USS Kitty Hawk And The Chinese Sub
The Drudge Report has a headline up right now saying: "PAPER: CHINA SUB STALKS USS KITTY HAWK". There's no link yet, and my search of my standard link sources doesn't turn anything up. So, this is pretty much a placeholder until something comes in. Of interest, the USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63), with portions of her Strike Group, just pulled into Sasebo last week as part of their group's "fall deployment". I expect the article will be some breathless claim that a Chinese sub was trailing the carrier. Absent from the article will be any indication that it's not tough at all for a submarine to trail a carrier; what's tough is doing it when they're at a heightened alert level and have a friendly submarine attached to them, without having the friendly submarine ready to take you out at any time.
Staying at PD...
Update 0513 13 Nov: Here's the article, from the Washington Times' Bill Gertz. It's even lamer than I thought; the Song-class diesel boat was spotted on the surface about five miles from the Kitty Hawk. So, either the Chinese were trying desperately to let us know that they could get that close to us, or this is another of a series of attempts by the Chinese to send their submarines farther afield where they just can't seem to stay undetected and/or submerged. Since they have nothing to gain by taunting us like that, I vote for the second option.
For some background: the Chinese were probably interested in checking out preparations for the Annualex 18G exercises taking place south of Kyushu. The media will probably try to make a big deal out of the presence of Asheville and Seawolf in the exercise, and claim that even our vaunted nuclear attack subs couldn't stop the Chinese sub from approaching the carrier. Even if that is true, it's more likely that the subs would have been some distance off, tasked with preparing for the exercise. To re-iterate: any decent diesel boat could approach this close to a carrier during peacetime. This doesn't mean they could do it during periods of heightened tensions. The Chinese Song-class sub is a tiny little 2,250 ton boat that is the first indigenously-designed Chinese boat; it's probably about two generations behind Western or Russian diesel boats.
Staying at PD...
Update 2303 13 Nov: It looks like ADM Fallon confirmed the basic accuracy of the facts presented in the story. Michelle Malkin, Allahpundit at Hot Air, and Daily Pundit collected some more reactions that are worth a read. Some of the comments to those posts are pretty good, and some are hilarious.
While I stand by my basic theory that this isn't necessarily something to get our panties in a wad about, there's one group I wanted to address specifically. If you're a Congressional staffer who's stumbled upon this post, you should forget everything I said above; your take-away should be: "I have to tell my boss to vote for more money for the Sub Force to counter the dangerous Chinese submarine threat."
Update 2359 13 Nov: Eric at The Sub Report blog adds his thoughts to the debate.
Update 2246 19 Nov: Vigilis at Molten Eagle has more thoughts.