Thursday, September 29, 2016

Robot Submarine Launches Drone At Command Of Autonomous Navy Ship

Kelsey D. Atherton, Popular Science
28 September 2016

Naval warfare relies on a combination of vehicles working together. Submarines hunt under the sea, fast ships screen for incoming threats, and aircraft fly overhead, seeking danger beyond the line of sight. In August, as part of a naval technology exercise, an unmanned ship sent a signal to an unmanned submarine, which then launched a drone from a
canister on its back. Welcome to the future of naval war, where robots command robots.
The robots involved were an Ocean Aero Submaran, a Marlin drone sub vehicle, and a foldable Vector Hawk drone, the latter two both made by Lockheed Martin. From Lockheed’s announcement:
During the Annual Navy Technology Exercise (ANTX) activities in August, the Submaran relayed instructions to Marlin from a ground control station via underwater acoustic communications. Following these instructions, the Marlin launched the Vector Hawk using a specially-designed canister from the surface of the Narragansett Bay. Following launch, Vector Hawk successfully assumed a mission flight track. All three autonomous vehicles—Marlin, Submaran and Vector Hawk—communicated operational status to the ground control station to maintain situational awareness and provide a means to command and control all assets.
For now, robots controlling and informing other robots about what’s happening doesn’t necessarily lead to action, but in the future it won't be hard to imagine an entirely unmanned vanguard scouting for a fleet or patrolling a slice of ocean and reporting back only the most relevant information to the humans in charge.
None of the robots in this exercise were armed, their payloads instead contained sensors and cameras. And for the most part, we can expect unmanned vehicles at sea to primarily be scouts, much like how the vast majority of military drones flown over land are unarmed. Even ACTUV, the Navy’s large experimental submarine hunting autonomous ship, is designed to find enemies, not destroy them. A team of smaller robots, operating on the edge of a fleet, could find foes while the armed and human-carrying vehicles are further out of range, almost forming a robotic vanguard between danger and people.
That’s for tomorrow’s naval tacticians to sort out. In the meantime, the technology is already there for a robotic boat to tell a robotic submarine to launch a robotic airplane.
The future of naval war is rapidly becoming its present.

Russia’s Newest Nuclear Submarine Arrives in Pacific Ocean

The submarine is capable of launching intercontinental ballistic missiles at 160 different targets.

Damien Sharkov, Newsweek, September 26
Russia’s newest nuclear submarine has been sent on permanent deployment to the country’s Far East, state news agency Itar-Tass reports.
Russia’s navy has made several moves to shore up its presence in the Pacific Ocean, as Moscow bids to display a strong relationship with China, while also spearheading talks with Japan and South Korea. Earlier this month Russia and China held an eight-day naval drill in the South China Sea, after Russia backed Beijing’s contested territorial claims in the region.
Now the Russian Pacific Fleet has announced the arrival of its latest nuclear submarine, Vladimir Monomakh, to its new permanent deployment base in the far-eastern Kamchatka Peninsula. The peninsula has access to the Sea of
Okhotsk, shared between Russia and Japan and the Bering Sea, shared by U.S. and Russia.
The submarine was handed to the navy in 2014, eight years after construction first began and has since been in the jurisdiction of Russia’s Northern Fleet.
Special facilities have been set up in Kamchatka for the new generation vessel, which is Russia’s third Borei-class submarine. Another Borei-class submarine is already deployed in Kamchatka, as the Alexander Nevsky vessel made its way there last year.
It is armed with 16 Bulava intercontinental ballistic missiles, each containing up to 10 warheads.

Brazil Still Pursuing Nuclear Subs, Aircraft Carrier Despite Economic Woes

Marc Selinger, Defense Daily
26 September 2016

Economic struggles in Brazil have slowed but not stopped the country’s quest to add nuclear-powered submarines and an aircraft carrier to its naval capabilities, the head of the Brazilian navy said Sept. 26.
Achieving a nuclear submarine force is the navy’s top modernization priority and could become a reality in eight to 10 years, said Adm. Eduardo Bacellar Leal Ferreira. Design work has been conducted, and Brazil plans to develop and test a prototype before building operational submarines.
“The dream fleet would be six” submarines, said Ferreira, who spoke on a maritime security panel in Washington, D.C. “I don’t think we’re going to have a major fleet.”
Ferreira insisted that Brazil has no plans to use its nuclear propulsion expertise to develop nuclear weapons. The country has opened its nuclear propulsion work to international monitoring agencies to allow them to confirm there is no diversion, he said.
Meanwhile, Brazil, which acquired a used carrier from France, is working to renew the propulsion and catapult systems to get the ship up and running, Ferreira said. The Navy bought aging McDonnell Douglas A-4 Skyhawk carrier-capable attack aircraft for training and is having them updated by Embraer.
Embraer announced in May 2015 that it had delivered the first modernized A-4, now called the AF-1, to the Brazilian navy. The company indicated it plans to outfit a total of 12 A-4s with new computers, multimode radar, navigation, power, sensors, tactical communications and weapons.
Ferreira said Brazil needs the submarines and carrier to better protect its maritime interests, such as oil production and trade.

The Simple Reason Why America's Virginia-Class Submarines Are So Good

Dave Majumdar, The National Interest
26 September 2016
The United States Navy might defer developing a new next-generation SSN(X) unless such a design holds the potential to provide a revolutionary leap over a modernized variant of the current Virginia-class attack submarine (SSN).
While the Virginia-class was developed in the 1990s to be a cheaper alternative to the much more capable and expensive Seawolf-class (SSN-21-class), the SSN-774-class was designed to be as stealthy and to have greater multi-mission capabilities than its larger counterpart. Over the years, the Virginia-class has proven to be an adaptable and versatile design with plenty of room for growth. Indeed, the Virginia-class submarine—or VCS as many senior U.S. Navy officials call it—may prove so capable that a future SSN(X)—which is tentatively planned for 2034—might prove to be unnecessary.
“When is the transition from Virginia-class submarine to SSN(X)? And it’s currently scheduled for about 2034.” Naval Sea Systems Command’s program executive officer for submarines Rear Adm. Michael Jabaley told The National Interest during a Sept. 16 interview in his office. “So we have Blocks V, VI and VII on the Virginia and at some point in the future, we’ll have to sit down and make that decision. And the decision will be: Ok, has our science and technology and research and development work to date shown there is enough there to warrant designing a new submarine and starting to built it at that point or should we move that point—most probably out to the right—and keep building Virginia because with Block VIII we can insert the most promising technologies and make it still be the best submarine out there and perhaps wait for some phenomenal technological development to come to fruition.”
The Navy will have to make the decision on developing a new SSN(X) with potentially game-changing technologies or continue building advanced Virginia-class variants roughly seven or eight years from now, Jabaley said.
Though Jabaley didn’t address what kinds of “phenomenal technological developments” it might take to justify developing a future SSN(X), during his earlier testimony
before the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) in July, he suggested that a future SSN might act as an underwater mothership for unmanned underwater vehicles.
Moreover, in order to drastically improve acoustical performance, a next-generation submarine would need to dispense with moving parts. “At some point we’re going to have to move beyond a rotating mechanical device to push the ship through the water,” Jabaley told the HASC. “Although we’re not there yet on the oceans being transparent, one of the biggest things that causes noise to be radiated into the water is the rotating machinery and the propulsor itself moving through the water and exciting various parts of the stern and the submarine to radiate noise.”
The Navy has essentially reached the limits of what is possible for acoustic signature reduction with a purely mechanical system. While the future Ohio Replacement Program ballistic missile submarines (SSBN) are expected to use a permanent magnetic motor to increase stealth, Jabaley wants to take a step further. “The field of biomimetics is very interesting to me when you look at nature in action and you think: ‘Boy, it would be great if we could design something that would take that leap forward and get us into a realm that would be acoustic-self unlike anything we’ve ever done before,’” Jabaley said told the Congress.
In the nearer term, some of the advanced technologies that could be incorporated into a future Virginia-class derivative could include a version of the permanent magnet motor that is slated for the Ohio Replacement Program SSBNs. But most of the refinements to the Virginia-class are likely to be more modest. The service is already gearing up to test prototypes of some acoustical modifications the Navy hopes will keep the VCS ahead of the competition onboard a new Virginia-class boat that will be delivered late next year. While Jabaley has spoken about some of the details publicly before, he requested that The National Interest not further publicize the specifics about that effort.
In general, Jabaley said that the new modifications are the first major improvements to the Virginia-class’s acoustical performance since SSN-774 became operational in 2004. The Navy was spurred into action by the advent of Russia’s new Project 885 Yasen-class SSGNs, the first of which—called Severodvinsk—has greatly impressed the service’s leadership.
“We’re continually developing new technologies and new combat capability to ensure our submarines maintain our significant advantage in the undersea domain,” Jabaley said. “That includes the stealth of our submarines, that includes sensor performance—in terms of sonar arrays—and that includes our significant advantage in combat system electronics—the processing and the basically computer algorithms that aid the crew in solving the tactical situation. And we are developing technologies that are being prototyped and will be included in future Virginia-class submarines, are being evaluated for inclusion on Ohio Replacement submarines, are being evaluated for inclusion for backfit on the Virginia and even the Ohio-class SSBNs. That includes advances in sonar, in quieting, and in combat capability.”
Incremental improvements have been an integral part of the Virginia-class program from the outset. Every new Block of Virginia-class boats has improved on the previous one. Indeed, after the first two Virginia-class submarines were delivered, Jabaley pointed out that the program rapidly improved its performance and delivered boats months ahead
of schedule while reducing costs. Even the first Block III boat—USS North Dakota (SSN-784)—which included a twenty percent redesign of the entire submarine to facilitate the inclusion of a new water-backed Large Aperture Bow (LAB) array sonar and two large payload tubes to replace a dozen individual cruise missile tubes—came in ahead of schedule. “And we expect to continue to deliver below contract,” Jabaley said. Indeed, that’s while increasing performance—the LAB offers improved capability over the original air-backed spherical bow array, added Capt. Michael Stevens, the Navy’s Virginia-class program manager, who was present during the interview with Jabaley.
The Block IV Virginia-class submarines—the first of which are currently in the initial stages of construction— focus on reliability and maintenance improvements, Jabaley said. Indeed, because they will require far less time in dry dock, the boats will be available for extra deployments (an SSN normally deploys 14 times during its 33-year lifespan)— which will help the Navy with its mission to maintain a global submarine presence. “Once you wrap all of those changes into the ship’s maintenance plan, it allowed us, starting with the Block IV submarines, to reduce four depot level maintenance periods down to three and increase the deployments from 14 to up to 15,” Jabaley said.
However, the biggest improvement to the Virginia-class will come with the Block V vessels—the first of which will start construction in 2019 as the second submarine (SSN-803) built that year. The Block V submarines will add a Virginia Payload Module (VPM) that will add four additional payload tubes amidship, each of which can accommodate seven Tomahawk cruise missiles for a total of 28 weapons. Overall, the Block V Virginia-class will be capable of launching 40 Tomahawk cruise missiles from its payload tubes.
“The Navy’s program of record [which will likely be increased] includes Virginia Payload Module on every Virginia-class submarine beyond that,” Jabaley said. “So that make 19 submarines with VPM—makes 20 if we add that second submarine in 2021—and that act of adding the VPM to those 19 submarines provides a significant mitigation for the loss of the [four Ohio-class boomers, which were converted into] SSGNs. It’s not exactly 100 percent, but it absolutely mitigates the fact that Ohio, Michigan, Florida and Georgia decommission in the mid-20s.”
Overall, aside with the fact that the Navy simply needs more submarines to make up for a severe shortage in undersea assets, America’s silent service is in good condition from a technological standpoint. The challenge will be to convince Congress to add funding to increase the build rate to counter a resurgent Russian and growing Chinese submarine force.

Russian nuclear sub test-fired 2 Bulava missiles from White Sea

Avinash Nandakumar, India Live Today
28 September 2016

The Yuri Dolgoruky nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine has conducted an experimental launch of two Bulava intercontinental ballistic missiles from the White Sea, the Russian Defense Ministry said on Tuesday.
“Today, on September 27, the Yuri Dolgoruky strategic nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine conducted experimental launches of two Bulava intercontinental ballistic missiles from the White Sea to the Kura firing range on the Kamchatka Peninsula,” the ministry said. “Both missiles were fired from the submarine’s silos in a routine regime. The first missile’s warhead completed the entire cycle of the flight program and successfully hit the designated targets at the firing range. The second missile self-liquidated after the first stage of the flight program.”
The missiles were fired from the submerged submarine.

The lead Borei-class submarine of Project 955 – Yuri Dolgoruky – was delivered to the Russian Navy in January 2013, however, the boat was commissioned with the Navy combat forces only in 2014. The Yuri Dolgoruky submarine is in service with the Northern Fleet. The Yuri Dolgoruky is 160 meters long and 13 meters wide, with a displacement of 24,000 tonnes. The Project 955 nuclear-powered submarine is armed with the advanced R-30 Bulava missile system with a flight range of more than 8,000 kilometers (4,971 miles). The system is furnished with multiple individually-targeted reentry vehicles.
Each Project 955 nuclear-powered submarine can carry 16 solid-propellant intercontinental ballistic missiles.
A multiple launch of two Bulava intercontinental ballistic missiles was last performed by the nuclear-powered submarine Vladimir Monomakh on November 14, 2015.

The Time a Single Soviet Officer Averted a Nuclear War

Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics
27 September 2016

In 1962, at the height of the Cold War, the Soviets began moving nuclear missiles into Cuba. When the Americans found out, it triggered a diplomatic and military crisis on an unprecedented scale. The Cuban Missile Crisis was the closest the world has ever come to full-scale nuclear war, and for a brief moment, only one man stood between the world and nuclear annihilation, his name was Vasili Arkhipov.
The story starts a year before, when the U.S. tried to stage a coup in Cuba to oust the newly elected Fidel Castro. The Bay of Pigs Invasion was a failure and an embarrassment for the American government. In response, Cuba asked the now emboldened Soviets for assistance. The U.S.S.R. began sending nuclear missiles to Cuba. When the U.S. found out, it set up a blockade. The Soviets viewed this as an act of aggression, and diplomatic ties between the two countries began to break down. Nuclear war was looking more and more likely every day.

In this environment of heightened tensions, a group of U.S. Navy ships located a Soviet submarine in the waters off Cuba. The Navy ships dropped a depth charge to force the sub to the surface. The sub, the Soviet B-59, was too deep to receive any radio communications, and the crew suspected that war had already broken out.
The captain, Valentin Savitsky, decided to launch the sub's nuclear missiles toward the United States. Launching the missiles required the unanimous vote of the three senior officers: the captain, the ship's political officer Ivan Maslennikov, and the first officer, Vasili Arkhipov.
Both Captain Savitsky and Maslennikov voted to launch the missiles, but Arkhipov did not. An intense argument broke out among the three men, but Arkhipov managed to convince Savitsky to surface. This action likely averted a nuclear war. In the end, Arkhipov's actions allowed the U.S. to negotiate peace with the Soviets and end the Cuban Missile Crisis.

How the US Navy and South Korea are Countering North Korea's Submarines

David Majumdar, National Interest
27 September 2016

The United States Navy is conducting exercises with the South Korean Navy as part of a continuing effort to deter North Korea.
As part of the combined exercise, the U.S. Navy deployed USS Spruance (DDG 111), an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, to work alongside South Korean naval assets to conduct anti-submarine warfare drills. While Pyongyang’s naval forces are relatively unimpressive, the nuclear-armed Stalinist dictatorship has recently tested a submarine-launched ballistic missile and has previously used midget-submarines to infiltrate the Republic of Korea. In 2010, a North Korean midget submarine sank a South Korean Pohang-class corvette—Cheonan—with a torpedo in an unprovoked attack.
“This operation showcases the unwavering strength and resolve of the U.S. and ROK navies,” said Rear Adm. Brad Cooper, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Korea and Task Force 78 in a statement issued on Sept. 26. “We work side-by-side with our ROK partners every day; we are by their side today at sea, and we will remain by their side to defend against North Korea’s unprovoked acts of aggression.”
The exercise comes on the heels of North Korean nuclear and ballistic missile tests.
"Our ROK-US alliance will counter the North Korean nuclear development and SLBM threats with determination,” said Vice Adm. Lee, Ki-sik, commander of the Republic of Korea Fleet in a Sept. 26 statement.
Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN) Aegis destroyers, submarines, anti-submarine helicopters as well as U.S. and ROKN P-3 maritime patrol aircraft, are joining USS Spruance on the anti-submarine warfare exercise. According to U.S. Pacific Command, the exercise is meant to highlight the unified defensive naval force capabilities of the Republic of Korea and the region from surface, subsurface, and ballistic missile threats.
Deploying an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer to exercise with South Korea makes a lot of sense from a practical military standpoint—the ship shares many commonalities with its ROKN Aegis destroyer counterparts. While nuclear attack boats such as the Virginia-class SSNs are America’s single best weapon to combat the scourge of enemy submarines, the Arleigh Burke-class multimission destroyers have formidable anti-submarine capabilities as Vice Adm. James G. Foggo III, who is simultaneously commander of the U.S. Navy’s 6th Fleet, Joint Force Maritime Component Commander Europe and NATO’s Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO, told The National Interest earlier this year.
But moreover, with their powerful SPY-1D radar and Aegis combat systems, the Arleigh Burke-class is one of the most formidable weapons that can be used to counter enemy ballistic missiles. The South Korean Navy also operates Aegis destroyers—based on the Arleigh Burke-class— and hopes to acquire a ballistic missile defense (BMD) capability for its vessels. In time, the South Korean vessels will be upgraded to the latest Aegis Baseline 9 capability and will be able to launch Raytheon SM-3 BMD interceptors. That should afford Seoul formidable defensive capabilities to defeat Pyongyang’s growing arsenal of ballistic missiles—some of which are likely to be nuclear-tipped.
Meanwhile, South Korea has also agreed to allow the United States Army to deploy a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-ballistic missile unit to the Korean peninsula. While the deployment would definitely counter any North Korean missile attack, the placement of such weapons on the Korean peninsula has raised concerns in Beijing and Moscow—both of which oppose such a deployment.

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.

Striking Public Servants Target New Submarines

Noel Towell,
20 September 2016

Australia's plans for a new $50 billion fleet of submarines are in the sights of a group of Defence Department public servants over a long-running row with their bosses over the nation's military technical capabilities.
About 40 naval engineers, architects and other technicians will refuse to work on the subs program for a week from midnight on Tuesday, and will also target the future frigate program, the offshore patrol boat program and the replacement of a vital naval refuelling vessel.
Fairfax Media revealed this month that the Department of Defence was down to just just one in-house naval architect working on developing the new subs as well as the task of keeping the existing fleet afloat, and he is understood to be planning to join colleagues on strike on Wednesday.
The technicians' union says its members are protesting about what they say is a gradual degradation of the Defence Department's technical workforce, describing those who are left on the job as "the thin grey line".
The union, Professionals Australia, says the dwindling resources of in-house technical expertise at Defence put lives in danger at sea and on land.
The Department of Defence did not respond before deadline on Tuesday to a request for comment.
Specifically, the strike action is a week-long ban on "technical and engineering work or tasks relating to the offshore patrol vessel project ... the future frigate project ... the auxiliary oiler replacement project [and] naval architecture work or tasks relating to the future submarine project."
The technicians from the Navy Technical Bureau and the Defence Acquisition and Sustainability Group want their long-standing grievances about the strength of their workforce addressed as part of the marathon enterprise bargaining process at Defence, a call they say has so far been rebuffed by their bosses.
Union official Dave Smith said Defence's technical know-how had now been neglected and run down to a level where lives were at risk.
"Our members play a critical role in bringing engineering expertise to the acquisition and maintenance of complex, high-risk technology," Mr Smith said.
"They have become a thin grey line – the state of the engineering and technical workforce is a risk to this capability, and hence to ADF lives."
Mr Smith said the bargaining talks so far were looking likely to make the situation worse.
"The agreement process provided an opportunity to address some of these issues but instead it has made them worse – and harder to retain critical expertise," he said.
"That's why Professionals Australia members are taking action in relation to the future frigates, patrol boats and submarines program to highlight these problems.
"Defence seems to be oblivious to the dangers of outsourcing to contractors, the consequences of cuts to manpower and resources, the dilution of risk management processes and an over–reliance on the tired few who each year get fewer," he said.
"Defence has learnt nothing since the decommissioning of the Kanimbla and Manoora, with the Department refusing to address engineering issues. They are sleepwalking into a bigger disaster and our members are trying to wake them up.
"They are putting lives at risk as well as billions of dollars."

More Than Ever, The Submarine Capital of The World

Rear Admiral Jeff Trussler, The Day
18 September 2016

As fall in New England looms ahead, the conclusion of the yearlong celebration of Connecticut’s Submarine Century draws near. Designated by Governor Dan Malloy to run from October 2015 through October 2016, the celebration has had as its cornerstone the commemoration of the centennial anniversary of our nation’s first permanent, continental submarine Base – Naval Submarine Base New London – and its Naval Submarine School.
These naval institutions along with along with businesses, industries, and communities throughout the state have collectively and affectionately earned Groton and Southeastern Connecticut the mantle of Submarine Capital of the World.
Of course, Connecticut’s Submarine Century also honored the local heritage and global impact made over the last 100 years by those who have and those who continue to design, build, and operate one of the most complex and influential marvels of the deep, our United States submarines. 
The all-volunteer Connecticut’s Submarine Century Committee, chaired by City of Groton Mayor Marian Galbraith, has hosted a series of outstanding events to educate and engage citizens and sailors alike.
And Governor Malloy and Congressman Joe Courtney spoke of the base, the Submarine Force, and Connecticut’s role in our nation’s military history at the base’s formal centennial ceremony held in June onboard the Historic Ship Nautilus at the Submarine Force Museum.
The governor and congressman touched on the incredible technical achievements in subsea technology and the continuing importance of the submarine and undersea warfare to our national security.
This year has also provided me the opportunity to lead one of the Navy’s newest organizations, the Undersea Warfighting Development Center (UWDC) which is headquartered at the submarine base. UWDC was established on Sept. 1, 2015 with the official opening commemorated by a formal ribbon cutting on Sept. 21 with Congressman Courtney and Vice Admiral Joe Tofalo, the commander of the U.S. Navy’s Submarine Forces.
As part of the UWDC establishment, the legendary Submarine Development Squadron 12 that had been in existence in Groton since 1949 was transitioned to Submarine Squadron 12 with their Tactical Analysis Group shifting to UWDC.
The Arctic Submarine Laboratory (ASL) in San Diego was also transitioned to UWDC. ASL was established in 1941 and was responsible for the incredible success of Operation SUNSHINE in 1958 in which the USS Nautilus made the first Arctic transit from the Pacific to the Atlantic under the polar ice cap. This pioneering feat and technological achievement is still as challenging today, even as our submarine force continues to regularly demonstrate this capability.
Additionally, the Navy Mine and Anti-Submarine Warfare Command (NMAWC) stood down and transitioned its fleet Anti-Submarine Warfare mission to UWDC. This transition included staffs in the fleet concentration areas of San Diego and Norfolk which magnified the important role our core team in Connecticut plays for undersea warfare and our nation’s defense.
UWDC now touches undersea and fleet operations worldwide on a daily basis!
And, after a year of operating the UWDC Headquarters from the submarine base, I have come to realize the tremendous synergy of the organizations here in Connecticut and the New England corridor.
The submarine base; the two submarine squadrons and Regional Support Group maintenance facility; the Navy Submarine Medical Research Laboratory; the Submarine Force Library & Museum; and now, UWDC make up the key local Navy elements.
But there is more. Synergy is also created by General Dynamic’s Electric Boat shipyard, which in partnership with Huntington Ingalls Newport News Shipbuilding, constructs and puts to sea the world’s most advanced submarines.
Additionally, just up the interstate in Rhode Island, the Navy’s Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) Newport Division provides the technical excellence required for our undersea superiority. All through the region, industry, academic, and research institutions provide the innovative edge that the greatest Navy in the world demands.
I know of no other region in our nation that has a focus of effort and capability equal to what Connecticut brings to undersea warfare.
As I turn over command of UWDC to Rear Admiral Jimmy Pitts on this Sept. 21, I want to express my sincere appreciation to the state of Connecticut and local communities for the tremendous support they have shown to the Navy during our first century here.
I eagerly look forward to the great things that will come as we dive into our next 100 years.

Monday, September 19, 2016

The New Cold War

60 Minutes gets a rare look inside U.S. Strategic Command and discovers the extraordinary measures the military takes to make sure only the president can launch a nuclear attack

David Martin, CBS News 60 Minutes
18 September 2016

The following is a script from “The New Cold War” which aired on Sept. 18, 2016. David Martin is the correspondent. Mary Walsh, producer.
One of the key questions of this presidential campaign is who has the health and temperament to become the next commander-in-chief and assume the unthinkable power to use nuclear weapons. The Cold War as we knew it may be over, but both the U.S. and Russia still keep enough nuclear weapons on alert to end civilization. And now a new Cold War is brewing with both sides developing more sophisticated and more accurate weapons.  
Tonight, we’re going to show you what this new Cold War looks like from inside the U.S. Strategic Command. STRATCOM, as it’s called, trains every day for the possibility of nuclear war and takes extraordinary measures to make sure that one person and one person only -- the president of the United States -- can give the order to launch a nuclear weapon.
The USS Kentucky rising to the surface off the coast of Hawaii.  Nearly two football fields long, it is the deadliest engine of destruction in the American arsenal, able to carry almost 200 nuclear warheads atop the missiles loaded beneath those hatches. Commander Brian Freck is the captain.
Brian Freck: The warheads that can be carried on my missiles are extremely powerful.
David Martin: Compare them to the bomb that leveled Hiroshima.
Brian Freck: Much more powerful than that. Much more powerful than Hiroshima.
Up to 30 times more powerful and on any given day a number of these submarines are hiding somewhere in the world’s oceans ready to respond to a launch order from the president. 
David Martin: When you’re out here are other countries looking for you?
Brian Freck: I always operate under the assumption that someone’s looking for me.
David Martin: Has anybody ever found you?
Brian Freck: No. Not even close.
David Martin: You sure?
Brian Freck: Yes, I am.
60 Minutes found the Kentucky but only because we had arranged a rendezvous to go aboard.
David Martin: If this boat were a country, you’d be a nuclear power.
Brian Freck: That’s true, yes sir.
David Martin: Does that ever give you pause to have all that power under your command?
Brian Freck: It’s a lot of responsibility but with that responsibility comes a lot of training and practice.
[”Dive, dive.  All vents cycled.  All vents shut.”]
Operating at a depth of 160 feet, the Kentucky’s crew practiced the procedures needed to launch its missiles.
[”Set condition one SQ for training. This is the captain. This is an exercise.”]
[”Set condition one SQ for training. Com weapons aye.”]
[”Stand up all missiles.”]
[”Chief Alaud, sound the general alarm.”]
[”Sound the general alarm, aye sir.”]
[”I have permission to fire. Com weapons aye.”]
Before that trigger can be squeezed, multiple keys -- including one that unlocks the missile tubes which take up approximately one-third of the ship -- have to be brought out from different safes. 
Brian Freck: No one person can make a launch happen. So I have keys in my possession. Other members of the crew have keys in their possession.
One key is carried to the captain by two sailors – who both must hold it. 
[”Captain, the launch is authorized.”]
And here’s the thing you need to know about the safe where that key is kept.
Brian Freck: No one on board has the combination. We get that combination with the launch order. That is my way of knowing that the president has ordered the launch, is when the combination he gives me opens that safe.
David Martin: The president literally gives you the combination to the safe that the key is in. 
Brian Freck: Yes.
[”You have permission to fire.”]
[”Two weapons. We have permission to fire. Aye sir. Weapons con – you have permission to fire. “]
The Kentucky and other nuclear missile submarines, along with intercontinental ballistic missiles and nuclear bombers are under the command of Admiral Cecil Haney. 
[”Your nuclear forces are capable of executing all assigned missions.”]
Head of the U.S. Strategic Command, Haney is the most powerful military officer you’ve never heard of – in command not just of the nation’s nuclear forces but its space satellites and cyber weapons as well. 
[”There are no significant solar activity causing impact to satellite operations or communications.”]
His morning briefing at strategic command headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska, is classified above top secret. 
[”Thank you. I appreciate the update.”]
That clock marked POTUS – short for president of the United States -- tells Haney what time zone President Obama is in -- in case he has to reach the commander-in-chief in a hurry.
David Martin: So who in the United States government has the authority to order the use of nuclear weapons?
Cecil Haney: Only the president of the United States has that authority.
David Martin: Does Congress have to approve?
Cecil Haney: No, Congress does not have to approve.
David Martin: So these really are the president’s own weapons.
Cecil Haney: It’s our nation’s weapons, with the president’s authority. Yes.
Haney took us to his global operations center, a top-secret facility three stories underground. If a missile were launched against the United States the warning would be received here and that clock would start ticking down. 
Colonel Barbara Buls was the watch commander.
David Martin: I see this sign up here. Red Impact. Blue Impact time - so red impact would be an enemy missile?
Barbara Buls: That is correct.
David Martin: And you would have a time.
Barbara Buls: We would have a time to impact. And blue impact would be any U.S. counterattack.
Lt. Col. Brian Hyland would pull out the options for a retaliatory nuclear strike.
Brian Hyland: My responsibility, as the STRATCOM nuclear strike adviser, is, be the expert on the Nuclear Decision Handbook and the alert status of all U.S. nuclear forces.
David Martin: The Nuclear Decision Handbook.
Brian Hyland: Yeah, also known as the Black Book.
David Martin: Black book.  So, is there a copy of the Black Book down here?
Brian Hyland: There is. It’s in the safe down here, sir.  
An identical copy of the black book is in that briefcase which follows the president wherever he goes.
David Martin: So he’s never away from the options.
Cecil Haney: That’s correct.
David Martin: And, would they tell him what kinds of weapons you would use, what targets you would hit?
Cecil Haney: They would be that specific, yes.
David Martin: Would they give him an estimate of casualties?
Cecil Haney: Yeah, we would have to give the president answers to a lot of different questions.  That’s one that I would expect to get.
Admiral Haney would go to a room called the battle deck where he would talk directly to the president.
David Martin: And is this the phone you would use?
Cecil Haney: This is one of the phones that I might use, yes.
David Martin: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, secretary of defense.  I don’t see the man who controls . . .
Cecil Haney: You’re looking for the president.
David Martin: I am.
Cecil Haney: I can speak to the president directly from this microphone.
David Martin: And in a crisis how long does it take to get the president on the line?
Cecil Haney: Not very long.
If Russia launched a missile from a submarine off the coast of the United States it would take only minutes to reach its target. 
David Martin: So how long, in fact, does the president have to make a decision?
William Perry: He has minutes. Seven – eight – nine – depending on details. But less than 10 minutes.
Former Secretary of Defense William Perry was a key architect of nuclear weapons during the Cold War with the Soviet Union.
David Martin: If the weapons can be launched within minutes does that mean we’re still in the same-old, hair-trigger--
William Perry: Yes.
David Martin: --standoff that we were during the Cold War?
William Perry: That’s right. And we still have launch on warning, the same policy we had then. We still have the same hair-trigger response.  
David Martin: So what’s changed since the Cold War if we’re still on this hair-trigger alert?
William Perry: Fundamentally nothing has changed.
David Martin: But the numbers of weapons are much lower now than during the Cold War.
William Perry: The number of weapons are sufficient to destroy, obliterate all of civilization.
David Martin: Still?
William Perry: Still.  It doesn’t take that many. We still have more than 1,000 nuclear weapons on alert ready to go. It doesn’t take 1,000 to destroy civilization.
At the end of the Cold War both sides pledged to point their missiles at the open ocean. But it would take just minutes to change back to real targets. 
That provides a small hedge against an accidental war triggered by a false alarm of the kind Perry experienced in 1979 when a watch officer mistakenly inserted a training tape into a computer.
William Perry: It looked like 200 ICBMs were on the way from the Soviet Union to the United States. Happily we got that situation figured out before we had to go to the president. But had we not he would have received a call at 3 o’clock in the morning and said, “Sir you have seven or eight minutes to decide whether to launch those before these missiles land on our ICBM silos.
David Martin: And what was the fail-safe there?  What stopped it from going to the president?
William Perry: What stopped it was an astute general who sensed something was wrong.
David Martin: You’ve had one serious case in 45 years, that would seem like a pretty good record.
William Perry: It only takes one – it only takes one.
Strategic command is building a new $1.2 billion headquarters but it won’t be any more able to survive a nuclear blast than the underground command center in the current headquarters. 
That clock counting down the time to missile impact would also tell Admiral Haney how long he had to get out of there alive.
Barbara Buls: Safe escape time that you see indicated is the time left, remaining, for Admiral Haney, as the commander of U.S. STRATCOM to exit the battle deck to be able to make it to his commander support aircraft to be able to board that aircraft and continue to provide his advice to the president of the United States as his senior nuclear adviser.
On the tarmac at STRATCOM air crews drill to get take off in this airborne command post fast enough to escape incoming nuclear weapons. If Admiral Haney’s headquarters were destroyed and he didn’t make it out in time it would be up to Rear Admiral Andy Lennon to assume command and make sure the president -- and only the president -- could still give the order to launch nuclear weapons.
Andy Lennon: We are in voice communications with the president.
David Martin: Talking to the president personally?
Andy Lennon: Yes sir, so that way we are ensuring that we’re getting the president’s intent.
David Martin: How do you know it’s the President?
Andy Lennon: We have some very complex and secure procedures to authenticate the president and to be sure that we’re really talking to the president of the United States.
David Martin: So he can’t just tell you, “This is the president speaking?”
Andy Lennon: He can, but we will authenticate to verify that it is the president speaking.
David Martin: Once the president has given you that order, what do you do?
Andy Lennon: Then we would communicate that order to our strategic forces, our intercontinental ballistic missiles, our bombers or our submarines.
[”Chief Alaud, sound the general alarm.”]
[”Sound the general alarm, aye sir.”]  
The order would be received on board the Kentucky and the crew would go through launch procedures they have practiced hundreds of times before. 
Last year, the Kentucky actually fired an unarmed missile in a test flight which lit up the California sky and caused a brief UFO scare. Had it carried a real warhead, Stuart Miller, a young Air Force captain aboard the airborne command post would begin charting the unthinkable.
Stuart Miller: My main role is, is gathering information on nuclear detonations worldwide and then applying meteorological data to them, specifically winds, to figure out if there’s fallout, depending on the attributes of the detonation where the fallout’s going, how many people might be affected, who might be affected, things of that nature.
David Martin: So, you basically come up with a casualty estimate of . . .
Stuart Miller: Essentially, yes, that’s one of the things that, that I can provide.
David Martin: You must have looked at some pretty depressing scenarios.
Stuart Miller: We kind of do, yeah, yes.
David Martin: Have you ever had the conversation with yourself, well, what if the president issued an order to use nuclear weapons and I didn’t agree with it.  Would I carry out that order?
Cecil Haney: The president expects me, as his combatant commander, to provide him the best military advice I have. So he would expect me to voice my opinion. 
David Martin: You would have a voice but if you disagreed with a decision . . .
Cecil Haney: I’m a military man and we follow the orders of our commander-in-chief.
So what are the chances the next president would actually have to make the fateful decision whether to use nuclear weapons? It’s greater than you might think. That part of the story next Sunday on 60 minutes.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

US Navy demonstrates Blackwing UAV

Shephard News Team
12 September 2016 

The US Navy has successfully demonstrated the ability of the submarine-launched Blackwing UAS to link with a swarm of unmanned undersea vehicles (UUVs) and communicate with the submarine's combat control system. The demo took place during the navy's Annual Naval Technology Exercise (ANTX) in August.
During the exercise the Blackwing UAS was used to provide communications relay for command and control. An AeroVironment-developed secure digital datalink called DDL, which was integrated into all Blackwing UAS, relayed real-time information from the surrogate submarine via the Blackwing to and from multiple UUVs.
Blackwing builds on AeroVironment’s Switchblade Lethal Miniature Aerial Missile System and its common DDL to provide the navy with a deployable submarine-launched UAS optimised for distributed anti-access/area denial environments.
The UAS is designed to provide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities to submarine commanders as well as high-speed data and communication relay for command and control between geographically separated vessels such as surface ships, UUVs and manned submarines. 
Kirk Flittie, AeroVironment vice president and general manager of its unmanned aircraft systems business segment, said: ‘Our Naval Undersea Warfare Center partners seek solutions for quickly and seamlessly linking the air and undersea domains to enhance warfighter capability.
'Blackwing delivers significant value to the undersea community, and we look forward to working closely with our partners to expand this powerful new capability to enable underwater vehicles and cross-domain interoperability.'   

Friday, September 16, 2016

Top 5 Vendors in the Global Submarine Battery Market from 2016 to 2020: Technavio

Business Wire
15 September 2016

LONDON--Technavio has announced the top five leading vendors in their recent global submarine battery market 2016-2020 report. This research report also lists three other prominent vendors that are expected to impact the market during the forecast period.
According to the report, highly competitive vendors serve the global submarine battery market. Competition in the market is based on many factors, such as brand recognition, product quality, reliability, durability, energy density, and price. “It is expected that the market will continue to evolve and that global and other diversified manufacturers will have a competitive advantage over small and new vendors by offering better products at a competitive price,” says Thanikachalam Chandrasekaran, a lead energy storage analyst from Technavio. 
EnerSys, EverExceed, Exide Technology, HBL Power Systems Ltd., and Sunlight Systems are the major lead-acid battery (LAB) vendors in the market. Companies, such as GS Yuasa, Saft, Kokam, Arotech, and Toshiba, are aggressively developing Li-ion batteries for submarines and investing in R&D to reduce the cost and match the LAB specifications for the submarines. 
The report also states countries, such as Japan, China, and Russia, are focusing on the Li-ion battery technology for the submarines. Russia is also planning to develop Li-ion battery technology for Kalina submarines in collaboration with China.
EnerSys manufactures, markets, and distributes industrial batteries and related products such as chargers, outdoor cabinet enclosures, power equipment, and battery accessories. It offers related after-market and customer-support services for industrial batteries. EnerSys markets and sells its products to more than 10,000 customers in over 100 countries via a network of distributors, independent representatives, and its own sales force. 
EnerSys in the global submarine battery market offers submarine batteries, which include CYCLON batteries and Quallion batteries. 
EverExceed is engaged in the wholesale distribution of electrical power equipment for the generation, distribution, transmission, control of electric energy, and electrical construction materials for power transmission lines and electrical systems, bulbs, and electric light fixtures. 
EverExceed in the global submarine battery market offers high-quality submarine batteries for all types of conventional submarines. It offers long plate positive tubular plate, double decker tubular positive plate, and tailor made cells technologies. The applications of submarine batteries include western-type submarines, such as U209, U214, Scorpene, Agosta, and Daphne; eastern type submarines, such as Romeo, Foxtrot, and Kilo; and offers submarine batteries for classes up to U206, Vastergotland, and U212. 
Exide Technologies:
The company serves the complex stored energy needs of customers worldwide. It provides services and systems to enhance vehicle performance and fleet utilization with an aim to reduce the risk of temporary power supply disruptions. 
Exide Technologies offers manufacturing and distribution of submarine batteries. The submarine batteries are sold under various brand names such as CEAC, Sonnak, Tudor, and Hagen. It finds application in different classes of submarines such as 205, 206, 209, 212, Scorpene, Kobben, Västergötland, Agosta, and Redoutable.
HBL Power Systems Ltd.:
The company is involved in the manufacturing and distribution of batteries and other power electronic products. It offers nickel cadmium pocket plate cells and control power converters. 
HBL Power Systems Ltd. in global submarine battery market is involved in the design and manufacturing of a wide range of submarine batteries. The company's products include batteries such as LABs, nickel-cadmium batteries, and advanced product batteries. The primary product that is used for submarine application includes product range from 12,391 Wh to 40,300 Wh. 
Sunlight Systems: 
Sunlight Systems is engaged in the development, production, and marketing of batteries and offers energy storage systems for consumer, industrial and advanced technology applications. The company is a major player in the global energy sector with approximately 98% of its production value exported to over 100 countries worldwide. 
Sunlight systems in global submarine battery market is involved in the designing, production, and distribution of battery power solutions such as motive power solutions, reserve power solutions, advanced technology batteries, consumer batteries, energy solutions, and submarine batteries. The company provides battery monitoring systems and the hydrogen eliminator for submarine batteries.   

Nigeria: Millitary Misses Out On Global Race for Submarines

Sulaimon Salau, The Guardian
16 September 2016 

Nigeria is missing out in efforts by countries across the world to build and launch submarines to defend themselves against foreign aggression.
The Global Fire Power (GFP) ranking on submarine strength data through 2016 showed that 40 out of the 105 countries analyzed currently have submarines. But Nigeria, which ranks 83, has no submarine yet, while South Africa came first in Africa with three.
According to the data, United States leads with 75 submarines, North Korea follows with 70, China has 68 and Russia came fourth with 60 submarines.
To make Nigeria launch itself into the comity of nations with submarine technology, the navy has commenced preparations to make the Federal Government purchase one between 2021 and 2022. But the current economic downturn may be an obstacle.
The Director of Information for the Nigerian Navy, Commodore Christian Ezekobe told The Guardian that Nigeria currently has no submarine but that a move to purchase one is part of the Revised Nigerian Navy Transformation Plan (R-NNTP).
"We were supposed to have it as early as 2021-2022 but you and I know that with the economic realities of today, that may not be feasible, but it is still in the pipeline," he said.
But Ezekobe claimed that the lack of submarine power does not deter the navy from fully launching an offensive against any external aggression, saying they are well equipped with other combat ships and technologies that can serve that purpose.
"We have ships with underwater, surface and air capabilities. So, that is not a problem. More so, the trench within the region is key. You recall that we are a hegemon in this region of West Africa, so that is not a problem. But for national prestige and deterrence, we still need submarines in the future," he said.
The global submarine payload and launch systems market is forecast to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 4.44 per cent between now and 2020.
A new report by Research and Markets tagged "Global Submarine Payload and Launch Systems 2016-2020" shows that many countries are modernizing their naval defense units by manufacturing submarines, surface-mine countermeasure Unmanned Undersea Vehicle (UUVs) and other combat and tactical UUVs.
"Advanced undersea warfare will be a key trend for market growth. The defense strategies of most countries rely significantly on their undersea warfare. Stealth submarines and UUVs have emerged as the most viable means of gathering intelligence.
"Therefore, undersea warfare is an important element of current and future military operational plans. The submarines and other undersea vehicles have enhanced their stealth and lightweight characteristics due to extensive research and development, wide use of technology and high-fidelity training. The transition from traditionally manned submarines to new unmanned submarines has changed the degree of naval warfare," the report reads.
Experts are forecasting that rising investments in submarines would be a key driver for market growth. From about $17.57 billion in 2015, the global submarine market is projected to witness 3.47 per cent growth during the forecast period, to reach $20.97 billion by 2020.
A maritime expert, Lucky Amiwero, told The Guardian that it is imperative for the Federal Government to purchase submarines even in the midst of economic challenges because not doing so may be more costly.
"We have to take all necessary steps to get it, not one and not even two. We are not having it because we have failed in our planning system and focus while corruption has worsened the matter.
"It is just like a Nigerian Air Force not having an aircraft, the Nigerian Navy must also have a ship and then a submarine that can go underwater," Amiwero said.
The United States last month took delivery of another submarine that is sponsored by first lady Michelle Obama and planned to be named after her home state - Chicago.
Submarine builder, General Dynamics Electric Boat, based in Groton, Connecticut, delivered the submarine after nearly five and a half years of construction.
The first lady will be involved in the life of the submarine and the lives of its sailors and their families. It took thousands of shipyard employees in Connecticut, Rhode Island and Virginia and submarine supply businesses nationwide to build the $2.7 billion submarine.

US Tests, Upgrades Nuclear-Armed, Submarine-Launched Trident II D5s

Kris Osborn, Scout
15 September 2016 

Nuclear-Armed Trident II D5 missiles rest in 44-foot long missile tubes built into ballistic missile submarines quietly patrolling the undersea domain - to ensure security and peace.
The US Navy is test-firing and upgrading its arsenal of Trident II D5 nuclear-armed submarine launched missiles designed to keep international peace -- by ensuring and undersea-fired second-strike ability in the event of a catastrophic nuclear first strike on the US.
Firing from the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida Aug. 31, a specially configured non-armed “test” version of the missile was fired from the Navy’s USS Maryland. This was the 161st successful Trident II launch since design completion in 1989.
The missile was converted into a test configuration using a test missile kit produced by Lockheed Martin that contains range safety devices, tracking systems and flight telemetry instrumentation, a Lockheed statement said.
The Trident II D5 missile is deployed aboard U.S. Navy Ohio-class submarines and Royal Navy Vanguard-class to deter nuclear aggression. The three-stage ballistic missile can travel a nominal range of 4,000 nautical miles and carry multiple independently targeted reentry bodies. 
The U.S. and UK are collaboratively working on a common missile compartment for their next generation SSBNs, or ballistic missile submarines.
The 130,000-pound Trident II D5 missile can travel 20,000-feet per second, according to Navy figures. The missiles cost $30 million each.
The "Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists" further describes the weapon -- "The Trident D5s carry three types of warheads: the 100-kiloton W76/Mk-4, the 100-kiloton W76-1/Mk-4A, and the 455-kiloton W88/Mk-5 warhead, the highest-yield ballistic missile warhead in the U.S. arsenal."
Trident II D5 - Nuclear-Armed Missile Upgrade:
The Trident II D5, first fired in the 1990s, is an upgraded version of the 1970s-era Trident I nuclear weapon;
the Trident II D5s were initially engineered to serve until 2027, however an ongoing series of upgrades are now working to extend its service life. 
The Navy is modernizing its arsenal of Trident II D5 nuclear missiles in order to ensure their service life can extend for 25 more years aboard the Navy’s nuclear ballistic missile submarine fleet, service leaders said.
“Sustaining and modernizing the nuclear enterprise infrastructure is crucial to maintaining a strong, credible and flexible nuclear deterrent, which is essential to our national security and the security of United States’ allies and partners,” Adm. Cecil D. Haney, U.S. Strategic Command commander said in a written statement. 
The 44-foot long submarine-launched missiles have been serving on Ohio-class submarines for 25 years, Vice Adm. Terry Benedict, director of Strategic Systems and Programs, said several years ago at the Navy League’s Sea Air Space exposition.
The missiles are also being planned as the baseline weapon for the Ohio Replacement Program ballistic missile submarine, a platform slated to serve well into the 2080s, so the Navy wants to extend the service life of the Trident II D5 missiles to ensure mission success in future decades.
The Navy has been working on technical upgrades to the existing Trident II D 5 in order to prevent obsolescence and ensure the missile system remains viable for the next several decades.
Engineers have modernized the guidance system by replacing two key components due to obsolescence – the inertial measurement unit and the electronics assembly, Benedict said. 
Under the U.S.-Russia New START treaty signed in 2010, roughly 70-percent of the U.S.’ nuclear warheads will be deployed on submarines.
Within the last several years, the Navy has acquired an additional 108 Trident II D 5 missiles in order to strengthen the inventory for testing and further technological development.
As part of the technical improvements to the missile, the Navy is upgrading what’s called the Mk-4 re-entry body, the part of the missile that houses a thermonuclear warhead. The life extension for the Mk-4 re-entry body includes efforts to replace components including the firing circuit, Navy officials explained.
The Navy is also working with the Air Force on refurbishing the Mk-5 re-entry body which will be ready by 2019, senior Navy officials said.
Benedict said the Mk-5 re-entry body has more yield than a Mk-4 re-entry body, adding that more detail on the differences was not publically available.
The missile also has a larger structure called a release assembly which houses and releases the re-entry bodies, Navy officials said. There is an ongoing effort to engineer a new release assembly that will work with either the Mk-4 or Mk-5 re-entry body.   

Dining in the Deep

Lorraine Cordeau, The Resident
 16 September 2016
“Compared to the C-rations the army served us in 1949, this is a feast!”  says Kenneth Shaw, a 4-year veteran cryptographer. “Outstanding, more than I expected,” adds Marie Pezzlo, a Traveling Kitchens member. “They even made me a special meal; the shrimp were perfectly cooked,” comments Becky Noreen, a retired coast guard officer. And SEC-TV 12 host Mark Whalen concludes: “We won the lottery!”
These improvised food critics were part of a group of ten chosen at random to experience a typical meal that is served on board a Virginia-class attack submarine. Called Dining in the Deep, this third lecture-with-lunch event is part of Connecticut’s Submarine Century celebrations held at the Naval Submarine Base’s Cross Hall Galley in Groton. Our table was elegantly set with a white tablecloth and napkins folded origami style which made us feel very special. Thanks to supply officer Lt. Cmdr. Chris Shutt, we learned that thousands of pounds of meat, vegetables, flour, sugar and coffee last between 90 to 120 days to feed the fleet. Because of the limited space on board, everything is baked from scratch and food cans are stored evenly all over the submarine’s floor. Once the fresh fruits and vegetables have been consumed, the refrigerators are turned into freezers. Up to 540 meals a day are served to the crews of 175. They also enjoy treats during the holidays, birthdays and halfway nights.
During our visit, Chef Newkirk served us an exquisite Chinese meal comprising of flavorful egg drop soup, General Tao chicken, beef & broccoli, rice, mixed vegetables and homemade cherry pie.
 We visited the full-size replica of a submarine galley where the culinary teams are trained. What a challenge it must be to cook three course meals, during storms, in such a tight area; fortunately, the submarines find stability underneath 400 feet. They have the ability to make their own clean water and air. “Our nutritionists’ mission is to develop healthy and tasty meals throughout the six month deployments,” explains Commanding Officer Capt. Paul Whitescarver. “They review feedback from the crews every seven years, and emphasize green ecology. Vegetarian and religious preferences are respected.” When asked if any food is prohibited, he replies: “No. But a color code was developed to help our sailors make balanced choices: green for unlimited, yellow for moderation (starch) and red for occasional. When we are in foreign countries (e.g. Italy, Japan, etc.), our food supplies are strictly provided by prime vendors.”
Cheers to a tasteful event that might be extended beyond the Sub Century celebrations due to its huge success!   

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The fate of our first submarine

Dr. Karl Kruszelnicki, Australian Geographic
12 September 2016 

ON 31 DECEMBER, 1914, AE2 Australia’s only submarine (AE1 had been lost at sea off New Guinea two months earlier), sailed from Australia towards the Dardanelles. The plan was to trailblaze a path for the Allied fleet into the inland Sea of Marmara. Warships and other submarines had tried to transverse the Strait and failed.
The Dardanelles separates Europe from Asia – the Gallipoli Peninsula on the West, and Anatolia on the East. But it’s a truly hostile environment for a submarine. It’s some 60km long, only 1.2km–6km wide, with an average depth of just 55m. Its waters flow simultaneously in two directions – a surface current streams from the Sea of Marmara, but an undercurrent runs in the opposite direction.
AE2 sailed into the Dardanelles on the very first Anzac Day, 25 April 1915, at 2.30am, where it immediately engaged with the enemy. The sub was fired on by shore guns when it surfaced to start the diesel engines that powered generators to charge its electric batteries. AE2 dived to avoid the attack, but then went through a minefield for half an hour. Shortly afterwards, it was almost rammed by a Turkish destroyer, but still managed to fire off a bow torpedo to disable a small Turkish cruiser.
AE2 finally entered the inland Sea of Marmara at 9am on 26 April. At least half-a-dozen Turkish ships were diverted to deal with its approach.
The submarine’s end came all too soon on 30 April, as a result of a buoyancy problem. The sub erratically dove and surfaced, and a waiting Turkish torpedo boat fired upon it. AE2 sank just before 11am, in 55 fathoms of water about 8km off the coast. All of the 32 men aboard were captured and taken to prison camps.
Following this intrepid example, other Allied submarines entered the Sea of Marmara, sinking or damaging 148 sailing vessels, 44 steamers, 11 transports, five gunboats and a destroyer and a battleship. The Turkish forces then had to send reinforcements, supplies and ammunition to their troops on the Gallipoli Peninsula via the much slower overland route, rather than via the much quicker ferry across the Sea of Marmara. The valiant men of AE2 had showed it was possible to penetrate the Dardanelles.  

Dick Smith questions submarine project, says plans are 'ludicrous' and 'we're being conned'

Tom Hancock, ABC Net
13 September 2016

A group of prominent businessmen, including Dick Smith and John Singleton, have taken out a full-page ad in The Australian newspaper, suggesting the public is being conned over the submarine project.
French company DCNS won the $50 billion contract to build Australia's next fleet of 12 submarines in Adelaide, which will replace the current Collins Class fleet.
The company won the contract to build a modified version of its nuclear submarine, called the Shortfin Barracuda.
The Australian Government stipulated that the winning contract would need to use conventional power, ruling out larger, nuclear-powered submarines.
Mr. Smith said the re-designed version of the submarine would have to be converted to a diesel engine.
But he told 891 ABC Adelaide that was a ludicrous plan and he believed it would never happen.
"So the plan is for us to buy a nuclear submarine design and then convert it to a piston submarine," he said.
"Now no-one has ever done that in the world and in fact when I talk to submarine experts they say it is so ridiculous, so we're being conned."
Mr. Smith said if the Government's real agenda was to use nuclear technology, it should be up front about it.
A Federal Government spokesman said the "best experts" were involved in the Government's decision-making on the project.
"These submarines will be regionally superior. They will allow Australia to pursue our national and international interests and fulfil our role as an effective US ally," he said.
"Building the submarines in Australia has immense benefits for our economy and in creating defense industry as a fundamental input to capability."
South Australia Senator Nick Xenophon said more detail about the submarines project was needed.
But he questioned the motives behind Mr Smith's campaign.
"I think the criticisms of the uncertainty are fair enough, but if the criticisms are about a campaign not to build the subs in Australia and to scuttle project then perhaps Dick Smith and I will be on the other side of the barricade," Senator Xenophon said.
"If you speak to submarine experts, a diesel sub with electric motors, in other words, with battery power is actually quieter than a nuclear sub so it's really a case of what you're actually looking at and what you're looking for.
"There needs to be more details of the program, we need to know when the program will be up and running in terms of contracts being signed."
Senator Xenophon said he was concerned about the lack of certainty surrounding the project.
"There are some quarters in defense spaces saying, 'look, this is going to be complicated, we are going to have a capability gap'.
"I would have thought by now we would have had much more certainty after the April announcement."
South Australia's Defense Industries Minister Martin Hamilton-Smith said he trusted the decision.
"I think the Navy chose that rather than the Government and you have to trust their judgment," Mr. Hamilton-Smith said.
South Australia Premier Jay Weatherill hit out at Mr. Smith on Twitter, calling the businessman a "sad old man".
"Looked like it [the advert] was scribbled on the back of a serviette after a long lunch - #sadoldmen," Mr. Weatherill tweeted.   

Friday, September 9, 2016

USS Maryland launches Trident II D5 missile off Florida

Marks 161st successful test flight to demonstrate readiness.

John Daniels, Public Affairs Representative for Strategic Systems Programs,
8 September 2016

WASHINGTON – On Aug. 31, Strategic Systems Programs and USS Maryland (Blue) (SSBN-738), an Ohio class ballistic missile submarine assigned to Submarine Group 10, completed a Demonstration and Shakedown Operation with the launch of a Trident II D5 missile in the Eastern Test Range off the coast of Florida.
 Designated DASO-27, the operation marked the 161st successful test flights of the Trident II D5 missile. The primary objective of a DASO is to evaluate and demonstrate the readiness of a SSBN's strategic weapon system and crew before operational deployment following its midlife refueling overhaul. 
Safety of the public was paramount throughout the mission. The missile was unarmed and the launch was conducted from the sea, flew over the sea and landed in the sea. At no time did the missiles fly over land. 
A credible, effective nuclear deterrent is essential to our national security and the security of U.S. allies and friends. Strategic weapons tests, exercises and operations such as DASO-27 demonstrate the readiness of the submarine-launched Trident II missile. As the most survivable leg of our strategic deterrent Triad, it provides the national command authority with assured second-strike capability.