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, November 09, 2010

HMAS Dechaineux Collides With Tug

The Australian Collins-class submarine HMAS Dechaineux (SSG 76) collided with a harbor tug today as it was leaving HMAS Stirling south of Perth.
The submarine was carrying out a routine manoeuvre with the tug when the tug crossed over Dechaineux's stern.
No one was injured but a subsequent inspection has confirmed repairs are needed.
HMAS Dechaineux will undergo repairs over the coming weeks.
As a result, HMAS Dechaineux will withdraw from training exercises off the WA coast.
HMAS Dechaineux was scheduled to participate in Navy's annual anti-submarine warfare exercise off the Western Australia coast. She will be replaced by HMAS Collins which is currently at sea.
Here's a picture of the boat in better times:

Also in the news, and not really submarine-related even though some people say it is, there are reports of a missile launch off the coast of Los Angeles last night that some people suspect was an ICBM launch from an American SSBN meant to show President Obama's Asian hosts that we... I don't know... have submarines that can launch ICBMs. In case they forgot or something.

Update 1300 10 Nov: An idiot Russian general weighs in on the aircraft contrail siting:
In Moscow, Major General Alexander Vladimirov, vice president of Russia's board of military experts, told the Interfax news agency the television image "looks like the launch of a missile from a submarine."
"Most likely we are talking about the launch of a Trident-2 ballistic missile from an Ohio submarine," Vladimirov was quoted as saying.
"There is reason to believe this was an unsanctioned launch of a missile from a submarine. If this is so, then many questions arise about the condition of the U.S. armed forces," he said.
I can't believe we were ever afraid of these guys. On the other hands, Americans (though not military trained) who claim that a North Korean submarine could make it across the Pacific, let alone launch a missile, aren't showing themselves as too smart either.


Anonymous submarines once... said...

What is it with tugs and the stern area of a submarine that makes these things happen, or is this just the 24/7 news cycle that brings such events world-wide attention. Who knows what prompted a tug captain to maneuver such, especially in a submarine homeport.

No comment on the missile video.

11/09/2010 9:27 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn't the appropriate term SLBM instead of ICBM? Not trolling here... actually asking.

11/09/2010 10:22 AM

Anonymous Rapidnadion said...

That possible slbm launch deserves its own post, I think, Joel. Would be interested to hear comments from your readership.

11/09/2010 10:24 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

At least they didn't lose the mail.

11/09/2010 10:24 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn't the appropriate term SLBM instead of ICBM?

SLBM = Sub launched Ballistic Missle ICBM = Inter-(C)ontinental Ballistic Missle. They're descriptive of two different aspects, so a given missle can be either one, both, or neither.

11/09/2010 10:48 AM

Blogger Atomic Dad said...

Considering location, and lack of real response from the powers that be, looks like a training launch.

Who knows though.

On the main topic, it seems that the Collins boats can't seem to get a break. The Aussies are barely getting them to sea and then this happens. Australian submariners are a very intelligent and hard bunch of people. I hope they can sort out these continuing problems that are costing their fellow taxpayers a lot of money.


11/09/2010 10:55 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Joel, also deserving of its own post - Fred Harris died yesterday. Any Naval Officer who made a port visit in the last 40 years more likely than not met Fred - he was president of the Tokyo Navy League and/or the Tokyo American Club at various times and a great man. Obit follows:

Obituary: Frederick Harris, Nov 5, 2010

Artist and community leader Frederick Harris, a resident of Japan for more than 50 years, died early Monday of heart failure. He was 78 and is survived by his wife, Kazuko.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., he came to Japan during the Korean War. He stayed on and eventually established The Design Studio, a prominent architectural firm, in Tokyo.
At various times he served as president of the Tokyo American Club, the Navy League in Japan and the Jewish Community Center in Tokyo, and was involved in numerous other organizations.
Harris was well known as an artist and was decorated by the Emperor with the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette, for his contributions to U.S.-Japan relations.
He was designated as an adviser and representative to the Asian Division of the Library of Congress, where he strengthened and helped evolve the Japanese collection.
One of his paintings is on permanent display at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo.
Harris was asked by the Foreign Ministry and the telecommunications ministry to create an image for use on a postage stamp in 2004 commemorating 150 years of Japan-U.S. relations — the first living artist to be so recognized.

11/09/2010 11:19 AM

Anonymous pc assclown said...

Could be a submarine launched cruise missile (SLCM).... Makes more sense to be having an SSGN or SSN doing a test launch at that location. But only guessing here...

11/09/2010 11:21 AM

Anonymous news reader said...

The plot thickens.

"Contacted by ABC News, a Navy official said today they were still looking into the report, but, a preliminary check indicated it was not a Navy asset."

11/09/2010 12:03 PM

Anonymous pc assclown said...

Having lived in Temecula (commuting to/from work in San Diego) over a fifteen year period, I have witnessed several launches that I presumed were from Vandenberg AFB. They were all on the same bearing of 315 true as one passed through Poway. A truly impressive sight.

On the other hand I suppose the thing could have actually been my cousin Alfalfa, accidently launching himself while attempting to light one of his world famous high velocity charged farts. The effect was usually similar but just a bit short of an actual launch. It's possible that an extra serving of frijoles from Alberto's Taco Shop on the corner of 32nd and National Ave in National City was just enough to send him on a high speed vertical trajectroy.

11/09/2010 12:45 PM

Blogger wtfdnucsailor said...

Just heard a news report that the Navy suspects it was an airplane contrail, not a missile launch. Now all they have to do is determine which airplane.

11/09/2010 2:36 PM

Anonymous former U.S. SSN Weps said...

A few immediate thoughts come to mind on the missile launch off of L.A.:

1) More than likely, some of the guys here know what it was but can't/won't say right now...perhaps as it should be.

2) Almost certainly not a U.S. military asset launch, or otherwise NORAD-the-denier would look mighty out-of-control and/or stupid later on once the launcher falls under the spotlight.

3) Also not a Tomahawk or Harpoon, based on launch bunt/profile.

4) Also doubtful that it was a foreign submarine missile, and in any case not a SLBM. Reason: launch profile and relatively weak contrail.

5) Subject to additional facts, IMHO this was most likely:

(a) A tactical (non-ICBM), non-friendly missile launch from a surface ship in international waters with the intention of putting the U.S. "on notice." I'm not as keen as others on claiming that it's "no threat to our nation," regardless of the source (including U.S.).

(b) A non-hostile, smartass-backed 'someone' with the resources to launch such a thing outside of U.S. territorial waters/jurisdiction just for show and tell.

11/09/2010 2:45 PM

Anonymous former U.S. SSN Weps said...

I would quickly agree that it looks more like an airplane's contrail than a missile's, especially noting the dual nature of the trail in some views, but the extreme angle of attack does not look like an airplane's.

The "bright light" could of course simply be reflection off of an aluminum hull...but the straightness of the contrail implies much greater than airplane speeds.

11/09/2010 2:55 PM

Blogger Atomic Dad said...

I would agree with Former U.S. SSN Weps in that the asccent angle does not look like an aircraft contrail.

Not sure I agree about the size, but I'm not an expert of course. At that distance I find it is probably hard to judge the size of the contrail... and it looks pretty large to me.

Guess we won't know until people start talking.


11/09/2010 3:36 PM

Blogger MT1(SS)WidgetHead said...

35+ miles from Ventura? That would lead me to ask what's happening on San Nicolas Island? Did someone push the big red button without permission or did they have an accidental launch due to a um...faulty tube and lack of maintenance?

The trajectory of that thing is awfully screwy. If it had come from an actual badguy, it wouldn't take us much time or effort to knock it down.

11/09/2010 3:44 PM

Anonymous pc assclown said...

Received confirmation this afternoon from Aunt Betty Sue Ana-belle. It was indeed Alfalfa. The poor bastard was showing off his fart lighting prowess to the girls in his neighborhood, and just seemed to out do himself.

Seems his launch/bunt profile was just right to send him bouncing on to Santa Cruz Island of the Channel Islands. His only significant injury was third degree burns to his butt hole and a few bruises about the head.

11/09/2010 3:52 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The contrail in question is almost certainly from an aircraft and not a missile. There really isn't any ascent angle at all. The position of the camera relative to the aircraft and the aircraft's direction of travel make it appear to be traveling up when in fact it is simply traveling "towards" the camera. From a different angle it looks just like a normal aircraft contrail, which is why the only report is from a rather sensationalist local news station whose helicopter just happened to be in the right place at the right time. This has happened several times in the past (the pictures are kicking around on the net), though I can't recall such a fuss being made over it.

Besides, which is more likely? A misidentified aircraft contrail that looks funny due to perspective, or a mysterious missile launch in heavily instrumented airspace that no one knows anything about? Occam's Razor and all that.

11/09/2010 4:07 PM

Blogger John Byron said...

Oh My God! CNN is baffled!

11/09/2010 4:13 PM

Blogger Thomas said...

I read through the comments here, and watched the video myself.

Folks, that looks JUST EXACTLY LIKE a rocket launch from Cape Canaveral. I may not have ever seen an SLBM launch but I've seen more than a few rocket launches. Smoke trail being blown around at low altitude, you can see the fricking rocket motor burning (just like the shuttle's solid rockets), airplane contrail my a$$.

Our guys say it wasn't ours. You do the math. The Chinese just told Barry Sotero to sit down and shut the F up. Chicoms getting ready for a move on Taiwan?

11/09/2010 4:43 PM

Blogger Atomic Dad said...

On the original topic. How often do tugs pass behind a ship or submarine? This seems a bad place to be. As I'm always in the engineroom during this types of operations, I've never seen or dealt with this.

Does anyone have any info for me?


11/09/2010 5:22 PM

Blogger Bubblehead said...

@ Thomas -- Umm... No.

11/09/2010 5:49 PM

Blogger John Byron said...

1. Submarines know about tugs. Not all tugs know about submarines.

2. Aircraft contrail, illuminated from beneath by the sun just under the horizon.

11/09/2010 6:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

For those claiming an aircraft contrail, from where did the plane take off?

11/09/2010 8:11 PM

Blogger Thomas said...


Um no what? No it doesn't look like a rocket launch (except it does look like one in several respects though)? No to the editorializing about Obama/Sotero? Fair enough to that, but if you think this looks more like a jet contrail than a rocket launch, please say why. I've seen one or two dozen rocket launches in person, living right next to Cape Canaveral. That video looks a lot more like a rocket launch than it does a jet contrail, in several ways. Just because the .gov and .mil are standing around looking puzzled doesn't mean it's a jet or swamp gas or a weather balloon.

I can think of several reasons why China/NK/Iran might get a kick out of doing something like this, either from a submarine or a ship out at sea, but that's maybe getting ahead of things. Certainly it's possible though. We aren't the only people who can launch rockets.

11/09/2010 8:25 PM

Anonymous Conspiracy Theory said...


And the aircraft:

No mystery here. Even SSBN FCET's done in that area are announced and LNTM/NOTAM's are issued.


As for the tug vs. sub, was there any announcement concerning the mail? Probably no new lessons learned here.

11/09/2010 8:38 PM

Anonymous former U.S. SSN Weps said...

Count me in with the jet contrail crowd. It does appear to be 'just' an optical illusion (that defied a quick DoD or FAA explanation, for whatever reason).

As others have pointed out, it's a plane flying toward the video observer, approaching from over the horizon...not a missile flying away. "made us look," didn't it?

11/09/2010 9:10 PM

Blogger Vigilis said...

Tug affair was an unsolicited ploy to take heat off UK's Astute fiascos of late?

In the bargain, HMAS Dechaineux's entire crew is relieved to be replaced by HMAS Collins, currently at sea, in upcoming training exercises.

The one Collins sub in the RAN able to put to sea now must carry the whole load? How contagious is shore duty?

11/09/2010 9:14 PM

Blogger Atomic Dad said...

Like I wrote earlier, the RAN has had a hell of a time getting the Collins class boats out to sea. It seems either their boats are broken all the time, or stuck waiting on money for repairs.

Really, they also have had a terrible time recruiting for their sub force. It seems to me that each problem makes the other worse.

It will take a fix in one to fix the other.

At least, that's how I see it.

As far as the tug incident. I hope the sub's corrective action isn't too severe, as it sounds that this was mostly the tug's fault.


11/09/2010 10:44 PM

Blogger MT1(SS)WidgetHead said...

I have to agree with that last one as well. The tug should have held it's position while the boat was getting underway and out of the way. How many precious minutes would such a simple thought possibly consume?

The Aussies are smart as hell and so much fun to shoot darts with and drink with. The girls love us...I can't help but wonder what Real estate prices are like over there. They love asking us about weapons and other questions regarding the reactor. Sometimes I feel it's too bad we can't talk about certain subjects without pissing off NNPI.

11/09/2010 11:43 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aye Aye... The Fargin Foster"s foam must have gotten between the eye and the scope... Way to go ya Bunch of Wankers....

11/10/2010 4:05 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon @4:05 PM,
Absolutely no offence has been directed toward nor intended toward our Aussie brothers or sheilas.

We like Foster's!

11/10/2010 6:03 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Find that Chicom submarine yet?

11/10/2010 6:42 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

From Universe Today:

"The Boeing Co. every so often will deploy aircraft from San Nicolas Island. These flights are part of an anti-missile laser testing program. However, the company has announced that it had nothing in the air on Monday."

Too slow for missile; aircraft contrail.


11/10/2010 8:12 PM

Anonymous 5of9 said...

We have come too far to not know what this is. Chasing the lie is fun though.

11/11/2010 2:39 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

mt1(ss)widgethead said...

The trajectory of that thing is awfully screwy. If it had come from an actual badguy, it wouldn't take us much time or effort to knock it down

Thank God CBS News was there to alert the military!

11/12/2010 11:48 AM


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