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, July 02, 2009

Navy Website Has Boomer Picture!

For the first time in 3 months, the official Navy website had a picture of an SSBN; here it is:

It's a picture of USS West Virginia (SSBN 736) returning to Kings Bay from a patrol. Another picture of the boat returning is here.

Should the Navy do more to publicize the SSBN force? Or should they wait until we need funding for an Ohio-class follow-on?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love seeing it. As a son of a former submariner, it brings back clear memories of being pulled out of kindergarten early to go and greet my Dad and his boat returning home from patrol, going down below, eating dynamited chicken and being served ice cream (or whatever you guys call it). Love the boomers!

Great blog Joel.
Thanks for you service guys.

7/02/2009 2:49 PM

Anonymous SJV said...

With the laser activated sonar, no need for boomers any more! Can't hide, so we'll have to just move all the ICBM's to Carriers and park 'em off the coasts....

I think it's nice to see a variety of things on Navy websites. It may not keep the general public in the know about Navy mission and ops, but I think it helps recruiting.

7/02/2009 3:10 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nope, no need to wave our banner and say look at us...especially not in the west coast boomer world where we already have protesters outside of the Bangor gates. The people who need to know, already understand how important Tridents are. As a boomer JO that got a free trip to USStratcom, I was impressed by the LOK and respect that non-navy folks had for the boomer role, the old tripod is really a bipod now, and boomers are the only mobile/hidden asset we have. The T-hulls have a 2+ decades left, and a replacement should role out in about 15-20 years if we are smart about it. In the in the 2009 Posture Statement from USStratcom to the Congressional Subcommittee that hears such things, new weapons systems were specifically identified as something we do not need. I am not sure if this means Stratcom doesn’t think we need to address new boats at some point, or is referencing the weapons that boomers can carry, either way I think we are stuck with the current class of ships for a good long while. This line of thought also assumes that the building of a new SSBN class is more or less decided based on Stratcom concerns with the obvious USN input, something that is well beyond my pay grade.

I don’t have much grasp of ship building lag time from “hey we need a new type” to when it goes operational, I am assuming 10 years give or take, meaning that we have to pull the trigger in the 2020 timeframe. Maybe someone with experience can throw out a ball park....I had also heard rumors of the T-Hull lifespan being increased such that this problem might be pushed back by 5-10 years. I had always heard an approx 40 year lifespan, which obviously depends on numerous factors.

Here is the USStratcom Posture Statement:

7/02/2009 5:59 PM

Anonymous SJV said...

Complacency is the enemy of progress, and in this case the stakes are high. Just in case that laser-sonar-pipedream comes true, we need to be working toward the next great thing. Hide under a rock and your "roll" will be to stay there. The protesters will always be there, but our job is to protect their rights to be stupid. It'd be nice if we could rest on our laurels, but that's not how the world works. I'll let some others weigh in now.

7/02/2009 8:19 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that Boomers should be left in the closet like your crazy aunt.

7/02/2009 8:49 PM

Blogger bigsoxfan said...

Amen to the closet. Some things are better not seen. Better to keep the threat on the level of the monster, "might be under the bed, if you don't start behaving right now". Happy 4 July, to those who keep the peace.

7/02/2009 9:59 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

A question for submariners:

Would it be possible for the next generation of boomers to carry Tomahawks (or a new cruise missile) in addition to new SLBMs? Kind of a like a hybrid of SSBN and SSGN. Wouldn’t it be useful to have both capabilities in one hull, to have subs that make deterrent patrols but can also launch strikes that only SSNs have done in the past, during Desert Storm, OEF, and OIF?

Or is this completely impossible for a million reasons?

Ignorant Civilian

7/03/2009 1:29 AM

Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

Ignorant Civilian:

Different masters, different missions, different patches of ocean. SSBNs have always had a post-launch capability to continue on in an SSN role, though the capabilities in the boomers have lagged way behind modern SSNs.

But if the role of SSNs was heating up, that would be the time when the SBN's ability to 'hide with pride' would be essential and the heightened risk of exposure inherent in an attack role would be absolutely counterproductive.

And BTW, SSNs are the most costly platform from which to launch TLAMs on a cost-per-round basis. Were the submarine's inherent stealth of any value in the TLAM role, the cost makes sense. But TLAMs can be launched from just about anything that floats, lowest-cost-effectively from the lamented and unbuilt arsenal ship. SSNs failed miserably in their first attempt to use TLAMs, in the opening rounds of Desert Storm. Since then they have proven that yes, it is possible to launch TLAMs successfully from a submerged platform even though there is no reason to do so other than the now-good skill submariners possess in this role.

To slv: Read the thread below again - laser-induced sound systems have nothing to do with detection.

7/03/2009 7:33 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the biggest impediment to a SSBN/SSGN hybrid is that the training would really cut into off-crew time and cause work days to go later than 4:30. Boomer sailors would revolt. There would be a mutiny! :)

7/03/2009 7:35 AM

Blogger phw said...

Rubber Ducky,

Can you discuss why you considered SSN-launched TLAMs a failure in Desert Storm? Just curious

7/03/2009 8:37 AM

Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

Believe it was two boats who could not launch when ordered. Ancient history and not many folks talking about it - someone chime in if you've better knowledge.

7/03/2009 8:51 AM

Blogger wtfdnucsailor said...

A SSGN/SSBN hybrid would require some treaty negotiation with the Russians since it would violate the START treaties negotiated during the cold war. That was one of the major objections to a conventional warhead ballistic missile that would be launched from an SSBN.
EB is already starting on design work for the followon to the OHIO (Trident) Class. This effort is necessary to support the efforts of Great Britain to update her SSBN fleet (such as it is). The US and GB want a common missle compartment. This design work is also necessary to start replacing the OHIOs before they are decommissioned. Unfortunately, we can't design and build them as fast as we did in the late fifties and early sixties. It takes decades rather than less than five years. Serious design dollars will have to be in the FY2012 or FY2013 budget to get the design and construction done before it is time to decommission the first OHIO.

7/03/2009 10:08 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Off-topic skimmerism in this YouTube video, but I'm wondering what the crowd thinks here...will these guys get busted for this?

(Parental Caution: strong language in the accompanying music)

7/03/2009 12:30 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is it less expensive to launch a Tomahawk from one of the four converted SSGNs that from an SSN?

By the way, have any of the SSGNs launched in anger ("for real") yet?

7/03/2009 4:25 PM

Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

SSGN vs SSN TLAM launch costs: at this point, it's all sunk costs and probably a wash. Cost-to-shoot is not an operational consideration anyway but rather a much earlier decision factor in buying platforms to carry the birds.

Point is that submarines - any breed - are very pricy, to build, to man, and to maintain. Two things justify this expensive shiptype, its stealth and the effectiveness of its trained crews.

But you don't need stealth to launch a TLAM at any of the folks we're pissed at these days and you also don't need a trained crew to shoot a wooden round, which is essentially what a TLAM is (downlink the target parameters, input the nav, and pull the trigger).

The mission-du-jour of the US Navy these days is pretty low tech: find guys loose in the landscape and waste 'em; take out undefended civic infrastructure prior to an attack. It's not combat, it's shooting fish in a barrel. The arsenal ship is a much more effective (cost and operational impact) platform for this role than any submarine.

7/03/2009 5:06 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Would it be possible for the next generation of boomers to carry Tomahawks (or a new cruise missile) in addition to new SLBMs? Kind of a like a hybrid of SSBN and SSGN.
It would be counter productive, boomers are designed to stay hidden the entire time they are at sea, launching Tomahawks would be like posting a giant neon sign saying SSBM located here, take out America's best deterent.

7/03/2009 10:14 PM

Blogger Jack said...

RE: Skimmer you tube video...Hilarious!! Glad to see that squids just wanna have fun.

7/04/2009 9:45 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

As far as the You Tube, maybe instead of making videos these people ought to be working on some sort of warfare qualifications. I know that the emphasis isn't the same in the surface community, but that was a stupid number of non-quals doing something other than learning their profession.

7/05/2009 1:26 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would think the need for a new boomer would need some serious thinking. The nuclear strategy that emphasized the sea based, nearly impossible to prevent deterrent was based on the Soviet number of silo-buster ICBMs and not getting caught with our air bases and land based ICBMs knocked out.

AM wondering what country would want to spend the kind of $s to generate that kind of counter force threat. You don't need great guidance and great intel to have a counter-value strike capability but you do need a very sophisticated strike capability to pursue a counter-force strategy.

7/05/2009 7:49 PM

Blogger Jack said...

Hey Anon (of course) 1:26...I bet you'd be a real riot on the midwatch going 4 kts to nowhere.

7/06/2009 6:18 AM

Blogger Srvd_SSN_CO said...

Have plenty of knowledge on the 'told to shoot but couldn't get it up' but it is truly a boring story of a 28V power supply bumped (no shit) by a TM. Not really much worth saying--except that all the skimmers that night in 2003 had gone to bed as well.

Nice to WV on the tube. Did they actually make it back with the same CO and both buoys?

7/06/2009 9:54 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Srvd_CO.... I am proud to report that new CO is AMAZING and that the crew performed brilliantly during our TRE.

7/06/2009 5:06 PM


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