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.)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

French Sub Hunts For Pinger

The French nuclear submarine FS Émeraude (S 604) has arrived in the central Atlantic to look for the "black box" from Air France Flight 447. From a BBC article:
The "black boxes", which emit a locator signal for about 30 days, could be up to 6,100m (20,000ft) deep, on the bed of the Atlantic. They could provide vital clues as to why the Airbus A330 crashed on 1 June...
...French military spokesman Captain Christophe Prazuck said the submarine - the Emeraude - should be able to cover an area of 26 sq km each day. It has advanced sonar equipment on board.
"There are big uncertainties about the accident site, the ocean floor is rugged... so it's going to be very difficult," he told French radio.
"It's going to be very complicated and we're going to need a lot of luck" to find the plane's data recorders.
The US is also joining the search, sending two sophisticated listening devices, which will be deployed on two large vessels hired by France. They will be towed in a grid pattern across the search area.
If the aircraft's two black boxes are located, a mini-submarine called the Nautile will be sent down to retrieve them. The vessel, which has a crew of three and is about 8m long, is the same one which explored the wreck of the Titanic.
Here's a picture from the Navy website of some of the equipment we're sending down. ScoopDeck has more on the Navy's role in the search. I'm not sure how much help the submarine will be compared to the pinger detectors that will be towed around the area; it all depends on what the Sound-Velocity Profile of the wafer is like in that part of the world. If the layer's around a few hundred feet or shallower, the French boat could make the discovery. If not, it was probably sent down as a PR move to show that the French military is putting all their assets to use -- after all, they've already paid for the fuel.

Has your boat ever been sent to look for something like this?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I could tell you, but then....

Probably not the right place to discuss this.

6/11/2009 9:27 AM

Blogger wtfdnucsailor said...

This search is tailor made for NR-1. Unfortunately, NR-1 is in pieces in Portsmouth after decommissioning. Big Navy will regret not having the capabilities of an NR-1

6/11/2009 10:35 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

[insert French submarine joke here]

6/11/2009 10:53 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a great call. She'll be immune to the weather, immune to replenishment requirements, and able to stay nearly 24/7 below the layer. With any kind of passive suite at all she's a great asset. She should have been underway on Day 2. All she has to do is get the position of the pinger. Someone else will pick it up.

My memory says submarines were used to track the pinger for KAL007, but WIKI doesn't support that.

This is/was not a job for NR-1. She'd have to be towed there, and the target is too deep. I doubt that she had the necessary acoustics, to boot.

6/11/2009 11:40 AM

Blogger Steve said...

The soviets never attached a black box to their we never went looking for one of those.

French Navy joke as requested by Anon poster:

"French ships are like French women...beautifuly made and poorly manned."

Patrick O'Brian

6/11/2009 3:20 PM

Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

Ya know how you can tell a French submarine?

It has hair under the bow planes....

6/11/2009 6:56 PM

Anonymous Carl said...

The French sub should be a lot of help. The more ears the more territory covered in the same amount of time.


6/11/2009 6:57 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll bet the food on french boats is phenomenal. They can cook up a storm, but they just can't fight worth a damn. If not for us, the french would be speaking German.

Okay, the last sentence wasn't a joke, I realize that. After all, it's difficult to joke about the truth most of the time.

6/11/2009 7:02 PM

Blogger phw said...

I think it would be more accurate to say that without us the French would be speaking Russian

6/11/2009 7:07 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

As you come in to Pearl Harbor, there is a FAD buoy that you had to steer clear of that's right in the way. But I never saw it. We spent an hour actually trying to find it once. It's either a Folger's can floating in the water or a myth.

6/11/2009 8:30 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


I was thinking of WWII when the Nazis occupied France.

Now you've got me curious. Why would there be any possibility of the Russians trying to take over France?

6/11/2009 8:41 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Because it can be argued that the Germans had no prayer of really defeating the Russians over a long period of time. Without the landing on the French coast, under this theory the Russians would have overrun all of Europe - and they weren't exactly well known for liberating countries.

6/11/2009 8:45 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, that might coincide with the fact that Hitler was a stupid fuck, who had no working knowledge in tactics and effective and reinforced deployments. He spread his forces out too thin and too far from one another.

6/11/2009 9:12 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

IDK why we are talking about it, but there is no FAD buoy near the enterance of Pearl, the closest ones look to be 20 or 30 miles off shore on that side of the island.--At least according to the University of Hawaii website.

6/11/2009 10:56 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Enroute to Team Spirit 87, we went looking for A-6 debris in the Bear Box. Found most of a tank, brought it aboard. I hope the plane guard got the aircrew, not that they ran out of fuel during EMCON.

That's all that made it belowdecks.


6/12/2009 2:02 AM

Blogger Srvd_SSN_CO said...

Of course, without the French we would still be speaking the King's English.

Good luck with the search, but I'm not gonna hold my breath.

6/12/2009 12:22 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wait a moment, that would be The Queen's English. The U.K. has had queen Liz setting on the throne since 1952.

Did you know she is almost the only British Monarch to have served during a war?

6/12/2009 3:06 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Doesn't take much to veer off topic, does it?

6/12/2009 5:23 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rubber Ducky gets my vote for best french submarine joke. As they say, "LoL".

6/12/2009 7:36 PM

Blogger phw said...


The Russians were crushing the Germans after 1943. There was some fear in 1944-1945 that the Russians would keep on marching west... The atomic bombing of Japan was to some degree meant to put Russia on notice.

6/12/2009 8:26 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Then why the hell didn't we push the son of a bitchin' Red Army back across their own lines? Even Patton picked up on that. He was damn near insane but even he knew the Russians would be a problem and one that we would have to deal with in the near future. The end result was a bullshit cold war which lasted more than 50 years. If we'd pushed the Reds out of Germany in 1945 along with most parts of Eastern Europe, we wouldn't have had so many problems with the damned Russians.

6/12/2009 8:59 PM

Blogger phw said...

The Russians had the advantage in sheer numbers at the time... Better tanks too. Patton would have had his ass spanked.

6/12/2009 9:07 PM

Blogger phw said...

But we had the a-bomb and a lot of little bombers...

6/12/2009 9:13 PM

Blogger phw said...

Our Navy was pretty good too :)

Go Sox

6/12/2009 9:17 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Patton was well organized. The Russians might have had a bigger Army, but their skills in organization and tactics were lacking to say the least.

6/12/2009 9:21 PM

Blogger phw said...

Really... The Russians were disorganized? The Russians moved a million and a half men after after Germany capitulated to Manchuria to crush the Japanese. That takes a lot of organization.

I would also say that Zhukov was pretty good at tactics... As was Chuikov at Stalingrad. Their commanders were really good at the end of the war.

That said, there was nothing elegant about the Russians. They were simply brutal. They were a totally worthy enemy.

6/12/2009 9:28 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

A worthy enemy. Yes they were and they still are. FDR had serious thoughts about not extending the lend lease program to Russia in the early 40s. Personally I'd say he was right, FDR should have acted on his instincts and that of his advisers. look at the incredible mess(s) the Russians have left behind them over the years. Half of them we can't even talk about in public, not even now. We easily could have pushed them back across their own lines. It's too bad we didn't do it when we could have.

6/12/2009 9:41 PM

Blogger phw said...

Well we will never know.

Just as an aside, that 1.5 million-man army swept aside Japan's 1.2 million-man Manchurian army in 11 days. These guys were damn tough.

6/12/2009 9:59 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, that's a very good point. However, even before we dropped the bombs, we were still kicking the shit out of the Japs. Who's to say we could not have aquired the same results against the Red Army as well?

6/12/2009 10:08 PM

Blogger phw said...

No doubt, our guys were tough too...

6/12/2009 10:20 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes indeed.

6/12/2009 10:23 PM

Anonymous Carl said...

We could not have pushed the Red Army back in 1945. They were, indeed, too organized and had even more material than we did.

And at the time the war with Nazi Germany ended we did not have a proven atomic weapon. They were dang close but not proven nor was there much in the the way of material for atomic weapons. By the time of the Japanese surrender, I think we only had fissile material for four of which we expended two. The other two wouldn't have amounted to much in terms of pushing the Red Army back across Germany, into Poland and back across the border (where do you stop once you've made such an enemy?)

Also, at the time, we still had Japan to deal with and were mightly concerned about what it would take to invade Japan and end the war. There are some excellent books out there about the planning for the invasion of Japan and what was expected as a response from the Japanese.


6/13/2009 8:25 AM


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