yuan is the one just launched, and appears to be a bit different from the first two. The first Yuan appeared to be a copy of the early model Kilo (the model 877), while the second Yuan (referred to as a Type 41B) appeared to copy the late Kilos (model 636). The third Yuan may end up being a further evolution, or Type 41C. This one also appears similar to the Russian successor to the Kilo, the Lada . The first Lada underwent three years of sea trials before they were declared fit for service last year. Another is under construction and eight are planned. The Kilo class boats entered service in the early 1980s. Russia only bought 24 of them, but exported over 30. It was considered a successful design. But just before the Cold War ended in 1991, the Soviet Navy began work on the Lada. This project was stalled during most of the 1990s by a lack of money. The Ladas are designed to be fast attack and scouting boats. They are intended for anti-surface and anti-submarine operations as well as naval reconnaissance. These boats are said to be eight times quieter than the Kilos. This was accomplished by using anechoic (sound absorbing) tile coatings on the exterior, and a very quiet (skewed) propeller. All interior machinery was designed with silence in mind. The sensors include active and passive sonars, including towed passive sonar. The Ladas have six 533mm torpedo tubes, with 18 torpedoes and/or missiles carried. The Lada has a surface displacement of 1,750 tons, are 220 feet long and carry a crew of 38. Each crewmember has their own cabin (very small for the junior crew, but still, a big morale boost). When submerged, the submarine can cruise at a top speed of about 39 kilometers an hour (half that on the surface) and can dive to about 800 feet. The Lada can stay at sea for as long as 50 days, and the sub can travel as much as 10,000 kilometers using its diesel engine (underwater, via the snorkel). Submerged, using battery power, the Lada can travel about 450 kilometers. There is also an electronic periscope (which goes to the surface via a cable), that includes a night vision capability and a laser range finder. The Lada was designed to accept a AIP (air independent propulsion) system. Russia was long a pioneer in AIP design, but in the last decade, Western European nations have taken the lead. Construction on the first Lada began in 1997, but money shortages delayed work for years. The first Lada boat was finally completed in 2005. A less complex version, called the Amur, is being offered for export. The new Chinese Yuan class boat is larger than the Kilos or Ladas, but has similar external design features. It will be a while before more details can be uncovered. Preceding the Yuans was the Type 39, or Song class. This was the first Chinese sub to have the teardrop shaped hull, and was based on the predecessor of the Kilo, the Romeo class. The Type 41A was thought to be just an improved Song, but on closer examination, especially by the Russians, it looked like a clone of the Kilos. The Yuan class also have AIP (Air Independent Propulsion), which allows non-nuclear boats to stay underwater for days at a time. China currently has 13 Song class, 12 Kilo class, three Yuan class and 25 Romeo class boats. There are only three Han class SSNs, as the Chinese are still having a lot of problems with nuclear power in subs. Despite that, the Hans are going to sea, even though they are noisy and easily detected by Western sensors.

 

HMS Ambush.


New killer submarine British Navy. Although it’s 50% larger than the Swiftsure and Trafalgar submarines, Ambush can move more quietly, even better than a baby dolphin. Silence makes the boat virtually undetectable by enemy’s ships. Ambush’s sonar and radar systems are very sensitive so that it can detect ships that are 3 thousand miles away. This means that when Ambush in the English Channel, it can know if there are ships that leave the port of New York. Ships worth 1.2 billion pounds ($ 16.8 trillion) will be launched at Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, England. However, the head of the British Navy still experiencing nervous because it expects new products do not experience the same fate as its predecessor, HMS Astute. Captain of HMS Astute, Commander Andy Coles was released after HMS Astute submarine ran aground on the Isle of Skye, last October. HMS Ambush will carry 38 missiles, a mix of Tomahawk cruise missile has a range of 1240 miles and Spearfish heavyweight torpedo that could destroy other submarines. BAE Systems is building seven submarines Asute. The submarine was able to turn sea water into oxygen and fresh water so as to maintain its 98 crew still alive. In addition, these submarines also nearly silent so not easy to detect the enemy. These submarines do not need refueling and can attack using missiles as far as 1,000 miles (1609 kilometers). The greatest, the submarine’s mission is usually only 10 weeks, but in theory these submarines can stay underwater without needing to surface in her life, 25 years old. Ambush will be officially launched and named by Lady Anne Soar, wife of Chief Commander of the Navy Sir Trevor Soar. Furthermore, the submarine-sized 7400 metric tons of this will be tested.

 

DCNS new Submarine Projects.

DCNS has unveiled some new interesting projects the "SMX-25" light submarine 109 meters submarine, 2850 tons conceived to operate in short depth (100m max.), would have a speed of only 10 knts in depth but 38 knts at surface. Fitted out with some torpedoes but mainly anti-ship missiles, and unnamed helicopters.

 

DCNS begins work on four Brazilian conventional submarines.


French naval manufacturer DCNS has begun with the work on the first conventional attack submarine for the Brazilian Navy by celebrating the first steel cut at a ceremony at the company Cherbourg centre. In an effort to modernise the South American country submarine fleet, DCNS had been awarded a major contracts package by the Brazilian Navy back in December 2008 for the design and construction of four conventional-propulsion submarines under a technology transfer agreement, the technical assistance for the design and construction of the non-nuclear part of the first Brazilian nuclear-powered submarine, and the support services for the construction of a naval base and a shipyard in Itaguai (Rio de Janeiro state). The order is DCNS biggest contract ever for an international customer and will be performed by a Joint Venture, established in co-operation with the French company Brazilian partner Odebrecht. Based upon the Scorpene-class submarines and incorporating the specific requirements of the Brazilian Navy, the submarines will represent a new, enlarged class, named SSK. The first boat of this new class is scheduled to enter active service in 2017. All four submarines use conventional or diesel-electric propulsion and will be manned by a crew of between 30 and 45 submariners. For a length overall of 75 meters the design offers a surface displacement of less than 2,000 tons. Pierre Quinchon, head of DCNS's Submarine division said on the occasion of the steel-cut ceremony in Cherbourg, where the forward part of the boat will be built: This programme confirms the Group expertise in setting up innovative partnerships based on well-managed technology transfers in favour of international client navies. We are proud to offer Brazil the opportunity to acquire advanced naval technologies. The design and construction of these submarines represent a significant workload for both DCNS and the Brazilian naval shipbuilding industry, beginning with our benchmark partner Odebrecht. With a contract value of $9.3 billion for the entire naval contracts package, reportedly clinched at the President level between Nicolas Sarkozy and Ignacio Lula da Silva and largely financed by loans totalling â‚6.1 billion extended by a pool of French banks, it gives DCNS a significant stand in South America. DCNS will act as prime contractor for the four conventional-propulsion submarines to be built by the Joint Venture. In the further process of the co-operation, DCNS will provide design assistance under the Brazilian Navys design authority - for the non-nuclear part of the Navys first nuclear submarine which will equally be built by the Joint Venture. The entire nuclear power plant will be designed and built in Brazil, based upon an $880 million investment programme. The first steel cut marks the start of the industrial production phase of the programme. It will be followed by the arrival of some 130 Brazilian engineers and technicians that will participate in the technology transfer programme for the construction of those submarines in Brazil.

 

Accidents Involving Nuclear Weapons 1950-1993.

This is a list of accidents involving nuclear weapons, on submarines from 1950 to 1993, and was originally published on the Greenpeace Web site. The accidents listed below involving U.S., Soviet, and Russian nuclear weapons or nuclear- armed ships and submarines are some of the more serious nuclear accidents to befall U.S. and Soviet nuclear forces. As a result of accidents, some 51 nuclear warheads were lost into sea (44 Soviet and 7 U.S - although at least one Soviet warhead was recovered). Also, seven nuclear reactors (5 Soviet and 2 U.S.) from three Soviet and two U.S. nuclear-powered submarines have been lost at sea due to accidents. Another 19 nuclear reactors from nuclear-powered vessels have been deliberately dumped at sea (18 Soviet and 1 U.S.). The U.S. Navy is known to have experienced at least 380 nuclear weapons incidents, but the details are not known. It assumed that other countries with nuclear weapons have had similar nuclear weapons accidents or incidents, but official secrecy means that no information is available. The nuclear nations' operational arsenals contain over 21,000 nuclear weapons. Their militaries still retain hundreds of nuclear-armed launchers and nuclear-capable military units. The threat of a serious nuclear weapons accident has not disappeared with the end of the Cold War. This is particularly the case where the arms race remains the most active: at sea where nuclear-armed and nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines still go on regular patrols at levels that have not changed much if at all from the height of the Cold War. If history is a guide, nuclear weapons safety probably has been a problem for the non-declared nuclear powers like India and Israel and for other countries that have had or do have incipient nuclear weapons programs. The experience of the U.S. and the Soviet Union suggests not only are nuclear arsenals extraordinarily expensive but they also come with serious safety, health, and environmental costs.

8-10 March 1968: The K-219, a Soviet Golf II class (Project 629M) diesel-powered ballistic missile submarine armed with three nuclear SS-N-5 missiles, sank in the Pacific, about 750 miles northwest of the Island of Oahu, Hawaii. The submarine possibly also carried two nuclear torpedoes.

27 May 1968: The U.S. nuclear-powered submarine USS Scorpion (SSN-589) sank about 400 miles southwest of the Azores, killing all 99 men on board. The submarine was powered by one nuclear reactor and carried two nuclear-armed ASTOR torpedoes.

12 April 1970: The K-8, a Soviet November class (Project 627A) nuclear-powered attack submarine, sank in the Atlantic Ocean 300 miles northwest of Spain. The submarine was powered by two nuclear reactors and carried two nuclear torpedoes.

29 November 1970: A fire broke out in the stern of the U.S. Navy submarine tender USS Canopus (AS-34) while it was at the Holy Loch submarine base in Scotland. The tender carried several nuclear-armed missiles and two U.S. nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines were moored alongside. It took four hours to bring the fire under control and three men were killed.

8 September 1977: The K-171, a Soviet Delta I (Project 667B) nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine, accidently jettisoned a nuclear warhead near Kamchatka in the Pacific Ocean after a build-up of pressure in a missile launch tube. After a search, the warhead was recovered.

9 April 1981: The U.S. nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine USS George Washington (SSBN-598) collided with a Japanese freighter in the East China Sea. The freighter sank and the submarine suffered slight damage to its sail. The submarine probably carried a total of 160 nuclear warheads on its 16 Poseidon C3 missiles.

6 October 1986: The K-219, a Soviet Yankee class (Project 667A) nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine armed with 16 SS-N-6 missiles (two warheads each) and probably also two nuclear torpedoes, sank 600 miles northeast of Bermuda. It was powered by two nuclear reactors and 34 nuclear warheads were estimated to be on board.

7 April 1989: The K-278 Komsomolets, the Soviet Mike class (Project 685) nuclear-powered attack submarine, sank off northern Norway following on board fires and explosions. The submarine was powered by one nuclear reactor and carried two nuclear torpedoes.

27 September 1991: A missile misfired aboard a Soviet Typhoon class (Project 941) nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine in the White Sea during a training exercise. Fortunately, the submarine was able to return to base, but the accident could have sunk the submarine, along with its two nuclear reactors and nuclear-armed missiles and torpedoes.

20 March 1993: A Russian Delta III class (Project 667BDR) nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine is struck by the U.S. nuclear-powered attack submarine USS Grayling (SSN-646) while operating in the Barents Sea close to the Kola Peninsula. The submarine suffered slight damage and was able to return to base, but the collision could have sunk the Delta submarine including its 16 SS-N-18 nuclear armed missiles.

Kockums to Design Sweden‘s Next-Generation Submarine.

Sweden‘s A26 Submarine Programme to Enter Next Phase after Government Approval. The country’s Defence Materiel Administration (Försvarets materielverk, FMV) awarded Kockums AB, a 100% subsidiary of ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems, with a contract for the overall design of Sweden’s next-generation submarine. This decision is considered to confirm the government’s intention to further develop Sweden’s submarine capability, after the programme was delayed and failed to be carried out as a multi-national Scandinavian procurement programme, as it was planned earlier. Initiation of the design phase for the submarines, designated A26, was already approved by the Swedish government in December 2007. Several years ago, Sweden was involved in talks with Norway and Denmark, within the framework of the so-called “Viking” project, to build a tri-national next-generation submarine. However, after Denmark decided not to operate any submarines in the future, Norway also left the project and it was continued as a national programme. Nevertheless, Norway has shown continued interest and is examining a possible future purchase of the submarine. For the time being, this remains a national programme, which so far is intended to provide two submarines for the Swedish Navy, as confirmed Ulf Lindström, Press Relations Manager at the FMV. However, the final number of next-generation submarines to be procured has not yet been decided by the government. Commenting the order for the overall design Kockums CEO Ola Alfredsson said: “This is an important first step, not only for Kockums, but for the Swedish Armed Forces as a whole. We shall now be able to maintain our position at the cutting edge of submarine technology, which is vital in the light of current threat scenarios. HMS Gotland demonstrated what she is capable of during two years [June 2005 - July 2007] of joint exercises in the water off the USA. This next-generation submarine marks a further refinement of technology.” According to Kockums, the naval capabilities of the new generation will focus on littoral operations, however, without abandoning the significant ocean-going capabilities. It will be powered by a conventional diesel-electric propulsion machinery and will be equipped with Kockums Stirling AIP system (air-independent propulsion). The latter have already been successfully operated with the Gotland-class submarines and made them most interesting to the US Navy which leased a Gotland-class vessel for naval exercise purposes. The Sterling AIP system, combined with a set of balanced underwater signature properties, makes the submarine very difficult to detect and allows it to stay submerged for weeks. Furthermore, Kockums will also attempt to create a design highly invulnerable to underwater explosions through a verified shock resistance.
Ulf Lindström further commented on the capabilities of Sweden’s future submarines: “The submarine will, among other new features, be equipped to support Special Forces operations as well as future use of autonomous or remotely controlled underwater vehicles.” The submarine, which is intended to provide a high degree of modularity “is also optimised for efficient production using large resiliently mounted platforms and a highly modular interior,” explained Lindström. A key element in the future operations of the submarines will be information gathering, as Senior Vice President PR & Communications at Kockums, Kjell Göthe, told defpro.com. The combination of sensors and noiseless propulsion is to enable the submarine to see and hear everything over a wide area while remaining undetected. As Mr Göthe said, the recently awarded design contract, which will be carried out during the next two years, is an important success for Kockums and supports the further sustainment and development of Swedish expertise and know-how in the field of naval development and construction. The government is scheduled to take a decision on the building phase in spring 2010 and is aiming at 2017 for the launch of the first vessel. Key data of the next-generation submarine (A26):

• Length: 63m (ca.)
• Pressure hull diameter: 6,4m (ca.)
• Two pressure tight compartments
• Displacement:
- Surfaced:1,700 m³ (ca.)
- Submerged: 1,860 m³ (ca.)
• DE-Gensets: 3 x 500 kW
• Stirling AIP system Mk III: 3 x 65 kW
• Crew size (mission dependent): 17-28


Submarine to join Bangladesh Navy by 2019.

The Bangladesh Navy will have its first submarine by 2019, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said, adding Dhaka wants to amicably resolve its maritime boundary issue with neighbours India and Myanmar as it does not want a war in the region.

 

Submarines for Sale.


Bulletin 24 described the newest and most modern of submarine designs, the German-built model 212. These are automated and carry the best in fire-control, weapons and propulsion. They are priced at between 1.5 and 2 billion dollars a copy. This puts them beyond the pockets of most Americans. But if you really want to buy a submarine where the price is right look to Russia. You need not deal with old Whiskey class boats that are antiquated. Modern Tango class boats are for sale for as little as five million dollars. True, this exceeds most submariners' financial assets, but entrepreneurs looking for an investment may be attracted. You would have to get them while they're hot, since only four are left. The Tangos were built during the 1970s and were the last of the diesel-electric powered boats. Each boat class is designated with a project number so that one can know in which shipyard the submarine was constructed. For example the four that are still for sale are from the 641B project. This means that they were built in Gdansk, Poland under Russian license and that they are of the second modified series. Each boat comes with three original, 1,350 shp engines which drive a single middle shaft for a surface speed of 13 knots. With four batteries and improved cells the boat can reach speeds of 15 knots submerged using two low speed, 1,800 shp motors on dedicated outboard shafts. The boat has a pressure hull to take her to a test depth of 732 feet. These are not large boats by American standards; being only 275 feet with a beam of 27 feet. It normally takes a crew of 78 for operations but can get by with only 21. Its bow has been modified to accommodate a passive sonar array equivalent to the BQR-2B. You get everything for your purchase price, however, the Russian government doesn't guarantee that anything will work. As a matter of fact, the four remaining boats can best be described as marginally sea worthy. The last Tango to be sold went to Yuri Luzhkov who has made the boat ready for the public by refurbishing the interior. He then towed the boat from its dock in Severodvinsk up several rivers to Moscow where it had access ports cut into its hull at the bow and stern for public entry. It was docked at the Moscow River Quay adjacent to the Moscow Central Park of Culture and Rest where for a nominal fee one can visit this rather modern museum piece. Luzhkov expects the display to pay his money back in about two years. This is not the first Tango class boat to be used as a tourist attraction. In Hamburg, Germany a Tango 641B has been named the U-434 and is a big hit with visitors to the gray city. Although the actual U-434 was sunk on its first patrol in the North Sea in 1941 and the Russian boat has no resemblance to the real U-434 the public doesn't seem to mind. To most folks all submarines are pretty much alike. The boat has long since paid for itself and is making its investors a tidy profit.

Turkish Defence .


Turkey signs credit deal for six submarines U-214TN class submarines of the Turkish Navy will feature air independent propulsion technology and indigenously developed advanced subsystems. A credit agreements were signed for six submarines to be manufactured by naval shipyards in Turkey with assistance from Germany. Turkish Treasury said in a statement on Friday that it signed a credit agreement of $2.18 billion euro with the banks consortium led by Bayerische Landesbank. The credit will be used to finance manufacturing of six AIP (air-indepent propulsion) technology U-214TN submarines in Turkey. Submarines will be heavily modified as to meet Turkish Navy’s highly specific tactical and technological requirement.

 

Ferrostaal Discusses Settlement With Prosecutors.


Ferrostaal AG may pay 177 million euros ($250 million) to settle allegations that managers paid bribes to get a 1.6 billion-euro order for submarines in 2000, Der Spiegel reported, citing negotiations between court officials, prosecutors and defendants. Under an agreement that hasn’t yet been completed, two former managers would get two-year suspended sentences and be ordered to pay fines, the magazine said. Maria Lahaye-Geusen, a Ferrostaal spokeswoman, declined to comment; Barbara Stockinger, a spokeswoman for Munich prosecutors, wasn’t immediately available to comment. Munich prosecutors said in April that a former member of Ferrostaal’s management board and a former manager were charged with paying bribes totaling more than 62 million euros between 2000 and 2007 to win submarine orders from Greece and Portugal. Ferrostaal, based in Essen, Germany, has been under investigation since 2009. In April, the prosecutors said talks with the company to settle the matter had failed.

 

Ferrostaal Internal Probe Finds ‘Questionable’ Payments.


An internal investigation of Germany’s Ferrostaal AG found evidence of “questionable or improper” payments all over the world, though they weren’t “systematic.” A partial copy of the report (pdf), conducted by Debevoise & Plimpton LLP and dated April 13, 2011, was posted anonymously on Thursday to the website Wikigreeks.org. It reviewed payments made between 1999 and 2010, and was stamped “privileged and confidential” and “attorney-work product.” “Questionable or improper payments do not appear to be systematic,” the report said, “in that they were not centrally coordinated or controlled but rather the result of various schemes operating independent of each other.” Maria Lahaye-Geusen, a company spokeswoman, said in an interview with Corruption Currents: “There have been intensive investigations concerning several compliance issues in the past at Ferrostaal with the help of Debevoise & Plimpton.” She added that “The Debevoise & Plimpton report is a confidential one.” Debevoise declined to comment on the report. Ferrostaal has been embroiled in a bribery scandal for months. Just days before the stamped date on the Debevoise & Plimpton report, two Ferrostaal executives were charged by Munich prosecutors with bribing foreign officials with more than EUR62 million between 2000 and 2007, relating to submarine sales to Freece and Portugal. Two weeks ago, Greek authorities charged 29 people, though the suspects weren’t identified. Debevoise & Plimpton looked at about EUR1.2 billion in payments over the 11-year period, finding that just less than EUR9 million showed “clear evidence of corrupt conduct.” However, EUR81 million “gave rise to grounded suspicions of corrupt or other criminal conduct,” and EUR246 million “presented serious compliance issues and significant red flags.” The scandal is also holding up the sale of a minority stake in the company. Abu Dhabi’s International Petroleum Investment Co. bought a 70% stake in the company from MAN SE, a German truck maker, in 2009. However, the co-shareholders have yet to settle a deal for the remaining 30%, as was agreed; it hinges in part on resolving the bribery allegations that date back to when Ferrostaal was owned by MAN. Debevoise and Plimpton, in its report, criticizes the company’s compliance measures. “Ferrostaal’s systems and controls were inadequate to address the risk profile of its business and failed to prevent or detect potential compliance violations…The anti-corruption measures and controls that existed were not meaningfully implemented or enforced and were easily circumvented in several instances,” the section “Systems and Controls” said. “The fact is that Ferrostaal established last year a compliance system throughout the company that ensures only clean business is Ferrostaal business,” said Lahaye-Geusen. Half of the nearly 200-page report was posted on WikiGreeks, and it was previously covered by Just Anti-Corruption (sub req). A detailed table explaining the “workstream” of the payments is in an annex, the report said, though it appears in the part of the report not posted on the website. The law firm found evidence of suspicious payments in Greece, Portugal and South Africa in connection with sales of submarines to those countries. The internal investigation also looked at the sales of a subsidiary in Korea, Turkey, Pakistan, Italy, Indonesia and Egypt. The report said senior management not only failed its duty to create adequate controls but was “instrumental in fostering an ethos where compliance violations could be committed and go undetected and/or unremedied.” “While paying lip service to the law, the [board's] actions fostered a climate where willful blindness became an acceptable mode of operating,” the report said.

 

Families of Frenchmen killed in Pakistan attack sue judge.


Relatives of Frenchmen killed in a 2002 bombing in Pakistan are suing a judge who probed the case, their lawyer said Wednesday, alleging it was falsely framed as a suicide attack. They lodged a complaint alleging that the judge, Jean-Louis Bruguiere, had ignored an autopsy on the suspected bomber which they say cast doubt on claims that he drove a vehicle packed with explosives, said the lawyer, Olivier Morice. “All these years, real disinformation has been orchestrated in order to make people believe that this attack was carried out as a suicide bombing,” he said. The ongoing probe, now under the supervision of a different judge, centres on allegations that the attack was revenge for the cancellation of kickbacks promised to officials involved in the sale of French submarines to Pakistan. The bombing in Karachi in 2002 killed 11 French engineers working for the French state company that built the submarines and at least three Pakistanis. The complex case has implicated President Nicolas Sarkozy, who was budget minister at the time. He has denied any involvement. The victims’ families have accused officials of trying to bury the affair. Their latest suit accuses Bruguiere, who led the French judicial investigation into the bombing from 2002 to 2007, of false testimony and obstructing justice. They have already brought a manslaughter suit against former president Jacques Chirac, former prime minister Dominique de Villepin and executives involved in the arms deals, and have called for Sarkozy to be questioned. Judges have also been investigating whether money paid in commissions ended up being channelled to fund political activities in France. Witnesses have told investigators Sarkozy approved the commissions as budget minister at the time. Sarkozy has dismissed the claims as a “fairytale.”

 

Baldoasat Submarine.

Russia has developed a small submarine for private use, is the first of its kind which is . being operated Caldrajp using the pedals, and two persons can generate the energy needed to run till the water without the need for special training to use them, not to exceed the speed of speed of walking. The company said that, contrary to conventional submarines, a water vehicle design simple, the most part, made of acrylic glass sector, as well as Dostin and the steering wheel, the operation and control with few buttons, also provided the automatic safety system for floating on the surface of water in case of emergency . The company designed, called "Marine Iinouphoutv Technology", that the submarine will allow its user to enjoy with a great under water, especially since the vehicle capable of diving to a depth of 30 meters, and has a great ability to maneuver and turn around the vertical axis. The length of the submarine 11 feet and display more than six feet, and is expected to be priced about 70 thousand dollars, according to a newspaper "Telegraph" British.
The manufacturer of the submarine is the first of its kind to be powered by using the pedals, and taking advantage of a phenomenon called the Coanda effect, which enables two people to generate sufficient momentum, in addition to the ability of the submarine to reach to a distance of 37 thousand feet below the surface of the water, and speeds up to 400 feet per minute.

 

India to get additional Scorpene Submarines.

The cost increase is the result of initial teething problems, absorption of technology, and augmentation of infrastructure and procurement materials in the Mazagon Dock Ltd. The last of the six submarines will now be delivered in the second half of 2018. India's Defence Acquisitions Council approves $11bn for six new submarines, which is to provide the Navy with six next generation diesel-electric submarines. For this purpose, the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), chaired by Defence Minister A K Antony, recently approved the allocation of Rs 50,000 crore, equalling $11 billion. While according to the DAC, three of the six submarines will be constructed at the Mazagon Docks (MDL) in Mumbai and one at Hindustan Shipyard Ltd (HSL) in Visakhapatnam, the Times of India reported yesterday that the two remaining submarines will either be imported or constructed at a private shipyard in India. All work is to be assisted by a foreign collaborator. While no specific timeline for the programme has been revealed, the programme will be subject to a certain time pressure, as it is estimated that in 2015 the Navy will only be able to operate half of its current fleet of 15 ageing diesel-electric submarines. An Indian official told the Times of India that he hopes the navy will receive its first submarine under P-75I in six to seven years. In light of an almost three-year delay and increasing costs in the ongoing Project-75 for six French Scorpene-class submarines to be constructed at the MDL shipyard, it remains to be seen if this is an ambitious schedule. The next step will be to issue a RfP (request for proposal) in order to select a foreign partner. Major international export agencies and naval shipyards, probably including Rosoboronexport (Russia), DCNS/Amaris (France), HDW (Germany) and Navantia (Spain), are likely to spring into action as soon as the framework for P-75I is known. India’s next-generation conventionally powered submarines are planned to feature improved stealthy and land-attack capabilities. This will include the integration of an air-independent propulsion (AIP) system, allowing submarines to remain submerged for very long periods. Conventional submarines without an AIP system have to surface regularly in order to refresh the oxygen in the submarine and to recharge their batteries. In parallel to sustaining an adequate fleet of conventionally powered submarines, India is continuing its efforts to introduce its first nuclear-powered submarine. The Russian-built Akula-II class attack submarine, dubbed K-152 Nerpa, will be leased for ten years beginning in October and the indigenously developed and constructed INS Arihant is scheduled to enter service by early 2012.

 

Plans to Rebuild Subs For Cargo Transport.

Plans to use Typhoon submarines for under-ice deliveries of oil and ore in Arctic waters is inexpedient, says the designer of the world’s largest ever built submarine. Ideas to refit two of Russia’s huge nuclear powered submarines to carry ore were earlier discussed between Rubin Central Design Bureau and metallurgical giant Norilsk-Nickel. The designers also said it could be possible to replace the 20 intercontinental nuclear missiles with tanks to carry oil from re-loading terminals under the ice in the Arctic. With the missile launchers removed, the projected cargo capacity could be 15,000 tonnes. Their use for civilian purposes is inexpedient, said Andrei Diachkov, director general of Rubin at a press conference before Christmas, reports RusNavy, a portal that monitors Russian navy developments. The Russian navy has three remaining submarines of the Typhoon-class. One, the thirty-year old "Dmitri Donskoy" is used as a test-launch platform for the new Bulava missile. The two others, "Severstal" and "Arkhangelsk" are in reserve and their missiles are removed. BarentsObserver reported last year that "Severstal" and "Arkhangelsk" could get overhaul and by that stay in service until 2019. The 175 meter (574 feet) long and 24,000 tons heavy submarine is the largest nuclear powered submarine ever built. During the Cold War the six Typhoon-class submarines were based at the naval base in Zapadnaya Litsa on the Kola Peninsula, only some 50 kilometers from the border to Norway.

 

NATO Submarine Rescue Exercise.


A demonstration of submarine rescue operations, in the framework of Exercise Bold Monarch 2011, took place on Friday at the presence of Admiral Giampaolo di Paola, Chairman of NATO’s Military Committee (CMC), Gen Nikolay Makarov, Chief of Joint Staff of Russian Federation Armed Forces and Admiral General Manuel Rebollo Garcia, Chief of the Spanish Navy, along with other NATO Officials. The exercise Bold Monarch is the world’s largest event of this kind, bringing together every three years submarines, ships and aircraft from both NATO and non-NATO countries. The 2011 edition includes the participation of Russia, marking it as the first time a Russian submarine participates in any NATO exercise. Bold Monarch 2011 is designed to maximize international cooperation in submarine rescue operations – a critical capability for NATO and for all the submarine-operating nations. During the 12-day exercise, submarines from Portugal, Russia, Spain and Turkey were ‘bottomed’ in a sea area just off the southern coast of Spain. Rescue forces equipped with a range of sophisticated debris clearance, diver-assisted gear and submarine rescue vehicles from Italy, USA, Russia and Sweden, together with a jointly-owned rescue system from France, Norway and United Kingdom engaged in a series of rescue operations for the “sunken” submarines. The exercise will conclude in the next days with a 48-hour coordinated rescue and evacuation operation for some 150 survivors, including many simulated casualties, from a ‘disabled’ submarine. During the visit to the ships, submarine and rescue systems, the Chairman of the Military Committee was briefed on how this exercises can greatly contribute to enhance partner interoperability, providing specific military training, coordinating military assistance, and cooperating with the chain of command of key nations. Compatibility between rescue assets, standardization of procedures, coordination and cooperation between all national elements, both military and civilian, were among the exercise's objectives shown. The exercise is proving invaluable also for testing the command and control of this kind of incidents under internationally-agreed NATO procedures. During the demonstration CMC and General Makarov were ‘rescued’ from the Russian submarine through a NATO rescue systems, providing a concrete example on how platforms and procedures can successfully mate. Thanking the Spanish Navy for hosting the exercise, Admiral Di Paola said that “Exercises like the Bold Monarch 2011, beside the great value of all the objectives in term of improving safety and interoperability at sea, show how much interest and enthusiasm there is, within NATO and beyond, in strengthening networks in the field of cooperation and security.” General Makarov also stressed the importance of these successful exercises, in light of joint efforts to save human lives.

 

DCNS fabricates hull section for new sub.


DCNS said the hull section for the Barracuda class attack submarine is made of steel alloy. It measures about 29.5 feet in diameter by 13 feet in length and weighs 40 tons. It will form part of the aft half of the hull, immediately behind the nuclear reactor compartment and will eventually accommodate the suspended block containing the electrical distribution plant. Fabrication of the remaining hull elements for the submarine named Duguay-Trouin --20 other hull sections and four interface pieces -- will follow in the next few months, the company said. The Barracuda program, led by the French defense procurement agency, calls for delivery of six submarines from 2017-28. DCNS said construction of the Suffren, the first in the Barracuda class of submarines, is also on schedule at its Cherbourg center. The Barracuda submarines will be a key component of the French navy's force projection assets and will carry MdCN cruise missile and other armaments.

 

Cuts For US Submarines.

The US Navy’s roughly 55 nuclear-powered attack and guided-missile submarines represent one of the United States’ biggest advantages over potential enemies. The Navy this year managed to double, to two a year, the annual production rate for Virginia-class submarines, resulting in a long-term attack sub force of no fewer than 40 vessels – more, by far, than any other nation. But budgetary pressure could result in future cuts to the undersea fleet. At $2 billion apiece, attack submarines aren’t cheap. Possible sub cuts are a major concern for US lawmakers, particularly Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman, whose state of Connecticut is home to the United States’ major submarine shipyard, Electric Boat. The Diplomat spoke to a staffer in Sen. Lieberman’s office about the importance of, and fiscal threats to, the US submarine fleet. ‘The biggest challenge facing submarine production is the broader fiscal environment and the uncertainty surrounding the defense budget in light of the deficit-reduction effort on the table today,’ the staffer said. ‘The flipside is that, in terms of the programme itself, particularly the Virginia-class programme, it’s a programme delivering ships ahead of schedule and under the target cost, so that the programme is as healthy as any in the (Defence) Department’s portfolio – and in many ways could be a model programme for shipbuilding and any form of (military) acquisition.’ ‘Obviously our submarines provide a unique and uniquely American capacity for endurance, mobility and stealth in all missions they perform really in any environment in which they operate,’ the staffer concluded. ‘The key is to make sure that everyone weighing these decisions understands the unique...capability submarines bring to the fleet.’

 

Corruption halts Indian N-Submarine Plans.


Indian Navy has failed to sustain its nuclear submarines development plan due to prevalent corruption and grafts that has seeped into Indian Defence Establishment. According to details the Indian Navy has begun construction of its second and third nuclear submarines. The work on the first nuclear submarine continues, albeit belatedly, the delivery of Russian nuclear powered K-152 Nepra's to India by the Russians has also been delayed from March to October this year. Russia had earlier leased a nuclear submarine to India that latter was inducted in Indian fleet by the names of INS CHAKRA in late 1980s. Delivery of the first French Scorpene submarine being licensed built in India has been also delayed by three years. Finance has offered two more Scorpene class submarines in addition to the contracted six to cater for the forthcoming depletion in the existing submarine fleet. Seven of the fifteen Indian conventional submarines are due to end their operational life by middle of next year. The delay is not only in the submarine programme but also other platforms. Presently there are 36 ships and submarines on order with various Indian shipyards but all face inherent delays due to prevalent corruption and rafts that has seeped so much into the Indian Defence establishment. An inquiry by the Central Vigilance Commission had highlighted shocking tales of manipulation of tenders, cartelization, lack of quality control and use of sub-standard material on its war fighting machines.

 

Australia left in wake of Asian fleets.

AUSTRALIA is threatened by an explosion in the number of submarines in Asia and needs to boost its anti-submarine warfare capacity, a former intelligence analyst and military adviser to the Howard government says. Brice Pacey says countries such as India, Indonesia and China have embarked on a race to boost their submarine fleets, and that Australia could be left exposed as a result. In a paper for the Kokoda Foundation launched today, Mr Pacey argues that Australia should consider upgrading its Collins class submarines, speed up the building of 12 new submarines and equip small boats for anti-submarine warfare. Mr Pacey says by 2030 there will be more submarines in the region, capable of stealthier operations, carrying more effective weapons, deployed by states ''whose long-term intentions remain, at best, unclear''. In particular, China is expected to have 78 submarines by 2025, up from 65 last year, a number Mr Pacey says appears more than necessary for coastal defence and the maintenance of pressure on Taiwan.

 

Indonesia to Buy Korean Submarines.


Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering has been awarded exclusive negotiator status to sign a W1 trillion export contract for diesel submarines with the Indonesian Defense Ministry and Navy, the company said Monday (US$1=W1,170). Korea was in competition with Russian, French and German firms. It became a priority negotiator alongside a French company in June. The winning bidder will build three 1,400-ton subs worth W1.2 trillion, making it Korea's single biggest arms export. Korea will join the group of submarine exporters only 20 years after it took over submarine technology from Germany. Only four countries -- Russia, Germany, France, and China -- export diesel subs. The U.S. and Japan build them for their own use. According to market researcher ICD Research, a total of 154 subs worth $180 billion are expected to be built around the world over the next decade, including some 100 diesel subs.

 

Bandit Sub Builders Bagged.


Colombian police found and seized two more drug smuggling submarine. One was found along a jungle river near the Panamanian border, the other several hundred kilometers south, also on the Pacific coast. Each sub belonged to a different faction of FARC (leftist rebels). One boat was equipped with an extensive collection of communications gear, indicating that it avoided capture by monitoring many police and military frequencies. The police allowed as how they had found the two subs based on intelligence. In the last year, the police have been collecting a lot of information on those who actually builds these subs for the drug gangs and FARC (which provides security, and often transportation for moving cocaine.) That includes finding out where the construction takes place, and where the boats are hidden between missions. Not mentioned was the fact that, in the last month, police had arrested eighteen members of a gang that specialized in building submarines and semisubmersible boats for transporting cocaine from Colombia to Central America and Mexico. As police suspected, some (five) of those arrested were retired or on active duty with the Colombian Navy (which operates two 1970s era German built Type 209 submarines). These arrests were part of an intense effort to find the people responsible for building subs for cocaine gangs. Find the builders, and you stop the building efforts. Since cocaine cartels in South America began using submarines and semi-submersible craft to transport cocaine north in the 1990s, the U.S. and Colombia have been desperately seeking the specialists responsible for designing and building these craft. Earlier this year, Argentina revealed they had arrested one of the main organizers of the sub building operation. The suspect, Ignacio Alvarez Meyendorff, was identified as working for the Colombian Norte del Valle drug cartel, and in charge of logistics for the submarine construction project. It's believed that Meyendorff was tracked down via information obtained by the U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI). Apparently, Meyendorff, or documents captured when he was arrested, provided enough data to make further arrests, and run down the location of many of the subs. The submarines that have been captured have, on closer examination turned out to be more sophisticated than first thought. The outer hulls are made of strong, lightweight, Kevlar/carbon fiber that is sturdy enough to keep the sub intact, but very difficult to detect with most sensors. The hulls cannot not survive deep dives, but these boats don't have to go deep to get the job done. The diesel-electric power supply, diving and surfacing system and navigational systems of captured subs was often in working order. It was believed that some of those who built these boats probably had experience building recreational subs. The sub builders also had impressive knowledge of the latest materials used to build exotic boats. It had already become clear that something extraordinary was happening in these improvised jungle shipyards. It was only last year that Ecuadoran police found the first real diesel-electric cocaine carrying submarine. It was nearly completed, and ready to go into a nearby river, near the Colombian border, and move out into the Pacific Ocean. The 23.5 meter (73 foot) long, three meter (nine feet) in diameter boat was capable of submerging. The locally built boat had a periscope, conning tower and was air conditioned. It had commercial fish sonar mounted up front, so that it could navigate safely while underwater. There was a toilet on board, but no galley (kitchen) or bunks. Submarine experts believed that a five man crew could work shifts to take care of navigation and steering the boat. The boat could submerge to about 16 meters (50 feet). At that depth, the batteries and oxygen on board allowed the sub to travel up 38 kilometers in one hour, or at a speed of 9 kilometers an hour for 5-6 hours. This would be sufficient to escape any coastal patrol boats that spotted the sub while it moved along on the surface (its normal travel mode.) The boat could also submerge to avoid very bad weather. The sub carried sufficient diesel fuel to make a trip from Ecuador to Mexico. There was a cargo space that could hold up to seven tons of cocaine. The sub was captured where it was being assembled, and a nearby camp for the builders, appeared to house about fifty people. A lot of evidence was collected, and apparently the U.S. DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) used that to develop clues about who was involved. It was the DEA that put together the pieces that led to identifying Meyendorff and locating him in Argentina. The Ecuadoran boat was the first such sub to be completed, but not the first to be attempted. A decade ago, Russian naval architects and engineers were discovered among those designing and building a similar, but larger, boat. However, that effort did not last, as the Russian designs were too complex and expensive. It was found easier to build semi-submersible craft. But more and more of these new type subs are being found.

Small Size Sub Supplies Stunning Stealth.


South Korean officials are alarmed after discovering that the navy has only been able to detect 30 percent of the North Korean subs they come across. Moreover, North Korea is using its submarines more frequently in training (for sneaking people into South Korea ) exercises. North Korea has a fleet of over 80 mini-subs, plus about 24 older Russian type conventional boats (based on late-World War II German designs, as adapted for Russian service as the Whiskey and Romeo class). China helped North Korea set up its own submarine building operation, which included building some of the large Romeo class subs. North Korea got the idea for minisubs from Russia, which has had them for decades. North Korea has developed several mini-sub designs, most of them available to anyone with the cash to pay. The North Korean minisubs range in size from 76 to 300 tons displacement. Over a dozen of these small subs are equipped to fire torpedoes. The use of a North Korea midget sub to sink a South Korean corvette in March, 2010, forced the United States , and South Korea, to seriously confront the problems involved in finding these small subs in coastal waters. This was a difficult task, because the target is small, silent (moving using battery power) and in a complex underwater landscape, that makes sonar less effective. There are some potential solutions. After the Cold War ended in 1991, the U.S. recognized that these coastal operations would become more common. So, in the 1990s, the U.S. developed the Advanced Deployable System (ADS) for detecting non-nuclear submarines in coastal waters. The ADS is portable, and can quickly be flown to where it is needed. ADS is believed to be in South Korea. ADS basically adapts the popular Cold War SOSUS system (many powerful listening devices surrounding the major oceans, and analyzing the noises to locate submarines) developed by the United States. ADS consists of battery powered passive (they just listen) sensors that are deployed by ship along the sea bottom in coastal waters. A fiber optic cable goes from the sensors (which look like a thick cable) back to shore, where a trailer containing computers and other electronics, and the ADS operators, runs the system. ADS has done well in tests, but it has only recently faced the North Korean mini-subs. There, it was discovered how little capability South Korea warships had to detect the North Korean submarines. Moreover, there is not enough ADS gear to cover all the coastal areas where North Korean subs operate. South Korea is hustling to improve its anti-submarine capabilities. But decades of neglect will take years to recover from.

 

Sweden discovers sunken submarine off Gotland.

The Swedes have discovered a sunken submarine at the bottom of the Baltic Sea, south of the island of Gotland. According to the Swedish Armed Forces, the wreck was actually found in connection with a dive by marine researchers as long ago as in 2009, but the discovery was made public only now. According to Swedish Radio, the Armed Forces first believed the wreckage to be one of the wartime U-boats sunk by the Soviet Union that the Swedish Navy had already mapped out previously. Recently it was realised, however, that the wreck in question is previously unknown and dates from the time of the Cold War. The Swedes famously hunted Soviet subs in their waters with little material success apart from the embarrassing case of S-363, a Whiskey-class Soviet submarine that ran aground close to the Swedish naval base of Karlskrona in October 1981, but now the Swedish Navy suspects that the vessel may be another such Soviet sub, possibly one that sank while being towed. According to retired General Bengt Gustafsson, the former Commander of the Swedish Defence Forces, the Navy chased Soviet submarines in waters around Utö back in 1980, and the sunken vessel could be a Soviet submarine that was hit by depth charges.

 

Vietnam buys Russian submarines to fight with China.

Vietnam buys Russian submarines to fight with China Vietnam signed a military agreement with Russia aimed at the purchase of six submarines, as part of a strategy to reject China’s claims over the islands especially in resource-rich South China Sea, claims analysts. While much of the Vietnamese military equipment is old, it was decided to allocate huge sums to develop an underwater fleet because of tensions with its big neighbor to the archipelagos of Paracel and Spratly. Vietnam and Russia have long-term agreement signed this week, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung during his visit to Moscow. Details were not published, but Interfax agency reports that Vietnam wants to buy six submarines Kilo class diesel-electric about two billion dollars. According to Vietnam’s decision is based on analysts’ concerns for the marine environment especially in the South China Sea, where China is facing. INB latest incident, Vietnam sent a diplomatic note to the Chinese embassy in Hanoi that requires China to return the boats and fishing gear off of some Vietnamese fishermen around the Paracel Islands. In these waters disputed by both sides s.au reported more and more Chinese patrol boats recently. Read more in Issues « After Beijing +15, The Status of Women Tired of Illegal Immigrants? » And Taiwan claim the Paracel – occupied by China – while the Spratlys? Fight? China, Vietnam and the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan. In 1988, Vietnam and China fought a brief naval battle near the Spratly. Archipelagoes are considered strategic outposts largest resources of oil, gas and fish. Vietnam has ordered 12 Russian Sukhoi Su-30MK2 appliances over $ 500 million.

 

Branson to visit deepest parts of the sea.

He's conquered land, air and soon space with his trains, planes and spacecraft but now Richard Branson will be heading up an expedition to film the fishy final frontier, going deeper into the sea than anyone has gone before. With the help of the BBC Branson and his team will film the five deepest ocean trenches in the world all in glorious Imax-quality 3D. The first dive will take place later this year at the Mariana Trench which is over 11km deep.


A one man submarine piloted by Chris Welsh will be used to explore the depths of the ocean, it uses a unique winged design which will literally help it to fly through the sea. Not only can the submarine go down to the bottom of the trench but it will be able to travel a further 10km along its surface. Richard Branson is set to take control of the submarine for the second dive in the Puerto Rico trench which is the deepest point in the Atlantic ocean at 8km. The submarine is the first of its kind made from 8,000pounds of carbon fibre, with a quartz dome which can withstand 13million pounds of pressure. It can dive at a rate of 350ft a minute, travel at a speed of 3 knots and will be able to make a return trip to the bottom of the Mariana trench in five hours.

The forgotten sea frontier.

In an unprecedented development, Russia recently signed a deal to procure at least two of France’s advanced Mistral-class amphibious warships at an estimated cost of $750 millions each, with option for two more. Ordinarily, this should be of no interest to Pakistan, were it not for the near-synchronous timing of an Akula II nuclear-powered Indian submarine sailing for Vishakhapatnam in the weeks ahead; if the voyage is not already underway, that is, since such movements are always shrouded in secrecy. India is expected to receive one more Akula II submarine to train its crews, for a total of five nuclear submarines. The indigenous production of two more Arihant-class submarines in the near future is also on the cards. The submarine bound for Vishakhapatnam, INS Chakra, has been undergoing sea trials for some time and its ten-year lease period, with a purchase option, has reportedly been agreed at a cost of $650 millions. This Russian-Indian-French defence nexus has been dubbed by some analysts as Russia’s newest “sell-in-the-east-and-buy-in-the-west” strategy. Russia views Indian ambitions to sortie out into blue waters as a seller’s paradise for its hardware, and France, with its double-digit unemployment and doubts about long-term sustainment of its defence industry, as a willing supplier of modern sea platforms. This fits in well with Russia’s desire to reorientate its Cold War-era maritime paradigm of deploying a large number of nuclear submarines in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, to investment in more practical rapid-response intervention capabilities, such as those successfully employed by the US over the years. The Indian navy has an ambitious expansion plan of having 166 ships by 2022, at a cost of $12 billions. Its Naval Aviation is already operating BAE’s Harriers and is further being equipped with Boeing’s P-8 Poseidon MMA (multimission maritime aircraft), which is a successor to P3C Orions. For conventional submarines, it has been operating the Russian Foxtrot-class vessels with some German 209s, and of late has signed on for the French Scorpions. Its surface fleet and maintenance support structure are Russian to the core and are likely to remain so. There have been some calls for the cancellation of the Scorpion contract because of allegations of $113 millions in kickbacks, but the corrupt across the border too appear to be managing the din well. The Pakistani navy has historically maintained an edge over the Indian navy in submarine warfare. But with a sizable number of newer Russian nuclear and French conventional submarines in the Indian fleet, this edge may not be maintainable; more so as the first of the Pakistani navy’s Agosta submarines reaches its midlife in 2013-14, and the other two will reach theirs by the end of the decade. There has been slippage in timely replacements of our fast-depleting subsurface assets; not least because the preferred German three-submarines option was way beyond our financial affordability. But nor is the status quo tolerable, as this important maritime defence capability, structured so painstakingly over four decades, cannot be allowed to wither away. Rather than for us to lose more precious time, one option which merits serious consideration by Pakistan is revival of collaboration with France for the construction of a fourth Agosta-90B submarine at the Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works. There was a significant indigenous capability installed at the KSEW during the execution of this programme, a capability which would go to waste and skilled manpower degenerate if not put to further use. On the downside, if Sarkozy and Zardari have to deal with such an idea twice in their political careers, well, that is fate. The Amazon-class frigates in service with the Pakistani navy, acquired from the UK in the ‘90s, are nearly 40 years old. The Oliver Hazard Perry class frigates currently under transfer from the US under an FMS programme are also over 30 years old. Unless there are more additions, the four Chinese-built F-22P frigates supported by some lower tonnage vessels with over-the-horizon missile capability will, in all likelihood, fall well short of a minimum force structure required for protection of our seaborne commerce and maritime assets, including under-the-seabed exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbons and metals in the EEZ. On the other hand, the Indian navy’s goals for 2022, helped by India’s stable politics and a performing economy, appear realisable. The Pakistani navy is presently participating in the US-led Combined Task Forces (CTF 150, 151 and 152), and quite rightly so, if we are to remain in contention in the region. This, however, is not without the dilemma of our utilising valuable national assets in an international effort. The blue water navies of the developed world have built-in extra-regional potential and stamina, unlike the navies of the developing countries. Any overstretch with blue-water horses in CTFs has therefore to be watched, since some day we will have run our own Derby, and, more importantly, will win. To compound our difficulties, we are beset with a serious ongoing insurgency. The 1948-1960 insurgency by the Communist Party of Malaya is usually taken as a datum for longevity of wars against the state, as it lasted for 12 years. The LTTE’s movement in Sri Lanka died down after nearly 25 years. In Pakistan, judging by the tenacity of the enemy within, we may similarly be in for a long haul. This growing disparity and our apparent helplessness to do something tangible about it is a source of concern. Our political system is far from stable and courts failure to inspire the confidence of foreign investors. Without foreign investment economic progress will remain elusive, and this means that our financial strength will be insufficient for generation of the kind of resources required for a planned naval replacement programme. Energy security in the 21st century is likely to remain a key concern for both the developed and developing economies. China and Japan, to cite one example, are jointly putting up $25 billions to build a navigational canal through southern Thailand, which will obviate the need for oil tankers to steam through the pirates-infested Malacca Straits. Gwadar can play a crucial role in Pakistan’s energy security in this century. The Chinese petroleum ministry has surplus capacity and is looking at Gwadar for any possibility for investment in view of the special relationship between the two states. China has other interests too, as the distance between its more developed eastern region and the less developed western region is greater than that between the Chinese west and Gwadar. The differential is causing demographic dislocation, and China wants to take advantage of Gwadar’s proximity to speed up development and stem the population surge to its east. Let us hope that there is an early decision in the Supreme Court on the petition for cancellation of management control to the Port of Singapore Authority (PSA) which, shorn of corporate jargon, establishes a baseline throughput roughly the equivalent of 21 ships calling per week before any royalty can be paid to the Gwadar Port Authority. The PSA has also not yet started the contractual $525 millions investment which is to be completed by 2013. How one wishes the Pakistani negotiators of this deal were a little bit sincere with the country. If the contract is cancelled, Pakistan should seriously and expeditiously engage China on its interest to invest up to $13 billion in such areas as increase in Gwadar Port’s existing berths from three to 18, building of an oil pipeline between Xinjiang and Gwadar to set up an energy corridor, development of a 21-million-tons capacity Gwadar Port Energy Zone, setting up of an energy-sector industries in this zone and oil and gas exploration ventures. If this was an academic debate, there would be no issue losing out to the predominant landlubbers’ lobby in the country, but the ramifications of ignoring Pakistan’s maritime frontier go far beyond and are too grave to neglect. It will be unfortunate if in the 21st century, Japan and China, and even India, have secure seaborne energy lifelines, while Pakistan, in spite of Gwadar’s strategic location just 180 miles east of the Strait of Hormuz, remains vulnerable for its energy needs. There is enough common cause in Gwadar to work with China for mutual benefits.

 

Thai Navy plans to buy submarines from Germany.


The Royal Thai Navy wants to buy two second-hand submarines at a cost of 6-7 billion baht [$ 195m - $ 228m].The specifications of the submarines have not been determined but the navy is expected to buy them from European suppliers, probably Germany. Thailand reported near submarine deal with Germany. Abhisit Vejjajiva has approved a plan for the Royal Thai Navy  to purchase six secondhand submarines from Germany for 7.7 billion baht (257 million dollars), a newspaper reported Monday. The U-206 Class subs, which are intended for missions in the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand, would constitute Thailand's first submarine fleet, to be commanded by Rear Admiral Suriya Pornsuriya, the Bangkok Post said. The Thai navy has had submarines on its wish list for many years. It commissioned its first aircraft carrier , the HTMS Chakri Naruebet, in 1997. The submarine purchase is part of a long-term plan by the Abhisit government to buy weapons for the army, navy and air force over 10 years at a total cost of more than 500 billion baht. Military budgets in Thailand have skyrocketed since the army overthrew the government in 2006. Since then, the military has reasserted its pivotal role in Thai politics although civilian governance was restored in 2008. Previous plans to deploy submarines have been criticized on the grounds that the Gulf of Thailand was too shallow for their effective use. The U-206 Class sub was first deployed in the 1970s and is one of the smallest attack submarines in the world with a displacement of about 500 tons. It is said to be particularly effective in depths of about 20 metres. It runs on diesel engines and electric motors and is tasked for anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare, mine-laying and reconnaissance. With a crew of 22, the sub can be armed with eight torpedoes and 24 mines. The German navy has operated the subs for more than 30 years but is in the process of decommissioning them. The submarine purchase was expected to be proposed to the Thai cabinet for formal approval in the near future.

 

Terrorist Submarines.

US security officials are reportedly worried that a new generation of drug-smuggling submarines - able, unlike their predecessor semi-submersibles, to travel completely submerged beneath the waves - might be used to carry out terrorist operations. The "terrorists" quote comes from a new report by the Houston Chronicle on the only known true narco-submarine, which was captured last July by Ecuadorean security forces cooperating with US drug-enforcement agents. After its seizure by the Ecuadoreans at a remote jungle "shipyard" complex, the narco-sub was taken to the port of Guayaquil, where it has now been examined by "naval experts from multiple countries", according to the report. "It is everything it is supposed to be. It is a bona fide long-range, fully submersible craft," Jay Bergman, US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) chief for the Andes region, told the Chronicle. "It wasn't the Love Boat," added the straight-talking fed. The Texan paper also quotes Laurence McCabe, a professor at the US Naval War College, as stating that the appearance of true submarines in criminal hands is causing much concern in military and security circles. "The US military is taking this threat very seriously and thinking through all the implications of this sort of platform," said McCabe, adding that such subs could easily carry terrorists instead of drugs. Apart from this insight, the Chronicle report offers some new information on the sub itself. Apparently it had twin diesel engines for normal operation with exhausts and air intakes above the surface, much as in the case of the semi-submersibles long used in the Central and South American drugs trade. However, the nameless craft also has a "diesel-electric power system", according to the DEA, which includes 100 "suitcase-sized" batteries installed beneath the deck of the main compartment housing crew, controls, engines and auxiliary machinery. The cargo hold forward is apparently capable of holding up to seven tonnes of narcotics. A commercial fish-finding sonar is apparently installed, allowing the crew some warning of obstacles ahead even when fully submerged. A periscope is also fitted. According to the Chronicle, McCabe also offered some figures on likely submerged performance: He also said it likely would have been able to travel about 20 knots per hour for up to an hour, but would have to slow to about 5 knots for more extended under­water travel. The faster it travels under­water, the more battery power it needs. The more it uses batteries, the closer it has to come to the surface to recharge them. That would actually be excellent performance for a full size naval diesel-electric submarine built in a modern shipyard: an vessel improvised in a jungle backwater would be extremely unlikely to be capable of more than five knots flat out submerged, and would not be able to travel any large distance at all before running its batteries flat.

 

Ten in Portuguese submarine fraud case to stand trial.

Three German and seven Portuguese nationals are to be tried for alleged fraud related to the purchase of two German submarines by Portugal in 2004, a judicial source said Tuesday.  The ten people, who were not named, face allegations of forging invoices related to the sales contract by the German Submarine Consortium (GSC), the company making the submarines. Among the accused are two executives of German industrial services company MAN Ferrostaal, part of the consortium. However a trial date has yet to be announced, the court official said.  A probe was launched last April at the request of the accused. Portuguese and German authorities are also investigating whether Ferrostaal paid bribes during the sale of its submarines. The first was delivered last June.

 

Taiwan Subs.

To score against his domestic political opponents, gain leverage in negotiations with Beijing, and assure Washington that his country remains committed to defending itself, Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou presents himself as a commander-in-chief who insists on a military with the highest standards. Yet despite the appeal Ma's style has to the general audience, a glimpse behind the scenes of Taiwan military affairs sometimes reveals neglect that on the daily basis puts Taiwanese servicemen and women's lives at risk. Arguably the most hair-raising examples of this are the island's two Guppy-class submarines. Built in the World-War-II era, they are the oldest serving submarines of any navy on the planet, and unsurprisingly, they are beginning to fall apart. While Ma's Kuomintang (KMT) government wastes its breath by persistently requesting the fanciest weapons the US has on offer, the clock ticks. The more often the age-old Guppies leave their port, the likelier is the day they will become steel coffins for their crews. Their deaths - or indeed even more so their rescue - could then well bring about weighty repercussions for Taiwan's political fate. ell bring about weighty repercussions for Taiwan's political fate. While China's People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) has roughly 60 submarines under its command, Taiwan's navy has four. Although the administration of former US president George W. Bush in 2001 announced an arms-sales package that included eight boats, procurement has proved difficult as the US ceased building diesel subs in the 1950s, and the remaining manufacturing countries have little interest in putting their lucrative relations with Beijing into jeopardy for coming to Taiwan's aid. The US at one stage offered to arrange the procurement of fairly priced vessels decommissioned by the Italian Navy, but Taiwan somewhat stubbornly insisted on new ones. Moreover, a program to locally build submarines has so far been unable to get the support of Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense (MND). But nonetheless, what has been by far the biggest factor keeping Taiwan from obtaining decent submarines is a lack of consensus among the island's notoriously feuding political parties. And while those bicker, the state of the subs the Taiwan Navy operates has become severe. Two of the Taiwanese subs are Dutch-built, modified Zwaardvis-class attack submarines, each accounting for 25 years of service. The other two boats are US-built Guppies, the oldest operational submarines in the world. Just how spine-chillingly antiquated these subs are is illustrated by the story of their development. The US Navy obtained the Guppy technology by testing and reverse engineering captured Nazi U-boats. This is the state of technology that Taiwan still sends to plough the seas in 2010. Neither the Sea Lion nor the Seal - as the Taiwanese Guppies are named - are equipped with torpedoes, as the boats are used exclusively for training. During naval exercises, the Guppies are assigned to simulate PLAN subs, allowing surface ships to practice anti-submarine warfare (ASW) techniques. After an overhaul in the early 1960s, the boats could dive to 125 meters, yet by the late 1990s, a commander wouldn't have dared to exceed a depth of 60 meters. Because of the fear of accidents, the Guppies stay on the ocean's surface as much as they can.

German Submarines.

 It is almost totally silent, radiates virtually no heat and is constructed entirely from non-magnetic metals. Meet the U212A -- an ultra-advanced non-nuclear sub developed by German naval shipyard Howaldtswerke Deutsche Werft, who claim it to be "the peak of German submarine technology." And few would argue. The super-stealth vessel is the first of its kind to be powered by a revolutionary hydrogen fuel cell that lets it cruise the deep blue without giving off noise or exhaust heat. That's important, because according to Bernd Arjes, a captain in the German Navy, silence keeps submariners alive. "We operate in coastal waters around Europe and this submarine is specially designed for finding submarines. If you want to find other submarines of course you have to be quiet," he said. With this latest technology, he added, "the boat is virtually undetectable." But being indistinguishable is not the only thing that sets the U212A apart. Unlike conventional subs, which need air to combust diesel, the fuel cell doesn't require oxygen to operate. This means it can remain submerged for many weeks -- holding its breath many times longer than its gas-guzzling cousins. You'd expect a boat like this to pack a punch, and you'd be right. The 212A is armed with 12 heavyweight wire guided torpedoes, each capable of destroying a war ship or disabling an aircraft carrier. "An aircraft carrier might not break with one torpedo but probably gets hit at the rudder or something. And then he probably can't maneuver into the wind to use his aircraft," said Arjes. Germany, which has no nuclear weapons or nuclear-powered ships of its own, is the world's third largest exporter of defense goods. HDW began developing the technology for the U212A in 1994, with the first vessels reaching market in 2003.  Export editions have already been sold to the navies of Greece, Portugal and South Korea. But sub-aquatic sailors around the world should think twice before getting too excited over this new toy. With a high degree of self-automation, the sub requires only a small crew and there is extraordinarily little in the way of creature comforts for those few on board. And so it seems that even with all this state-of-the-art technology, a submariners life still remains one of confined living quarters and shared bunks.

 

Submarine deal: Malaysian Deputy minister ‘lied’.

French news portal reveals that it was the Malaysian government and not Amaris, which paid Perimekar 114 million euros in commission. In the latest twist to the submarines deal, a French portal reveals that it was the Malaysian government which paid 114 million euros (RM493.59 million at current value) to Perimekar Sdn Bhd, of which Abdul Razak Baginda’s wife was the majority shareholder. Quoting sources cited by the plaintiffs in an ongoing legal suit, Rue89 said that it was not the French company Amaris which paid the commission. This contradicts the stand taken by the Malaysian government.  Deputy Defence Minister Zainal Abidin Zin had said in Parliament in 2006 that the commission was not paid by the government. Zainal Abidin was reported by the local media as saying that the French company paid the commission for a coordination and support services project. “We did not pay commission to anyone as claimed by Lim (Kit Siang), and the commission was paid voluntarily by France,” said Zainal Abidin, as quoted by the Star on Dec 7, 2006. “We cannot stop them if they want to give a commission. All the expenditure by the ministry had been tabled in Parliament and audited,” he had said. The Malaysian Defence Ministry repeated this in a statement on April 2007, as reported by the New Straits Times, that the government did not pay any commission to Perimekar for the purchase of the submarines. The ministry added that the local company was appointed only to provide the support services and co-ordination as it was a more effective method. The ministry paid one billion euros to Amaris for the two Scorpene and one Agosta submarines, for which Perimekar received the 11% commission from the French contractor. However, the Rue89 report claimed that the Malaysian government paid the sum, “with the sole purpose of circumventing the OECD Conventionon (on combating bribery of foreign public officials in International Business Transactions).” The purchase of the submarines, which also implicated Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, who was the then defence minister, had been enveloped in sorts of allegations. The brutal murder of Mongolian national Altantuya Shaariibuu in Malaysia was also linked to the matter, after Abdul Razak, a close aide of Najib, was charged with abetting the murder. He was later acquitted. It was speculated that Altantuya, an interpreter who acted as intermediary for the contract, was killed for having loudly demanded her share of the commission. Both Najib and the authorities denied this. Further legal action is due to be initiated in the next few days, with Suaram, a Malaysian NGO dedicated to the fight against corruption and member of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), applying to join proceedings as a civil party, which already applied for a judicial review in November 2009. Suaram would thereby have access to the details of the investigation, which is also a way to force the prosecution service to contact an examining magistrate, the last step before a trial that could last for years. As was the case for contracts won by the DCN for submarines to Pakistan and frigates to Taiwan, there are increasing suspicions of retrocommissions to French political parties. This case concerns the sale of two Scorpène submarines and an Agosta submarine to the Malaysian government. A contract worth approximately one billion euros, that was signed in 2002 with the Malaysian DCNS (former DCN, Department of Naval Construction) and Thalès.

 

Model’s body blown up with explosives over submarine deal.

Sex, murder, bribery, and suspicions (of) retrocommissions: the cocktail is explosive. It all started with the 2006 murder of Altantuya Shaaribu, a young model, interpreter and also an intermediary in this contract. Her body was found in the Malaysian jungle after being blown apart with explosives. The young woman appears to have been assassinated for having loudly demanded her share of the commission in an arms deal, in which the other parties involved were her lover, Abdul Razak Baginda, a friend and adviser of the other person involved, Najib Tun Razak, then Malaysia’s minister of defence and now the country’s prime minister. However, this shady affair hides another, which the French courts took note of. In December 2009, Suaram filed an initial suit against X at the Paris court for “active and passive corruption, trading of favours and abuse of corporate assets”. The state prosecutor Jean-Claude Marin then opened a preliminary investigation. At the time, it was suspected that a bribe of 114 million euros had been paid by the company Armaris (a subsidiary of DCNI and Thalès) to Najib and his entourage, through the company Perimekar. This company, which was officially established to “coordinate” the sale of the three submarines, had Abdul Razak Baginda’s wife as its majority shareholder.

 

Israel buys Dolphin submarine.

Israel will purchase its sixth Dolphin submarine from Germany at the expense of $1 billion, officials announced Thursday, despite constant objections by the IDF echelon. A special ministerial committee decided to accept the recommendations of Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who promoted its purchase. Israel already operates three Dolphins and bought two more from Germany in 2006. Dedicated to the security of the Jewish state founded in the wake of the Holocaust, Germany had sold those submarines at deep discounts. But Berlin, beset by budgetary constraints, balked in talks last year at similarly underwriting the sixth Dolphin. Foreign reports said Thursday that the two vessels, expected to arrive this year, have the ability to carry nuclear warheads and are to be used in a possible counterattack against Iran, in the event that the latter launches an assault that paralyzes population centers in Israel. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also promoted the deal as per Barak's recommendations, but military officials were wary – both the former and current IDF chiefs said during official hearings that there was no pressing need to acquire such an expensive piece of equipment. The objections, however, were based solely on the high price – which is to be paid out of the defense budget – and not on the benefits a sixth submarine could afford the state. Gabi Ashkenazi and Benny Gantz were not the only military officials opposed to the purchase of additional submarines. Former IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz claimed back in 2006 that one submarine – rather than the two eventually purchased – was enough to carry out the missions allotted to the vessels. The decision to buy the vessels was made initially by former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, and his successor, Ehud Olmert, decided to carry out the purchase

 

Three Russian submarines to undergo sea trials in 2011.

Russia's Sevmash shipyard will begin sea trials for three new generation nuclear-powered submarines, which are under construction at the shipyard in Severodvinsk, a media report said. The sea trials will begin with the first nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) Yuri Dolgoruky, followed by the second such sub, Alexander Nevsky. The shipyard will also conduct sea trials for Severodvinsk, the fourth-generation ballistic missile nuclear attack submarine constructed under Project 885 Yasen (Graney class) nuclear attack submarines, Arms-Tass reported. In September 2010, the shipyard had completed factory sea trials for Yuri Dolgoruky. The submarine will also conduct the first test-firing of its main weapon system, the Bulava Intercontinental ballistic missile, during sea trials by mid-summer 2011, the report said. The first Borey class sub is scheduled to enter service with the Russian Navy in the first half of this year while the second submarine of the class, Alexander Nevskiy, is expected to be commissioned in December 2011 in the Russian Pacific Fleet. The multi-purpose Severodvinsk, launched on June 15, 2010, is also set to join the Navy in 2011.

 

22 submarines in accidents during past decade.

Nineteen major naval accidents have taken place over the past decade, involving 22 submarines. The majority have involved American submarines. In total, there have been nine American submarine incidents, five Russian, four British, and one Chinese, Canadian, Australian and French accidents. Britian's HMS Astute ran aground in October last year off Skye while it was being put through sea trials. The £1.2bn submarine's rudder got stuck in mud and shingle while trying to take crew aboard. Months later, Lieutenant Commander Ian Molyneux, 36, was shot dead aboard the submarine. Crew member Ryan Donovan was charged with his murder and the attempted murder of three other crewman. Other submarine incidents to have occurred over the past ten years include the Ming 361 sinking in 2003. A "mechanical malfunction" on the Chinese diesel-powered submarine killed the entire 70-man crew in one of the worst naval accidents experienced in communist China's history. In 2008, six sailors and 14 civilian workers were killed and 21 were injured when the Russian K-152 Nerpa firefighting system went off during sea trials, releasing Freon coolant into the air on board. Twenty-one casualties were evacuated to a military hospital in Vladivostok suffering from poisoning. Four members of the US were washed overboard from The USS Minneapolis-Saint Paul in 2006, while in 2007 two members of the HMS Tireless were killed. Leading Operator Mechanic Paul McCann, 32, and Operator Mechanic Anthony Huntrod, 20, died when an oxygen-generating device exploded as they activated it during a training exercise while it was under the Arctic ice cap.

Russian Navy to outflank rivals in secrecy and low noise by 2020.

Chief of the Russian Navy, Admiral Vladimir Vysotsky is sure: the task of equipping the Russian Navy with modern weaponry is within the powers of the country’s industry. By 2020, the fleet will have received at least eight newest multi-purpose nuclear submarines of the Severodvinsk class. The sea trials of the new sub are scheduled for August. The SSBN "Severodvinsk" was developed by the "Malachite" marine engineering office in St. Petersburg. The sub developer Vladimir Dyatlov is sure that submarine "Severodvinsk" is 98.9% ready. All the weapons mounted on the submarine have been tested. The sub will go to the White Sea for 2 months and then pass the final phase of state testing. The new submarine is different from conventional design patterns. For example, the torpedo tubes are located behind the central post and not in the bow, which allowed to place the antenna of the new system of underwater acoustics in the bow. Eight vertical launchers of the powerful weapon system will allow for a timely and precise launch of supersonic cruise missiles and all-purpose deep water homing torpedoes. The nuclear installation of the SSBN "Severodvinsk" also has a new concept. Currently, a second submarine of the 885 "Kazan" project is being built at the Sevmash plant in Severodvinsk, Russia, – the Navy is going to get it before 2015. A Yasen class sub "Kazan", along with "Severodvinsk", is a double-ulled, one-shaft SSBN with a very low noise level. Its hull is divided into 10 sections; the sail of the sub is of streamlined shape. When armed with new nuclear submarines, the Russian Navy's submarine fleet is expected to exceed their foreign counterparts in secrecy and low noise.

 

Bribes for Submarines reached up to 230 million euros.


A complex system of offshore accounts, under-the-table payments and bogus invoices helped several people, including former members of the Defense Ministry, earn a combined total of up to 230 million euros in bribes, according to documents seen by Sunday’s Kathimerini. The paperwork relates to the troubled purchase of German submarines by the Greek navy in previous years. Akis Tsochatzopoulos, who served as defense minister between 1996 and 2000, has repeatedly denied accusations of being involved in corrupt deals. A Piraeus-based company, MIE, is alleged to be at the center of an investigation into payments made to a series of middlemen and public officials. The role of two German companies, HDW and Ferrostaal, is also being probed. It has been claimed that Ferrostaal, until 2009 a subsidiary of MAN, which was part of the consortium that won the contract in 2000 to supply the Greek navy with four submarines, paid substantial bribes to secure the deal for the first of these vessels. The agreement for the four submarines was worth 1.26 billion euros

 

Prosecutor gets file on ex-ministers and submarine deal.


Up to four former defence ministers face action in connection to alleged bribes. A Supreme Court prosecutor is to study the evidence in a case file sent to him on Thursday before deciding whether former defense ministers Yiannos Papantoniou, Spilios Spiliotopoulos and Vangelis Meimarakis should face any further investigation in connection to the purchase of four German submarines by the Hellenic Navy. Sources said that the office of the Athens first instance court prosecutor had sent the file, which concerns events between 2002 and 2009, to Supreme Court deputy prosecutor Athanasios Katsirodis, who will have the final say on whether the details should be sent on to Parliament. Katsirodis is already studying another file, relating to events between 1998 and 2002, when Akis Tsochatzopoulos was defense minister. New Democracy asked for the case to be fast-tracked “because of the seriousness of the matter, the number of people implicated and because of the possible involvement of ministers who have served for the ruling party.” A total of 37 people, including high-ranking members of the armed forces and businessmen, have been called by a prosecutor to answer questions about allegations of bribery linked to the purchase of the submarines. Greece ordered the Type 214 diesel-electric submarines, manufactured by ThyssenKrupp in Germany, between 2001 and 2005 but the deal, worth 1.26 billion euros, was plagued by complications after Greece rejected the first submarine due to technical problems. The prosecutor has called the 37 to testify as suspects after an investigation by the financial crimes squad (SDOE) uncovered evidence of under-the-table payments. A complex system of offshore accounts, under-the-table payments and bogus invoices helped several people, including former members of the Defense Ministry, earn a combined total of 230 million euros in bribes, according to an investigation conducted by SDOE. The investigators believe numerous bribes were paid before the contract was signed. One of the ways the bill was allegedly inflated, allowing for more under-the-table payments to be made, was for the navy and Defense Ministry to ask for the submarines to be fitted with all sorts of extra equipment

 

Iran to unveil 500-ton submarines.

 

A top Iranian military commander has announced plans to manufacture and deploy new domestically built submarines to patrol the country’s southern coasts. Deputy Commander of Iran’s naval forces Admiral Amir Farhadi said the 500-ton submarine would join the Army’s naval fleet by July 2012, in an interview with IRNA on Sunday. The medium-size vessel was primarily designed to patrol Iran’s southern waterways, especially the Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz, Farhadi added. Last August, four additional 120-ton Ghadir submarines joined the Iranian naval fleet on the country’s southern coast. The Ghadir submarine was first unveiled in 2007. Iran now operates more than ten of them, primarily in the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman. In recent years, Iran has made important breakthroughs in its defense sector and attained self-sufficiency in producing important military equipment and systems.
The Islamic Republic has repeatedly assured that its military might poses no threat to other countries, stating that Tehran’s defense doctrine is based on deterrence only.

 

GERMANY RETIRES SUBMARINES.

 

Germany is to retire six of its Type 206A submarines in order to save money as its defence budget dwindles, a spokesman said in the Baltic naval port of Gluecksburg on Thursday. The German Navy had originally planned to phase out its 10 remaining Type 206A subs gradually. The six were scheduled to be retired by 2015 and sold to other navies, but the order has now been given to mothball them with immediate effect. The diesel-electric submarines, which were designed to attack shipping in the shallow Baltic Sea, have been in service for 40 years. They are being replaced by the Type 212A, a hush submarine that can remain underwater for weeks thanks to its fuel-cell motor. A naval spokesman said the decision was for economic reasons. The Defence Ministry has been told to prepare for drastic budget cuts. The spokesman said the Navy would redeploy the six idle Type 206A crews to share duties in rotation on the remaining four submarines of the same class.

 

Brazil building Scorpene-class subs.

Brazil has started building four conventional submarines in preparation for developing technological capability to build a nuclear one with French help. The Scorpene-class attack submarines are modeled after the original French-Spanish submersibles and their construction follows a 2009 agreement for extensive technology transfer enabling Brazil to replicate French components and plans. "The merits of this partnership are technology transfer and a strategic alliance that will strengthen and advance the skills of our navy and industrial sector, making it more modern and capable of defending the country," said Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff. "We seek nuclear propulsion only for defensive, never offensive, purposes." Rousseff said the submarine construction program was a strategic issue for Brazil and a response to new defense requirements with vast hydrocarbon reserves discovered over the past few years and scattered offshore hundreds of miles from the shore. Brazil has also set sights on becoming the lead defense manufacturer in South America, supplying neighbors and allies its products on easy financial terms that will guarantee the country diplomatic and political pre-eminence in the region. The first of the four submarines is to be completed in 2016. "Brazil is becoming part of a small group of countries which have the knowledge and technology to build submarines," Rousseff said. "The capacity to produce submarines is a strategy for both defense and economic growth," she added, citing the export potential as Brazil strives to reduce dependence of commodity exports for its main earnings. The Scorpene-class submarine consists of more than 36,000 components, which will be produced by 30 Brazilian companies, Rousseff said. Brazilian state defense industry estimates the venture will create at least 46,000 jobs. Work on the nuclear submarine project is also in the early stage and it isn't clear how many experts have been deployed for that purpose. Brazil's first nuclear submarine is to enter service in 2023. Brazil and France signed a $4.25 billion contract for the construction of the four enlarged S-BR diesel-electric submarines, originally designed by French DCN and the Spanish company Navantia and now by DCNS, the brand adopted by the former French Direction Technique des Constructions Navales and the Direction des Constructions Navales. The Scorpene-class submarine is equipped with six 533-mm torpedo tubes for 18 torpedoes or SM.39 Exocet anti-ship missiles, or 30 mines in place of torpedoes. It wasn't immediately clear if the S-BR submarine will be equipped with an air-independent propulsion system that allows a submarine to operate without the need to surface or use a snorkel to access atmospheric oxygen.

US subs, divided into 4 classes.

According to the U.S. Navy's website, there are 77 submarines either in service, under construction or under contract to be built. There are 18 submarines that carry ballistic or guided missiles. They are the Ohio class. All have a home base either in Bangor, Wash., or King's Bay, Ga. There are 59 "attack" submarines, all nuclear-propelled and spread around the United States or U.S. territories. They are divided into three classes: • The Los Angeles class has 43 submarines. • The Virginia class has 13. • The Seawolf class has 3.

 

Graney Goes To Sea.

The fifty man crew for the first Graney (Yasen) class SSGN (nuclear powered cruise missile sub) has taken their boat to sea, or at least around the harbor. Sea trials begin in three months, but first the sub is taking baby steps to ensure that everything works. Nevertheless, these harbor trials are seen as major progress. Russian submarine building has been on life support since the Cold War ended in 1991. Many subs under construction at the end of the Cold War were cancelled, and the few that avoided that spent a decade or more waiting for enough money to get finished. The first Graney crew was put together five years ago, and has been training, and waiting, ever since. The crew will now continue training on their new boat, which will enter service next year.  Two years ago, construction began on a second Graney class SSGN. Russia plans to complete six boats of this class by the end of the decade. Construction of the first Graney class boat, the Severodvinsk, began in 1993, but lack of money led to numerous delays. Originally, the Severodvinsk was to enter service in 1998. Work on the Severodvinsk was resumed seven years ago. If work is not interrupted, the second Graney class boat should be ready in less than five years. The 9,500 ton Graneys carry 24 cruise missiles, as well as eight 650mm (25.6 inch) torpedo tubes. Some of the cruise missiles can have a range of over 3,000 kilometers, while others are designed as "carrier killers." The larger torpedo tubes also make it possible to launch missiles from them, as well as larger and more powerful torpedoes. The ship is highly automated, which is why there is a crew less than half the 134 needed to run the new U.S. Virginia class boats. The Graney design is based on the earlier Akula and Alfa class SSNs. Russia had originally planned to build 30 Graneys.

 

North Korea Builds A Bigger Little Shark.

North Korea has apparently been building an improved version of its Song (Shark) class mini-sub. The 250 ton Sang is actually a coastal sub modified for special operations. The original design is a 34 meter (105 feet) long boat with a snorkel and a top submerged speed of 17 kilometers an hour (or 13 kilometers an hour when at periscope depth using the snorkel to run the diesel engines). Top surface speed is 13 kilometers an hour. Max diving depth is 150 meters (465 feet) and the boat is designed to rest on the ocean bottom (useful when trying to avoid enemy search). There is a crew of 15, plus either six scuba swimmer commandos, or a dozen men who can go ashore in an inflatable boat. Some Songs have two or four torpedo tubes. Max endurance is about eight days. The new model is 39 meters (121 feet) long and is believed to have a max submerged speed of 27 kilometers an hour. Over 40 Songs have been built so far, and one was captured by SouthKorea when it ran aground in 1996. At least half a dozen are of the new model. NorthKorea has a fleet of over 80 mini-subs, plus about 24 older Russian type conventional boats (based on late-World War II German designs, as adapted for Russian service as the Whiskey and Romeo class). China helped North Korea set up its own submarine building operation, which included building some of the large Romeo class subs. North Korea got the idea for minisubs from Russia, which has had them for decades. North Korea has developed several mini-sub designs, most of them available to anyone with the cash to pay. The most popular mini-sub is the M100D, a 76 ton, 19 meter (58 foot) long boat that has a crew of four and can carry eight divers and their equipment. The North Koreans got the idea for the M100D when they bought the plans for a 25 ton Yugoslav mini-sub in the 1980s. Only four were built, apparently as experiments to develop a larger North Korean design. There are to be over 30 M100Ds, and they can be fitted with two torpedoes that are carried externally, but fired from inside the sub. North Korea is believed to have fitted some of the Songs and M100Ds with acoustic tiles, to make them more difficult to detect by sonar. This technology was popular with the Russians, and that's where the North Koreans were believed to have got the technology. The most novel design is a submersible speedboat. This 13 meter (40 foot) boat looks like a speedboat, displaces ten tons and can carry up to eight people. It only submerges to a depth of about 3.2 meters (ten feet). Using a snorkel apparatus (a pipe type device to bring in air and expel diesel engine fumes), the boat can move underwater. In 1998, a South Korean destroyer sank one of these. A follow-on class displaced only five tons, and could carry six people (including one or two to run the boat). At least eight of these were believed built. The use of a North Korea midget sub to sink a South Korean corvette in March, 2010, forced the United States, and South Korea, to seriously confront the problems involved in finding these small subs in coastal waters. This is a difficult task, because the target is small, silent (moving using battery power) and in a complex underwater landscape, that makes sonar less effective. There are some potential solutions. After the Cold War ended in 1991, the U.S. recognized that these coastal operations would become more common. So, in the 1990s, the U.S. developed the Advanced Deployable System (ADS) for detecting non-nuclear submarines in coastal waters. The ADS is portable, and can quickly be flown to where it is needed. ADS is believed to be in South Korea. ADS basically adapts the popular Cold War SOSUS system (many powerful listening devices surrounding the major oceans, and analyzing the noises to locate submarines) developed by the United States. ADS consists of battery powered passive (they just listen) sensors that are battery powered and deployed by ship along the sea bottom in coastal waters. A fiber optic cable goes from the sensors (which look like a thick cable) back to shore, where a trailer containing computers and other electronics, and the ADS operators, runs the system. ADS has done well in tests, but it has never faced the North Korean mini-subs.

 

'Nothing amateur' about narco submarine.

A peek inside craft that can hide 7 tons of cocaine reveals surprises.

 

photo

 

Experts have studied the narco submarine, which sits in Guayaquil, Ecuador. Painted a camouflage pattern of blue, black and gray, it is believed to be able to submerge about 50 feet. The only narco submarine ever captured — a 73-foot-long camouflaged vessel capable of carrying at least 7 tons of cocaine while cruising stealthily beneath the ocean's surface — sits raised on concrete blocks in a South American seaport. Its belly is caked with grime. Its hatch is open. Many of its secrets are no more. In the seven months since the game-changing discovery of the submarine, built by drug traffickers in a covert shipyard deep in the Ecuadorean jungle, naval experts from multiple countries have studied the vessel.  Their conclusion: It is the "real deal" — fully capable of making multiple journeys to North America. "There is nothing amateur about it," said Jay Bergman, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's chief of the Andes region. "It is everything it is supposed to be. It is a bona fide long-range, fully submersible craft." The journey would have been tough but profitable for the sub, which has no name and was caught in July before its maiden voyage. Seven tons of pure cocaine would easily be worth $100 million in Texas. That's 20 times the estimated $5 million cost of building the sub. "It wasn't the Love Boat," Bergman said. "This is about getting black-market cargo from Point A to Point B … just trying to make sure they survived the journey and reaped the bounty." There is no galley or bed, just a small porthole and toilet to accommodate a crew of four or five. A commercial fish-finder device was mounted on the front to allow a pilot inside to see what was ahead.

Unanswered questions.

Officials said the most likely travel route for the sub would have been to sneak north along the Pacific coast and unload its illicit cargo during at-sea rendezvous with boats. The cocaine would be taken ashore to Central America or Mexico, where it would be smuggled over land into the United States. The sub is far smaller than military subs but adds a new dimension to the longtime cat-and-mouse game of trying to catch large loads of cocaine leaving South America via ships and planes. Officials are poring over the possibilities that come with a criminal organization having the contacts and ability to build a real sub. "The U.S. military is taking this threat very seriously and thinking through all the implications of this sort of platform," said Laurence McCabe, a U.S. Naval War College professor of national security affairs specializing in Latin America.  And if the submarine could carry drugs, he pointed out, it could carry terrorists. Among the most important questions not yet answered: Who designed the sub, and who were the naval mercenaries ready to pilot it? "They have now entered into a world of fairly elite, specialized skill sets, which are much easier to track and identify," McCabe said. "They are innovative people, and they are smart, but at some point you run into a technology wall and need to bring in special people." The vessel, which was captured in a brackish tributary leading to the Pacific Ocean, has since been towed to Ecuador's largest city, Guayaquil.  It was lifted from the water and placed on a pier, where it remains in Ecuadorean government custody.  It is painted a camouflage design of blue, black and gray - perfect colors for use on the high seas when hiding from government ships and planes that hunt traffickers.  McCabe, who has not been aboard the sub but shared his expertise with the Houston Chronicle, said from photos it looks like it would require about six people to operate for any significant distance. He also said it likely would have been able to travel about 20 knots per hour for up to an hour, but would have to slow to about 5 knots for more extended under­water travel. The faster it travels under­water, the more battery power it needs. The more it uses batteries, the closer it has to come to the surface to recharge them.  The U.S. government worked with Ecuador and Colombia to locate and capture the sub near the Ecuador- Colombia border, where it could only be reached by boat, said one U.S. official. No drugs were found onboard and not a shot was fired as soldiers and police swarmed it. One person was arrested nearby.

Race against time.

The remote region has a reputation as a no man's land. The official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said it was found after a desperate race against time to locate the sub before it could put to sea. All told, about 150 Ecuadorean police and military personnel closed in on the sub, but by the time they got there, the culprits were gone. "Once you bring all those cops and military into an area for an operation, the word gets out," said the official. They waited for high tide to have the sub towed by a boat out to the Pacific. From there, it was tied to an Ecuadorian navy ship. The submarine is outfitted with a diesel-electric power system, according to the DEA. That includes twin diesel engines and more than 100 suitcase-size batteries.

7-ton payload.

The craft is built chiefly with fiberglass over a wood frame, which keeps it light and buoyant. It is believed to be able to submerge about 50 feet below the surface - deep enough to hide yet shallow enough to avoid crushing pressure. The cargo bay toward the front is big enough to hold about seven tons of cocaine.  Such a payload is staggering when compared with the 622 pounds of cocaine caught all of last year by Customs and Border Protection inspectors in El Paso. Lothar Eckardt, the director of the National Air Security Operations Center for CBP in Corpus Christi, said the sub is a "game-changer." The agency deploys P-3 Orion aircraft off the coasts of Central and South America to hunt for smugglers, who have previously taken to using hybrid boats that look like submarines but ride low on the surface without being able to fully submerge.  "It is a game-changer, but we are the United States of America, and we will do what it takes to find these things," Eckardt said. "Once you get into this sub game, there are a lot of people who get involved. "This is a legitimate threat." The official who spoke to the Chronicle said there is no way to know how many other narco subs are out there. "The fact is (they) found one," the official said. "The probability is so remote, that the only one ever built, only one near completion and the only one about to get under way is the one (they) found.

 

Greek officials received EUR 55 million in German bribes for submarines.

German submarine maker the HDW company spent 55 million euros on bribing Greek officials, the weekly German magazine Der Spiegel reports.  According to the magazine, in 2000-2002, the company had a group of managers, who received money to bribe Greek officials in order to obtain profitable contracts.  The bribing resulted in contracts for the construction of four submarines and the overhaul of three others. Among the Greek officials involved in those bribes the magazine names former Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos.

 

Submarine secrets.

Russia is creating a new conventional submarine, which will be equipped with a unique engine that will enable the vehicle to compete with nuclear-powered submarines in terms of speed and efficiency. Igor Kurdin, a St.Petersburg-based defense expert, touts the engine’s sophisticated characteristics which he says will add significantly to the submarine’s capacity. "Equipped with the so-called closed circuit engine, the vehicle will replace diesel-electric submarines and can be used in the Baltic and Black Seas, as well as the Pacific and Arctic Oceans, Kurdin says. The goal, he adds, is to spot and destroy enemy nuclear-powered submarines, which may well prove to be an easy task given the new sub’s high speed, quietness and advanced radar equipment." In the Soviet Union, the further development of conventional submarines came amid efforts to build a nuclear-powered submarine fleet, which was created in the late 1950s, Kurdin explained. "We have built Russia’s first conventional submarine, equipped with a closed cooling circuit engine, Kurdin says. The hope is that significant state funds will be allocated for the project, which will enable us to create more such submarines in the future," Kurdin concluded. The federal program stipulates the allocation of more than 4.5 trillion rubles for the modernization of the Russian Fleet, which will soon get a total of eight Borey-class nuclear-powered submarines, including the Yuri Dolgoruky, and the Vladimir Monomakh.  All the Borey-class strategic nuclear-powered submarines are designed to carry the Bulava sea-launched ballistic missiles.

 

Russian Navy to receive new nuclear attack submarine by yearend.

The Russian Navy will receive a new Graney class nuclear-powered multipurpose attack submarine by the end of 2011, a spokesman for the Malakhit design bureau said on Monday. Construction of the Severodvinsk submarine began in 1993 at the Sevmash Shipyard in the northern Russian city of Severodvinsk but has since been dogged by financial setbacks. It was floated out in June last year. "The submarine is undergoing harbor trials at the Sevmash Shipyard and is getting ready for sea trials in May," the official said. "It should enter service with the Russian Navy by the end of this year." Graney class nuclear submarines are designed to launch a variety of long-range cruise missiles (up to 3,100 miles or 5,000 km), with conventional or nuclear warheads, and effectively engage submarines, surface warships and land-based targets. The submarine's armament includes 24 cruise missiles and eight torpedo launchers, as well as mines and anti-ship missiles. In 2009, work started on the second sub of the Graney class, the Kazan, which will feature more advanced equipment and weaponry.

 

Iran Navy designing new medium, heavy class submarines.

 

Mansour Maqsoudlou of the Navy says Iran is currently designing multi-purpose submarines. Fateh submarine of medium class and Besat of heavy class are currently under construction in the country, Maqsoudlou added. He went on to say that Iran is working on another project called Mouj 2 which will soon join the Iranian Navy fleet. The project has surface and air radar systems.

 

Bulgarian Navy Set to Discard Submarine Force.

 

Bulgaria: Bulgarian Navy Set to Discard Submarine Force

Bulgaria’s armed forces will most likely do away with their submarine unit, according to Defense Minister Anyu Angelov. According to the Minister, the life of the only operational Bulgarian submarine “Slava” (i.e. “Glory”), has expired, and it will probably be retired in the coming months which will mean shutting down altogether Bulgaria’s submarine force. “Calling it a submarine force is too strong because any such unit must include at least two vessels. As you know, we have only one submarine. Its life has expired, and thus the submarine component of the Bulgarian Navy probably won’t exist any more,” declared the Defense Minister in Varna where he observed the international naval drills call “Breeze/Sertex 2010.” Bulgaria’s submarine force was formally set up as an individual unit during World War I, in 1916. After the end of the war, however, it was shut down as part of the provisions of the Treaty of Neuilly-sur-Seine of 1919 in which the Allies banned Bulgaria from having submarines. In 1954, the Soviet Union gave Bulgaria three submarines, and in 1958, two more. The Slava submarine was one of the two presented in 1958 and just turned 42. Even though it is deemed operational, it is in a deplorable condition and can only go under water for short intervals of time. The only other Bulgarian submarine that was operation in the recent years was the Nadezhda (i.e. “Hope”); it has practically been retired for ten years because it lacks a battery. At the beginning of 2009, the Bulgarian Navy considered turning it into a museum. The mid 1980s, and especially 1983-1985 were the “height” of the Bulgarian submarine force with four fully operational submarines. Two of them were retired immediately after the fall of the communist regime in 1989 because of lack of funds. In August 2009, the Bulgarian Navy celebrated with an open-door day 55 years since the restoration of its submarine force. In 2007, the general staff of the Bulgarian Navy promised that its modernization strategy will provide for purchasing two new submarines, the first of which was supposed to arrive in Varna in 2012. However, these plans have seen little development. Speaking in Varna on Friday, Bulgaria’s Defense Minister Angelov declared that the army, the air force, and navy must restructure in a way that would allow them to carry out their tasks in spite of any temporary budget constraints. He revealed that in changes in the structure of the three types of armed forces will be made public in September, and that they will be decided by the commanding staffs of each of these. “The three types of military forces will continue to exist because they feed the battle spirit of the Bulgarian Army,” Gen. Angelov said.

 

Brazil goes nuclear.

Brazil is building nuclear attack submarines that promise to dramatically alter the balance of power off the South American coast.

Brazil nuclear submarine falkland islands 2011 07 14

 

It’s a British admiral’s nightmare scenario: In the not too distant future, a nearly bankrupt Argentine government invades the oil-rich Falkland Islands. For the second time in half a century, Las Malvinas — the islands all of Latin America regard as a stolen piece of Argentina — spark a war.  With budget cuts, the Brits have no aircraft carrier. Across the Atlantic, Brazil does have one, the Sao Paulo, along with a fleet of nuclear-powered attack submarines being built in partnership with Argentina. These weapons give Brazil the ability to impose an updated version of the Monroe Doctrine on regional waters. Call it the "Lula Doctrine." With its new confidence and military ambition, Brazil is a vocal advocate of Argentina’s claim on Las Malvinas. While few can imagine Britain and Brazil ever coming to blows, pieces of that nightmare scenario are starting to take shape. In 2009, Brazil announced plans to build a fleet of five nuclear attack submarines. Expected to start entering service in 2016, the submarines promise to dramatically alter the balance of power in the South Atlantic. (Currently, only the U.S., China, Russia, India, the U.K. and France operate nuclear-powered warships, the vast majority of them submarines.) The last time this scenario played out, Britain won the day. Back in 1982, when the Argentine junta led by Gen. Leopoldo Galtieri invaded the islands, Britain mustered a small but powerful fleet of aircraft carriers, submarines and surface ships to support a Royal Marine landing force that retook the islands. The retaking of the Falklands became emblematic of then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s determination that the once mighty British military not sink to third-class status.  Yet it also left a deep scar on the Latin American psyche. Brazil and other Latin American countries backed Argentina during the war but had little real ability to help militarily. In particular, the region never forgot the single most deadly action of the war, the sinking of the Argentine cruiser General Belgrano, a hulking relic of World War II, by a British nuclear attack submarine, killing 323 sailors.  Until recently, the Falklands conflict was regarded by most experts as unlikely to spark further trouble. But the discovery of oil in the North Falklands Basin in 2007 changed this. Combined with Argentina’s near perpetual state of fiscal distress and Brazil’s new assertiveness on the world stage, sensitivities over the disputed islands have risen.  In January, for instance, Brazil refused a small British warship, HMS Clyde, permission to dock in Rio de Janeiro. Neighboring Uruguay turned away the British destroyer HMS Gloucester in 2010. In Britain, meanwhile, the commander of the 1982 Falklands fleet, Admiral Sir John Woodward, published an op-ed in June warning that current defense cuts likely would leave the Falklands helpless in the face of a new Argentine invasion, leading to political pressure to reinforce the British garrison. But Brazil’s submarines change the naval balance of power in the region even more dramatically than Britain’s own defense woes. British strategists worry that Brazil’s may now impose its own version of the U.S. Monroe Doctrine on the region’s waters — in effect, demanding that foreign powers simply steer clear of its backyard as the U.S. did in the 19th and 20th century. Late last year, Brazil signed a deal with a French defense contractor for help constructing the first of the five boats. This follows a 2008 deal with Argentina to jointly develop the nuclear reactors which will power the vessels. Brazilian officials have been careful not to portray the subs as a response to any outside threat as they continue to support Argentina’s Malvinas claim in international bodies. Instead, the subs have been characterized as a way to secure the enormous “pre-salt” offshore oil fields discovered by the country over the past several years. President Luiz Inacio “Lula” da Silva, who led the push for the nuclear sub program, said before leaving office that the subs were “a necessity for a country that not only has the maritime coast that we have but also has the petroleum riches that were recently discovered in the deep sea pre-salt layer.”

 

Are the dumped nuclear reactors leaking?

Norway, Russia send joint expedition to the dump sites for submarine reactors in the Kara Sea this summer. Will it be safe to lift the old reactors and bring them safely onshore? A total of 16 naval reactors were dumped east of Novaya Zemlya during the Soviet period. Reactors were dumped because accidents with them caused high levels of radiation. Naval yards in Severodvinsk and along the coast of the Kola Peninsula wouldn’t dare to keep them stored near populated areas, nor less to decommission them in a proper way. The “easy” solution was simply to dump them in remote Arctic waters. Most scaring are the six reactors that were dumped with their highly radioactive spent nuclear fuel still onboard. In the early 90ties, several expeditions with Norwegian and Russian radiation experts onboard sailed to the dump-sites in the Kara Sea. Their findings were just partly without worries. Some samples indicated small leakages in the near vicinity of the reactors, while some reactors were not found. The last joint Norwegian, Russian expedition to the Kara Sea took place in 1994. Since then, only Russian scientists have been given permission to enter the dump-sites areas. This week, the International Atomic Energy Agency  (IAEA) holds a workshop in Oslo with participants from several of the countries involved in nuclear safety operations in northwest-Russia. The objective is to initiate further investigation on sunken submarines and reactors in the Arctic Oceans and strategies to solve the problems. The Norwegian Radiation Protection Agency reports today that the goal is to send a new joint expedition to the sites of dumped reactors and sunken submarines. Such expedition will take place later this year, and is supposed to include Norwegian and Russian team members in addition to experts from IAEA. The big question is: Will it be possible to lift the sunken reactors and bring them safely back to a naval yard without releases of radioactivity? In the 90ties nobody demanded to lift the Kara Sea dumped reactors. Those days, experts and the public were far more concerned about the 120 rusty nuclear powered submarines that were laid-up at the different naval bases and shipyards on the coast of the Kola Peninsula and in Severodvinsk. Today, most of the old laid up subs are decommissioned and their reactors are safely stored onshore in the Saida bay, west of Murmansk. In addition to the 16 reactors dumped in the Kara Sea, the expedition this summer will examine the radionuclide situation around the K-159, a old nuclear powered submarine that sank outside the inlet to Kola bay in August 2003. K-159, with its two reactors with spent nuclear fuel, lays on the seabed in one of the most important fishing grounds of the Barents Sea. Another interesting sunken submarine is the Komsomolets, that sank 160 kilometres south of the Bear Island in April 1989. That submarine has one reactor and two plutonium-bombs onboard, but are far to deep to ever be lifted.

 

Pakistan plans to acquire 6 submarines from China.

After inducting advance fighter jets from China, Pakistan plans to buy six state-of-the-art submarines from the neighbouring country in a bid to boost its under-sea warfare capabilities.  Islamabad is planning to buy six submarines outright with options of joint development of conventional submarines with China, The Express Tribune reported.  The newspaper did not mention the class of submarines being sought by Pakistan saying merely that Islamabad wanted advanced under-sea vessels with air independent propulsion (AIP) system, which would give them capabilities to stay submerged longer and operate noiselessly.  The Defence Ministry has asked the federal Cabinet to approve the purchase of Chinese submarines to counter “emerging threats” faced by Pakistan, the paper said.  Pakistan has a total of five active diesel electric submarines plus three midget submarines. While the three submarines are of German SSK class, Islamabad had recently inducted two French Agosta class ones.  With attempts to acquire AIP technology, Islamabad would be in race with New Delhi, which plans to arm its French Scorpene submarines with the technology but only by 2013.  Pakistan’s Defence Ministry informed the Cabinet that the country’s Navy is facing a “critical force imbalance” in terms of the number of submarines and ships in its fleet.  The “capability gap is widening exponentially with the passage of time”, the report said.  The Navy plans to acquire the six AIP conventional submarines that can operate in a “multi-threat environment under tropical conditions” and are capable of launching torpedoes and missiles, the Business Recorder daily quoted official documents as saying.  A protocol for joint development and co-production of submarines by the Pakistan Navy and China Shipbuilding and Offshore Corporation will be signed shortly after approval by the federal Cabinet, the paper said.  In view of “urgent naval requirements”, the issue of acquiring Chinese submarines was part of the talking points for President Asif Ali Zardari’s visit to China in 2009, media reports said.  The matter was also discussed during Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao’s visit to Pakistan in December 2010, the reports said.  The Cabinet has been told that Naval Headquarters had pursued the purchase of submarines with Chinese authorities, who have assured Pakistan of their “firm support” for the submarine project.  Under the proposed protocol, four submarines will be constructed at a Chinese shipyard and the remaining two in Pakistan.  Co-development and production will include joint development, training of Pakistani personnel, upgrades of Pakistan Navy’s shipyard and other related aspects.

 

Agosta Submarine Lies

 

ISLAMABAD: As public pressure in France mounts on President Nicolas Sarkozi to testify over alleged corruption in the sale of French submarines to Pakistan in the mid-90s, the then Director General Naval Intelligence (DGNI) of Pakistan Navy has offered help to Islamabad and Paris to book the corrupt and bring back the looted money to Pakistan. Talking to The News, former DGNI Commodore Shahid Ashraf, who by his own account was tortured, harassed and put under illegal custody by the sleuths he once commanded and prematurely retired from the service “for knowing too much about the commission mafia in defence forces”, said that he was willing to cooperate with the Pakistani as well as French authorities. “I have a lot to share with them about the kickbacks in the Agosta submarine deal,” he insisted. Ashraf, in a recent interview with this newspaper, disclosed certain details of the Agosta submarine deal and revealed while the deal had led to the removal of the then Chief of Naval Staff (CNS) Admiral Mansurul Haq and the framing of a corruption reference against Benazir Bhutto and Asif Ali Zardari but those mighty and powerful in the navy, who made millions of dollars from the deal, were never held accountable. The cover-up in the submarine deal, according to the former DGNI, was meant to save the skin of many in the Pakistan Navy. To force his silence, he said, he was maliciously charged for getting Rs1.5 million from a naval officer, who was alleged to have got illegal gratification and kickbacks from foreign suppliers of the naval vessels, etc., but was ‘interestingly’ made an approver against the DGNI. On the contrary, a list of naval officers, who were alleged to have received kickbacks, were never touched. Instead, they were promoted as rear admirals.

 

Rumors Circulate About Radiation Leak by Chinese Sub.

Rumors are spreading quickly that radioactive materials were accidentally leaked from a state-of-the-art Chinese nuclear submarine moored in Dalian Port in Liaoning Province in the northeastern part of China.  The rumor was first reported on Saturday by Boxun.com, a website for overseas Chinese, before it was picked up by Sina Weibo, a Chinese microblogging site similar to Twitter.  Citing People's Liberation Army sources in Dalian, Boxun.com reported that there was an accidental leakage of radiation when engineers from a Chinese electronics company were installing equipment on the submarine.  Boxun reported that the accident happened suddenly, and that Chinese authorities had sealed off the area while an investigation was under way, while taking steps to ensure news of the accident did not spread. The Chinese media and government have so far refrained from commenting on the rumors, which have stoked fears among netizens.  China possesses around 70 submarines. Six of them are nuclear-powered and five are part of the North Sea Fleet deployed around Bohai Bay. Only two Chinese nuclear submarine ports in the North Sea Fleet have been identified by outsiders. One is in Dalian and the other is in Qingdao.  In 2007, a U.S. spy satellite captured photos of a Chinese Jin-class nuclear submarine moored in Xiaopingdao, an island near Dalian. The submarine at the center of the latest rumor is a Jin-class nuclear sub, which measures 133 m in length and has a displacement of 8,000 tons. It is also equipped with intercontinental ballistic missiles with a range of 8,000 km. Two nuclear submarines have been commissioned so far, but three or four more are being made, according to military sources.

 

N.Korea Builds up Submarine Force.

 

A North Korean 300-ton Shark-class submarine which infiltrated into waters off Gangneung, Gangwon Province in September 1996

A North Korean 300-ton Shark-class submarine which infiltrated into waters off Gangneung, Gangwon Province in September 1996. North Korea is building up its submarine force, deploying new Shark-class K-300 submarines with better performance, a longer body and higher underwater speed than the old model which infiltrated South Korean waters in 1996. A South Korean government official said Sunday, "We've confirmed U.S. satellite images and other intelligence that the North has been building and deploying new Shark-class submarines for a few years now. They're about 5 m longer than the old 34 m-long model and capable of traveling submerged more than 10 km/h faster." The North has about 70 submarines and submersibles. The Shark class, which accounts for about 40 of them, is its main submarine force.

Submarine situation dire.

A Guppy-class submarine that has been in service for 66 years, front, and two Dutch-made Hailung-class submarines that have been in service for 25 years are pictured at the Tsuoying naval base in Greater Kaohsiung yesterday. Amid the lack of consensus on whether to procure or develop submarines, the navy’s lagging capabilities have become increasingly severe, a military analyst said yesterday. Jyh-Perng Wang, associate researcher at the Association for Managing Defense and Strategies, said the nation’s Hailung-class Sea Dragon and World War II-era Guppy-class submarines were overburdened with numerous drills and battle missions, spending as much as 27 days per month at sea. The two Guppy-class are now used solely for training, -leaving only two Hailung-class subs for actual missions. Wang said physical and mental stress in the navy, coupled with a “no hope for the future” mentality, could result in a wave of retirement among senior officers. The 70-year-old Guppies, known as Sea Lion-class submarines, are in poor shape and require sustained maintenance, which is why every time the two submarines go out to sea, the Naval Command and Fleet Command are extremely nervous. Crew on the subs are also constantly worried about accidents, which is why the burden now primarily falls on the two Dutch-made Hailung-class subs. Sources have said that aside from battle missions, the two active submarines are responsible for “no-warning” and “warning” sea shark drills (or marine patrol operations), routine training assessment exercises by the fleet command, mine deployment and countering, as well as participation in the annual Han Kuang series of exercises. These drills take months to plan and execute, which could account for the exhaustion among officers. Wang said that after more than 20 years of use, the Hailung-class subs were also getting old. When they entered service, they provided an edge against the vessels deployed by the People’s Liberation Army Navy, but now that China’s Song-class attack submarines were fitted with silencer tiles, it was time for the navy to retire its “-stegosaurus-class” subs and modernize. Wang said he was concerned that salaries of between NT$30,000 and NT$40,000 per month offered by the navy were insufficient to retain personnel, since submarine crew are constantly under a lot of stress. The wave of senior officers who have retired early shows that the officers had lost confidence in the submarine fleet, which was a great loss for the navy.

 

Russia scraps Cold War-era Typhoon submarine.

Russia is to scrap its legendary typhoon class nuclear-powered submarine, the deadly Soviet-era vessel that inspired the Hollywood blockbuster The Hunt for Red October.

Russian submarine infographic

 

The decision, which was disclosed by military sources in the daily Izvestia newspaper, marks the end of an era that will see the three remaining Typhoon class submarines that remain in service in Russia's Northern Fleet cut up and turned into scrap metal by 2014. The giant Typhoon-class submarine was a fixture of the Cold War and at 562 feet long and 80 foot wide was the biggest submarine ever built.

It was also one of the deadliest and was able to launch up to twenty intercontinental ballistic missiles carrying as many as two hundred independently targeted warheads (ten warheads per missile). But in recent years, the under funded Russian navy has struggled to keep the three remaining submarines fully operational with only one of the three said to routinely be carrying nuclear weapons, while the other two are said to carry conventional weapons only. It was the first Soviet nuclear submarine to have the capacity to launch a missile from beneath the polar ice sheet without being detected on satellite and its engines were much quieter than its predecessors, making it much tougher to track.  The legendary submarine appears to have become a victim of post Cold-War realities however. Three have already been scrapped to comply with nuclear disarmament commitments, and Russian navy chiefs now believe that the three remaining vessels are no longer needed either. The main reason is that a new smaller generation of nuclear submarine is in the process of being rolled out (the Borei) which is considered to have superseded the giant Soviet-era vessel. The new subs are cheaper to run, require far fewer crew, and have been specially designed to carry Russia's new generation of Bulava sea-launched nuclear missiles. In contrast, two of the three older Typhoon-class subs need to undergo expensive conversion work before they can even fire the new missiles.  The old subs are also said to cost at least £6 million a year in running costs that is deemed too high.  Under the so-called new START nuclear arms reduction treaty that Russia and the United States signed last year, Moscow is only able to deploy a maximum of 1,550 nuclear warheads anyway. The three ageing Soviet-eras are capable of carrying 600 warheads between them and Russia is said to be keen to use other more modern launch vehicles to fill its quota (including silo-based ICBMs and strategic bombers).

Three of four Albanian submarines for scrap metal.

The Albanian submarines will not be seen anymore at the Pashalimani military base. Three from the last four Albanian submarines were transported to the melting furnaces of the Elbasan Metallurgy. These submarines were Albania’s pride during the Cold War. They arrived in the country after signing the Warsaw Treaty and were proposed to turn into a museum. The Albanian-Russian joint military base of the 50s had 8 submarines, four of which left when Albania abandoned the military alliance of the communist countries. The submarines operated for many years, but remained immobilized after 1997, when they were damaged as badly as they could sink. The submarines were anchored at the Pashalimani base, for not moving anymore until the last days of their lives, when they were cut to pieces and were transported to the Elbasan Metallurgy. On May 2010, the Albanian government announced the tender for their sale, with a value of 34.3 million ALL, and the operation for removing them from water ended only in the recent days. The market value of the steel only, because the copper and alluminium is higher, is 78 million ALL. Dozens of trucks went in and out the city of Vlore for several days, and the last pieces were transported this Friday, September 23rd. The heavy equipments that were used for cutting the submarines are still at place, where they also cut a series of other heavy ammunitions, such as torpedoes, marine bombs and heavy weapons, now out of order. The submarines weighted 650 tons each and were mainly made of steel and copper. The names of the destroyed submarines are “Tufani 332”, “Vetetima 334” and “Rrufeja”. The “Submarine 105”, much used by the communist propaganda, was not destroyed.

The last accident of Soviet nuclear fleet.

The accident was the latest in the nuclear submarine fleet of the USSR and took place immediately after the coup, exactly 20 years ago. "Pravda.ru" tried to reconstruct the events with a member of the Supreme Council who Ruslan Khasbulatov ordered to investigate the accident. "On September 27, 1991, during a training launch in the White Sea at the" TK-17 ""Arkhangelsk," a training missile exploded and burned in the silo. The blast took off the silo roof, and the missile was thrown into the sea. During the incident the crew was not injured. The boat had to undergo a small repair ... " this is the only phrase that pops up in all the search engines when trying to find more information about the accident. "TK-17" is the fifth of the six heavy nuclear-powered submarines of Project 941 "Typhoon" produced in the Soviet Union (this project is also called "Shark"). These are the largest submarines in the world. The author of these lines a few years ago happened to hear about that accident firsthand. Rear Admiral Vitaly Fedorin, who at the time of the accident was at a supporting vessel, said: "I saw everything that happened from outside. During a prelaunch a ballistic missile exploded. The cover of the silo flew to an unknown destination, and the rubber coating of the outer hull of the boat was burning. The commander of the" Shark," Captain of the 1st Rank Grishko, acted professionally. He promptly countersunk the giant submarine to a periscope depth, knocked down the flames and flushed away the remaining solid rocket fuel that can burn in the water from the boat. Fortunately, none of the sailors were injured. Later the silo was welded and has never been used, but the boat has long remained in battle formation. It was the only accident with missiles on ships on such a project. It did not cause any damage to durable and lightweight housing, and there were no casualties. The submariners paid tribute to the designers - Severodvinsk Shipyard Sevmash - for the safety features they designed for the ship." That accident had no adverse environmental, economic or any other consequences. According to a member of the Supreme Council of the RSFSR Albert Butorin who now resides in Severodvinsk, Arkhangelsk region, a real catastrophe was prevented by the dedication of the nuclear submarine commander: "In 199-1993, Arkhangelsk region was the area of ??my responsibility as a member of the Supreme Council of Russia. On October 1, 1991 I was summoned by the chairman of the Supreme Council Ruslan Khasbulatov: "I have been told that in the White Sea an explosion of a submarine with nuclear weapons on board was miraculously prevented. Now the boat is stationed in Severodvinsk, where deputy commander of the Northern Fleet Vice-Admiral Poroshin has arrived. You need to analyze the situation together and report to me urgently. Please go there immediately!" Heavy nuclear submarine "TK-17" was built in Severodvinsk at Sevmash and handed to the Navy on December 15, 1987. Its main armament was 20 intercontinental ballistic solid propellant missiles. In Severodvinsk the nuclear submarine damage was surrounded by such secrecy that even the then Mayor Lyskov was not allowed on board. Together with Poroshin we walked through all sections of "TK-17", chatted with the crew and their physician Pugachev, inspected the damage to the upper deck, covered by melted missiles. The commander of the "TK-17" Captain of First Rank Igor Grishkov was completely exhausted in those days. He reported that on September 27, 1991 at the site in the White Sea, when a training missile was launched there was an explosion in the silo whose cover flew far out to the sea. The boat surfaced, and when he saw a fireball over the deck, Grishkov shot down the flame by dipping into a mass of sea water, and then surfaced again. This maneuver saved an underwater nuclear-powered ship from a nuclear weapon explosion with hellish consequences. Then I offered Grishkov's candidacy for the title of a Hero of the Soviet Union, but the country's leadership and the Navy chose to hush up the accident in order to ensure the secrecy surrounding the terrible consequences of a possible catastrophe. Back in Moscow, I reported everything to Khasbulatov and persuaded him not to raise the debate about this state of emergency at a session of the Supreme Council, because it could have led to a massive scandal, radio-phobia, capture of the security forces of the USSR by Yeltsin, the proclamation of the Russian North "a nuclear-free zone," shutdown of the nuclear test site on Novaya Zemlya and the main facilities in Severodvinsk, and the removal of a number of senior officers of the Navy from office, including the leaders of the USSR Ministry of Atomic Energy.

The case was limited by a promise of a Navy Commander Vladimir Chernavin that henceforth no ballistic missiles will be launched from the White Sea. The commander of "TK-17" Grishkov who saved the submarine from death and all the White Sea from an environmental disaster has never received the title of a Hero due to certain national interests and political considerations. However, his act was indeed heroic." In fact, this was not the last incident with the explosion of missiles experienced by an atomic submarine "Archangelsk." In February of 2004, under the program of large-scale trainings the Northern Fleet submarine "Novomoskovsk" ("K-407") was to launch an intercontinental ballistic missile. The launch has failed. The missile has crashed, and exploded after the release from the missile silo. Not far from the "Novomoskovsk" on board the nuclear submarine "Archangel" there was then-Russian President Vladimir Putin who observed the exercises. He personally saw the failed launch. The Navy failed to brag a successful launch for the President to see, but the world's press displayed the famous photograph of Vladimir Putin in a black submarine hat taken on board "Archangelsk." A few weeks later, on April 29, 2004, due to lack of ammunition submarine TK-17 "Arkhangelsk" was put in reserve. Currently the ship is waiting for a decision regarding either disposal or modernization under project 941U. It sits in the naval port of Severodvinsk, rusting and coming into disrepair. Yet, this is another story.

Submarine plan torpedoed.

Defence Minister Yutthasak Sasiprapa has rejected the navy's plan to pay 7.5 billion baht for six used submarines from Germany and questioned the cost-effectiveness and transparency. He said yesterday a defence scrutiny committee he appointed had resolved to return the project to the navy for review. Gen Jongsak Panichkul, adviser to the defence minister, is chairing the committee, which also includes former navy chief Adm Prasert Boonsong. "I want a review on the cost-effectiveness," Gen Yutthasak said. "The past government approved the establishment of a submarine fleet and the recruitment of personnel has been completed but transparent procurement has yet to be done." He said he was not concerned about the Sept 30 deadline that Germany had set for the navy to confirm the purchase of its used U206A submarines. He said the German navy could be asked to extend the deadline. "But if Germany refuses to extend the deadline, it will be up to the navy to propose submarines from any country for my consideration," the defence minister said. He is open to either new or used vessels. A navy source said the defence scrutiny committee had recommended submarines from Russia, China and South Korea. "The navy will let politicians make the choice," the source said. "It will just wait." He said the German submarines were the best choice in terms of practicality for study, training and price.

The Global Submarine Market 2011–2021.

Globally, the submarine market consists of 450 submarines operated by 41 countries. Some 154 submarines are to be procured up to 2021, costing a total of $186.3 billion. Most of the 41 nations are upgrading their fleets or adding to them as a result of rapidly changing defence requirements. The global market (annual value) stands at $16.4 billion and is set to increase to $18.2 billion by 2021. Regional hostility prevailing among Asian states is driving the submarine market, which is expected to cumulatively be worth US$44 billion across the forecast period, 23.6% of the total market. Brazil and Argentina are the main spenders in the submarine sector in Latin America, totaling US$8.6 billion, 4.61% of the total market. In the long term, continued changes in the costs of construction and the increasing number of nations interested in nuclear powered submarines will push up the average cost of a submarine. It is estimated that, on average, a submarine costs just shy of $1 billion.


-SSNs are expected to have the largest share of the total submarine market during the forecast period
-Market size of SSNs estimated at US$87.4 billion
-Market for ballistic missile submarines to record a CAGR of 4.83%
-Demand for diesel electric submarines expected to fall
-Mature Air Independent Propulsion systems seen as a must have capability
-Varying mission profiles demand multirole capability and multiple payloads
-Defense budget cuts across the world impede the growth of the global submarine market
-Detailed profiles of 20 leading submarine and related systems manufacturing companies across the world.

This report offers detailed analysis of the global submarine market over the next ten years, and provides extensive market size forecasts by country and sub sector. It covers the key technological and market trends in the submarine market. It further lays out an analysis of the factors influencing the demand for submarines, and the challenges faced by industry participants.

Royal Navy takes part in largest submarine rescue exercise.

Royal Navy personnel have joined 2,000 sailors from 13 nations for the world's largest submarine rescue exercise, off the south-eastern tip of Spain. The ten days of NATO Exercise Bold Monarch witnessed an international effort to bring trapped submariners from four boats to the surface. The exercise is run every three years to test the ability of allied teams - including the UK-based NATO Submarine Rescue System (NSRS) - to react to the two most terrifying words in a submariner's vocabulary: submiss and subsunk. This year rescue efforts focused on the western Mediterranean, just off Cartagena, with four diesel-powered subs from Portugal, host nation Spain, Turkey and, for the first time, Russia, 'bottoming' on the sea bed and awaiting rescue. Coming to their aid were mini-submarines, diving bells, divers, parachutists and medical specialists.  Submarine rescue vehicles from Italy, the USA, Russia and Sweden all deployed to the waters off Cartagena, plus the Faslane-based Anglo-French-Norwegian NSRS. They were joined by specialist divers and hyperbaric medical teams from France, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Britain, charged with coping with challenging deep sea illnesses such as decompression. Finally, parachutists from Italy, Russia and the Royal Navy's Submarine Parachute Assistance Group also headed to Spain to leap out of aircraft and be the first on the scene to assist people who came up to the surface directly from their stricken boats: By their nature submarine operations are secret - with one exception: search and rescue. That brings together submarine communities from across the world, as this exercise shows," said Rear Admiral Ian Corder RN, Commander NATO Submarine Forces North.  The participation of the Russian Kilo Class boat 'Alrosa' particularly excited organisers and saw some historic link-ups, including the NATO and US rescue vehicles docking with the submarine 114 metres below the surface of the Mediterranean. "We've proved that we can 'mate' with four different boats from four different nations and we've shown that we can evacuate 70 people from a submarine within 24 hours - that covers almost all the non-nuclear submarines in the world," said Lieutenant Commander Stewart Little, the Royal Navy's rescue element commander overseeing the NATO submersible's missions.
Submarines are operated by more than 40 navies worldwide and, in addition to the countries participating in the exercise, numerous nations have sent observers to watch proceedings. Planning is already underway for the next Bold Monarch, scheduled for Polish waters.

Södermanland Class Submarines.

The Södermanland Class diesel-electric submarines are in service with the Swedish Navy. They were originally launched as Västergötland Class submarines between 1987 and 1990. "Södermanland Class is powered by a diesel-electric and Stirling AIP system." The Class includes two submarines, namely HMS Södermanland and HMS Östergötland. These two were relaunched as a new class during 2003-2004 after a major refit by Kockums. Södermanland Class subs are operated by the 1st Submarine Flotilla of the Swedish Navy. The class will remain in service until being replaced by the A26 submarines in 2018-19.

Södermanland refit.

Kockums began the refit of the Södermanland at its shipyard in Malmö, Sweden, in late 2000. The pressure hull was cut into two parts and a new section was attached between tower and tail to insert a Stirling air-independent propulsion (AIP) system developed by Kockums. The new section is fitted with two Stirling units, liquid oxygen (LOX) tanks and electrical equipment. The overall length of the submarine was increased from 48.5m to 60.5m by the insertion. The Swedish Navy subs are intended to operate mainly in more frigid northern waters. Operations in higher water temperatures will increase ambient temperatures and relative humidity on board. To overcome this problem, Södermanland Class is fitted with a completely new refrigeration system with heat exchangers in place of older direct seawater cooling systems. The Class is now ready to be deployed in international peacekeeping operations in warmer and saltier waters. The submarines also feature a new air-lock for divers. HMS Södermanland was relaunched in September 2003 and returned to service in mid 2004. HMS Östergötland was relaunched in September 2004 and returned to service in 2005. The upgraded submarines can be operated for another 20 years without further modernisation.

Command and control

The original command and control system onboard the Södermanland Class submarines was upgraded to current standards. In January 2006, the Swedish Government placed a contract with Saab to supply four SESUB 960 command and control systems for Södermanland and Gotland submarines. Södermanland Class is now equipped with SESUB 960 command and control system. SESUB 960 provides network enabled defence capabilities to the submarines.

Torpedoes

Södermanland Class is armed with six conventional 533mm torpedo tubes and three 400mm bow torpedo tubes. The 533mm tubes can launch type 613 heavy-weight, anti-surface ship torpedoes. Type 613 can carry a 240kg warhead up to a range of 20km. The 400mm tubes can fire Type 43 lightweight anti-submarine torpedoes.

Navigation

The existing spinning mass gyrocompasses on the submarines are being replaced with new inertial navigation systems. Kockums placed a contract with Northrop Grumman in March 2010 to upgrade the inertial navigation systems of two Gotland Class and two Södermanland Class submarines. Northrop's division, Sperry Marine, will deliver five mk39 mod 3C ring laser gyro (RLG) systems under the contract. Four units will be fitted to four subs of each class and one unit will be used for spares and training. The mk39 mod 3C is a high-performance inertial navigation system offering superior shock and vibration resistance. It feeds accurate geographic position information and attitude data to the SESUB combat management systems.

Propulsion

Södermanland Class is powered by a diesel-electric and Stirling AIP system integrating two Hedemora diesel-electric engines and two Kockums v4-275R Sterling AIP units. The AIP significantly increases the sub-merged endurance by acting as an alternative to battery power. It also reduces the noise levels created by the frequent battery recharge with diesel generators. "The Södermanland Class diesel-electric submarines are in service with the Swedish Navy."

Pure oxygen and diesel fuel are burned in a controlled environment for maintaining high pressure. The combustion products exhausted from the engine will have higher pressure than the surrounding seawater pressure and hence released without the need for a compressor. Cryogenic tanks fitted on the deck under engines are used to store liquid oxygen (LOX). The submerged endurance is determined by the amount of LOX stored in the submarine. The submerged endurance of a Stirling AIP powered submarine can be extended from days to weeks. The propulsion system provides a speed of 20kt dived.

Russia's gigantic Typhoon submarines to be scrapped.

The world's largest ballistic missile submarines of Project 941 Akula (Shark), known as Typhoon, will be decommissioned before 2014 and used for scrap metal, a source at Russia's Defense Ministry told the Izvestia newspaper. All three operating submarines of the project - Arkhangelsk, Severstal and Dmitry Donskoi - will thus be destroyed. The Dmitry Donskoi cruiser was previously used as the base for launching Russia's new Bulava ballistic missile. The decommissioning of the missiles will cost the Russian budget hundreds of millions of rubles, experts said. Defense officials said that it became impossible to use the above-mentioned submarines for intended purposes because of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START-3), which Russia had signed with the United States.  Specialists of Sevmash Enterprise (the maker of the subs) said that it could be possible to redesign the submarines to use them as undersea gas tankers or all-season marine freight vessels. However, defence ministry officials said that the cost for this work would be unreasonably high. It was Borei class submarines that ruined the career of the Typhoons, defence officials said. Borei is a new class of submarines, which Sevmash Enterprise currently builds. The new subs will be armed with Bulava missiles. The tests of Borei submarines ended successfully, which made the maintenance of bulky and more expensive typhoon submarines pointless. The crew of the Borei sub is 1.5 times smaller than that of the Typhoon. Maintenance costs also differ in Borei's favour. To crown it all, it is much more difficult to detect Borei submarines in the water, officials said. Officials representing the Defense Ministry also said that any work to redesign the submarines would cost tens of billions of rubles. Therefore, it would be more reasonable to spend this money on building new vessels, they said. Specialists of Sevmash Enterprise said, though, that the Typhoon subs could be transformed into undersea tankers and freighters to transport liquefied gas, oil and cargoes for polar ports. "This reconstruction may not cost that much," representatives of the enterprise said. Alexander Konovalov, the President of the Institute of Strategic Estimations, shares a different point of view. According to him, the era of Typhoons is gone for good. "This is a gigantic thing. It is the largest sub in the world, and it is very expensive in its exploitation. Moreover, there are no missiles for these subs," he said. The fate of gigantic submarines was determined by the START-3 Treaty, which was signed by Russian and US presidents in the spring of 2010. The treaty restricted the strategic arsenals of the two countries to 1,550 nuclear warheads. Russia's Project 955 Borei and 667BDRM Dolphin submarines may carry over 1,100 nuclear blocks. The remaining part can be used by long-distance aviation and Special Purpose Missile Troops. One Typhoon class submarine is capable of carrying of only 120-200 nuclear warheads. Russia's Defense Ministry has already decommissioned three of the six Akula submarines before in accordance with the START-2 Treaty. Russia decided that it was too expensive to maintain the battle capacity of those submarines. Each cruiser required nearly 300 million rubles a year. The decommissioning process took place as follows. Spent nuclear fuel was unloaded from the reactors. The equipment was dismantled afterwards. The subs were then transferred to the dry dock. In the dock, specialists cut out the reactor compartments from the subs. The compartments were subsequently transferred to long-storage facilities in the Murmansk region. The utilization of one cruiser cost $10 million. Two million dollars of the amount were assigned from the Russian budget. The remaining funds were provided by the United States and Canada.

The Project 941 or Akula, ("Shark") class submarine (NATO reporting name: Typhoon) is a type of nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine deployed by the Soviet Navy in the 1980s. With a submerged displacement of 48,000 tons, the Typhoons are the largest class of submarine ever built, large enough to accommodate decent living facilities for the crew when submerged for months on end. The source of the NATO reporting name remains unclear, although it is often claimed to be related to the use of the word "Typhoon" by Leonid Brezhnev in a 1974 speech while describing a new type of nuclear ballistic missile submarine. Soviet doctrine for these vessels was to have them launch SLBMs while submerged under the arctic ice, avoiding the traversal of the GIUK gap to remain safe from the enemy attack submarines and anti-submarine forces. Technically Typhoons were also able to successfully deploy their long-range nuclear missiles while moored at their dock.

The Borei class is a class of nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine produced and operated by the Russian Navy. The class is intended to replace the Delta III, Delta IV and Typhoon classes now in Russian Navy service. The class is named after Boreas, the North wind. The sub is 160 meters long; its maximum displacement measures 24,000 tons. The submergence depth - up to 400 meters. The crew - 107 people.

Sevmash currently builds three Borei class submarines: Alexander Nevsky, Vladimir Monomakh and Saint Nikolai. The construction of the first submarine - Yuri Dolgoruky - began on November 2, 1996. The sub was launched on February 12, 2008. Alexander Nevsky was launched on December 6, 2010. The sub is to be passed into service in 2012.

Russian submarine to join NATO exercise for first time

A Russian submarine will take part in the world's biggest submarine rescue exercise with its former Cold War foe NATO next week, the Western military alliance said Friday. The Russian submarine, the first to participate in any NATO exercise, will drop to the bottom of the Mediterranean along with Portuguese, Spanish and Turkish submarines and will await listless for a rescue mission off the coast of Cartagena, Spain. Around 2,000 military and non-military personnel as well as ships and aircraft from more than 20 nations will take part in the exercise, dubbed Bold Monarch 11, that will run from May 30 to June 10. Held every three years, it "is the world's largest submarine rescue exercise," said a statement from NATO's SHAPE allied military headquarters based in Mons, Belgium. "The exercise is designed to maximise international cooperation in submarine rescue operations -- something that has always been very important to NATO and all the submarine-operating nations," it said. The inclusion of a Russian submarine in the exercise comes amid a warming of ties between Moscow and the 28-nation alliance, nearly three years after Russia's war with Georgia had sparked tensions between the two sides. The United States, Russia, Italy, Sweden are contributing submarine rescue vehicles and sophisticated gear to clear debris. France, Norway and Britain will use a jointly owned rescue system. Aircraft will deploy from Italy, Britain and the United States to help locate the submarines and drop parachutists to provide emergency assistance. The vast exercise will culminate with a 48-hour coordinated rescue and evacuation of 150 survivors, including casualties, from a submarine acting in distress. Russia suffered a traumatic submarine accident more than 10 years ago, when the Kursk sank in the Barents sea, killing all 118 sailors inside. International search operations had taken a week to start after the August 12, 2000, incident.

Pakistan Government to Purchase French Agosta Submarines.

The Pakistan Government had decided to purchase French Agosta submarines against the recommendation of the Pakistan Navy, the then Naval Chief Admiral (retired) Saeed Muhammad Khan, during whose tenure the controversial deal was struck, has revealed. In a defamation suit filed against a television channel in the court of district judge, Islamabad, through his counsel, Admiral Khan said that the Pakistan Navy had recommended to the then government in 1994-95 to go for five or six UK-manufactured Upholder submarines, but the then regime, using its discretion, had decided to purchase three Agosta 90 B class of submarine. He disclosed that the recommendation of the Pakistan Navy was rejected by the Ministry of Defence, Government of Pakistan, who decided at their own discretion to purchase the Agosta 90 B class of submarines. He made it clear that the decision to acquire the French Agosta submarines was that of the Defence Ministry, not the Pakistan Navy, which was only required to evaluate the offered submarines and make their recommendations. Admiral Khan insisted that he was not involved in the controversial Agosta deal in any manner. Last year, Admiral Abdul Aziz Mirza had told the newspaper that the then Naval Chief Admiral Saeed Khan had revealed that former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto’s Defence Minister Aftab Shaban Mirani had clearly indicated to the Pakistan Navy’s high command the government’s preference for the induction of the French submarines. Admiral Mirza led the Pakistan from October 1999 to October 2002.

Chinese military capabilities.

China has at least 71 submarines as of December 2010, and is building subs faster than the US is. It has been estimated that it has at least 2 Shang class submarines; if it has more than 2, it has more than 71 submarines of all classes. 71 boats is also the number of subs owned by the USN. Wikipedia’s numbers suggest that, depending on how many Romeo/Ming class subs the PLAN has, it has a total of 67-75 submarines (23-31 Romeo/Ming class boats, 5 Han class subs, 2 Shang class subs, 1 Xia class sub, 1 Golf class sub, 5 Jin class subs, plus dozens of Song class, Yuan class and Kilo class boats). Wikipedia’s total estimate is 63, but it is incorrect according to Wikipedia’s own numbers. The PLAN has no fewer than 67 subs if it has 23 Romeo/Ming class subs.

That Jin class are noisier than Soviet submarines produced 30 years ago and would be detected as soon as they’d leave their homeport. How exactly would they be detected? Their homeport (the Sanya submarine base) is underground; these subs are underwater as soon as they leave their homeport. How the hell is the USN going to detect them? Remember, this is the same navy that can’t even detect a Song class submarine.

Russian Submarine Woes.

It took nearly two decades, but the first of a new class of nuclear-powered attack submarines has launched in Russia. Severodvinsk, displacing 12,000 tons, is now on sea trials. The $1-billion vessel’s launch heralds a modest recovery for Russia’s decrepit undersea fleet. Construction of Severodvinsk began in 1993 at the Sevmash shipyard in northwest Russia, but was repeatedly interrupted. ‘They ran out of money multiple times,’ Owen Cote, Jr., a Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor and undersea warfare analyst, told The Diplomat. Moscow plans to build up to nine more submarines of the Graney class over the next couple of decades, alongside 10 new ballistic-missile submarines of the Borei class. As submarines last only as long as their nuclear cores, few serve longer than 40 years. Life limitations and the slow build rate mean that Russia’s submarine fleet could decline to fewer than 20 operational vessels within the next few years, compared to around 60 active US submarines. ‘It’s on the upturn,’ Cote said of the Russian submarine force, ‘but it’s on the ropes – a disaster by our (US) standards.’ Quality is also a problem, Cote said. ‘The (US) Office of Naval Intelligence said a few years ago that Severodvinsk would be the most quiet nuclear submarine in the Russian or Chinese inventory. That’s not saying much in current terms.’

Royal Navy subs start to sink in numbers.

A NEW guide to the Royal Navy shows it is down to just 11 submarines, including the new HMS Astute that is on its sea trials. Steve Bush, editor of the 20011 edition of British Warships and Auxiliaries produced by Maritime Books, says the Royal Navy is in a “dire state” and fears that even more cuts could be made in the future. The guide lists all the fighting ships and auxiliary supply ships in the Navy. They include the Barrow-built surface ships, the commando carriers, HMS Albion and HMS Bulwark, the VSEL helicopter carrier HMS Ocean which was built at Govan but then fitted out and named in Barrow, the Type 42 destroyer HMS Manchester and the tanker RFA Wave Knight. All 11 nuclear powered submarines were built in Barrow, which is the only UK shipyard that can make them. The introduction to the guide says that the Navy is to order all seven Astute submarines made in Barrow. But Mr Bush, who served in the Navy, said other decisions, including the scrapping of the maritime reconnaissance aircraft the Nimrod, and the pensioning off of the last serviceable aircraft carrier and its aircraft by the Government to save cash, are a serious blow to Royal Navy capability.  He said the Trident missile continuous at sea deterrent needed the Nimrod as part of its protection. He wrote: “In the current economic climate, I would not be surprised if more pain were to come. These are dire times for the Royal Navy and, if it is to fend off further cuts, it is going to have to vocally fight its corner, because it cannot rely on public support. The 11 submarines now compares with a fleet of 32 submarines back in 1982, at the time of the Falklands War. Present boats include four Vanguard-class boats made in Barrow to carry Trident nuclear missiles, and Trafalgar and Astute-class boats. The guide features HMS Astute on its front cover and has photos of many of the vessels.


Iran Receives More Mini-Subs.


Iran has put two coastal submarines into service. Apparently with technical help from North Korea, Iran is building these mini-submarines for operations along its coasts, and throughout the Persian Gulf. Four have been built so far. The sub has a two man crew, and can carry three divers, or several naval mines, or a torpedo. The Iranians say they will use the mini-subs to lay mines or launch underwater commando attacks. While the North Koreans provided some technical assistance, the Iranian sub is a local design, smaller than most North Korean mini-subs, which is a reflection of the more turbulent seas found off the Korean coast. In the shallow waters of the Persian Gulf, the Iranian minisubs (which look like an enlarged torpedo, with a glassed over cockpit in the front), can be very difficult to detect. Their range is probably a few hundred kilometers, more than sufficient to reach any targets in the area. However, the United States Navy has spent a lot of time and effort on the problem, and is probably better prepared to deal with minisubs than most navies. North Korea has a fleet of over 60 mini-subs, and apparently Iran wants at least a few dozen.

Little Subs for Commandos.

Iran is not happy with the mini-submarines they have built, with North Korean help, and have ordered four North Korean minisubs, which are supposed to be delivered this month. These small boats are used to deliver commandos, or stealthy attacks on enemy (U.S.) warships. Last year, Iran put two more of their own mini-submarines into service. Four have been built so far. This sub has a two man crew, and can carry three divers, or several naval mines, or a torpedo. The Iranians say they will use the mini-subs to lay mines or launch underwater commando attacks. While the North Koreans provided some technical assistance, the Iranian sub is a local design, smaller than most North Korean mini-subs, which is a reflection of the more turbulent seas found off the Korean coast. In the shallow waters of the Persian Gulf, the Iranian minisubs (which look like an enlarged torpedo, with a glassed over cockpit in the front), can be very difficult to detect. Their range is probably a few hundred kilometers, more than sufficient to reach any targets in the area. North Korea has a fleet of over 60 mini-subs, and apparently Iran wants at least a few dozen. North Korea got the idea for minisubs from Russia, which has had them for decades. The most recent Russian minisub design is the Piranya. This is a 200 ton, 93 foot long boat with a max surface speed (on diesel) of 14 kilometers an hour. Using batteries, max underwater speed is 12 kilometers an hour. Max range is about 1,800 kilometers, cruising on the surface at about 7 kilometers an hour. Under water, max range is 460 kilometers at the same speed. The Piranya has a crew of three and can carry six divers. There are two cargo containers built on the deck that can be used to carry two mines, two torpedoes or diver equipment. An Italian firm makes similar mini-subs, which have been sold to Pakistan. Since China does a lot of business with Pakistan and North Korea, some of that Italian technology has probably made its way to North Korea. There, North Korea has developed several mini-sub designs, most of them available to anyone with the cash to pay. The largest is the 350 ton Sang-O, which is actually a coastal sub modified for special operations (it can carry about 30 armed passengers.) The most popular model is the M100D, a 76 ton, 58 foot long boat that has a crew of four and can carry eight diver and their equipment. The most novel design is a submersible speedboat. This 40 foot boat looks like a speedboat, displaces ten tons and can carry up to eight people. It only submerges to a depth of about ten feet. Using a schnorkel apparatus (a pipe type device to bring in air and expel diesel engine fumes), the boat can move underwater. Nine years ago, a South Korean destroyed sank one of these. If these are the mini-subs Iran bought, they could be flown in. Otherwise, the North Korean boats will have to be brought in by sea, which could lead to a confrontation with American or NATO warships off the Iranian coast.


Russian miniature submarines
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Project 865 Piranya, Losos Class. Dsigned for special operations and to engage surface ships located offshore, the Piranya is toughly built and is almost completely silent. The hull is comprised of a titanium alloy, that reduces the effectiveness of enemy mines. Divers can be deployed on sabotage missions. The divers remain in contact with the submarine, which is capable of supplying them with oxygen for breathing, electricity, warmth, and monitors to ensure that underwater instruments are operating normally. The Piranya’s 1200 kW lead-acid batteries allows the submarine to remain underway for ten days and the submarines at sea replenishement capabilities allows the submarine within 8 hours to receive enough food, fuel and lubricants, and air for an additional ten days. In 1991 the St. Petersburg-based Special Boiler Design Bureau (SKBK) completed development of the Kristall-20 AIP system for the Piranha. The AIP underwent comprehensive testing and was accepted by the customer - the Ministry of Defense. However, AIP systems were never installed in submarines due to reductions in defence spending.

US Navy miniature nuclear sub, the NR-1.

The Deep Submergence Vessel NR-1 is a unique US Navy nuclear-powered ocean engineering and research submarine. Casually known as "Nerwin," it was built by the Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics at Groton, Connecticut. It was launched on 25 January 1969, completed her initial sea trials 19 August 1969, and is homeported at Naval Submarine Base New London. It was never named or commissioned. The United States Navy is allocated a specific number of warships by the U.S. Congress. Not only did Admiral Hyman Rickover not want to "use up" one of those authorizations, but he also wanted to avoid the oversight that a warship receives from various bureaus. The NR-1 performs underwater search and recovery, oceanographic research missions and installation and maintenance of underwater equipment, to a depth of almost half a nautical mile. Its features include extendable bottoming wheels, three viewing ports, exterior lighting, television and still cameras for colour photographic studies, an object recovery claw, a manipulator that can be fitted with various gripping and cutting tools and a work basket that can be used in conjunction with the manipulator to deposit or recover items in the sea. Surface vision is provided through the use of a television periscope permanently installed on a fixed mast in her sail area.

US Seal Delivery Vehicle SDV.
Submarines have long been used for special operations - carrying commandos, reconnaissance teams, and agents on high-risk missions. Most special operations by U.S. submarines are carried out by SEALs, the Sea-Air-Land teams trained for missions behind enemy lines. These special forces can be inserted by fixed-wing aircraft, helicopter, parachute, or surface craft, but in most scenarios only submarines guarantee covert delivery. Once in the objective area, SEALs can carry out reconnaissance, monitoring of enemy movements or communications, and a host of other clandestine and often high-risk missions. Nuclear-powered submarines are especially well-suited for this role because of their high speed, endurance and stealth. U.S. nuclear powered submarines have repeatedly demonstrated the ability to carry out special operations involving many swimmers. During exercises, which include Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps special operations personnel as well as SEALs, submarines recover personnel who parachute from fixed-wing aircraft and rappel down from helicopters into the sea, take them aboard, and subsequently launch them on missions. These Special Warfare Team Missions include: Combat Swimmer Attacks. connaissance and Surveillance.Infiltration/Exfiltration. Acoss the Beach, Beach Feasibility Studies, Hydrographic Survey, and Surf Observation Teams in support of amphibious landing operations.


SECRET DELIVERY: Advanced SEAL Delivery System (ASDS)

A mini-sub that can transport up to 16 Navy SEALS with stealth and speed, the ASDS is the first of its kind to provide a comfortable, and perhaps more importantly, dry ride for the elite SOCOM forces.

S Korean Mini Subs

SX 756 Dolphin mini-submarine
The South Korean Navy operates six or eight Dolphin class mini-submarines. These SX 756-class midget submarines are based on the Italian Kosmos design. These mini-submarines are otherwise very poorly attested, and essentially no details are publicly available.

Italian Mini Submarines.


The Naval Special Services Group (SSGN), numbering 1,000 marines, is responsible for conducting unconventional operations at sea and along the shoreline. Delivery or insertion of maritime special forces includes fixed- wing/helicopter low-level parachuting, light craft beaching and underwater conveyance, for which the navy operates at least three Cosmos Class MG110 miniature submarines (SSI) and some swimmer- delivery vehicles. On the basis of design developed by PN Dockyard, this type of mini submarine has been constructed at PN Dockyard. These mini-submarines can be used for various purposes like attacking enemy units in harbour with Frogmen/Charriots, at sea with torpedoes, at shore installations by commandos etc. other uses include mine laying, defensive barrier in shallow waters, advance pickets duties, intelligence gathering etc. Although the Italian Navy pioneered the use of human torpedoes (known today as swimmer delivery vehicles or SDVs), in today's Italian Navy there are no midgets. However Cosmos of Livorno has sold a number of midgets abroad. The SX 404 type sold to Pakistan in the early 1970s have been replaced by three [or possibly four] Italian-built SX-756-class midget submarines, delivered in 1988. These displace 40 tons and are capable of diving to a depth of 100m. They can carry six swimmers and two SDVs, as well as 2 tons of explosives.
 
The VAS submarine is both USCG and CISR compliant which means the diving crew and passengers can board the submarine in the open sea in complete safety and leave the submarine as soon as it has surfaced, avoiding the boredom and stress of transit, launch and retrieval. It also features 96-hours of emergency life support (in addition to it’s 8-hour mission time) which is 33% more than international requirements. The VAS minisub offers a range of up to 50 nautical miles at three knots, or 15 miles at six knots. Thus, the submarine does not need to be launched right on the diving site, nor be retrieved onboard at the end of each dive. It is the only recreational submarine that can carry out visual and instrumental searches, as well as the safe launch and retrieval of SCUBA divers. Additionally, the VAS can be towed on the surface at up to 8 knots, allowing you position the VAS above the dive site

 

Exosuit Swimmable ADS

The exosuit has self-contained life-support, it could be an escape system, or a one-man delivery system for infiltration and sabotage.

user posted image


Pressure Hull/ Spacers:
Composite Fiber with metal inserts plus titanium and/or aluminum spinnings.

Life Support:
Two cylinders carried externally; 02 portside and diluent gas starboards, or both 02, both air or both bottom mix (depending on suit model)

Viewing:
Tear-drop shaped, acrylic dome port.

Manipulator:
Basic pincer manips or four-fingered prehensor "hand".

Communications:
UQC and 27 KHZ wireless - VHF-surface Sub-surface - UQC and 27 KHZ

Models:
Tech, military, science: self-contained, autonomous and free-swimming.
Commercial, surface-oriented: air supply from surface (LP compressor or HP cylinders), hardwire comms, surface air power positive displacement pump-down system (patent applied) with double acting pressure joints.

Submarine escape:
minimum joints, double-acting joints, small storage package. Escape depth to 1200 ft (365m).

user posted image



NUYTCO Deep Worker

Vehicle Specifications:
Length: 8.25 ft. (2.4 m)
Beam: 5.3 ft. (1.6 m)
Height: 4.5 ft. (1.35 m)
Weight in Air: 1.75 tons
Operating Depth: 2000 ft. (600 m)
Payload: 250 lbs (114 kg)
Life Support: 80 man hours
Max Speed: 3 knots
Crew: 1 pilot
Power: 12 KWH (6-8 hour dive duration)


Nuytco Research Ltd. is a world leader in the development and operation of undersea technology. Nuytco and its sister company, Can-Dive Construction Ltd. have over thirty years experience working around the world. Nuytco designs, builds, and operates atmospheric diving. In 1997, Nuytco designed and manufactured a 2000-foot micro submersible Deep Worker, which is a revolutionary deep diving system that has been called an underwater sports car.

Sweden Special Operations Submarines ( Sea Dagger Series)

The Sea Dagger series of submarines are special operations vehicles developed by Kockums of Malmo, Sweden, now owned by HDW of Germany. The small stealthy submarines are tailored for five types of missions: attack; autonomous swimmer delivery; surveillance and minehunting; and as a target vehicle for antisubmarine warfare exercises and training. he Sea Dagger variants are constructed from three modules, the bow and stern modules and one chosen from four specific mission module options. The submarines are small, with displacement in the range of 55t to 72t, a length of between 16 and 20m, a height of 3.6m and a diameter of 2.5m. The four variants of Sea Dagger are equipped with sonar, communications systems, and a comprehensive navigation suite including a navigation computer, a gyroscope compass, speed log, depth gauge, echo sounder, global positioning system, navigation radar and optronic mast. The diesel electric engine provides a surface speed of 6 or 7 knots according to the submarine configuration, and a submerged speed of 8 knots. The operational endurance is eight days (five days for the Advanced Target Submarine). The range is 2 x 350 nautical miles at 4 knots (3 knots for the ATS), and 70 nautical miles under battery power at 4 knots (35 nm at 3 knots for the ATS). The surface speed is 7 knots and the underwater speed 8 knots. The operational endurance is eight days (five days for the ATS).

SEA DAGGER SMALL ATTACK SUBMARINE
The Small Attack Submarine has the capability to carry and launch externally stowed weapons. A range of half-length anti-submarine warfare (ASW) weapons and mines can be carried. The submarine is operated by a crew of four, with two combat system operators. The rescue chamber can accommodate single escape or lockout. he attack submarine is fitted with passive, intercept and obstacle avoidance sonar. The communications systems include VLF/LF, HF, and VHF antennae, internal and external communications, an underwater telephone system and a diver communications system. The submarine's combat systems include a command and control system, electronic support measures, two external torpedo tubes and a weapons launching system.

SEA DAGGER AUTONOMOUS SWIMMER DELIVERY VEHICLE (ASDV)
The ASDV Autonomous Swimmer Delivery Vehicle carries, delivers and retrieves combat swimmers. The operational endurance is eight days. The vehicle carries no external weapons. he submarine is operated by a crew of four and can accommodate up to six divers. A lockout chamber allows four divers to exit simultaneously.
The ASDV has passive, intercept and obstacle avoidance sonar. The communications suite includes a VLF/LF antenna system, HF and VHF antennae, external and internal communications, underwater telephone system and a diver communication system.

SEA DAGGER ADVANCED SURVEILLANCE VEHICLE (ASV)

The Advanced Surveillance Vehicle is equipped for surveillance and minehunting operations. An electronic support measures system is installed on the submarine. The communications system provides transfer of surveillance data. The submarine is operated by a crew of four, with two surveillance and minehunting system operators.
The submarine has passive, intercept and obstacle avoidance sonar. The communications systems on the surveillance vehicle are VLF/LF, HF and VHF antennae, external and internal communications, underwater telephone and diver communications.

SEA DAGGER ADVANCED TARGET SUBMARINE (ATS)
The Advanced Target Submarine, ATS, provides a target vehicle for Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) training primarily for littoral warfare training. A variety of signatures and target signal strengths can be generated by the target simulator. The ATS is operated by a crew of three and the operational endurance is five days.
The Advanced Target Simulator is equipped with an obstacle avoidance radar, a VHF antenna system, external and internal communications and an underwater telephone system.

India To Buy Commando Sub
The Indian Navy plans to acquire four underwater special operations vehicles and will seek foreign companies to assist with design and construction. Last month, the Navy sent bids to two Indian defence companies, the private Larsen & Toubro and state-owned Mazagon Docks Ltd. (MDL), Mumbai, under which the four submarines will be built in two phases, with each vehicle to cost about $80 million.  The vehicles are intended for commando and underwater operations in enemy territory, a Navy official said, and are being bought as part of the service’s new doctrine to equip the fleet for littoral warfare.  An MDL official said design help will be sought from overseas shipyards, but refused to name those short-listed for the purpose.  The vehicles’ main functions will be to transport divers and their gear from the mother craft to attack targets like a ship riding at anchor and coastal and offshore installations. The special submarines also will conduct covert surveillance, attack operations in shallow enemy waters and help remove commandoes and divers from a predesignated position after a mission. The vehicles must be able to operate in tropical conditions and be carried by midget submarines. They need a minimum life of 20 years. The special vehicles should also be able to operate at a depth of 60 meters and transit at 150 meters, the Navy official said. The vehicle would be about nine meters long, be no higher than 1.5 meters and have a hull diameter of around 1.5 meters. The special vehicle will carry armaments, including up to 250 kilograms of explosive charges. The Indian Navy currently operates about 16 submarines, including four German-designed subs, 10 Russian Sindhugosh-class Type 877EMs, armed with Klub cruise missiles, and two Foxtrot subs. MDL also has been contracted to license-produce six French Scorpene subs for the Navy. After delivery of the special vehicles is completed in five years, all Indian subs will carry them, the Navy official said.

 

Marion Hyper Sub

A one-of-a-kind hyper-submersible combination power boat (HSPB), returned recently from a visit with Special Operations Command (SOCOM) in Tampa and Special Warfare Command (SPECWAR) located in Coronado, Calif., just across the bay from San Diego. “What was different about this visit was that the members of the Special Warfare Command are end users,” Marion said. “We were talking directly to Navy Seals and Riverrines. “What an elite group of guys we met there. We were honored to be speaking to them because they definitely get it. They understand the capabilities of the hyper sub,” Marion said. Marion said three members of his management team made the trip to Tampa and California with him. “Vice Admiral Jim Amerault, retired; Dave Smith, our chief financial officer; and our attorney Russell Wade and I met with the military to discuss the recent successful test dives of the hyper sub,” Marion said. “Amerault used to head up the entire budget for the U.S. Navy.” Marion said that SPECWAR acknowledged that they have operational and capability gaps. “They basically told me that there is nothing else like it and that it is a technology that they need in their inventory now. “In my opinion, we should see the military begin to move to support what we are doing within a few months,” Marion said. He said that talks with the military have taken an encouraging turn. “They have it to the point where they are debating amongst themselves whether the hyper sub would be applied to their submersible operations or their surface craft operations,” Marion said.

More Iranian Mini subs

Iran recently announced that it had put four more mini-submarines into service, for a total of eleven in the last five years. Over the last decade, Iran has, apparently with technical help from North Korea, been building mini-submarines for operations along its coasts, and throughout the Persian Gulf. The first two entered service about five years ago. The sub has a two man crew, and can carry three divers, or several naval mines, or a torpedo. The Iranians say they will use the mini-subs to lay mines or launch underwater commando attacks. While the North Koreans provided some technical assistance, the Iranian sub is a local design, smaller than most North Korean mini-subs, which is a reflection of the more turbulent seas found off the Korean coast. The Iranian subs appear to be based on the North Korean M100D, a 76 ton, 19 meter (58 foot) long boat that has a crew of four and can carry eight divers and their equipment. The North Koreans got the idea for the M100D when they bought the plans for a 25 ton Yugoslav mini-sub in the 1980s. Only four of those were built, apparently as experiments to develop a larger North Korean design. There are believed to be over 30 M100Ds, in addition to eleven of the Iranian variation.

Building subs like this are not high tech. A drug gang in Ecuador was recently caught building a 30 meter/98 foot long submarine on a jungle river. This boar was three meters/nine feet in diameter and capable of submerging to about 30 meters. The locally built boat had a periscope, conning tower and was air conditioned. It was captured where it was being assembled, and a nearby camp, for the builders, appeared to house about fifty people. This was the first such sub to be completed, but not the first to be built. Nearly a decade ago, Russian naval architects and engineers were discovered among those designing and building a similar, but larger, boat. However, that effort did not last, as the Russian designs were too complex and expensive. It was found easier to build semi-submersible craft. But more and more of these are being caught at sea. The recently discovered sub was not military grade. It could travel submerged, but not dive deep. It was built using the same fiberglass material used for the semi-submersible craft, but was larger, and had berths for six crew. There was space for about ten tons of cocaine. It probably cost several million dollars to build and was weeks away from completion and sea trials. The drug sub was similar to the small subs being built since the 1970s for offshore oil operations and underwater tourism. North Korea has developed several mini-sub designs, most of them available to anyone with the cash to pay. The largest is the 250 ton Sang-O, which is actually a coastal sub modified for special operations. There is a crew of 19, plus either six scuba swimmer commandos, or a dozen men who can go ashore in an inflatable boat. Some Sang-Os have two or four torpedo tubes. Over thirty were built, and one was captured by South Korea when it ran aground in 1996. North Korea is believed to have fitted some of the Song-Os and M100Ds with acoustic tiles, to make them more difficult to detect by sonar. This technology was popular with the Russians, and that's where the North Koreans were believed to have got the technology. The most novel North Korean design is a submersible speedboat. This 13 meter (40 foot) boat looks like a speedboat, displaces ten tons and can carry up to eight people. It only submerges to a depth of about ten feet. Using a schnorkel apparatus (a pipe type device to bring in air and expel diesel engine fumes), the boat can move underwater. In 1998, a South Korean destroyer sank one of these. A follow on class displaced only five tons, and could carry six people (including one or two to run the boat). At least eight of these were believed built.

Narco submarines, torpedoes and semi-submersibles

This is likely to be an ongoing project to catalogue and illustrate Latin American narcotics SPSS' (Self-Propelled Semi-Submersibles) so if it appears incomplete when you visit, please consider checking back occasionally for added material. We are looking at these boats from an equipment standpoint - for fuller histories and info on the narcotics trade there are lots of sources out there. These are not military units but relevant to the topic of covert naval equipment in general, and certainly of interest to the authors. Each craft is built to order in jungle factories and unique, but certain themes and techniques hold true. Exact data is hard to obtain.

There are many ways to categorize, divide up and "slice and dice" these craft. From an evolutionary standpoint there have been three phases:

  • 1992 - 2004 Experimentation through trial & error.
  • 2005 - 2006 Rapid prototyping and increases in capability. Development and use of SPSS.
  • 2007 + Mature designs with greater standardization

Additionally these craft can be divided by type:

Type 1: Fully Submersible
Type 1A: Submarine with self propulsion etc. The most advanced and consequently expensive to create type. These are very rare although a handful have been captured. There doesn't seem to be any evidence of successful operation of this type but analysis of circumstantial evidence suggests that these are increasingly employed.
- Type 1B: Towed 'Torpedo' - covert transportation canister towed by disguised vessel.

Type 2: Semi-submersibles capable of ballasting down to lower their surface profile, and controlling their running depth, but not fully submerging. These are also very rare with only a few ever captured.

Type 3: Low-profile vessels (LPV), which are often misdescribed as "semi-submersible" and constitute the vast majority of these vessels to date. Simply a boat designed to run awash to minimize radar cross-section.

A brief chronology of major discoveries (Not exhaustive).


1992 - Colombian Navy begins to detect modified speedboats and semi-submersibles. Typically built out of fiberglass with 1 to 1.5 tons capacity.
1994 - More elaborate submersible design with radar, a depth meter and an internal oxygen supply captured in Tayrona Park, Columbia. Capacity still around 1 ton.
1994 - Half built submersible captured in Turbo, Columbia.
1995 - Incomplete submarine captured in Cartagena, Columbia. Much more capable design.
2000 - half-built very advanced submarine captured at Facatativa, Columbia.
From 2001 to 2004 there was a significant gap in captures. It is likely that there was very little SSPS activity in this time.
March 2005 - Low profile boat captured in Tumaco, Columbia. Very little press coverage outside Columbia - only craft captured that year.
March 2006 - Large low-profile boat captured on River Timbo near Pital, outside Buenaventura, Columbia by Marine Riverine Infantry Brigade Nr.2.
November 2006 - US forces capture a low-profile boat, dubbed Bigfoot-1.
August 2006 - Spanish police capture a fully-submersible narco sub off Galicia, Spain. The craft was locally built in Spain and in design terms unrelated to Colombian examples.
August 2007 - Large low profile boat captured in Guajira on Columbia's Caribbean coast
November 2007 - Low profile boat captured near Buenaventura in Columbia. Close resemblance to Guajira boat but single engine/screw.
2007 - 'Narco-Torpedo' type craft start to be captured
2008 - US forces capture a second low-profile boat similar to earlier 2005 Tumaco boat. Dubbed Bigfoot-2.
May 2010 - Low-profile boat captured in Ecuador
June/July 2010 - Large (30m) Submarine captured in Ecuador

Example Fully Submersible craft...


1994 Tayrona Submarin
e
L <10m

A small boat, made of wood and fibreglass captured in Tayrona, Columbia in 1995. Found to be unstable when tested by authorities. Fit for shallow submergence only with depth controlled by lead weights externally mounted on lower hull. Had advanced communication and navigation equipment.



1995 Cartagena submarine
L 11.7m, W 2m
Capacity 1.5 tons

As the name suggests, this craft was captured in 1995 at the northern coast port of Cartagena in Columbia. This submarine is relatively advanced in some respects with a cylindrical steel hull suggesting the intention to operate it at deep depths relative to the fibreglass boats. Although unfinished, it is not clear how depth was to be controlled - the lack of ballast tanks or the water inlets/outlets associated with them suggests maybe lead weights were to be used as per the 1994 Tayrona boat.

Facatativa Submarine‏
Discovered by Colombian police in Cartagenita/Facatativa in September 2000.
Type 1A Submarine
L 30m, W 3.5m
Capacity - 15-20 tons

Upper sketch shows the craft as discovered, lower sketch shows approximate finished configuration.

By far the most advanced design captured to date, this appears to be the work of Russian advisers and has many features similar to real military diesel-electric submarines. The boat was to be 'double hulled' with a single shrouded screw. Crew is thought to be up to 12 persons. Construction cost is estimated at 10 million USD.

If completed this sub would have been capable of extremely long ranged missions and would have operated similarly to a military submarine.


At 30m long the Facatativa boat is about the same size as an MG-110 or IS-120 military midget submarine. The Facatativa boat has a greater internal volume that either of these boats with a larger diameter pressure hull. The pressure hull also appears to extend almost the full length of the boat, maximizing storage space. The narco sub would likely have depth sonar, satellite comms, GPS and a navigation radar - advanced stuff but not comparable to the military boats. Additionally as a cargo carrier the Facatativa boat does not have torpedo tubes or it seems diver lock-out facilities.

Size progression, approximate scale:

2006 Vigo

L - 11m, W - 3m

Load: 1 ton

Captured by Spanish Police on the Atlantic coast, this submarine is thought to be locally produced and not closely related to the Colombian subs in design terms. The boat is made from steel with ballast tanks on the flanks. An interesting design feature is the use of separate props for the diesel (main) and electric drive. The craft was likely intended for short transits between the cargo ship and shore.

2010 Ecuador 30m Sub

L - 30m, W - 3m

A large fibreglass submarine, with diesel-electric drive and twin screws. The construction limits it to shallow submergence, but it is clearly designed for underwater operation. The lower hull on the attached sketches is speculative. The pilot windows in the base of the sail are very similar to the cockpits of recent low-profile boats. The boat was painted in multi-tone camouflage.


Nacro-torpedo
Designed to be even harder to detect than low-profile boats, but cheaper than proper crewed submarines, the 'torpedo' is towed behind a boat (disguised as a fishing, commercial or leisure craft) at a depth of about 30m. The torpedo is released if the authorities approach, and discharges beacons after a set period of time to allow recovery by a back-up boat after the authorities have left the area.



Example semi-submersible boats....

1993 San Andres semi-sub
L (approx) 7m
Capacity 1 - 2 tons
Crew 2

The only true semi-submersible captured to date, this early type was constructed largely of wood and fibreglass.

Steel LPVs
L - 18m, W - 3.1m

Example captured in Feb 2008. At least one very similar craft (almost certainly a 'sister-ship') scuttled during capture since. Distinct from other low-profile boats in capability to trim running depth via hydroplanes at rear. Possibly equipped with internally water ballast to further assist. Much lower profile than most low-profile boats with nose completely submerged even in calm seas. Metal construction implies re-use, relative to the one-way M.O. of most fibreglass craft. The faceted hull form does not offer deep-diving capability as would a cylindrical pressure-hull found on a true submarine.

This second example has slightly different piping, but is otherwise similar.

Example low-profile boats....
Earliest craft
The first low profile boats amounted to a sealed 'go-faster' boat which rode lower in the water. Typical arrangement had cabin at rear and cargo hold amidships.

Between 2001 and 2005 there seems to have been a sharp drop in activity, then in late 2005 low profile craft started to be captured again. Over time the above configuration has given way to a more specialised hull form with generally pointed bow and stern, with tiny cabin amidships with engine compartment rear and cargo in every available space. Features like sloping sides to the cabin suggest radar stealth, but other features contradict this design consideration - stealthiness is primarily provided by simply being low in the water and being largely fibreglass.

2006 Pital capture
L - 18m, W - 3.8m
Load: 4 tons

This craft is unusual for its twin engine, twin prop arrangement, but otherwise is a generic low-profile design. The craft was captured in March 2006 near Pital on the River Timbo outside Buenaventura, Columbia.


'Bigfoot-1'
So-called because "narco-subs" were widely reported but within the US military no-one had actually caught one. That changed with the capture of a low-profile "sub" in November 2006. US forces had seen the earlier craft captured by the Colombians so the design was not that unexpected. Bigfoot-1 is quite different in shape to the more common hull design (typified by Bigfoot-2), having a rounded hull, but it is not unique in this characteristic either.


2007 Guajira low-profile boat
L - 20m, W - 3m
Load: 10 tons

Although narrower than the Bigfoot-2 type and only slightly longer, the rounded cross-section of this craft gives it a much larger internal volume and load capability than most other low-profile boats. The design is twin engine with twin props. Although unconfirmed, some believe this boat may have been built for longer distance trips from Columbia to Europe or Canary Islands from where the load could be transferred to vessels waiting offshore.

A remarkably similar boat was captured a couple of months later, suggesting the same designer:

'Bigfoot-2'
Captured by US forces 2008. Often described as "Semi-Submersible" but fitting our Type-3 Low Profile classification system in actual capability.
L - 18m, W - 3.66m

Load: 6.4 tons

Other recent low-profile boats

Nacro-Sub very similar to Bigfoot-1, captured in July 2007 off Columbia's Pacific coast.


Nacro sub generally similar to Bigfoot-2.


PROPER- Amateur Submarines.

There are only handful of civilian fully-submersibles which are in size terms many respects comparable to military midget subs. Our greatest respect and secret envy to the people who get to build these, and all the other subs we've missed.

  • IC-1 Freya - Denmark
  • UC-2Kraka - Denmark - 12m
  • UC-3 Nautlius - Denmark - 16m
  • Spurdog - Netherlands - 20m
  • Euronaut - Germany - 16m
  • Malen - Sweden
  • SR93H Polaris-Delta - Hungary - 20m
  • SS86H Helen's Heart - Hungary - 7.5m


Kraka L - 12m
Built by Peter Madsen. Styled on WWII German U-Boat.


Probably the best known civilian midget sub. Interesting features include 'diving helmet' cockpit and bottom mounted diving hatch below sail. Forward viewing windows positioned to look like torpedo hatches.

Euronaut
L - 16.01m W - 2.5m
Speed: 8kts
Built by Carsten Standfuss in Germany for wreck diving. Nearing completion. Website for lots more info: http://www.euronaut.org/

Very large by civilian standards, the Euronaut is relatively sophisticated and heavily built, able to dive to an impressive 250m (test depth 320m). The sub will operate with a 5 person crew for up to 7 days before surfacing.

UC-3 Nautilus

L -17.7m, W - 2m

About the same size as the Euronaut, Peter Madsen's third submarine follows on from the Kraka. The sub became operational in 2009 and is employed in recreational diving. The hull features large port holes for observation.

SS86H & SR93H

SS86H: L - 7.5m

SR93H: L - 20m

Forintos Gyula's first submarine, SS86H, was extensively demonstrated to the Hungarian military for river use in the early 1990s, particularly for mine clearance. That proposition is a serious one as the Danube has been mined repeatedly in WWI and WWII and unexploded mines remains a threat. The Hungarian Defense Forces did not purchase the sub.

The later SR93H is a highly stylized design with a military/sci fi theme but underneath is a true sub intended for a scientific polar expedition which sadly has yet to materialise. Despite its relatively great length, the pressure hull is very small diameter and the 5-6 man crew have to crawl and crouch at all time within the hull. Although it may not be the most practical or capable design, its mean looks deserve a film opportunity.

Spurdog

L - 20m

Built in the late 1980s in Holland by two guys who watched Das Boot and were inspired, this boat more recently suffers the indignity of being a houseboat. If anyone has more information, please comment to this article.

North Korean Small Submarines

DPRK export submarines are particularly interesting as they offer rare insight into North Korean types. Iranian IS-120 Ghadir submarines are particularly useful in this regard and are interesting in their own right.



MS-29 Yono (Yeoneo)
Displacement: 115 - 130 tons surfaced
Length: 29m
Width: 2.75m (hull)
Powerplant: Diesel-electric with folding snort mast. Single diesel.


The recent sinking of a South Korean warship Cheonan has brought more details of DPRK's midget submarine fleet into the public domain. Reliable information about the MS-29 Yono ("Yeoneo") class submarine comes from captured Sang-O crewman Lee Kwang Soo, interviewed by South Korean blog Daily-NK ( http://www.dailynk.com/english/read.php?cataId=nk02500&num=6445 ).

Lee describes it as a modified Yugo class. The displacement is significantly greater than the basic Yugo class, and represents an enlarged P-4 class boat with other modifications. The export version is known as IS-120 which has been exported to Iran.  The externally mounted torpedoes are described by the former DPRK submariner. Older variants of Yugo boat with externally mounted torpedoes were already known, so there may be some mix-up in translation. Lee cites quite launch, whereby the torpedo 'swims' away under its own power rather than being forcible ejected from the torpedo tube (which is noisy and may alert the target to the launch) as the motive for this arrangement. This is plausible of course and is not unique among small submarines. The disadvantages of course are performance and weapons maintenance.

It should be noted that the previously captured 'P-4' boat clearly had design adaptions for two internally mounted torpedo tubes, and the IS-120 'Ghadir' class operated by Iran also has internally mounted tubes. Careful inspection of available images shows slight differences from exported IS-120 submarines in service with Iran. The two submarines are however closely related and the IS-120 can be viewed as an export model of MS-29 and may reflect later model Yonos in DPRK service.

It therefore seems probable that there are two or three sub-versions:
a) with twin internal tubes as per export boats
b) without tubes, equipped with diver lock-out
c) with external tubes. Possibly fitted to infiltration version (b) above


Yugo
Dimensions: L 20m, W 2m, Displacement 90t (submerged)
Speed : 10kts surfaced, 4 kts submerged
Armament: 3 configurations:
a) 2 x533-mm externally-mounted torpedoes in drop gear
b) 2 x middleweight (400mm?) torpedo tubes internally mounted in nose. arranged vertically.
c) None in infiltration variants.

A generic name for early midget submarines based on Yugoslavian plans supplied in 1965. Original Yugo class boats likely retired but evolved Yono and P-4 classes still likely operable.

Yugo class with externally carried torpedoes


The Yugo boats have room for 4-6 infiltrators and can carry torpedoes or mines for the attack role. They are relatively short ranged though so for infiltration (or attack in wartime) operations in the far south, off Japan or further away, they require transportation and launch from a mother ship.

Yugo class with internally mounted middleweight torpedo tubes



The ships were built at Yukdaeso-ri shipyard on the west coast from the late 1960s through to the early 1980s at which time they were superseded by the generally more capable Sang-O type. Contrary to some sources, the North Korean Yugo submarine was not very similar to Yugoslavian operated midget submarines such as the impressive Velebit type.





41m Boat
In the early 1980s North Korea developed a much larger coastal submarine known, rather imaginatively, as the “41m boat”. No prizes for guessing the length of this submarine. It is not clear exactly what the boat looked like except that its sail is not unlike the Yugo’s in profile and that it was not a “teardrop” hull. The type does not appear to have been successful and only one is reported and it is unlikely to still be operable.


'Sang-O' type

Dimensions: L 34m, W 3.8m, Displacement: 370t (submerged). Power: 1 diesel, 1 electric motor, 1 shaftSpeed 7.2kts surfaced, 8.8kts submerged
Range: 1500nmMax Depth: 150 meters Crew: 15
Armament (attack sub): 4 x 533-mm torpedoes with no reloads (Inc Russian 53-65 ASW torpedoes)Armament (recce/infiltration version): None. 5 infiltrators and 6 KWP Reconnaissance Bureau Cadre as passengers

Developed as a much improved follow-on to the Yugo type, the Sang-O is well known because one was captured by the South during a botched infiltration mission in September 1997. The Sang-O is much larger and longer ranged than its predecessor. Some boats have the torpedo tubes replaced by a passenger space and diver swim-out door for infiltration and sabotage missions. The 1500nm range is useful enough to allow the boats to operate without a mother ship in most cases making hem much less susceptible to detection. Hypothetically these subs could be modified to carry anti-ship missiles or Shkval rocket-torpedoes but neither capabilities are reported.


'P-4' type

Dimensions: L 29m, Displacement: 190t
Armament: 2 x 533mm (21’’) torpedo tubes (not fitted in infiltration version)

An improved "Yugo" midget submarine design, the P-4 is smaller than the Sang-O but also seemingly more advanced. It features an unusual co-axle twin propeller consisting of a large skewed propeller and a much smaller conventional propeller; this arrangement is believed to be an attempt to reduce the submarine’s noise signature.

An example of this type of submarine was captured during an infiltration mission in 1998 and subsequently put into service with the South Korean Navy emphasizing the build quality of the boat. It was recently taken out of service and put on public display at the war memorial. Interestingly the sensors of the captured boat, including the sonar, were of Japanese origin.

IS-120 'Ghadir'
IS-120 is the export designation of the MS-29 Yono. The only country thought to operate it is Iran, who has at least 4 in service and is locally producing it. As per other DPRK submarine types Yono is a family of submarines with many differences, some slight and some more obvious, between models. Iranian IS-120s are widely photographed and filmed thus giving the best open source insight to date on the Yono class.



In simple terms the Iranian IS-120s are an MS-29 boat with additional sonars and a mast sensor/communications fit very similar to the captured P-4 type.



Delfin
Appears to be a variation of the Yugo type, this mystery submarine is in service with Cuba. Very little is known of its operational service, numbers or details. Reports also suggest that it is related to the Sang-O class but this seems improbable given its external appearance and other factors of descriptions. May be constructed in Cuba. Artist's impression based on the Yugo form:




A lead provided by Lee Kwang Soo is that some Cubans have inspected North Korean submarines and may have purchased some in 1990s. This ties with the 'mystery' Cuban midget submarine photographed in Havana and previously included in Fortress Cuba




The sub is quite different from other DPRK submarine designs such as P-4 and Sang-O but may be another unreported type.

Viet P-4 ('Yugo')

2 P-4 type midget subs supplied in 1997 and are operated by submarine unit M96. The deal included 16 torpedoes, 282 batteries and 8 mines. Although the torpedo type is not reported they are known to be of 1960s Soviet type, probably Type 53-56. It is likely that the exact model is very close to DPRK-service P-4 although they are generally (not widely, their existence is not well known) referred to as "Yugos", a reference to the original Yugos which would have been second-hand at this time - as a rule DPRK exports new submarines. Some observers misidentify them Sang-O in Vietnamese service. The P-4 is substantially smaller than the Sang-O.

Video still of P-4 on Vietnamese TV (via Vietnamese internet community)

Not all of the equipment sold (torpedoes, batteries, mines) was new and Vietnam had to replace it with Russian source units. Google Earth imagery suggests 20-25m design rather than larger but otherwise similar Yono/IS-120 type:

Russian (/Soviet) SF underwater craft



Triton

For Triton-1 and Triton-2, see below
The Russians experimented with a two-man chariot in late 1950s which appears heavily influenced by WWII Italian Maiale and British Chariots. Hull diameter was greater than a torpedo, but otherwise similar. The two crew sat in a single cut-out with shield at the front. There were hydroplanes both fore and aft.

Photo: http://www.atrinaflot.narod.ru/81_publications/2009_proton.htm

The type does not appear to have been entered operational service.

Sirena / Sirena-UME Often referenced to the WW2 'Maiale' designs of 'Human Torpedo', the Sirena is not closely related except in so far as it is based on a WWII 533mm torpedo. The first Sirena tests models reused war-trophy German G-7E torpedoes but these proved problematic and Soviet motors were used on production units.

At least one early craft, probably a prototype using the G-7E torpedo aft section, had the crew sitting closer together facing opposite directions as per the British Chariot MkII. This configuration was not adopted in production models where both the crew faced forward.

The Sirena is in some respects a precursor for the latest SDVs trends in that it can be carried and deployed in the torpedo tubes of Submarines. Some Project 77EK/EKM Kilo class boats have been modified with rams to launch it through their tubes, or it can be carried externally by Piranha midget subs or boats.

Specifications:

L - 8.7m, 11.2m with storage container attached (some sources say L - 8.6m, 10.8m with container)

W - 0.53m

Speed - 2-4 ktsDepth - up to 40m

The crew sit inside the hull with just their upper bodies exposed, like the British Chariot Mk.II but both face forward.

The current version still in service is the Sirena-UME, which is the result of a 1972-76 upgrade to reduce noise. Similar upgrades were applied to the Proteus DPD.

Following is a series of renderings of what a potential Sirena operation would be. The basic layout of such an operation can be considered a blueprint for any operations utilizing similar vehicles.

Two divers exit the sub though a torpedo tube or hatch. The Sirena is deployed though a torpedo tube.



The two divers enter the sub and proceed to the target while the submarine remains clear of the area.

The divers approach their target in this case a NATO frigate resting at anchor.

The divers retrieve their equipment from the storage compartment attached to the bow of the Sirena. In this case one diver is carrying a limpet mine and the other is carrying APS underwater rifle for self defence.

The divers attach limpet mines to vulnerable areas under the keel of the target, such area could be below the engine room or under weapon magazines. The mines would normally be set on a timer to detonate after the divers have returned to the submarine and left the area, mines could also be set to detonate if someone attempts to remove them.




The divers return to the submarine using either GPS navigation or an acoustic homing device attached to the submarine. The divers load the Sirena back in to its torpedo tube and reenter the submarine.

Triton-1 (project 907)

A wet sub now likely all retired, the Triton-1 has a distinctive teardrop bull with the two crewman sitting side-by-side in an aircraft-style cockpit. 32 craft were built entering service between 1973 and 1980.

Specifications:

L - 5m

W - 1.4m

Speed - 6kts

The craft can rest on the sea bed for up to 10 days before being restarted for the homeward journey allowing great operational flexibility.

Triton-2 (project 908)

With some details closely resembling the Triton-1, the Triton-2 is a much larger craft. The submarine is not a 'dry sub' but does have a system to maintain a constant pressure within the submarine regardless of depth. 13 craft were built, entering service between 1975 and 1985.

Specifications:

L - 9.5m

W - 1.5m

Crew: 6

Piranha (Project 865, NATO - Losos)

With two boats entering service in the the early 90s, the Piranha class were purpose built special operations craft. The post-Soviet Russian Navy did not see the need to operate dedicated craft and they were discarded in the early 2000's after attempts to sell them abroad were unsuccessful despite considerable interest in the design.

An interesting feature is the two tubular storage bins for SDVs / diver propulsion devises which give the craft a characteristic hump back.

The starboard storage bin tray is seen with two Protei-5 diver propulsion devices.

L - 28.2m

W - 4.8m

Displacement - 218 t surface, 319 t dived

Speed - 7 kts surfaced, ?? dived

Crew - 3 + 6

Marina

Not a military project, the Marina wet submarine is however inherently usable as an SDV. Based on the Sirena-UME (see above), the Marina has an altered crew arrangement allowing 3 crew. Large windshields protect the crew much like the Italian series of SDVs. The design is marketed for private/commercial applications.

 

L - 7.8m

W - 0.6m

Depth - up to 40m

Speed - 2-4 kts

Diver propulsion units

VSON -55

Early diver propulsion devise dating from mid 1955s as the designation suggests. Consisted of a cylindrical pressure body which attached to the diver's chest, with an arm-mounted electric motor driving a shrouded propeller which tucked between the diver's legs when swimming prone.

Proteus -1

Very similar to the VSON-55 in configuration, the Proteus was a significant all-round improvement better suited to special operations forces. Introduced in 1958.

Proteus -2
At the same time that Proteus-1 was produced, a back-mounted version was introduced. This configuration proved unpopular and Proteus-1 became the preferred layout.

Proteus - 5 / 5M / 5MU
General improvement on Proteus-1 with similar layout. Larger prop. -5MU incorporated noise reduction techniques.


Proteus - L -Special model designed for landing in water by parachute.

COM-1
A more recent product, the COM-1 features an unusual layout with the diver laying ahead of the propulsion unit. The device features a windshield and can carry two divers although usual operation is for a single diver.

Max speed - 2-3kts.
Depth - at least 30m


Foreign types
R 1 / R-2 - Reports that Soviet/Russian forces may use Yugoslavian (now Croatian) R-1 and R-2 SDVs are almost certainly incorrect.

Seehund - Immediately following WWII the Soviet union inherited two unfinished German Seehund midget submarines. One was placed in service.


CB Class - Following WWII the USSR briefly operated four Italian midget submarines of the CB class.

Small Navies' indigenous infiltration craft

Collection of wet subs, midget subs and other infiltration craft developed in smaller navies, or countries with few designs in this field.

KTBA series wet subs, Indonesia
Indonesia has a capable combat swimmer force, the Kopaska special diver unit, who operate locally produced Sub Skimmer wet subs (a British design, see separate posting). The Kendaraan Tempur Bawah Air (KTBA) series of indigenous wet subs have recently entered service after experimentation and testing. Early models, -I and -II, are twin seat affairs with externally mounted diver propulsion devices. The larger -III and -IV versions have twin in-built propulsors on the rear hydroplane and can carry 3-4 combat divers at 3-4kts submerged. All designs are easily recognised by the distinctive bow fairing with shark-gills and upright windscreen (often without glass). Materials are predominantly fibreglass.

 

Russian Black Sea Fleet to receive 6 new diesel subs.

Russia's Black Sea Fleet will be strengthened with six Kilo class diesel-electric submarines in the next few years, Navy Commander Adm. Vladimir Vysotsky said on Friday. "Six diesel-electric submarines of Project 636 [Kilo class] will be built for the Black Sea Fleet in the next few years," Vysotsky said in an exclusive interview with RIA Novosti. The Black Sea Fleet, based in Sevastopol, has only one submarine, the Project 877 Alrosa, which is undergoing scheduled repairs in Kaliningrad. Vysotsky said a year ago that the construction of three Kilo class submarines for the Black Sea Fleet had already started and one more would be laid down every year starting in 2010. The fleet would receive a total of 15 new frigates and diesel-electric submarines by 2020, he said in July 2010. The admiral reiterated on Friday that the operational zone of the Black Sea Fleet includes the Mediterranean, and its combat ships must be capable of carrying out anti-piracy missions in the Gulf of Aden.

 

All Canadian submarines now out of commission.

 The Canadian submarine HMCS Corner Brook prepares to get underway after taking Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper onboard for a visit in Frobisher Bay on Aug. 19, 2009. The navy’s last operational submarine is now sidelined until 2016, leaving the service without an underwater capability and potentially throwing into question the future of the submarine fleet. The submarine program, which has already cost around $900 million, has been plagued with various maintenance issues that have prevented the boats from being available for operations on a regular basis. A media report in July noted that one of the subs, HMCS Windsor, arrived in Canada in the fall of 2001 but since then it has operated at sea for just 332 days. HMCS Corner Brook, damaged when it hit the ocean floor during a training accident in June on the West Coast, is now dockside. It will be repaired and overhauled during a planned maintenance period now underway. But it is not scheduled to return to sea until 2016, the navy confirmed in an email to the Ottawa Citizen. HMCS Chicoutimi, damaged by a fire in 2004 that killed one officer, still remains sidelined. That leaves HMCS Windsor and HMCS Victoria, which are also not available for duty at sea.  “The navy is focused on HMCS Victoria and HMCS Windsor and returning both to sea in early 2012,” stated navy spokesman Lt.-Cmdr. Brian Owens in an email. “Trials are already underway with Victoria in anticipation to her returning to sea.” He noted that plans call for Victoria to do a test dive in the Esquimalt harbour on Vancouver Island sometime this month as part of a plan “to verify the submarine’s watertight integrity, and the functionality of other key systems.” But defence analyst Martin Shadwick said the latest news on the four submarines is yet another blow to the program.  “All the arguments the navy made for having submarines 10 or 15 years ago are still fundamentally valid, but they haven’t been actually able to provide the politicians with specific concrete examples because the subs are not available all that much,” explained Shadwick, a York University professor. “That makes the subs a lot more vulnerable to budget cutters in the department and outside of it.” He said the future survival of the submarine force could be put in jeopardy if the problems continue. Canada purchased the subs second-hand from Britain and took delivery of the boats between 2000 and 2004. The navy said it did a thorough examination of the vessels to ensure they meet Canadian needs, but problems with the Victoria-class subs started materializing almost immediately. High-pressure welds had to be replaced and cracks were found in some of the valves on the four subs. Steel piping also needed to be replaced as the submarines were put into storage in Britain with water in their fuel tanks. HMCS Victoria also underwent repairs after a dent was discovered in her hull. In addition, there have been delays in installing Canadian equipment, such as the weapons fire control and communications gear. The subs are still not capable of firing Canadian torpedoes. “The introduction of the Victoria Class has been fraught with many issues and faced a number of setbacks,” a May 2009 briefing note produced by the navy acknowledged. The Ottawa Citizen obtained that document through the access to Information law. In July, media reports citing other navy documents noted the subs are also restricted in the depth they can dive because of rust problems. In June, two sailors were injured when Corner Brook hit bottom near Nootka Sound, off the west coast of Vancouver Island. The boat was conducting submerged manoeuvres during advanced submarine officer training. Owens said navy divers did an initial “in-water” damage assessment of Corner Brook. They found there was damage to the fibreglass bow dome, which Owens noted could mean that there may be damage to the sonar equipment it contains. There was also minor leakage in a forward ballast tank. “The exact scope of the damage, and subsequent repair estimate, can only be derived after a more thorough assessment with the submarine docked and the development of complete repair specifications,” he added. The cost of repairs is not known at this time. HMCS Corner Brook is alongside the dock at Esquimalt and is being used as a training platform for submariners. It is now undergoing an already scheduled maintenance regime in which minimal work is done, such as replacing certain components and doing an engineering survey of what needs to be done during a much more elaborate overhaul called the Extended Docking Work Period or EDWP. The submarine will not go to sea again until after the EDWP. Owens said Corner Brook’s EDWP is scheduled to be complete in 2015-16, making the vessel available for testing, trials and personnel training in 2016.

 

 Fire in Esquimalt damages Canada's only semi-operational sub.

 

The Canadian submarine HMCS Corner Brook prepares to get underway after taking Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper onboard for a visit in Frobisher Bay in the Canadian Arctic August 19, 2009. A fire on board HMCS Victoria, the Royal Canadian Navy's best hope for an operational submarine, is the latest mishap to plague the used boats which have spent more time undergoing repairs than in the water.

 

The Canadian submarine HMCS Corner Brook prepares to get underway after taking Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper onboard for a visit in Frobisher Bay in the Canadian Arctic August 19, 2009. A fire on board HMCS Victoria, the Royal Canadian Navy's best hope for an operational submarine, is the latest mishap to plague the used boats which have spent more time undergoing repairs than in the water.  A fire on board HMCS Victoria, the Royal Canadian Navy's best hope for an operational submarine, is the latest mishap to plague the used boats which have spent more time undergoing repairs than in the water. The submarine's commanding officer, Lt. Cmdr. Christopher Ellis, confirmed that the fire happened last Tuesday and was contained to the communications mast on top of the sub. It happened during a scheduled radiation hazard survey. One of the submariners on the jetty during the training noticed smoke coming from the communications mast, Ellis said. "There was no indication of smoke or anything inside the submarine," Ellis said, explaining that the mast does not open up to the rest of the boat. "It was a minor fire in that way." The submariner alerted the six crew members inside the submarine and called the Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt Fire Department, he said. Three duty members aboard the sub took emergency precautions, isolating the high-powered systems on the submarine and making sure everyone got off the vessel safely. Firefighters used a ladder truck to spray water to extinguish the fire in the communications mast, Ellis said. The communications mast looks similar to a periscope and is used to communicate with other ships, aircraft and personnel on shore. What caused the problem is not yet known but it's suspected to have been an electrical fire, Ellis said. The communications mast can be replaced in a matter of days, Ellis said. "All training can be carried out as planned. The only thing this will delay slightly is our communication trials." Ellis said it's better to know about a problem with the communications mast now, rather than while out at sea. HMCS Victoria was placed in Esquimalt Harbour in April after five years in dry dock during a $195-million overhaul. It is set for sea trials later this year, Ellis said, and next year will be the first Upholder-class submarine to fire an MK-48 torpedo. It's the navy's only semi-operational submarine, as the other three undergo repairs. HMCS Corner Brook was damaged when it hit the ocean floor during advanced officer training in June off Nootka Sound on the west coast of the Island. It is now dockside at Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt and will be repaired during a planned maintenance period, which will keep it sidelined until 2016. HMCS Windsor is on the East Coast, undergoing repairs and is set to return to sea in 2012. HMCS Chicoutimi was damaged by a fire in 2004 that killed an officer and remains out of commission until at least 2012. The navy's submarine program has been fraught with problems since the diesel-powered submarines were purchased from Britain in 1998. They have already cost taxpayers $900 million and have had few opportunities to show their mettle while constantly undergoing repairs.

 

New attack sub docked at China's navy base in Hainan Island.

At least one new Type 093 nuclear-powered attack submarine was docked at a Chinese navy base in Sanya, Hainan Island, in early September, a photograph obtained by Kyodo News by Wednesday showed.  While it was reported in China that the People's Liberation Army Navy late 2006, the photograph marks

the first time for the whereabouts of the submarine to be visually confirmed, according to Ping Kefu, a Hong Kong-based military analyst.

Ping said the PLA appears poised to advance the navy to the Indian Ocean and South China Sea and to form an aircraft carrier fleet in the future

at a time when the navy seeks to expand its sphere of influence in the East China Sea, including areas around the disputed Senkaku Islands, and

the South China Sea.  The islands -- administered by Japan but claimed by China and Taiwan -- become the source of a recent diplomatic row between Tokyo and Beijing, the worst in years.  The photograph, taken on Sept. 2, shows two nuclear-powered submarines docked at a quay in the base, which belongs to the South China Sea Fleet in Zhanjiang, Guangdong Province.  One submarine was confirmed to be a Type 093. Experts believe the other is also a Type 093, but said it is difficult to determine because the image for the second one is unclear. It was found in 2008 that the PLA Navy deployed a ype 094 "Jin-class" ballistic missile submarine capable of loading nuclear missiles at the same base. An expansion in deployment of nuclear powered submarines by the navy is likely to increase a sense of alert by Southeast Asian countries that have territorial disputes with Beijing in the South China Sea, and India.

Measuring about 110 meters in length, the Type 093 submarine excels in striking power and silence in navigation, according to military experts. It is said to perform on par with Russia's Victor III-class submarine. China began construction of the PLA Navy base in Sanya around 2002 because water in surrounding areas is deep, making it difficult for submarines to be detected, the military experts said. The country has nearly completed a large underground facility for nu ear-powered submarines, and the navy appears to be moving major vessels into the base. The experts believe the base will be a strategic point for an aircraft carrier fleet in the future. However, the PLA so far has released little information about the base.

 

Chinese PLAN Latest Type 041Class Yuan Diesel-Electric Submarines SSK

 

Although not nearly as "shocking" as the recent photo release of the PLAAF's J-20 stealth fighter, the first definitive photos of the latest Type 041 (NATO designation: Yuan) class diesel-powered submarines (SSK) nevertheless shed light on another critical asset of the PLA's modernization efforts. While the exact new features of these 2 SSKs remain predictably shrouded in secrecy, some PLA enthusiasts have speculated that the new SSKs will include new sonar and surveillance systems, some have even speculated that the newest models will be capable of vertically launching cruise missiles from their lengthened sails - the most noticeable new feature of the latest 2 Yuan Class SSKs being constructed in Wuhan. It is also widely believed that the Yuan Class SSKs include air-independent propulsion systems on board (as subtly implied by a PLA Daily article dated 23 Oct 2009), allowing for quieter patrols of longer endurance.

 

South East Asian subsea defence highlighted in UDT conference.

The radically contrasting subsea defence needs of two nations were highlighted in the day two plenary capability session of the UDT conference, which was staged in ExCeL London on Wednesday 8th JuneSpeaking in a scenario dedicated to South East Asia, David Nicholls of the Submarine Institute of Australia described the factors involved in his country's decision to replace the six Collins-class submarines currently used by the Royal Australian Navy with 12 new vessels by 2025. The project to build the submarines will be the largest, longest and most expensive defence acquisition ever undertaken by Australia and comes at a time when regional navies such as those of Indonesia, China and India are seeking to dramatically expand their submarine fleets, potentially altering the balance of naval power in the region. The identified needs include optimising crew conditions for prolonged blue water operations and making maximum use of automation. Captain Luis Alba of the Embassy of Peru set out a markedly different scenario. While Peru, like Australia, has deep water considerations, the emerging threats are present in brown water areas. Self-propelled semi submersibles are recognised as a means of terrorist submarine attacks, but drug smugglers linked to the FARC guerrilla organisation are already using them to transport huge quantities of cocaine. Additionally, the construction of the Trans-Oceanic Highway linking the northern and southern ports of Peru with Brazilian ports will generate more maritime traffic in the area, bringing with it the threat of increased piracy.  Captain Alba stated that the ability to operate near the coast is very important and challenging, with difficulties including the shallowness of the waters and the high probability of the defence forces assets being exposed. The use of scenarios as a plenary session is a new feature of UDT. Judging by the enthusiastic response of the agenda.

 

Colombia navy seizes drugs submarine.

The Colombian navy has seized a submarine modified by drugs smugglers to carry up to eight tons of cocaine to Mexico. The ocean-going, submersible vessel was ready to embark on its maiden voyage, and is capable of travelling long distances. "It is the first submersible to be seized in the country," said General Jaime Herazo. The raid was made on Sunday in the remote jungle region of Cauca, close to the Pacific coast, where the submarine was hidden on a river. The captured vessel "can travel up to 9 metres (depth) underwater," Gen Herazo added, and costs an estimated £1.32 million. The vessels can reach speeds of around 11mph. Made out of fibreglass, the submarine has the capacity to carry four crew members. Narco submarines, as they are known, are designed specifically to be nearly undetectable visually or by radar, sonar and infrared systems because they travel just below the surface of the water. Gen Herazo believes that the ship belongs to "narco-traffickers coupled with narco-terrorists, who received a heavy blow [due to its capture]". However, no arrests have been made in connection to the discovery, which resulted from a joint operation by the Colombian navy, air force and the inspector general.

 

France in violation because of the OECD Convention.

However, in the suit filed in December 2009, the plaintiffs argued, that in light of the way the company operated, …“there is no doubt that this legal entity (Perimekar) was created with a single goal: to organise the payment of commission and distribute the amount amongst the different beneficiaries – Malaysian officials and/or Malaysian or foreign intermediaries.” However, this contract was signed after the OECD Convention came into force in France in 2000, which punishes corruption of foreign public officials with 10 years imprisonment and a 150,000 euro fine. Following this complaint, a preliminary investigation was conducted by the prosecution: the hearings were made and searches were made at the premises of DCNS and Thalès. Revealed in September 2008, the note books of Gérard-Philippe Menayas, former chief financial officer of the DCN, who was indicted in the Karachi Case, also confirmed the suspicion of hidden commissions. In his memorandum (PDF), Menayas mentioned the Malaysian submarine contract as follows: “Since the entry into force of the OECD Convention regarding the fight against corruption in September 2000, only two contracts have been signed; the first with India, and the second with Malaysia in 2002. These two contracts are the result of commercial actions undertaken prior to the OECD Convention. Furthermore, they are both suspected of non-compliance with this Convention. I have evidence to support this.” At the time of the contract’s signature, Alain Richard was the minister of defence, in Lionel Jospin’s government (Socialist Party).

Three commissions instead of one.

With the forthcoming indictment, and the revival of this case, new items had been contributed to the case by the plaintiffs. First, according to sources cited by the plaintiffs, it was not the company Armaris that paid 114 million euros to Perimekar, but rather the Malaysian government, “with the sole purpose of circumventing the OECD Convention”. This is a true revelation, while the Malaysian (deputy) minister of defence ended up “confessing” to the payments made by foreign companies to Perimekar. Where did this money go? Were there retrocommissions to French politicians? Secondly, there appeared to be not one, but three commissions. In addition to that of 114 million euros, there are two further instalments: • one paid by the DCNI to the commercial networks of Thalès, for over 30 million euros, corresponding to “commercial fees relating to the negotiation and execution of the contract”; the other for 2.5 million euros. However, according to Gerard Philippe Menayas: “Until the OECD Convention against corruption came into force in France, no contract for the sale of defence equipment to an emerging country could take place without the payment of commissions to policy-makers (euphemistically called ‘commercial fees for exports’ or ‘FCE’).” The second commission was paid by Thalès to a recipient, who remains unknown, in order to convince the Malaysian government of the need to conduct additional work. Finally, according to the complaint filed by the firm Bourdon, Suaram’s lawyer, the company Gifen, which was established by Jean-Marie Boivin in Malta, intervened in the negotiations “so as to facilitate the money transfers in this case”, and particularly finance the trips of Baginda and Altantuya. The “catch” is that Jean-Marie Boivin is also cited in the Karachi case… for his role in the system for supplying slush funds to political parties

Chilean Stealth Sub Visiting San Diego.

 

 

The Chilean navy's Carrera, a diesel-electric submarine, has arrived for a training mission with the 3rd Fleet in San Diego, Navy Times reports. The latest generation of diesel-electric subs, with their unusual stealthiness and relatively low price have become troublesome for U.S. defense planners. As smaller countries acquire more of them, safe access for U.S. ships to world coastal areas and the high seas could be jeopardized, the Pentagon argues. "Once they have powered up their batteries, the submarines can sail to the bottom of coastal waters and remain undetected for days," says an account in National Defense Magazine. "Though they can’t travel long distances or sail very quickly, advancements in technologies, such as air-independent propulsion and fuel cells, have allowed diesel submarines to extend their operational ranges underwater. "But perhaps their best selling point is their relatively inexpensive price tags. The Russians have sold diesel submarines for as little as $200 million and the French have exported their Scorpene submarines for $300 million." "China’s new Song-class diesel submarines have tracked U.S. Navy ships operating in the seas near Japan and Taiwan. Last November, after China denied the USS Kitty Hawk’s port call in Hong Kong at the last minute, a Chinese submarine shadowed the carrier as it entered the Taiwan Straits on its return voyage to Yokosuka, Japan.  "In the late fall of 2006, a Song-class submarine surfaced within torpedo range of the Kitty Hawk* off the coast of Okinawa, Japan." According to the account in Navy Times, the current San Diego visit will allow the U.S. to "train its submarine crews as well as surface ships, patrol squadrons and other units to hunt and operate with the foreign subs."

 

Rusty submarine remains on the seabed.

The wreck of the Russian nuclear powered submarine K-159 is still corroding on the bottom of the Barents Sea. On August 30, it is six years since the submarine sank near the Kildin Island north of Murmansk, an area important for both Russian and Norwegian fisheries.  K-159, a November-class submarine taken out of operation from the Soviet Northern fleet in the late 80-ties, sunk in bad weather while being towed. Nine sailors died when the sub went down, just before the inlet to the Kola Bay in the early morning of August 30, 2003. The submarine was on its way from the Gremikha naval base to the naval yard in Polyarny where it was supposed to be decommissioned. The two nuclear reactors onboard still contain the highly radioactive spent nuclear fuel rods. Due to the lethal inventory of the reactors, and the on-going corroding process on the already rusty hull, the submarine is considered to be one of the most dangerous objects in the Arctic Oceans.After K-159 sunk in 2003, the Russian naval command promised to retrieve the submarine sometime in 2004. But 2004 past without lifting the sub, and since then new lifting plans have been postponed, and again postponed. In 2007, BarentsObserver.com wrote that the St. Petersburg based design and engineering company Malakhit got the order to prepare the lifting plan. Bellona’s website wrote last year that in December 2007, the chief of environmental safety for the Russian military, Alevtin Yunak, promised at a meeting between the government and the Military Industrial Commission that the decision would be made by the beginning of 2008. Also in 2007, a British Ministry of Defense salvage team said they would examine the submarine’s two reactors before deciding whether it could be raised from the depth of 238 meters. Interviewed by The Sunday Times, project leader for salvage and marine at the British Defense Logistics Organization, Morgyn Davis, said there’s an element of fear of the unknown here. Davis’ team is consulting the Russian authorities regarding K-159. The first thing to do is to get down to the wreck in remote-control submersibles, cut the pontoon wires around the submarine and put sensors on to check for radiation. We think it is flooded with water, so raising it like that, from that depth, would be very difficult, Davis said to The Sunday Times. As reported by BarentsObserver.com in 2007, radiation monitoring of the sunken submarine started within the framework of the Arctic Military Environmental Cooperation (AMEC). So far, no radiation leakages are reported from K-159. K-159 is not the only nuclear powered submarine on the seabed in the Arctic Oceans. On April 7, 1989, the prototype submarine Komsomolets sunk south of the Bear Island in the Norwegian Sea. Laying at more than 1600 metres depth, is is slowly corroding with its single nuclear reactor and two nuclear warheads. Also in the Kara Sea, east of Novaya Zemlya, old submarines and reactor compartments have been dumped in the sea on purpose. Six reactors with spent nuclear fuel and 10 reactors where the fuel were removed before the dumping are located at different locations along the eastern coast of Novaya Zemlya. All the reactors were dumped because they have been involved in accidents and posed a radiation risk if stored at any of the Northern fleets naval bases at the Kola Peninsula or decomissioned at any of the navbases on Kola or in Severodvinsk in the White Sea. There are currently no plans to lift the dumped Kara Sea reactor compartments. Several studies have concluded that trying to lift the Komsomolets submarine pose a bigger risk than just leaving it at the seabed. The reactor and two plutonium warheads onboard Komsomolets are partly sealed off to avoid radiation from leak out of the sunken submarine.

 

Russia to decide fate of sunken nuclear subs.

Russia must soon decide what to do with two sunken nuclear submarines in the Barents and Kara seas in order to avoid potential radioactive pollution of the area, a senior Russian nuclear official said on Monday. - We must decide as soon as possible whether we will lift these subs or bury them completely on site, Ivan Kamenskikh, deputy general director of Russia's nuclear corporation Rosatom, said at a conference on board the Yamal nuclear icebreaker, RIA Novosti reports. The two submarines in question are the November class nuclear submarines B-159 (K-159), which sank in the Barents Sea in August 2003, 248 meters down, with nine of her crew and 800 kilograms of spent nuclear fuel, while being moved for dismantling and the K-27, which was dumped in the eastern Kara Sea in 1982. The latter was an experimental attack submarine built in 1962 and decommissioned in 1979 due to its troublesome nuclear reactors. Her reactor compartment was sealed before the sub was dumped at a depth of 33 meters. I think the issue should be resolved in 2012. To lift them will cost a lot of money, but we must decide on their fate now to make sure that in the future we will not have problems with radioactive pollution of the areas where these subs are located, Kamenskikh said, adding that at present radiation levels at the wreckage sites are normal. The official also said that the wreck of a third sunken submarine, the K-278 Komsomolets, will most likely remain at the site of the accident forever, as the salvage operation will be too costly and dangerous. This submarine sank in the Norwegian Sea on April 7, 1989, south of the Bear Island. The submarine sank with its active reactor and two nuclear warheads on board, and lies at a depth of 1,685 meters.

Russia's New Attack Sub Starts Sea Trials.

The submarine, named “Severodvinsk” after the city where it is built, is currently undergoing harbour trails at the construction yard Sevmash. "Severodvinsk" is said to be the most silent submarine ever built, making it difficult to detect by other naval vessels or other states subsea detection systems. Construction of “Severodvinsk” started back in 1993, but was halted due to financial setbacks. The last nuclear powered attack submarine launched from Sevmash naval yard was in December 2001, when “Gepard” – a Akula-class submarine  - was delivered to the Northern fleet. The new submarine will undergo sea trails during the summer, and will enter service with the Russian Navy by the end of the year, reports RIA Novosti. Most likely, "Severodvinsk" will be based on the Kola Peninsula and operate in the Barents Sea and North-Atlantic. Severodvinsk is the first of the new Graney-class submarines. Construction of the second vessel of the class, named "Kazan", started in 2009. The new submarine will be the most heavily armed multi-purpose submarine sailing in northern waters. Its armament includes 24 cruise missiles, eight torpedoes in addition to mines and anti-ship missiles.

 

R300m to secure South African submarine deal.

Johannesburg - German industrial company Ferrostaal allegedly paid R300m to secure the sale of submarines to South Africa, the Citizen reported on Friday.
This was amongst the claims made by an internal audit of the company by American-based law firm Debevoise and Plimpton. The law firm was hired to "clean up" Ferrostaal following a series of corruption scandals and the arrest of one of its board members by the German Public Prosecutions Authority last year. Ferrostaal said it would not release the Debevoise and Plimpton report. On Thursday a German newspaper, Sueddeutsche Zeitung, claimed it had a copy of the report. "I would...like to state that Ferrostaal has been taking great efforts to clear up allegations of non-compliant behaviour in the past," Ferrostaal spokesperson Maria Lahaye-Geusen said. In the article, Lahaye-Geusen did not deny the allegations that payments were made to South Africa in return for arms deal contracts but the company has previously denied the claims. She said Ferrostaal would co-operate with and assist South African prosecutors if approached. In 2008 the Sunday Times reported that Ferrostaal allegedly gave former president Thabo Mbeki R30m in bribes and that, after sharing this with Jacob Zuma, before he became president, Mbeki gave some of the money to the ANC as a donation. Mbeki has also denied the claims.

 

Polish Navy chose French Scorpène class submarines.

The French shipbuilding group DCNS is to build new Scorpène submarines for the Polish Navy. An Agreement on the joint with the Polish shipyard Stocznia Marynarki Wojennej SA construction of submarines was signed in late March. France has also pledged to train the crews of the submarines. The naval forces of Poland now have 41 combat units, the most significant of which are two guided missile frigates, three small rocket ships, a corvette and five submarines. The submarines will be the first new ships purchased by the Polish Navy during the last two decades. Frigates Gen. K. Pulaski and Gen. T. Kosciuszko type Oliver Hazard Perry were built in the U.S. in 1980 and handed over to Poland in 2000 and 2002, respectively. The four Kobben submarines were built early 1970s were transferred to Poland from Norway. The youngest submarine in the Polish Navy is a Soviet-built diesel-electric submarines Orzel Project 877E "Varshavyanka" - it was handed over to Polish Navy in 1986.
Currently, Scorpène submarines serve in the Navy of Brazil, Chile, India, Malaysia. The cost of construction of one ship is about $ 450 million.

 

Russian Navy to get bulk of new generation nuke-fighting submarines.

Ten nuclear Yasen-type submarines are scheduled to be constructed in Russia in the next nine years, as part of the state arms program through 2020. The new generation submarines are capable of combating both other submarines below the surface and weapons on the surface, including aircraft carriers.  The Yasen submarine’s length is 119 meters. It weighs in at 13,800 tons, with a cruising capacity of 100 days. The submarines can go up to speeds of 31 knots. It can be equipped with supersonic high-speed missiles and torpedoes, including nuclear weapons and “Onyxes.”  “This type of submarine was previously unknown in Russia,” Andrey Frolov, from the Center for Analysis of Strategy and Technology, told RT. “It’s multifunctional and can be used to attack carrier forces. In Soviet times, they had to use two different types of submarines, but Yasen is uniting them.” Initially it was planned that Russia’s Navy would get 30 such submarines, but later the number was cut down to only six due to a lack of funds. Now the authorities are sticking to 10.  The first submarine is expected to hit the water by the end of 2011. Its construction started in 1993. The second submarine, based on a modified Yasen-M project, was begun in 2009.

 

Scientists begin righting a Confederate submarine.

Scientists in South Carolina began the painstaking job Wednesday of righting the Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley, which sank on its side during the Civil War after becoming the first sub in history to sink an enemy warship. Workers rotated the famed submarine by about 10 degrees by midafternoon Wednesday in a delicate effort that is expected to take two days to complete. The Hunley was resting on its side at a 45-degree angle when it sank off Charleston in 1864 and was raised in slings that way 11 years ago. The hand-cranked sub and its crew of eight went down after sinking the Union blockade ship Housatonic but why it sank remains a mystery. Rotating the sub upright and removing the slings will reveal the entire hull for the first time in nearly 150 years and may provide clues as to its fate. But Paul Mardikian, the senior conservator on the Hunley project, doesn't expect to see any obvious clues once the sub is upright and the slings obscuring the hull are removed. "I don't think there have been any smoking guns on the submarine so far. We were expecting we would find a quick answer 10 years ago. But I think it's more subtle," he said. He said any new clues will probably have to wait until the sediment encrusted on the hull is removed, a process that will take a year or more. When the sub was raised, there were 15 slings supporting it. Last week, the Hunley was raised 3 feet from the bottom of its water-filled conservation tank and in recent days half the slings were removed. The remaining slings were fitted with sophisticated sensors which can tell how much weight each is supporting. Workers lined the inside of the drained 90,000-gallon conservation tank on Wednesday and periodically eased the tension on the remaining slings as the Hunley was slowly rotated toward an upright position. Once upright, the sub will be supported by keel blocks beneath the vessel. "Everything's going according to plan," said Mardikian who noted it took several years modeling the delicate process of righting the sub both in a computer simulation and using a model of the hull.Theories as to why the Hunley sank include that it was damaged by fire from the Housatonic or the crew was knocked out by the concussion from the blast that the ship. It may also have been damaged by another Union vessel rescuing the Housatonic. Studies showed the crew died of a lack of oxygen, which can overtake a person very quickly. The remains of the crewmembers, who were buried in 2004 in what was called the last Confederate funeral, were found at their stations and there seemed no rush to the escape hatch. At the time of its development, the Hunley was considered a secret weapon developed to try to break the Union blockade that held the South in a stranglehold. It would not be until World War I that submarines were commonly used in warfare.

 

Sailors feared worst as submarine HMAS Farncomb sank.

JUST after midnight off the coast of Perth, navy submarine HMAS Farncomb was slicing below the surface of a rough sea when its engines cut out. For the 60 men and women aboard the Collins-class boat, the next few minutes would be among the longest of their lives. Like a Hollywood thriller, the sailors found themselves grappling with a double engine failure followed by a terrifying, powerless descent towards the bottom of the Indian Ocean, stemmed only by the cool actions of a veteran commander. This real-life drama, which took place at 12.30am on August 23 about 20km off the northwest coast of Rottnest Island, was not revealed by Defence at the time. When quizzed by The Australian the following day, officials gave only a brief, sanitised version of the incident, omitting key facts while praising the competence and training of the crew for following "standard operating procedures".

 

Nuclear subs buy for Australia.

AUSTRALIA could buy 10 of the latest nuclear attack submarines from the US for much less than it would cost to build 12 conventional replacements for the Collins-class boats, says the Kokoda Foundation think tank.  Foundation founder Ross Babbage said the submarines could operate with US boats sharing an Australian naval base and they could be maintained by US nuclear experts. Dr Babbage, a member of the government's advisory panel for the 2009 Defence white paper, told The Australian 10 of the US Navy's new Virginia-class attack submarines could be bought and equipped for a total of $28 billion. While the white paper called for 12 new conventional subs, it gave no estimate of their likely cost. But Andrew Davies, of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, has calculated that they would cost about $36bn and that figure has not been challenged by the government. In the past, apart from political and social objections to nuclear power, key submarine experts have dismissed the idea of Australia opting for nuclear subs because of an expected high cost and because the nation has no nuclear industry to repair and maintain them. Dr Babbage said a dramatic step, such as taking this nuclear option, was necessary as evidence emerged of China's rapidly increasing military power. "Australia needs to consider purchasing 10-12 of the United States' latest nuclear powered attack submarines in order to balance, offset and deter the dramatic expansion of China's military capabilities," he said. "China's massive military build-up is clearly designed to force the US and its allies out of the western Pacific. "Key Australian security interests are being challenged." A combined force of Australian and US nuclear submarines sharing a base in Australia would send a very strong message to China's military leaders, he said. At the AUSMIN talks between Australian and US defence and foreign affairs ministers in Melbourne last year, the two governments agreed to a stronger American military presence in Australia, with US forces to share bases and store equipment here. Buying boats from a "hot" production line would greatly reduce the likelihood of delays, cost blowouts and problems with technology, Dr Babbage said.

 

Urgent submarine defects shame Australian navy.

MORE than 40 serious defects have been discovered on one of the navy's Collins-class submarines during the past six months, highlighting the growing challenge of keeping the fleet seaworthy. The defects, described as "urgent", have been found aboard HMAS Dechaineux, which limped back to Perth 10 days ago from Singapore after problems were discovered in the boat's propulsion system. The problems forced Dechaineux to cancel its involvement in a five-power defence exercise in the South China Sea last month. The navy then suffered further embarrassment when its newspaper, Navy News, printed a fictional pre-written report that gave a glowing account of Dechaineux's performance during the exercise when in fact the submarine was stranded in port in Singapore. The Australian revealed yesterday that none of the six Collins-class submarines was able to be put to sea, with four submarines in long- or medium-term maintenance and its two remaining "operational" submarines, Dechaineux and Waller, currently undergoing inspections for mechanical problems at HMAS Stirling in Perth. Navy chief Ray Griggs said yesterday the two submarines "were currently in their operating cycles" but declined to say whether they were immediately deployable. "The Collins-class submarine is a complex capability," he said. "As with any piece of complex machinery operating in a harsh environment, unscheduled mechanical failures will occur." The $10 billion Collins-class fleet has been undermined by breakdowns, accidents and the vessels' growing unreliability. Opposition defence spokesman David Johnston said yesterday: "Our broken submarine fleet is of enormous concern. At a total cost of operating, sustaining and upgrading our submarines fast approaching $800 million per year, we are not getting much in return. The minister needs to sit up and take notice that our broken submarine fleet is no longer a maintenance issue but an issue of national security." Australian Defence Force chief Angus Houston has warned that the Collins-class fleet was ageing and this would have an impact on the availability of the boats. "The fleet of submarines is going to take a lot more maintenance than it did back in (former defence minister) Robert Ray's time when it was brand new, or back five or 10 years when it was travelling really well," Air Chief Marshal Houston said in a Senate estimates hearing in February last year. A Senate estimates hearing heard last week the fleet now costs more than $1m a day to maintain. When they were built in the 1990s, it was envisaged that four submarines would be available at any one time, with two in maintenance. Recent reality has seen an average of one or two submarines available at any one time. The government plans to build 12 new submarines to replace the Collins fleet in the 2020s, but critics say this project is behind schedule and the life of the Collins fleet may need to be extended.

 

Thai Defence Council approve submarines.

The Defence Council on Monday approved the navy's plan to buy six used Type U206A submarines from Germany for 7.7 billion baht. Defence spokesman Col Thanathip Sawangsawng said navy chief Adm Kamthorn Poomhiran  spent one hour and 40 minutes explaining the acquisition plan to the council, chaired by Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwon. Council members were satisfied with the reasons given by the navy for the purchase - to protect the country's interests in the sea, to increase the Asean submarine force potential and to help keep military power in the region in balance. If the acquisition plan is also approved by the cabinet, the submarines are expected to be put in commission in mid-2013. Col Thanathip said a detailed plan will be presented to the Defence Council for next month.  A special conference may also be held for the press. The Defence Ministry will push for cabinet approval of the plan as soon as possible, he added.

 

No funds to deal with UK’s dead nuclear submarines: public at radiation risk.

Nuclear weapons sites cuts put public at risk, says watchdog, The Guardian, 12 Jan 2011, Staff shortages and funding cuts at nuclear weapons sites across the UK have put the public and the environment at risk, according to the Ministry of Defence’s nuclear safety watchdog. The analysis, marked “restricted”, points to 11 “potentially significant risks” at bomb-making sites and ports housing nuclear submarines, documents seen by the Guardian show. They warn that efforts to reduce radioactive risks have been “weak”, safety analyses “inconsistent” and attempts to cope with change “poor”. Formal regulatory action has been taken at two naval dockyards: Devonport in Plymouth and Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria. decommissioning of Britain’s 16 defunct nuclear submarines. Nine are moored at Devonport and seven at Rosyth on the Firth of Forth. The reports cover 2006 and 2007 and were written by Rear Admiral Nigel Guild, chairman of the defence nuclear environment and safety board, an agency within the MoD that oversees nuclear safety. They were released in response to requests under the Freedom of Information Act. According to one former MoD official, nuclear safety had been compromised. Fred Dawson, who worked for the MoD for 31 years and was head of its radiation protection policy team before he retired in 2009, described the absence of funds for decommissioning nuclear submarines as “particularly damning”.

 

Cocaine Bust: $180M Captured From Drug Trafficking Submarine.

Authorities in the U.S. have recovered about 15,000 pounds of cocaine from a sunken submarine vessel cunningly used by smugglers new Honduras. The find is estimated to be worth approximately $180 million. The submarine-like vessel was captured by the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Seneca on July 13. The smugglers onboard were detained and a large portion of the drugs were recovered before the vessel sank to the bottom of the ocean. A mass operation involving several Coast Guard cutters, the Honduran Navy and FBI dive teams then searched for the vessel and drugs, and they were finally discovered on July 26, Reuters has reported. The massive haul has taken three day to recover to the surface. Lieutenant Commander Peter Niles, commanding officer of the Coast Guard Cutter Oak told Reuters: “This is a once-in-a-career thing that happens.” The coast off of Honduras is a hot-bed for drug trafficking by Mexican and Colombian drug cartels, who use the submarine-like vessels to transport tons of drugs thousands of miles under the radar of law enforcement agencies. The vessels are designed to sink rapidly if found by authorities, so that that the illegal cargo can drift to the ocean floor; making it near-impossible in many cases for law enforcement agents to recover. Experts have expressed amazement at the technical expertise used in the submarines’ design and construction. The boats are built specifically for the drug trade. Commander Charles Fosse, commanding officer of the Seneca has commented on the successful interception of cocaine: “Our mission out here in the Caribbean is to keep drugs from crossing our borders and making our communities (back) home safer. It's very satisfying for the crew.” Experts have no idea regarding the number of submarines currently shipping tons of cocaine from Colombia, however, it is known that even one delivery of eight tons puts hundreds of millions of dollars into the hands of cartel leaders.

 

Argentina Plans For Nuclear Propulsion Diesel Submarines.

Argentina is considering the development of "nuclear propulsion" for its diesel-engine submarines, Defence minister Arturo Puricelli said. The initiative follows a request from President Cristina Fernandez and is closely linked to Brazil's construction of a first nuclear powered submersible with French technology. "President Cristina has requested us to come up with a nuclear propulsion development project for our submarines" said Defence minister Puricelli during a press conference. He added that Argentina had the "capacity to develop nuclear propulsion for submarines". "This means that when the submarine "ARA Santa Fe" which has been waiting for some years leaves the shipyard she will not do it with its original propulsion but with nuclear propulsion developed in Argentina", the Defence Ministry clarified in a statement following the minister's announcement. Puricelli also revealed that another submarine "ARA San Juan" is already half re-furbished, "after spending years virtually idle and non operational". The Argentine project for a "submarine with nuclear propulsion and conventional weapons" was actually launched a year ago when it was anticipated that Argentina was working on the possibility of developing a nuclear reactor to install in submarines, defence sources said. Argentina's National Atomic Energy Commission and the National Institute for space and nuclear technology apparently have already finished designing the CAREM reactor so that it can be adapted to the prototype of the future submarine -the TR model - one of the three that were purchased by Argentina in the eighties from Germany's Thyssen. Still partly in crates in the Domecq Garcia shipyard the "ARA Santa Fe" apparently has been 75% assembled after spending over two decades "resting" in dozens of containers. Latest estimates are that it should be ready as a conventional submarine for 2015 and from then on efforts will be concentrated in the instalment of the nuclear reactor. However there have been warnings from undisclosed Argentine naval sources which consider the project 'pharaonic and disproportionate' given current budget resources for Defence plus the fact that the TR hull is "unviable in space and density to lodge a nuclear reactor". Nuclear power allows submarines to move faster and have greater autonomy than those propelled by the conventional diesel-electric engines, defence sources said. In mid July Brazil formally announced the beginning of the construction in Rio shipyards of the first of four conventional French Scorpone submarines, at a cost of US$565 million each, which should be operational by 2016. Following on the conventional units Brazil will begin the construction of its first nuclear powered submarine with French technology, as a result of the nuclear cooperation agreement signed by President Nicholas Sarkozy with his counterpart then, Lula da Silva. Brazil is beefing up its naval (surface and submersible) and air resources in anticipation of the development of its massive offshore hydrocarbons resources, defence sources said.

 

The Japanese Navy included five midget submarines in the Pearl Harbor raid of 7 December 1941.

Transported on board large I type submarines, the midgets were launched near the entrance to Pearl Harbor the night before the attack was to begin. One, spotted trying to enter the harbor before dawn, was attacked and sunk by USS Ward (DD-139) in the first combat action of the as yet unopened Pacific War. At least one of the midgets was able to enter the harbor and was sunk there by USS Monaghan (DD-354). Another, the Ha-19, unsuccessful in its attempts to penetrate Pearl Harbor, drifted around to the east coast of Oahu and was captured there the day after the attack.

 

 

 

The Trail of Corruption in The Case Karachi.

The trail of a corruption scandal during the presidential campaign of 1995, may involve Nicolas Sarkozy, has been confirmed by court hearings, including that of a former minister. The case is linked to a suicide bombing in Karachi, May 8, 2002 in which 15 people died, including 11 French engineers and technicians from the Directorate of Naval Construction (DCN), working in the construction of submarines. Former Defence Minister Charles Millon (1995-1997) stated on record that Jacques Chirac ordered his election in 1995 after the termination of the payment of commissions pseudo-business in Pakistan in conjunction with the sale of these sub- sailors, “said a source close the file. “Charles Millon told the judge that the decision had been taken because of the existence of retro-commissions (fraudulent return of a portion of the money in France, Ed),” said the source who had access to the trial record of the hearing by the magistrate Renaud Van Ruymbeke. The track initially referred to the Islamist attack was abandoned and a variety of information, but no evidence suggests that the Pakistani army ordered the attack in retaliation for non-payment of remaining fees. Charles Millon told the Judge Van Ruymbeke that the DGSE – the French intelligence services – had been charged with a survey of retro-commissions and reported directly and orally to Jacques Chirac and Dominique de Villepin Secretary General. The Socialist opposition has responded by requesting a hearing of these two men. “Former President Chirac and Dominique de Villepin, who ended a device that they themselves had deemed illegal, must connect to justice the elements they have,” said in a statement Jean-Marc Ayrault, Chairman of the PS group in the National Assembly. President Francois Bayrou Modem has asked his side on France 2 the lifting of military secrecy, already partly achieved by the judge investigating the bombing Marc Trévidic. “This can not go on like this, we must rid the French politics of suspicion, he must raise the defence secret,” he said. Charles Millon had already mentioned these facts in the press when he told Paris Match this year it was discovered that the “retro-commissions” had financed the presidential campaign of Edouard Balladur, a rival to Jacques Chirac in the right the presidential race in 1995. Moreover, another witness heard by Judge Renaud Van Ruymbeke, Gerard Menai, former leader of the DCN, confirmed that the commission passed by Luxembourg, where two companies, Heine and Eurolux had been created for this purpose. This witness, the source familiar with the matter, confirming other elements of the court record, including a report from the Luxembourg police, according to which Nicolas Sarkozy, then Minister of Budget (1993-1995) and spokesperson of the campaign Balladur, had organized this transit in Luxembourg. Menai Gerard also said to Judge Van Ruymbeke that former leaders of Luxembourg companies in question attempted in 2006 to get money, to ’sing’ Nicolas Sarkozy on the basis of this case. A parliamentary fact-finding mission showed that the payment of 84 million euros, or 10.25% of the contract for submarines, had been agreed at the signing of the agreement for the sale of submarines by the government Balladur in 1994. Nicolas Sarkozy denies any involvement in a corruption case and spoke publicly of “fable” about the supposed link between money and attack.

 

End of an Era as submarine is retired after 32 years' service

The end of an era at Devonport Naval Base when the last of the class of Swiftsure attack submarines was retired after 32 years' service. HMS Sceptre was formally decommissioned at a special ceremony which saw tributes paid to her role, and the hundreds of submariners who served onboard. Commander Steve Waller, the 16th and final commanding officer of the vessel, said the occasion marked more than the end of a submarine in service, but also the end of an era of Swiftsure submarines. He said: "This is a momentous occasion, as it marks the last of the Swiftsure Class. "It is a sad moment, but we should also use it to remember and celebrate the achievements of the submarine and of the men who have between them protected the UK's interests for 32 years.  In the last nine months of service, including a long deployment, the boat has lost only six days due to faults. HMS Sceptre, a nuclear-powered submarine, entered service in 1978 and it is estimated around 1,500 men have served on board during her time

 

CHINA AIP SUBMARINES CAN REPLACE NUCLEAR SUBMARINES.

Chinese Yuan-class submarine docked naval naval

A Chinese Yuan-class submarine docked.

China military-industrial sector has seen a breakthrough technology in the AIP submarines.  At present, Germany, Sweden and Russia already have a mature AIP technology. Now China's military-industrial sector has also developed its own AIP technology. For example, the Chinese Navy's newest type of "meta" class submarine with AIP system installed, its endurance and concealment will be increased dramatically.

 

Portuguese Navy Submarine.

The second Class 209PN submarine for the Portuguese Navy was delivered and commissioned on December 22nd 2010 on the premises of Howaldtswerke Deutsche Werft, a company of ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems in Kiel.

The new submarine named NRP Arpão is equipped with an air independent fuel cell propulsion system and combines the proven design principles of the Class 209 family with the innovative features of Class 214. Ultra modern sensors and an integrated Command and Weapon Control System make it optimally suited to its future reconnaissance and surveillance tasks.

The contract on the two Class 209PN submarines was signed in 2004 with the Portuguese State. Start of production for NRP ARPÃO was end of 2005, the naming ceremony took place on June 18th 2009.

The sister boat of NRP ARPÃO, the NRP TRIDENTE, was delivered earlier on June 17th 2010. It has been in operation by the Portuguese Navy since its arrival in Lisbon.

General Data:
Length overall approx. 68 m
Height approx. 13 m
Displacement approx. 1,840 t
Crew Complement 32

 

Submarine Murders.

In 2002 a suicide bomber killed 14 workers at French marine engineering company in Karachi, 11 of whom were French citizens. The killings are said to be linked to submarine sales by France to Pakistan in the early 1990s, and allegations of a complex kickback scheme involving some of France’s most prominent politicians. The families of the French bombing victims are seeking justice and a trial is underway. FRANCE 24 looks at the main players and entities in "Karachigate", the latest courtroom drama to sully France’s ruling class. French president Nicolas Sarkozy finds himself amidst a multi-million pound scandal with the Luxembourg police naming him as the owner of a company that handled the accounts of the sale of submarines to Pakistan in 1994. News website Mediapart quoted a Luxembourg police report as saying that Sarkozy oversaw the establishment in Luxembourg of two companies, Heine and Eurolux, when he was a minister under PM Edouard Balladur. Its purpose was to channel the secret payments, the inquiry report said. The report has strengthened suspicions that money from the submarine contract with Islamabad was funnelled to finance the 1995 presidential campaign, which was managed by Sarkozy, the then budget minister. Eventually, part of the funds that passed through Luxembourg came back to France to finance French political campaigns. In 1995, references lead us to believe in the existence of a form of retro-commission to pay for political campaigns in France, the report said. French opposition lawmakers on Thursday called on Sarkozy to give all details of any links to the suspected kickbacks. Pakistan president Asif Ali Zardari was also accused of receiving millions in kickbacks in the submarine deal.

UNDER SUSPICION.

Edouard Balladur – 1995 presidential campaign. This Turkish-born, right-wing politician was France’s prime minister when he was suspected of receiving kickbacks for Agosta submarines sold to Pakistan. The French daily Liberation reported that more than one million euros were added to the sales contract and wired into an account reserved for funding Balladur’s 1995 presidential campaign that pit him against former president Jacques Chirac. Balladur has denied the allegations, arguing that his campaign funds were given the all-clear by the French Constitutional Court.

SOFMA and the Lebanese connection. In order to sell submarines to Pakistan, and beat the competing German bids, some wheels needed to be greased. SOFMA, the company responsible for the export of French military hardware, was offered a 6.25 percent commission on any future sales. This commission was perfectly legal at the time. In addition, two Lebanese-born businessmen, Ziad Takieddine and Abdul Rahman el-Assir, were brought in to help seal the deal. They were positioned to collect a four percent commission to be shared with Pakistani intermediaries.

Nicolas Sarkozy - In 1995 future president Nicolas Sarkozy was director of Balladur’s presidential campaign. A Luxembourg police report dated January 2010 contains a damning suspicion: when Sarkozy was finance minister in 1994, he might have approved the creation of an offshore company called Heine to process the payments to the Lebanese men.

Jean-Marie Boivin – Heine. The same police report states that funds passing through the Heine offshore company were channelled back to France to finance election campaigns. In August 2010, the families of the Karachi bombing victims started civil proceedings against Jean-Marie Boivin, former administrator of the Luxembourg account, for perjury.

THE INSTIGATORS

Jacques Chirac. - Balladur did not win the presidency in 1995, losing out to in-party rival Jacques Chirac. President Chirac subsequently ordered a halt to commissions for officials in the sale of submarines to Pakistan and an immediate inquiry was led by his defence minister Charles Millon. Families of the French engineers killed in the 2002 suicide bombing allege that the attack was revenge for Chirac’s cancelling of the payments.

Charles Millon - Charles Millon, who became defence minister in 1995, has confirmed in court that the kickbacks were real, and benefited French leaders working on the sidelines of the submarine sales. He also said that wire taps were ordered on the defence ministry officials working for his predecessor in 1995, but that the telephone recordings were of no consequence.

Alain Juppe and Dominique de Villepin - Two other prominent politicians are suspected of withholding information about the affair and will be called to testify: Chirac’s first prime minister (now defence minister) back in 1995, Alain Juppe, and Dominique de Villepin, then chief of staff of the Elysee presidential palace. It was Juppe who authorised the secret telephone recordings in 1995, plaintiffs say. De Villepin, meanwhile, has declared that France’s intelligence agency had strong suspicions that kickbacks to politicians had taken place.

Michel Mazens – SOFRESA. This former executive of the defence firm SOFRESA, which also promotes the sale of French armaments, has testified that both Chirac and de Villepin were notified that freezing payments could exact retribution by Pakistani agents.

THE NOSEY LEFT-LEANING MEDIA

Liberation. In April 2010 the left-leaning daily Liberation wrote that it had unearthed documents proving that cash deposits worth 10 million francs (around 1.5 million euros at the time) were deposited in April 1995 in Balladur’s campaign bank account. While the official source of that sum is said to be personal contributions collected at a party rally, half of the suspicious sum, Liberation reported, was in 500 franc notes. Liberation also reported that while Jacques Chirac ordered that all commission payments be halted immediately, disbursement continued well into 2001.

Mediapart. The French investigative news website Mediapart is at the source of the Luxembourg police report that points the finger at Nicolas Sarkozy in the creation of the Heine offshore company. The news organisation says that two of its journalists working on the Karachi file are under constant surveillance by the French security services.

THE LONG ARM OF THE LAW

Marc Trevidic. France’s judiciary is investigating the Karachigate affair from two separate angles.

Judge Marc Trevidic, originally charged with studying whether the 2002 bombing is related to Islamic terrorism, opened a new direction in the investigation in 2007, namely that the attack was linked to the freeze of commission payments.

Renaud Van Ruymbek. Appointed to handle the accusations of perjury against Jean-Marie Boivin, judge Renaud Van Ruymbeke was not supposed to look into possible corruption of political heavyweights. But in October 2010Ruymbeke announced that he would, after all, investigate the allegation of kickbacks - in particular, the theory that funds from the submarine sales were used to fund Balladur’s 1995 election campaign.

 

CHINA SUB BASES.

To maintain its aggressive economical growth, Beijing's desperate quest for reliable oil supplies, and secure unfettered supply route, are its main strategic aims for the next decade. To secure these supply lines, China is pursuing the "String of Pearls" strategy, by securing forward presence and military bases along the Sea Lines of Communication (SLOCs) from China to the Persian Gulf in the Middle East. A "pearl" normally comes with facilities like airstrips and protected naval bases. The first pearl is the Hainan Island in South China. The Chinese have already upgraded the naval base and military facilities at this location. This facility accommodates massive underground submarine and a base for large surface ships, strategically located at the South China Sea. The entrance to the submarine base are through large, 60 ft high tunnels, allowing conventional and nuclear submarines to enter or leave the base submerged, without Western spy satellites detecting their movements. The tunnels are leading to caverns that can hide up to 20 nuclear attack submarines. Two 950m piers built at the site can support two carrier battle groups. The second pearl is the port of Hambantota in Sri Lanka. Despite fierce objection from India, Sri Lanka and China continued the development of the base, with China underwriting US$1.2 billion for the facility.

 

The Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) operates two Type 094 'Jin Class' nuclear powered missile submarines (SSBN). The two vessels are normally on patrol or hidden underground in nearby tunnels (visible in the satellite photo above). This photo was taken during the celebration of the Chinese navy day. when the subs were exposed on ceremony. The third pearl is the Chittagong port in Bangladesh and another is located on the disputed Woody Island, located 300 miles east of Paracel archipelago. An airstrip has been upgraded at the site to support the naval facility. Similar infrastructure has been prepared at the Port of Sittwe in Myanmar, Marao in the Maldives and Port of Gwadar in Pakistan. Gwadar was chosen because of its strategic value, located only 240 km distance from the Straits of Hormuz. New Delhi fears that the Gwadar port project which is also linked to the Karakoram highway expansion project linking Western China with the Arabian sea could economically strengthen Pakistan.

 

Primitive submarine rescue facilities plague India

NEW DELHI: If an Indian submarine gets disabled deep underwater, the sailors on board are virtually sunk. India may be spending big bucks on importing fighters, warships and tanks but the Navy is still stuck with woefully-inadequate submarine rescue facilities. For one, there has been no progress on the well over a decade-old project to buy two DSRVs (deep submergence rescue vessels). More like `mini submarines', DSRVs can rescue 24 sailors at a time after `mating' with the hatch of the stricken submarine, equipped as they are with pressurised chambers, sonars, cameras and other hi-tech facilities. For another, as the latest CAG report states, the contract inked with the US Navy's "global submarine rescue fly-away kit service" is "yet to be fully operationalised" despite being finalised way back in 1997. "Lack of adequate need assessment, poor planning and absence of a conclusive time-bound agreement with the US Navy led to extensive delays in the timely commissioning of the essential and life saving submarine rescue facility," observed CAG.
When India had first inked the contract for the US rescue service in 1997, paying a total of $734,443, it was meant to be more of an interim measure till the Navy got its own DSRVs. While the DSRVs still remain a pipedream, even the implementation of the US submarine rescue programme has been plagued by delays. The CAG report holds its utility is "questionable" since 75% of the submarines in the Indian fleet (10 Russian Kilo-class, four German HDW and one Foxtrot) have already completed three-fourths of their estimated operational life. The reported stated that "Padeyes", which are holding devices welded into the escape hatches of submarines to secure the DSRV, had been fitted on to only 11 of the 15 Indian submarines till date. Of the 11, only four Kilo-class submarines have, so far, been certified by US Navy for mating with its DSRVs, and that, too, for a period of three years effective from December 20, 2007. The Foxtrot submarine, on which the Padeyes has been fitted, is slated to be phased out in 2011. Moreover, the US Navy's DSRVs are only supposed to be transported to India in case of an emergency. "The nominal response time is 72 hours from the time the DSRV is lifted from its location to reach the rescue site. It has the capability to rescue up to a depth of 610-metre," said CAG. "Such time and depth restrictions further dilute the effectiveness of a rescue facility, which in any case is nowhere close to completion," it added.

 

Canada Navy sub refit delayed again, won't be ready until 2011

There's been yet another delay in the completion date for the refit of Canadian navy submarine HMCS Victoria, one of four subs bought from Britain 12 years ago. The ship has been in dry dock at CFB Esquimalt, near Victoria, for more than three years and was supposed to return to service late last year, but that was extended to late 2010, and now to the middle of next year. The defence department blames the delays on a lack of parts and technical knowledge, but those problems have apparently been solved. The department says the lessons learned from the Victoria refit are being applied to the three other submarines, one of which, HMCS Chicoutimi, suffered a fire in 2004 that killed one sailor during the sub's maiden voyage in the North Atlantic. The Chicoutimi was moved to Victoria last year for an estimated $100 million in repairs but is not expected to be back in service until 2012. Canada bought the four submarines from Britain in 1998 in a controversial deal worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

 

Agosta submarine deal - Benazir, Zardari not involved: ex-naval spy chief.

 

The third of Pakistan’s new Agosta 90B submarines, PNS Hamza.

 

Former director-general of Naval Intelligence Commodore (retd ) Shahid Ashraf has said that President Asif Ali Zardari and former prime minister Benazir Bhutto were not involved in the deal for the purchase of Agosta submarines from France. He said that though he was “pressurised to get them involved” but he did not succumb. Participating in an Express News programme Kalamkar with Abbas Athar as host, he said that, in 1992, during the first Nawaz Sharif government, the Navy was given approval to acquire new submarines for $520 million. A team, comprising Admiral Naqvi, Admiral Javed Iftihkhar and Admiral SA Mujtaba, was constituted. The team visited China, France, Sweden and the UK and recommended that submarines should be purchased from Sweden. Later, Admiral Saeed Muhammad Khan again formed another team which visited France, Sweden, China and the UK and recommended to the ministry of defence to purchase either the UK-manufactured ‘Upholder’ class submarines or the French  ‘Agosta 90’ class submarines. He said that the detailed procedure was aimed at reaching a decision to assess the navy’s requirements. He said that the second team consisted of Rear Admiral AU Khan, SA Mujtaba, Captain Mushtaq, Captain Naqvi, Captain Naveed, Captain Alvi and Captain Khushnud. The former commodore told the audience that the agreement of purchase of Agosta class submarines was signed on August 21, 1994, during the second tenure of Benazir Bhutto. “The Pakistan Navy gave its consent to buy the submarines. The government could not have compelled the navy to agree to buy them.” Replying to a question, Commodore (retd ) Shahid Ashraf said that he was the DG Intelligence in those days. “I was informed that someone called Niaz was going to pay Captain Alvi a sum of $107,000 as part of ‘kickbacks’ on the deal. I went to the house of then Vice-Chief of Naval Staff Admiral AU Khan and provided him all necessary information about the people involved, but he refused to allow me to take any action and said that action should be taken with the permission of the Navy chief, Admiral Mansourul Haq, who was on a visit to France and the US. He said that he called up Admiral Mansour in France and informed him about the episode and “he advised me to wait until his return home”. “When he returned, I again told him the entire story. A meeting was held in which all senior officers were present. But this meeting remained inconclusive. After the meeting, Rear Admiral Faseeh Bukhari said to me that I should have ‘caught’ the persons. But I said that my job was to provide information and that he should have got the meeting to decide to arrest the suspects. He got angry and went away.” When he was asked to comment on Captain Alvi’s allegations regarding receipt of Rs1.5 million, Commodore (retd) Shahid Ashraf refused to comment. He said that, later, when he learnt that four commodores were “receiving $40,000 each”, the Navy chief, Mansourul Haque, and Vice-Admiral AU Khan advised me to investigate”. The accused deny ever taking any bribes.

 

N.Korea deploys torpedo-carrying midget subs

North Korea has developed a new type of midget submarine fitted with torpedo launch tubes, allowing it to attack South Korea warships more easily, a report said Tuesday. Satellite images of a naval base in the North's southwestern city of Nampo, published by JoongAng Ilbo newspaper, show what appears to be a 17-metre-long (56-feet) submarine with a tube-like structure attached to its top. "We have concluded that it is a torpedo launch tube," the paper quoted an unidentified Seoul intelligence source as saying. The paper said the new Daedong-B midget submarine moves faster than larger submarines and is harder for military radar to detect. The South accused the North of sending a 29-metre Yono-class submarine to torpedo the Cheonan warship in March which sank with the loss of 46 lives. The North denies the charge. The newspaper said the North has long used midget submarines to infiltrate spies into the South. It said Seoul military officials now suspect Pyongyang has developed a more powerful midget sub to carry torpedoes and other weapons. South Korea's defence ministry and intelligence agency declined to comment. Cross-border tensions have been high since the Cheonan incident, and rose further after the North's deadly artillery attack on a South Korean border island on November 23.

 

Algeria receives Kilo-class submarines

Algeria has reportedly received two Kilo-class (Project 636) diesel-electric submarines from Russia, ordered as part of an arms package signed in mid-2006. The new arrivals take the fleet to four, French media say. The Project 636 “Varshavyanka” class is mainly intended for anti-shipping and anti-submarine operations in relatively shallow waters. Russia has also offered its latest low-noise fourth generation Amur-1650 class submarines to India, which is on the verge of floating global tenders for an estimated $11 billion deal.

 

Amur-1650 class submarine.

India is vying to purchase six non-nuclear submarines to boost up its undersea warfare capability. The deal may be expanded by acquiring the know-how to build more such submarines at Indian shipyards, DNA reports. The Indian Navy has already sent requests for technical specifications to a number of countries including Russia, Germany, Spain and France who have already shown interest in the deal. Russia's biggest arms trader Rosoboronexport said it would bid for the tender. As part of project 751, Indian Navy proposes to have a undersea force of 24 submarines by 2015. India already has 10 Kilo-class submarines and has set up a line to manufacture French Scorpene Submarines at Mazagoan docks in Mumbai, the first of these submarines are expected to roll out by 2012. Rosoboronexport is offering the Amur class submarines, which are an upgraded version of Indian Navy's Kilo-class submarines. With the speed of 20 knots, the Amur is designed for both anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare. Its armaments include 16 tube launched torpedoes and also has a capability of launching cruise missiles . The Amur 1650 submarine has been developed by the Rubin Central Design Bureau of Naval Technology on the basis of the Kilo-class diesel-electric submarines, the most low-noise submarines in the world. The sonar signature level of the submarines of this class is several times lower in comparison with Kilo-class submarines. These submarines are equipped with radio-electronic weapons of the newer generation created on the basis of the latest achievements in the field of radio-electronics. The new submarine is equipped with 6 torpedo tubes and can take a crew of 35 people. Its depth of submergence is 300 metres, and its endurance is 45 days. Rosoboronexport officials were quoted by TASS as saying that the submarine could be fitted with AIP fuel cells to considerably improve its submergence endurance and range. "The company will surely take part in the tender, and it will bid with its Amur 1650 non-nuclear submarine," an official said.

 

North Korean torpedo sank the corvette Cheonan

South Korean Prime Minister Lee Myung-bak has claimed "overwhelming evidence" that a North Korean torpedo sank the corvette Cheonan on March 26, killing 46 sailors. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton claimed that there is "overwhelming evidence" in favour of the theory that North Korea sank the South Korean Navy warship Cheonan. But the articles of proof presented so far by military investigators to an official inquiry board have been scanty and inconsistent. There’s yet another possibility, that a U.S. rising mine sank the Cheonan in a friendly-fire accident. In the recent U.S.-China strategic talks in Shanghai and Beijing, the Chinese side dismissed the official scenario presented by the Americans and their South Korean allies as not credible. This conclusion was based on an independent technical assessment by the Chinese military, according to a Beijing-based military affairs consultant to the People Liberation Army. Hardly any of the relevant facts that counter the official verdict have made headline news in either South Korea or its senior ally, the United States. The first telltale sign of an official smokescreen involves the location of the Choenan sinking - Byeongnyeong Island (pronounced Pyongnang) in the Yellow Sea. On the westernmost fringe of South Korean territory, the island is dominated by a joint U.S.-Korean base for anti-submarine warfare (ASW) operations. The sea channel between Byeongnyeong and the North Korean coast is narrow enough for both sides to be in artillery range of each other. Anti-sub warfare is based on sonar and acoustic detection of underwater craft. Since civilian traffic is not routed through the channel, the noiseless conditions are near-perfect for picking up the slightest agitation, for example from a torpedo and any submarine that might fire it. Evidence that #1 found on 'torpedo' was written after the incident . North Korea admits it does not possess an underwater craft stealthy enough to slip past the advanced sonar and audio arrays around Byeongnyeong Island, explained North Korean intelligence analyst Kim Myong Chol in a news release. "The sinking took place not in North Korean waters but well inside tightly guarded South Korean waters, where a slow-moving North Korean submarine would have great difficulty operating covertly and safely, unless it was equipped with AIP (air-independent propulsion) technology." The Cheonan sinking occurred in the aftermath of the March 11-18 Foal Eagle Exercise, which included anti-submarine manoeuvres by a joint U.S.-South Korean squadron of five missile ships. A mystery surrounds the continued presence of the U.S. missile cruisers for more than eight days after the ASW exercise ended. Only one reporter, Joohee Cho of ABC News, picked up the key fact that the Foal Eagle flotilla curiously included the USNS Salvor, a diving-support ship with a crew of 12 Navy divers. The lack of any minesweepers during the exercise leaves only one possibility: the Salvor was laying bottom mines. Ever since an American cruiser was damaged by one of Saddam Hussein's rising mines, also known as bottom mines, in the Iraq War, the U.S. Navy has pushed a crash program to develop a new generation of mines. The U.S. Naval Mine and Anti-Submarine Warfare Command has also been focused on developing counterparts to the fearsome Chinese naval "assassin's mace," which is propelled by a rocket engine. A rising mine, which is effective only in shallow waters, rests atop a small platform on the sea floor under a camouflage of sand and gravel. Its detection system uses acoustics and magnetic readings to pick up enemy ships and submarines. When activated, jets of compressed air or solid-fuel rockets lift the bomb, which self-guides toward the magnetic center of the target. The blast rips the keel, splitting the ship or submarine into two neat pieces, just as was done to the RKOS Cheonan. A lateral-fired torpedo, in contrast, "holes" the target's hull, tilting the vessel in the classic war movie manner. The South Korean government displayed to the press the intact propeller shaft of a torpedo that supposedly struck the Cheonan. Since torpedoes travel between 40-50 knots per hour (which is faster than collision tests for cars), a drive shaft would crumble upon impacting the hull and its bearing and struts would be shattered or bent by the high-powered blast. The initial South Korean review stated that the explosive was gunpowder, which would conform to North Korea's crude munitions. This claim was later overturned by the inquiry board, which found the chemical residues to be similar to German advanced explosives. Due to sanctions against Pyongyang and its few allies, it is hardly credible that North Korea could obtain NATO-grade ordnance. Thus, the mystery centers on the USNS Salvor, which happened to be yet right near Byeongyang Island at the time of the Cheonan sinking and far from its home base, Pearl Harbor. The inquiry board in Seoul has not questioned the officers and divers of the Salvor, which oddly is not under the command of the 7th Fleet but controlled by the innocuous-sounding Military Sealift Command. Diving-support ships like the Salvor are closely connected with the Office of Naval Intelligence since their duties include secret operations such as retrieving weapons from sunken foreign ships, scouting harbour channels and laying mines, as when the Salvor trained Royal Thai Marine divers in mine-laying in the Gulf of Thailand in 2006, for example. The Salvor's presence points to an inadvertent release of a rising mine, perhaps because its activation system was not switched off. A human error or technical glitch is very much within the realm of possibility due to the swift current and strong tides that race through the Byeongnyeong Channel. The arduous task of mooring the launch platforms to the sea floor allows the divers precious little time for double-checking the electronic systems. If indeed it was an American rising mine that sank the Cheonan, it would constitute a friendly-fire accident.

 

HMS Astute.


Astute arriving at her home base on the Clyde in November 2009.

 

The UK's most powerful attack submarine, HMS Astute, has been welcomed into the Royal Navy today in a commissioning ceremony overseen by the boat's patron, the Duchess of Cornwall. HMS Astute, which officially becomes 'Her Majesty's Ship' today, is quieter than any of her predecessors, meaning she has the ability to operate covertly and remain undetected in almost all circumstances despite being fifty per cent bigger than any attack submarine in the Royal Navy's current fleet. The latest nuclear-powered technology means she will never need to be refuelled and can circumnavigate the world submerged, manufacturing the crew's oxygen from seawater as she goes. The submarine has the capacity to carry a mix of up to 38 Spearfish heavyweight torpedoes and Tomahawk land-attack cruise missiles, and can target enemy submarines, surface ships and land targets with pinpoint accuracy, while her world-beating sonar system has a range of 3,000 nautical miles (5,500km). The First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope, said: "The Astute Class is truly next generation - a highly versatile platform, she is capable of contributing across a broad spectrum of maritime operations around the globe, and will play an important role in delivering the fighting power of the Royal Navy for decades to come." A highly complex feat of naval engineering, she is at the very cutting-edge of technology, with a suite of sensors and weapons required to pack a powerful punch. "Today is an important milestone along the road to full operational capability which will follow after a further series of demanding seagoing trials testing the full range of the submarine's capabilities." Following the successful completion of her first rigorous set of sea trials, which began at the end of 2009, HMS Astute has also now achieved her in-service date, signalling that she has proven her ability to dive, surface and operate across the full range of depth and speed independently of other assets, thereby providing an initial level of capability. Rear Admiral Simon Lister, Director of Submarines, who oversees the build programme of the class for the MOD, said: "To my mind Astute is a 7,000-tonne Swiss watch. There is an extraordinary amount of expertise that goes into putting one of these submarines together. There are stages when it's like blacksmithing and there are stages when it's like brain surgery. "So to see Astute commissioned is momentous not only for the Royal Navy, who have been eagerly anticipating this quantum leap forward in capability, but for the thousands of people around the country who have been involved in the most challenging of engineering projects." Following the commissioning, HMS Astute will return to sea for further trials before she is declared as operational. As the base port of all the Royal Navy's submarines from 2016, Faslane will be home to the whole Astute Class, including Ambush, Artful and Audacious which are already under construction. Astute was built by BAE Systems at Barrow-in-Furness, with hundreds of suppliers around the country contributing component parts, including Rolls-Royce, Derby (nuclear plant); Thales UK, Bristol (visual system and Sonar 2076); and Babcock, Strachan & Henshaw, Bristol (weapon handling and discharge system). Astute is affiliated to the Wirral in the North West.


HMS Astute Facts

• She is 97 metres from bow to stern.
• She has a beam of 11.2 metres.
• She displaces 7,400 tonnes of seawater.
• Her cabling and pipework would stretch from Glasgow to Dundee.
• She is the first Royal Navy submarine not to have a traditional periscope, instead using electro-optics to capture a 360-degree image of the surface for subsequent analysis by the commanding officer.
• Astute is the first submarine to have an individual bunk for each crew member.
• She manufactures her own oxygen from seawater as well as her own drinking water.
• She could theoretically remain submerged for her 25-year life, if it were not for the need to restock the crew's food supplies.
• She is faster under the water than she is on the surface - capable of speeds in excess of 20 knots (37km/h), although her top speed is classified.
• Astute's crew of 98 are fed by five chefs who, on an average patrol, will serve up 18,000 sausages and 4,200 weetabix for breakfast. 

 

Is The Astute Cursed?

November 7, 2010: Britain's new SSN (nuclear attack submarine), the HMS Astute, is shaping up as a hard luck boat. Construction was full of problems. The boat was three years late and 50 percent over budget. Then, last month, during sea trials off Scotland, it got stuck on a sand bar off the Isle of Skye. It was towed off on October 22nd, after being stranded for ten hours. Then, things got worse, as the Astute collided with one of the tugs assisting it. The damage from both incidents was believed to be repairable locally, so that the boat can resume its trials. Maybe. Britain is pitching its new Astute class SSNs as the quietist and most lethal in the world. The 7,200 ton boats are 104 meters (323 feet) long and carry a crew of 98. The Astutes are more spacious than previous British SSNs, and every sailor will have his own bunk, and more space in general. Sensors are of generally the same quality as those found in American boats, but the British, as in the past, have put more emphasis on silencing. Just how effective these efforts have been won't be known until the Astute has been at sea for a while. The Astutes cost $2.5 billion each. Only three have been ordered so far, and the navy is hoping to get four more. The Astute is desperately needed, as most existing British SSNs will be retired in the next ten years. The Royal Navy is making a big public relations splash over the launching of the Astute, and its capabilities. This isn't about pride, but about getting public opinion, and members of parliament, behind paying for more Astute class boats. The recent grounding and collision generated a lot of publicity, but not the kind the Royal Navy was looking for.

 

Collins-class submarine damaged in collision with a tug while leaving port in Western Australia.  

HMAS Dechaineux will be docked for between eight and 10 days for repairs after an incident involving the civilian tug as it was leaving its berth at Fleet Base West at HMAS Stirling. The submarine was carrying out a routine manoeuvre with the tug when it crossed over the submarine's stern, the navy said in a statement last night. "No one was injured but a subsequent inspection has confirmed repairs are needed," it said. The submarine will not be able to take part in the exercise off Western Australia and will be replaced by HMAS Collins, which is currently at sea.

 

 BAE FINED FOR FRAUD.

Arms giant BAE Systems will discover in court tomorrow the extent of a settlement with the Serious Fraud Office over 'accounting errors' in Tanzania. The SFO earlier this year struck a deal with the defence firm, which builds Astute class submarines (pictured) for the MoD at Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria, that would see the company pay a £30m fine.  But Justice Bean, the judge presiding over the sentencing at Southwark Crown Court, could decide to make BAE pay more than agreed, amid doubts over the SFO's legal ability to arrange a US-style plea bargain. 

 

Plea bargain: The SFO earlier this year struck a deal with the defence firm, which builds Astute class submarines (pictured) for the MoD at Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria, that would see the company pay a £30m fine

 

Plea bargain: The SFO earlier this year struck a deal with the defence firm, which builds Astute class submarines (pictured) for the MoD at Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria, that would see the company pay a £30m fine.

 

Brazil Plans six Nuclear Submarines By 2047

Brazil’s navy plans to have six nuclear-powered submarines and 20 new conventional submarines by 2047, the Estado de Sao Paulo newspaper reported, without saying where it got the information. The first nuclear submarine is under construction and will cost 4.7 billion reis ($2.7 billion), including the expense for acquiring technology from the Paris-based DCNS shipyard, Estado said. The other five nuclear submarines will be built at the Itaguai shipyard that is under construction in Rio de Janeiro state, Estado said.

 

China seeks to mine deep sea riches

This summer China 's Jiaolong manned submersible, under development in secret since 2003, reached a depth of 3,759 metres on a dive in the South China Sea, technically speaking not far from the 5,000 metres or so that France's Nautile has reached. In theory, the Jiaolong can dive to 7,000 metres, whereas the limit for the Shinkai , its Japanese rival, is 6,500 metres. "It is the most recent submersible, with the benefit of the latest technologies," says Pierre Cochonat, deputy-head of programmes at France's Marine Exploitation Research Institute (Ifremer ) and a specialist on the ocean depths. At Qingdao, in Shandong province east of Beijing, a research centre is being built for marine systems operating at great depths. It will be the Jiaolong's home and also accommodate China's unmanned submarines. The country has made a huge commitment to research and development in order to join the select circle of nations equipped to explore the ocean depths. The Jiaolong is one of the key projects in Plan 863, one of the top Chinese programmes. About 100 research centres contributed to the project. The submarine was designed by Chinese experts, says Liu Feng, the deputy-head of the China Ocean Mineral Resources Research and Development Association (Comra), which heads the project. The titanium sphere occupied by the crew was imported from Russia. The hydraulic arm and syntactic foam, which withstands high pressures, were manufactured in the US, a pioneer in this field. The hydrophone the acoustic sound-and-data transmission system and guidance systems were developed in the People's Republic. "We are proud to have achieved the greatest manoeuvrability in the world," Liu says. Humans have long dreamt of diving deep into the oceans, but economic pressures are an additional incentive, with new world powers such as China and India showing a limitless hunger for raw materials. Mineral resources take various forms: polymetallic nodules, manganese crusts and massive sulphides, a source of lead, zinc and copper mainly produced by magma spilling out of cracks in the Earth's crust. In a surprise move this May, China became the first country to apply for a contract area in international waters to prospect for massive sulphide ore. An agreement between Comra and the International Seabed Authority has yet to be approved. Its aim is "exploration not exploitation", Liu said. China has no sulphide deposits in its waters and most of the likely sites are in international waters, along mid-ocean ridges. A Canadian firm, Nautilus, is already prospecting in the waters off Papua New Guinea and plans to start full-scale operations in 2012, a venture that should prove decisive for the future of the industry, according to Cochonat. As for France, this summer Ifremer started looking for hydrothermal vents off Wallis and Futuna, in one of its exclusive economic zones

 

Chinese sub pops up in middle of U.S. Navy exercise undetected.

When the U.S. Navy deploys a battle fleet on exercises, it takes the security of its aircraft carriers very seriously indeed. At least a dozen warships provide a physical guard while the technical wizardry of the world's only military superpower offers an invisible shield to detect and deter any intruders. That is the theory. Or, rather, was the theory. American military chiefs have been left dumbstruck by an undetected Chinese submarine popping up at the heart of a recent Pacific exercise and close to the vast U.S.S. Kitty Hawk - a 1,000ft supercarrier with 4,500 personnel on board. By the time it surfaced the 160ft Song Class diesel-electric attack submarine is understood to have sailed within viable range for launching torpedoes or missiles at the carrier. According to senior Nato officials the incident caused consternation in the U.S. Navy. The Americans had no idea China's fast-growing submarine fleet had reached such a level of sophistication, or that it posed such a threat. One Nato figure said the effect was "as big a shock as the Russians launching Sputnik" - a reference to the Soviet Union's first orbiting satellite in 1957 which marked the start of the space age. The incident, which took place in the ocean between southern Japan and Taiwan, is a major embarrassment for the Pentagon. The lone Chinese vessel slipped past at least a dozen other American warships which were supposed to protect the carrier from hostile aircraft or submarines. And the rest of the costly defensive screen, which usually includes at least two U.S. submarines, was also apparently unable to detect it. According to the Nato source, the encounter has forced a serious re-think of American and Nato naval strategy as commanders reconsider the level of threat from potentially hostile Chinese submarines. It also led to tense diplomatic exchanges, with shaken American diplomats demanding to know why the submarine was "shadowing" the U.S. fleet while Beijing pleaded ignorance and dismissed the affair as coincidence. Analysts believe Beijing was sending a message to America and the West demonstrating its rapidly-growing military capability to threaten foreign powers which try to interfere in its "backyard". The People's Liberation Army Navy's submarine fleet includes at least two nuclear-missile launching vessels. Its 13 Song Class submarines are extremely quiet and difficult to detect when running on electric motors. Commodore Stephen Saunders, editor of Jane's Fighting Ships, and a former Royal Navy anti-submarine specialist, said the U.S. had paid relatively little attention to this form of warfare since the end of the Cold War. He said: "It was certainly a wake-up call for the Americans. "It would tie in with what we see the Chinese trying to do, which appears to be to deter the Americans from interfering or operating in their backyard, particularly in relation to Taiwan." In January China carried a successful missile test, shooting down a satellite in orbit for the first time

 

China tweaks Russian Submarine Designs

China recently launched a new diesel-electric submarine. There was no official information released, but based on photos available it appears to be another development in China's taking Russian submarine technology and adapting it for Chinese designs. China has been doing this for as long as it has been building subs (since the 1960s). But this latest version of what appears to be the Type 41 design, shows Chinese naval engineers getting more creative. The Type 41A, or Yuan class , looks just like the Russian Kilo class. In the late 1990s, the Chinese began ordering Russian Kilo class subs, then one of the latest diesel-electric design available. Russia was selling new Kilos for about $200 million each, which is about half the price other Western nations sell similar boats for. The Kilos weigh 2,300 tons (surface displacement), have six torpedo tubes and a crew of 57. They are quiet, and can travel about 700 kilometers under water at a quiet speed of about five kilometers an hour. Kilos carry 18 torpedoes or SS-N-27 anti-ship missiles (with a range of 300 kilometers and launched underwater from the torpedo tubes.) The combination of quietness and cruise missiles makes Kilo very dangerous to American carriers. North Korea and Iran have also bought Kilos. The Chinese have already built three Yuans, the second one an improvement on the first. These two boats have been at sea to try out the technology that was pilfered from the Russians. The third Yuan is the one just launched, and appears to be a bit different from the first two. The first Yuan appeared to be a copy of the early model Kilo (the model 877), while the second Yuan (referred to as a Type 41B) appeared to copy the late Kilos (model 636). The third Yuan may end up being a further evolution, or Type 41C. This one also appears similar to the Russian successor to the Kilo, the Lada. The first Lada underwent three years of sea trials before they were declared fit for service last year. Another is under construction and eight are planned. The Kilo class boats entered service in the early 1980s. Russia only bought 24 of them, but exported over 30. It was considered a successful design. But just before the Cold War ended in 1991, the Soviet Navy began work on the Lada. This project was stalled during most of the 1990s by a lack of money. The Ladas are designed to be fast attack and scouting boats. They are intended for anti-surface and anti-submarine operations as well as naval reconnaissance. These boats are said to be eight times quieter than the Kilos. This was accomplished by using anechoic (sound absorbing) tile coatings on the exterior, and a very quiet (skewed) propeller. All interior machinery was designed with silence in mind. The sensors include active and passive sonars, including towed passive sonar. The Ladas have six 533mm torpedo tubes, with 18 torpedoes and/or missiles carried. The Lada has a surface displacement of 1,750 tons, are 220 feet long and carry a crew of 38. Each crewmember has their own cabin (very small for the junior crew, but still, a big morale boost). When submerged, the submarine can cruise at a top speed of about 39 kilometers an hour (half that on the surface) and can dive to about 800 feet. The Lada can stay at sea for as long as 50 days, and the sub can travel as much as 10,000 kilometers using its diesel engine (underwater, via the snorkel). Submerged, using battery power, the Lada can travel about 450 kilometers. There is also an electronic periscope (which goes to the surface via a cable), that includes a night vision capability and a laser range finder. The Lada was designed to accept a AIP (air independent propulsion) system. Russia was long a pioneer in AIP design, but in the last decade, Western European nations have taken the lead. Construction on the first Lada began in 1997, but money shortages delayed work for years. The first Lada boat was finally completed in 2005. A less complex version, called the Amur, is being offered for export. The new Chinese Yuan class boat is larger than the Kilos or Ladas, but has similar external design features. It will be a while before more details can be uncovered. Preceding the Yuans was the Type 39, or Song class. This was the first Chinese sub to have the teardrop shaped hull, and was based on the predecessor of the Kilo, the Romeo class. The Type 41A was thought to be just an improved Song, but on closer examination, especially by the Russians, it looked like a clone of the Kilos. The Yuan class also have AIP (Air Independent Propulsion), which allows non-nuclear boats to stay underwater for days at a time. China currently has 13 Song class, 12 Kilo class, three Yuan class and 25 Romeo class boats. There are only three Han class SSNs, as the Chinese are still having a lot of problems with nuclear power in subs. Despite that, the Hans are going to sea, even though they are noisy and easily detected by Western sensors."

 

Russian Akula Class: The sea shark

Russian nuclear-powered attack submarine K-152 Nerpa. Project 971 (NATO code name Akula) is the most advanced Russian nuclear-powered attack submarine. The submarines were built by the Amur Shipbuilding Plant Joint Stock Company at Komsomolsk-on-Amur and at the Severodvinsk shipbuilding yard. Seven Akula I submarines were commissioned between 1986 and 1992, and three Improved Akula between 1992 and 1995. Construction of the Akula II class Nerpa nuclear attack submarine started in 1991 but was suspended for over a decade due to lack of funding. Akula II class vessels are considered the quietest and deadliest of Russian nuclear-powered attack submarines. They feature a double-hulled configuration with a distinctive high aft fin. Indian Navy will soon get the K-152 the Akula II class Nerpa nuclear attack submarine for a 10-year lease. The Akula II in service with the Russians is equipped with 28 nuclear-capable cruise missiles with a striking range of 3,000 km. The Indian version is expected to be armed with the 300-km Club nuclear-capable missiles. The most-modern Russian submarine will be recommissioned as 'INS Chakra’ in India. The submarine had faced a mishap during sea trials in November 2008 which killed 20 sailors and technical staffs. The submarine has a double-hulled configuration with a distinctive high aft fin. The hull has seven compartments and the stand-off distance between the outer and inner hulls is considerable, reducing the possible inner hull damage. The very low acoustic signature has been achieved by incremental design improvements to minimise noise generation and transmission – for example, the installation of active noise cancellation techniques. The retractable masts viewed from bow to stern are the periscopes, radar antennae, radio and satellite communications and navigation masts.  

     

Dimensions:       Surfaced Displacement - 8,140t. Displacement, Submerged - 12,770t. Overall Height - 11.3m. Hull Cross Section - 13.6m x 9.68m.        Performance Diving Depth - 600m  Run Speed Surfaced - 10kt. Run Speed Submerged - 33kt. Speed with Reverse Propeller System - 3kt to 4kt. Endurance - 100 days. Weapon Systems Missile Torpedo Weapons. 4 x 650mm tubes.  4 x 533mm tubes. Cruise Missiles (SLCM). 12 Granit land-attack missiles. Anti-Ship Missiles and Torpedoes. 28 Stallion and Starfish missiles, mk40 torpedoes, anti-submarine missiles and torpedoes in a range of variants. Air-Defence Missiles. Strela portable missile – 18 missiles. Systems Electronic Equipment. Automated radio communication system. Combat control information system. General-purpose radar.       Active and passive sonar. Periscopes. Commander's periscope. Air defence periscope.       Propulsion Main Machinery. Nuclear, with steam turbine power. Pressure Water Reactor. 1 x 190MW. Steam Turbine. 1 x 50,000hp.   Auxiliary Diesels. 2 x 750hp.       Propulsion Motors 2 x 276kW. Reserve Propeller Systems with Motors 2 x 370kW.       Single Propeller 7-bladed fixed-pitch propeller.

 

Made in the UK's Largest Submarine

Britain will launch its newest submarine, Thursday (16/12/10) at Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria. Submarine-cost 1.2 billion pounds, or around Rp 22.5 trillion, it is claimed as the largest submarines ever built Britain. Submarine named Ambush has size 50 percent larger than its predecessor, Swiftsure and Trafalgar. Approximately 291 feet in length, equivalent to the length of a football field. Remarkably, the submarine was able to turn sea water into oxygen and fresh water so as to maintain its 98 crew still alive. In addition, these submarines also nearly silent so not easy to detect the enemy. Sonar and radar Ambush submarines can detect other ships, a distance of 3000 nautical miles (5556 kilometers). So, if you are in the area of sea that separates England and France, these submarines can detect ships in New York, USA. These submarines do not need refueling and can attack using missiles as far as 1,000 miles (1609 kilometers). The greatest, the submarines mission is usually only 10 weeks, but in theory these submarines can stay underwater without needing to surface in her life, 25 years old. Ambush will be carrying 38 missiles, the Tomahawk cruise missiles which have a cruising range up to 1240 miles (1996 kilometers). In addition, these submarines will be equipped with a heavyweight torpedo to destroy ships and other submarines. Nuclear-powered engines that can propel the ship at speeds of up to 20 knots, allowing ships to travel 500 miles (805 kilometers) a day. So big, said nuclear energy could feed the entire town of Southampton. Ambush will be officially launched and named by Lady Anne Soar, wife of Chief Commander of the Navy Sir Trevor Soar. Furthermore, the submarine-sized 7400 metric tons of this will be tested. Just to note, this submarine can carry 98 crew. In addition, the Ambush is also equipped warehouse that can store food for the needs for three months, consisting of 18,000 sausages and 4,200 packs of cereal Weetabix.

 

Soon .. Baldoasat submarine in the depths of the sea

MOSCOW: Russia has developed a small submarine for private use, is the first of its kind which is. being operated Caldrajp using the pedals, and two persons can generate the energy needed to run till the water without the need for special training to use them, not to exceed the speed of speed of walking. The company said that, contrary to conventional submarines, a water vehicle design simple, the most part, made of acrylic glass sector, as well as Dostin and the steering wheel, the operation and control with few buttons, also provided the automatic safety system for floating on the surface of water in case of emergency. The company designed, called "Marine Iinouphoutv Technology", that the submarine will allow its user to enjoy with a great under water, especially since the vehicle capable of diving to a depth of 30 meters, and has a great ability to manoeuvre and turn around the vertical axis. The length of the submarine 11 feet and display more than six feet, and is expected to be priced about 70 thousand dollars, according to a newspaper "Telegraph" British. The manufacturer of the submarine is the first of its kind to be powered by using the pedals, and taking advantage of a phenomenon called the Coanda effect, which enables two people to generate sufficient momentum, in addition to the ability of the submarine to reach to a distance of 37 thousand feet below the surface of the water, and speeds up to 400 feet per minute. The design of the submarine, a famous designer Graham Hawkes, who is now the largest manufacturing business model of this type of submarines.

 

The sinking of the Cheonan (Accident, false flag or enemy attack?)

On March 26 this year, the Cheonan, a South Korean Corvette, sank in waters off Baengnyeong Island. Initial reports from Naval and Intelligence chiefs ruled out foul play: Won Se-hoon, director of the National Intelligence Service, was quoted as saying during a parliamentary committee session that to his knowledge, there was no direct link between North Korea and the sunken ship. U.S. Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg said that he had heard nothing to implicate any other country in the incident. ``Obviously, the full investigation needs to go forward. But to my knowledge, there is no reason to believe or to be concerned that that may have been the cause,'' he said. Lee Ki-sik, head of the marine operations office at the Joint Chiefs of Staff, ruled out the possibility, saying, North Korean warships have been detected, and there is no possibility of their approaching the waters where the accident took place. We closely watched the vement of the North vessels, including submarines and semi-submersibles, at the time of the sinking said Commodore Lee Gi-sik, chief of information operations under the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Seoul, during a media briefing. But [the South military did not detect any North Korean submarines near the countries western sea border. "If a single torpedo or a floating mine caused a naval patrol vessel to split in half and sink, we will have to rewrite our military doctrine," said Baek Seung-joo of the Korea Institute for Defense Analyses. Instead, he believes an accident within the vessel is to blame....... Former Navy Chief of Staff Adm. Song Young-moo, said, "Some people are pointing the finger at North Korea, but anyone with knowledge about the waters where the shipwreck occurred would not draw that conclusion so easily." Experts say those waters are only 25 m deep and characterized by rapid currents, making it very difficult for North Korean submarines or semi-submersible vessels to operate. Members of the right wing* Government of Lee Myung Bak took a different tack: A torpedo is among the "most likely" causes for a South Korean naval ship that sank close to the disputed border with North Korea last month, killing at least 40 sailors, South Korea's defence minister said. At this point, Lee's government put a clamp on speculation, gagging official spokesmen. On May 20 the South Korean government announced that it has overwhelming evidence that one of its warships was sunk by a torpedo fired by a North Korean submarine. The World's press trumpeted that the "International Inquiry" had unanimously agreed that a North Korean torpedo was the culprit.

 

Strategic Submarines

The future of Russia’s sea-based strategic deterrent force revolves around the Borei-class submarines, eight of which are planned to be built by 2017. The first was completed in 2008 and is currently undergoing sea trials. Another three are already under construction. While the submarines themselves seem to be in good shape, the project is currently mired in uncertainty because of continuing failures in testing of the Bulava SLBM with which they are to be equipped. The Bulava is the first solid-fuel SLBM to be used in Russian/Soviet submarines. The Bulava test missiles are being launched from the Dmitry Donskoy, the last of the Typhoon SSBNs, built in the late 1970s and modified a few years ago to launch the Bulava. Two other Typhoons are currently listed as inactive and may be modified in the future to carry conventional cruise missiles instead of SLBMs. The Russian Navy currently operates six Delta IV SSBNs, all based in the Northern Fleet. Four of the subs have already been upgraded to carry Sineva SLBMs. Two others are currently being overhauled, with expected relaunch dates in 2011 and 2012, respectively. The expectation is that these subs, which were all built in the late 1980s, will continue to serve through 2020-25. The Pacific Fleet currently has four active Delta III SSBNs, all built between 1979 and 1982. These subs carry the SS-N-18 SLBM. They are expected to be withdrawn from service in the near future, as the new Borei-class SSBNs enter the fleet. Original plans called for them to have been withdrawn already by 2010, but problems with the Bulava have so far prevented the Borei submarines from replacing the Delta IIIs. Assuming that the Bulava’s problems are resolved, 10-15 years from now, we are likely to see Russia maintaining a fleet of 12 SSBNs, most likely including 6-8 Boreis and 4-6 Delta IVs.

 

Multi-purpose Nuclear Submarines

The Russian Navy currently operates several kinds of multi-purpose submarines. The largest are the Oscar II class cruise missile submarines, built mostly in the 1980s and armed with P-700 Granit cruise missiles. Eight of these submarines are available to the navy, though at least three are currently in reserve or being repaired. As currently configured, their sole real purpose is to hunt down US carrier groups, though this is made difficult in practice by their large size and noisiness, characteristics that make them relatively easy to spot. In the future, they could be equipped with newer cruise missiles to expand their range of missions. Two more Oscar IIs were never completed but could be finished in the future, though it seems to me that this would not be a wise expenditure of limited procurement resources.  The Akula is the main type of attack submarine currently in the Russian Navy. There are eight in active service, mostly in the Northern Fleet, though several more are being held in reserve. The older boats in this class are likely to be retired over the next decade. In addition, the Navy still operates four Victor III attack submarines and three Sierra I and II attack submarines. All of these are likely to be retired in the near future as well. The only replacement for these submarines, at the moment, is the Severdvinsk class, a modification of the Akula class that is considered by some experts to be the most sophisticated nuclear submarine in the world, able to travel at 33 knots, armed with 8 torpedo tubes and able to launch up to 24 cruise missiles simultaneously. They are similar in some ways to the American Sea Wolf submarine. At the same time, these submarines are very expensive and some analysts doubt the need for building too many of them given that the Sea Wolf program was cancelled after only three were built. For the moment, one submarine of this class has been launched and another is under construction. Navy officials have stated that they hope to start building one of these a year starting in 2011, but this seems highly unlikely given the financial constraints and technological limitations of Russian submarine building. It seems that this is the most problematic category for the Russian Navy’s submarine fleet. Ten years from now, the navy is likely to have at its disposal around 4 Oscar IIs, 4-5 Akulas, and no more than 3 Severdvinsk submarines. And the remaining Oscars and Akulas will have to be retired by 2025-2030. Given these numbers, what the navy desperately needs is a relatively basic, cheap, and easy to build attack submarine along the lines of the American Virginia class. While there are rumors that various bureaus are working on designs for such a submarine, there has been no official word on this process.

 

Diesel Submarines

The Russian Navy currently operates 12-15 Kilo class diesel-electric submarines, most of which were built in the 1980s. Several additional submarines are in reserve and a couple are under repair and will likely return to operational status. These are extremely quiet submarines, intended for anti-shipping and anti-submarine operations in shallow waters. They are armed with torpedoes and surface-to-air missiles. The successor to the Kilo is the Lada, the first of which (the St. Petersburg) was launched in 2005 but not commissioned until May 2010. Despite being listed in active service, the St. Petersburg continues to experience problems with its propulsion systems, which had been the cause of the delays in completing the sub’s sea trials. In the meantime, two other submarines of this class are under construction, though their completion is likely to be delayed until the problems with the St. Petersburg are resolved. The Russian navy hopes to build a total of eight Ladas by 2020, and more thereafter. Because of the urgent need for new diesel submarines in the Black Sea Fleet and the continuing problems with the Lada, in August 2010 the navy announced that it will build three improved Kilos (of a type previously built only for export) for the Black Sea Fleet. Construction of the first submarine has already begun and all three are expected to be completed by 2014. These are realistic timelines, given the speed with which these submarines have been built for the Chinese and Algerian navies.

 

Submarine hull

Modern submarines are usually cigar-shaped. This design, already visible on very early submarines (see below) is called a "teardrop hull", and was patterned after the bodies of whales. It significantly reduces the hydrodynamic drag on the sub when submerged, but decreases the sea-keeping capabilities and increases the drag while surfaced.

 History

Since the limitations of the propulsion systems of early military submarines forced them to operate most their time on the surface, their hull designs were a compromise. Because of the slow submerged speeds of those subs, usually well below 10 kt, the increased drag for underwater travel was considered acceptable. Only late in World War II, when technology enhancements allowed faster and longer submerged operations and increased surveillance by enemy aircraft forced submarines to stay most of their times below the surface, did hull designs become teardrop shaped again, to reduce drag and noise. On modern military submarines the outer hull is covered with a thick layer of special sound-absorbing rubber, or anechoic plating, to make the submarine more difficult to detect by SONAR.

Types

All small modern submarines and submersibles, as well as the oldest ones, have a single hull. However, for large submarines, the approaches have separated. All Soviet heavy submarines are built with a double hull structure, but American submarines usually are single-hulled. They still have light hull sections in bow and stern, which house main ballast tanks and provide hydrodynamically optimized shape, but the main, usually cylindrical, hull section has only a single plating layer.

Light hull

The double hull of a submarine is different from a ship's double hull. The external hull, which actually forms the shape of submarine, is called the outer hull or light hull. This term is especially appropriate for Russian submarine construction, where the light hull is usually made of steel that is only 2 to 4 millimeters thick, as it has the same pressure on both sides. The light hull can be used to mount equipment, which if attached directly to the pressure hull could cause unnecessary stress. The double hull approach also saves space inside the pressure hull, as the ring stiffeners and longitudinals can be located between the hulls. These measures help minimise the size of the pressure hull, which is much heavier than the light hull. Also, in case the submarine is damaged, the light hull takes some of the damage and does not compromise the boat's integrity, as long

Pressure hull

Inside the outer hull there is a strong hull, or pressure hull, which actually withstands the outside pressure and has normal atmospheric pressure inside. 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. The pressure and light hulls aren't separated, and form a three-dimensional structure with increased strength. The interhull space is used for some of the equipment which doesn't require constant pressure to operate. The list significantly differs between submarines, and generally includes different water/air tanks. In case of a single-hull submarine, the light hull and the pressure hull are the same except for the bow and stern. The task of building a pressure hull is very difficult. No matter how large the submarine is, its hull must be constructed with very high precision. Inevitable minor deviations are resisted by the stiffener rings, but even a one inch (25 mm) deviation from roundness results in over 30 percent decrease of hydrostatic load.[1] The total pressure force of several million tons must be distributed evenly over the hull and be oriented longitudinally, as no material could resist such force by bending. A submarine hull has to use expensive transversal construction, with the stiffeners rings located more frequently than the longitudinals. All hull parts must be welded without defects, and all joints are checked several times with different methods. This contributes to very high cost of modern submarines (for instance, a Virginia class attack submarine costs 2.6 billion dollars, over $200,000 per ton of displacement).

Dive depth

The dive depth cannot be increased easily. Simply making the hull thicker increases the weight and requires reduction of the weight of onboard equipment, ultimately resulting in a bathyscaphe. This is affordable for civilian research submersibles, but not military submarines, so their dive depth was always bound by current technology. The World War One submarines had their hulls built of carbon steel, and could not submerge below 100 meters. During World War Two, high-strength alloyed steel was introduced, allowing for depths up to 200 meters. High-strength alloyed steel is still the main material for submarines today, with 250-350 meters depth limit, which cannot be exceeded on a military submarine without sacrificing other characteristics. To exceed that limit, a few submarines were built with titanium hulls. Titanium is stronger and lighter than steel, and is non-magnetic. Titanium submarines were especially favored by the Soviets, as they had developed specialized high-strength alloys, built an industry for producing titanium with affordable costs, and have several types of titanium submarines. Titanium alloys allow a major increase in depth, but other systems need to be redesigned as well, so test depth was limited to 1000 meters for K-278 Komsomolets, the deepest-diving military submarine. An Alfa class submarine may have successfully operated at 1300 meters,[2] though continuous operation at such depths would be an excessive stress for many submarine systems. Despite its benefits, high costs of titanium construction led to abandonment of titanium submarines idea as the Cold War ended.

Other types

There are examples of more than two hulls inside a submarine. The light hull of Typhoon class submarines houses two main pressure hulls, a smaller third pressure hull constituting most of the sail, two other for torpedoes and steering gear, and between the main hulls 20 MIRV SLBMs along with ballast tanks and some other systems. The Royal Netherlands Navy Dolfijn and Potvis class submarines housed three main pressure hulls.

 

Sea lions, dolphins serve as elite defence force

Boats with intimidating displays of weapons patrol the waters at the port at Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base. But if underwater intruders elude a patrol boat's sophisticated electronic surveillance, something else waits in the depths that Navy officials say cannot be fooled. For five years, 10 California sea lions and four Atlantic bottlenose dolphins have provided underwater security for Ohio-class submarines ported at Kings Bay as part of the Swimmer Interdiction Security System. Dolphins are trained to use their sophisticated sonar to detect unusual underwater activity and report it to their handlers. A dolphin is sent back to the area with a lighted beacon that it releases near the intruder to alert Navy security forces. "Their primary mission is finding an intruder and marking the target," project manager Steve Hugueley said. "These guys are really good about using sonar to find targets. They work at it every day." Sea lions are trained to carry a special cuff in their mouths that they can quickly clamp around an intruder's leg. "It's like a handcuff; it can only get tighter," Hugueley said. The intruder is reeled in by base security by a rope attached to the cuff, which can only be removed with a special key. "I think for bases who have these high-value assets, it's really a first line of defence for protection against underwater intruders," he said. Kings Bay is home to eight $2 billion Ohio-class submarines. Six of the boats carry ballistic nuclear missiles, while two were recently converted to carry cruise missiles. While the work is serious, the trainers and marine mammals in the program interact much like their counterparts at a tourist attraction such as SeaWorld. The animals are rewarded with a fish when they perform a task properly. One of the dolphins spun in the water with excitement when a trainer offered him a fish. During free time, connecting doors to pens are often opened so the animals can socialize with each other, Hugueley said. While trainers said teaching the animals is fun, the mission is serious. The marine mammal program, in existence since 1960, provided port security during the Vietnam War, protected the Third Fleet flagship overseeing Navy vessels that escorted Kuwaiti oil tankers in 1987 and performed port security in the Persian Gulf from 2003 to 2005. "It's the longest deployment elsewhere of any marine mammals, ever," said Tom LaPuzza, a spokesman for the Navy Marine Mammal Program. Though they are not native to the East Coast, environmental studies show sea lions have no adverse environmental impact at Kings Bay. The one concern before they arrived was how they would interact with manatees, but it appears the two species are indifferent to each other, Hugueley said. It takes about 18 months to train the animals in San Diego, where the Navy's marine mammal program is based, Hugueley said. "They actually take a test to make sure they know all the procedures," he said. LaPuzza said 80 bottlenose dolphins and 28 sea lions are available to perform underwater security at locations across the world. Currently they are only working at Kings Bay, but will soon be working at a Navy base in Bangor, Wash. "We saw they were easily trainable and reliable," LaPuzza said. "These animals can do a lot of things. A whole bunch of them do object recovery and mine hunting." Luckily, the marine mammals have only trained and have never had to respond to a threat on base, Hugueley said. Only dolphins bred in captivity and sea lions purchased from breeding programs at SeaWorld are used in the program. Handlers use a combination of divers and mannequins for training. The mannequins are used because they are more difficult to locate and they can be placed at any depth, Hugueley said.

 

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has been accused of a “catalogue of blunders” after admitting there have been 16 crashes involving British nuclear-powered submarines since 1988.

More than half of the accidents were in seas around Scotland. According to critics, the repeated errors that caused the accidents suggest that the MoD has failed to learn from past mistakes. A serious incident in the future could cause radioactivity to leak and put public health at risk, they warn. The Royal Navy’s newest nuclear submarine, HMS Astute, is being repaired at the Faslane naval base on the Clyde after it ran aground for 10 hours near the Skye Bridge on October 22. It emerged last week that one of the boat’s fins was damaged in a collision with a tug trying to rescue it. The list of accidents came in a parliamentary answer to the Scottish Nationalist defence spokesman, Angus Robertson MP. In addition to HMS Astute last month, it included eight other accidents in Scottish waters. Two were around Skye, one near Lewis, and one in the Firth of Clyde. Another occurred in the North Channel off the south-west coast and two in unspecified places “west of Scotland”. The incident involving HMS Astute was clearly not a one-off, and the MoD must explain previous groundings. The worst incident was on November 22, 1990, when HMS Trenchant snagged the net of the Antares fishing vessel in Bute Sound, north of Arran. The boat sank with the loss of four lives, and an official inquiry blamed mistakes by submarine commanders. The list also revealed a previously unreported accident in April 2009 somewhere in the Eastern Mediterranean. “HMS Torbay grounded in soft sand and mud to avoid a merchant vessel which was sailing erratically,” an MoD spokeswoman told the Sunday Herald. The craft had not been damaged, she said. “The incident was investigated and no further action was taken.” Other incidents took place off the coast of Northern Ireland, in the north Norwegian Sea, in the Arctic, in the Red Sea, in the Atlantic, and off Australia. In all, Britain’s nuclear submarines have run aground 11 times, collided with two other boats and an iceberg, and snagged the nets of two fishing vessels. The incident involving HMS Astute was clearly not a one-off, and the MoD must explain why previous groundings have not been made public,” said Mr Robertson. “One collision is one too many – especially when it involves a submarine with a nuclear reactor. This catalogue of blunders makes the MoD look even more shambolic, and leaves the credibility of the nuclear deterrent in tatters.” An independent expert on nuclear submarine safety, John Large, argued that the number of accidents is increasing, and the possible hazards growing. He called on the Royal Navy to review its navigational training. “Collisions and groundings not only put the submarine hull at risk of damage but also put the weapons, both nuclear and conventional, and the nuclear reactor in jeopardy,” he said. “If any of these elements were damaged the consequences to submariners and the public at large could be severe.” The 120 or so crew on board are “wholly insufficient” to deal with a major leak of radioactivity, he claimed. The MoD defended its record, saying: “When incidents do occur, they are taken very seriously. Each is thoroughly investigated and lessons are learnt.” But John Ainslie, coordinator of the Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, pointed out that detailed reports on submarine accidents are destroyed after 10 years. “This may explain why they repeat the same mistakes,” he said. “It is time the Royal Navy stopped treating the coast of Scotland as a playground for nuclear submarines.” 

October 2010 HMS Astute grounded off the Isle of Skye

April 2009 HMS Torbay grounded in the Eastern Mediterranean

February 2009 HMS Vanguard collided with the French submarine Le Triomphant in the Atlantic

May 2008 HMS Superb grounded in the Red Sea

May 2003 HMS Tireless struck an iceberg while on Arctic Patrol

November 2002 HMS Trafalgar grounded on Fladda-Chuain, north of Skye

November 2000 HMS Triumph grounded west of Scotland

November 2000 HMS Victorious grounded on Skelmorlie Bank in the Firth of Clyde

July 1997 HMS Trenchant grounded off the coast of Australia

July 1996 HMS Repulse grounded in the North Channel off south-west Scotland

July 1996 HMS Trafalgar grounded off the Isle of Skye

March 1991 HMS Valiant grounded in the North Norwegian Sea

November 1990 HMS Trenchant snagged the fishing vessel Antares off Arran

October 1989 HMS Spartan grounded west of Scotland

November 1989 HMS Sceptre snagged the fishing vessel Scotia near Lewis

July 1988 HMS Conqueror collided with the yacht Dalriada off the coast of Northern Ireland

 

'Scandalous' submarine deal highlighted ahead of Nato summit

to leaders are heading to Lisbon for a summit on Friday (19 November) at a time of escalating economic problems in Portugal, due, in part, to a submarine deal, with corruption investigations launched both in Germany and Portugal into the way the deal was made. Unlike non-Nato Ireland, whose record public-deficit of over 30 percent is mostly due to bailing out banks in the wake of the financial crisis, the southern European country's accounts are also weighed down partly by a controversial submarine deal with Germany that dates back to 2004 but that has to be paid for now. Signed during at a time when current European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso was head of the Portuguese government, the deal worth €1billion is the biggest military purchase in the country's history. Payments for the two German submarines amount to 0.6 percent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP), at a time when the budget deficit reached of 9.3 percent of GDP last year. According to Portuguese Socialist MEP Ana Gomes, the country's current centre-left premier, Jose Socrates, has been "very vocal" in blaming the submarine purchase for the country's widening deficit and to justify the austerity measures that were adopted last month. With corruption investigations launched both in Germany and Portugal into the way the deal was made, Ms Gomes has called the deal "scandalous". What we don't see is political courage on the part of the EU institutions, notably the European Commission, to actually tackle this question of corruption that is at the root of the current crisis. Corruption in the management of banks, which were not properly regulated and supervised and corruption in the public sector in relation to defence procurements." With a similar submarine corruption probe involving the same German company (Man Ferrostaal) being investigated in relation to Greece, the first euro-area country that needed a bail-out, Ms Gomes said it is unacceptable that Brussels is not launching an inquiry into "this European web of corruption." The Portuguese MEP said she is "disappointed" that her government has not stood up to the German administration and frozen payments until the corruption case is finalised: "It would have been a courageous gesture to show that Portugal is a country whose people are victims of corrupt practices between German and Portuguese officials and companies."

 

HMS Astute submarine.

A nuclear-powered submarine has run aground off the coast of a Scottish island, the Ministry of Defence confirmed. The incident involving HMS Astute happened near the Isle of Skye. There were no reports of any injuries. A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: "We are aware of an incident involving one of our submarines off the Isle of Skye. This is a not a nuclear incident. "We are responding to the incident and can confirm that there are no injuries to personnel and the submarine remains watertight. There is no indication of any environmental impact." It is understood that the submarine's crew is waiting for high tide so they could free the vessel. In June 2007 the mammoth £3.5 billion nuclear-powered HMS Astute was named and launched by the Duchess of Cornwall. The submarine weighs 7,800 tonnes, equivalent to nearly 1,000 double-decker buses, and is almost 100 metres (328ft) long. Its Spearfish torpedoes and Tomahawk cruise missiles are capable of delivering pin-point strikes from 2,000km (1,240 miles) with conventional weapons.

 

The Indonesian Navy (TNI AL) needs 39 more submarines to protect the country`s vast marine territory against external threat.

"Indonesia needs to increase its naval fleet. We have vast marine territory which needs intensive security to protect it against external disturbance," Deputy Naval Chief of Staff Vice Admiral Marsetio said here on Wednesday.  Vice Marshal Marsetio was in Bogor to attend a unit commanders roll call initiated by the Marine Corps. A total of 84 personnel from different command units at the Marine Corps took part in the event.  He said the Indonesian Navy`s main armament system was still far from adequate. "Our main armament system needs to be increased and strengthened. We need to increase the number of submarines as we now only have a few units."  As the world`s largest archipelagic country, Indonesia saw the urgency to have submarines in adequate numbers to protect its marine sovereignty, he said. "We need 39 more submarines," he said. The addition of the 39 submarines would hopefully help the Indonesian Navy keep the country`s marine territory intact, he said.  "The submarines will be stationed in various parts of the country`s marine territory. We will give extra security particularly on outlying islands and waters prone to foreign countries` claim," he said.  "We must keep the sovereignty and territory of the Unitary Republic of Indonesia intact. We will not let an inch of land go to foreign parties," he said.

 

Russia launched a nuclear-powered attack submarine that took 17 years to build because of funding shortages following the Soviet collapse.

President Dmitry Medvedev said the Severodvinsk should "increase our military might and our naval potential, and strengthen Russia's position in the world's oceans." "Russia simply must modernize its navy, we must build the most modern ships," Medvedev said at the ceremony at the Sevmash shipyard in the White Sea port that shares the vessel's name. Analysts said the launch of the Severodvinsk, the first in a new class of submarines, was a step in that direction, but cautioned that the vessel is not complete and still faces tests. "Putting it in water does not show that it is ready," said Konstantin Makiyenko, deputy director of the Moscow-based Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies. Officials at the Sevmash said the submarine is 80 percent complete and that trials are to begin this summer, according to the Itar-Tass news agency. State-run RIA said the 119-metre (393-foot) Severodvinsk is the first Yasen/Graney class submarine, and is designed to carry long-range nuclear-capable cruise missiles and other armaments. RIA and Itar-Tass reported that the Severodvinsk is expected to enter service by 2011, but Makiyenko said that was "extremely optimistic." He said it might take three to five years. He also said it is unclear whether Russia will have the funding to produce several more submarines of the same class if the Severodvinsk is successful. Russian plans to build at least six of them, according to state-run RIA news agency. It said work began last year on the second submarine in the series, dubbed the Kazan. Construction of the Severodvinsk began in 1993, but Makiyenko said it was effectively frozen for about a decade because of funding shortfalls.

 

Navy gives new minisub a try After Northrop failure.

The Advanced SEAL Delivery System based in Hawaii was supposed to be the first in a fleet of high-tech minisubs that were to cost $80 million apiece, ride attached to a larger attack submarine, and deliver commandos undetected into harbours. Instead, the Northrop Grumman effort spiralled to more than $885 million, with only one sub built. A November 2008 fire as a minisub's batteries were recharging provided the death knell to the troubled program. But where others saw embarrassing failure, Brett Phaneuf saw commercial opportunity. Phaneuf's company, Submergence Group LLC, which builds experimental submarines, thought it could build a better mousetrap, or at least a more economical minisub for Navy use. "We were told that it couldn't be done and it would cost hundreds of millions of dollars and we thought, 'Well, how hard can it be?' " he said. "So we decided to take a shot at it with our own money to try to see if we could crack it." Development took two years. The Navy liked what it saw, according to Phaneuf, president of Submergence Group, based in Chester, Conn. His 25-foot-long S301 mini-sub was moved last fall to Navy SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team One's facility on the Pearl City Peninsula, where the hulk of the much costlier Advanced SEAL Delivery System sub still resides. Development and production of the S301, capable of transporting two pilots and six divers, cost less than $10 million, Phaneuf said. He emphasized that the minisub is no replacement for the much larger and more complex ASDS, but it shows what's possible. Essentially, what it is, is a technology demonstrator, to show that a small submarine could be built ... that would fit inside a dry deck shelter on a host submarine," Phaneuf said. The minisub arrived as a demonstration project, but a federal notice posted Feb. 9 signalled the Navy's intent to lease the S301 for use in Hawai'i for up to a year longer. In the meantime, Submergence Group said that in several weeks it will move another of its subs, a 30-footer called the S201 that can dive to 1,000 feet, to Pearl City. Enough of Submergence Group's efforts are now being devoted to Hawai'i that Phaneuf closed its operations center in Virginia City, Va., and moved some of the staff to Pearl City Peninsula and will be hiring a few more. U.S. Special Operations Command at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida said in an e-mail that "knowledge gained from this lease will lower overall risk and program costs of future undersea mobility acquisition programs. Additionally, the S301 is a civilian submersible whose performance will be evaluated in order to determine the most economic and operationally sound way ahead for Naval Special Warfare short-range submersibles."

In the wake of the ASDS problems, Special Operations Command is pursuing development of a Shallow Water Combat Submersible, a SEAL transport vehicle that would be launched from dry deck shelters mounted on larger attack submarines and require the use of scuba gear. Dry deck shelters are 38-foot removable compartments that allow SEALs access to the watertight module from a submarine via a hatch. Once SEALs are in the vehicle, the shelter is flooded and a hatch is opened, allowing the vehicle to exit while underwater. One of the reasons for the development of the ASDS minisub was to keep SEALs in a dry environment prior to a mission rather than expose them to the energy-sapping ocean cold for long periods in the SEAL Delivery Vehicle.

A 2009 federal notice for the development of the replacement Shallow Water Combat Submersible said the vehicle must be capable of transporting SEALs for up to 12 hours while they breathe from scuba gear. Naval analyst and author Norman Polmar said he thinks the Navy eventually has to again go the minisub route for SEAL insertion. "I would say yes, because you really want a system that you can put on a submarine, take 2,000 miles, and have it clandestinely launch from the submarine and take four or six guys into a harbor or somewhere," Polmar said. A new $47 million compound for SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team One was completed in 2004 at Pearl City Peninsula with facilities for the 65-foot-long ASDS sub. At the time, the facility housed five Mark 8 Mod 1 SEAL Delivery Vehicles and three dry deck shelters, the Navy said. The Navy has two SEAL Delivery Vehicle teams. Special Operations Command said the Hawai'i unit has about 300 officers, enlisted members and civilians who are a mix of SEALs, combat support sailors and technicians. Phaneuf said the S301 minisub was built to civilian American Bureau of Shipping standards and not Navy requirements because a civilian research use might be found in the future. The 13-ton minisub can operate at greater than 600 feet, according to the company, and "lock out," or allow divers to enter the sea while submerged. It is powered by lithium ion batteries. Because the minisub is made to civilian standards, Submergence Group employees and not Navy divers operate it in tests in Pearl Harbor, Phaneuf said. The sub also is not used for testing in dry deck shelters on attack submarines, but Phaneuf said the S301 would fit inside, and he's having a dry deck shelter simulator fabricated to do underwater testing with the minisub. Phaneuf said the S301 testing is an opportunity for the Navy to learn how the commercial sector builds submarines. "It's a really good partnership because the government didn't have to spend a nickel to get this thing built," he said.

 

North Korea cease all military cooperation with South Korea

 

In addition, the main headquarters of the Korean People’s Army informed

the South Korean armed forces that the DPRK immediately strike if South Korean ships violate maritime border between the two Koreas in the Yellow Sea. Regular statements by North Korea comes amid escalating crisis in the inter-Korean relationship associated with the death of South Korean corvette “Cheonan. The experts who prepared a report on the incident, agreed that the ship sank after it was torpedoed by a North Korean submarine.  At the same time the statement the DPRK official news agency says that shooting, Cheonan, has been profitable the U.S. to increase tensions between North and South, Pyongyang is not got no benefit from this incident. North Korea has never needed the world to the year 2012 to reach the planned prosperity, explain its power. Property of the South Korean version of the death of the ship is and with Russia. In this regard, the navy sent its representatives to Seoul

to place to get acquainted with the outcome of the investigation. Two submarines, the DPRK returned to their base radio station Ekho Moskvy, referring to South Korean media. Previously reported Most – from 70% to 80% – of North Korean submarines are based along the east coast. Great depth to create a submarine North Korea “a haven,”

said South Korean newspaper The Chosun Ilbo. North Korea has about 70 submarines – 20 class submarines “Romeo” and 1800 m, 40 – Class “Shark” (325 m) and 10 – classes, “Salmon” (130 tons). It is one of the last suspects Commission torpedo sank the corvette Cheonan. On the east coast of the DPRK are four submarine base. The largest of these databases – and Chaho Mayangdo. With the base Chaho and disappeared four class submarines “Shark.” Small submarines, North Korea, apparently, even with the 90-ies regularly enter the water areas of South Korea. Entries found on board captured the 1998 North Korean submarine indicates the number of such crossings. Naval Command in South Korea has deployed anti-submarine ships, corvettes and other boats to search for the disappeared from radar screens of North Korean submarines.

 

Japan to Beef Up Submarines to Counter Chinese Power

Japan is to increase its submarine fleet for the first time in 36 years, the Sankei Shimbun reported Sunday. The plan apparently aims to counter China's naval build-up by partially filling the void created by the U.S. reduction of submarines in the Pacific area. The paper said the Japanese government plans to increase the number of submarines from the current 18 including two trainer submarines to more than 20 when it revises its Defence Program Guidelines by year's end. Tokyo has maintained 18 submarines since it first formulated the guidelines in 1976, although it has strengthened their capability by replacing superannuated vessels and with new ones. Japan's new class of diesel-powered Soryu submarines But now that advanced technology gives them a longer lifespan, it has opted for the new plan to increase the total number, the daily reported. Exactly how many the country will have is not known. Even more than 20 is no match for China, which has 62, but experts say most of the Japanese submarines are new types with superior capability.  The immediate cause for the decision was apparently China's plan to build an oceangoing fleet. China declared the plan at a fleet review in Qingdao, Shandong Province in April. It envisions extending its area of operations to the Pacific and Indian Oceans.  Out of the 62 Chinese submarines, seven are nuclear-powered and 55 diesel-powered. China recently built an underground submarine base on Hainan Island, which overlooks the South China Sea.

 

Military Increasingly Convinced of N.Korean Sub Attack.

 Military officials and experts believe that if a North Korean torpedo was involved in the sinking of the South Korean Navy corvette Cheonan, it was probably launched from a 325-ton Shark-class submarine. The sub ranks between a full-blown submarine and a mini-sub in terms of size. South Korean military intelligence are reportedly focusing on the fact that one or two Shark-class submarines from a submarine base in Cape Bipagot, South Hwanghae Province are unaccounted for during the time of the Cheonanâ sinking. The Bipagot submarine base is around 80 km from Baeknyeong Island. Shark-class submarines can travel at speeds of 13 km/h under water, so it would take them between six and seven hours to reach Baeknyeong Island. Intelligence officers and experts believe the sub made the trip under water, since travelling on the surface of the water would have exposed it to South Korean and U.S. spy planes and surveillance satellites. A drawback of the Shark-class diesel-powered submarines is that they need to surface regularly to recharge their batteries and ventilate, a process known as snorkelling. during this process, the ventilation device can be detected by radar and other surveillance equipment. The snorkeling equipment is not big, so there is a slim chance that it was detected by South Korean radars while the sub was in North Korean waters, said one source. The military believes a North Korean sub could have approached by taking a detour through open seas left of Baeknyeong Island, instead of coming in straight between Hwanghae Province and Baeknyeong Island. That is because the underwater currents are extremely fast in that area and it is closely monitored by South Korean forces. There is also the possibility that a sub could have drifted into waters near Baeknyeong Island with its engines shut off. Between 3 p.m. and 9 p.m. on March 26, the day the Cheonan sank, the currents flowed north to south and shifted direction from south to north after 9:40 p.m., said military expert Kim Byung-ki. There is the possibility that a North Korean sub was lying in wait and used the northerly current to return to North Korea after the attack. Once it infiltrated waters near Baeknyeong Island, it could have fired a torpedo around 1 km to 2 km away from the Cheonan in deeper waters. and a mid-sized torpedo, weighing more than 200 kg rather than a small one weighing between 50 kg to 80 kg, is being cited as the probable weapon, judging from the huge damage the Cheonan suffered. A lingering question is why the Cheonanâ radar system was unable to detect a torpedo attack, if that was indeed the cause of the sinking. The Defence Ministry says the sonar aboard a South Korean warship like the Cheonan has a 70-percent chance of detecting submarines or semi-submersibles around a 2 km radius. But retired naval commanders say the chances are actually only 50 percent, so sonar officers could have been unaware of an approaching torpedo.

 

Turkey, with help from Germany, to become 'submarine manufacturer'

ANKARA — Turkey has launched a project to produce an advanced naval submarine. Turkey's Defence Ministry and Navy have been working with Germany in the co production of four electric-diesel submarines. The co production effort has taken place with Germany's ThyssenKrupp for the Type 214 submarine.  "This is a huge project that will make Turkey into a submarine manufacturer," an official said.

 

 

KILO Submarines.

Russia sees a growth market for its Kilo class diesel electric submarines, a 30-year-old design that first entered service in 1982. So far, 49 have been built, 42 are still in service and six are under construction. Russia sees foreign markets that need at least another 36 Kilos. It may be an old design, but it is mature and has been updated with modern electronics and quieting technology (that makes it more difficult to detect under water.) The Kilos weigh 2,300 tons (surface displacement), have six torpedo tubes and a crew of 52. They can travel about 700 kilometers under water at a quiet speed of about five kilometers an hour. Top speed underwater is 32 kilometers an hour. Kilos carry 18 torpedoes or SS-N-27 anti-ship missiles (with a range of 300 kilometers and launched underwater from the torpedo tubes.) Kilos can stay at sea 45 days at a time. It can travel at periscope depth (using a snorkel device to bring in air) for 12,000 kilometers at 12 kilometers an hour. The combination of quietness and cruise missiles makes Kilo very dangerous to American carriers. North Korea, China, India, Indonesia, Romania, Algeria, Vietnam and Iran have also bought Kilos. The main reason for purchasing Kilos is that they cost about half what equivalent Western subs go for.  The biggest potential competitor for Kilo is China, which shamelessly copies Russian military designs. The Chinese Type 39A, or Song class, looks just like the Russian Kilo. This all began in the 1990s, when the Chinese began ordering Russian Kilo class subs, then one of the latest diesel-electric design available. Russia was selling new Kilos for about $200 million each, which was about half the price other Western nations sold similar boats. Then the Chinese built two Songs, the second one an improvement on the first. These two boats have been at sea to try out the technology that was pilfered from the Russians. A third Song was built, and appears to be a bit different from the first two. The first Song appeared to be a copy of the early model Kilo (the model 877), while the second Song appeared to copy the late Kilos (model 636). The third Song boat appears to be a further evolution. Russia has warned China of trying to export these copies, in competition with the Russian originals.

 

Jin SSBN Flashes its Tubes

One of China’s two new Jin-class SSBNs was photographed with two of 12 missile tubes open when it visited Xiaopingdao Naval Base in March 2009. The Jins are being readied to carry the JL-2, a single-warhead regional sea-launched ballistic missile that was most recently test-launched in May 2008. The class may become operational soon and replace the old Xia from 1982. Xiaopingdao Naval Base, which is where I identified the Jin-class for the first time in 2007, serves as an outfitting and testing facility for new submarines and used to be the homeport of the single Golf-class diesel submarine China used for many years as a test launch platform for its first ballistic missile. Two or three Jin-class SSBN have been under construction, and it remains to be seen if China will build up to five as projected by U.S. intelligence. China’s nuclear submarines appear to be the noisiest nuclear submarines in the world and will probably be highly vulnerable at sea. The U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence described in August 2009 that two of China’s SSBNs (probably one Jin and the Xia) were based at the Northern Fleet Base in Jianggezhuang, and the third boat (probably the second Jin) at the Southern Fleet Base on Hainan Island. I identified the Jin at Hainan in February 2008

 

Is Pakistan Navy Interested in Sang-O Class Submarine?

Name: Sang-O
Operators: Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea)
Subclasses: Attack version + Infiltration + Reconnaissance
Service: Active
General characteristics :
Type: Submarine
Displacement: 370 tons (submerged)
Length: 34m
Beam: 3.8m
Propulsion: Diesel-electric: 1 small diesel, 1 electric motor, 1 shaft
Speed: 7.5 knots (13.9 km/h) surfaced
7 knots (13 km/h) snorkeling
9 knots (17 km/h) submerged
Range: 1,500 nautical miles (2,800 km)
Test depth: 150 metres, capable of bottoming
Capacity: 0 (10/11 in recce version)
Complement: 15 crew
Sensors: Radar
Processing: Civilian Furuno I-band radar
Systems: Passive RWR/ESM/SIGINT Golf Ball radar & Snoop Plate radar
Sonar: Trout Cheek sonar
Armament: Two 21 inches (530 mm) torpedo tubes fitted with Russian 53-65KE torpedoes
capable of minelaying
Notes: Fitted with a snorkel

The Sang-O class submarines are currently in use by North Korea, and are the country's largest home-built submarines units.

I
ran navy equipped with four new submarines

TEHRAN — Iran's navy on Sunday took delivery of four new mini submarines of the home-produced Ghadir class, media reports said. The navy already owns seven submarines of this type which weigh 120 tonnes and were first launched in 2007.Iran has described the Ghadir as stealth submarines, hardly detectable by sonar and aimed at coastal operations in shallow waters, notably in the Gulf. The vessel is based on North Korean models of the Yono class and can shoot torpedoes, but their main tasks  appear to be moving commandos, laying mines and reconnaissance missions, experts say. Iran's inventory of submarines patrolling Gulf waters also includes up to three Russian-built Kilo class diesel submarines bought in 1990s and a Nahang, an Iranian-built light sub weighing 500 tonnes that was first launched in 2006. In 2008 Iran started building a new submarine named Qaem which is due to be launched within days, Iran's army chief Ataollah Salehi said last week, describing it as "semi-heavy" and capable of operating in the high seas such as the Indian Ocean or the Gulf of Aden. Little information has been released about this home-produced vessel, which is said to be capable of firing missiles and torpedoes.

 

ARGENTINA

At the Almirante Storni Shipyard in Buenos Aires on the 22nd January, the hull of Type TR-1700 submarine ARA “San Juan” was cut open to facilitate replacement of diesel generators. With this  act the Argentine navy has recovered a technological capability lost since the 90s when the then Astilleros Domecq Garcia Shipyard was closed and deactivated. The shipyard was re-opened in 2003 and since then a number of technological capabilities have been restored, including the recovery of battery units, providing a firm base for the local integral overhauling, maintenance
and construction of submarines. Project PAM (Patrulleros de Alta Mar) is for up to 5 OPVs of 1,800 tons. With a length of over 80m, the ships are to have diesel propulsion and to be armed with a 40mm gun. The ships will be built at the Rio Santiago shipyard to the same Fassmer design as the Chilean boats with construction expected to begin in 2009.

BRAZIL
An official confirmation of plans to acquire four diesel electric submarines, built to a design derived from the SCORPENE licensed from DCNS, came in December 2008. Three conventional boats will be built at a new shipyard to be constructed by local engineering firm Odebretch at Itaguai, 500km south of Rio de Janeiro. The new shipyard will be known as Arsenal de Sepetiba and will include a new home base for the Submarine Force, set to move from its current site at Naval Base Almirante Castro e Silva, at the Bay of Guanabara, close to Rio de Janeiro. DCNS will build the lead of the series at its Cherbourg Shipyards. The total cost of the project, including the construction and fitting of the shipyard and the building of four submarines, is said to be in the area of US$4Bn. According to local sources, work towards the nuclear submarine during the last three decades had accumulated US$1.1Bn by by 2006. To date, the official line is that an additional budget allocation of no less than US$1.5Bn will be needed, in order to
facilitate construction of a first nuclear powered submarine by 2020. However, many observers believe that current financial and schedule expectations surrounding the project are over-optimistic – year 2030 would be a more realistic deadline to see a Brazilian nuclear powered submarine going to sea, if a budget close to US$2.5Bn is secured.
The main role of the Navy, according to the New Defence Strategic Plan is to provide security to the new oil and gas fields of TUPI and JUPITER off the coast of Rio de Janeiro. Despite the financial constraints during recent years, the Brazilian Navy deploys the largest fleet in South America. Regarding amphibious capabilities, the single “Newport” class LST “Mattoso Maia” and both “Thomaston” class LPDs “Ceara” and “Rio de Janeiro” were re-inforced between 2007 and 2008 with the acquisition of the ex-Sir Galand 2008 re-named “Garcia D’Avila” and ex-Sir Bedivere renamed “Almirante Saboia,” both joining the fleet in Brazil after completing a refit in Falmouth in July 2009. In 2005, the six “Niteroi” class frigates completed the MOD-FRAG refit programme,
receiving a complete upgrade of their combat systems. According to reports, plans exist to replace them during the next decade by six FREMM multipurpose frigates equipped with cruise missiles and a long range air defence system. In September 2006 the Brazilian Navy ordered two NAPA 500-class offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) based on the Vigilante 400 CL 54 design from French shipbuilder CMN Group. Displacing 477 tons the ships are being built locally at Brazil’s INACE (Industria Naval do Ceara SA) yard at Fortaleza and were due for delivery in 2009. A further 4 OPVs have been approved, with a total of eight ships planned. The aircraft carrier “Sao Paulo” is the only vessel of this kind in service in South America. Recent reports about plans to acquire and modify some S-2 aircraft for ASW and AEW roles, as well as to upgrade the AF-1 SKYHAWK jet fighter bombers or a guided weapons capability including anti-ship missiles, indicate intentions to develop the potential of this ship.  Brazil is on its way to deploy a fleet including an impressive submarine force by the end of the next decade. It will be made up of nine modern and capable diesel electric boats, including the “Tupi” and “Tikuna” class, which are going to be fitted
with a new combat system provided by Lockheed Martin and Mk48 heavyweight torpedoes.

CHILE
On 15th October 2008, Chile’s government-owned shipyard Astilleros y Maestranzas de la Armada (ASMAR) launched the second of 4 patrulleros de zona maritime (PZM) OPVs under the Chilean Navy’s Danubio IV project. The 1,850 ton boats are destined to patrol Chile’s extensive Pacific and Antarctic waters providing protection in the EEZ and a SAR capability. The 80m PZMs are powered by Wartsila engines to give a speed of 20kt and a range of 8,600nm. Armaments consist of a 40mm naval gun and machine guns. The ships can support a 322C Cougar helicopter and two 7m rigid inflatable boats (RIB). The first ship, Piloto Pardo, was commissioned in June 2008 with the second ship, Policarpo Toro, due to handover in early 2009.

COLOMBIA
2 OPVs are reportedly being built for delivery in 2010.


ECUADOR
Plans to acquire 1 OPV. Modernisation of both Type 209 Submarines is planned. Replacement of the 2 Leander Class Frigates is reportedly under consideration.


MEXICO
2 Oaxaca class OPVs are being built, for commissioning in 2010. A further 2 are planned.


PERU
Replacement of the Submarine Flotilla is under consideration. Up to 3 LSLs are planned.

URUGUAY
Plans to acquire 1 OPV.

VENEZUELA
Navantia is building four 2,400 ton POVZEE (Patrullero Oceanico para la Vigilancia de la Zona Economica Exclusiva) OPVs for the Venezuelan Navy at its Puerto Real shipyard near Cadiz. Construction commenced on the 11th September 2008 with deliveries expected in 2010-11. They will carry out patrolling tasks in Venezuela’s EEZ. They will eventually be accompanied by four 76m, 1500 ton Buque de Vigilancia de Litoral (BVL) coastal patrol ships that Navantia is building for Venezuela at its San Fernando yard. The first vessel, Guaicamacuto, was launched on the 16th October 2008 and will commission in 2009 with the remainder to be
delivered by 2011. Acquisition of 3 new submarines is reportedly under consideration.

 

Indian Navy Sees Midget Submarines as Primary Threat


NEW DELHI --- The Indian Navy and Coast Guard believe that improvised mini-submarines constitute the nation's primary emerging threat. These may range from swimmer-delivery vehicles of the type employed for recreational scuba diving to remotely operated vehicles and autonomous underwater vehicles. These types of vehicles are already in service with the navies of Iran, Myanmar and Pakistan (all having procured them from North Korea). As has been amply demonstrated by the navies of North Korea and Iran, these small vessels make good platforms for ambushes even at submerged depths of 150 feet, enough room for the midget submersible to maneuver. These submarines cannot travel too far on their own, and depend on support vessels to extend their range. However, in their shallow water element where sonar returns are cluttered, they can prove quiet and deadly. Their capabilities include the ability to lay mines or insert commandos on beaches. As North Korea demonstrated with the sinking of the Cheonan, attacks from midget submersibles can also include torpedoes armed with 250-kilogram warheads. The Indian Navy believes that two factors heighten the risk of an ambush by midget submarines against Indian warships. These are the complex sonar picture of shallow water where these small submersibles can operate, and the absence of a network of seabed-mounted sonar transducers dotting the Indian coastline. With the exception of Port Blair, none of the 200 non-major ports in India are equipped with any identification or surveillance systems, and there are currently no concrete ground rules for patrolling India’s inshore coastal areas and the numerous creeks and rivulets along the coastline. In early 2009, the Indian Navy proposed that a Maritime Security Adviser (MSA) be appointed, along with a supporting Maritime Security Advisory Board (MSAB), to take stock of the growing oceanic influence on India’s foreign policy. The intention was for the MSAB to coordinate the operations of more than 14 government departments and agencies responsible for various elements of maritime affairs with several security agencies with jurisdictions along India’s coastline. This proposal has not been adopted.

 

Russian nuclear submarine leased to India

MOSCOW - Russia has handed a new nuclear-powered submarine over to India for a 10-year lease, Russian news agencies reported on Friday, two years after an accident during testing killed 20 people. The Nerpa, under the command of an Indian crew, left its base on Russia's Pacific coast earlier this week, bound for an Indian naval base, Interfax news agency quoted a source in Russia's militry-industrial complex as saying.

Citing a source in Russia's Pacific Fleet, RIA news agency said the submarine was manned by a mixed Russian-Indian crew. Another RIA report, citing the plant that built the Nerpa, said the submarine had not yet been officially handed over to India. It said the Indian crew was only training aboard the Nerpa at sea. Russia's Defence Ministry and navy could not be immediately reached for comment. The press service of the Pacific Fleet declined to give any details. The Nerpa is the latest of a class of attack submarines codenamed "Akula" by NATO, which are armed with torpedoes and cruise missiles. Building of the Nerpa began in 1993 but the submarine was only launched and started sea trials in 2008 due to the piecemeal funding of its construction. In November 2008 the submarine was on sea trials when its fire extinguishing system switched on unexpectedly. Twenty people died after inhaling the toxic gas used as a fire suppressant, authorities said. The accident was the deadliest to hit Russia's navy since 2000, when the Kursk nuclear submarine sank beneath the Barents Sea, killing all 118 sailors on board. Quoting its source in the fleet, RIA said that since January the Nerpa had made a voyage to Russia's Kamchatka peninsula, after which the plant that built it and other specialists "reduced its underwater noise to a minimum". He also said the vessel's manoeuvrability deep underwater had been improved. "After the nuclear submarine was brought in line with all Western standards, a submarine crew arrived from India," he said. India, Russia's close economic and political partner since Soviet days, accounted for a quarter of Moscow's arms exports last year, according to estimates by the Centre for Analysts of Strategies and Technologies, a Moscow-based defence think-tank.

 

India Responds to China.

The breakneck speed at which China has been moving to build up its naval might is causing concern in the international community, particularly in Japan, the United States—and in India. Recent decisions by China’s People’s Liberation Army-Navy (PLAN) have left China-watchers wondering where the Chinese juggernaut will stop. The latest decision to garner attention has been the apparent decision by the Central Military Commission—China’s highest military planning body—to give the green light to the building of two new nuclear-powered aircraft carriers. Meanwhile in India, construction work on at least four nuclear submarines is in full swing, while the indigenous Arihant nuclear-powered submarine has already been launched (India plans to have at least 30 submarines by 2030 (although this target may be tough to achieve with the submarine fleet expected to shrink to 16 by 2012 with the decommissioning of two Foxtrot submarines).

 

The future of Britain’s nuclear deterrent in the age of austerity

Preparing for the unthinkable to happen means that for the foreseeable future the UK is going to require some form of a nuclear deterrence to protect its national security interests. It would be unwise to assume that the current status quo of security threats emerging from non-state actors will remain throughout the 21st century. A political decision regarding the future of our nuclear deterrence will be required over the next five years should we wish to maintain a nuclear capability. During the election campaign the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats had opposing views concerning the future of Britain’s nuclear deterrence. The Conservatives backed Labours plans for a ‘like-for-like’ replacement and the Liberal Democrats opposed such replacement but acknowledged that Britain required some form of nuclear deterrence. Some estimates claim the renewal will cost £100Billion over a fifty-year period and it has been argued that cheaper alternatives could provide a nuclear deterrence, such as the development of nuclear equipped Typhoon fighters at 1/10th of the cost. In the aftermath of the election the agreement made between the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives placed the future of Trident in jeopardy, promising to include in the Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) to ‘ensure value for money.’ Departmental infighting over who pays for the project between the MoD and Treasury has made it more likely that the project will be postponed or scrapped altogether. If the United Kingdom is to maintain its nuclear deterrence during the ‘Age of Austerity’ then it is essential that it should provide the British taxpayer with real value for money while delivering a guaranteed, affordable and most of all relevant nuclear deterrence.

Despite the change in threats to national security, nuclear deterrence has changed little since the Cold War. In order for deterrence to be successfully achieved it is essential to ensure that the state has a guaranteed nuclear capability that is protected form an aggressor’s pre-emptive strike. The UK has since the 1960s maintained a so called second strike capability through four ballistic missile submarines which are deployed under the Continuous At-Sea Deterrence (CASD) policy. Under this policy at any one time at least one nuclear armed submarine is on patrol at any time, ensuring that a nuclear response is constantly available. Due to commitments under various international treaties and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) all of the Nuclear Weapons States (NWS) - as defined by the NPT  - have reduced the number of nuclear weapons since the end of the Cold War. The UK significantly reduced its own nuclear stockpile after the 1998 Strategic Defence Review, with the dismantling of the air-launched free-fall warheads and through a reduction of warheads carried on the Vanguard-class submarines to around 160. Despite the reductions made by the NWS, the number of states developing or possessing nuclear weapons has increased. In the twenty-first century there are fewer nuclear weapons with more fingers on the button. Working towards a nuclear-free world and reducing the numbers of nuclear weapons deployed should be at the heart of Britain’s future deterrence, but not at the cost of national security.

The UK's four Vanguard-class submarines each carry 16 Trident missiles with each missile having the capability to delivering a maximum of 8 nuclear warheads. Each submarine therefore has the ability to carry a maximum of 128 nuclear warheads. The number carried is actually around 60, which gives the government with a wide range of options for a wide range of situations. The yield of each warhead varies with some being as small as 10-15 kilotons for sub-strategic use and others being as large as 80-100 kilotons. The larger yields allow the UK to maintain the ‘Moscow Criterion’, which refers to the ability of the UK to strike at the heart of a highly centralised Soviet style decision making apparatus. It is the policy of maintaining the ‘Moscow Criterion’ and the continuation of the CASD that has attracted criticism for Trident being a Cold War weapons system. In reality Trident provides the UK with a constant and assured nuclear deterrence against a range of modern threats.

There are few alternatives to Trident and many lack the ability to provide the UK with an assured and credible deterrence. There is a suggestion that using existing aircraft to deliver nuclear weapons could cost only a tenth of the current proposals. Aircraft are however at risk of being destroyed before they reach their intended target and have a more limited range compared to the Trident missiles. The development of ground based alternatives such as Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles suffer the risk of being destroyed in a first strike and would be opposed by the majority of the British public due to the proximity that such a system would be to a population centre. A submarine based deterrent gives Britain the ability to effectively hide its weapons from a potential adversary, making a first strike designed to knockout a nuclear deterrence almost impossible, ensuring its second strike capability. A submarine  based deterrence suffers from the astronomical cost of developing advanced sonar and underwater stealth capabilities that are required to protect the vessels from attack.

Before the 2010 election Liberal Democrat MPs Menzies Campbell and Nick Harvey published a review of the Trident replacement and proposed alternatives to the plans. Including some of the alternatives mentioned above the review included: extending the life of the current Vanguard-class fleet to beyond the 30 years currently planned; reducing the number of submarines, ending the policy of CASD; and developing a modified Astute-class submarine to carry either a small number of Trident missiles or nuclear tipped cruise missiles. Under the current Trident proposals the Vanguard fleet is already due to have their operational life extended by an extra five years at the cost of £250million. It is possible that extending the life of the current force beyond this five-year extension could place the ships and the crew in danger due to the age of the ships hulls and nuclear reactor onboard. American nuclear weapons policy specialist Richard Garwin and others claim that the MoD’s arguments against life extension beyond five years are due to the wish to preserve the UK’s defence-industrial base rather than fears over safety and cost, and that extending the life of the Vanguard-class to 45 years as the US government is planning with their similar Ohio-class submarines is a possibility. The MoDs concern for safety and the defence-industrial base may however be justified as the UK and US have different safety standards regarding nuclear material and the added expense that would likely be incurred after a large gap between the last Astute being constructed and the Vanguard replacement being ordered. Ending CASD as proposed in the review paper would reduce the running costs of the program and reducing the nuclear weapons possessed by the UK. This would be achieved by reducing the number of boats from four to two or even one. There would however be little reduction in the build cost of the project due to the costly research and development of the boats systems as well as the specialist equipment and parts that come at an excessive cost to the supplier. Building several boats decreases the individual build costs and provides redundancies against damage or losses.

Nuclear tipped cruise missiles bring the advantage of dramatically reducing the cost for the development and operation of the nuclear deterrence but their use undermines its credibility. Cruise missiles travel at relatively low speeds and have a much shorter range than their ballistic missile counterparts, making them susceptible to being shot down before they reach their intended target. Ballistic missiles on the other hand are notoriously difficult to intercept. More dangerously however, Britain’s possession of nuclear tipped cruise missiles could escalate a potential conflict that Britain’s forces are involved in. The flight path of cruise missiles is the same, nuclear tipped or not, meaning that a adversary would not be able to differentiate between the launch of a conventional warhead or an attempted nuclear first strike, potentially inviting an immediate nuclear response. Ballistic missiles - such as Trident  - have a very different flight path to cruise missiles and they only carry nuclear weapons, meaning that if another state detects their launch they know what it contains. The development and use of nuclear-tipped cruise missiles should be avoided.

The current proposals for renewing Trident do provide the UK with one of the few methods of an assured and credible deterrent, but the cost of the project does raise questions concerning its value for money. In order to better justify the added expense of replacing Trident, the next generation of ballistic missile submarines should be able to carry out conventional tasks as well as providing a nuclear deterrence. In a recent RUSI paper Malcolm Chalmers suggests the use of such ‘dual-use’ boats. His suggestion calls for the design and construction for a new generation of submarines that will perform conventional roles similar to that of the current Astute-class but carry a smaller number of Trident missiles to maintain a nuclear deterrence. However a new generation of submarines is not necessarily required. During the last decade the US has successfully converted four of their Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines for conventional tasks by carrying cruise missiles and the ability to deploy Special Forces. It should be possible to add this capability to the current Vanguard-class boats once they start beginning refitted for the life extension program. Replacing all but four of the Trident missiles would allow for ten of the tubes to be used for cruise missiles and the remaining two to be converted into lock-out chambers for use by Special Forces. In a conventional conflict the Vanguard-class would have a new capability they never had before with the ability to launch seventy cruise missiles during the conflict. Extending their life beyond the currently planned thirty years would mean that the building of seven Astute-class boats could be scaled back and allow both classes of boats to be replaced at the same time by a new class, designed around a multirole capability. The next generation of submarines could even keep the number of converted ballistic missile tubes, maintaining the potential for the submarines to be rearmed in the event that the international situation deteriorates. Having a larger fleet of around seven submarines that have the ability to carry nuclear weapons also allows for possibility that not all the submarines would carry nuclear missiles all the time. Potential adversaries would then find it difficult to decide which submarines carry the nuclear weapons and add an aspect of deniability to whether nuclear weapons are deployed on a boat conducting conventional operations. Only having three of the seven boats armed with Trident missiles would allow CASD to continue.

In conclusion, during such tough government spending cuts and the apparent insistence of the Treasury for the MoD to pay for Tridents renewal it is necessary for the deterrence to provide real value for money. Other options such as nuclear tipped cruise missiles - that would be cheaper than the current proposals - lack the ability to provide the UK with a credible deterrence that may be needed should the current national security threats change. The best way to provide value for money would be to change the role that the Vanguard-class currently plays in the armed forces. Giving the submarines the conventional capability described would provide real benefits to defence planning and capabilities as well as allowing a capability to prepare for a potentially uncertain and unthinkable nuclear future.

 

Families of French engineers killed in a 2002 bomb attack in Pakistan will lodge a manslaughter suit against former president Jacques Chirac.

Their civil suit for manslaughter and endangering life also targets former prime minister Dominique de Villepin and former executives involved in arms deals linked to the case, the families’ lawyer Olivier Morice told AFP. Investigators suspect the bombing in Karachi in 2002, which killed 11 French engineers and at least three Pakistanis, was revenge for the cancelling by Chirac of commissions for officials in the sale of submarines to Pakistan. “Our complaint is going to target how the decision was arrived at to stop the commissions,” Morice told AFP, saying the suit was prompted by recent testimony from arms executives in the case. Morice on Thursday also called for France’s current President Nicolas Sarkozy to be questioned by a magistrate investigating the affair, a complex case linked to allegations of illegal political funding. Investigators have also heard from witnesses who allege Sarkozy was linked to the commissions. He has dismissed the case as a “fairytale

 

China has announced that it has successfully launched a domestically-made submarine in the South China Sea.

CCTV news channel broadcast the above video of submariners on the maiden voyage of the vessel, including the moment a robot planted a Chinese national flag at the bottom of the South China Sea.  The China-made submarine reached depths of more than two miles, according to CCTV.  China has declared that it is the fifth country to produce a submarine that can withstand depths of more than two miles below sea level, after the United States, Russia, France, and Japan.  Speaking at a briefing on Thursday, Ma Yanhe, head of social development at the Ministry of Technology said the test was successfully carried out.  "The submarine made a record of operating under sea for 9 hours and 3 minutes, so the equipment on board successfully passed the test and operated at depths of more than 3,000 metres and met the relevant standards," Ma said.  The date the mission was carried out is not known.

 

Buying submarines that nobody can operate is a bit foolhardy

The SA Navy submarine SAS Manthatisi could not put to sea because she did not have a trained crew, SA Navy’s chief director maritime strategy, Rear-Admiral Bernhard Teuteberg, told members of Parliament’s defence portfolio committee. Teuteberg, said the fact that the submarine was currently dry-docked at the Simon’s Town naval dockyard was “not only the batteries” as alluded to by Defence Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, early this year in a written reply to a parliamentary question. She said the Manthatisi was languishing in the submarine shed at the naval base “to minimise exposure to the elements while its batteries are being subjected to maintenance”. Okay, I am thinking here why spend billions of rands on submarines when we don’t have crews to operate them? But I guess it’s just me thinking. It’s like buying a Lamborghini before getting your drivers licence, and then realising much later that you in fact need to learn how to drive and get a licence – a conclusion that only needs common sense. If we can’t operate them, we might as well loan them to the Somali pirates – that way we will get some money out of owning them.

Venezuela will be incorporating several “non-atomic” submarines

Very soon “we will have our submarines cruising” which will be “normal submarines”, with no nuclear capacity at all, pointed out Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, in anticipation of any criticisms “that could suggest such an option”.

 

The ‘Kilo’ class Russian built submarine The ‘Kilo’ class Russian built submarine.

 

Nevertheless it is believed they are Russian built, since their incorporation was begun to be talked about back in 2005. Apparently they are three diesel-electric powered subs of the “Varshavianka” class, project 636 (‘Kilo’ according to NATO nomenclature), at a cost of over a billion US dollars of which 800 million were financed by Moscow. The ‘Kilo’ class submersibles are third generation equipped with four 533 mm torpedo launchers and ten missile launchers from cruise Club-S. These weapons could enable the subs to attack fixed or mobile submerged, coastal or sea surface targets under conditions of intense “radio-electronic” interference. Currently the Venezuelan navy has two German built submarines U-209, launched in 1975 that were refurbished but are considered of “limited action”.

 

The U-214 and Greece’s Submarine Predicament.

On Monday Sept 21, 2009, ThyssenKrupp Marine informed the Greek Minister of Defence that it was cancelling “The Archimedes Project” contract for 4 U-214 diesel-electric submarines with Air-Independent Propulsion technology, because the government’s payments had remained underwater for too long. Accumulated payment arrears were over EUR 520 million (then $767 million), and so ThyssenKrupp and its subsidiary Hellenic Shipyards sought international arbitration, in order to recover some of the payments due under its contract. That development was the just the latest chapter in a long and continuing saga. If the issue remained unresolved, or arbitration results in termination payments but no delivery, Greece could find itself without a submarine force. Greece currently fields 8 boats: 4 Glavkos class U-209/1100 boats commissioned between 1971-1979 (S110-S113), and 4 Poseidon class U-209/1200 boats (S114, S117, S118, S119) commissioned from 1979-1980.

In 1989, the Neptune I program began to upgrade the 4 Glavkos class boats. They received flank array sonar and significant electronics upgrades, including the ability to fire UGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missiles. In 2002, Hellenic shipyards received the Neptune II contract for the “mid life” modernization and repair of 3 Poseidon class boats, which included cutting the hull and installing an 6.5m long Air-Independent Propulsion section, as well as hydrogen storage tanks for the AIP. Flank array sonar, electronics upgrades, an electro-optic mast with satellite communication capability, and Harpoon missile-firing capability reportedly round out the upgrade’s major features. While Neptune II proceeded, the Greek government signed a contract in February 2000 for 3 of HDW’s new Type 214 submarines + 1 option. It was the first order for the new class. Papanikolis (S120), the first-of-class U-214, was laid down in Kiel, Germany in February 2001 and launched in April 2004. In January 2005, HDW’s ThyssenKrupp Marine (TKMS) parent company bought Hellenic Shipyards near Athens, Greece, and invested heavily in modernizing it. Submarine work had already been underway since 2002, and Hellenic Shipyards built the next 3 Greek U-214 submarines: S121 Pipinos, S122 Matrozos, and S123 Katsonis. Once the Papanikolis’ sea trials began in 2006, however, the Hellenic Navy found a host of issues with the new submarine. Poor performance from the AIP system that supplements its diesel engines for long underwater operations, problems with the ISUS combat system, poor surface sea keeping in high seas, and hydraulic system issues were among the major flaws reported. The Navy refused acceptance, leaving HDW to fix the boat.

 

US NAVY SEAL ASDS.

February 23, 2010: A year ago, the U.S. Navy cancelled its ASDS (Advanced Seal Delivery Systems) minisub project, after over a decade of effort, and nearly a billion dollars spent. This inspired a commercial submarine company (Submergence Group) to try and build what the SEALs needed, but do it more quickly and cheaply. So, in less than a year, and spending about $10 million of their own money, Submergence Group delivered their S301 SEAL delivery system minisub to the navy for evaluation. The S302 was built to commercial standards. It can dive to 200 meters (600 feet) and has air locks so that divers can enter or leave the S301 while submerged. The 13 ton, 8 meter (25 foot) S301 carries two crew and eight SEAL commandos. The S301 can fit into the 12-meter (38 foot) dry deck shelter that can be attacked to American SSNs. This allows the S301 crew and passengers to enter the minisub via a SSN hatch. Then the dry deck shelter is flooded, and the S301 can proceed to the target area. The S301 provides 12 hours of operation via lithium ion batteries. The navy was so impressed with the S301, that they leased it for a year, to see if it, or a variant, could meet the ASDS requirements. All this was made possible by the fact that commercial materials and shipbuilding technology had advanced so much in the last two decades that a recreational submarine industry had developed. These private subs are not cheap, but for the very wealthy, and maritime research operations, they are affordable. 

It was four years ago that the U.S. Navy SEALs were told that they were not going to get their six ASDS. Only the first one had been built, and it was not a success. After a decade of development, the ASDS had too many technical problems, and construction of the other five was cancelled. Only the first one remained, and it sort of worked. Then, fifteen months ago, the sole ASDS caught fire, and burned for six hours. The navy was reluctant to repair the vessel. Instead, it was decided to try and develop a similar vessel, using components of the ASDS that did work. In the meantime, the S301 showed up, rather unexpectedly.

The ASDS was a 65-foot long, 60-ton mini-submarine. Battery powered and with a crew of two, the ASDS could carry up to 14 passengers (fewer if a lot of equipment is being brought along, the usual number of passengers is expected to be eight.) With a max range of 200 kilometres, top speed of 14 kilometres an hour and max diving depth of 200 feet, the ASDS operates from one of the seven nuclear submarine equipped to carry it on its deck. The ASDS is equipped with passive and active sonar, radar and an electronic periscope (that uses a video camera, not the traditional optics). While a nice piece of engineering, each ASDS cost over $300 million. Fortunately for the navy, SOCOM (Special Operations Command) was paying for the ASDS boats. That means that army rangers and marine recon troops would also train to use ASDS. Delta Force was to try them out as well. Little is said publicly about how often, and where, ASDS would be used. The types of missions ASDS was designed for are often kept secret for a long time. The ASDS first production boat underwent testing in Hawaii and the Persian Gulf for three years, before being declared ready for service and in 2004. But problems kept cropping up, until the production of the other five was cancelled in 2006. Apparently there was not a big demand for something like the ASDS, as there was no urgent request for a replacement design.

The S301 saves a lot of money by skipping lots of the high tech sensors, and "additional features" that some admiral or contractor tacked on for no particular reason (but that increased the cost, and complexity, of the system a lot.) The regular warship builders and defence contractors dismiss something like the S301 as a "civilian toy," but the troops have some input, and they are definitely interested.

 

PARIS (BNS)

European naval defence company DCNS has begun the construction work of Brazilian Navy?s first SSK-class diesel-electric powered submarine. The company launched the industrial production phase of the submarine at its Cherbourg facility on May 27, 2010. The forward half of the vessel will be built at the Cherbourg centre, DCNS said in a statement. The first phase production work began nine months after Brazil signed a contract to procure four such conventional submarines which would be  based on the French/Spanish Scorpene submarines. As per the contract, the first vessel would be jointly constructed by DCNS and Brazil. The rest of the three subs will be built in Brazil  under transfer of technology agreement. The first SSK-class submarine is scheduled to enter service with the Brazilian Navy in 2017.  All the four submarines will use conventional or diesel-electric  propulsion systems. Each sub will have a water displacement capacity of  less than 2,000 tons. The vessels will be designed keeping in mind the Brazilian Navy's  specific requirements, which would include anti-surface and    anti-submarine warfare capabilities along with special operations and   intelligence gathering.

 

Japan Wants More Subs.

August 11, 2010: Since the 1970s, Japan has maintained a fleet of at least 18 diesel-electric submarines. Now, in the face of growing Chinese naval power, this fleet is to be increased, to 21 or 24. China currently has about 60 submarines, none of them as effective as the Japanese boats, despite seven of them being nuclear. The Japanese crews are also better trained, but the Chinese are building better ships with more intensively trained crews. Two other Chinese neighbors, South Korea and Australia, are also increasing their submarine forces.  For the last three decades, Japan has replaced their subs after about 25 years, with newer designs based on experience with the previous classes. The new expansion will probably be accomplished by building more of the new Soryu class. There are two Soryu class boats in service and four under construction. These 2,900 ton boats have a crew of 65, six 533mm (21 inch) torpedo tubes and 30 torpedoes or Harpoon anti-ship missiles. There are also two 76mm tubes for launching acoustic countermeasures. Sonar and electronics are superior to the previous class. These boats also have AIP (Air Independent Propulsion) that enables them to remain submerged for a week or more at a time. Top surface speed is 24 kilometers an hour, top submerged speed is 37 kilometers an hour. Currently Japan also has eleven 2,700 ton Oyashio class subs, built 1994-2008. With a crew of 70, they are armed with six 533mm (21 inch) torpedo tubes and 27 torpedoes or Harpoon anti-ship missiles. Their sonar equipment is superior to that of the Harushio class. Top surface speed is 24 kilometers an hour, top submerged speed is 37 kilometers an hour. There are five Harushio class boats, plus two diverted to training duties. These 2,400 ton boats were built 1987-1997 and have crews of 65-70 sailors. They are armed with six 533mm (21 inch) torpedo tubes and 26 torpedoes or Harpoon anti-ship missiles. They have hull mounted and towed sonar. Top surface speed is 24 kilometers an hour, top submerged speed is 37 kilometers an hour.

 

USNS Safeguard Showcases Submarine Rescue

SOUTH CHINA SEA - The cramped and lengthy ride in a submarine rescue chamber (SRC) may seem miserable at the time, but imagine if you were part of the crew of a bottomed submarine and your life depended on squeezing into this sweltering, steamy little compartment. Submariners around the globe would gladly endure these conditions for the sake of survival, and in the unlikely case of a submarine casualty their survival is a humanitarian interest that requires cooperation across national and alliance boundaries. 

 
 

To demonstrate a commitment to this humanitarian aid discipline, the U.S. Navy along with navies from Australia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, and the Republic of Singapore conducted a Submarine Escape and Rescue (SMER) exercise, codenamed Pacific Reach, from 17 to 25 Aug. U.S. Military Sealift Command rescue and salvage ship USNS Safeguard (T-ARS 50) and the San Diego-based Deep Submergence Unit (DSU) participated in a variety of submarine rescue drills, including multiple deployments of the U.S. submarine rescue chamber, demonstrating a highly sophisticated level of international interoperability to conduct humanitarian submarine rescue missions.  “This exercise shows that our systems can work with international navies’ submarine systems, and that our procedures are similar and we can cross over,” said Cmdr. David Lemly, commanding officer of DSU. “In an actual rescue, multiple nations would respond and we may end up using several different systems—whichever can get there first. So it’s important that we not only know how we can operate together, but that we are communicating and have confidence that we can operate together.”
 

Pacific Reach is the largest and most sophisticated submarine rescue exercise conducted in the Asia Pacific region. Senior military officials from thirteen countries participated as observers, including Canada, China, France, India, Indonesia, Italy, Malaysia, Pakistan, South Africa, Sweden, Thailand, the United Kingdom and Vietnam.  “In Southeast Asia our job is to provide rescue, salvage, towing and diving services for any asset for any of the countries here if it’s been requested,” said Senior Chief Master Diver Ted Walker, from the Pearl Harbor-based Mobile Diver Salvage Unit One. “Our mobile diver unit is very versatile, and we can provide a ready rescue cell anywhere in the world. Right now we’re providing a platform for DSU and we’re helping them to do this exercise.”
 

Safeguard was one of two submarine rescue support vessels—including the Singaporean MV Swift Rescue—that served as the focal point for a series of submarine rescue events. The DSU deployed the SRC from Safeguard using a large crane to lift the massive capsule over the side. Using this SRC, the DSU conducted successful open-hatch matings with JDS Arashio and RSS Chieftain; submarines from Japan and the Republic of Singapore that bottomed for this simulated rescue scenario.  During one event, four countries were represented in a single simulated rescue and chamber mating. Naval officers from the U.S., China, and Republic of Singapore were sealed together inside the U.S. SRC for more than three hours as they were lowered via tether to mate with Arashio. At a depth of nearly 200 feet, the SRC connected with the submarine, and a U.S. Navy diver inside the SRC opened Arashio’s hatch to shake hands with Japanese crew members from the bottomed submarine.
 

This year's exercise, the fifth in the series, was hosted by the RSN for the second time and consisted of a shore phase conducted at the Changi Command and Control Center and a sea phase held in the South China Sea. The exercise also comprised a medical symposium as well as simulated evacuation and treatment of personnel from submarines in distress.  “The medical portion of this exercise is essential. We rescue submariners and not submarines, so just getting the guys to the surface isn’t necessarily enough,” said Lt. Cmdr. Jeffrey Gertner, a U.S. Navy deep submergence medical officer aboard MV Swift Rescue. “One of the biggest challenges is that things get really chaotic with many patients. You can’t bring a hospital out here, so you have to do the best with what you have, which means you usually have limited manpower and lots of injuries all at once.” Medical teams from the U.S. were among the countries participating in medical symposiums and drills to share ideas and practices with each other, with the goal of overall improving the survival rates of submariners who may be rescued from high-pressure underwater environments.  “It’s important worldwide to be able to support the submarine force,” said Gertner. “We’re sending them out into harm’s way, and it’s crucial to be able to have a plan and resources to save them if necessary.”
 

Exercise Pacific Reach aims to develop regional submarine escape and rescue capabilities and strengthen interoperability in submarine rescue operations among participating navies. Speaking at the opening of the exercise, RSN's Fleet Commander, Rear- Admiral Joseph Leong, said, "Exercise Pacific Reach serves as a platform to foster cooperation on submarine escape and rescue, as well as to enhance multilateral relations among the submarine operating countries. As more countries acquire or enhance their submarine capabilities in the region, it is also important that we build and maintain a strong network for multilateral submarine rescue collaboration."

This year, the RSN contributed a Landing Ship Tank, RSS Endeavour, submarine RSS Chieftain, MV Swift Rescue and submersible rescue vehicle, Deep Search and Rescue Six. With hyperbaric facilities such as recompression chambers and a high dependency unit, MV Swift Rescue provides immediate and specialized medical treatment to injured personnel who are evacuated from distressed submarines. In 2000, the RSN hosted the first Exercise Pacific Reach, involving navies from Japan, the Republic of Korea and the United States.

ONLY 7 out  of 16 Submarines in India are Operational.

The CAG said in its report that not only were many of the 16 Indian submarines at the end of three-fourths of their life, but that only seven of them were actually operational, with nine undergoing repairs and refit. Two of the submarines, INS (Indian Naval Ship) Vela and INS Vagli, both Foxtrot-class, are due to be decommissioned this year and next year.The report reads, “75 per cent submarines in the IN fleet have already completed three fourths of their estimated operational life. It is pertinent to mention that only 7 out of 16 submarines in IN are operational and 9 submarines are under refit/repair as of October 2009.  As of November 2009, Padeyes fitment has been completed in 11 out of 16 submarines out of which only 4 SSK (Diesel Electric Attack) submarines have been certified by USN for mating with US DSRV for a period of three years effective from 20 December 2007 and of which at least 2 are presently under refit. Two of the serving Foxtrot submarines, on which Padeyes were fitted, INS Vela and INS Vagli, would be de-commissioned in 2010 and 2011 respectively”.The CAG report has also pointed out that any actual submarine rescue would depend on the presence of a USN DSRV, which would take at least 72 hours to get to station from its nearest base, and for the services of which, an agreement was not even in place. “The DSRV is to perform rescue operations on submerged or disabled submarines.

 

Pentagon plans 'flying submarine'

Pentagon researchers are attempting to develop a military vehicle which can travel underwater like a submarine before bursting out of the waves and flying like an aeroplane.

 

The manta ray-like flying submarine from The Incredibles.

 

The manta ray-like flying submarine from The Incredibles. Photo: PIXAR

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency , and the US military department, has set about creating an aircraft that can fly low over the water until near its target before disappearing under the sea to avoid detection. I t would then creep closer in submarine form before attacking its target, probably a ship or coastal installation, and fly home. The project, which has been in development since 2008, has reached design proposal stage, and several outside developers have submitted designs. DARPA could start allocating funding to developers in as little as a year. While the principles of hydrodynamic and aerodynamic flight are similar, the technological challenges are profound. Aircraft need to be as light as possible, so that they can use a minimum of power to get airborne, while submarines need to be dense and strong to withstand water pressure. Heavier-than-air aircraft get their lift from airflow over their wings - submarines simply pump water in and out to change their buoyancy.  One method of getting around the latter problem is to design a submarine that is lighter than water, but - like an upside-down aeroplane - uses lift generated by its wings to force it away from the surface. Then, after surfacing, the wings' "angle of attack" would be changed to generate upwards lift instead, allowing it to fly.  Graham Hawkes, a submarine designer, believes that modern lightweight carbon fibre composites could be used to build a craft that is both strong enough and light enough to fly above and below the water. He has already designed and built a submersible craft called the "Super Falcon" which uses stubby wings to "fly" down to 300 metres. He says that if it were given jet engines and larger wings, it could fly at up to 900kph (560mph) in the air, while still being capable of underwater travel at around 18kph (11mph). At these speeds, the behaviour of water and air over the control surfaces is similar. "Think about it as flying under water," says Mr Hawkes. "It can be done. It just needs a lot of work."  One problem could be overcome in a dramatic fashion - in order to get the wings to start generating downward lift, the craft would have to get underwater; but a lighter-than-water vessel would struggle to do so. Mr Hawkes suggests copying birds: "You might have to put the nose down and literally dive, smack, into the water. It would certainly be spectacular." There are a variety of other design problems to overcome. Ordinary batteries capable of giving the craft a 44km (28 mile) range - as specified by DARPA - would weigh more than the rest of the vessel, but running it on ordinary fuel would require a supply of air, meaning a snorkel and a maximum depth of just a few meters.  Also, jet engines - which run at several hundred degrees celsius - would most likely explode from the sudden change in temperature if they were rapidly submerged after airborne use, but piston engines would not survive being immersed in water. Jim McKenna, an engineer at the UK Civil Aviation Authority, says: "You can't let cold seawater get at a hot engine because the thermal shock will blow it apart." The Pentagon's dream of a flying submarine is still some way away yet.

 

Personal Submarines Make Backyard Diving Possible

Improved materials and electronics are bringing an age-old dream closer to reality: Cruising the depths in your own private submersible. There's a whole world out there to explore underwater, if you have the right ride.  The water is rising. Already the murky, greenish sea is swirling around my feet, and it's coming up fast. Fortunately, I'm staying dry inside a 54-in.-wide watertight acrylic sphere attached to the front end of a 3.5-ton canary-yellow submarine built by an outfit called SEAmagine Hydrospace Corporation. This craft is the prototype for a line of personal vehicles that its makers say could change the personal submarine business from a fringe toy for the rich to an industry. "My long-term objective, in one word, is Boeing," says president and CEO William Kohnen, sitting next to me in the pilot's seat. "There's room for a company the size of Boeing in the undersea-vehicles market, and we want to be it." Well, maybe eventually. Meanwhile, it's a perfect day in Southern California, all azure skies and crystalline sunshine, and a small crowd has gathered on the dock here in Huntington Beach to watch us slowly sink below the surface.  As the water laps over our heads, the dome vanishes, leaving the powerful illusion that I'm not in a submarine at all, but simply sitting underwater, perfectly dry. We descend slowly to the bottom and hover there. I lean forward and look down at the dark silt beneath my stocking feet. A mud-colored fish wriggles across the seabed, startled by our presence. Overhead, the sun is a quivering yellow-white blob amid the silvery underside of the surface. I expected the descent to be creepy or claustrophobic, but instead it's oddly serene, almost dreamlike. "It's not about getting from point A to point B," Kohnen says. "It's about the ability to hover, and take it all in." The urge to own and operate your personal submarine has long been a nearly impossible dream. For a century, subs have found widespread use as research and military platforms, but a market for leisure craft has remained elusive. Lately these watercraft have found a niche as playthings for the wealthy: A mega­yacht without a submarine is like an RV without a Weber grill. Russian oil billionaire Roman Abramovich has a two-man sub aboard his 377-ft yacht Pelorus, while Paul Allen's 413-ft $450 million Octopus sports a 10-passenger model. Of course, with the worldwide supply of such billionaires a bit depressed at the moment, most personal-sub makers are hoping simply to hold on until the next economic upturn. If the high-end market can survive, technology and design developments might make these vehicles available to a lower tax bracket.  The technical challenges are formidable. Given the corrosive effects of seawater, the incredible pressures that build with depth, and the inherent danger, submarines are very difficult to operate safely and cheaply. Critical systems must be redundant, and structural components have to be engineered to withstand loads many times greater than those likely to be encountered. Add it all up, and submarines are heavy, complicated and expensive.

German U-Boat Cut Back.

Although no one really expected Germany to rebuild the Kriegsmarine U-Boot arm to the levels of it’s glory days of WWII, it was natural for Germany to create a force sufficient for her modern needs. After WWII, Germany transitioned from quantity to quality, incorporating designs and improvements of the late-war Type XXI & XXIII into smaller, but deadlier submarines.  German submarines are still considered to be top-notch, and several have been sold to overseas bidders. Now, however, it seems that the great German submarine tradition may well be on it’s way to history’s dustbin.

BONN, Germany – The German Navy abruptly decommissioned more than half of its submarine fleet on June 1, well ahead of the planned 2016 retirement of the six 500-ton U-206A-class diesel submarines. Now the German sub fleet consists of four U212A vessels. The 1,830-ton boats, among the world’s most modern conventional submarines, have a new hybrid drive with a fuel cell that allows them to operate fully submerged for several weeks. All four were commissioned between 2005 and 2007; the Navy is expecting the delivery of two more slightly modified U-212A-class subs by 2012 or 2013. “At the moment, we expect their operational readiness not later than 2015,” a German Navy spokesman said. The spokesman did not say whether the decommissioning was related to recently announced government plans to cut defense spending. The newspaper Kieler Nachrichten said the decommissioning of the U-206As has dropped Germany from second to sixth place among nations that operate non-nuclear submarines. Between 1973 and 1975, Germany commissioned 18 U206 submarines. In the early 1990s, the service modernized 12 of them to the U-206 A standard, when they were the smallest operating armed submarines in the world, according to Navy officials. The crews of the decommissioned boats will be retrained to serve on the U-212A subs. “Until now, every crew was assigned to its own boat, but we will change this to a two-crew concept,” the spokesman said. That way, the submarines themselves can remain longer in an operational area while only their crews will have to be changed. Germany’s planned F125 frigates also will use this approach. Of course, this Blue/Gold crew business is wishful thinking, as it fails to take into account any mechanical casualties.  Any sort of mechanical issues in a single boat will now deprive the fleet of 25% of it’s force.  One has to ask, then, “Why bother”? To my mind, that may be exactly what the German Government is thinking. It’ s always politically easier to cut defense spending than entitlement programs. Germany certainly has a socialist history, with entire generations now being weaned at the government tit, and large numbers spending their lives slurping at the public trough rather than actually creating wealth.  Don’t get me wrong. Germany is still head and shoulders above any other European nation, but but a major reason for her economic prosperity has been that these United States have taken over a large portion of their defense budget these past 65 years. However, as to the immediate problem,  it is disappointing that Germany has taken these steps. Even with 4 new boats coming online in the future, the short-term loss of these 6 boats, along with the training and operational experience they provide is a further weakening of NATO maritime strength, at a time when international tensions are rising. A simple suggestion for Germany: Stop bailing out other nations, and see to your own national needs first. Would that these United States were able to do that.

 

Kickback investigation could implicate Sarkozy

 Oct 7, 2010, 13:25 GMT Paris - A French magistrate has decided to open an investigation into possible kickbacks from a sale of submarines to Pakistan that could implicate President Nicolas Sarkozy, LCI television reported Thursday. The investigation grew out of a judicial inquiry into the motives for a 2002 terrorist attack in Karachi, Pakistan, that killed 15 people, including 11 French naval engineers. The judge investigating the May 8, 2002, suicide attack believes it was not part of al Qaeda's plot, but the result of political infighting among French right-wing politicians, in which Sarkozy may have played an important role. According to that theory, the attack was carried out by elements of the Pakistani military because of non-payment of part of the bribes for the 1994 purchase by Pakistan of three Agosta 90 submarines from France for an estimated 950 million dollars. Significantly, the 11 French nationals killed in the Karachi attack were there to complete work on the three submarines. The sale of the submarines was negotiated by then prime minister Eduoard Balladur. Investigators believe that some 13.2 million French francs (2.1 million euros; currently about 2.94 million dollars) flowed back to France in the form of kickbacks, much of it to help Balladur's unsuccessful 1995 presidential campaign. At the time, Sarkozy was Balladur's budget minister, as well as the treasurer of his presidential campaign. The French online daily Mediapart reported earlier this year that Luxembourg police have found that in 1994 Sarkozy set up an illegal offshore company to help finance his boss's upcoming presidential campaign. Called Heine, the Luxembourg-based company was allegedly used to pay bribes to intermediaries in overseas arms sales by the French naval defence company DCN and funnel kickbacks from those deals back to France. While paying bribes to foreign agents was legal at the time, kickbacks - or 'retro-commissions', as they are called - were not. More than 80 million dollars in bribes were allegedly to be paid to Pakistani politicians and military personnel in the submarine deal. But the payments were stopped by Balladur's conservative arch-rival Jacques Chirac when he became president in 1995. Investigators now believe this might have been the motive for the deadly attack. The lawyer for families of the French victims of that bombing, Olivier Morice, told the German Preess Agency dpa earlier this year that the Luxembourg police report 'demonstrates' that the president's implication was not implausible. 'I am certain that the operation he put in place when he was budget director played a central role in the affair,' he said. Opposition politicians had demanded a formal investigation into the kickback allegations, and this is now likely to happen. However, as president, Sarkozy is immune from all criminal prosecution except treason until his term expires. He and Balladur have denied all of the allegation

 

Sub scandal surfaces in France

PARIS– A potentially explosive scandal in Malaysia involving  a billion-dollar purchase of French submarines, has broken out of the domestic arena with the filing of a request to investigate bribery and kickbacks from the deal in a Paris court.  French lawyers William Bourdon, Renaud Semerdjian and Joseph Breham filed the request with Parisian prosecutors on behalf of the Malaysian human rights organisation, Suaram.  For two years, Parisian prosecutors, led by investigating judges Francoise Besset and Jean-Christophe Hullin, have been investigating allegations involving senior French political figures and the sales of submarines and other weaponry to governments all over the world. Judges in the Paris Prosecution Office have been probing a wide range of corruption charges involving similar submarine sales and the possibility of bribery and kickbacks to top officials in France, Pakistan and other countries.  The Malaysian piece of the puzzle was added in two filings, on Dec 4, 2009 and Feb 23 this year. Allegations relate to one of France's biggest defence conglomerates, the state-owned shipbuilder DCN, which merged with the French electronics company Thales in 2005 to become a dominant force in the European defense industry.  DCN's subsidiary Armaris is the manufacturer of Scorpene-class diesel submarines sold to India, Pakistan and Malaysia among other countries. All of the contracts, according to the lawyers acting for Suaram,  are said to be suspect. The mess has the potential to become a major liability for the Malaysian government and Umno, both headed by Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak. "The filings are very recent and have so far prompted a preliminary police inquiry on the financial aspects of the deal," said a Paris-based source familiar with France's defence establishment.  "There isn't a formal investigation yet. The investigation will most likely use documents seized at DCN in the course of another investigation, focusing on bribes paid by DCN in Pakistan."


The Razak Baginda factor

The Malaysian allegations revolve around the payment of €114 million to a Malaysia-based company called Perimekar, for support services surrounding the sale of the submarines. Perimekar was wholly owned by another company, KS Ombak Laut Sdn Bhd, which in turn was controlled by political analyst Abdul Razak Bagina, whose wife Mazalinda, a lawyer and former magistrate, was the principal shareholder, according to the French lawyers. "Over the past years, serious cases have been investigated in France by judges involving DCN," lawyer Renaud Semerdjian told Asia Sentinel in a telephone interview. "This is not the first case of its  kind that is being investigated. There are others in Pakistan and there are some issues about India. "To a certain extent, every time weapons of any kind have been provided, suspicion of violation of the law may be very high." When he was Defence Minister from 2000 to 2008, Najib commissioned a huge military buildup to upgrade Malaysia's armed forces, including two submarines from Armaris and the lease of a third, a retired French Navy Agosta-class boat.  There were also Sukhoi supersonic fighter jets from Russia and coastal patrol boats.


Altantuya connection
The issue achieved considerably notoriety after the murder of  Mongolian woman Altantuya Shaariibuu  28, who allegedly participated in negotiations over the purchase of the submarines. She was killed in October 2006; her body blown up with military explosives by two bodyguards who have since been sentenced to death. Razak was acquitted in November 2008 of all charges that implicated him in the case.  A private detective hired by Razak filed a statutory declaration after the trial indicating that najib was implicated but the private eye, P Balasubramaniam later retracted his statement and left the country. In the current complaint in Paris, the issue revolves around what, if anything, Razak's Perimekar company did to deserve €114 million.  Perimekar was registered in 2001, a few months before the signing of the contracts for the sale, the Paris complaint states.  The company, it said flatly, "did not have the financial resources to complete the contract." A review of the accounts in 2001 and 2002, the complaint said, "makes it an obvious fact that this corporation had absolutely no capacity, or legal means or financial ability and/or expertise to support such a contract." "None of the directors and shareholders of Perimekar have the slightest experience in the construction, maintenance or submarine logistics," the complaint adds.  "Under the terms of the contract, €114 million were related to the different stages of construction of the submarines." The apparent consideration, supposedly on the part of Perimekar, "would be per diem and Malaysian crews and accommodation costs during their training. There is therefore no link between billing steps and stages of completion of the consideration."


A RM270mil a year contract
The services for the subs are reportedly being performed by Boustead DCNS, a joint venture between BHIC Defence Technologies Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of publicly-listed Boustead Heavy Industries Corp Bhd, and DCNS SA, a subsidiary of DCN.  Boustead's Heavy Industries Division now includes Perimekar as an "associate of the Group. PSB is involved in the marketing, upgrading, maintenance and related services for the Malaysian maritime defence industry," according to Boustead's annual report.
Originally Boustead told the Malaysian Stock Exchange that the service contract was for RM600mil for six years, or US$30.68 million annually.  However, the contract reportedly later ballooned to RM270mil per year. "There are good grounds to believe that [Perimekar] was created with a single objective: arrange payment of the commission and allocate the amount between different beneficiaries including Malaysian public officials and or Malaysian or foreign intermediaries," the complaint states.

 

Sevmash told to speed up sub constructions

Head of the Russian navy, Admiral Vladimir Vysotsky, gave a clear instruction to the submarine yard Sevmash in Severodvinsk to speed up the on-going construction of several nuclear-powered strategic submarines. The navy commander said to Sevmash director Nikolay Kalistratov that it is necessary to conduct more effective work in the manufacturing of defense orders. Located on the shores of the White Sea, Sevmash is the largest submarine production yard in Russia. From 1958 till today, the yard has built more than 150 nuclear powered submarines, or some 2/3 of all nuclear submarines built. Since the end of the Cold War, only a few new nuclear powered submarines have been put on water from the yard in Severodvinsk. There are currently three important nuclear powered submarines under construction at Sevmash. The two strategic submarines of the fourth generation, “Alexandr Nevsky” and “Vladimir Monomakh” are similar to the “Yury Dolgoruky” that over the last year has been on many sea trials, but are so far not handed over to the navy. The third submarine mentioned by Admiral Vysotsky is Kazan – the first of the fourth generation nuclear powered multi-purpose submarines for the Russian navy. This class of submarines is said to be able to carry long-ranged cruise missiles that can be tipped with nuclear warheads. The work on the orders needs to accelerate, the Sevmash web-portal note from the meeting reads. Earlier this year, Kalistratov said the submarines under construction are delayed because Sevmash lacks qualified workers.

 

Six Russian Kilo Class Submarines to Vietnam.

Worth $3.2 billion Last year's contract on the delivery of six Kilo class diesel submarines to Vietnam, worth a total of $3.2 billion, is the largest deal in the history of Russian exports of naval equipment, a Russian magazine says. The contract was signed in December 2009 during the visit of Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung to Russia. "The construction cost is $2.1 billion, but the building of all necessary coastal infrastructure and the delivery of armaments and other equipment may bring the total to $3.2 bln, which makes this deal the largest in the history of Russian exports of naval equipment," the Export of Arms magazine says in an editorial published in its June issue. Admiralty Shipyards in St. Petersburg will build the submarines with the rate of one vessel per year.State-run arms exporter Rosoboronexport previously said Russia could sell up to 40 fourth-generation diesel-electric submarines to foreign customers by 2015. Kilo class submarines, nicknamed "Black Holes" for their ability to avoid detection, are considered to be among the quietest diesel-electric submarines in the world.The submarine is designed for anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface-ship warfare, and also for general reconnaissance and patrol missions.The vessel has a displacement of 2,300 tons, a maximum depth of 350 meters (1,200 feet), a range of 6,000 miles, and a crew of 57. It is equipped with six 533-mm torpedo tubes. At least 29 Kilo class subs have been exported to China, India, Iran, Poland, Romania and Algeria.

 

BOGOTA, Colombia

A 100-foot (33-meter), twin-screw diesel submarine seized at a jungle shipyard in Ecuador marks a quantum, if anticipated, leap in drug-smuggling evasion technology, the top U.S. counter-drug official for the region said Sunday. "It is the first fully functional, completely submersible submarine for transoceanic voyages that we have ever found," Jay Bergman, Andean regional director for the Drug Enforcement Administration, told The Associated Press. Until now, all the smuggling vessels seized on the high seas or at clandestine shipyards built to haul multi-ton loads of cocaine under the Pacific's surface were semi-submersibles. They typically unload off Central America and Mexico drugs destined for the United States.Equipped with air intake and engine exhaust pipes, none of those craft were capable of fully submerging so they could evade radar and heat-seeking technology of drug-interdiction aircraft. The camouflage-painted vessel seized by Ecuadorean police Friday appears by contrast to be capable of long-range underwater operation — a development U.S. analysts have long expected, Bergman said.Acting on a DEA tip, the Ecuadoreans found it at a sophisticated shipyard with living quarters for at least 50 people on a jungle estuary several miles from the Colombian border, he said. It had yet to make a voyage. Built of fiberglass and other composites, it has a conning tower, periscope and air conditioning system and measures about 9 feet (2.7 meters) high from the deck plates to the ceiling, the DEA said. Ecuadorean police told the DEA the vessel has the capacity for about 10 metric tons of cargo, a crew of five or six people and the ability to fully submerge, Bergman said. Compared to semi-submersibles, which cost less than $1 million each to build, "this is in a new maritime drug-trafficking class of its own," Bergman told the AP. He said U.S. nautical engineers would be taking the submarine apart in the next few days to determine its dynamics. Bergman said one man was arrested in Friday's raid on the jungle shipyard and said it was hoped he would shed some light on how long it took to build the submarine and who engineered it. He said authorities are still investigating who financed the sub's manufacture and which trafficking organization intended to use it. A number of illegal armed groups operate in the area, including the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC. Authorities say drug trafficking is now the movement's chief source of income. The commander of Pacific operations for Colombia's navy, Adm. Hernando Will, told the AP on Sunday that Colombia seized 22 semi-submersibles along its coast last year but only one so far this year. In the cat-and-mouse game that law enforcement has played for three decades with drug traffickers in Colombia — the origin of some 90 percent of the cocaine sold in the U.S. as well as heroin — the smugglers have continuously adapted to stay one step ahead of their pursuers. The introduction of transoceanic submarines — given the major investment they represent — amounts to raising the stakes ever higher, Bergman said.

 

Russian subs stalk Trident in echo of Cold War

Russian submarines are hunting down British Vanguard boats in a return to Cold War tactics not seen for 25 years, Navy chiefs have warned.

 

A British Vanguard submarine

A British Vanguard submarine Photo: GETTY

A specially upgraded Russian Akula class submarine has been caught trying to record the acoustic signature made by the Vanguard submarines that carry Trident nuclear missiles, according to senior Navy officers. British submariners have also reported that they are experiencing the highest number of "contacts" with Russian submarines since 1987. If the Russians are able to obtain a recording of the unique noise of the boat's propellers it would have serious implications for Britain's nuclear deterrent. Using its sophisticated sonar, the Akula would be able to track Vanguards and potentially sink them before they could launch their Trident D4 missiles. The Daily Telegraph has learnt that, within the past six months, a Russian Akula entered the North Atlantic and attempted to track a Vanguard. The incident has remained secret until now. It is understood that the Russians stood off Faslane, where the British nuclear force is based, and waited for a Trident-carrying boat to come out for its three-month patrol to provide the Continuous At Sea Deterrent. While patrolling in the North Atlantic, there are a limited number of places the Vanguard is permitted to go and it is thought that the Akula attempted to track it on several occasions. Navy commanders are understood to have ordered a Trafalgar-class hunter-killer submarine to protect the Vanguard. A recording of the Akula was made by the Trafalgar submarine's sonar operators and has been played to The Daily Telegraph. "The Russians have been playing games with us, the Americans and French in the North Atlantic," a senior Navy commander said. "We have put a lot of resources into protecting Trident because we cannot afford by any stretch to let the Russians learn the acoustic profile of one of our bombers as that would compromise the deterrent."

 

Portuguese Navy Receives its First German Submarine

The Portuguese Navy has taken delivery of the Trident, one of two German submarines on order, from the German Submarine Consortium (GSC) at the Lisbon Naval Base. In 2004, Portugal signed a contract with the GSC for two U-214 submarines for €770m ($1bn), an amount that has raised due to delays. The 65m-long U-214 submarine with a 1,700tn displacement capacity is the first submarine built by GSC. The second submarine is scheduled for delivery in the first quarter of 2011. The consortium includes naval shipbuilders Ferrostaal and HDW.

 

Russian Sub Problems

 April 18, 2010: Russia has run into "technical problems" (as they describe it) with their new Yemen class SSGN (nuclear powered cruise missile sub). The first one was to be launched next month. But that is now delayed until the end of the year. A second Yemen class boat began construction last year. Construction of the first Yemen class boat, the Severodvinsk, actually began in 1992, but lack of money led to numerous delays. Originally, the Severodvinsk was to enter service in 1998. Work on the Severodvinsk was resumed seven years ago, and it is supposed to enter service late next year. If work is not interrupted, the second Yasen class boat should be ready in six or seven years. The first one is now expected to enter service sometimes next year. The second boat, the Kazan, will contain much better technology, and new features developed during the long delays while building the first one.  The problems with Yasen are probably due to the collapse of the huge Soviet era defence industries in Russia since 1991. Most of the best people have gone to commercial firms, where the pay is better, and the work often more interesting. The remaining defence manufacturers are having increasing problems meeting their deadlines, and avoiding quality control problems. The 9,500 ton Yasens carry 24 cruise missiles, as well as eight 25.6 inch torpedo tubes. Some of the cruise missiles can have a range of over 3,000 kilometers, while others are designed as "carrier killers." The larger torpedo tubes also make it possible to launch missiles from them, as well as larger and more powerful torpedoes. There is a crew of fifty, and the design is based on the earlier Akula SSNs. Russia had originally planned to build 30 Yasens, but now the navy will probably have to make do with no more than a dozen.

 

The German U-Boat Arm: A Shadow of Itself.

After WWII, Germany transitioned from quantity to quality, incorporating designs and improvements of the late-war Type XXI & XXIII into smaller, but deadlier submarines.  German submarines are still considered to be top-notch, and several have been sold to overseas bidders. Now, however, it seems that the great German submarine tradition may well be on it’s way to history’s dustbin. The German Navy abruptly decommissioned more than half of its submarine fleet on June 1, well ahead of the planned 2016 retirement of the six 500-ton U-206A-class diesel submarines. Now the German sub fleet consists of four U-212A-class vessels. The 1,830-ton boats, among the world’s most modern conventional submarines, have a new hybrid drive with a fuel cell that allows them to operate fully submerged for several weeks. All four were commissioned between 2005 and 2007; the Navy is expecting the delivery of two more slightly modified U-212A-class subs by 2012 or 2013. “At the moment, we expect their operational readiness not later than 2015,” a German Navy spokesman said.

 

 No more smoking aboard US Navy Submarines

Smoking below deck on US navy submarines will be banned by the end of the year so that non-smokers do not have to inhale second-hand smoke, the US navy announced. "Recent tests have shown that, despite our atmosphere purification technology, there are unacceptable levels of second-hand smoke in the atmosphere of a submerged submarine," said the head of US submarine forces, Vice Admiral John Donnelly. The order follows a 2006 US surgeon general's report that states there is no risk free level of exposure to second-hand smoke, and a year-long health study conducted in 2009 aboard nine different submarines that showed "measurable" levels of second-hand smoke. Until now permission to smoke aboard any of the 57 subs in the US fleet was at the discretion of each submarine captain. According to Mark Jones, spokesman for the US navy submarine fleet, 40 percent of the submarine sailors are smokers.

 

 Officers Reprimanded for Crashing British Nuclear Sub.

A Royal Navy commander was reprimanded by a court martial, after pleading guilty to "failing to ensure the safe direction" of the submarine. Commander Steven Drysdale was in charge of the nuclear-powered submarine in May 2008, when it struck a rock pinnacle 132 metres below the surface. A navigation chart showed the pinnacle, but Drysdale said that he had misread its depth as 732 metres. Officer of the Watch Lieutenant-Commander Andrew Cutler and Navigating Officer Lieutenant Lee Blair were also reprimanded for their part in the incident by the court martial, held at the HMS Nelson centre at Portsmouth naval base. The £32 million submarine was in the Red Sea, heading for the Persian Gulf, and was suffering from technical problems at the time which were slowing it down. The officers decided to dive from 100m to 250m, which would allow them to travel faster and reach their destination on time. According to prosecutor Captain Stuart Crozier: “The three defendants all looked at the chart and the sub was taken to 250m. No thorough check was made to establish whether this depth was safe from obstacles." HMS Superb struck the pinnacle at 10.01 on May 26, suffering damage to its bow and sonar equipment. There were no casualties, but the submarine was forced to abandon its mission and return to the United Kingdom. It was decommissioned in September 2008, though the Ministry of Defence said that this was not due to the accident.

Munich Consul Suspended in alleged Shady Submarine Deal.

The Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it was suspending Jurgen Adolff, the Portuguese consul in Munich for the past 15 years, until “full clarification of the investigations that involve him personally”. German magazine Der Spiegel reported last Tuesday that Adolff was suspected of having received €1.6 million in kickback payments from Man Ferrostaal, one of three firms in the German Submarine Consortium, which won the contract to build the two submarines for the Portuguese Navy in 2004. The magazine said Adolff had been instrumental in setting up a meeting between the then Portuguese Prime Minister José Manuel Durão Barroso, now chairman of the European Commission, and Ferrostaal’s administration. German authorities, it added, had found “dozens of suspect consultancy documents” intended to be passed on to the Portuguese Navy Ministry in a search of the firms offices last week. A spokeswoman for Durão Barroso told the Lusa News Agency in Brussels that he had had “no direct or personal intervention” in the decision to purchase the two U-214 submarines apart from participating in the “collective” cabinet decision.

 

Drug-Sub Culture

 

The craft surfaced like something out of a science-fiction movie. It was November 2006, and a Coast Guard cutter spotted a strange blur on the ocean 100 miles off Costa Rica. As the cutter approached, what appeared to be three snorkels poking up out of the water became visible. Then something even more surprising was discovered attached to the air pipes: a homemade submarine carrying four men, an AK-47 and three tons of cocaine. Today, the 49-foot-long vessel bakes on concrete blocks outside the office of Rear Adm. Joseph Nimmich in Key West, Fla. Here, at the Joint Interagency Task Force South, Nimmich commands drug-interdiction efforts in the waters south of the United States. Steely-eyed, gray-haired and dressed in a blue jumpsuit, he showed me the homemade sub one hot February afternoon like a hunter flaunting his catch. “We had rumors and indicators of this for a very long period beforehand,” he told me, which is why they nicknamed it Bigfoot.

Blast Rocks Indian Navy Sub, one Sailor Killed.

NEW DELHI: A sailor was killed and some others injured when a blast occurred in one of the Navy's Russian-origin Kilo-class submarines. The submarine, INS Sidhurakshak, was fortunately docked at the harbour when the explosion took place in the battery compartment of the vessel. The submarine did not suffer major damage," said an officer. If such an incident had taken place at sea, then the lack of deep-submergence rescue vessels (DSRVs) in the Navy would have been sorely felt. India, at present, has no option but to run to the US for help if its sailors get trapped deep underwater in a crippled submarine since the decade-old proposal to acquire two DSRVs, each of which will come for just Rs 360 crore, is yet to materialise. The Kilo-class submarines, incidentally, have recently undergone an upgrade in Russia and have been equipped with the 300-km Klub cruise missiles.

Montenegro Gives Away Yugoslav-Era Submarines

The defence ministers of Montenegro and Slovenia will sign a contract today in Podgorica for the giving away of a 1980 submarine. The P-911 submarine, which has been in the coastal town of Tivat in south-western Montenegro since 1997, is being gifted to Slovenia as a museum piece. The submarine is one of the six so-called “pocket submarines” produced for the needs of the Yugoslav Navy in the 1980s. They measure 18.8 meters in length, 2.7 in width and 3.4 meters in height. At the time of their production, it was said that, “in case of war, [the submarines] could reach the shores of Italy and take demolition experts there to secretly create small minefields.” In addition to the one that is to be gifted to Slovenia, Montenegro has three other such submarines. According to previous reports, the plan is to keep one of them in Tivat for the future nautical museum Porto in Montenegro and give the other two away to Serbia and Croatia, where they would also be displayed in museums.

Submarine Cash Revealed.

More than 80 million euros was paid to middlemen and officials in Greece to secure the sale of four German-made submarines to the Greek navy in 2000, sources told Sunday’s Kathimerini. Sources that are close to the investigation being carried out by prosecutors in Munich said that the total amount of under-the-table payments in relation to the deal was 83 million euros. Two German companies, Ferrostaal and HDW, won the contract to supply the submarines at a total cost of 1.8 billion euros. However, Ferrostaal was until last year a subsidiary of the MAN manufacturing group, which is under investigation for the payments of bribes to public officials in several countries. The deal for the submarines proved controversial, as Greece did not accept delivery of the first vessel due to technical problems. The two sides only reached an agreement last month and Athens has stated it wants to sell the submarine on to a third party.

The Stunted Son Of ASDS

May 6, 2009: Three years after admitting defeat in developing the ASDS (Advanced Seal Delivery Systems, a small sub for getting SEALs to the beach), another attempt is going to be made. The new SWCS (Shallow Water Combat Submersible) will be a smaller (30 feet long, carrying six SEALs) version of the ASDS (which was a 65 foot long, 60 ton mini-submarine.) Like the ASDS, the SWCS will be battery powered and with a crew of two. The larger ASDS could carry up to 14 passengers (fewer if a lot of equipment is being brought along, the usual number of passengers is expected to be eight.) With a max range of 200 kilometers, top speed of 14 kilometers an hour and max diving depth of 200 feet (65 meters), the ASDS operates from one of the seven U.S. nuclear submarines equipped to carry it on its deck, and several British boats that will be similarly equipped. Both mini-subs were equipped with passive and active SONAR, radar and an electronic periscope (that uses a video camera, not the traditional optics.) The SWCS will have a range of 160 kilometers and be able to dive to 300 feet (95 meters). While a nice piece of engineering, each ASDS cost over $300 million. The first ASDS production boat underwent testing in Hawaii and the Persian Gulf for three years, before being declared ready for service in 2004. But problems kept cropping up, until the production of the other five was cancelled in 2006. After a decade of development, the ASDS had too many technical problems. Only the first one remained, and it sort of worked, but last November, the sole ASDS caught fire, and burned for six hours. The navy was reluctant to repair the vessel.

Apparently there was not a big demand for something like the ASDS, as there was no immediate request for a replacement design.  But now, another attempt is going to be made to develop a similar vessel. The U.S. Navy, and the British Royal Navy, both still need a delivery vehicle for their combat swimmers. Both nations are still using the Mk 8, which is a World War II era design that is basically a reusable torpedo that divers in scuba gear hang on to as they are taken to shore. Both navies want the SWCS, which will recycle ASDS technology that worked, and replace the stuff that didn't. Thus the current plan is to have the SWCS in service within four years.

Modernizing Spy-Sub “Sarov”

Less than two years after it entered service in the Russian Fleet, the top-secret spy-sub B-90 “Sarov” is at the White Sea Navy Base in Severodvinsk for modernization.The upgrades are made less than two years after the vessel entered service in the Northern Fleet, the newspaper informs. One of the unique features of the spy-sub is its ultra-small nuclear reactor aimed to charge the subs batteries, so it can stay much longer underwater, totally silent, than normal diesel-electric submarines. The vessel has since it was included in the fleet on 7 August 2008 conducted a number of specialized operations. After each operation, the vessel has undergone technical improvements. The B-90 “Sarov” was built in Nizhny Novgorod, and transported via Russia’s inner waterways to the Sevmash yard in Severodvinsk were it was equipped with its engines and nuclear reactor. The vessel was originally to be completed in 1993, but construction was halted due to money draught and the need for technical improvements.

The CIA funding of Glomar Explorer salvage attempt of a sunken Soviet Submarine, K-129

The newly released documentary film about a Soviet Submarine operation in which I was involved in the first detection of the boat after it started its patrol from the Soviet submarine port of Petropavlask, Kamchatca Pennisula, in late February 1968.  At the time, I was the Evaluation Cemter Officer at the headquarters of a system known by the acronym "SOSUS."  It stands for Sound Surveillance System, which back then was a super secret land based Anti Submarine Warfare platform providing frontline early warning to Washington D.C. military leaders of Soviet missile launching capable submarine threats on both coasts. This Soviet submarine threat is one of the five Soviet submarine transit operations that I use in my novel, “The SOSUS Man.”  You can read my synopsis and first couple chapters of my book by clicking here: http://thesosusman.blogspot.com/. This is a system which, at the real time in 1968, we thought it had detected the explosion or implosion of this submarine in March 1968 but as I learned through the discovery and release of information by Michael’s work, which was previously unknown to me and my command senior officers, indicates we were incorrect in our real time post- analysis re-examination and reporting of a possible detection.

The documentary film is produced, written and directed by Michael White Films, Vienna Austria. “AZORIAN - The raising of the K-129. A mysterious CIA cold war operation. A secret journey into the oceans depths. A challenge of ingenuity and imagination. A story of man’s unprecedented resolve. Michael’s work, through his team of consulting experts, information data collection and verification technical advisor and meticulous computer animation and graphics by his production staff, have woven a factual visual presentation and story about one of the most controversial events undertaken by our CIA. This is a spectacular documentary film which finally appears to have revealed all of the highly classified sensors, intelligence, detection and tracking, sinking, search & localization and ultimate salvage attempt of a Soviet diesel-electric ballistic missile launching capable submarine during the height of the cold war period of 1968-1973 in the middle of the North Pacific Ocean.

Nasty Little Suckers

April 16, 2010: North Korea has a fleet of over 60 mini-subs, and about 25 older Russian type conventional boats. North Korea got the idea for minisubs from Russia, which has had them for decades. North Korea has developed several mini-sub designs, most of them available to anyone with the cash to pay. The largest is the 250 ton Sang-O, which is actually a coastal sub modified for special operations. There is a crew of 19, plus either six scuba swimmer commandos, or a dozen men who can go ashore in an inflatable boat. Some Sang-Os have two or four torpedo tubes. Over thirty were built, and one was captured by South Korea when it ran aground in 1996. The most popular mini-sub is the M100D, a 76 ton, 19 meter (58 foot) long boat that has a crew of four and can carry eight divers and their equipment. The North Koreans got the idea for the M100D when they bought the plans for a 25 ton Yugoslav mini-sub in the 1980s. Only four were built, apparently as experiments to develop a larger North Korean design. There are to be over 30 M100Ds. North Korea is believed to have fitted some of the Song-Os and M100Ds with acoustic tiles, to make them more difficult to detect by sonar. This technology was popular with the Russians, and that's where the North Koreans were believed to have got the technology. The most novel design is a submersible speedboat. This 40 foot boat looks like a speedboat, displaces ten tons and can carry up to eight people. It only submerges to a depth of about ten feet. Using a schnorkel apparatus (a pipe type device to bring in air and expel diesel engine fumes), the boat can move underwater. In 1998, a South Korean destroyed sank one of these. A follow on class displaced only five tons, and could carry six people (including one or two to run the boat). At least eight of these were believed built.

Sweden to invest in New Submarines

The Swedish Government proposes to spend billions of kronor on two new state-of the-art submarines while also upgrading two older vessels, Defence Minister Sten Tolgfors has revealed. Mr. Tolgfors underlines that the Baltic Sea area remains stable, with only Kaliningrad and St. Petersburg breaking the circle of EU and NATO-affiliated countries, - however, one can never rule out long-term risks and incidents, which could also be of a military nature, Tolgfors wrote in the Stockholm daily. Swedish ship building company Kockums AB in February signed a contract with the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration regarding the construction of next-generation submarines. The two new submarines are planned to be delivered to the Swedish Navy in 2018-2019, and will be replacing two subs of the Södermanland class. Along with the two new vessels, two attack submarines will also receive major upgrades as part of the investment.

Developments in N.Korean Submersible Technology

North Korea has stealth submersibles equipped with heavy attack torpedoes, intelligence sources claimed Tuesday. The anonymous sources said the North's Shark-class submersibles and Yugo-class midget submarines are covered with "special tiles" that can evade sonar, and some models of the Yugo-class subs are armed with 533 mm torpedoes. The sound-absorbing tiles are reportedly made by mixing chlorine rubber with silicon compounds. But one intelligence source said the North experienced some difficulty developing an adhesive glue to attach them to submarines or submersibles. The source claimed the North developed various models of Yugo-class subs, one of which was seized by South Korea when it became entangled in fishing nets in waters off Sokcho, Gangwon Province in 1998. The Yugo-class subs can travel underwater for four to five hours but are said to have difficulties travelling fast due to battery capacity.

50 years ago US Navy man was on Depest Dive.

Fifty years ago Navy Lt. Don Walsh and Swiss scientist Jacques Piccard climbed into the chamber of Bathyscaphe Trieste, a deep-sea research sub. The two men were about to make history. They would plunge seven miles to the deepest point of the Earth’s oceans. On Jan. 23, 1960, the Trieste descended 35,800 feet to the floor of the Challenger Deep, the deepest alcove of the Mariana Trench, about 200 miles southwest of Guam. It was the first time a vessel, man or unmanned, had reached the underwater abyss. “It was just another day at the office,” said Walsh, who is celebrated as one of the world’s great explorers. In 1958, the year the Navy purchased Trieste, Walsh was a 26-year-old submarine lieutenant temporarily serving on the Submarine Flotilla One in San Diego. Piccard, who co-designed the submersible with his father, requested two volunteers to operate the vehicle. Only Walsh and one other man stepped forward. “There was an opportunity to pioneer,” he said. “I wasn’t sure what I was going to be doing, but I knew I’d be at sea. It wasn’t until later they told us what they had in store.” Still, the first time Walsh saw the Trieste he thought to himself, “I will never get in that thing.” The last submarine he was on had a maximum operating depth of 300 feet. But by October 1959, Walsh was in the mid-Pacific, performing test dives to prepare for the record-setting descent, which would garner him lifelong recognition and send the San Francisco native to a meeting with President Dwight D. Eisenhower at the White House. A bathyscaphe is a submersible vessel with an observation chamber attached to the bottom of a tank filled with gasoline. Gasoline is more buoyant than water and highly resistant to compression, which made the deep-sea dives possible. The descent into the Challenger Deep took more than five hours. When they finally reached the deepest crevice of the Earth’s surface, Walsh and Piccard shook hands. “I knew we were making history,” Walsh said. After 20 minutes, and glimpsing little more than brown sediment and few signs of life, they began the three and a half hour trip back to the surface. Fifty years later, no other explorer has reached such depths.

UNDERWATER BAR.

Silvercrest has constructed and tested the Worlds first Underwater bar, that has a diving depth of 300ft. interested ???, then give us a call or email.

 

Measuring The Chinese Fleet.

January 21, 2010: The U.S. Navy accidentally posted their classified estimate on the size and composition of the Chinese Navy. The strength of the Chinese fleet was listed as 62 submarines (53 diesel Attack Submarines, six nuclear Attack Submarines, three nuclear Ballistic Missile Submarines). The U.S. has 72 nuclear submarines (53 attack and 18 ballistic missile).

Indian Navy Nuclear Submarine.

The Indian Navy will get the Russian-built nuclear-powered Akula-II class attack submarine on a 10-year lease before July 2010, a naval official said Monday. The submarine, which would primarily be used to train crews to operate these kind of vessel, is considered one of the quietest and deadliest among Russian nuclear submarine fleet. Partly financed by India under a deal signed with Russia in January 2004, the 12,000-tonne submarine was been built at the Komsomolsk-on-Amur shipyard in Russia. It will be commissioned into the Indian Navy as INS Chakra. Three Indian navy teams have already been trained at the specially set up training centre in Sosnovy Bor near St. Petersburg. The nuclear submarine will not be equipped with long-range cruise missiles due to international restrictions on missile technology proliferation. But India may later opt to fit it with domestically designed long-range nuclear-capable missiles. At present, India operates 16 conventional diesel submarines and awaits six French-Spanish Scorpene class diesel attack submarines to be delivered between 2012 and 2017. India plans to deploy at least three nuclear submarines armed with long-range strategic missiles by 2015. The first of the three domestic nuclear submarines is expected to begin sea trials by mid-2009. India previously leased a Charlie-I class nuclear submarine from the erstwhile Soviet Union from 1988 to 1991.

 

China and South Korea Flex Naval Muscle as U.S. Wanes.

China and South Korea are expanding their submarine fleets as the U.S. Navy shrinks its own. By 2025 the number of U.S. submarines in the Pacific Ocean will fall from 30 to 27. China will have 78 submarines and S.Korea 26. The military strength of the U.S. and Russia is waning while China and South Korea's capabilities are rising, and India and Australia also aspire to bolster their naval capabilities. In an attempt to dominate in the Pacific, these countries are increasing the numbers of diesel-electric attack, nuclear-powered attack, guided-missile and ballistic missile submarines. China's growth is especially noteworthy. Since 1995, China has focused on submarine construction and built 31 new models by 2005. China presently has 60 submarines including six nuclear and 50 diesel-powered ones. The South Korean Navy has also bolstered its submarine fleet. Since the 1,300-ton submarine Jangbogo was commissioned in 1993, a total of 12 submarines are in use, including the 1,800-ton Ahn Jung Geun commissioned last year. From 2012 to 2018, South Korea plans to manufacture six 1,800-ton submarines and nine 3,000-ton submarines to become Asia's second largest power after China in terms of the number of submarines. Australia and India feel they have no choice but to bolster their own naval warfare capabilities. Australia plans to boost the number of its submarines from six to 12,and India from 17 to 24. Meanwhile, Russia is struggling to just maintain its existing level of military capability.

Virgin Submarine.

Richard Branson, the head of the Virgin empire, has announced that his company will be releasing a winged underwater transportation device for deep sea rides. The “underwater plane” is planned to reach depths of 35,000, making it a deepsea submarine capable of incredible depths. The prototype, which will cost $660,000, is being called the Necker Nymph, and will only be able to reach 130 feet in its’ first phase, with longer depths being explored with later versions of the technology. “We hope to have submarines dotted throughout the world. A pressurized submarine is nearly completed. But the real challenge is to explore what’s going on at the bottom of the oceans,” Branson said.

French submarine hits subsea container.

February 11, 2009: The lead ship of the French Le Triomphant class SSBNs (ballistic missile nuclear submarines) had a little accident. Earlier this month, Le Triomphant submerged near the port of Brest, and promptly clipped something near where the bottom should not be. The uncharted object was apparently a shipping container, and it damaged the sonar dome on the front of the boat. The Le Triomphant surfaced and returned to port for repairs. The damage was light and there were no injuries to the crew. Uncharted underwater obstacles like this are increasingly common, especially around busy shipping lanes and ports. Brest is a port that frequently hosts container ships that sometimes come in through nasty weather, which often results in containers being blown overboard.

Last year, France launched the fourth (and last) of its new Le Triomphant class SSBNs, the "Le Terrible". This boat will enter service next year. The Le Triomphant class boats displace 12,600 tons, have a crew of 101 and carry 16 M51 ballistic missiles (weighing 56 tons each, carrying six warheads and with a range of 10,000 kilometers). The other three Triomphants, already in service, carry the older M45 missile (weighing 35 tons each, carrying six warheads and with a range of 6,000 kilometers). These boats will get the M51 after the "Le Terrible" enters service. The Triomphants replace the six SSBNs of the Redoutable class, 9,000 ton boats that entered service in 1971 and were retired in 1991. Each of these boats carried sixteen of the shorter range (5,000 kilometers) M4 missiles.

The French Navy announced that it always has two SSBNs available for duty, so that if one is unexpectedly put out of service, another is available to go out on patrol. Sea based, nuclear armed missiles are a deterrent to other nuclear nations only if you have one of your SSBNs at sea at all times.

 

Then, on February 15th, the French and British navies announced that two of their SSBNs, one of them the Le Triomphant,  had collided with each other on February 4th. The French decided to try and come up with a cover story, but the British decided not to, and thus both navies were forced to come clean. How two SSBNs could bump into each other in such a large ocean, is to be the subject of a  joint investigation by the two nations.

 

Why Boomers Collide.

February 17, 2009: On February 16th, the French and British navies confirmed that two of their SSBNs, the French Le Triomphant and the British Vanguard, had collided with each other on February 4th. The Vanguard was on patrol, while the Le Triomphant was returning to port (Brest) from a patrol. It appears that the Le Triomphant hit the Vanguard, while running in a parallel collision course. Both France and Britain have long maintained a force of four SSBNs each. Earlier, on February 6th, France had announced that The Le Triomphant had collided with some unknown underwater object, causing some damage to its sonar dome. Ten days later, the French admitted that they had lied, trying to cover up what really happened. By then, civilians had seen that the Vanguard had dents and scrapes along its side, indicating that the some other vessel had made contact with a long portion of the Vanguard's hull. This was visible on February 14th, as the Vanguard returned, early, to its base in Scotland. How two SSBNs could bump into each other in such a large ocean, is to be the subject of a joint investigation by the two nations. There are several plausible reasons for such a collision taking place.

First, both France and Britain have their SSBN patrol areas in the same patch of ocean. That's because the range of their missiles, and the location of potential targets (Russia, the only nation with nukes aimed at Europe) means there's only a small area of the eastern Atlantic where these patrols are going to take place. So while the two nations SSBNs are still operating, underwater, in a large bit of the Atlantic, it's not as big as you might think.

Second, SSBNs operate as quietly as possible. They use passive (it just listens) sonar and move slowly (about 10 kilometers an hour). Just how quiet SSBNs are is considered classified information, as is the possibility that two of them could be very near each other, and be undetectable to each other. It may now be revealed if the U.S., or anyone else, ever sought to discover if this was possible. Certainly, the British-French investigation of the SSBN incident will probably make it clear if these boats are quiet enough underwater to be invisible to each other. Note that this invisibility may only happen because of special conditions underwater (different temperature or salinity layers of water, which channel the sound away from layers above and below). Since this is all very sensitive material, the full results of the investigation may not be released for decades.

Third, there is a lack of cooperation between the French and other navies. NATO has protocols for member nations to inform each other of the general area where each other's submarines will be operating. But France left NATO in 1966 (although it has been discussing rejoining), and does not participate in this submarine "deconfliction" program.

There's also the possibility that one, or both, boats were having problems with their passive sonar at the time of the collision. It's also possible that one of the boats did detect the other at a distance, decided to investigate further, and that all went badly.

The 428 foot long Le Triomphant class boats displace 12,600 tons, have a crew of 101 and carry 16 M51 ballistic missiles (weighing 56 tons each, carrying six warheads and with a range of 10,000 kilometers). The other three Triomphants, already in service, carry the older M45 missile (weighing 35 tons each, carrying six warheads and with a range of 6,000 kilometers). These boats will get the M51 after the "Le Terrible" enters service. The Triomphants replace the six SSBNs of the Redoutable class, 9,000 ton boats that entered service in 1971 and were retired in 1991. Each of these boats carried sixteen of the shorter range (5,000 kilometers) M4 missiles.

The Vanguard boats are a little larger (465 feet long, 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.

On February 6th, the French Navy announced that it always has two SSBNs available for duty, so that if one is unexpectedly put out of service, another is available to go out on patrol. Sea based, nuclear armed missiles are a deterrent to other nuclear nations only if you have one of your SSBNs at sea at all times. Had these two boats hit each other sufficiently hard to cause a hull breach, and send one or both of them to the bottom, they would have joined many other nukes that have gone down since the 1960s. The nuclear reactors and warheads are built to stay submerged, and contain their radioactive material, for a long time. This has worked with the dozen or more other nukes that have gone to the bottom. Except, of course, for the Russian mass sinking of nuclear subs and reactors in the Arctic ocean in the 1980s and 90s. That was halted in the 1990s, because of the possibility of polluting Arctic fish stocks, by Western nations providing money to safely take apart and retire over a hundred obsolete Russian nuclear subs.

 

Russian Navy Cut-backs.

February 22, 2009: The Russian Navy has not only shrunk since the end of the Cold War in 1991, but it has also become much less active. In the last three years, only ten of their nuclear subs went to sea, on a combat patrol, each year. Most of the boats going to sea were SSNs (attack subs), the minority were SSBNs (ballistic missile boats). There were more short range training missions, which often lasted a few days, or just a few hours. But the true measure of a fleet is the "combat patrol" or "deployment." In the U.S. Navy, most of these last from 2-6 months. In the last three years, U.S. nuclear subs have carried out ten times as many patrols as their Russian counterparts.

Currently, Russia only has 14 SSBN (nuclear ballistic missile sub) boats in service, and not all of them have a full load of missiles. Some lack full crews, or have key systems in need of repair. Russia has only 14 modern, 7,000 ton, Akula SSNs (nuclear attack subs) in service. These began building in the late 1980s and are roughly comparable to the American Los Angeles class. All of the earlier Russian SSNs are trash, and most have been decommissioned. There are also eight SSGN (nuclear subs carrying cruise missiles) and 20 diesel electric boats. There is a new class of SSGNs under construction, but progress, and promised funding increases, have been slow.

Currently, the U.S. has six of the new, 7,700 ton, Virginia class SSNs in service, four under construction and nine on order. The mainstay of the American submarine force is still the 6,100 ton Los Angeles-class SSN. Sixty-two of these submarines were built, 45 of which remain in front-line service, making it probably the largest class of nuclear submarines that will ever be built. The Seawolf-class of nuclear attack submarines stopped at three from a planned class of twenty-nine. The 8,600 ton Seawolf was designed as a super-submarine, designed to fight the Soviet Navy at its height. Reportedly, it is quieter going 40 kilometers an hour, than the Los Angeles-class submarines are at pier side.

The peak year for Russian nuclear sub patrols was 1984, when there were 230. That number rapidly declined until, in 2002, there were none. Since the late 1990s, the Russian navy has been hustling to try and reverse this decline. But the navy budget, despite recent increases, is not large enough to build new ships to replace the current Cold War era fleet that is falling apart. The rapid decline of Russia's nuclear submarine fleet needed international help to safely decommission over a hundred obsolete or worn out nuclear subs. This effort has been going on for nearly a decade, and was driven by the Russian threat to just sink their older nuclear subs in the Arctic ocean. That might work with conventional ships, but there was an international uproar over what would happen with all those nuclear reactors sitting on the ocean floor forever. Russia generously offered to accept donations to fund a dismantling program that included safe disposal (of the nuclear reactors).

Since the end of the Cold War in 1991, most of the ship building money has gone into new nuclear subs. Six Akulas have been completed in that time, but the first of a new generation of SSBNs, the Borei class was delayed by technical problems, a new ballistic missile that wouldn't work, and lack of money. The first Borei class boat, after many delays, is finally ready for service, and ended up costing over two billion dollars.

The Russian admirals made their big mistake in the early 1990s, when the dismantling of the Soviet Union left the second largest fleet in the world with only a fraction of its Cold War budget. Rather than immediately retire ninety percent of those ships, Russia tried to keep many of them operational. This consumed most of the navy budget, and didn't work. There were too many ships, not enough sailors and not enough money for maintenance or training at sea. The mighty Soviet fleet is mostly scrap now, or rusting hulks tied up at crumbling, out-of-the way naval bases.

While Western nuclear subs can last for about thirty years, Russian models rarely get past twenty. That means two new SSN or SSGN has to be put into service each year to maintain a force of forty boats. Unless the sub construction budget get billions more dollars a year, that is not going to happen. Right now, the priority is on producing a new class of SSBNs (11 more Boreis are planned or under construction). These Boreis are critical, because they carry SLBM (Sea Launched Ballistic Missiles) that provide a critical (they are much harder to destroy in a first strike than land based missiles) portion of the nuclear deterrent. The rest of the Russian armed forces, like most of the navy, is in sad shape, and unable to resist a major invasion. Only the ICBMs and SLBMs guarantee the safety of the state. So the way things are going now, in a decade or two, Russia will end up with a force consisting of a dozen SSNs and a dozen SSBNs.

The current fleet of nuclear subs is tiny, and the Russians would rather keep them tied up at dock most of the time. The crews can do a lot of training at dockside, and only go to sea a few times a year to check on their state of training. Given the number of accidents their subs have had in the past decade, the training the crews are getting now is not sufficient.

 

Submarine collisions not so rare.

February 20, 2009: The recent collision between a British and French nuclear submarine is not as rare as most people think. Four years ago a U.S. SSN (nuclear attack sub) collided with an underwater mountain. The sub survived, but its sonar dome was smashed in, and one sailor died.

The Golden Age of submarine collisions was during the Cold War (1948-91). Once Russia began building nuclear subs in the 1960s, and putting them to sea often and for long periods, there were lots of collisions. Well, about one every two years. Most involved at least one Russian boat. The problem was that the Russians had pretty poor sonar, so they were the equivalent of half blind under water. From the 1970s on, the U.S. has increasingly superior sonar compared to the Russians. This led to the more collisions involving Russian and U.S. boats. It also saw the invention, by the Russians, of the "Crazy Ivan" maneuver. This occurred when an American sub was stalking a Russian one (often an American SSN keeping tabs on a Russian SSBN). The U.S. boat would stay in the Russian subs "blind spot" (behind its propeller). But sometimes the Russians would suspect they were being stalked, or just wanted to make sure they were not, and would perform the "Crazy Ivan" maneuver, which involved upping speed and making a sharp turn. The U.S. sub would have to quickly get out of the way, or there would be, and sometimes was, a collision. Most of the collisions during this period involved Russian subs bumping into other Russian subs, or inanimate objects (icebergs, oil rigs). Western boats had far fewer collisions because they had better sonar, and better trained and more experienced crews.

 

France Builds a new U-Boat.

March 5, 2009: French submarine builder DCNS is now selling a new coastal boat, the Andrasta class. This is an 855 ton, 153 foot long sub, with a crew of 19 (plus 8 passengers, usually commandos). The boat can stay underwater for up to five days. Surfaced, it can travel up to 5,400 kilometers, at slow (170 kilometers a day) speed. There are sufficient supplies on board to keep the boat out up to 30 days. Most missions are expected to be more like two weeks. The boat has six forward firing torpedo tubes, which can also carry mines or anti-ship missiles. There are no reloads, all the weapons are stored in the torpedo tubes. There is a special chamber for letting divers exit the boat while underwater.

The Andrasta is similar in size to the 769 ton German World War II Type VII boat, which was the most widely used (700 built) sub during the Battle of the Atlantic. The Type VII was longer (220 feet) and thinner, and didn't have all the electronics of the Andrasta, or all the automation. Thus the Type VII had a crew of 50 and carried 14 torpedoes (used in five tubes), plus an 88mm deck gun (and 220 shells). Moreover, the Type VII could only spend about one day underwater, although it had a surfaced range of 15,000 kilometers.  The Andrasta is built to be quiet, and use its powerful passive sonar to detect surface ships or subs, and use its heavy torpedoes to destroy them. The Andrastas cost less than $200 million each (half the price of most normal size subs), and are attractive boats for nations wanting to use submarines mainly as defensive weapons.

 

Drug Subs.

February 26, 2009: The U.S. estimates that Colombian cocaine smugglers have developed semi-submersible boats that are so successful at evading detection, that they are carrying most of the cocaine being moved north. It's estimated that about 75 of these subs are being built in northwest Colombia each year, and sent on one way trips north. Each of these boats carries a four man crew and about seven tons of cocaine (worth nearly $200 million on the street). The loss of each boat and its cargo cost the Colombian drug cartels over $10 million in costs (of building the boat and producing the drugs). The crews are often Colombian fishermen forced to make the long voyage, because their families were being held hostage. Running these boats is considered very dangerous work, and the crews are paid well if they succeed, whether they volunteered for the work or not. Because of the risks (about ten percent are believed lost at sea), the boats are nicknamed "coffins." The crews are told the pull the plug (literally) and sink the boat (and its cargo) if spotted and about to be boarded. Even with the boarding party on the way, jumping off a sinking boat, often at night, is dangerous. Laws have been changed so that the crews escaping from their sinking boats, can still be charged with drug smuggling (despite the loss of the evidence).

Between 2000 and 2007, 23 of these boats were spotted. But last year, nearly 70 were seen or captured. Many of the captures are the result of intelligence information at the source, not air and naval patrols out there just looking for them. These boats are hard to spot (by aircraft or ships), which is why they are being used more often. These semi-submersible "submarines" have been operating off the northwest (Pacific) coast of South America for nine years. Over 75 percent of the 600 tons of cocaine coming out of Colombia each year leaves via the Pacific coast subs, carried in submarines, that move the cocaine north. Despite increased efforts, it's believed that less than ten percent of these subs have been caught.

These are not submarines in the true sense of the word, but "semi-submersibles". They are 60 foot long and 12 feet wide, fiberglass boats, powered by a diesel engine, with a very low freeboard, and a small "conning tower", providing the crew (usually of four), and engine, with fresh air, and permitting the crew to navigate the boat. A boat of this type is the only practical kind of submarine for drug smuggling. A real submarine, capable of carrying five tons of cocaine, would cost a lot more, and require a highly trained crew. Moreover, a conventional sub actually spends most of its time running on the surface, or just beneath it using a snorkel device to obtain air for the diesel engine crew. So the drug subs get the most benefit of a real submarine (which cost about $300 million these days) at a fraction of the cost.

The semi-submersibles are built, often using specially made components brought in from foreign countries, in areas along the Colombian coast, or other drug gang controlled territory. Early on, Russian naval architects and engineers were discovered among those designing and building these boats. But that did not last, as the Russian designs were too complex and expensive. Instead, local boat builders created and refined the current design. Some foreign experts have been seen in the area, apparently to help the boat builders with some technical problem. These subs cost over $600,000 to construct, and carry up to ten tons of cocaine. The boat builders are getting rich, constructing the boats in well hidden locations up one of the rivers that empties into the Pacific.

At one point it was thought that as many as half of them were captured or lost at sea. But this is apparently not the case. That's because most of these subs are built for a one way trip. This keeps down the cost of construction, and the cost of hiring a crew (who fly home). That one voyage will usually be for about a thousand kilometers, with the boat moving at a speed of 15-25 kilometers an hour. The average trip will take about two weeks, because the boats have learned to go very slowly during the day, to avoid leaving a wake that U.S. airborne sensors can detect.

In the past, some subs making long range trips were caught while being towed by a larger ship. Apparently the plan was to tow a semi-submersible, loaded with a ten ton cocaine cargo, long distances, and then be cut it loose for the final approach to the shore of California or some area in Europe or on the east coast of North America. While the subs are most frequently used from the Pacific coast of Colombia, they are showing up elsewhere as well. These subs are not stealthy enough to avoid detection all the time, and the U.S. is working to tweak search radars, and other types of sensors, to more reliably detect the drug subs. For the moment, it appears that these semi-submersibles do work, because the drug gangs keep using them more and more. Delivery by sea is now the favored method for cocaine smugglers, because the United States has deployed military grade aircraft detection systems, and caught too many of the airborne drug shipments. The smugglers did their math, and realized that improvised submarines were a more cost-effective way to go. The technology has spread, with one of these boats found being built in Spain three years ago, by a local drug gang, to bring cocaine ashore from a seagoing ship far out at sea in international waters. GPS makes these kinds of operations possible.

Increased maritime patrols, and infiltration of drug gangs in Colombia, has led to a significant increase in captures of these boats. On land, Colombian soldiers and police are doing a lot of damage to cocaine production, and making boat production more difficult. All this is having an impact, with cocaine prices going up, and quality going down. Drug testing and surveys indicates that cocaine use in the United States has declined 10-20 percent as a result.

But the stealthy boats are a concern to counter-terror officials. Bombs and terrorists can be transported in these vessels, and the technology for building them can be, and perhaps already has, spread. The technology is improving as well. Recently captured boats had a system installed that cooled the engine exhaust, making it more difficult for infrared (heat) sensors to sport it. Thus the U.S. Navy is putting a lot of effort into improving its sensors and search techniques, for finding these boats.

 

Submarine Collision Alley.

March 22, 2009: There have been three collisions, involving American SSNs in the Persian Gulf, during the last five years. On March 20th, a U.S. 24,000 ton amphibious ship (the USS New Orleans, LPD 18) collided with a submerged submarine (the 7,000 ton USS Hartford, SSN 768) in the narrow Straits of Hormuz. Fifteen sailors aboard the sub were injured, while a fuel tank on the LPD was torn open, and 25,000 gallons of fuel oil got into the water. Both vessels returned to port under their own power. The accident happened at 1 AM, local time.

In January, 2007, there was a minor collision between an American nuclear sub (the USS Newport News) and 1,100 foot long, 300,000 ton tanker (the Mogamigawa) in the Persian Gulf. There was some damage to the ship, in the form of a 108 foot long tear in the rear hull. The tear was four inches wide, and letting water in. The U.S. sub had its sonar dome, in the bow, badly damaged. But both vessels were able to make it back to port under their own power. An investigation revealed that the tanker was passing safely over the 360 foot long Newport News, but was going at such "high speed" (probably about 35 kilometers an hour), that a sucking effect was created, that pulled the 6,300 ton sub up until its bow banged against the bottom of the passing tanker. The Newport News was moving south, through the Straits of Hormuz, as was the Japanese ship. The tanker carried a crew of 24, the sub has 127 sailors on board.

In late 2005, nuclear submarine USS Philadelphia and a Turkish freighter collided in the Persian Gulf. In that case, the sub was on the surface, but the small radar signature of the surfaced sub did not show on the freighters radar until the ship was almost on top of the sub. The freighter and sub were on converging courses, with the freighter behind the sub. The collision, which had the 53,000 ton freighter running up over the back of the Philadelphia, on the right side, did not cause serious damage to either vessel. The sub suffered damage to its propeller, the fairwater plane, the rudder and the housing for the towed sonar array. The freighter got a hundred foot gash in its hull, right above the waterline. The two ships were entangled for an hour, but both made it back to port on their own.

The Straits of Hormuz, and the Persian Gulf in general, is a busy waterway, and there are always one or two U.S. SSNs there. That pattern, and all those collisions, may lead to changes in the way U.S. nuclear subs operate in these crowded waters. The Persian Gulf is 989 kilometers long, and the average depth is 50 meters (maximum depth is 90 meters). A U.S. SSN is about 18 meters from the bottom of the sub (the keel) to the top of the sail (the box like structure on top of the sub).

 

British Subs Are Burning On Schedule.

April 7, 2009: The Royal Navy revealed, during a recent parliamentary investigation, that, during the last 21 years, it's nuclear submarine suffered about one fire a month. Moreover, the subs suffered two collisions every three years. None of the fires or collisions caused serious damage. Less than ten percent of the fires required more, than the sailors in the vicinity, to deal with. Three of the fires occurred while the ships were in port. Most of the fires, and all the collisions, occurred while the subs were underway, and submerged. That is when the boats are most vulnerable to something going wrong, as this is when the most equipment is in use, and often under stress. Subs are built to deal with these equipment failures, and in the case of the Royal Navy boats, that worked. The 237 fires and 14 collisions took place on 21 subs (13 SSNs and 8 SSBN) that were in service during that period. Nearly half those boats have since been retired.

 

Australian submarine update.

May 27, 2009: Although Australia is planning to expand its submarine fleet to twelve boats, it was recently revealed that only one of the six current subs is available for service. Four of the boats are undergoing maintenance, and another one is undergoing several months of repairs to fix a problem with its batteries. Even if all six boats were ready for services, there are only sufficient crews available to send three of them to sea.

Despite all these problems, Australia recently decided to make the submarine the key component of its fleet in the near future. Over the next decade, Australia will double the number of subs in service, from six to twelve. This will mean that more than half (12 out of 23) of their major warships will be subs. The purpose of this shift is to provide a naval force more capable of dealing with any Chinese moves into Australian waters. The Chinese fleet is undergoing rapid expansion, and it's believed that this poses a potential threat to Australia.

To make this new strategy work, Australia has to fix the problems with recruiting, and retaining, sufficient sailors to man the submarine fleet. The problems are numerous. The principal one is the relative isolation of the submarine sailors within the Australian navy. Because of that, and the smaller crews of subs, few submarine officers achieved high rank in the navy. But the admirals have come to recognize, for all that, the submarine is the best warship for Australia's needs (defense against a superior surface fleet, or enemy subs seeking to blockade the nation).

Currently, the Australian Navy has six Collins class subs, and the sailors who serve on these boats are not happy. This has been a problem for years. Recently, the navy surveyed the submarine sailors and were told that the submarine crewmen felt unappreciated and overworked. Half of them were getting out of the navy as soon as their current enlistments were up. Many found the work boring, and felt they spent too much time at sea. As a result, only enough qualified sailors are available to provide crews for three of the six Collins class subs. Each boat requires a crew of 45 highly trained sailors (eight of them officers.)

The initial navy response was to offer large cash bonuses to get existing submarine sailors to stay in the navy, and to attract qualified recruits to serve on subs. This helped a bit, but at the expense of officer morale. The bonuses increased sailors annual pay by up to $38,000, which meant officers were now making less than many of the men they commanded. Worse yet, not enough new recruits were attracted. The submarine service has high standards, thus many of those who were interested, were not qualified to undertake the long training courses. The global recession may help, because the Australian economy has been booming, providing many opportunities for the kind of guys who would qualify for the submarine service.

The Australian navy has been suffering from a serious geek shortage for several years now. With a total strength of 13,000, being short a few dozen people in some job categories can have serious repercussions, and that's what happened to the submarine force. For example, the navy is short about a third of the marine engineering officers it needs. There are less serious shortages in officers specializing in electrical systems and weapons systems. Australian warships have been active in the war on terror, resulting in many crews being away from home for up to six months at a time. There are shortages of both officers and sailors with technical skills.

The situation was further complicated by a booming economy, and big demand for those with engineering degrees, and a few years of experience. This made it easy for engineering officers to leave the navy and get a higher paying, and more comfortable, civilian job. The navy responded with cash bonuses, better living and working conditions, and other fringe benefits. But the submarine force cannot have their working conditions improved much. While the subs are of modern design and recent construction, they are still subs. That means not much space or privacy in there. All Western navies have similar problems, and have applied similar solutions, with some degree of success. U.S. subs have the advantage of being larger (because of the nuclear propulsion) and with larger crews (nearly three times the size of the Collins class boats). This apparently helps. Other nations have small, modern, diesel-electric boats like the Collins class, but do not send them off on long voyages. Australia can't avoid the long voyages, because Australia is surrounded by vast oceans areas, that require a lot of time to traverse. It is boring to transit all of that, and that was exactly what the dispirited sailors reported when asked.

The navy leadership has, in deciding to double the size of its sub fleet, agreed to either fix the morale and recruiting problems, or risk seeing most of those boats rarely going to sea, and manned by inexperienced crews when they did. The solution appears to be a combination of more pay, and using larger crews, so that everyone does not have to spend so much time at sea, or carry more people on cruises and reduce the workload for each. Another option is having two crews for each boat, a practice long used for American SSBNs (ballistic missile subs) and some surface ships. Another solution is the larger size of the next class of subs, that will provide, literally, more living room.

The current Collins class boats were built in Australia during the 1990s, and are based on a Swedish design (the Type 471.) At 3,000 tons displacement, the Collins are half the size of the American Los Angeles class nuclear attack subs, but are nearly twice the size of s European non-nuclear subs. Australia needed larger boats because of the sheer size of the oceans in the area, and these are the largest non-nuclear subs in service.

There were a lot of technical problems with the Collins class boats, which the media jumped all over. The design of these subs was novel and ambitious, using a lot of automation. This reduced the crew size to 45, but resulted in a higher workload for the submarine sailors. This is a major reason for the morale problem. Another problem with the small crew was that every one of the sailors had to be pretty sharp to begin with, then required years of training to learn the job, and more responsibility for each sailor as well.

The new class of subs are going to build on the Collins design, and will probably be a bit larger, and probably have an air-independent propulsion (AIP) system. This enables the sub to stay underwater for over a week at a time. Before the decision to expand the size of the sub fleet, the "Collins Replacement" boats were to enter service in 2024, just when the oldest Collins class sub was ready for retirement. That building plan will have to be sped up if the submarine fleet is to be doubled in a decade.

 

Russian Boomers Bumble Along.

June 3, 2009: Only eight of the twelve existing Russian Delta IV SSBNs (ballistic missile nuclear subs, or "boomers") are available for service. Russia wants to have about a dozen of the new Borei class boats, to replace the current Delta IV class SSBNs. The Delta IVs are getting old, and have only about a decade of useful service left. Currently, it appears that the navy will get at eight Boreis. These new boats are expensive, and the navy wants to build some aircraft carriers.

There are still more delays for the new Russian Borei class SSBN. This boat, the Yuri Dolgoruky, was launched over a year ago, and was to have begun sea trials late last year, then in January of this year, then by the end of May. It still hasn't happened. Major delays were introduced because of an accident on a new Akula SSN last November. There, a sailor hit the wrong switch and accidently triggered a fire suppressant system in a compartment where several dozen people were sleeping, killing twenty of them. The safety system was poorly designed, making it too easy for someone to do what the sailor did. Such design problems are common in Russian ships, and the additional months of inspections and modifications for the Borei is another attempt to eliminate such problems. There were also some problems with welds on the hull, and the nuclear power plant.

The first of its new Borei class subs was moved to a dry dock two years ago, for additional work. This ship, the Yuri Dolgoruky, was supposed to have been launched three years ago. But there were technical problems that delayed it until now. Construction of the Yuri Dolgoruky began thirteen years ago, but money shortages, and technical issues, slowed progress.

The first of three new Borei Class boats will be based in the Pacific, sometime early in the next decade. During the Cold War, most of Russias SSBNs were based in the north, at several bases east of the Norwegian border, and facing the Arctic ocean. But now Russia is spending over $350 million to expand and improve its submarine base on Kamchatka island. This will enable its new SSBNs to threaten China, as well as the United States.

This is the first new Russian boomer to enter service in 18 years, and the first new Russian sub design since the end of the Cold War. The second ship in the class, the Alexander Nevsky, is also nearing completion. Construction on the third, the Vladimir Monomakh, began two years ago.

The Boreis are closer in design to the Delta IVs, than to the more recent, and much larger, Typhoon boats. The Boreis are 558 feet long and 44 feet wide. Surface displacement is 15,000 tons, and twelve Bulava SLBMs (Sea Launched Ballistic Missile) are carried. Work on the Yuri Dolgoruky was delayed for several years because the first missile being designed for it did not work out. A successful land based missile, the Topol-M, was quickly modified for submarine use. The Bulava was a larger missile, cutting the Boreis capacity from twenty to twelve missiles. The boat also has four torpedo tubes, and twelve torpedoes or torpedo tube launched missiles. The Borei also sports a huge sonar dome in the bow.

The Boreis have a crew of 107, with half of them being officers (a common Russian practice when it comes to high tech ships like nuclear subs). Each of these boats will cost at least two billion dollars. This high cost, by Russian standards, is partly because many factories that supplied parts for Russian subs were in parts of the Soviet Union that are not now within the borders of present day Russia. So new factories had to be built. All components of the Boreis, and their missiles, will be built in Russia. A dozen (or eight) of these boats probably won't be completed for at least a decade.

Another problem is the reliability of the new Bulava missile, which, so far, has failed five of its ten test launches. The Bulava is believed to be fundamentally sound, but it could be another year, or more, before all the kinks are worked out. The Yuri Dolgoruky might be ready before its ballistic missiles are, which is not unusual for a new class of SSBN, carrying a new missile.

 

Gold in a submarine kitchen.

June 9, 2009: Yet another shocking revelation about the Australian submarine force is the fact that the cooks onboard these boats make more (about $160,000 a year) than some admirals. It's all about morale, which is very important on submarines. A major component of good morale in all navies is the food, and this is particularly true on submarines. Australia's booming economy has created a shortage of skilled personnel. Being able to produce good food in the crowded confines of a submarine galley requires a skilled chef with excellent organizational skills, and the ability to master basic skills required of all who serve on a sub. Turns out that there are not many men in Australia who possess this skill set. Thus while basic pay for a navy cook is $47,000, it grows quickly once you add the bonuses for being at sea, in a submarine, and hard to recruit. There are three cooks on each sub.

The Australian Navy has six Collins class subs, which are the core of Australian naval power, and the sailors who serve on these boats are not happy, even with the good food. The sailors feel unappreciated and overworked. Many find the work boring, and feel they spend too much time at sea. Half of the submarine sailors tend to get out of the navy as soon as their current enlistments were up.

As a result, only enough qualified sailors are available to provide crews for three of the six Collins class subs. Right now, maintenance problems have resulted in only one of the boats being able to go to sea. Each sub requires a crew of 45 highly trained sailors (eight of them officers.) The initial navy response was to offer large cash bonuses to get existing submarine sailors to stay in the navy, and to attract qualified recruits to serve on subs. This helped a bit, but at the expense of officer morale. The bonuses increased sailors annual pay by up to the point that officers were making less than many of the men they commanded. Despite that, not enough new recruits were attracted. The submarine service has high standards, thus many of those who were interested, were not qualified to undertake the long training courses. The global recession may help, because the Australian economy has been booming, providing many opportunities for the kind of guys who would qualify for the submarine service.

The Collins class boats were built in Australia during the 1990s, and are based on a Swedish design (the Type 471.) At 3,000 tons displacement, the Collins are half the size of the American Los Angeles class nuclear attack subs, but are nearly twice the size of s European non-nuclear subs. Australia needed larger boats because of the sheer size of the oceans in the area.

There were a lot of technical problems with the Collins class boats, which the media jumped all over. The design of these subs was novel and ambitious, using a lot of automation. This reduced the crew size to 45, but resulted in a higher workload for the submarine sailors. This is a major reason for the morale problem. Another problem with the small crew was that every one of the sailors had to be pretty sharp to begin with, then required years of training to learn the job, and more responsibility for each sailor as well.

The Australian navy has been suffering from a serious geek shortage for several years now. With a total strength of 13,000, being short a few dozen people in some job categories can have serious repercussions, and that's what happened to the submarine force. For example, the navy is short about a third of the marine engineering officers it needs. There are less serious shortages in officers specializing in electrical systems and weapons systems. Australian warships have been active in the war on terror, resulting in many crews being away from home for up to six months at a time. There are shortages of both officers and sailors with technical skills.

The situation is further complicated by a booming economy, and big demand for those with engineering degrees, and a few years of experience. This makes it easy for engineering officers to leave the navy and get a higher paying, and more comfortable, civilian job. The navy is responding with cash bonuses, better living and working conditions, and other fringe benefits. But the submarine force cannot have their working conditions improved much. While the subs are of modern design and recent construction, they are still subs. That means not much space or privacy in there.

All Western navies have similar problems, and have applied similar solutions, with some degree of success. U.S. subs have the advantage of being larger (the nuclear propulsion) and with larger crews (nearly three times the size of the Collins class boats). This apparently helps. Other nations have small, modern, diesel-electric boats like the Collins class, but do not send them off on long voyages. Australia can't avoid the long voyages, because Australia is surrounded by large water areas, that require a lot of travel time to traverse. It is boring to transit all of that distance, and that was exactly what the dispirited sailors reported when asked. At the moment, there is no solution in sight. So while Australia can buy modern submarines, they have not yet found a way to obtain crews to operate the boats.

 

Playing Tag With The Chinese subs.

June 17, 2009: On June 11, the American destroyer USS John McCain, while training off Subic Bay in the Philippines, had its towed sonar array collide with a Chinese submarine. The U.S. Navy did not reveal if the American ship had detected the sub before the collision. If the array was not activated, its sound (sonar) detectors would not have detected the sub. The Chinese admitted the sub was one of theirs, and the boat was apparently following the American ship unaware that a sonar array (which usually operates over a hundred meters beneath the surface, and two kilometers behind the ship towing it) was there.

The Chinese sub was probably a diesel-electric sub, which is a lot quieter under water than one of their nuclear powered models. The incident brings up memories of similar incidents with Russian subs during the Cold War. Some of these collisions were believed to be intelligence operations, an effort to grab portions of the American sonar array for examination (and reverse engineering.)

U.S. anti-submarine forces (subs, aircraft and surface ships) are increasingly playing tag with Chinese subs. As was done with Russian subs during the Cold War, the American sailors want to hone their skills at finding Chinese subs. All this effort is kept quite secret, as any information about American successes or failures, can be useful to the Chinese.

 

Outlawed subs.

June 26, 2009: Colombia has outlawed the construction, and use, of the semi-submersible boats used to smuggle much of the cocaine coming into North America. For those caught building these boats, it's twelve years in prison. For those caught using these boats, it's fourteen years. The U.S. estimates that Colombian cocaine smugglers have developed semi-submersible boats that are so successful at evading detection, that they are carrying most of the cocaine being moved north. Several years of effort by the U.S. Navy to improve detection methods, have not had much success. In the last three years, U.S., and other navy and coast guard ships off the coast between Mexico and Colombia, have detected over 120 of these subs. Between 2000 and 2007, only 23 of these boats were spotted. But last year, nearly 70 were detected or captured. The numbers are up these year as well, with 37 caught so far this year, with six caught so far this month. Many of the captures are the result of intelligence information at the source, not air and naval patrols out there just looking for them. These boats are hard to spot (by aircraft or ships), which is why they are being used more often.

It's estimated that about 75 of these subs are being built in northwest Colombia each year, and sent on one way trips north. Each of these boats carries a four man crew and about seven tons of cocaine (worth nearly $200 million on the street). The loss of each boat and its cargo cost the Colombian drug cartels over $10 million in costs (of building the boat and producing the drugs). Running these boats is not as dangerous as they used to be, but the crews are still paid well if they succeed, often over $100,000 each. Because of the risks with the early designs (about ten percent were believed lost at sea), the boats were nicknamed "coffins." The crews are told to pull the plug (literally) and sink the boat (and its cargo) if spotted and about to be boarded. Even with the boarding party on the way, jumping off a sinking boat, usually at night, is dangerous. U.S. laws have been changed so that the crews escaping from their sinking boats, can still be charged with drug smuggling (despite the loss of the evidence). This, plus the new Colombian laws, is why the drug gangs are looking into automating the boats, so that no crew is needed at all.

These semi-submersible "submarines" have been operating off the northwest (Pacific) coast of South America for at least nine years. More than a third of the of the 800 tons of cocaine coming out of Colombia each year leaves via the Pacific coast subs, that move the drugs north. Despite increased efforts, it's believed that less than ten percent of these subs have been caught. The drug gangs still use other smuggling methods (aircraft, hidden in ship or aircraft cargo), but apparently the subs can move the most cocaine at once, with the lowest risk.

These are not submarines in the true sense of the word, but "semi-submersibles". They are 60 foot long and 12 feet wide, fiberglass boats, powered by a diesel engine, with a very low freeboard, and a small "conning tower", providing the crew (usually of four), and engine, with fresh air, and enabling the crew to navigate. A boat of this type is the only practical kind of submarine for drug smuggling. A real submarine, capable of carrying five tons of cocaine, would cost a lot more, and require a highly trained crew. Moreover, a conventional sub actually spends most of its time running on the surface anyway, or just beneath it using a snorkel device to obtain air for the diesel engine crew. So the drug subs get the most benefit of a real submarine (which cost about $300 million these days) at a fraction of the cost.

The semi-submersibles are built, often using specially made components brought in from foreign countries, in areas along the Colombian coast, or other drug gang controlled territory nearby. Early on, Russian naval architects and engineers were discovered among those designing and building these boats. But that did not last, as the Russian designs were too complex and expensive. Instead, local boat builders created and refined the current design. Some foreign experts have been seen in the area, apparently to help the boat builders with some technical problem. These subs cost over $700,000 to construct, and carry up to ten tons of cocaine. The boat builders are getting rich, constructing the boats in well hidden locations up the rivers that empty into the Pacific. Colombian security forces are bringing more troops into this coastal areas, and in one recent week, found five of these subs (completed or under construction.) Troops and police are also going after the materials (fiberglass) needed to build the boats, and the suppliers who are getting the building materials for the gangs. This could force the gangs down the coast, to Ecuador, but the coast there, and local conditions, are not as conducive to sub building. So the gangs are fighting hard to keep the army away from the dozens of hidden submarine building "yards" along the Colombian coast. The one trip these craft undertake, will usually be for about a thousand kilometers, with the boat moving at a speed of 15-25 kilometers an hour. The average trip will take about two weeks, because the boats have learned to go very slowly during the day, to avoid leaving a wake that U.S. airborne sensors can detect.

In the past, some subs making long range trips were caught while being towed by a larger ship. Apparently the plan was to tow a semi-submersible, loaded with a ten ton cocaine cargo, long distances, and then be cut it loose for the final approach to the shore of California or some area in Europe or on the east coast of North America. While the subs are most frequently used from the Pacific coast of Colombia, they are showing up elsewhere as well. The technology has already spread. One of these boats was discovered under construction in Spain four years ago, by a local drug gang, to bring cocaine ashore from a seagoing ship far out at sea in international waters. GPS makes these kinds of operations possible.

These subs are not stealthy enough to avoid detection all the time, and the U.S. has been trying to tweak search radars, and heat sensors, to more reliably detect the drug subs. Increased maritime patrols, and infiltration of drug gangs in Colombia, has led to a significant increase in captures of these boats. On land, Colombian soldiers and police are doing a lot of damage to cocaine production, and making boat production more difficult. All this is having an impact, with cocaine prices going up, and quality going down. Drug testing and surveys indicates that cocaine use in the United States has declined 10-20 percent as a result.

But the stealthy boats are a concern to counter-terror officials. Bombs and terrorists can be transported in these vessels, and the technology for building them can be, and perhaps already has, spread to terrorist groups. The technology is improving as well. Recently captured boats had a system installed that cooled the engine exhaust, making it more difficult for infrared (heat) sensors to spot it. Thus the U.S. Navy is putting a lot of effort into improving its sensors and search techniques, for finding these boats.

 

Peruvian U-Boat Stalks the USN.

July 16, 2009: For the fifth year, the U.S. Navy has trained with a diesel electric sub from a South American navy. This program, called DESI (Diesel Electric Submarine Initiative) hopes to eventually entice NATO navies to send one of their subs over for the exercise.

So far, DESI has provided 450 engagement days involving diesel electric subs maneuvering against American anti-submarine forces (air, surface and subsurface.) The exercises give the sub crews a realistic workout against the most modern ASW (anti-submarine warfare) equipment, and allows them to show how dangerous a diesel electric boat is when it's submerged and running on batteries. This year, the sub was the Peruvian Arica (SS-36). This is a German built Type 209, which is one of the more widely used diesel-electric subs in the world. The Arica displaces 1,300 tons, is 183 feet long, has eight torpedo tubes and carry 14 torpedoes and a crew of 36. The boat is 34 years old, but had a major overhaul in 1983-4.

 

Droids For Bottom Dwellers.

August 5, 2009: The U.S. Navy has revealed that its four "commando subs" are carrying robotic aerial (UAV) and underwater (UUV) vehicles. The Sea Stalker is a torpedo shaped UUV that is deployed via the frogman deployment capsule on the deck of the sub. The 45 pound Scan Eagle UAV is already used by navy surface ships, and by marines on land. The fifteen pound Buster UAV is also being used by the subs, apparently from the deck, or from ashore by SEALs. With four hour endurance, and able to operate 40 kilometers from its radio control gear, Buster can easily be taken ashore.

As of last year, the U.S. Navy has completed the conversion of four Ohio class ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs), to cruise missile submarines (SSGN). Each of these boats now carries 154 Tomahawk cruise missiles, and provides space (for living, working and training) for 66 commandos (usually SEALs) and their equipment (including all those UAVs).

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 U.S. 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, after conversion, each now 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 appealing. The Ohio SSGNs can also carry a wide variety of electronic sensors and other data collecting gear. Thus 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's certainly a bold move, and the navy already knows that Tomahawks and SEALs work.

As when it was an SSBN, SSGNs will have two crews (each with 159 personnel, not including commandoes), which will switch places in the boat every 3-4 months, flying out to far off locations like Guam for the swap. The four SSGNs will apparently spend most of their time on intelligence collecting missions. As such, it may be a while before you hear any details. Two of these boats are based in the Pacific, and two in the Atlantic.

 

Submarine Information Useful To The Enemy.

August 18, 2009: The word around Moscow is that the crew of the two Akula class subs recently detected off the coast of North America, will not be hailed as heroes when they return home. While this is the first time Russian subs have operated in the western Atlantic in over a decade. Apparently, they were supposed to go there, and return, undetected. That's how it's done in the submarine business. This is particularly true if you are sending two of Russia's latest, and most difficult to detect, boats.

But the Americans detected the Akulas, using an underwater detection system built during the Cold War, when revealing what it found was not done (lest the Russians use that knowledge to develop better ways not to be detected). Why was that not done this time? Well, for one thing, the Cold War is over. Then there's the need to convince Congress and the taxpayers that all the billions spent on tracking foreign subs, is still worthwhile. These two subs are now being tracked by Canadian anti-submarine aircraft, who haven't had this kind of training opportunity since the early 1990s. A similar tracking system is operating in the Pacific, but you rarely get reports of Chinese subs being detected. In the Pacific, that's considered information useful to the enemy.

 

Underwater Lasers Change Everything.

September 10, 2009: Finally, there are lasers that can be used communicating underwater. This is done by using a laser pulse tuned to ionize water, and generate an acoustic pulse. Thus surface ships or aircraft could communicate with suitably equipped subs. This stuff is still in the lab, but given the need for underwater communications, there's lots of incentive to get it into service. If this survives development and testing, it will revolutionize submarine operations.

For years, researchers have been trying to find ways to use lasers to detect submarines, or to enable underwater communications. So far, it's been found that blue-green lasers can reach some ten meters beneath the surface, and be used for detection and communication. Not terribly useful for subs (which typically stay farther down than ten meters), although work continues on using this capability to search for bottom mines in shallow waters.

Two years ago, the U.S. Navy completed development of this system, which enabled nuclear subs to communicate with the rest of the world that, normally, could not be done until the boat came close to the surface and poked a radio antenna above the surface. The Deep Siren, or "tactical paging system", provided a practical solution to the problem of communicating with a submerged sub. The system consists of a disposable buoy, that is dropped in the water, by an aircraft or over the side of a ship, in the general area (within about 90 kilometers) where the sub is believed to be. The buoy sends out an acoustic signal that U.S. subs are equipped to automatically pick up. This coded message either orders the sub to get a radio antenna above water and call home, or simply delivers a brief message. The buoy also has a satellite telephone capability, so that additional messages can be sent from anywhere, to the sub. The sub cannot send messages to the buoy (because powerful sensors are required to pick up the signals). In the past, the only way to "page" submerged subs was via a large, shore based, low frequency, transmission system. This system was less reliable than the new one, although it had a much longer range.

The navy recently successfully tested the other end of the system. To do this, the sub releases a similar buoy through its garbage chute. The buoy hovers for a while (so the sub can move away), then rises to the surface and sends its messages. Thus the buoy signal will not give away the exact location of the boat. The buoy then receives messages (short ones) and uses a sonar type device to send the data acoustically, for up to 90 kilometers, to the sub. Outgoing messages, which are sent via satellite, can be longer, and even include outgoing email from the crew to family. But the acoustically transmitted messages are much shorter, and include orders from the surface ships, or anyone in the chain of command, to the sub commander.

Deep Siren can also be useful for American carrier task forces, which are usually accompanied by at least one SSN (nuclear attack sub.) Because thermal layers make underwater transmissions vary a great deal in range, the buoy sends the command messages several times to insure at least one gets through. The buoy from the sub can stay active for several days, if the sub is remaining in the area. But eventually, the buoy sinks itself. The U.S. Navy has spent about $10 million on Deep Siren so far, mainly to install it in some subs and test it. These tests continue, to see how reliable it would be under realistic conditions.

 

Dismantling The Soviet Submarine Fleet.

October 7, 2009: Russia, with financial and technical assistance from America, Britain, Canada, Japan, Italy and Norway, has been dismantling about 20 retired nuclear submarines a year, and plans to have 191 dismantled by next year. Up through the early 1990s, Russia had built nearly 260 nuclear ships (nearly all submarines). The end of the Cold War in 1991, left the Russians unable to keep most of those subs in service. Russian nukes were expensive to maintain, and many were not worth keeping in service (too noisy, too old, too many other flaws).

Most of the submarine dismantling was paid for by the U.S., which spent over $15 billion to implement the 1993 Strategic Offense Arms Elimination Implementing Agreement with Russia. Britain, Canada, Japan, Italy and Norway also contributed cash and technical assistance to this effort.

Throughout the 1990s, Russia only decommissioned 2-4 nuclear subs a year. Many nuclear subs were taken out of service in the early 1990s, although lots of older boats were being decommissioned in the late 1980s, before the Cold War even ended. That's because Russians tend to keep old weapons in service long beyond the time it's worth it. By the end of the 1990s, Russia had 150 decommissioned nuclear subs waiting to be dismantled. Russia hoped to complete dismantling these submarines by 2007, but things went much slower than expected, because there was no money. However, by 2000, things really began to pick, as 18 subs were dismantled in that year.

It costs about $7 million to dismantle one submarine. The primary task is to safely take apart the nuclear reactor, and get the radioactive components to a secure storage facility. The foreign nations contributing to this effort are all maritime nations that were concerned about the old Soviet subs falling apart while still in the water. What got this aid program going was the discovery that the Soviets were just dumping some radioactive components into Arctic waters. Russia was more willing, than the Soviets, to do the right thing and is determined to safely dispose of all these old nuclear subs.

 

Subs That Fear Going To Sea.

October 21, 2009: China recently announced the decommissioning of "Submarine 303." This was a Type 33 boat (a copy of the Russian Romeo class). Romeo was the successor to the Russian Whiskey class boats, which were, in turn, based on the German Type XXI. The German design first showed up in 1943, and was the first modern submarine, in that it was designed to spend most of its time underwater (with just the snorkel device and periscope above water, to bring in air for the diesel engine and crew). The Type XXI was a 1,600 ton (on the surface) sub, compared to the 1,500 ton Romeos. Russia built over 500 Romeos, while China built over 80. Only about 7-8 of the Type 33s are still in service, used mainly for training. They rarely go to sea.

What was most interesting about this retirement was the official comment that the sub had steamed 38,000 kilometers at sea over its 20 year career. That comes out to less than a week at sea a year. This was not unusual. Chinese subs are not built well, and there have been many breakdowns and accidents at sea. The Chinese have preferred to keep their subs tied up at dock, and have the crew practice there. Not very good training, but it does reduce the risk of losing the boat at sea. And it is good for crew morale.

China has been trying to improve the quality of its subs, and warships in general. They stopped building Type 33s in the 1980s, and began producing 21 boats of an improved design (the Type 35), which they built until the end of the century. These were more reliable boats, and spent somewhat more time at sea than the Type 33s. During the last decade, the Chinese were still having problems with producing reliable diesel-electric boats, and even more problems with nuclear subs. But eventually, the Chinese will solve the quality problems, which is exactly what they planned to do all along.

 

Women in submarines.

November 28, 2009: The U.S. Navy is planning to allow women to serve on submarines. To that end, the Naval Academy was asked to survey its female midshipmen and see how many would want to join the submarine service. About two dozen said they were interested for one of the seven slots the academy has been told will be available. The navy is planning to initially allow women on the SSBNs (ballistic missile carrying nuclear subs), mainly because they have sufficient room to provide separate quarters for women. The Ohio class SSBNs also have hatches large enough to easily get in the equipment needed to build the separate quarters. SSBNs also have two crews, which alternate running this boats on their 77 day cruises. In between each cruise, the boats are in port for about 35 days for maintenance and resupply.

One compelling reason for allowing women to serve is a growing shortage of men willing to do so. Last September, the Naval Academy produced only 92 male officers for submarine duty that required 120. Submariners must be volunteers, and satisfy strict physical, psychological and academic qualifications.

This would not be the first time female naval officers have serviced on American subs. There are twelve submarine qualified female officers in the navy. That is, they have taken all the training required for someone to serve on a submarine. There is a lot more training on the boat before you become part of a crew, but these women are qualified to serve for short periods. These women are technical specialists, and do serve for short periods on submarines, sharing a two person stateroom. Other navies (Australia, Canada, Denmark, Sweden, Spain and Norway) allow women to serve on subs, but not all of these countries have had many, if any, women actually volunteer for the service.

The U.S. Navy has a unique situation, however, mainly the length of the cruises (even the SSNs, or attack boats, go out for a month or more per cruise). The nations that already allow women on subs, have non-nuclear boats that spend far less time at sea, each time they go out. The women on these sub crews have got used to the lack of privacy, and both genders have adapted, as has been the case with mixed crews on surface warships.

But the wives of American submariners have been openly hostile to the idea of mixed male/female crews, and have not been reluctant to make their concerns known. What the wives worry about is, well, sex. They know that this takes place on surface ships with mixed crews, and it has caused a few marriages to break up. Service on subs is even more claustrophobic and stressful. And there are far fewer places, compared to surface ships, for a couple to have some clandestine sex. But this sexual activity, even though banned on all USN warships, does happen.

The berthing problem seems to be overrated, as other navies have simply put a curtain or two up to separate the male and female berthing. The officers and senior NCOs have shared rooms, and if women are allowed to serve on American subs, it will be women officers at first, because that's where the greatest shortage is. Not a lot of men are willing to go through all the training and tests to qualify for a job as an enlisted sailor on a nuclear sub, and probably fewer women are interested

 

Collisions And The Curse Of The 1930s.

November 23, 2009: More details, of how the American submarine USS Hartford managed to collide with an American amphibious ship earlier this year, have leaked out. Nothing particularly surprising, because the captain and chief of the boat (senior NCO) were dismissed shortly after the March 20 collision. The 24,000 ton amphibious ship (the USS New Orleans, LPD 18) collided with the submerged Hartford (a 7,000 ton Lost Angeles class boat), in the narrow Straits of Hormuz. Fifteen sailors aboard the sub were injured, while a fuel tank on the LPD was torn open, and 25,000 gallons of fuel oil got into the water. The Hartford rolled 85 degrees right after the collision, and substantial damage was done to the sail, including a leak. The Hartford went to a Persian Gulf shipyard for emergency repairs (a metal brace for the sail, which was twisted so that it leaned to the right). Temporary decking, railing and antennas were added to the topside of the sub, to make it easier for the surface ride home. Nuclear subs rarely spend this much time on the surface. The accident happened at 1 AM, local time.

Initially, the accident was blamed on sloppy leadership by the captain, and the senior chief petty officer. The subsequent investigation found that lax discipline was tolerated on throughout the ship. This led to sloppiness. In particular, the crew did not take all the precautions mandated for passing through a narrow waterway like the Straits of Hormuz. The investigation found many specific errors the crew made, that contributed to the collision. This included supervisors not staying with the sonar operator, who, it turned out, was chatting with someone when the collision (that the sonar would have provided warning about) occurred. The navigator was doing something else, while listening to his iPod, while the officer in charge did not, as he was supposed to do, check the surface with the periscope. The list went on, and ultimately amounted to 30 errors in procedure.

It was an expensive accident, which has cost the U.S. Navy over $100 million for repairs. This included a hull patch, plus extensive repairs to the sail (that structure on top of the hull) and one of the retractable bow planes (a wing like device). It will take about a year to complete all the work. The damage to the amphibious ship (the USS New Orleans) was minor and repairs cost $2.3 million. The Hartford arrived back in Groton, Connecticut, from the Persian Gulf on May 21st. The Hartford took over a month to make the trip, because it has to do it all on the surface (SSNs move faster underwater, than on the surface.) This was because of the damage to the subs sail. The Hartford repairs are more than what it cost to replace the front end of the SSN San Francisco, which ran into a sea mount four years ago and stove in its sonar space (the front of the boat). A front end from a retiring SSN was taken and fitted on the San Francisco, costing about $80 million.

This is not the first time the Hartford has had an underwater misadventure. Six years ago the Hartford grounded itself while training off the Spanish coast. It was only after the sub was dry docked, that it was discovered how serious the damage was. The bottom half of the rudder was torn off, and the gouges in the hull were deeper than first thought. Although the sub was able to steam back to dry dock facilities at Groton, Connecticut, it had to do so at half speed, taking a month for a trip that normally is made in two weeks. The cause of that accident was sloppiness by the six sailors in the navigation team. Too much time was allowed to elapse between position updates and the sub went aground while navigating shallow coastal waters. All six sailors in the "navigation party" were punished for dereliction of duty. The captain of the sub, and his boss (the commander of Submarine Squadron 22, based in Spain), were both relieved of duty. The implication here is that the training and discipline of the navigation party were not up to standard, and the ship's captain and the squadron commander are responsible for training and discipline. The damage to the Hartford required expensive repairs to the hull and kept the sub out of service for nearly a year. The same thing is happening again.

All these accidents are part of a larger problem in the navy; finding and retaining sailors capable of running a nuclear submarine. Sub commanders are under a lot of pressure to keep their sailors from leaving the navy. But the long periods submarine sailors spend away from their families, creates pressure to get out and take a civilian job close to home. The submarine sailors are very capable, and highly trained, people. Getting a better paying civilian job is not a problem. So sub captains try to keep the crews happy. That often leads to lax discipline. And that often leads to these collisions. Many sub captains see this as a calculated risk, as they know that, in wartime, their highly skilled crews would snap together and do the job. But a sub commanders first priority, at least in peacetime, is the safety of his boat. In wartime, the mission comes first.

There's precedent for this. During the early days of World War II, the U.S. Navy had to replace most of its sub captains. These men had risen to their positions in the peacetime navy by doing things by the book and always adhering to procedure. But in combat, you needed much more flexible commanders, and these were the ones who came in and won the American submarine war in the Pacific.

 

In Pursuit Of Silence And Superiority

December 3, 2009: The U.S. Navy has revealed that the Chinese Navy has turned its attention to making its submarines quieter. For decades, the Chinese concentrated on just building subs (no easy feat, as few nations can do it) that were reliable enough for wartime use. In the last decade, China has sought to make its subs safe for peacetime use. There have been several bad failures of Chinese subs. In one recent case, the entire crew of one boat was asphyxiated when the diesel engines did not shut down as the sub dived. There have been numerous breakdowns while at sea, and many subs that don't leave port much because of reliability problems.

Diesel electric subs are intrinsically very quiet when underwater, operating on battery power. But the Chinese did not train their crews to be quiet when "running silent." This included tweaking the mechanical items, that run off battery power underwater, to be quiet. Thus U.S. ships, and especially nuclear subs, had an easy time detecting Chinese subs, even the diesel-electric ones running underwater.

This is all changing. Chinese dockyard workers and engineers are silencing noise making components. Crews are trained to operate silently when the ship is running under water. New nuclear boats are also being refurbished to increase quietness.

Despite all this, the U.S. Navy has found that Chinese subs are still noisier than Russian boats were 20-30 years ago. But if past performance is any guide, in 10-20 years, Chinese subs will be very quiet, and much more dangerous. China is in the process of expanding its sub fleet from about 60 boats to, over the next decade, 75 more modern ones.

 

Iran's submarines equipped with special weapons.

TEHRAN, Dec. 12 (MNA) -- Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari has said Iran's light submarines are equipped with special weapons and have special forces as part of their crews.Pointing to the country's significant progress in manufacturing submarines, Sayyari said that the Nuh, Yunus, and Tariq submarines as well as the light submarines of the Ghadir class are all produced in Iran. Elsewhere in his remarks, he said the country's warships deployed in the northern Indian Ocean carry helicopters on board that can be used whenever necessary, the Fars News Agency reported on Saturday.

Piracy has flourished over the past year in the busy Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean shipping lanes. Pirate gangs have seized several cargo ships and collected tens of millions of dollars in ransom for the safe release of crews and cargoes. The Iranian Navy has been conducting anti-piracy patrols in these areas for almost two years.

The Gulf of Aden - which links the Indian Ocean with the Suez Canal and the Mediterranean Sea - is an important energy corridor, particularly because Persian Gulf oil is shipped to the West through the Suez Canal.

 

 

Iran Buys North Korean Midget Submarines.

November 2, 2009 · Posted in Defence, Industry News. 

The US Congressional Research Service suggests that Iran has purchased several midget submarines from North Korea.  In June, the Iranian Navy commissioned its fourth, fifth and sixth units in its Qadi (also written Ghadir), r-class program, an indigenous midget submarine program which first became known in the west five years ago.

Military sources report that the North Korean miniature subs are capable of dropping small teams of commando forces on enemy shores, damaging large warships and mining the approaches of naval bases and harbours. They are capable of sowing EM-52 "rising mines" originally developed by China, which lurk on deep sea beds until triggered by a passing ship to release a missile which shoots up to strike its hull. This weapon substantially enhances the Iranian navies' menace, a development Israel will have take into account in the defense of its Mediterranean naval bases and commercial ports.

In 2005 Iran announced it would start production of its first indigenous submarine. In May 2005, Iran officially launched the production of its first locally built submarine, a craft capable of operating stealthily, state-run television reported. Defence Ministry spokesman Mohammad Imani was quoted as saying "the enemy would not be able to detect the submarine." He did not elaborate. One submarine had already been built and was shown on television, cruising at sea level. The Defence Ministry had commissioned an unspecified number of the craft that's been dubbed "Ghadir." The hull was launched in 2006. In 2007 the Iranian navy unveiled a submarine, named the Qadir (also written Ghadir), first of a number of planned midget submarines of the Yono class. Some observers suggested that the Qadir was otherwise similar to the North Korean Yugo boats, leading observers to suggest that this was an Iranian design based heavy on that class. But the Ghadir was 50% longer than the Yugo, and in fact resembled the North Korean Sang-O Class coastal submarines.

Iranian authorities asserted that the Qadir was an entirely Iranian design, and that the vessel could launch anti-ship missiles. Such a capability would have required the installation of more advanced systems into the submarine or the operation in concert with other vessels capable of guiding any such missiles. The Qadir does have provisions for mounting a Swimmer Delivery Vehicle (SDV), a type of craft that Iran has also developed.

Iran described the Ghadir as a "light" submarine, meaning it is smaller than the attack subs used by the United States. Iran has provided very little information about the craft, including its dimensions or the size of its crew.

The submarine, which is capable of operating in the Persian Gulf and Oman seawaters, can launch both missiles and torpedoes at the same time, the television reported, without specifying the range of the projectiles. In December 2004, Iran announced the production of a line of stealth torpedoes that could be launched from helicopters, ships or submarines. Iranian officials have repeatedly said the Islamic Republic will defend itself should the United States or archrival Israel initiate any aggression. Pressure has mounted on Iran recently with suspicion over its nuclear program which Washington suspects is aimed at building unconventional weapons, a charge Iranian officials vehemently deny.

In November 2007 Iran claimed to have built a small submarine equipped with sonar-evading technology, saying the craft had been launched in the Persian Gulf. The navy chief, Adm. Habibollah Sayyari, was quoted by state television as saying the new Ghadir-class submarine is the second Iranian-built underwater craft outfitted with "state-of-the-art electronic equipment." He said it took 10 years to build.

Iran's Naval Submarine fleet will be equipped with a new domestically manufactured submarine, the senior Iranian navy commander said in August 2008. Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari said that Iranian technicians have used indigenous technology to build the new submarine. He did not specify the class of the new submarine. Iran's Navy currently operates Ghadir and Nahang (meaning whale in Persian) submarines. According to Rear Adm. Sayyari, the Ghadir submarine is equipped with the latest military and technological equipments.

On 26 November 2008 the Commander of the Islamic Republic Army's Navy Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari said that in next 15 days another Ghadir class submarine would be delivered to the Navy. Sayyari told reporters after touring IRNA head office that the submarine has been designed and built by Marine Industries Organization. He said moreover, a light submarine will join the Navy's fleet on the Navy Day. He added that once the submarines join the Navy, its deterrent power deep inside the sea will increase dramatically. This would mark possibly the fourth submarine in this class.

Reportedly being mass produced [supposedly at a cost of $18 million each], the first of this class, Ghadir, has been paraded for the press. Although generally described as a mini-submarine, it is rather larger that Iran's other mini-subs. The Ghadir, with an estimated displacement estimated at between 120 tons and 500 tons, is probably better described as a littoral submarine, similar in concept to the Italian Sauro class though significantly smaller. Photographs indicate it has a pair of bow torpedo tubes which appear to be 21" allowing them to fire typical heavyweight torpedoes. It could thus serve as a launch platform for the infamous Shkval rocket torpedo, which has been transferred to Iran.

 

Iran subs get boost from North Korea

The U.S. Navy, worried by Iran's increasing underwater capability, has revealed for the first time that the rogue nation has acquired its submarine technology largely from North Korea, which has provided both mini-submarines and manufacturing know-how, according to a report from Joseph Farah's G2 Bulletin.

The revelation comes as the Office of Naval Intelligence, or ONI, recently released its latest report on Iran's conventional navy, with the observation that Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, or IRGC, is working on programs to achieve an underwater stealth capability.

"Submarines will probably remain a key feature of Iran's naval order of battle," the ONI report said. "Iran is the only country in the Persian Gulf region with submarines, and Iranian naval leaders have stated publicly that they believe submarines are a better value than other weapons systems." ONI made its disclosures in a report titled, "Iran's Naval Forces: From Guerrilla Warfare to a Modern Naval Strategy." For undisclosed reasons, however, that report later was removed from the ONI website.

For some two decades, North Korea has been known to be involved in developing midget submarines primarily for special operations purposes.

Indeed, the Department of Defense in the late 1980s was involved in halting the export of a mini-submarine from Germany to North Korea. North Korean sailors were in Germany at the time testing the craft on the Rhein River when the export and testing was halted at high political levels at U.S. initiative.

It is possible that North Korea developed its indigenous production know-how from Germany. Today, North Korea not only indigenously produces mini-submarines but is known to have exported its know-how - as it has done with its missile technology - to certain countries, such as Iran.

Iran itself is known to have been looking for a long time for mini-submarine technology and in the 1980s initially had gone to an Italian firm which also was assisting Iraq's Saddam Hussein at the time in developing a production capability.

Iran and Pakistan similarly have been involved in acquiring and sharing the Italian technology to produce their own mini-submarines.

The ONI report said that Iran had acquired the Kajami and Gahjae-class semi-submersible from North Korea. The North Koreans refer to the Kajami class as the Taedong-B and call the Gahjae-class semi-submersible the Taedong-C.

Iran reportedly has a small number of the Taedong-Bs and Taedong-Cs. Both are said to be equipped with lightweight torpedoes which have a range of between 3.7 miles to 6.2 miles.

These boats are designed to wait, partially submerged, for a target, then attack at high speed on the surface, or approach at high speed and then submerge for the final stage of the attack.

 

Japanese Mini Sub found.

The remains of a Japanese mini-submarine that participated in the Dec. 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor have been discovered, researchers are to report today, offering strong evidence that the sub fired its torpedoes at Battleship Row. That could settle a long-standing argument among historians.

Five mini-subs were to participate in the strike, but four were scuttled, destroyed or run aground without being a factor in the attack. The fate of the fifth has remained a mystery. But a variety of new evidence suggests that the fifth fired its two 800-pound torpedoes, most likely at the battleships West Virginia and Oklahoma, capsizing the latter. A day later, researchers think, the mini-sub's crew scuttled it in nearby West Loch.

The loch was also the site of a 1944 disaster in which six tank landing ships preparing for the secret invasion of Saipan were destroyed in an ammunition explosion that killed 200 sailors and wounded hundreds more.

When the Navy scooped up the remains of the so-called LSTs and dumped them outside the harbor to protect the secrecy of the invasion, it apparently also dumped the mini-sub's remains, which were mingled with the damaged U.S. ships.

The two-man, 80-foot-long sub in question [of the Ko-hyoteki class] does not have a name of its own. Each of the five subs in the attack was carried by a conventional submarine and took its name from the mother boat. It is thus called the I-16-tou -- tou being Japanese for boat. Powered by a 600-horsepower electric motor, the sub could reach underwater speeds of 19 knots, twice as fast as many of the U.S. subs of the day.

The Japanese navy modified net cutters on the subs for specific missions, and the one on the wreck was identical to those on the other mini-subs.No torpedoes were found on the wreck, and evidence suggests that they were not present when the boat was sunk. A newly declassified photograph taken by a Japanese plane during the attack appeared to show a mini-sub firing a torpedo into Battleship Row. A report to Congress in 1942 by Adm. Chester W. Nimitz describes an unexploded 800-pound torpedo recovered after the battle. That's twice the size carried by the torpedo bombers.

That torpedo was apparently a dud that missed the West Virginia.

But an examination of the remains of the Oklahoma shows that it apparently had underwater damage much larger than that associated with aerial torpedoes. An underwater blast would have caused it to capsize, Stephenson said. "Otherwise it would have settled to the bottom upright," like the other sunken ships.

Five of the Ko-hyoteki midget submarines were used to attack Pearl Harbor. Some were captured in wrecked condition shortly after the attack, like this one, washed up on the beach at Oahu. Others were discovered many years later, like this one salvaged by USS Current in 1960 from Keehi Lagoon, Hawaii. One midget submarine was claimed as sunk by the destroyer USS Ward on the morning of the Pearl Harbor attack. Long dismissed, her claim was ultimately verified by the discovery of the wreck of the submarine she attacked, with shell holes precisely where the Ward claimed to have hit her. The photograph below shows the Ward's victim on the seabed. The Ko-hyoteki class midget submarines were also used to attack the harbor in Sydney, Australia, in 1942.

 

Ballard.

The man who located the wreck of the Titanic has revealed that the discovery was a cover story to camouflage the real mission of inspecting the wrecks of two Cold War nuclear submarines. When Bob Ballard led a team that pinpointed the wreckage of the liner in 1985 he had already completed his main task of finding out what happened to USS Thresher and USS Scorpion.

Both of the United States Navy vessels sank during the 1960s, killing more than 200 men and giving rise to fears that at least one of them, Scorpion, had been sunk by the USSR. Dr Ballard, an oceanographer, has admitted that he located and inspected the wrecks for the US Navy in top secret missions before he was allowed to search for the Titanic. Only once he had used his new underwater robot craft to map the submarine wreck sites was he able to use it to crisscross the North Atlantic seabed to pinpoint the last resting place of the luxury liner. It meant he had only 12 days to find the Titanic.

Dr Ballard said what he had seen during the inspection of the wrecks gave him the idea of finding a trail of debris that would lead to the main sections of the Titanic. Thresher, had imploded deep beneath the surface and had broken up into thousands of pieces and Scorpion was almost as completely destroyed. "It was as though it had been put through a shredding machine. There was a long debris trail." Dr Ballard developed a robotic submarine craft in the early 1980s and approached the US Navy in 1982 for funding to search for the Titanic, which sank in 1912 with the loss of 1,500 lives after hitting an iceberg.

He was told that the military were not willing to spend a fortune on locating the liner, but they did want to know what had happened to their submarines.The military were anxious to know how the nuclear reactors had been affected by being submerged for so long.

During the 1980s the nuclear submarine fleet was reduced after the Salt II (strategic arms limitation talks) agreement and one option was to sink unwanted reactors at sea. Dr Ballard said that samples taken from the reactor sections of both submarines showed that there was little risk to the environment from radioactivity. The oceanographer was given the funding to embark on two expeditions, one to find the wreck of Thresher in 1984 off the eastern coast of the US and another to find Scorpion in the eastern Atlantic.

Thresher, the US Navy's most advanced attack submarine at the time, sank with all her 129 crew in April 1963 while undergoing seaworthiness tests after dockyard repairs. A surface ship, Skylark, was in contact when the submarine's crew reported that a high-pressure pipe supplying the nuclear reactor with cooling water had blown. The accident 1,000ft down, caused the vessel to lose power. It then sank so deep that the pressure hull imploded.

Scorpion disappeared with 99 crew in 1968, and there had been speculation that it was sunk by Soviet forces. Dr Ballard's visual examination of the wreck site showed that the most likely cause of its destruction was being hit by a rogue torpedo that it had fired itself.

 

 Britain’s special forces to get mini-sub.

The combat divers of Britain’s Special Boat Service (SBS) will soon be getting some new transport. The “shallow water combat submersible” (SWCS) will be able to carry six frogmen for 100 miles at depths of up to 300ft. Studded with sonar sensors, the lightweight mini-sub is designed to detect and evade an enemy, before landing special forces under its nose.

 

swcs

 

Brought to a war zone by a larger submarine, a surface vessel or even an aircraft, the stealth-equipped mini-sub will take specialists in reconnaissance, assassination or demolition close to a hostile coast or vessel. It is being designed for America’s equivalent of the SBS, the Navy Seals. This unit will replace the Seals’ and the SBS’s US-made “swimmer delivery system”, known as the Mk VIII boat. The 22ft, electrically powered Mk VIII is ridden by a crew exposed to the sea and owes a design debt to the midget submarines developed by Britain and Japan during the second world war. Sadly, its electronics are nearly as old, dating back to its conception in the mid-1970s. Its replacement, which will also doubtless be shared by the two forces, also “runs wet” — that is, floods with water once launched, saving the trouble of fitting an airlock. It will benefit from recent developments in electronic warfare, possessing a miniaturised Doppler sonar, the sonic equivalent of radar, able to provide a three-dimensional image of the sub’s surroundings. Coupled with data provided by motion sensors, it will allow the boat’s powerful computers to navigate underwater in zero visibility and with unprecedented accuracy, without the need to surface to obtain visual references or a sat nav fix. Unlike the Mk VIII, the submersible will have the ability to raise a periscope — but this won’t be an old-school optical version. Instead it will use video imaging technology. Before the main part of this sensor mast even breaks the surface, a whisker-like antenna attached to the top will poke above the waves and sniff for radar activity. If it detects an enemy sweep, the boat dives and moves somewhere safer before repeating the process. Passive sonar sensors on the exterior and a sound-absorbing fibreglass hull help it to evade detection underwater, and battery-powered electric motors allow it to run almost silent. The mini-sub will be equipped with a pair of smart, torpedo-like probes. Using side-scanning sonar, they can scout the waters on each side of the boat, returning either to the mini-sub or its host vessel at the end of a mission.

The stealthiest way of launching the mini-sub will be underwater, via another submarine. Like the Mk VIII boat, it will emerge from a dry deck station, an airtight cylinder that can be fitted onto a larger submarine in hours, or even dropped directly into the ocean from a cargo plane. Two such stations will be piggy-backed on the US Navy’s new SSGN boats — Ohio-class nuclear missile submarines that have been fitted for Seal operations. “SSGNs are a brilliant idea,” says Lewis Page, defence correspondent for The Register, a technology news website. “The Navy had these four boats lying around after the Salt arms reduction talks made them redundant, so they stripped out their ballistic missiles and replaced them with 154 non-nuclear Tomahawk cruise missiles. This also left enough space to accommodate more than 100 Seal frogmen and mission specialists.”

Britain, meanwhile, will be launching its first SBS stealth sub by 2013 from the Royal Navy’s latest Astute-class nuclear submarines, the first of which is expected to go into service in 2009.

 

Atlantis submarines to cease operations in USVI.

ST THOMAS, USVI -- Atlantis Adventures, which operates Atlantis Submarine and catamaran excursions from St Thomas, has confirmed to the government of the US Virgin Islands their plans to discontinue its submarine excursion operations in St Thomas on May 31. 2009. “We’re disappointed to learn that Atlantis has decided to discontinue its St Thomas operation after 24 years,” said Beverly Nicholson-Doty “We remain committed to supporting this very important sector of our tourism product and will continue to provide broad based destination marketing initiatives for the territory. According to Atlantis Adventures, it is discontinuing its submarine operations in St Thomas only, not the catamaran excursions.

 

STEVE DROGIN

Steve Drogin suffered a fatal heart attack on April 14. After building his own submersible, a three-person yellow submarine, Deep See, he provided funding to enable three Scripps students to travel and spend 10 days around Cocos Island, Costa Rica, exploring the wonders of the sea. in his submarine. In summer 2008, Steve brought his submarine to the Sea of Cortez, where he participated in a research expedition that revealed the Gulf of California's Deep Sea secrets as well as human impacts. The DeepSee submersible allowed scientists to survey marine life with its 360-degree glass dome at depths as extensive as 475 meters (1,500 feet).

 

Point Loma scientists on team taking vehicle to the deepest place on Earth

 

June 3, 2009

The unmanned submersible Nereus could be sent on its deepest dive today, the conclusion of a two-week mission made possible in part by Navy engineers in Point Loma. (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution) -

 

A team of researchers are taking the unmanned submersible Nereus to the lowest point on Earth. That spot is the Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench southwest of Guam, which has been explored only twice before.  At nearly 36,000 feet, it's a mile deeper than Mount Everest is tall.  Navy engineers created a fiber-optic tether 25 miles long and scarcely thicker than a human hair to stream computerized instructions to Nereus and receive data and high-definition video feeds in return. The new fiber-optic line is 10 times as strong as steel, weighs almost nothing and fits inside a canister the size of two coffee cans. It is adapted from technology the Navy has been developing at the Point Loma facility since the late 1970s for uses such as communicating with submarines and aiming torpedoes. To control Nereus, operators use a conventional cable to drop the submersible and the fiber-optic canister to a depth of nearly 20,000 feet. The fiber-optic tether spools out from there, dropping with the twin-hulled vehicle to the ocean floor. Those sites have been unreachable in recent years because the Trieste was retired in 1966 (it is now on display at the Smithsonian Institution) and the Kaiko was lost in a storm in 2003 because of a broken tether. NEREUS AUV.is an Unmanned, deep-sea submersible. Length: 14 feet. Width: 8 feet. Height: 4 feet. Weight: 3 tons. Speed: 3.5 mph. Power: lithium ion rechargeable batteries. Operation: 24 hours on each 12-hour battery charge. 

 

 Submarine rescue system delivered to Australia.

A submarine rescue system that will cut response time for underwater emergencies was delivered to Australia.  The LR5 submarine rescue system from Britain had previously been "on-call" but was on the other side of the world if needed. The LR5 is a manned submersible in operation with the British Royal Navy. It is designed for retrieving sailors from stranded submarines and is capable of rescuing 16 at a time. The system will be used as part of the RAN's yearly submarine escape and rescue drill known as "Black Carillon" later this year. The arrival of LR5 comes as the government begins to consider the make-up of its fleet ahead of the decommissioning of the Collins Class submarines.  The Australian government has foreshadowed the purchase of 12 new conventionally powered submarines.  While having the LR5 submarine rescue system on call in the United Kingdom met the Navy’s requirements for responding to Submarine emergencies, the relocation improves response times and allows the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) to exercise the capability with Collins Class Submarines. The ancillary equipment for the LR5 suite arrived in Australia by a chartered 747 last week and the LR5 rescue vehicle by RAAF C17 Heavy Air Lift this week. The current Navy support vessels have already been modified to deploy the LR5 rescue system.
The LR5 has mated safely on many occasions with submarines fitted with the standard NATO rescue seat, which is fitted to most submarines, including Collins Class.

 

DRUG SUBS.

June 26, 2009: Colombia has outlawed the construction, and use, of the semi-submersible boats used to smuggle much of the cocaine coming into North America. For those caught building these boats, it's twelve years in prison. For those caught using these boats, it's fourteen years. The U.S. estimates that Colombian cocaine smugglers have developed semi-submersible boats that are so successful at evading detection, that they are carrying most of the cocaine being moved north. Several years of effort by the U.S. Navy to improve detection methods, have not had much success.

In the last three years, U.S., and other navy and coast guard ships off the coast between Mexico and Colombia, have detected over 120 of these subs. Between 2000 and 2007, only 23 of these boats were spotted. But last year, nearly 70 were detected or captured. The numbers are up these year as well, with 37 caught so far this year, with six caught so far this month. Many of the captures are the result of intelligence information at the source, not air and naval patrols out there just looking for them. These boats are hard to spot (by aircraft or ships), which is why they are being used more often. It's estimated that about 75 of these subs are being built in northwest Colombia each year, and sent on one-way trips north. Each of these boats carries a four-man crew and about seven tons of cocaine (worth nearly $200 million on the street). The loss of each boat and its cargo cost the Colombian drug cartels over $10 million in costs (of building the boat and producing the drugs). Running these boats is not as dangerous as they used to be, but the crews are still paid well if they succeed, often over $100,000 each. Because of the risks with the early designs (about ten percent were believed lost at sea), the boats were nicknamed "coffins." The crews are told to pull the plug (literally) and sink the boat (and its cargo) if spotted and about to be boarded. Even with the boarding party on the way, jumping off a sinking boat, usually at night, is dangerous. U.S. laws have been changed so that the crews escaping from their sinking boats, can still be charged with drug smuggling (despite the loss of the evidence). This, plus the new Colombian laws, is why the drug gangs are looking into automating the boats, so that no crew is needed at all.

 

 

These semi-submersible "submarines" have been operating off the northwest (Pacific) coast of South America for at least nine years. More than a third of the of the 800 tons of cocaine coming out of Colombia each year leaves via the Pacific coast subs, that move the drugs north. Despite increased efforts, it's believed that less than ten percent of these subs have been caught. The drug gangs still use other smuggling methods (aircraft, hidden in ship or aircraft cargo), but apparently the subs can move the most cocaine at once, with the lowest risk.

These are not submarines in the true sense of the word, but "semi-submersibles". They are 60 foot long and 12 feet wide, fiberglass boats, powered by a diesel engine, with a very low freeboard, and a small "conning tower", providing the crew (usually of four), and engine, with fresh air, and enabling the crew to navigate. A boat of this type is the only practical kind of submarine for drug smuggling. A real submarine, capable of carrying five tons of cocaine, would cost a lot more, and require a highly trained crew. Moreover, a conventional sub actually spends most of its time running on the surface anyway, or just beneath it using a snorkel device to obtain air for the diesel engine crew. So the drug subs get the most benefit of a real submarine (which cost about $300 million these days) at a fraction of the cost. The semi-submersibles are built, often using specially made components brought in from foreign countries, in areas along the Colombian coast, or other drug gang controlled territory nearby. Early on, Russian naval architects and engineers were discovered among those designing and building these boats. But that did not last, as the Russian designs were too complex and expensive. Instead, local boat builders created and refined the current design. Some foreign experts have been seen in the area, apparently to help the boat builders with some technical problem. These subs cost over $700,000 to construct, and carry up to ten tons of cocaine. The boat builders are getting rich, constructing the boats in well-hidden locations up the rivers that empty into the Pacific. Colombian security forces are bringing more troops into this coastal areas, and in one recent week, found five of these subs (completed or under construction.) Troops and police are also going after the materials (fiberglass) needed to build the boats, and the suppliers who are getting the building materials for the gangs. This could force the gangs down the coast, to Ecuador, but the coast there, and local conditions, are not as conducive to sub building. So the gangs are fighting hard to keep the army away from the dozens of hidden submarine building "yards" along the Colombian coast.

The one trip these craft undertake, will usually be for about a thousand kilometers, with the boat moving at a speed of 15-25 kilometers an hour. The average trip will take about two weeks, because the boats have learned to go very slowly during the day, to avoid leaving a wake that U.S. airborne sensors can detect. In the past, some subs making long-range trips were caught while being towed by a larger ship. Apparently the plan was to tow a semi-submersible, loaded with a ten-ton cocaine cargo, long distances, and then is cut it loose for the final approach to the shore of California or some area in Europe or on the east coast of North America. While the subs are most frequently used from the Pacific coast of Colombia, they are showing up elsewhere as well. The technology has already spread. One of these boats was discovered under construction in Spain four years ago, by a local drug gang, to bring cocaine ashore from a seagoing ship far out at sea in international waters. GPS makes these kinds of operations possible.

These subs are not stealthy enough to avoid detection all the time, and the U.S. has been trying to tweak search radars, and heat sensors, to more reliably detect the drug subs. Increased maritime patrols, and infiltration of drug gangs in Colombia, has led to a significant increase in captures of these boats. On land, Colombian soldiers and police are doing a lot of damage to cocaine production, and making boat production more difficult. All this is having an impact, with cocaine prices going up, and quality going down. Drug testing and surveys indicates that cocaine use in the United States has declined 10-20 percent as a result.

But the stealthy boats are a concern to counter-terror officials. Bombs and terrorists can be transported in these vessels, and the technology for building them can be, and perhaps already has, spread to terrorist groups. The technology is improving as well. Recently captured boats had a system installed that cooled the engine exhaust, making it more difficult for infrared (heat) sensors to spot it. Thus the U.S. Navy is putting a lot of effort into improving its sensors and search techniques, for finding these boats.

 

 Ictineu Submarines.

In1859 Spanish inventor Narcis Monturiol launched the first submarine in Barcelona harbour. Called the Ictineo, it was an olive wood and copper ellipsoid enclosed in an outer hull. Length 7m, ten-ton displacement and accommodated six people. Diving depth 50m. The submarine performed 68 dives without incident.

In 1864 a second submarine was built. 17m long, 72 tons displacement, with anaerobic engine that was able to produce steam for propulsion and breathable oxygen. Today (150 years later) the firm Ictineu Submarines (based in Barcelona) is developing a modern submarine for scientific research that will be launched in 2009.

 

Mysteries of the Deep.

This is an interesting book from Progress Publishers (Moscow), 1989. Book code for ordering ISBN5-01-001150-6.

 

Two Nuclear Submarines collide in the Atlantic.

A Royal Navy nuclear submarine was involved in a collision in the middle of the Atlantic, it was reported. The crash between HMS Vanguard and French submarine Le Triomphant, which was also carrying nuclear warheads, is believed to have occurred on 3rd February 2009. Despite being equipped with sonar to detect other vessels, neither submarine apparently realised the other was in the same part of the ocean. HMS Vanguard and Le Triomphant are understood to have both been severely damaged in the underwater accident earlier this month. Both are fitted with state-of-the-art technology aimed at detecting other submarines, but it apparently failed completely. Each boat is a key part of their respective county's nuclear deterrent, ready to unleash their destructive weapons at a moment's notice. French Navy sources confirm that Le Triomphant, one of four strategic nuclear submarines of the so-called "Force de Frappe", was returning from a 70 day tour of duty when the incident occurred. It happened in heavy seas, and in the middle of the night and left Le Triomphant's sonar dome all but destroyed. The sonar dome should have detected the Vanguard but Le Triomphant's crew of 101 claimed to have "neither saw nor heard anything". Le Triomphant took at least three days to limp back to her home port, while HMS Vanguard returned to her home base in Faslane, in Scotland.  With a complement of 135 crew, she is the lead boat of the Vanguard class of submarines which carry Trident ballistic missiles around the world. Le Triomphant is also the lead ship in her own class of Triomphant nuclear submarines. Each carries 16 M45 ballistic missiles, weighs 35 tons each, carries six warheads and has a range of around 5,000 miles. France's Atlantic coast is notorious for being a "submarine graveyard" because of the number of underwater craft, mainly German U-boats, sunk in the area during the Second World War.

 

HMS Vanguard: Two British and French nuclear submarines collided in heavy seas in the Atlantic.

 

Both navies want quiet areas, deep areas, roughly the same distance from their home ports. 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.

In 1992, the US nuclear submarine USS Baton Rouge was struck by a surfacing Russian nuclear sub in the Barents Sea.

When the nuclear submarine HMS Trafalgar ran aground during a training exercise off the coast of Skye in 2002, the damage was estimated at £5m ($7m).

HMS Vanguard completed a two-year refit completed in 2007 as part of a £5bn contract, and is not due to be replaced until 2024.

 

HMS Vanguard and Le Triomphant

HMS VANGUARD

Launched in 1992

One of four British submarines carrying Trident nuclear missiles

Displacement (submerged) 16,000 tonnes, 150m (492ft) long

Can carry 48 nuclear warheads on a maximum of 16 missiles

Full crew is 145, including 14 officers

Submerged speed of 25 knots

LE TRIOMPHANT

Launched in 1994

One of four French ballistic missile nuclear-powered subs

Displacement (submerged) 14,000 tonnes, 138m (452ft) long

Can carry 16 ballistic missiles with nuclear warheads

Full crew is 110, including 15 officers

Submerged speed over 25 knots


Jacques Piccard (Scientist Who Explored the Deep) Dies at 86.
 
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS (Published: November 1, 2008). GENEVA (AP) - Jacques Piccard, a scientist and underwater explorer who plunged deeper beneath the ocean than any other man, died Saturday. He was 86. Exploration ran in the Piccard family. Mr. Piccard's father, Auguste, a physicist, was the first man to take a balloon into the stratosphere. His son, Bertrand, was the first man to fly a balloon non-stop around the world. Jacques Piccard helped his father invent the bathyscaphe, a vessel that allows people to descend to great depths. On Jan. 23, 1960, he and Lt. Don Walsh of the United States Navy took the vessel, named the Trieste, into the Mariana Trench in the Pacific to a depth of 35,800 feet, nearly seven miles below sea level. It remains the deepest human dive ever. "By far the most interesting find was the fish that came floating by our porthole," Mr. Piccard said. "We were astounded to find higher marine life forms down there at all." After the dive, Mr. Piccard continued to research the deep seas and worked for NASA. He also built four mid-depth submarines, mesoscaphes, including the first tourist submarine. During the Swiss National Exhibition in 1964, he took 33,000 passengers into the depths of Lake Geneva.

 

Brazil to buy five submarines from France. These will include four conventional attack Scorpene submarines, and one nuclear powered submarine. The submarines will be used to patrol territorial waters offshore Brazil.

Explosion onboard the USN SEAL delivery vehicle. This adds to the long list of problems for the mini-sub. A battery fire on 9/11/08 while charging the lithium batteries burnt for six hours. The ASDA programme was cancelled in 2006, but this existing mini-sub was kept and to be deployed onboard the guided missile submarine Michigan. The mini - sub was conditionally accepted by the USN after the cost ballooned from the original US$70m to US$880m in 2007………….

Pakistan Submarine. In the autumn of 2008, Pakistan commissioned its latest submarine Hamza. This sub is their third Agosta-90B class boat, designed by the French, but built in Pakistan.

Iran Navy Submarines. Iran is to build a new class of 1000-ton submarine called the Qaeem Class. These subs will be capable of firing missiles and Shkval rocket torpedoes. The first unit will be delivered in 2011, with four more units by 2018.

Drug Subs. Drug smugglers using semi-subs have become more common, as they can enter US waters virtually undetected. A 2008 craft captured by the Mexican Navy carried four crew and six tons of cocaine.

S. Korean Navy DSRV. A new DSRV has been delivered to the S. Korean Navy (ROK). Built to Lloyds rules by James Fisher Defence, and dive tested to 507m. This unit can lock onto a distressed submarine and transfer 16 crew members under pressure, and recover them to the surface. The mothership will be the Chung-Hae-Jin.

Singapore launches Sub Rescue vessel. Singapore launched their submarine rescue mothership “Swift Rescue” on 28 November 2008. The vessel is 85m long, DP2, heli pad, and will have a DSRV with an operational depth of 500m.

NATO Submarine Rescue System. The new NSRS has completed diving trials of France and Norway as part of a NATO exercise. Dives were carried out to a depth of 600m in Hardanger Fjord, to mate with an underwater target.

 

The Deep Voyage. This is a book written by Will Forman. A story about an international submarine race that takes the hero into a world of undersea adventure, sabotage, intrigue and danger. Publisher Author House. ISBN 1-4208-9329-7.

Drug Running Semi-sub Captured. The US Navy intercepted a self-propelled semi-submersible carrying seven tons of cocaine. The unit was intercepted at night, 350 miles off the coast of Guatemala. Four smugglers from Columbia were captured by the navy. The semi-submersible was 60ft in length, had a speed of 13 knots and a 2500 mile range.

Russia - More submarines to be built. Russia has announced that it intends to build more nuclear powered submarines. Vladimir Putin will increase the military budget for 2009 by 28%.

Chinese DSRV completes diving trials at Fort William. A DSRV (LR7) built by Perry Slingsby for the Chinese Navy has completed diving trials at Fort William. Operating depth is 300m plus. Length 25 feet. Capable of rescuing 18 personnel. Powered by Zebra Batteries that have a longer duration and mission profile than normal lead-acid batteries.

 AUV surveys the Deep. Scientists from Woods Hole (WHOI) completed their first mission with the AUV Sentry, a newly developed robot capable of dives to 5000m. The unit is a free-swimming robot that operates without a tether, and is programmed for deep-water surveys. The Auv can also hover over the seafloor for close up inspections when required. Funding for the vehicle was provided by NSF.

Internet Control of Rov. Internet users can now reach under the sea to pilot a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) docked at an unmanned experimental laboratory based off Vancouver Island.  Conceived by the Ocean Technology Laboratory team at the University of Victoria, the subsea hub platform is the first undersea laboratory with its own resident ROV.  Real-time access over the Internet will allow researchers to monitor or conduct tests on equipment from anywhere in the world. The subsea laboratory − called an Ocean Technology Test Bed (OTTB) − is designed to exploit the potential of the Internet in accessing subsea research projects relating to the development of ocean technologies. Linked to the VENUS Observatory Node in Patricia Bay off Vancouver Island, the OTTB consists of a recoverable platform with connection points for power and communication; a service buoy for raising and lowering the platform; and an integrated acoustic system (IAS) for wireless communication and 3D tracking. The OTTB is located in 100m of water and has an operating area that spans 2.5 square kilometres, within which the IAS provides precision 3D tracking via a number of cabled acoustic monitoring satellites. The OTTB was designed and built by a team at the Ocean Technology Laboratory. This group develops undersea technology including underwater structural design, autonomous underwater vehicles and underwater acoustics. Contact: Alison Proctor, University of Victoria, proctora@me.uvic.ca
 

Twenty die on Russian submarine.

At least 20 people have died in an accident on a Russian nuclear submarine when a fire extinguishing system was activated by mistake. Russian Pacific Fleet spokesman Igor Dygalo said both sailors and shipyard workers died in the accident, which occurred during sea trials. The dead were suffocated by freon gas, which is used to put out fires as it removes oxygen from the air. The vessel was not damaged and there was no radiation leak, Mr. Dygalo said. It is the worst incident for the navy since the sinking of the Kursk submarine in 2000, which left 118 dead. 

There were 208 people on board at the time, 81 of which were servicemen. The dead are reported to be six sailors and 14 civilians. Twenty-one injured people, reported to be suffering from various degrees of poisoning, were transferred from the submarine to the destroyer Admiral Tributs and taken to hospitals near Vladivostok. The dead were transferred to morgues nearby after the vessel, which had been undergoing sea trials in the Sea of Japan, returned to port at Bolshoi Kamen, near Vladivostok, in the far eastern Primorsky territory. Capt Dygalo said the incident happened after the fire extinguishing system "went off unsanctioned". The gas removes oxygen from the air - to put out the fire - but if anyone is still trapped inside that area, they face suffocation. Vladimir Markin, an official from Russia's top investigative agency, later said forensic tests had confirmed that freon was the cause of death. Reports say the incident occurred in the nose of the submarine. The nuclear reactor, which is in the stern, was not affected. A shipyard source told the RIA Novosti news agency the vessel was the K-152 Nerpa, an Akula-class submarine, but this has not been confirmed. The Nerpa is due to be leased to the Indian navy, and Indian naval personnel were due to travel to Vladivostok earlier this month to train on board the submarine ahead of its transfer, according to the website Indian Defence. Russia's worst submarine disaster happened in August 2000, when the nuclear-powered Kursk sank in the Barents Sea. All 118 people on board died. The then president, Vladimir Putin, was criticised for being slow to react to the incident and reluctant to call in foreign assistance.

 

 

RUSSIAN SUBMARINE DISASTERS.

6 Sept 2006: Two die after fire in Viktor-III class Daniil Moskovsky.

28 Aug 2003: Nine die after decommissioned November class K-159 sinks.

12 Aug 2000: 118 die in sinking of Oscar-II class Kursk.

7 Apr 1989: 42 die after fire in Soviet-era Komsomolets.

US Navy Special Ops Mini-Subs to be Built. The US Navy has a US$320 million tender going out for the build of four mini special operation subs. These units will carry divers and their equipment from a mother craft to the attack target.

Italian Navy. The Italian Navy has approval for two Type 212A submarines, the second batch of submarines that are part of a US$1.45 billion contract for four submarines. The first two have already been delivered, the next two are expected in 2016.

SEAL Delivery Vehicle. The US Navy has commenced sea trials of the first new ASDS vehicle. Operating with the USS Michigan (SSN-727) a converted Ohio class cruise missile submarine, designed to carry SEAL teams on covert operations.

US Navy Rescue System. Oceanworks states that it has recently completed certification of the new US navy submarine rescue system, for manned operations to 2000ft. Following a seven-year development programme. The rescue system was also recently used on a NATO rescue exercise (Bold Monarch) off Norway. The rescue system conducted thirteen dives and mated with submarines from three nations.

South Korean Subs. South Korea will exchange two Type 209 Chanbogo attack submarines for aircraft from Indonesia.

US Navy Donates Research Sub. The US Navy has donated the decommissioned research submarine USS Dolphin (AGSS 555) to the San Diego maritime museum. The 65-foot diesel electric submarine served for thirty years supporting naval research operations, and was one of the world's deepest diving military submarines operating to 3000ft.

 

Sir Richard Branson is Voyaging to the Bottom of the Sea.

Last week Virgin revealed they had set up a "Skunk Works" division similar to Lockheed Martin's cutting edge research lab, with secret plans to build a submarine capable of exploring the lowest depths of the oceans. Alex Tai, a former pilot who was chief operating officer of Virgin Galactic, Branson's space-tourism business, heads the division. A Virgin insider said the ocean venture was one of several launches being considered and was in its early planning stage. Only a handful of submersibles are capable of reaching the lower ocean depths. They include America's Alvin, Japan's Shinkai, France's Nautile and Finland's MIR submersibles, which can dive to a maximum of 20,000ft. Oceans cover three-quarters of our planet, more than half are over 10,000ft deep and, according to a US government report, 95% remain unexplored. Among the many things that subs could discover are vast mineral deposits and unknown life forms. .

NATO Submarine Rescue System (NSRS).

Rolls-Royce has conducted the first open water trial of the groundbreaking new NATO Submarine Rescue System (NSRS) at the Underwater Centre in Fort William, UK. Scheduled for service in 2008 and jointly developed and funded by the NATO countries of France, Norway and the UK, NSRS comprises of a remotely operated submersible or ROV that locates and establishes underwater communications with the distressed submarine. A larger manned Submarine Rescue Vehicle (SRV) then docks with the submarine and rescues the crew, and finally aboard the mothership, a decompression system is used to treat up to 72 rescues simultaneously. The development of the new Submarine Rescue System follows a number of high profile incidents involving stricken submarines, most notably the Kursk disaster in 2000 that resulted in the tragic death of 118 Russian Navy crew.

Military Submarine News.
The building of the first French Navy 5,300 ton, 99m long, Barracuda class 
nuclear powered attack submarine (named Suffren) is underway at Cherbourg in 
France. The navy as an option for six submarines, at a cost of US$1.86 billion 
each. Sea trials are scheduled for 2016.

China will soon commission two new Shang-class (Type 093) nuclear powered attack 
submarines. Also one Jin-class (type 094) ballistic missile nuclear powered 
submarine. This is China's first step towards establishing a sea-based nuclear 
retaliatory capability.

Northrup has delivered the forth Virginia class submarine to the US. Navy. A 
total of thirty submarines are planned to be built.

VESSELS FOR SALE.

Fast Landing Craft / Dive vessel. Ex navy. Speed up to 18 knots. Can carry 40 
passengers under deck as a crew boat, carry 9 metric tons of cargo on deck, or 
be used as a small re-supply vessel. Will make an excellent general purpose / 
dive boat, subject to new owner requirements and internal arrangement. Port and 
starboard forward landing platforms, for beach access or water entry/exit for 
divers. Heads and wash hand basin. The vessel is under the 24m-workboat code and 
is therefore very easy to operate as no special crew is required. Dimensions 
LOA: 21m, Beam: 4m, Draft: 1m, Displacement: 31 ton. The vessel is powered by 
twin Volvo Penta Diesel engines (Type TAMD-122A, 294kw, 394HP). Range: 2000 
miles. Fuel capacity is 2x1750 liters. The vessel is in good condition and has 
few running hours. 

Dive/Rov support vessel. Converted navy mine sweeper. Recently refurbished to an 
extremely high standard. LOA: 45m. Breadth 8.4m. Draft: 1.8m. Gross tonnage 436 
tons. Twin Mirrlees JVSS V12 diesel engines. Combined 2500Bhp. 18-ton bollard 
pull. Fuel capacity 54 tons. Range 3500nm. Full navigation and communications 
equipment. 9-ton knuckle crane. Cargo deck area 155sq.m for containers and 
diving equipment. Accommodation for 36 passengers and 12 crew. Please contact us 
for details.

SUBMARINE SUPPORT EQUIPMENT.
Silvercrest can supply a range of submarine and Rov support equipment. For example: Submarine Escape Jerkins, Submersible Motors, Sonars, Underwater Communications, Underwater cameras, Submarine parts and consumables, plus a wide range of other items.

Silvercrest/SME manufacture high quality submersible motors and thruster units for Rovs, underwater trenchers, ploughs and submarines. Output from 1Kw to 1500Kw, with voltages to 6000vac. Operational depth to 4000m available.

SUBMERSIBLE MOTOR for IMMEDIATE SALE.  

New 100Hp submersible Rov motor for sale. The motor is a direct drop in replacement for the Curvetech 100HP unit, and is set up to receive a Rexroth A10VSO140 pump, but can be modified to accept other pump models if required. The motor is brand new, direct from our factory and has been constructed specifically for this purpose. Specification. ROV124-100HP, 4-pole, 3000v, 60Hz. Mil Spec hard-anodised T6 hardened 6061 grade Aluminium construction, with all 316 hardware. Rotor dynamically balanced. Oil filled externally compensated. Fully performance tested on Dynamometer at rated voltage and frequency. Subsea connectors for power and instrumentation. Designed for maximum electrical efficiencies to reduce full load currents. Motor designed for low operating temperatures to extend reliable lifespan. Specialised winding insulation system to ensure long operating life even under the most arduous of duties. On Deck operation generally allowable.

Power 100 HP
Volts 3000V
Frequency 60 Hz
Poles 4
RPM 1770 RPM
Shaft Woodruff keyed (see attached 
drawing for detail)
Construction Hard Anodized Aluminium 6061-T6
Compensation Oil filled - external-not supplied
Power Connector Burton 5757-1236-002
Sensor Connector SubConn BH-4-M 

COM-SUB Submarine for Sale.

 A lightweight two-man submarine built in Europe to a very high technical standard that offers a relatively spacious interior, and a full range of safety features. Ideal for yacht-based activities, underwater filming, scientific research, wreck hunting, and for private buyers. Operating depth: 200m (600ft). Dry weight: 4 tons. Viewports: 4 x flat acrylic (340mm) forward looking, 4 x conning tower (120mm), 1 x hatch viewport (90mm). External Lights, Compass, Sonar, Echo sounder, and communications. Free pilot training course included. A great buy.

SUB-SCOOTER.A two-man Sub-scooter, that is easy to use and operate. Ideal for super-yachts, tourist resorts and underwater leisure activities. No experience required for the passenger. Comfortable seats. Air is breathed from inside an acrylic dome that offers panoramic viewing. Maximum speed of two knots. Roller skids for ease of launch and recovery. Low operating costs. Length: 2m. Width: 680mm. Height: 1600mm. Weight: 330Kg.

Nuclear Research Submarine NR-1.

Towed by submarine support vessel Carolyn Chouest, NR-1 is to take part in an expedition to survey the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary and other sites of interest in the Gulf of Mexico. "This mission is going to be exciting and full of new challenges for the Submarine NR-1, and the crew of SSV Carolyn Chouest". www.marinelink.com/Story/ShowStory.aspx?StoryID=206176  
 
RUSSIAN POLAR EXPEDITION RETURNS TO MOSCOW.
The Russian ITAR-TASS News agency displayed photos of the Russian polar expedition leader, State Duma Deputy Chairman Artur Chilingarov  arriving at Moscows Vnukovo carrying with him a photo of the Russian flag placed on the seafloor under the North Pole.  Last week the Russians dispatched two mini-submarines some 2.5 miles under the North Pole and symbolically, planted their flag on the sea floor.  The expedition was prepared by the Artic and Antarctic Research Institute and consisted of the Akademik Fyodorov research ship, a nuclear-powered ice-breaker and two submersibles and 135 research scientists. As well as some scientific goals including the study of Artic plants and animals it also has been viewed as a politically charged symbolic gesture to claim the rights to the sea bed which could be rich in oil and gas.   
  
Saab acquires UK underwater vehicle company Seaeye. With the acquisition of Seaeye Holdings Ltd and its subsidiary Seaeye Marine, Saab is strengthening its position in the underwater area and in the offshore market. The deal complements and reinforces Saab Underwater's unmanned underwater vehicle product portfolio. The purchase price is £13m GBP. Seaeye, with approximately 50 employees and annual sales of approximately £12M GBP, is located in Fareham, Hampshire on the south coast of England. The company develops and manufactures a complete range of electric powered ROV systems. The range extends from the portable Seaeye Falcon to the medium work class Panther Plus. The operation started in 1987 and Seaeye is the leading supplier of electrical ROVs to the offshore oil and gas industry. During the latest years, Seaeye has also further developed its products and now also delivers vehicles for security, salvage and coastal observation tasks.
 
Japan to Finance Dismantling of Subs.
Novosti reported that Japan will finance the scrapping of three Russian nuclear submarines decommissioned from the Pacific Fleet under a joint project with Russia, a senior Japanese diplomat said Friday. The three Victor class vessels will be dismantled under the Star of Hope program for the dismantlement of decommissioned nuclear submarines in Russia's Far East, which was adopted in 2003 during a visit by former Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi to Russia. During the dismantlement process, spent nuclear fuel is removed from the submarine's reactors and sent to storage, the hull is cut into three sections, and the bow and stern sections are removed and destroyed. The reactor section is sealed and transferred to storage. Source: Novosti
 
An Artist and His Sub Surrender in Brooklyn - New York.
At slack tide off Red Hook, Brooklyn, there are usually lots of things floating in the water, most of which you would not want to touch without the help of a good hazmat suit. But just after sunrise yesterday, something truly strange was bobbing there in the shallows near Pier 41: a submarine fashioned almost completely from wood, and inside it a man with an obsession. The man, Duke Riley, a heavily tattooed Brooklyn artist whose waterborne performance projects around New York have frequently landed him in trouble with the authorities, spent the last five months building the vessel as a rough replica of what is believed to have been Americas first submarine, an oak sphere called the Turtle, said to have seen action in New York Harbor during the Revolutionary War. Mr. Riley plan was also military, in a sense though mostly metaphorical, given that he is an artist. He wanted to float north in the Buttermilk Channel to stage an incursion against the Queen Mary 2, which had just docked in Red Hook, the mission objective mostly just to get close enough to the ship to videotape himself against its immensity for a coming gallery show.But when his sub was stopped by a New York City police boat around 10 a.m., the outcome was not metaphorical at all: Mr. Riley, 35, and two friends who had helped tow him were taken into custody by a phalanx of law enforcement officials, and their excursion briefly raised fears that a terrorist attack might have been under way. The flurry of attention that followed, on television and untold numbers of urban blogs, was the kind of publicity that most artists would pay good money for. Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly issued a statement later calling the incident marine mischief the creative craft of three adventuresome individuals and saying nothing suspicious had been recovered other than the vessel itself. He played down the possibility that the cruise ship could have been endangered had the intent been more malicious than artful, suggesting that the sub had been detected in plenty of time.Mr. Kelly said a New York police detective assigned to the departments intelligence division who was aboard the Queen Mary 2 yesterday morning first spotted what looked like a hobby-shop submarine towed by a flimsy rubber raft manned by Mr. Rileys two friends. He called the departments harbor patrol, which dispatched three boats to the scene along with a helicopter, joined later by the Coast Guard and a hazardous-materials truck.Still, Mr. Riley, who emerged from his rusty hatch without the tall-boy can of beer he had taken into his vessel when it launched about 9:15, managed to make it to within about 200 feet of the bow of the ship, at a time when officials say harbor security is a critical factor in guarding against terrorism. From a nearby pier, several of his friends and his art dealers shouted congratulations through a chain-link fence.But the police impounded the sub, and the Coast Guard issued Mr. Riley a citation for violating the ships 100-yard security zone. The police issued two more, for unsafe boating. (Mr. Riley had no means of propulsion and was relying mainly on the kindness of the tide to take him toward his objective.) In an interview at Pier 41 on Thursday afternoon, after Mr. Riley called a reporter to alert him to the planned excursion, the artist said he first became interested in building the submarine after reading about the Turtle in history books. (By some accounts, the original submarines attempt to attach an explosive to the bottom of a British warship failed, but the device detonated near the ship and caused the British to move their vessels. Other accounts say the sub never even launched.) Mr. Riley built his eight-foot-tall submersible not from oak but from cheap plywood, coated with fiberglass and topped off with portholes and a hatch bought from a marine salvage company. Pumps in the bottom allowed him to add water for ballast or remove it. On Thursday evening, he and the two friends, Jesse Bushnell and Mike Cushing, scrambled around in the murky Red Hook water avoiding the occasional condom or dead rat to make sure that the sub, called the Acorn, was seaworthy and would submerge. (It never did so completely.) They had loaded several thousand pounds of lead into the bottom and were adding rocks to further lower the moss-coated vessel, which resembled something out of Jules Verne by way of Huck Finn. We start arguing with each other and saying, Hey, you are doing that wrong,said Mr. Bushnell, who owns a bicycle shop in Providence, R.I. And then we realize there is no right way to do this. He added grumpily, I have basically been wading around in this water for three days in my underwear.Mr. Rileys last big artwork was an illegal makeshift tavern built last summer on a spit of land near Rockaway Inlet in Queens that in the early 1900s was a kind of Wild West territory, with saloons and prizefights. That project was also brought to a premature end by the police, who arrived at night with guard dogs and scattered most of Mr. Rileys friends. With the submarine, which he launched on a short-lived test run to the Queen Mary 2 in July, Mr. Riley said he accepted early on that the real performance would probably end with an arrest. Or with him sinking. I am not really a very technical kind of guy, he said, sitting shirtless on the pier Thursday with various green things still clinging to his arms from the water. I just guessed a lot on this. Asked how he planned to get back to shore after the tide carried him out to the cruise ship, he grinned. I havent really thought about that yet,he said.Yesterday afternoon, as he, Mr. Bushnell and Mr. Cushing were being taken into custody, still dripping wet, Mr. Rileys dealers, Alberto Magnan and Dara Metz, said they planned to display the submarine in a show soon at their Chelsea gallery. And to post Mr. Rileys bail, if needed.As they spoke, a beefy police officer standing on the bow of a harbor patrol boat laughed and, pointing at the wooden submarine below him, said: What are we going to do with this thing? It looks like the Turtle.

ROV'S FOR IMMEDIATE SALE. 

Videoray Pro 3-XE Rov for sale. This Videoray Pro 3-XE Rov has only 42 hours on the clock and is in "as new condition" and dive ready. Total System Size and Weight is 60 kgs, packed in two water-tight Pelican cases. Rov dimensions: 30.5 x 22.5 x 21 cm. Rov weight: 3.8 kgs. Rov depth rating: 152m. The Pro 3-XE incorporates an integrated 15-inch display monitor that will display both video and a computer screen simultaneously in PAL. Forward facing wide angle color camera PAL (570 lines of resolution and 0.3 lux. Variable control tilt with 180 degree vertical field of view. Wide focus range).  Rear facing black & white camera - 430 lines 0.1 lux. Two forward 20 watt high efficiency halogen lights. Rear ultra high-intensity LED light array. Two horizontal thrusters with 60 mm propellers and guards. One vertical thruster. Control console with 15 inch integrated video display. Video display tilt adjustment for optimal viewing angle. LCD depth gauge display. LCD compass with heading display. LCD cumulative hour meter display. Composite video output. Option to superimpose date, time, depth and heading information on video display. Audio annotation microphone for simultaneous recording - hard wired into console (Recording directly on to VHS cassette or DVD). User supplied PC or laptop also records data simultaneously and can capture stills. Joystick controls for horizontal movement and third axis controls. Third axis joystick control (selectable for depth, camera tilt, lights and manipulator). Vertical depth control with Auto Depth. Lighting control. Camera tilt and focus controls. Front and rear camera toggle. Tether Deployment System with 152 m negative tether, with an extension of 40 m Professional Performance Tether  (total 192 m). Maximum voltage in tether is 48 volts DC. Owners Manual. Operations and Maintenance Log Book. Brass Ballast Weight Set. Calibration Tool. Spare Parts (O-rings, thruster blocks, screws, nuts, globes). Basic Tool Kit.

ORION ROV. A new build 45kW (60 HP), Light Work Class vehicle with superb 
technical specification. Depth Rating: 1000m, 2000m & 3000m options. Delivery 
six months from order. 

Hyball Offshore ROV System for sale. Dive ready and in good condition. Complete 
with vehicle, Surface control unit and surface monitor, and colour camera. 200m 
umbilical and Hydrovision technical manuals. Spare parts. Training course 
available. 

25 HP and 150 HP WORK CLASS ROVs (New). This Rov is a new build and comes as a 
complete operational package with vehicle, control cabin, and LARS. Operational 
depth 1000m (2000m and 3000m option). Length 2500mm. Width 1450mm. Height 
1800mm. Weight In-air 2400 kgs. Speed 3.5 knots. Standard Power Pack 125hp 
(150HP and 175HP available). 94kw/125hp shaft output power, 3 phase, 4 pole, 3KV 
motor, oil filled and compensated. Vickers piston pump, output 220lpm @ 200bar. 
Video & Telemetry System. Underwater Lights. FluxGate Compass and Integrated 
Gyro System. Tritech SeaKing DFS Sonar. Tritech SeaKing PA200-20. Depth 
Transducer. Auto Heading, Depth, Altitude & Turn Rate. 7-Function Manipulator. 
5-Function Grabber Arm. Hydraulic Tooling Manifold. Hydraulic Pan & Tilt. CCD 
Colour Camera. CCD Monochrome Camera. Aramid umbilical 41mm, length 1300m. 
Control Cabin.

Heavy Duty TMS for sale. Subsea deployment cage (TMS) side entry, with 
electro-optic umbilical cable coiled and stored on a electro-hydraulic winch. At 
operating depth a powered drum feeds the tether out as the Rov exits the cage. 
TMS/cage dimensions: Length 3m. Width 2m. Height 3.6m. Weight in air 3.5 tons. 
Structure: aluminium and titanium. Installed hydraulic power unit 10HP. Flying 
tether: length 100m (11 power conductors, 3 twisted pairs, 3 coaxial cables, 7 
low voltage conductors). Pan and tilt mounted video camera: -1 x CCD monochrome 
video camera (not fitted). Lights: 2 x 250 W, halogen type (not fitted). Depth 
sensor. Paid out tether length counter. A refit programme will be required to 
restore the TMS to working order. 

AC-ROV (Model SP-50). The smallest inspection class Rov in the market place 
(190mm fly through). The AC-ROV is more powerful, more robust and a more cost 
effective solution than all other Rovs in its class. This Rov can hover, circle, 
rotate on its axis, and move in any direction the target requires. Operating 
depth of 75-100m. A total system carry-case weight of under 15kg. The unit has 
been designed for inspection in hazardous and confined areas. Rov Size: 203mm x 
152mm x 146mm. Weight: 3kg. Camera: Colour CCD. Thrusters: 6 thrusters (4 x 
horizontal vectored, 2 x vertical). Lights: 4 cluster leds (variable intensity). 
System Power: 300 watt (0.4hp). Payload: 300g. Inputs: 90/260vac (47/63Hz) or 
124/370vdc. System includes : AC-ROV, Control Unit, Tether Reel with 80m tether, 
Monitor, Spacemouse control, Depth Sensor, Video Grabber cable - plugs into 
Laptop/PC for recording, Storm Case, Instruction Manual. Purchased November 2006 
and still under warranty. System has been used five times and is in perfect 
condition having been completely flushed with fresh water after each use. System 
is dive ready. Spare parts are readily available direct from Aberdeen. 

Hyball Spares Package for sale. A large package of spare parts including Field 
Maintenance Kit, 'O' Ring Kit, manual, Thruster Re-Build Kit, PCB Spares Kit - 
Vehicle, PCB Spares Kit - Surface Unit, Hand Controller assembly with Cable, 
Thruster Assembly Power Module Assembly, Vacuum Valve Assembly, Pressure 
Transducer Assembly, Motor Gearbox Camera Rotate Assembly, Compass Assembly, 
Vacuum Pump & Weights, Topside Control Unit, Umbilical 300m. Plus lots more. 
Contact us for a complete list. 

BS -ROV (400). This Rov has an operational depth of 400m (1200ft), and was 
manufactured by Comex. Three thrusters 0.5Hp each (one vertical and two 
horizontal). Video camera hi-sensitive 10 to 100000 Lux. 2 x lights each 250w. 
Sounder. Compass. Depth meter. Dimensions: length 76cm, width 67cm, height 51cm. 
Total weight: 60kg. Umbilical cable simple coaxial type KX4 (length 300m), 
diameter 11mm, weight: 17kg/100 m. Surface control system includes electronic 
control box, joystick, camera focus, water intake alarm, auto-altitude button, 
auto-cap button. Colour monitor 9" (PAL and SECAM). 

New Rov Umbilical (100m length). This new / unused Rov umbilical is in storage, 
and in excellent condition. The length is approximately 100m. This tether is 
wound onto a storage drum. Umbilical length 100m. O.D. 31mm. 11 x power 
conductors. 3 x twisted pairs. 3 x coaxial cables. 7 x low voltage conductors. 

Sprint 101 Rov for sale. Good condition and dive ready. Operational depth 300m. 
Manufactured in Norway. Includes vehicle, surface control unit, umbilical and 
spares parts. 5 x thrusters (0.45Hp each). Maximum speed 2.5kts. 2 x video 
cameras. 1 x still camera. 2 x strobe lights. 3 x subsea lights (250w each). 
Recorded data onto video. Power requirements 193-480vac/47-63Hz/three phase. 

SLIM Rov for sale. Good condition and dive ready. Complete with vehicle, 300m 
umbilical, surface control station, container and spare parts. Recently upgraded 
electronics. 8 x 0.5hp oil filled thrusters. Length 107cm, width 60cm, height 
65cm, weight in air 100kg. Speed 2.5kts. Maximum operational depth 720m. Auto 
depth, auto heading, auto pilot. SIT camera, colour camera, manipulator/grab. 

OLYMPIAN Workclass Rov / Trencher. Depth rating 3000m. The system is in good 
condition and dive ready. Package includes Rov, self-contained control cabin, 
transformer cabin, heave compensated umbilical winch, landing platform, and 
A-frame LARS. Vehicle weight in air 10 tons. 
 

India Set to Launch First Nuclear Sub.
India is set to launch its first nuclear submarine later this year which if successful will put the country in an extremely exclusive club. The project codenamed the Advanced Technology Vessel has been crawling along since the 1970s. Reports now indicate that India has overcome the biggest problem, the miniaturization of a nuclear power plant. www.marinelink.com/Story/ShowStory.aspx?StoryID=206362  
 
WHOI Awards Lockheed Martin $2.8m Contract To Design RHOV.
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) has awarded Lockheed Martin a $2.8 million contract for the initial design of the Replacement Human Occupied Vehicle (RHOV), a next generation three-person Deep Submergence Vehicle (DSV) that will be used by the U.S. scientific community. The contract has an option for subsequent construction of the RHOV once the initial design is completed and the project is approved to move forward. Funded through the National Science Foundation, the RHOV is intended to replace the DSV Alvin, the human-occupied deep submergence vehicle currently operated by WHOI. In more than four decades of operation, the Alvin has made headlines for locating a hydrogen bomb lost in the Mediterranean Sea in 1966, discovering deep-sea hydrothermal vents in the late 1970s and exploring the sunken ocean liner Titanic in 1986. The enhanced design of the RHOV will provide additional space in the vehicle's personnel sphere for its complement of two scientists and a pilot; the design also will accommodate greater science payload and provide improved visibility. RHOV will operate in depths of 6,500 meters (about 4 miles) and will be able to reach nearly 99 percent of the global ocean floor, with each dive lasting up to ten hours. By comparison, Alvin can reach 4,500 meters (almost 3 miles) giving it access to about 63 percent of the ocean floor. The RHOV will be capable of hovering in the water column at any depth, maneuvering in rugged topography or resting on the sea floor while exploring and surveying the ocean's geology and biology. The RHOV will ultimately be a part of the National Deep Submergence Facility, fleet of underwater vehicles operated by WHOI for the U.S. oceanographic community.
 
India to acquire six more Submarines.
 According to reports, Indian navy will acquire six new submarines.The reports indicated that it would take about six years for the navy to acquire the six new submarines. It currently has 16 submarines, some of which are aging. India has been seeking to bolster its rise as an economic power by reshaping its armed forces into a modern military capable of projecting power well beyond its shores.
                   
Russia in Talks with Venezuela on Selling Diesel Subs.
The Rosoboronexport Company is in talks with Venezuela on a delivery of five Russian diesel-electric submarines of the Kilo class with missile systems to that country. According to a Rosoboron xport representative, Venezuela already requested a feasibility report on Kilo submarines and displayed interest in a number of other development studies of Russian submarine shipbuilding, displayed at the show, including small submarines of the Malakhit design office. Diesel submarines of the Kilo class, developed by the Rubin central design office and built by the Admiralteiskie Shipyards were supplied for export since 1986. The last big batch eight submarines of this class was delivered to the Chinese navy. 
                       
DSRV for Singapore.
The Singapore Navy has awarded a contract to ST Marine and James Fisher to supply a new submarine rescue spread that includes a dedicated support vessel. Fisher will build the DSRV, operate and maintain it for a twenty-year contract. The DSRV will be based on the LR5 design. Construction to commence third quarter of 2007. Delivery mid 2009. Value of contract stated as being $400 million.
           
Russia to Launch Nuclear Submarine.
A fourth-generation strategic nuclear submarine will be launched during a special ceremony at a shipbuilding yard in northern Russia, according to Novosti. The Yury Dolgoruky, a Borey-class nuclear missile submarine, was built at the Sevmash plant in the northern Arkhangelsk Region. It will be equipped with the Bulava ballistic missile, which is adapted from the Topol-M (SS-27). The submarine is 580 feet, a body diameter around 42 feet, and a submerged speed of about 29 knots. It can carry up to 16 ballistic missiles. Two other Borey-class nuclear submarines, the Alexander Nevsky and the Vladimir Monomakh, are currently under construction at the Sevmash plant, with a fourth submarine on the future production schedule list. 

    
Royal Navy to Get New Sub.
The MoD has placed a contract with British industry for the construction of a new nuclear powered attack submarine, to be named HMS Audacious. The 7,800 ton boat, which will be equipped with the latest cruise missiles, is the fourth of the Astute class, the largest and most powerful attack submarines ever built in Britain for the Royal Navy. "It's a mean looking beast. I think it looks like the alien," remarks Chris Nelson of BAE Systems, as we walk round the front of the Royal Navy's new Astute submarine in Barrow. Looming above is a construction shed 12 storeys high. Within it are three nuclear-powered submarines at different stages of construction. Astute is a technological phenomenon. Its nuclear reactor means it'll never need refuelling in the whole of its 25-year life. Since it makes its own air and water, it can circumnavigate the globe without needing to surface. Its weapons systems are so accurate that were it positioned in the English Channel, its cruise missiles could pinpoint targets as far away as North Africa It may be one of the most sophisticated submarines ever built, but the project has been beset with problems. The three submarines are £900m ($1.8bn) over budget and four years behind the original schedule. 
                 
ASTUTE FACTS : Cost: £3.5bn for three subs. Weight: 7,800 tons. Length: 97m. Time to build: 6 years 4 months. Power: pressurised water reactor, fuelled for life. Crew: 98
           
Sub to Probe Sunken Ship.
Greek rescuers will deploy a robot submarine to search for the bodies of two French tourists believed to have drowned when a cruise ship sank off a resort island in the Aegean Sea. The ship's captain blamed the accident on sea currents that swept the Sea Diamond onto a charted reef off the island of Santorini, tearing a hole in the ship's hull. According to reports, more than 50 tons of ship fuel leaked after the sinking, some of which has washed ashore. An oceanographic vessel is expected to arrive on the island to deploy an Rov in an attempt to locate the missing passengers and the ship's voyage data recorder, the Merchant Marine Ministry said. Most of the hull is 320 feet below the water's surface inside a sea-filled crater caused by a volcanic eruption 3,500 years ago. But officials fear the ship's position is not yet stable. The rest of the passengers reached safety after scrambling onto lifeboats, crossing narrow gangways and climbing down rope ladders. The Sea Diamond sunk some 15 hours later, causing an oil slick that experts tried to contain. Plans were also made to seal off or remove the remaining 400 tons from the wreckage. 
 
Silvercrest supply 260kW submersible motors to CTC Marine Projects Ltd.
Silvercrest Marine has manufactured and delivered in just six weeks from order, ten 260Kw submersible motors to CTC Marine Projects based in Teeside, England. The motors will be used by CTC on their subsea plough and trenching vehicles worldwide.
   
The 260kW/ 3000V / 60Hz / 2 pole pump motors (designed specifically for use in the horizontal axis) were fitted with shafts at both ends, in order to mate with three tandem mounted hydraulic pumps on one end and a Hayward Tyler M6 single stage water pump-set on the opposite end. In this 260kW model, rather than using the pivot shoe arrangement, typical of vertically oriented pump-sets, heavy duty tapered roller bearings were fitted to the rotor to manage the water pump induced end-loads. Thus giving a calculated bearing life in excess of 11,000 hours, even when used in the horizontal axis. Depth rating on each motor is 10,000 meters, with oil filled compensation. Motor housings are 316 stainless steel, with Mylar coated windings (the ultimate in winding coating technology) being used in each motor at the request of CTC, giving an insulation rating of >16kV at a temperature of 140 degrees C.  Silvercrest Marine will bespoke manufacture virtually any shape and size of submersible motor required for subsea operations.
 
Canadian Ferry Sinking. 
Nuytco reports that the 350ft vessel 'Queen of the North' is sitting upright and intact in 1400 feet of water. She 'skied' in, with the result that the bottom mud/silt ( actually, glacial flour-type sediment) is up to her car-deck . . .about 30-35 feet above her keel. She must have produced an enormous dust-cloud that followed her down slope and drifted over the top of her. Viz is about 30 feet, but lots of back-scatter in the HMI lights, because of dense crystal critter life in the water column (tentaphores,siphonophores,etc.). Video recording has gone well.The DeepWorker 2000 subs performed perfectly. Using a precision wireless tracking system coupled with a Racal-designed position plotting system  the submarine crew were able to plot the subs position to the surface-mounted DGPS, and get a precise GPS coordinate for every significant  part of the wreck. 
 
Chilean Navy sub on Sea Trials.
The submarine "Carrera" second of the Scorpene Class, built by the French-Spanish consortium, has carried out initial sea trials. The submarine was assembled in Cartegena shipyard and floated in 2004. The first submarine of this class was delivered to the navy in 2005.
 
SEAL Delivery System.
The US navy special operations command has cancelled plans to build a fleet of advanced swimmer delivery vehicles (ASDS). Owing to technical problems associated with ASDS-1 delivered in June 2003. Funding for future vehicles has been diverted to continue the development of the first vehicle. 
 
Indian Navy Nuclear submarines.
This programme is progressing after the recent testing of three major components of the ATV nuclear powered submarine. Russian scientists are helping to develop the small nuclear reactor.
 
General Dynamics.
General Dynamics Electric Boat shipyards are laying off 2000 workers, owing to a slow down in submarine activity. The company recently lost the contract to conduct maintenance work on the US attack submarines.
          
 Navy's Swimming Spy Plane
 Lockheed Martin's Skunk Works, famed for the U-2 and Blackbird spy planes that flew higher than anything else in the world in their day, is trying for a different altitude record - an airplane that starts and ends its mission 150 feet underwater. The Cormorant, a stealthy, jjet-powered, autonomous aircraft that could be outfitted with either short-range weapons or surveillance equipment, is designed to launch out of the Trident missile tubes in some of the U.S. Navy's Ohio-class submarines. Subs survive by stealth, and an airplane flying back to the boat could give its position away. The Skunk Works's answer is a four-ton airplane with gull wings that hinge around its body to fit inside the missile tube. The tubes are as long as a semi trailer but about seven feet wide, not exactly airplane-shaped. The Cormorant has to be strong enough to withstand the pressure 150 feet underwater, enough to cave in hatches on a normal aircraft, but light enough to fly. The craft is made of titanium to resist corrosion, and any empty spaces are filled with plastic foam to resist crushing. The rest of the body is pressurized with inert gas. Inflatable seals keep the weapon-bay doors, engine inlet and exhaust   covers watertight. The Cormorant does not shoot out of its tube like a missile. Instead an arm-like docking "saddle" guides the craft out, sending it floating to the surface while the sub slips away. As the drone pops out of the water, the rocket boosters fire and the Cormorant takes off. After completing its mission, the plane flies to the rendezvous coordinates it receives from the sub and lands in the sea. The sub then launches a robotic underwater vehicle to fetch the floating drone.
 
US Navy diver - 2000ft in Hardsuit 2000
The recently announced "US Navy 2,000 foot record dive in ADS" is not any sort of an international record - the Oceaneering 'WASP'  ADS is Lloyds certed to 2000 feet and has made lots of routine dives in that depth range - (design collapse is in excess of 4000 feet) The USN 2000 foot suit was a contract that we entered into in 1996, while I was head of Hard Suits Inc. The 2000 foot joint is simply the original Newtsuit joint  (the patented principle of the Newt Suit joint is that it , in theory, depth independant -  since it is automatically depth/pressure compensated . At some point , though, the pressure loads do cause physical distortion for a given housing thickness)  with a slightly beefed up housing to accept the higher internal joint pressure. It's kind of astonishing that it took a decade for the USNto finally take delivery of this model! Hard Suits changed ownership a number of mes - and became 'Ceanics', then 'Oceanworks' during that ten year period. The 1000 foot and 1250 foot Newtsuits have been standard with the major Navies of the world since 1987, suits were sold to the Canadian Navy.

Drug smugglers may be using submarines.

MADRID - Cocaine traffickers may be using submarines to smuggle drugs into Europe, Spanish police said on Monday after finding a 35-foot-long submarine drifting off the northwestern coast.The empty blue-gray craft was found in an inlet near the Atlantic on Sunday
following a telephone tip-off in the Galicia region, a spokesman for the Civil Guard police said. The main theory is that it belonged to drug traffickers. He said that while no drugs were found on board, police suspected the craft might have been used by smugglers who made a run for it when the authorities arrived on their boat. Spains rugged northwestern coast, with difficult-to-patrol coves and bays, is a major entry point for Colombian cocaine into Europe. Although the Galicia Civil Guard have never seized a smugglers submarine before, traffickers have been known to use submersible craft elsewhere to ferry cocaine between shore and mother ship. In 2000, Colombian police found a 100-foot-long submarine with the capacity to carry up to 200 tons of cocaine worth billions of dollars still under construction in the Andes mountains near Bogota.


Submarine Escape Suits now available for sale.
Silvercrest is now the distributor for the Submarine Escape Jerkin, a safety device designed for crews to escape from small submarines and submersibles. The jerkin works on a similar principle to the traditional submarine escape suits used by the Royal Navy, which have been successfully used on trials from 600ft (200m) depths. The jerkin is packed in a compact valise bag that can be easily stowed in a confined space, with one bag per crewmember. The Submarine Escape Jerkin can be quickly unpacked and fitted when required.
 
The jerkin features a waistcoat type construction fitted with a stole or life jacket section, and an ascent hood fully enclosing the escaper's head. The stole is fed with breathing quality air from an integrally mounted air bottle. The airflow from the stole into the ascent hood is automatically controlled by a pair of pre-set relief valves. When worn with the hood fully closed, surplus air is allowed to escape from an aperture at the base of the ascent hood. Thus always giving the wearer newly replenished air to breath on his ascent from the submarine to the surface. The submarine escape jerkin is fitted with an inner hood for added comfort and security. A waist belt and crutch straps are fully adjustable to ensure a comfortable fit. Supplied with seawater activated light, whistle, torch and sea marker dye pack. All the above is contained in a special purpose carry valise.  

  

The Submarine Escape Jerkin is the ideal escape suit for crews wishing to escape from stranded manned submersibles and other small submarines being used in military, scientific research, underwater leisure, and other subsea operations. The escape jerkin features a waistcoat type construction, fitted with a stole or life jacket section and an ascent hood fully enclosing the escaper's head. Contact Silvercrest for details, delivery schedule, and pricing.

ComSub on Television (Discovery Channel TV).

Our two-man mini sub (ComSub) recently featured on the "Extreme Machines" programme shown on Discovery Channel TV. The programme is one of a series of six that features a range of transportation by land, air and sea. The latest film discussed the history and operation of submarines.

 



The Comsub is a small two-man submarine built in Europe to a very high technical standard that offers a relatively spacious interior, and a full range of safety features. Ideal for yacht-based activities, underwater filming, scientific research, and for private buyers. Operating depth: 200m (600ft). Dry weight: 4 tons. Panoramic viewports, External Lights, Compass, Sonar, Echo sounder, and communications. Contact us for full details and to discuss availability for underwater filming and scientific research projects.

ROVs Wanted for Purchase.  

We have a number of clients looking to purchase Rovs, especially smaller units that are in working order or perhaps need a refit. Perhaps you have a Hyball or Phantom, sitting in your store that is not being used. If so, please e-mail the details to us. We will be pleased to sell your Rov for you. Larger Rov systems are also required.  

 
 WWII midget sub 'found'
A midget submarine that sank HMAS Kuttabul and brought World War II to Sydney is lying in Broken Bay, researchers have said.A live television documentary, M24: The Last Sunrise, on Foxtel and Sky News  last night claimed the missing submarine, which torpedoed the Kuttabul on May 31, 1942, lies at the mouth of the Hawkesbury River. The claim was backed up by technical surveys showing an object with the same dimensions as the M24 submarine - 24m long and 2m in diameter - lying east of Lion Island. The evidence has been handed on to the New South Wales Heritage Office. The M24 was one of three that slipped into Sydney Harbour on May 31 and sank the Kuttabul, killing 19 Australian and two British sailors. One of the three submarines became tangled in an anti-submarine net and its crew, Lieutenant Kenshi Chuma and Petty Officer Takeshi Ohmori, blew up their vessel. Harbour patrol vessels spotted the second submarine in Taylors Bay and dropped depth charges on it. Lieutenant Keiu Matsuo and Petty Officer Masao Tsuzuku shot themselves rather than surrender. After firing its second torpedo, which ran aground on rocks east of Garden Island, the M24 disappeared. Most theories held that the sub either sank in Sydney Harbour, was scuttled east of the Harbour or went south to Botany Bay hoping to rendezvous with the mother submarine. Film-maker Damien Lay and historian Jim Macken worked on Macken's theory that the sub went north instead of south. While researching his book Pittwater's War, Macken found war diaries in the Australian War Memorial archives suggesting the sub headed into the Hawkesbury. Macken said on July 8, a full week after the attack on Sydney Harbour, a submarine was reported near Brooklyn. A flurry of sightings around the Hawkesbury followed and planes were ordered to search the area in the hope of catching the sub. The fear of another attack was so great an anti-submarine net was strung along the Hawkesbury River Bridge and concrete was placed to protect the train line from attack. According to the war diaries, a submarine was spotted stranded among the Hawkesbury River mangroves around midday on July 9, but had vanished by the time searchers arrived. Lay said there was "a lot of hysteria" in Sydney at the time and many submarine sightings were reported, but the level of detail in the war diaries made Macken's evidence compelling. "The sightings were clear. It couldn't be anything else [but a midget sub] and it had to be the M24," Macken said. "The only submarine sightings taken seriously by military authorities were in Broken Bay." 

OTHER SUBMARINE NEWS.

Scorpene Submarine Programme
The Indian government has chosen Armaris, a joint venture between Thales and DCN, as prime contractor for the technology transfer programme under which six conventionally propelled Scorpène submarines will be built in India. For Thales, the contract is worth nearly 600 million Euro. Thales will assume prime contracting responsibilities through Armaris and will provide assistance to the Indian shipbuilder Mazagon Dock Limited. The company will also supply key subsystems for the submarines' six SUBTICS(r) integrated combat systems, including underwater sensors, communications and optronics, and electronic warfare equipment.
Read more at http://www.marinetalk.com/n.asp?d=10-05-2005&i=15333&h=i_n


 
SBS Commander dies in Mini-sub.
The SBS force commander Lt Col van der Horst  has died during an amphibious exercise off Norway, while aboard a submerged mini submarine. The six man sub carried a pilot, co-pilot, plus four combat divers in an aft compartment. The widow of the commanding officer of the Special Boat Service is set to sue the Ministry of Defence over his death. Belinda van der Horst blames the MoD for the diving accident that claimed his life during a Nato exercise in Norway in March. According to members of his former regiment, she intends to sue the Government to secure the financial future of her two young daughters. Lt Col Richard van der Horst, 38, died a week after an exercise involving a six-seater Swimmer Delivery Vehicle, a miniature submarine designed for the United States Navy Seals. The SDV is a classified piece of equipment that can carry frogmen for more than 50 miles underwater. It has a pilot and navigator at the front with four other men and equipment in a compartment behind. All on board must carry diving gear, including gases to breath, as the SDV has none of its own. It is understood that Col van der Horst got into difficulty during an "acquaint dive" where personnel make themselves familiar with the equipment they are using. The basis of Mrs van der Horst's claim will be that her husband should not have been allowed to take part because he was unfamiliar with the apparatus. It is also understood that although he was a diving instructor, he did not have his diving qualifications with him, automatically preventing his taking part. She will claim that even though the "dive master" on the exercise was of a lesser rank, he should have had the authority to stop her husband diving. If Mrs van der Horst is successful she can expect a six-figure sum in compensation in addition to a military pension, which would be a portion of his £65,000 salary. Col van der Horst was regarded as one of the most gifted officers of his generation and was expected to reach the rank of general. The inquest into his death was held in secret on Nov 13 to protect the identities of the troops who took part in the exercise. Col van der Horst was pulled from the water and died later in hospital. Dr Ian Calder, an expert in diving accidents, found that the cause of death was fluid in the lungs. The colonel was born in Devon and went to school at Sherborne. He graduated in biological science at Birmingham University and followed his father Rupert - who commanded the SBS from 1978-1980 - into the Royal Marines. After the first Gulf war, he helped policing the Kurdish haven in northern Iraq so that aid agencies could operate without fear of attack. He was selected for the SBS in 1991 and in 2000 helped to plan the successful rescue of six British soldiers kidnapped during United Nations peacekeeping operations in Sierra Leone. A Royal Marine officer, said: "There is a great deal of sympathy for Mrs van der Horst within the corps and I think a lot of the men will support her in her claim. She was two delightful daughters and needs to consider them." Last night Mrs van der Horst refused to comment. A Ministry of Defence official said the department was aware that she was considering legal action.  An MoD spokesman added: "The investigation into the death of Lt Col Richard van der Horst, RM, during a tragic diver training accident in Norway in March 2005 is now complete. Its recommendations will be implemented to reduce the risk of such an incident happening again. Our thoughts are with the Van der Horst family."
 
Hunt for Submarine USS Alligator.
The search for the US Navy's first submarine, the USS Alligator, by NOAA and ORE continues off North Carolina. Launched in 1862 the Alligator represented a leap forward in naval engineering due to the submarine airlock, which was designed to allow a diver to exit the vessel while submerged and place an explosive charge onto an enemy ship. In 1863 while being towed south to join an attack on Charleston, the Alligator was lost in a storm.
 
Japanese Submarine found.
Scientists from the University of Hawaii say they have discovered the wreckage of a "monster" World War II-era Japanese submarine in waters off the island of Oahu. The Japanese I-401 was found during test dives by a Hawaii Undersea Research Laboratory submersible, 820m below the water's surface, according to John Wiltshire, acting director of the laboratory. 
 
British Submarine E16.
The British submarine E16 that sank in 1916 during the first World War, with a crew of 31,  has been found by divers off the coast of Germany.  
                 
The mystery of the M1 Submarine.
The M1 was the pride of the British Navy. She was Britain's most advanced submarine, 100 metres long and weighed 2,000 tons. It was fitted with its own massive artillery gun that could hit targets that were 20 miles away, a reminder to the world that Britain still ruled the waves. However, in 1925, she went missing on a routine mission in the English Channel and the crew of 69 men were lost. Able Seaman Sales went ashore, just hours before she sailed, as he had learned that his mother had died. He was the only 'survivor' of the M1 crew. In the Board of Inquiry that followed the disappearance, it was believed that the SS Vidar had been involved in a collision with the sub. There was unexplained damage to the bow of the ship and fragments of naval issue paint were also found there. However, the exact cause and location remained a mystery. It is a mystery which has fascinated former Navy diver, Richard Larn. He has spent the last 15 years of his life searching for the wreck. It wasn't an easy task for there are more shipwrecks per square mile in the English Channel than anywhere else in the world. Last year, he finally pinpointed the M1 using sonar, at a depth of 70m. A diving team confirmed that the wreck was the M1 thanks to the distinctive footholds in the conning tower. The investigation of the divers and an Rov found that the gun had been ripped off the sub in the collision with the SS Vidar. The weight of the gun, hanging over the side of the sub, destabilised it and the sub went down to the seabed in freefall. The control areas of the sub were flooded which meant that the crew couldn't lift the sub off the seafloor, and there was no possibility of escape. The M1 is an official War Grave and protected by the 'Military Remains Act' 1986. Divers may not enter such wrecks or, in any way, disturb them.
 
 Diving Sphere
Jay Baker kindly sent us two photo's of a Diving Sphere that a close friend owns.  Her Husband, Peter Lutjens, built it.  He built at least two others but I do not know of there where about. Peter died some years ago, and his wife would like to sell this Diving Sphere.  On the back of the picture Peter wrote that the diving sphere has a diving ability of 3,000 ft.  If anyone can assist with more information on these diving spheres, or wouId be interesting in buying one. Please contact Silvercrest.
         
SUBMARINE SUPPORT EQUIPMENT.
Silvercrest can offer a range of submarine and Rov support equipment. Please contact us with your requirements, and we will be pleased to assist you.
 
SUBMARINES FOR SALE.

 Please contact Silvercrest for full technical details and prices.

 
COM-SUB.
A small two-man submarine built in Europe to a very high technical standard that offers a relatively spacious interior, and a full range of safety features. Ideal for yacht-based activities, underwater filming, scientific research, and for private buyers. Operating depth: 200m (600ft). Dry weight: 4tons. Viewports: 4 x flat acrylic (340mm) forward looking, 4 x conning tower (120mm), 1 x hatch viewport (90mm). External Lights, Compass, Sonar, Echo sounder, and communications. A great buy.
   
 
GEM-SUB.
A state of the art two-man submersible with a very high-tech image and specification. Operational depth: 150ft (50m). Weight: 3.6tons in air. Carbon steel hull, lead acid batteries, computerized touch-screen system activation, and joystick controls. Full range of life support and safety equipment. Domed acrylic viewports for both crewmembers. The ultimate submarine for yacht based recreation, or underwater leisure activities. Available for immediate delivery.
 

KITTREDGE (K-250).
A small one-man submarine designed for leisure, filming, research, and simple search and recovery activities. Lightweight, easily towed on a trailer by car, this submarine can be used by the family, or local scuba club, for weekend dives. Domed acrylic viewport. External light. Submarine trailer included. Communications and simple manipulator available by request. Training course available at your home site. Operational Depth: 250ft (80m). Crew: one. Weight: one ton.

 
WRANGLER ADS.
A one-man one-atmosphere tethered submersible, built in Canada by ISE. This unit is lightweight and ideal for salvage, scientific research, or general underwater tasks. This unit requires a minor refit prior to commencing dive operations. Operating Depth: 1200ft (400m). Crew: one. Weight: 1500kg. Two large acrylic viewports, manipulator arm, external lights and communications with the surface.
 

ADVENTURER SUB.
This three-man dry ambient submarine is made in the USA. Luxury vinyl interior, diesel electric, three passengers, with trailer and battery chargers. Powered by electric batteries and a small diesel engine. Three acrylic domed-hatches. Operational depth: 140ft. Weight: 2 tons. Fitted with all control systems, underwater communications, scanning sonar and three video cameras.  Speed: 10 kts under diesel, 8 kts surfaced electric, 3 kts underwater. Training course provided.
 
BMM4 SUBMARINE.
This submarine has been constructed to a very high standard, and is ideal for underwater work, and leisure activities. Operating Depth: 1000ft (300m). Crew: two or three. Weight: 14 tons. Large front viewport, and small conning tower viewports. Diver Lockout. Manipulator arm, external lights, communications and sonar.

SB600 SUBMARINE.
This is a small tourist submarine designed for four passengers and one pilot. Exceptional 360-degree viewing through the clear acrylic hull. Operating depth: 150ft(50m). Weight: 12tons.
 
LARGE TOURIST SUBMARINE .
This large multi passenger tourist submarine has been designed for the underwater leisure market. An excellent opportunity to acquire a purpose built submarine. Operating Depth: 240ft (75m). Weight: 105 tons. Crew: Two pilots and forty-eight passengers. Large viewports on all sides. External lights, video, sonar and communications.
 
MEDIUM TOURIST SUBMARINE.
A medium size multi passenger tourist submarine, designed for the underwater leisure market. Operating Depth: 300ft (100m). Weight: 35 tons. Crew: Two pilots and twenty-four passengers. Large viewports on all sides.  External lights, communications, video and sonar. Two units available.
 
SMALL TOURIST SUBMARINE (MERGO).
The Mergo is a tourist submarine, safe and comfortable, designed for the smaller tourist resort. This submarine is ideal for start-up operations, and organisations entering the underwater market for the first time. Operating Depth 300ft (100m). Crew: One pilot and ten passengers. Weight: 24 tons. Large front viewport, large tower viewport, ten large individual passenger viewports. External lights, sonar, acoustic tracking, video and communications.
 
Colombian Police find Drugs Sub. 
Police in Colombia have uncovered a submarine, which they believe was built by drug smugglers to transport cocaine. The nearly complete eight-metre fibreglass vessel, capable of carrying 10 tonnes of the drug, worth $200m, was found in the Pacific port of Tumaco. Police had been monitoring its construction for six months. They believe the Norte del Valle cartel, the last surviving Colombian drug trafficking organisation, planned to use it to smuggle drugs to the US. Colombia's Department of Administrative Security says the submarine would have been used to evade radar and naval patrol ships, taking drugs out to sea where they could be transferred to high-speed motorboats for the journey to Central America and on to the United States. "The ingenuity of drug traffickers is amazing. They will seek any way to avoid the coast guard," Eduardo Fernandez, head of Colombia's secret police in Valle del Cauca state, told the Associated Press. The submarine was apparently designed to be ready for Easter, when the smugglers believed police would be less vigilant. "On the contrary, security in the area has been boosted," said Mr Fernandez. No arrests were made in Friday's operation. In 2000, police found a 30-metre steel submarine under construction far inland, near the capital Bogota It would have been capable of carrying up to 200 tonnes of cocaine.
 
Homeland Security .
A timely breakthrough in Homeland Security has been achieved through a technology development partnership. For the first time a fully integrated and supported ROV Threat Inspection System is now available to front line operatives and security professionals in the fight against terrorism.  The Viperfish Search Warrant system has specifically been developed to examine, evaluate and record the threat posed by unknown, potentially dangerous targets wherever water can conceal them. State of the art front end ROV technology is backed up by cutting edge Digital Video Recorder (DVR) equipment, used to inspect and search for explosives, narcotics and weapons by security specialists. For the first time, the front line operator has the option of a purpose built underwater inspection system developed and designed specifically for Homeland Security operations. The Search Warrant technology offers a real weapon against terrorism.  Unprecedented mobility and inspection capabilities are now coupled with digital image and audio recording that is instantly viewable / downloadable.  While a fully integrated ROV Threat Inspection System is a breakthrough in itself, what is more amazing about this equipment is that it is a true single operator system.  Completely portable, the system is deployed and piloted by the individual - who evaluates, identifies and records the suspicious target.  With obvious time and cost savings, the real saving is that of risk to life.
 
U.S. Navy Submarines.
The US Navy and the US Missile Defence Agency are currently studying the feasibility of using fleet ballistic missile submarines for the new multi -layer missile defense system.
 
The USS Jimmy Carter has been refitted to accommodate 50 special forces soldiers and remote controlled vehicles.
 
The USS Virginia was recently launched at Norfolk, Virginia. The first submarine of the new generation of attack submarines.
 
Submarine-Technology Development.
General Dynamics Electric Boat (Groton, Connecticut) has been awarded three contracts worth a total of $20.5 million to develop submarine technology for a joint Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)/U.S. Navy program. The awards are part of a four-year, $97 million program known as Tango Bravo. This program is examining certain technologies to determine whether they can meet stringent submarine performance requirements while reducing ship-acquisition and life-cycle costs and improving the warfighting capabilities and mission adaptability of future submarines. The designation Tango Bravo refers to the term "technology barrier."
Read more. http://www.marinetalk.com/n.asp?d=05-31-2005&i=15333&h=t_u
 
GIANT OCTOPUS ATTACKS ROV
 A giant pacific octopus attacked a Seaeye Falcon ROV working off Vancouver Island as it was locating and recovering receivers tracking pacific offshore salmon migration. The incident was caught on the ROV's video by Mike Wood of SubOceanic Sciences Canada. He had just located a data recorder and taken a grip of the cable with the ROV's manipulator arm, when suddenly an 80 lb octopus launched an attack. With tentacles 'as thick as man's arm' and a bite that he believed can exert 1000 lbs pressure, Mike Wood feared the octopus would bite the camera cable or umbilical and trip out the Falcon ROV. Not wanting to lose the receiver that he had just located he decided to take on the creature and after tightening his grip of the cable with the manipulator arm, revved the ROV's thrusters in reverse in an attempt to blast seabed particles at the creature. For a moment the octopus appeared to intensify its attack with its mantle flared but eventually the swirling fragments drove it away. The giant pacific octopus, octopus dofleini, is the largest species of octopods and although it grows to an average weight of 50 to 90 lbs with a span of 16ft, a monster 600lbs one has been recorded. They are intelligent creatures who can negotiate mazes and learn to unscrew jars to remove food..........So no problem disassembling an ROV ...........
 
AUV glides to a World Record.
A small ocean glider has become the first AUV to cross the Gulf Stream underwater, completing the 900 km journey at a speed of 19km per day. The AUV was recovered off Bermuda after gathering ocean data on current patterns and circulation.
 
Canadian Submarine on Fire.
The Canadian submarine HMCS Chicoutimi experienced a fatal fire during its maiden voyage across the Atlantic.
 
Submarine to Chile.
Chile received its first Scorpene attack submarine, and expects a second at the end of 2005. The new submarines will replace two Oberon class units commissioned in 1976.
 
S-80 Submarines for Spain.
Spain is funding a study to develop air-independent propulsion technology for their S-80 submarines. Four of these submarines will be built by Spain between 2005 and 2014, at a cost of US$2.4 billion.
 
Royal Navy.
The Trident class submarine HMS Vanguard hs successfully launched an unarmed Trident 11 D5 ballistic missile during an exercise in the Atlantic.
 
Deep 6000m Rov.
Phoenix International has been awarded a contract to design and build a new scientific research Rov for NOAA. Operational depth 6000m.
 
Denmark de-commissioning their submarines.
The Defence Minister has announced that Denmark will end 95 years of submarine operations, and de-commission their four German designed diesel submarines.
 
Submarine and Rov Books.
The following books are currently available from your local bookstore.
 
        Living and Working in the Sea (James Miller).
        American Deep Submersible Operations (Will Forman).
        Introduction to Rov Operations (George Last).
        Submarines of the World (Robert Jackson).
        Handbook of Acrylics (Jerry Stachiw).
        Run Silent (Philip Kaplan).
        Handbook for Rov Supervisors (Chris Bell).
 
 Dismantling Nuclear Submarines.
The Russian Federal Agency for Nuclear Power has stated that Russia wants to start dismantling foreign nuclear submarines. While they have the capacities to do this,  the question remains - where will the spent nuclear fuel from submarine reactors be stored? Russia is currently dismantling only its own nuclear submarines, and doing so with a foreign aid. Russia received $100 million a year for these purposes. In the space of five to six years, all of the remaining 80 Russian nuclear submarines will be scrapped. Following that, the agency said they would be ready to take U.S., British, and French submarines, which would save foreign partners considerable sums and bring in earnings for Russia. Read more: http://www.marinetalk.com/n.asp?d=04-25-2005&i=15333&h=o_t
 
Submarine runs into an undersea mountain.
APRA HARBOR, Guam,  May 18, 2005. A series of mistakes caused the San Francisco, a 6,900-ton submarine, to run into an undersea mountain not on its charts. Blood was everywhere. Sailors lay sprawled across the floor, several of them unconscious, others simply dazed. Even the captain was asking, "What just happened?" All anyone knew for sure was that the nuclear-powered attack submarine had slammed head-on into something solid and very large, and that it had to get to the surface fast. In the control room, a senior enlisted man shoved the "chicken switches," blowing high-pressure air through the ballast tanks to force the vessel upward. Usually, the submarine would respond at once. But as the captain, Cmdr. Kevin G. Mooney, and top officers stared at the depth gauge, the needle refused to move. Moments before, they had been slipping quiet and fast through the Pacific. Now, they were stuck, 500 feet down. Ten seconds passed. Then 20,30. "I thought I was going to die," Commander Mooney recalled. It would be close to a minute, before the submarine's mangled nose began to rise, before the entire control room exhaled in relief, before the diving officer, Chief Petty Officer Danny R.Hager, began to read out a succession of shallower depths. "I don't know how long it was," Chief Hager said, "but it seemed like forever."
 
Last week, Navy investigators reported that a series of mistakes at sea and onshore caused the 6,900-ton submarine, the San Francisco, to run into an undersea mountain not on its navigational charts. One crewman was killed, 98 others were injured, and the captain and three other officers were relieved of their duties as a result of the crash, one of the worst on an American submarine since the 1960's.
 
 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. For example, we have for sale in excellent condition, a 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.

 

Sportsub for sale (Very good condition and great price).

A two/three man wet submersible that incorporates the dynamics of both flying and scuba diving. Constructed from fiberglass, the Sportsub can travel through the water further and faster than scuba divers, and has a dive duration of approximately three hours (limited by Dive Tables). Operating Depth: 120ft (40m). Crew: two or three. Weight: 0.5 ton. Viewing through acrylic viewports. Exit and re-entry underwater possible for trained scuba divers. Non-divers can travel in the Sportsub as passenger. Easy to operate and maintain. Pilot training course available. Excellent condition and dive ready.

 

Submarines for Charter.

We have a number of submarines available for long and short-term hire and charter. These are ideal for underwater filming, documentaries, scientific research projects, and subsea salvage. Please contact us to discuss your requirements.

Sever.2 Submersible for charter or sale.

This well-known deep diving submarine from the Ukraine is now available for sale or charter.  Surface Displacement (dry weight) 38.7 tons. Overall Length 12 m.  Operating Depth to 2,000 m. Crew (2 pilots and 3 observers). Active Submerged work time 6 hr. Passive submerged period 72 hr. The submersible is designed to provide viewing through 3 portholes 140mm in diameter and 4 portholes 60mm in diameter. Electro hydraulic manipulators made of titanium alloy with 7 degrees of freedom. 

Mega Yacht Building with small submarines.
Current projects confirm the predominant trend in mega yacht building - that length counts!  Blohm+Voss has been preparing for this development and have completed project studies for yachts with lengths in excess of 76 metres.  The highlight amongst the latest project is a 147-metre luxury yacht, which sets new standards in design, features and functionality. The design includes various loggias, balconies, oriels, sundecks, a swimming pool on the top deck, a cinema and a disco.  The yacht has a garage for a small tourist submarine and a helicopter landing pad. In addition, a 18-metre long tender is integrated into the silhouette. Read more: http://www.marinetalk.com/n.asp?d=12-21-2004&i=15333&h=i_n
 
Deep Rover Submersibles.

In-Depth Marine Ltd has delivered new control systems  for the two Deep Rover 1002 submersibles built in 1994, and operated by Deep Ocean Expeditions. The subs are two-man and have a 1000m diving depth.

US Navy ASDS.

The US navy now operates an Advanced  SEAL Delivery System. The ASDS is a small submarine that weighs 55 tons, and is 65ft long. The single screw submarine can travel 125 miles at a speed of 8 knots, powered by silver zinc batteries (1200Kw). The unit carries a crew of two (pilot plus navigator) and 8 SEALs. The ASDS has three main compartments, control space, diver lockout chamber, and passenger/cargo space. Northup Grumman Corp are investigating a new lithium-ion battery for the ASDS, that once developed could increase the battery capacity by as much as twenty times the present capacity. A total of three ASDS units have been approved for construction.

           
Hardsuit delivered.

US based Phoenix International recently took delivery of two more Hardsuits (one-man ADS units), rated to 1200ft (365m). They were supplied by Oceanworks International of Houston. The suits are ideal for subsea intervention tasks, and subsea inspection activities.

 

US Navy Search and Salvage.

Phoenix international has the contract to provide worldwide underwater search, recovery, and submarine rescue services to the US Navy. Phoenix also operates and maintains US Navy sonar search systems and Rovs for the Supervisor of Salvage and Diving.

Pressurised Rescue Module System (PRMS).

ISE of Canada has a contract to build components and supply software for the US Navy PRMS, the new submarine rescue system. ISE is providing the control system, thrusters, power packs and various other items. The PRMS is a tethered , manned Rov used to transfer personnel between a stranded military submarine to the surface. The PRMS can operate in 2.5knot currents and operate to depths of 2000ft. Mating to a submarine can be achieved at 45 degrees, and 18 personnel can be rescued per dive.

Rescue Submersibles Quality Engineer  

Perry Slingsby Systems has been seeking a quality engineer for the new DSRV. The job spec is to perform quality system project related   activities to ensure Rescue Submersibles specifically meet the contract specified codes and standards. To prepare Quality Plans for the Rescue Submarines. To achieve the requirements of the prepared plan, coordinate with clients, third parties, and internal functions all planned quality and inspection activities. Review Certification Packages and ensure documentation for material certification, calibration and welding procedures for all systems are maintained. The successful candidate will have a college degree or equivalent experience in a technical area. Welding Inspection certification desirable. Contact: angela.pickering@uk.perrymail.com 

Mini Subs (Submersibles) for sale.

For sale in excellent condition, a four-man (1000ft depth rated) submersible with diver lockout facility. Also 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.

EO-Sub.
A state of the art three-man submersible with a very high-tech image, operational depth: 300ft (100m). Stainless steel hull, nickel sodium batteries. Domed acrylic viewports for all crew members. This submersible is ideal for a range of underwater activities and especially for yacht based recreation. New build with test dives just completed.

Worlds Most Innovative Non-Nuclear Submarine.
The German Navy will be getting a revolutionary new submarine the 212A class. Conventional does not really do justice to it, non-nuclear would be better. The new submarine's outstanding feature is its atmospheric air independent propulsion system. This propulsion system is based on a quiet-running hydrogen fuel cell which not only makes the submarine very difficult to detect but also allows it to stay submerged for a long period of time.

SC-Bug Submersible.
A small privately constructed submersible designed for two or three persons. Ideal for underwater filming, research, and personal recreation. Operating Depth: 500ft (test depth 725ft). Length 12ft and width 5ft. Numerous viewports. Life support for three days. Over 500 dives completed todate. Training course available.

 

SM-202.
This is an exciting leisure submarine, which is ideal for underwater filming and pleasure activities in shallow water depths. Exceptional 360-degree viewing, through the acrylic hull. Operating Depth: 150ft(50m) with possible upgrade to 100m. Weight: 4tons. Crew: One pilot and two passengers. External lights, underwater communications, and sonar.  

UNCOVERING SECRETS OF (ANOTHER) LOST CIVIL WAR SUBMARINE.
A joint research project is yielding new details about the U.S. Navy's first  submarine, the USS "Alligator."  The U.S. National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Navy's Office of Naval Research joined forces to uncover the secrets of a technological marvel of the Civil War era akin to  the USS "Monitor" ironclad warship and the Confederate submarine CSS "Hunley" -- the USS Alligator.  Launched  in 1862, the Alligator was the U.S. Navy's first submarine.  While the vessel represented a significant leap forward  in naval engineering, complete information about its design and fate has been elusive.  Today, NOAA and ONR  released findings that help fill large gaps in the history of the all-but-forgotten Union submarine, including details about the Alligator's inventor, innovative features, and loss in April 1863.  "NOAA is excited to partner with the Office of Naval Research to bring the largely untold story of the Alligator to  the public," said Dr. Richard W. Spinrad, assistant administrator for NOAA's National Ocean Service. "Through  the Alligator Project, we are learning not only about revolutionary developments in maritime technology but also  the American Civil War experience and the pioneering spirit that built our great nation." Chief of Naval Research RAdm. Jay Cohen added, "The Alligator Project will test our ability to find an object in the  sea in a reasonable amount of time and at a reasonable cost.  If we can find the Alligator, we can find anything."   Among the NOAA-ONR research team's recent discoveries are the only design drawings of the Alligator found to  date.  Drafted by French inventor Brutus de Villeroi, the drawings provide new details about the vessel's  architecture and breakthrough technologies, including the first diver lockout chamber ever devised for a submarine  as a weapons system. NOAA discovered Villeroi's original, hand-drawn designs in France in May 2003 after a  search for Alligator-related documents led to the French navy's historical archives, the Service Historique de la  Marine.  Along with the design drawings, NOAA also found a number of original, hand-written letters exchanged by  Villeroi and the French government.  The letters document Villeroi's repeated but unsuccessful attempts to  persuade the government of his native country to purchase his submarine design.  An 1863 letter provides clues  about the loss of the Alligator off the coast of North Carolina while it was being towed by the USS Sumpter from  Washington, D.C., to Charleston, South Carolina. The information released, including images of the Alligator design drawings, historical documents, and a map  depicting the last reported position of the submarine, are available on the Alligator Project website.http://www.sanctuaries.noaa.gov/alligator

TAURUS Submarine for charter.
A multi purpose submersible, designed for one-atmosphere operations, diver lockout, dry transfer, and submarine rescue (DSRV). This submersible is in excellent condition and dive ready. Suitable for underwater tourism, scientific research, search and salvage, and a range of military tasks. Crew: six (normal), six (diver lockout operations), twenty-two (DSRV operations). Operational Depth: 1200ft (400m). Weight: 22 tons. One large front viewport, one large aft viewport, four tower viewports, one lower viewport. Fitted with external lighting, sonar system, acoustic tracking, communications, manipulator arm, and hydraulic cable cutter.

 

 

Mapping Uncharted Waters.
An autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) called Autosub is about to become the first surveyor to breach one of the last unknown regions of the world. It will plunge into the unexplored pockets of the sea beneath the ice shelves of Antarctica. Traveling through the Amundsen Sea under the Pine Island Glacier ice shelf, Autosub will gather data for four projects sponsored by the Natural Environment Resource Council. The aim is to understand the interactions between the glacier and the ocean, which may reveal the effects of global warming on the Antarctic region.

Adventurer-Sub for sale.

"DEAR ALAN, I have a Sub for sale (140ft depth, 3 crew) made by a small company in Florida.The inside of the sub is almost complete. The a/c gets installed next week. The dash is complete and looks great. The sub has been tested about 15 times and the biggest problem was the diesel and electric engines. But that is all fixed now. The tests where all in shallow water (25 ft.or less). More tests have to be done to find neutral buoyancy. The sub is not finished, but all the equipment is 100% paid for, with all parts and labour under a one year warranty. To finish the sub it will take testing and very little money.  The builder says he will not build another one like mine for under $250,000.  I upgraded almost every part over the last two years. I have registered the boat in Florida and the coast guard have approved it. This submarine would be a great buy for any enthusiast. Please inform all your readers".

FREE-DIVING WORLD RECORD SET
Cabo San Lucas, México -- Off the coast here, Pipin Ferreras set a new no limits free-diving world record of 558 feet (170 meters).  Dr. Titanic, used manned submersibles and above and below water cameras to document the record. The dive took place at 11:30 a.m. in calm seas and light winds.  The water temperature at the surface was 82°F and 55°F at 558 feet. The depth was confirmed using a precision instrument carried on Pipin's back, said McCoy. The cylindrical device, which contains a microprocessor, is accurate to within 3 inches and has been used to certify free-diving world records since 1995. es@oceansensors.com

 
DRUGS FROM THE SEA -  ELUSIVE CANCER KILLER'S DEEP-SEA HIDEOUT.
Ft. Pierce, Florida, USA -- In 1984, Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution scientists discovered a small piece of sponge in the deep waters off the Bahamas that harboured chemical with a remarkable ability to kill cancer cells in laboratory tests.  Despite almost two decades of subsequent searching, the group was never able to find enough of the sponge to fully explore its potential. But now that process can finally be in because, thanks to some creative detective work, the team has found the animal's secret hiding place and collected enough of it to support years of intense research.  "It's just amazing," says Dr. Amy Wright, director of HBOIs Biomedical Marine Research, of the sponge she has been in a career-long quest to find.  "This is our next cure, I know it's our next cure." A chemical produced within the sponge, which has not yet been given an official name, has proven in one test of cancer-fighting potential to be about 400 times more potent than Taxol®, a widely used treatment for breast and other forms of cancer.  As important, preliminary experiments have also shown the compound to be fairly non-toxic to normal cells.  But the limited amount of the sponge initially collected was not enough to carry the team through the long process of developing a potential medical treatment, which involves careful study of exactly how a chemical kills cancer cells and of its chemical structure.

 On various expeditions over the years, scientists found only tiny pieces of the sponge, then last year two slightly larger pieces, but still they did not have enough to do the required research.  So, in preparation for a cruise this year to the Bahamas that ran from October 9th through the 24th, Wright and her team used clues from where each piece had been collected to put together a profile of the habitat where it must live.  The sponge was found in water more than 1,000 feet deep in an area the researchers often refer to as the "dead zone" because it is generally characterized by bare rock and very low biodiversity.  The sponge, which can grow to about the size of a softball, had eluded researchers for so long because they generally avoid this area in favour of exploring more diverse habitats.  Wright predicts that the quantity of the sponge collected on the expedition using the submersible should be enough to carry the team through the full multiyear drug discovery process,   possibly even to the first phase of human trials.  "I never thought I would see that much of the sponge ever," says Wright, "Now we have enough to move forward."  Harbor Branch has already patented nearly a hundred potential pharmaceuticals from the tens of thousands of the organisms the Biomedical Marine Research group has collected since the 1980s at sites around the globe.  Several of these are in various stages of development as potential commercial drugs. Discodermolide, a compound produced by a deep-water sponge found in the Bahamas, is currently in the first phase of human trials as a cancer treatment.  For more information about this expedition as well as background articles on the team's research, visit Harbor Branch's online expedition site.   

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.

 

 

NORWEGIAN, FINNISH NAVIES USING HUGIN AUV & MINESNIPER.
Horten, Norway -- Following successful operations with Kongsberg Maritime's Hugin AUV early September in Luce Bay, Scotland, (in conjunction with the NATO exercise Northern Light*), the Royal Norwegian Navy mine hunter HNoMS Karmøy transferred east to Finnish waters for further challenges with the Hugin AUV and Minesniper mine disposal vehicle, according to company  spokeswoman.  In co-operation with the Finnish Navy, a series of survey tests were carried out over a one-and-a-half-week time period to test and evaluate the Karmøy`s capability to detect, classify, and neutralize mine threats using the vessels complete range of mine countermeasure capability, including the Hugin, the MICOS 2 system, and the Minesniper mine disposal vehicle. Several missions were conducted in different areas to demonstrate the Hugin's capability in REA and MCM operations, including mine detection, localization, and classification.  The vehicle was mostly run in autonomous mode, surfacing at regular intervals for vehicle navigation system updates by global positioning system (GPS) and communication with the mother ship via the radio link.  Submerged, the acoustic links were used to communicate vehicle status and changes to the mission, if found necessary.  For most of the operations, the Hugin was operated autonomously at very remote distances from the mother ship.  For more information, contact Kongsberg Maritime Sales department on +47 3302 3938, >e-mail subsea@kongsberg.com.

SUBMARINE MUSEUM SEEKING HELP.
Colchester, Essex, U.K. Robin Webb writes: " I am a Trustee of the Royal Navy Submarine Museum in Gosport, Hants.  The museum is planning to put the miniature submersible LR3 under permanent cover shortly.  If there are any ex-pilots or crew members of LR3 or similar vessels who would like to volunteer to assist in the restoration, could they please contact me or the museum".   The picture below shows the inside of LR3 when we used to operate it in the North Sea (Alan).

 

 U.S. NAVY ANNOUNCES SSGN CONVERSION CONTRACT AWARD.
General Dynamics Electric Boat Corp. was awarded a cost-plus-incentive-fee contract worth $222 million for the conversion of the first Ohio-class guided missile submarine (SSGN), USS Ohio (SSGN 726), and for long lead time material and conversion installation planning for the conversion of Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs), the USS Michigan (SSBN 727) and the USS Georgia (SSBN 729), to SSGN 727 and SSGN 729, respectively.  Emphasizing the importance of SSGNs, Navy Secretary Gordon R. England said, "The SSGN is an example of the Navy's innovative transformation that supports our joint warfighters.  With well over 20 years of life remaining, the SSGN conversion will significantly increase the strike capability and the flexibility of our special forces." The December 18 award modifies a contract with Electric Boat originally awarded on September 26, 2002, for SSGN detail design, long lead time material, and conversion planning.  The contract also provides priced options totaling $152 million for the fiscal 2004 conversion of SSBN 728 (USS Florida) to SSGN 728 and for the completion of conversion installation planning for SSGN 729. Upon completion of their conversions, the SSGNs will be able to carry up to 154 Tomahawk missiles and to function as the host platform for 66 special operations forces.  SSGN 726 began its engineering overhaul (ERO) at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in November 2002 and began conversion work in November 2003.  SSGN 728 began its ERO at Norfolk Naval Shipyard in August 2003 with conversion start planned in April 2004.  Both the SSGN 726 and the SSGN 728 will complete conversion in fiscal 2006.

 Ten-Passenger Submarine for sale.

The tourist submarine is very safe and comfortable, designed for the smaller tourist resort. This submarine is ideal for start-up operations, and organisations entering the underwater market for the first time. Operating Depth 300ft (100m). Crew: One pilot and ten passengers. Weight: 24 tons. Large front viewport, large tower viewport, ten large individual passenger viewports. External lights, sonar, acoustic tracking, video and communications.
 

OTHER U.S. MILITARY CONTRACT NEWS.
Electric Boat Corp., Groton, Connecticut, was awarded a $42.1 million contract modification for the execution of the USS Seawolf (SSN 21) selected restricted availability (SRA).  The U.S. Navy Supervisor of Shipbuilding Conversion & Repair, Groton Connecticut, is the contracting activity.

Lockheed Martin Corp., Maritime Systems & Sensors (LMMSS), Manassas, Virginia, was awarded a not-to-exceed $117.2 million letter contract for level-of-effort supporting the acoustic rapid commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) Insertion (A-RCI) program.  The letter contract was awarded for engineering and technical services and associated materials for the design and development of upgrades, systems support, and production of A-RCI upgrade kits for the A-RCI Program.  A-RCI is a sonar system upgrade installed on SSN 688, SSN 688I, SSN 21, SSN 774, SSGN, and SSBN 726-class submarines.  A-RCI integrates and improves towed array, hull array, sphere array, and other ship sensor processing.  The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity.

Underwater Camera for sale.
Photosea 100O Underwater Stills Camera System complete with strobe lights. Advertised as being the finest professional underwater photographic equipment available, and takes 35mm film for prints or slides. The system has been pressure tested to operate at depths of 3000 metres. Purchased in 2001 it has not been in the water, as the programme that the system was intended has not proceeded.

WHOI SCIENTISTS TO BUILD HYBRID ROV
Woods Hole, Massachusetts, USA -- For the first time since 1960, U.S. scientists will be able to explore the deepest parts of the world's oceans, up to 7 miles below the  surface, with a novel underwater vehicle capable of performing multiple tasks in extreme conditions.  Researchers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution here are  developing a battery-powered underwater robot to enable scientists to explore the ocean's most remote regions up to 11,000 meters deep.  A spokeswoman said the hybrid  HROV will be able to operate in two modes -- as an autonomous or free-swimming vehicle for wide area surveys, and as a tethered vehicle for close-up sampling and other  tasks.  In the latter mode, it will use a novel fiber-optic micro cable only one thirty-second of an inch thick, a significant departure from the large, heavy cables typically used  with tethered vehicles.  The deep-sea vehicle will require new technologies such as ceramic housings for cameras and other electronic equipment to withstand the pressures  at the vehicle's extreme operating depths, she said. Funding for the four-year, $5-million HROV project is provided by the U.S. National Science Foundation, with additional support from the U.S. Navy and the National Oceanic  & Atmospheric Administration.  Principal investigators are Andrew Bowen and Dana Yoerger of WHOI's Deep Submergence Laboratory in the Applied Ocean Physics &  Engineering Department and Louis Whitcomb, an associate professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at The Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, Maryland).   Whitcomb is also a visiting investigator in DSL.  The new vehicle will undergo initial trails in three years.

Humans have been to the bottom of the Mariana Trench only once, in 1960, when the U.S. Navy bathyscaph Trieste descended with then Lt. Don Walsh and Swiss scientist  Jacques Piccard.  The Japanese ROV Kaiko dove to the bottom of the trench in 1995.  It was lost earlier this year and no operational  vehicles currently exist that are capable of reaching this depth.  "The HROV will enable, for the first time, routine scientific research in the deepest parts of the ocean, from 6,500 meters to 11,000 meters, a depth we currently cannot  reach," says RAdm. Richard Pittenger, USN, Ret., and WHOI vice president for marine operations.  "It will also afford access to other very hard-to-reach regions such as  under the arctic ice cap.  The Hero's real-time, wide-band link to the surface will put the researcher in the loop to view, assess, and command the vehicle throughout the  duration of dive missions.  It is the first capable and cost-effective technology that will enable scientists to pursue research projects on a routine basis in areas they have  long wanted to study but have been unable to reach. HROV technology will help answer many questions about the deep sea."  More at http://www.whoi.edu/home/.

DELIVERY OF BLUEFIN-21 FOR SCIENTIFIC EXPLORATION.
Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA -- The Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar & Marine Research (AWI) in Bremerhaven, Germany, recently took delivery of a  3,000m depth rated Bluefin21 AUV, which is the newest generation of Bluefin's AUV technology.  Among other things, the vehicle will be used for scientific research  near and under the polar ice caps where obstacle avoidance and highly accurate dead-reckoning navigation are crucial for vehicle operation. Bluefin is a spin-off from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's AUV Lab and has been manufacturing autonomous underwater vehicles and sub-sea batteries since  1997.  Bluefin's current product line includes the Bluefin21, Bluefin12, and the Bluefin9, as well as pressure-tolerant batteries in 1 kilowatt-hour, 2 kilowatt-hour, and 3  kilowatt-hour sizes.  The Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar & Marine Research was established as a public foundation in 1980.  It is a member of the  Hermann von Helmholtz  Association of German Research Centres and conducts research in the arctic, the Antarctic, and at temperate latitudes.  It coordinates polar research in Germany and  provides both the necessary equipment and the essential logistic back up for polar expeditions.  More about the AUVs at http://www.bluefinrobotics.com/.

NRC REPORT CALLS FOR MORE DEEP-DIVING U.S. SUBMERSIBLES
Washington, D.C., USA . Deep-diving manned submersibles, such as Alvin, which gained worldwide fame when researchers used it to reach the wreck of the HMS Titanic,  have helped advance deep-ocean science.  But many scholars in this field have noted that the number and capabilities of today's underwater vehicles no longer meet current  scientific demands while others say the relative value of manned and unmanned vehicles is often disputed.  A new report from the U.S. National Academies' National  Research Council says new submersibles, both manned and unmanned, that are more capable than those in the current fleet are needed and would be of great value to  the advancement of ocean research.  The U.S. National Science Foundation's Division of Ocean Science, a major funder of U.S. ocean research, asked the council to study  the issue because of NSF's concerns about the current fleet's usefulness. The report, Future Needs in Deep Submergence Science: Occupied and Unoccupied Vehicles in Basic Ocean Research, notes that Alvin has been modified over the years  to allow it to take a pilot and two scientists to depths of 4,500 meters.  The report calls for a new and more capable manned vehicle that should provide the scientists  onboard with improved visibility and achieve neutral buoyancy at various depths -- which Alvin has difficulty doing -- so that researchers can pause to study life forms that  exist between the surface and the seafloor. A detailed engineering study also is needed to assess the costs and technical risks of extending the diving range of an upgraded  manned vehicle to 6,500 meters. A new manned submersible could be built by 2006, the report says, but given the high demand for deep-diving research vehicles and for submersibles that can go deeper  than 1500 meters, a new, more capable unmanned submersible should be built by 2004 or 2005.  NSF's Division of Ocean Science has a budget of $25 million to upgrade  the nation's fleet of deep-diving research submersibles.  The report follows on the heels of an NRC report issued earlier this month that called for the construction of a number of new manned and unmanned deep-sea submersibles as part of a proposal for a large-scale ocean exploration program.   The newest report will be available early next year from the National Academies Press.  Contact the office on +1 (202) 334-3313 or on the Internet at http://www.nap.edu/.

 
SONARDYNE JOINS HUNT FOR GERMAN U-BOAT
Yateley, Hampshire, U.K. -- A major operation to study the wreckage of a World War II German U-boat in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico has been supported with deep-water  acoustic positioning equipment from Sonardyne International Ltd. here.  The wreck was found by C&C Technologies Inc. surveyors during a pipeline route survey for Shell  Exploration and BP Exploration in 2001.  The company had been using an AUV when it came across wreckage in 5,000 feet of  water that marine archaeologists suspected was the remains of U-166.  This U-boat was responsible for torpedoing and sinking the passenger freighter SS Robert E Lee  near New Orleans in July 1942 with many lives lost.  In a joint venture with C&C, the Office of Ocean Exploration (U.S. National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration), the PAST Foundation, and the U.S. Minerals  Management Service, the NOAA research vessel Ronald Brown was mobilized in October 2003 to carry out a comprehensive ROV survey of the U-166 site.  A  television  crew also joined the expedition to film a documentary for the History Channel's Deep Sea Detectives which is expected to be broadcast in April 2004. For the project, a Sonsub Inc. (Houston, Texas) Innovator ROV was equipped with high-resolution camera equipment, scanning sonar, and a Sonardyne RovNav acoustic  transceiver.  Because of the water depth, a Sonardyne long baseline acoustic positioning system was chosen as the primary positioning solution.  The ROVs first task was  to deploy five Sonardyne Compatt transponders around the wreck site to create a navigation network in which the ROV an wreck could be positioned.  A Sonardyne  ultra-short baseline system was used to track the ROV on its descent to the bottom and to provide the ROV crew with the relative position of the vehicle tether  management system.

During the five-day survey of the U-166, the team from C&C also successfully investigated the site of the Robert E. Lee, which lies within a mile of the submarine.  The  project now stands as the deepest archaeological study project ever undertaken in the Gulf of Mexico.  The data and spectacular images that were collected will enable  archaeologists to piece together a detailed record of these historic sites.  The recent successful use of an LBL system on the important site of the Mary Rose warship in the  U.K. is further confirmation that acoustic positioning systems can make a significant difference to the amount of archaeology that can be accomplished in a short time, whether in deep or shallow water.   http://www.sonardyne.co.uk/.

 

THE FOLLOWING ARTICLE WAS WRITTEN BY DIIA FOR THEIR QUARTERLY MAGAZINE.

 

Article written by:

Defence Interaction Intelligence Agency (DIIA) Special Report

A New Concept for Military, Homeland Security and Sub-Sea Research Organizations.

 

H.G. Wells once said, “I must confess that my imagination refuses to

see any sort of submarine doing anything but suffocating its crew and

floundering at sea.” He was of course, wrong - but no doubt would have

admitted as much had he been able to watch Britain’s most advanced

attack sub on sea-trials in the Clyde in March of this year. Made up of

a million individual components and capable of carrying 93 crew an array

of weapons including 2,000 km range Tomahawk cruise missiles and an

arsenal of Spearfish torpedoes, the nuclear-powered Astute class is 97m

long, weighs 7,800 tons, is coated in 39,000 sonar masking acoustic

tiles and doesn't need refuelling throughout its expected 25 year

service life. One of four ordered (called Astute, with the three

further vessels under construction called Ambush and Artful and

Audacious) she’s a far cry from the comments of British Royal Navy

Admiral William Henderson (1914) who secured his place in history with

the quote "Even if a submarine should work by a miracle, it will never

be used. No country in this world would ever use such a vicious and

petty form of warfare!

Silvercrest Submarines.

Silvercrest Submarines have motivated considerable publicity over the

years for their products and services – especially with reference to

sub-sea tourism and underwater filming. The company’s operations, to

date, have been primarily a mix of un