Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

While I Was Away...

Lots of submarine news while I was up in Seattle for testing. Here are some links:

1) It looks like the Russian Navy has identified their scapegoat for the recent fire-extinguishing system accident on the RFS Nerpa; it appears they didn't have any foreign nationals onboard to blame, so they're going after a crewman. Apparently the Russian Navy has learned from the U.S. Submarine Force (or maybe it was the other way around) that's it's a lot easier, when something goes wrong on a boat, to publicly blame the crew rather than admit either a) to possible force-wide problems, or b) that the accident was potentially something that could not have reasonably been prevented with the current Force operating procedures and philosophies.

2) An ASDS "mini-submarine" caught fire in Hawaii during "routine maintenance" that included a battery charge. Bull Nav at OPFOR has more on the troubled history of the ASDS batteries.

3) The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Navy in the active sonar case I wrote about earlier. It looks like at least two Justices bought into the faulty airborne vs. seaborne Sound Pressure Level comparison the environmental groups were disingenuously using in support of their case, proving once again that some of the people can be fooled most of the time.

4) Most ridiculous headline involving submarines: "Terror Jet Was Zapped By A Sub". This one is dumb even by the standards of the British press, since the story never says that a sub is a possible cause of a jet losing altitude quickly; it postulated that powerful VLF transmissions from the Navy Communications Station in Exmouth, Australia, was responsible for interfering with the jet's systems; this is despite the fact that VLF is chosen for submarine communications precisely because it hugs the ground, and that the station has been transmitting for over 40 years without causing other problems with aircraft. It's just important for the British press to try to blame the U.S. military for every problem that happens in the world.

5) The Family Readiness Group of the USS Nebraska (SSBN 739), in conjunction with the "Big Red Sub Club" from Nebraska (home of a football team that's gonna kick KSU's butt today) donated 600 turkeys to the Central Kitsap food bank. Go Big Red!

My test in Seattle went pretty well. They determined that my cancer had penetrated to the "2nd layer" of tissue, but had not spread to the lymph nodes; they say I'll have the best chance of becoming completely cancer-free if I get the radiation/chemo before the surgery. (This was a "borderline" case for whether rad/chemo or surgery was indicated first; had I not been so "young", they said they would have gone with surgery, but figure I can handle the radiation OK and have a better chance of beating it completely thereby.) Hopefully that will be starting this week. I'm just happy to have a way-ahead laid out, and just want to start eliminating this thing -- with extreme prejudice. Radiation is my friend!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good Luck

11/15/2008 9:18 AM

Blogger Navy Blue Cougar said...

I'm happy to hear that your test went well. Good Luck. I'll continue to keep you in my prayers.

11/15/2008 9:24 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

YAAAAY!! Mr. Bubblehead. It's great to know that the tests went so well.

Granted you may be glowing in the dark from the radiation for the rest of your life...Lol. But at least you know that you'll have a long and happy life.

That's outstanding news!


11/15/2008 9:56 AM

Blogger cheezstake said...

Thank you for the update. I am certain that your positive attitude towards this will greatly aid in your recovery.

11/15/2008 10:00 AM

Blogger Celia said...

Thanks for updating! I'm glad that your tests came out so well. I'll keep you in my prayers.

11/15/2008 10:11 AM

Blogger John Byron said...


Missed your post on your ailment. What breed Big C? CTCL?

Very best of very best luck to you - go get them critters.

11/15/2008 10:22 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

A little nukie never hurt anyone!

Best Wishes.

11/15/2008 12:53 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good luck, brother. Keep us posted.

11/15/2008 4:54 PM

Blogger Jed Christiansen said...

Glad to hear positive results... Good luck with the radiation.

11/15/2008 5:21 PM

Blogger richard said...

Joel, glad to hear the good prognosis for you! Remember a good "Kisk is't a$$ attitude" is the best medicine!

11/15/2008 7:41 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please keep the news coming, as you are able. I'll continue to keep you in my prayers.

Keep your TCD in the green band...

11/16/2008 5:44 AM

Blogger Tammi said...

Grateful for the update and keeping good thoughts and prayers headed your way!

11/16/2008 8:49 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Best of luck to you with your treatment. My prayers are with you. Keep us posted.

A Bettis guy

11/16/2008 11:24 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

We'll definitely be in prayer for a fellow 'steely eyed ....'. Did you know that even Magellan-‘the great navigator' oversaw a miraculous healing?

11/16/2008 9:03 PM

Blogger Sandy Salt said...

Keep fighting and we'll keep you in our prayers.

11/17/2008 7:56 AM

Blogger beadlizard said...

Radiation is my friend, too. Mine was helium from the particle accelerator at UC Davis. Neat science.

Best of luck, will keep praying for you and yours.

11/17/2008 10:03 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

go zoomies go

11/17/2008 10:34 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am glad to hear the good news Joel. We will Keep you in our prayers. Sinc


11/18/2008 12:27 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Swift guide to the British press:

The Sun, the Mirror, the Daily Star: "Red Top" tabloids. Credibility marginally above the Weekly World News.

Daily Mail, Daily Express: tabloids for people who enjoy fear and anger; stories are freely improvised to that end, and actual events are merely a source of ideas.

Guardian: More intellectual, not into fear for its own sake, but incomprehensibly liberal by US standards.

Telegraph: Hasn't yet caught up with the lack of an empire, always patronising to all foreigners, except extremely rich ones whom it regards as gods.

Independent: "quality tabloid", tries to be politically unaligned but is paralysed by that aim.

Times: tries to pretend it is still the historically-remembered newspaper of record. This is completely untrue now: it much like the New York Post, and for exactly the same reasons. The Sunday Times has a well-established bias against facts in anything connected with science; this is due to a past editor who did not believe in the existence of AIDS amongst hetrosexuals, and installed that attitude into the corporate culture.

Note that no British newspapers do fact-checking in the way that quality US ones are supposed to. The British press is partisan; British TV is not. Rather the opposite of the USA.

Best of luck with the treatment!

11/19/2008 8:43 AM

Blogger Zoe Brain said...

No lymph involvement is definitely good news.

Fingers, toes, eyes, knees etc remain firmly crossed.

Hey, just think how lucky those Alpha class drivers were - you're going to have to pay for the radiation as an optional extra, theirs came as standard.

11/19/2008 8:28 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bubb: There is definitely life after the big "C". I'll be 5ive years without after a 95% blockage in the ol' colon. Don't know what all they took out, but they can keep it. I had 1 lymph node that tested for cancer so I got chemo, but no radiation. ...That turkey meal after 2 weeks without food was great ...though I didn't need much to feel full. Just had the ol' colonoscopy (everbody ought to, guys!) and they said the best 5 words they can. "See you in 5 years!" All the best, and looking forward to great future news!

11/24/2008 3:07 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Explosion May Endanger SEAL Mini-Sub Program
By Christopher P. Cavas, Navy Times, December 9, 2008

The long-stalled future of the U.S. special warfare community’s troubled mini-submarine is even cloudier after a serious explosion and fire struck the craft last month, ironically on the cusp of a new mission and a new way ahead for the program.
The Advanced SEAL Delivery Vehicle 1 (ASDS-1) was having its lithium-ion batteries charged Nov. 9 when an explosion started a battery fire that burned for about six hours. No one was aboard the 60-ton craft, which was on shore at its base in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
Federal firefighters sealed the ASDS to put out the fire and continued to hose it down for several hours to cool hot spots. The mini-sub remained sealed for more than two weeks before the hatch was opened.
“The Navy has not yet determined the cause of the fire or the extent of the damage,” Lt. Clay Doss, a Navy spokesman at the Pentagon, said Dec. 5. Two investigations are underway to determine the fire’s cause and the extent of the damage, he added.
Sources familiar with the incident said that, in addition to fire damage, the craft likely would have significant water damage from having its interior flooded to fight the fire.
The incident came at a key time for the mini-sub program. The ASDS was to have deployed in November aboard the guided-missile submarine Michigan — the first SSGN deployment for the craft.
And, more than two years since U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCom) canceled further ASDS acquisitions, Pentagon officials reportedly were preparing to submit new program plans in the fiscal 2010 budget due to be sent to Congress on Feb. 2. No details of the new way ahead for the program have been revealed, although Pentagon sources said the submission would need to be reviewed in light of the pending investigations into the ASDS fire.
A primary question investigators will have is whether the craft’s new lithium-ion batteries caused or contributed to the explosion.
The ASDS’s original silver-zinc batteries provided insufficient power for the craft’s missions, and more powerful lithium-ion batteries recently were substituted. Built at Yardney Technical Products in Pawcatuck, Conn., the lithium-ion batteries are known to present hazards if not properly handled, particularly when the batteries are being recharged.
Although SOCom canceled the ASDS program in 2006, the Navy and the special warfare community remain eager to field the kind of capability embodied in the craft. Five or six people can ride inside the ASDS in a dry environment, unlike existing wet submersibles, in which riders sit astride their vehicles wearing diving gear. The wet environment is very debilitating and causes fatigue even before the SEAL reaches his destination — problems the ASDS eliminates. The 65-foot-long mini-sub is intended to be carried to operational areas aboard submerged submarines and has an operational range of more than 100 nautical miles.
The ASDS is intended to carry out a wide range of covert missions, including reconnaissance and surveillance, infiltration, sabotage and diversionary attacks, and counterterrorism and foreign internal defense missions. Navy officials routinely tout the ability to carry the craft as a key capability of existing and new nuclear attack subs and converted SSGNs.
The ASDS has had a long, checkered history. The first batch of six craft was to have been completed in the late 1990s, but technical problems led to long delays and a twelvefold cost overrun — the original $70 million contract for the first boat in 1994 ballooned to expenditures of at least $883 million by 2007, according to the Government Accountability Office. Only the first ASDS was completed and “conditionally” accepted by the Navy in August 2001, but the craft suffered from noise, vibration, power and a host of other technical and reliability problems. Although some of those problems have been solved, others have only been reduced in intensity or remain as challenges.
However, the ASDS has been used on several classified missions while improvements continue to be made.
The now-defunct Oceanic Division of Westinghouse Electric received the original design and construction contract. The division was bought by Northrop Grumman in 1996.
Sources at Northrop Grumman and rival General Dynamics Electric Boat said both companies remain eager to compete in a new ASDS program.
One submarine expert familiar with the program expected, before the fire, a new program for three boats at a cost of about $1.2 billion. Early, unofficial estimates of about $100 million to repair the damage to ASDS-1 are “very uninformed” and likely very low, the source said.
Several sources said they expected the explosion and fire would not end the use of lithium-ion batteries in the ASDS.
“Lithium-ion batteries can be quite dangerous but they’ve been safely used many times before, and these batteries have gone through many cycles,” a Pentagon official said.
“It almost certainly was a procedural issue,” the submarine expert said. “Like most things, it is very safe if you follow the procedures. But if you don’t follow the procedures, things can happen that you don’t expect.”

12/10/2008 9:21 AM


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