Saturday, September 24, 2016

U.S. Navy Exploring Successor To Sub-Launched Nuclear Missile

Marc Selinger, Defense Daily
22 September 2016

The U.S. Navy is in the “very early phases” of exploring what the successor to its Trident II D-5 ballistic missile will look like, a service official said Sept. 22.
Navy engineers “have begun evaluating the technology areas that need to be examined” to develop the new submarine-launched, nuclear-armed missile, said Vice Adm. Terry Benedict, director of Navy Strategic Systems Programs. The service has also had preliminary discussions with high-level decision-makers, including the Joint Staff, the Pentagon’s acquisition and policy offices, and U.S. Strategic Command.
First deployed in 1990, the Lockheed Martin [LMT] D-5 is undergoing a life extension program. But a new missile will be needed in the “2040-ish” timeframe, when the Navy’s inventory of D-5s is projected to fall below required levels, Benedict said.
Another conference speaker, Lt. Gen. Jack Weinstein, Air Force deputy chief of staff for strategic deterrence and nuclear integration, said his service is pursuing “smart commonality” between its future Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) and the Navy’s nuclear missile efforts. The Air Force also is looking for commonality with the Missile Defense Agency’s long-range, ground-based interceptors and with space systems.
GBSD will replace the aging Boeing [BA] Minuteman 3 ICBM. The Air Force issued a request for proposals for GBSD’s technology maturation and risk reduction phase in July, and bids are due in October.
Jamie Morin, director of the Pentagon’s Office of Cost Analysis and Program Evaluation (CAPE), said DoD’s nuclear triad modernization programs are on the “right footing.” The Navy’s Ohio Replacement Program, for instance, “was founded on a pretty rigorous scrub of requirements” and is poised to develop a submarine that minimizes risk by using existing state-of-the-art technology instead of the “next decade’s technology," he said.
According to Benedict, the Common Missile
Compartment (CMC), which the Navy is developing with the United Kingdom for new nuclear-armed submarines, “is shifting from design to production in both the U.S. and the U.K. The U.S. just celebrated its ‘cut steel,’ and the United Kingdom is about to do that imminently.” The Navy has awarded a contract to General Dynamics [GD] Electric Boat for the first 17 missile tubes and is preparing to issue a contract for the second purchase, Benedict added.

Rep. Adam Smith Wants A Smaller Nuclear Arsenal

Jacqueline Kilmas, Washington Examiner
22 September 2016

The country could stand to shrink its nuclear arsenal, the ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee said on Thursday.
Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., said at the Stimson Center that the U.S. can't afford its nuclear stockpiles and could project the same level of deterrence with a smaller number of them.
"From a priority standpoint, it's the wrong priority," Smith said. "We need a nuclear deterrent, there's no question about that. But the level, size and cost of the nuclear deterrent, I think it doesn't warrant the threats that we face."
Smith said the current number of U.S. nuclear weapons would be needed if the U.S. enters a nuclear conflict
with China, Russia and North Korea, and "at that point, we're pretty much all toast anyways," he said.
A small number of weapons, he said, can still let enemies know "don't screw with us or we will obliterate you," especially since today's nuclear weapons are more powerful than those used more than 70 years ago in Japan.
While he said all three legs of the triad could shrink, the land-based piece is the one "we can most afford to reduce." That leaves ballistic missile submarines and aerial bombers.
"I'm very fond of the submarines because they're obviously the most reliable and usable," he said.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Navy Can Tackle Advanced Hezbollah Missile, Says Outgoing Commander

Yoav Zitun, Ynet News
20 September 2016 

"Look at this huge 'Adir' radar on the missile boat's deck," says Major-General Ram Rothberg, as we approach the platform at Haifa's military port. "From here, this radar can see missiles launched from Turkey to Syria."
This enthusiasm and teen spirit repeat themselves when fighters of Shayetet 13, the special operations unit which Rothberg commanded in the past, lead us far out at sea from their boat to the deck of the Navy's newest submarine, INS Rahav, and Rothenberg points at the coastal town of Atlit and says: "The most beautiful place in Israel. Look how pretty, the people, the systems. I get excited seeing this strength."
The sparkle in eyes of the outgoing Navy chief, who will leave office at the end of September, is apparent as we sail to the submarine on the INS Eilat missile boat as well. None of the soldiers we met during the sail appeared tense or intimidated by the general. In other corps, a major-general is considered a type of god, one that soldiers see maybe once during their entire service.
Thirty-three years and 10 ranks separate Rothberg and the young soldiers he meets during the sail, talks to and sometimes even laughs with. "That's Ram," one of the junior officers on the ship clarifies. "On the shore, in the base and in the sea, he talks to everyone at eye level, without any distance, sometimes even like a pal. It's a disputable approach, but it's hard not to connect to it."
In a memoir, in his small handwriting and personal approach, Rothberg chose to share with the fighters of the Navy's new submarines, Rahav and Tannin, his experiences from his long journey with them from the Port of Kiel in Germany to the Port of Haifa. On each experience they went through together far out at sea for about three weeks, mostly in deep water, the general signed: "Ram Rothberg, Navy commander." He did not mention his rank.
The senior officer, a member of the IDF's General Staff, is far from being a typical general. Until he reached the rank of brigadier-general, he says, he did not pursue a military career and just "went with the flow."
In a special Ynet interview, conducted far out at sea, Rothberg reveals that Hezbollah is not just arming itself with advanced Yakhont missiles, and says one military corps alone cannot decide the next war and explains why a Navy chief has never been appointed IDF chief-of-staff.
A submarine and infantry brigade working together
A small piece of history was made about a month ago in the cooperation between the IDF's Ground Forces and Navy forces: For the first time, a submarine took part in a ground exercise conducted by the Paratroopers Brigade. The brigade's commander, Colonel Nimrod Aloni, advanced with his soldiers near the village of Jisr az-Zarqa, while receiving secret assistance from a submarine commander in deep water, who cleared the ground for the forces to progress, described the developing intelligence picture and more.
Despite the submarine's strategic status, the Navy has dropped its ego and in the next war in Lebanon it will provide the Ground Forces with what a senior officer from the Paratroopers Brigade defines as "an advantage over an aerial observation, because unlike a UAV the submarine is stable, doesn't fall down if it runs out of fuel and doesn’t move on to other missions.
Outgoing Navy Commander Rothberg, who has led such operational collaborations within his corps as well, including secret operations of submarines with Commando fighters, recounts processes from the beginning of his term: "We were afraid to integrate with everyone. We saw is as a threat to our power building. Here's a confession: We were afraid that the Air Force would take our place in the naval battle. The Air Force was even a red rag as far as we were concerned, because if there is air the sea is probably unnecessary.
"When I took office, along with (former Chief of Staff) Benny (Gantz) and (incumbent Chief of Staff) Gadi (Eisenkot), I said we should do things completely differently. We want to prepare to fight on two fronts, with quick portable tools, so we changed the command and control perception. Today, an infantry regiment commander talks to a missile boat commander, a company commander talks to a warship unit's commander. I don’t think one corps will decide."

Facing Syria, approaching Turkey

Many warships, some much bigger than the Navy's missile boats, are currently in the front yard of the IDF's main fighting arena – the northern front, facing Syria and Lebanon. In the interview, Rothberg reveals that Navy ships are constantly sailing in international waters opposite Syria and Lebanon.
"The Syrian arena attracts all the world powers and fleets. It's a main battle zone which includes the Iranians, the Turks, the Russians, the Americans, the French, the coalition states. We want to strengthen our naval coalitions and we have strengthened our ties with all the relevant countries.
"We are present in the arena vis-à-vis Syria and vis-à-vis Lebanon as part of designing a reality in the key arena where the danger will come from. We sail in international waters near Cyprus and Turkey as well. We have to feel the ground intelligence-wise and we talk to other missile boats in NATO language, international codes. The Air Force's coordination mechanism vis-à-vis the Russians operates in the sea as well. We are constantly approaching, but there is no friction."
The Navy ships and submarines are not only following politely what is happening on the Lebanese or Syrian shore from an intelligence perspective. "We already offer a response to the Yakhont with our Barak 1 missile, and we will offer a response w3ith the Barak 8 missiles as well," Rothberg states, elaborating on the Yakhont threat, Russian made anti-ship cruise missiles, which are considered the most advanced missiles in the world and are launched from land.
"The Yakhont is a quick, supersonic missile, and the question is where will we find it. Naturally, according to the naval supremacy perception we have developed, we would like to attack the Yakhont before it is launched, and we will therefore use the perception of hunting down the launchers, which comes from the Air Force."
According to foreign reports, in the past few years the IDF has attacked advanced arms shipments to Hezbollah from Syria, which included Yakhont missiles. The Sunday Times reported three years ago that an Israeli Dolphin submarine attacked a warehouse in Latakia in which 50 missiles were hidden.

'Attack the enemy at its starting point'

But the Yakhont, which can reach a 300-kilometer radius, threatening the Port of Ashdod and the gas rigs, is not the only missile in the Navy's line of fire. According to Rothberg, "The state of Lebanon has become a huge fleet which cannot drown and is constantly armed. The Syrian fleet, with the old Russian ships and the four small Iranian stealth vessels, the size of our Dvora (patrol boat), is no longer relevant.
"Hezbollah missiles can be launched at us from northern Syria, and the other way around. Apart from the Yakhont, Syria also has Iranian missiles with a range of 300 kilometers like the Ghadir and a future missile called Qader, which are upgrades of the C-802. This is not a work premise but an understanding that missiles will be fired on us from the northern arena."
In order to reduce Hezbollah's abilities in the third Lebanon war as much as possible, the IDF often operates in the "war between wars." That includes many secret operations to thwart the arming of Hamas and Hezbollah, such as the operation against the KLOS C arms ship two and a half years ago, which Rothberg commanded from far out at sea.
"I will modestly say that the 'war between wars' was written about the Navy, due to its versatility and access to all arenas, the understanding that the enemy must be attacked at its starting point, operations that combine courage and valor, planning and decision making on the level of the chief of staff and defense minister. We carry out additional operations like the KLOS C, which was a unique operation against naval smugglings."
For every such successful operation, how many smugglings do succeed?
"I invest all the resources to ensure that won't happen, and that we will catch everything at its very beginning. I am unaware of any other smugglings, but it's possible that we won't know."
During Operation Protective Edge, a Shayetet 13 operation in the northern beach of the Gaza Strip was revealed after fighters were wounded by Hamas fire. Did that operation go wrong?
"Complicated operations are under my command, like Operation Hod Vehadar, which I ran from the Ashdod base and the Shayetet commander oversaw on the ground. In such operations you need the strongest chain of command. In the command post I spoke with the forces on the ground, I directed the fire and intelligence and coordinated the guidance and advancement. In my opinion, it was a successful operation which reached all its effects and targets."

A dispute in deep water

Rothberg, who will be replaced by Eli Sharvit, is considered an officer who does not hesitate to speak his mind even in top forums. Quite a few eyebrows were raised in the IDF when former Chief of Staff Benny Gantz and then-Defense Minister Ehud Barak decided on his appointment. The highly regarded offer carried a stain from 2006, when he was reprimanded by Chief of Staff Dan Halutz for his part in the failure that led to Hezbollah missiles hitting the INS Hanit ship off the shores of Beirut and to the death of four fighters on the ship. At the time, Rothberg served as head of the Naval Intelligence Division.
Since then, the Navy has undergone a facelift, such as the arrival of the two new submarines from Germany during Rothberg's term. Some in the General Staff raised the initiative to do away with the veteran Dolphin-class submarine (which is considered operationally efficient at least until 2030), upon the planned arrival of the sixth submarine, Ahi Dakar, in 2019.
"The submarine can be the eyes of Shayetet 13 and operates as far as the imagination goes," says Rothberg. "The submarine fighters have brought about a breakthrough in the number of operations, and there has not been a single mission they were unable to carry out in the past few years. From a world of DNA which includes total secrecy, the submarines have now moved on to both."
So why are there those in the army who want to give up on a submarine which only arrived at the beginning of the previous decade?
"It's a decision on a General Staff level, and we will get into it when we get there. The Navy commander will always want more, but there is a decision making process and I will honor every decision. There are operational considerations which I understand. Our next submarines, the seventh to the ninth, will be for 40 years, and the current ones are for 30. As for the agreement with Iran, when you build power you don’t look at short ranges of five years but at 15 years and more. There will be changes on the way, and the submarines will be part of it."

Rothberg's April Fools' Day

Rothberg's sharp sense of humor is one of his distinguishing features, but it has not always made people laugh. At the beginning of his term, Navy fighters were furious after he ordered them to prepare for a training session in Italy for a whole night, and then in the morning they were told that it was an April Fools' prank initiated by the general himself. Since then, he has not been missing out on the annual practical jokes day, but has been keeping a lower profile.
"It was a light event," he explains. "I don't regret it and I apologized to the people afterward. I told them to take it in the right spirit because it also happens to me at home.
"I am in favor of a creative spirit and freedom of action among people, as long as there is no harm to human life, property or dignity. When facing the enemy, one must think in a free, non-fixated manner. In order to lead a team through a battle one cannot just work with orders, but also have an ability to motivate and connect. I remember that after a successful operation in Lebanon, we left the beach and an officer in the force asked me a question. I replied with a good joke, and immediately received sympathy, pride, laughter and strength to move on, because it was a long operations and it can sometimes be broken with the proper humor."

An IDF chief from the Navy?

Rothberg is married to Michal and has three children. He does not have a computer in his office, apart from an operational screen, "which is closed most of the time." He does have a secret Facebook account under a nickname few people know of.
The senior officer, who calls on his colleagues to "peel off layers of ego," does not settle for many conversations – almost around the clock – with his young subordinates, and also visits youth villages to talk about the Navy. The missile boat unit, which few people wanted to serve in, has become so popular, he says, that every two new recruits compete for an available spot in it.
"We must let go of the ranks. They sometimes confuse people or confuse a situation," says the outgoing Navy chief. "I am interested in people and I care about them, so I personally get back to each one. It's a personal code which must not be broken. I am part of the Navy's full fabric. What does a person want? Personal treatment. He wants people to believe in him.
"I study the ground with the most important eyes: The eyes of soldiers in compulsory and reserve service, and not through what they want to show generals in briefs or presentations. So I don’t work with emails and I prefer interpersonal communication – listening to the gesture, to the voice, to the tone. The moment you write an email, it's processed differently.
"Commanders in the IDF must understand that our youth is the best, and the question is how should we connect to it, if we remain in the hierarchy of the old generation. I take off all suits and try to teach something complicated: We are commanders in the IDF and educators in the State of Israel. The commander is not the smartest person, and the soldier won't volunteer to do something just because I am responsible for him, give him orders or let him leave for an event, or because of the ranks."
In the recent rounds of appointments Navy officers were appointed as brigade and division commanders, but when will we see a chief of staff who comes from the Navy, after already having a chief of staff from the Air Force?
"We must wait. Being a chief of staff is a profession. You have to grow into it and be in that place, create a partnership and faith in the road you take." At this point Rothberg hesitates, but then adds: "Other armies have it. If the Navy commander will have added value in the future compared to other candidates, it will happen."

Turkish Havelsan Develops Submarine Systems

Burak Ege Bekdil, Defense News
20 September 2016

ANKARA — Turkish state-controlled military software company Havelsan has successfully developed four systems for the country’s submarines, the company has said.
These systems are: Submarine Defense Combat Firing Control System; Submarine Information Distribution System; Situational Target Movement Analysis capabilities; and Online Performance Analysis System.
Havelsan has applied for patent rights for all four systems.
“Unfortunately, our patent applications so far have been disproportionate with the level of [sub and other] technology we produced,” said Ahmet Hamdi Atalay, Havelsan’s general manager. “We have been encouraging development programs that will be fit for patent rights. I predict a visible rise in our patent applications in the near future.”
Havelsan last year invested about $30 million on its research and development programs.
Presently, the company is running two more submarine-related programs: Sonar Integrated Combat Management System and National Torpedo Firing Control System. It is also developing a communications software for a Turkish satellite being built by Istanbul Technical University.
An industry source said that the submarine systems Havelsan has been developing are traditionally imported systems made by western manufacturers. “If Havelsan’s [submarine] programs, after integration, give a happy ending, Turkey would no more buy imported systems,” he said.
Turkey launched the construction of six “new type” submarines under German license with initial deliveries scheduled for 2020.
The next-generation submarines would be locally designed, developed and constructed. Procurement officials have said the next order for the new-generation submarines would be an initial batch of six.
Last year, Havelsan acquired flight simulation assets made by US-based Quantum3D, a developer of visual computing solutions. Under the deal, Havelsan’s US-based subsidiary will retain the intellectual property and product lines of Quantum3D.

A Nuclear Sub in the Desert? Parts of the USS Phoenix Await Permanent Home

Shaun McKinnon, The Republic
20 September 2016

More than 35 years after her grandmother christened the nuclear submarine USS Phoenix, Amy Rhodes Marshall smashed a bottle of champagne against the top half of the sub’s sail Tuesday morning, launching a plan to build a memorial to the Phoenix in the city that lent the big boat its name.
Betty Rhodes, the wife of longtime Arizona Congressman John Rhodes, was the sub’s original sponsor in December 1979 as the Los Angeles submarine was readied for its first trip. The sub was part of the U.S. Navy’s Cold War-era buildup and sailed the Atlantic for much of its history. It was decommissioned in 1998 and moved to a Navy yard in Bremerton, Wash.
Early in its history, the Phoenix was informally adopted by the city of Phoenix and in the years after it left the seas, attempts were made to bring parts of the sub to Phoenix for a memorial. One group, under the "Save our Sail" banner, worked more than 15 years on plans to honor the sub. The Navy finally agreed and the parts — the sub’s "sail," or conning tower, its diving planes and rudder, 65 tons in all — arrived at the Papago Park Military Reservation last month. The sail was cut in half for the trip, but could be reassembled later.
The city set aside a plot near the Veterans Home at Steele Indian School Park for a memorial and the site was dedicated in March. Backers will now finalize a design and start to raise money to pay for the memorial.
As she prepared to christen the sub's sail, Marshall noted that her grandmother was one of the sweetest, gentlest people she knew, "so it was a little ironic that she took such pride in her role as sponsor of this warship."

STRATCOM Nominee Gen. Hyten Warns Of North Korean Nuclear Advances

John Grady, USNI News
20 September 2016

The Air Force general nominated to head U.S. Strategic Command told the Senate Armed Services Committee he is concerned about North Korea testing a new, more powerful rocket engine that could be used to deliver nuclear weapons that threaten the United States.
Gen. John Hyten, currently the commander of the Air Force Space Command, said at a committee nomination hearing today that Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons and missile programs appear to be in their early stages, but he reminded the panel that the United States “had failure, after failure, after failure” before succeeding in fielding a nuclear triad.
The question is, “after they get those capabilities, what are they going to do with them?” he told the SASC members.
While calling Russia and China the leading potential adversaries across the strategic spectrum, Hyten said “the most concerning are North Korea and Iran.”
Iran “continues to be the foremost state sponsor of terrorism” and is continuing to test new ballistic missiles with longer ranges, he said. Hyten quoted an Iranian official saying Tehran is “building this capability to threaten Israel.” The missiles’ longer ranges could also strike Europe, he said in response to a question.
As for North Korea, he said “unpredictability is the hardest to deter.”
Hyten said his military advice would be that all adversaries, including non-state actors, need to understand that the United States’ strategic capability – including cyber and space – is “visible, powerful and ensures [they] think twice” before taking any hostile action.
In answer to a question, he said Moscow’s and Beijing’s military modernization programs are “a direct response to what we’ve been doing over the last 20 years,” particularly with conventional forces.
“They have also watched the power of our alliances and partnerships” in providing effective deterrence and action when needed.
Hyten warned against becoming “too focused on strategic nuclear weapons” and ignoring tactical nuclear weapons in a changed landscape. “We should look at them together,” he said, warning that Russia has said it would consider using tactical nuclear weapons in responding to a regional crisis.
Russia’s and China’s layered approach to electronic warfare is a lesson learned from the United States’ ability to leverage the electromagnetic spectrum, as well as cyber and space, for an operational advantage, Hyten said.
He several times voiced his support for modernizing all elements of the nuclear triad, including command and control, as well as weapons and platforms. On the Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine replacement, Hyten said the “age of both the reactor and the ship” made it “essential we have a new submarine to replace it” in the future.
Still, strategic program modernization “should not be looked at as a blank check,” he said, noting the need to define requirements and “do it smartly.” Nuclear programs typically account for between 3 and 4 percent of the defense budget, Pentagon officials have testified, and nuclear triad modernization efforts would raise that to about 6 percent of the defense budget He praised the Air Force for leveraging Navy missile technology developments in the service’s missile replacement effort, helping to save time and money.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

It took 5 decades to build the nuclear reactor for the first Indian submarine

Pamela Raghunath, Gulf News India
19 September 2016

MUMBAI – The nuclear reactor for the first Indian nuclear submarine, Indian Naval Ship (INS) Arihant, was so complex that it took five decades, nearly 50,000 personnel spread over three generations and a lot of money to build it, said Sekhar Basu, chairman, Atomic Energy Commission of India.
He was speaking at the release of the book, Submarine Propulsion—Muscle Power to Nuclear by Anil Anand at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) auditorium on Sunday. He said the book catalogues the important facets of this programme and such historical data should be preserved to inspire future generations. “If one reads between the lines, the book brings out the complexities of the secretive project,” he said.
The book covers the Indian experience of developing a land-based nuclear propulsion prototype codenamed PRP and also enlightens on similar projects in other nuclear submarine building countries.
Kamlesh N Vyas, director, BARC, described the complexities of building the reactor for the submarine and the critical role played by the book’s author who was the then director of Reactor Projects Group leading the Nuclear Propulsion for the Indian Nuclear Submarine Programme.
During the initial days of the project, Anand said that personnel in other departments were perplexed at the sheer number of engineers being “consumed” by the project which had just a code name. At the same time there were technology denials by the international community under the garb of Nuclear Suppliers Group, Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and several such measures.
Arihant was launched in 2009 by the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, after being designed, developed and engineered by various agencies, including the Department of Atomic Energy, Defence and Development Organisation and the Submarine Design Group of the Directorate of Naval Design, besides private companies, to be built at Vishakapatnam
Anand’s book Frontier India also has a galaxy of experts from Brazil, Argentina and France who have made contributions on similar programmes in their own countries.
Anand joined the Atomic Energy establishment in 1961 where he did his postgraduation in Nuclear Science and Technology. At the time of retirement in 2001, he was director, Technical Coordination and International Relations Group, BARC, and director, Reactor Projects Group, leading the Indian nuclear submarine programme.