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.)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Missing MIP A SHT-ty Problem For 774s

From an article at reposted at, there are apparently concerns with how much Mold-in-Place (MIP) Special Hull Treatment (SHT) is falling off the Virginia-class boats. Excerpts:
Significant portions of the specialized hull coating sloughed off from portions of three of the first four boats in the class, leading the Navy to begin an investigation to determine the cause of the problem and how to fix it.
The coatings, applied to the entire exterior of submarines to absorb sonar waves and reduce the amount of detectible noise emanating from inside the boat, have "debonded" from underway Virginia class subs, often in "large sections up to hundreds of square feet," according to the Pentagon's top weapons tester.
J. Michael Gilmore, director of operational testing and evaluation, presented the findings in a June 30 letter to Ashton B. Carter, the Pentagon's acquisition chief. In the letter, Gilmore said the Virginia class program has experienced multiple "fail-to-sail" issues — problems that could delay a ship's deployment — including the hull coating problem.
Major hull coating failures are limited to three of the seven subs commissioned so far — the Virginia, Texas and the North Carolina — the Navy said in a written response to questions posed by the Daily Press. The debonding occurred over a period of several years.
Several readers here noticed this problem from a picture of USS Hawaii (SSN 776) I posted earlier this month. As I recall, the early 751-flight Los Angeles-class boats had the same problem. As the engineers have solved similar problems before, I'm sure they'll figure this one out as well -- given enough time and money.

What's the most interesting thing you've ever had fall off your boat?

Update 0732 23 Sep: Some really good posts from Next Navy on the subject of the debonding MIP can be found here and here. The links include close-ups from this picture of USS Texas (SSN 775) taken last month that shows missing MIP from all along the starboard side of the boat:


Blogger Vigilis said...

LTjg Janiek was pretty interesting and very well-liked (he had not been shoved overboard), this happened in a cold, rough sea, and well out of land's sight.

9/21/2010 8:57 AM

Anonymous Ho hum said...

Huh. Well, outside of an anchor, screw, outboard or the odd junior officer, there isn't a whole lot that can fall off a boat.

But...the most interesting thing that our ship's Navigator once thought was falling off the boat were the fairwater planes.

One of the many max-stress things you do during initial high-speed runs on a newcon boat's alpha trials is to take the (then) fairwater planes to full rise at a flank bell.

Standing directly underneath them in control by the nav plots, we got an earful of the massive popping sounds that were being produced, and the Nav seriously thought we were breaking or outright losing the fairwater planes.

I was just a nub at the time, but had lots of boating experience and managed to say just one word in response to the Nav's "What the f--k is that?" semi-shriek...


The Nav and his lard-ass, full jar of peanut-butter-eating ANAV guffhawed at my analysis...until they almost apologetically agreed (after talking to the shipyard folk gathered) that this was indeed what was going on.

9/21/2010 9:26 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Me. In Guam as the DCPO. I was adjusting the shack over the Weps shipping hatch and stepped onto the slippery moist from the humidity full day of snorkeling diesel juiced SHT. Started to slide, then in the drink. Question fom topside...Chief should I call it away? Me...F@%! NO!! I crawled back up the drunk line and proceeded to the Ward Room to let the SDO know what had happened and why it wasn't called away. Everyone got a good laugh out of that one that night.

9/21/2010 9:26 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The plexiglass shield from the bridge.

Not that interesting by itself, but the 30-foot waves in the Med that blew it out when the boat submerged while running on the surface were mighty impressive.

We (the lookout and I) survived to tell the tale, but not an act I'd care to repeat.

9/21/2010 9:36 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was on station during a WESTPAC. I was in the wardroom while we were at PD when I heard a very loud THUD come from control. The #2 scope eye piece box had separated from the barrel. As the NAC it was not a fun day. LID and LIS all the way back to Sasebo. Two weeks in port to fix.

9/21/2010 10:05 AM

Blogger Lou said...

The departing XO's Apple Macintosh. He had insisted on carrying it off the boat himself.

9/21/2010 10:05 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

correction to my post: NAV not NAC

9/21/2010 10:06 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The CO of USS Plunger (SSN-595), Commander A. L. Wilderman, was lost overboard in a storm just off San Francisco.

9/21/2010 10:09 AM

Blogger wtfdnucsailor said...

The Anchor, twice, once off New London and once of Vina Del Mar, Chile. Both required reams of JAG investigation paper. The were not as much fun as the knot in the anchor chain that required an extra four days in Rio. Tough penalty.

9/21/2010 10:12 AM

Anonymous NHSparky said...

Also me. Off-going duty section on a Saturday morning, checking topside, slipped on some hull growth because I was too close to the waterline, slipped in, but made it back in about 1/2 a second. Both duty sections still got a pretty good laugh out of it as I'm standing in the RC tunnel, still dripping wet. Fast enough topside or the pier sentry never even noticed I was in the water. Same boat, lost our anchor off Pattaya Beach. But we got an extra 4 days in Pattaya because of it. Ah, good times.

9/21/2010 10:18 AM

Blogger Vigilis said...

We all remember S.F.S.F.O. (the approved crew answer (SSN-21, etc)if anyone asked how fast your boat could go).

The question everyone should have asked next is what BH is asking now, what stuff fell off?

9/21/2010 11:08 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon @ 1009AM The CO of USS Plunger (SSN-595), Commander A. L. Wilderman, was lost overboard in a storm just off San Francisco.

I think I remember that one. We were in overahaul at Mare Island. From what I remember, he was not wearing a lifejacket or a safety harness and was just swept away.

No float coats back then. They were giving out a softball sized orange object that could be thrown like a baseball at the man overboard. Supposed to inflate when it hits the water. Are those still around?

9/21/2010 1:12 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

after 80 wonderful days in the indian ocean on indianapolis in 1982, discovered that the fairing around the head valve was missing.
Made for some very interesting snorkling when the head valve was shut more than open.

9/21/2010 1:24 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The story at Mare Island Nuke School at the time was that, due to his performance during the overhaul, he did not FALL overboard. Just a rumor.


9/21/2010 1:31 PM

Blogger Bryan said...

Radar mast - although more appropriately "sucked" off the sail

9/21/2010 2:13 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

AUGUSTA lost a WAA panel during deployment '03 on the transit back. Someone noticed it during swim call before ORSE.

9/21/2010 2:17 PM

Blogger H. S. Normal said...

Upper weapons shipping hatch, I think it was Sand Lance. The hatch made it through the screw with minimal damage to the screw. Unknown how long we were operating submerged with the lower hatch doing its job!

9/21/2010 3:20 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The center bridge clamshell from LOUISIANA in 2008. No one realized it was missing until rigging the bridge for dive following the BSP. Apparently the OOD and Nav ET who initially manned the bridge didn't realize it wasn't supposed to have a skylight!

In retrospect, I may have been the OOD (submerged) when it actually detached. I vaguely recall hearing metallic transients on the WQC-2 on a midwatch which may have been the clamshell bouncing down the turtle deck...

9/21/2010 5:06 PM

Anonymous Sparky the Wonder Truck said...

Our engineer, Chris "the screamer" Ratliff, Feb '88 Gibraltar harbor, SSN-693.
Two generations of submariners lament the rapid and efficient response of us topside that night.

9/21/2010 6:20 PM

Anonymous ex-ET nuke said...

Lost an anchor in the river Plate trying to anchor out near Buenos Aires, up river from where the Graf Spee was scuttled.

9/21/2010 7:06 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

H. S. Normal said...
Upper weapons shipping hatch, I think it was Sand Lance. The hatch made it through the screw with minimal damage to the screw. Unknown how long we were operating submerged with the lower hatch doing its job!

No just how in the heck do you lose a an uppper weapons shipping hatch without knowing it and get some screw damage without hearing it? I've worked on those 637 class and that hatch is not light weight. Would not the water pressure at depth keep it seated?

Who was the office who checked rig for dive on that hatch?

Too many details left out on that one.

9/21/2010 7:21 PM

Anonymous Below Decks Watch said...

USS Boise, fall 1996. Leaving Rotterdam on a surface transit down the English Channel out to the dive point. Problem was that the leftovers of Hurricane Lilly were there as well welcoming us. Flying bridge... ripped off.
Radio mast... bent.
Periscope... bent.

At least we got to see Plymouth England. It had, at that time, one of the best looking Woolworth's I had ever seen. 2 KFCs and a Toys R Us as well. I think we took over this pub called Two Trees.

9/21/2010 8:22 PM

Anonymous ssnret said...

"Sparky the Wonder Truck said...

Our engineer, Chris "the screamer" Ratliff, Feb '88 Gibraltar harbor, SSN-693."

Was that the same visit that had us go out for one night with the anchor half out and then tie up pierside for 3 days before it got loose? Long story involving stationing the manuevering watch at 0200 with the collision alarm. Twice.

Within a year that anchor and all the chain were laying at the bottom of Chesapeake Bay after the anchor watch was told to operate one valve to many on the entering port checklist.

9/21/2010 10:15 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The anchor off Greeneville got stuck while doing anchoring by Maui. Salvage came by and decided it would take to long to cut, so a "small" explosive charge was affixed to the chain. 3, 2, 1, ... BOOM. Small charge my a$$.

9/21/2010 11:29 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

We once had a CO fall off of the mighty war canoe along with a JO one weekend while in port, along with his iPhone, which happened to bounce off of the sail when he tried to save it. As for the mip, it may come as a surprise to some, but it's old news for the crews. I'm sure they have been taking it seriously, but it's good to finally see it officially recognized. Almost any non poster picture of a 774 class will show ripped MIP, especially when returning from a long time at sea.

9/22/2010 3:09 AM

Blogger ETCS(SS/SW) said...

Rigging and unrigging the portable Furuno radar. We never actually lost one overboard but I was always seriously afraid that it might happen one day. That thing was a definite hazard to bring up and take down from the bridge. I remember doing that once in some serious seas... very scary.

9/22/2010 4:12 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

how about loosing the lower half of the rudder, after spending 8 months in drydock (an affair which included replacing the rudder and fairwater planes!

9/22/2010 11:49 AM

Blogger Do You Think I G.A.F. said...

Lets see..on the 682 from 90-92 when I was there. One doghouse (framed with angle iron), many coffee cups, a couple of midwatch dumps, quite a few number 10 cans rolled down the brow during stores load and me a few times as deck div LPO.
On the 718, deck div LPO a few times (not me), one sail cover with one ET2 holding on (ET2 came back up, sail cover to bottom), more coffe cups and stores load materials, one GPS, a few binoculars.
On 731 - one turtle back kick plate, a few more coffee cups and a few TDU cans to catch crabs in Bangor.
These were the boats I was on. I do remember the 725 either putting in or removing a tomahawk at Westloc, the crane started tipped and the crane operator released the tomahawk in to the drink (or something like that).

That's about all I can remember.


9/22/2010 1:41 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

a salinity alarm panel.

Story is way to long to type. I'll leave it to your imagination.

9/22/2010 4:43 PM

Anonymous STSC said...

Sail plates over the side inport becauase of poor work practices. Those things become underwater frisbees and took days (each time) to find afterwards by divers.
Whoever thought of custom drilling the bolt holes for those so that they are all 1-off items wasn't a Submariner.

An IC2 fell overboard chasing some Pepsi's the day of deployment. Had to get run up to medical for some shots (nasty water) and came back right before they pulled the brow. The Chief was sweating it in the interim because he was going to be P&S AEF if IC2 hadn't make it back in time.

Night vision goggles the Sail watch was playing with. Lot of paperwork involved in reporting that stupidity.

Force Protection radios galore...

Ballcaps that blew off while pulling in to Pearl. Always fun to watch them float away (unless it was yours).

9/22/2010 4:48 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our flag and mast went overboard during a Nor'Easter and into the Thames once. When we left port a few days later, as we maneuvered away from the pier, the outboard motor sucked it up in the prop, causing us to be delayed for a day or so as divers worked to clean it up and we could retract it.

9/22/2010 5:40 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our flag and mast went overboard in a Nor'Easter and into the Thames once. When we left port a few days later, as we maneuvered away from the pier, the outboard motor sucked it up in the prop, causing us to be delayed for a day or so as divers worked to clean it up and we could retract it.

9/22/2010 5:41 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

. . . a few more coffee cups

Having performed numerous security swims, I can attest to the hundreds, if not thousands, of Navy issue coffee mugs littering the bottom around submarine piers.

9/22/2010 6:56 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Most interesting stuff coming off the boat? Hmmmm...

How about radioactive source that...can't talk about that, sworn to secrecy by ELT.

Had an XO carrying a paper shopping bag down to the boat on our last day in PI. One of those monsoon type rains started and his bag ripped just before he was going down the hatch. a dozen bottles of San Miguel fall on the deck, some breaking, some rolling into the bay. He just stood in the hatch staring at his mess.

This XO was a great guy, who at the end of that WESTPAC, found out his wife was getting porked by a 40year old Taco Bell manager. He could handle the unfaithfulness, the divorce, the children, but he just couldn't grasp the fact that it happened because of a 40year old Taco Bell manager. He did alright for himself though, which is why I don't mention his name, right...Admiral?

After 9/11 when we started arming half the ship inport, we would lose a 9mm round every now and then. As DCPO, I used to keep some extra rounds in my rack for those occasions. Some mornings, I would come in and there would be a note on my rack "ANAV, borrowed a round. Thanks". Sometimes, things such as a $15 box of 50, just make life easier on everyone.

Jim C.

9/22/2010 7:43 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Spent two days at Point Loma diving for a shotgun round the topside lost overboard.

9/22/2010 8:22 PM

Anonymous tmarks11 said...

MSCS noticed that our supply of coffee cups was dwindling at an alarming rate, during a stand-down and upkeep following westpac.

Dwindled almost to zero, in fact. We had a topside watch who ceremoniously consigned his coffee cup "to the deep" every time he polished off a cup. I think there was a nice little pyramid of coffee cups on the floor of the harbor where we were moored.

9/23/2010 5:01 AM

Blogger Alexander said...

I managed to shoot the fat line towed array clear out of the boat while moored at PSNS. Funny thing was, it didn't even phase the CO and it somehow managed to put the schedule for its offload a day ahead of schedule.

Anyone have any good stories about dye markers? I woke up one morning as the SDO to my section leader calling everyone topside, and a 1MC of "the fire main is pressurized..." end result was yellow-green water from the bow to the screw. Shipyard workers thought it was anti freeze, our friends on the other side of the pier knew exactly what it was...

9/23/2010 11:34 PM

Anonymous said...

It cannot have effect in actual fact, that is what I think.

6/18/2012 10:22 AM

Anonymous STSC Hall said...

About the CO of Plunger being lost at sea. I knew the STS1/Bridge JA phone talker. He said incident occurred transiting from Mare Island to Pacific Ocean while still inside SF bay. He estimated SS6 in bay, CO refused to wear safety gear in sail. Wave knocked overboard, JA called man overboard!
OOD did Williamson turn, but passed CO in water greater than 100 yards, did second Williamson, but never regained visual contact, with poor visibility. Plunger was in post over 12 months following incident while formal investigations were conducted.

2/05/2013 1:21 PM


Post a Comment

<< Home