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, November 25, 2010

My Old Boat In The News

A couple of blog posts, here and here, mention my old boat USS Jimmy Carter (SSN 23) and what she may or may not be doing. From Galrahn:
There appear to be a few security holes somewhere in the US National Security information loop, because very credible sources have reported the first US ISR on the scene over Yeonpyeong was UAVs launched from the USS Jimmy Carter (SSN 23). While I appreciate the idea that leaking submarine activity might be part of a well orchestrated information campaign against North Korea (North Korea couldn't detect the USS Jimmy Carter short of using a minefield, even if they used every sonar in their entire inventory), I don't think that is actually the reason for the leak.
I have absolutely no comment on any supposed UAV capabilities of the Carter.

[Admin note: Sorry for the light posting this week; I rolled my truck when I hit black ice about 15 miles north of the Idaho/Utah border in the storm that came through the west this week, driving back from picking up my son from college in Provo on Monday night. Everyone is OK, truck not so much.]

Update 02 Dec 1150: Made another round trip to Provo, this one with better results. Here's an account of the accident last Monday from one of the participants.


Anonymous 3383 said...

Is I-15 still a 2-lane road around that area?

11/26/2010 12:06 AM

Anonymous ret.cob said...

Glad you're ok Bblhd. Too bad about the truck.

11/26/2010 5:05 AM

Blogger ETCS (SS/SW) said...

Glad to hear you are OK Joel.

I didn't know what ISR was, so I Googled it and a couple of entries down I came across this site:

The website reads almost like a commercial company's website. Why does the military feel the need to publish things like online and in the clear?

11/26/2010 5:28 AM

Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

"Why does the military feel the need to publish things like online and in the clear?"

Duh. Maybe because we're a free nation and the owners of the military (the American people) might like to know what it does? Some folks just need to get out more.

11/26/2010 6:16 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

First, glad to know that you and yours are OK, BH; trucks can be replaced, people not so much. Second, you'd be amazed at what is open source out there: Tom Clancy got questioned by the FBI and CIA shortly after Hunt for Red October was release. Turns out that all the information in the book came directly from a war sim called Harpoon, which was created by an intel officer, Larry Bond, and a SWO ASW officer, Chris Carlson. ALL of the info in Harpoon is open source, and one of the hard rules of the game is that you can only used open source material for creating units and platforms and capabilities. The information comes largely from manufacturer press releases and from Navy press releases. The real stuff is seriously protected. Personally, I read about sub launched UAVs a couple of years ago.


11/26/2010 8:05 AM

Blogger SJV said...

Seems like a simple matter to me that we go in, run out KJI, and let the Koreans reunite. With the current economic power of the South, it won't be too much different from German reunification. We just need to reach out and touch our friend KJI...with a TLAM.

11/26/2010 8:10 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seems like nothing gets China's attention like Subs in their backyard.

11/26/2010 8:18 AM

Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

There's a lot more to Clancy and The Hunt etc. I was the reviewer for Naval Institute Press as it considered publishing Clancy's manuscript, which would have been its first work of fiction. When I finished the manuscript, I told the Press that it just had too much classified info to permit publication.

Within 15 minutes I got two phone calls. First was from Fred Rainbow, the USNI editor who put me on this project. He said Clancy swore it was all open source. I said bullshit.

Then Clancy himself called - first time I'd spoken with him. He made the same claim, I said the same response, and then he told me the inside story: "I sell insurance in Owings MD. Ten miles from my house is Calvert Cliffs nuclear power plant. The ex-submarine guys that work there buy insurance from me and I drink beer with them. They get bored watching the gage-board and praying that the needles don't move until they reach retirement age. They tell sea stories. I listen. That's where I got the info."

At that point I removed my challenge to publication: if he could do that, anyone could. Open source. (A second source can be found on the book's dedication page.)

Those with knotted knickers over Clancy's disclosures might note that after publication, Ron Thunman, then OP-02, gave out copies of the book to anyone he thought would help the submarine force. What Clancy did was to publicize potential SSN Cold-War ops the only way it could be done back then.

Frank Kelso also had us send him 20 copies of the book when he took over Sixth Fleet. I schlepped them through the DC Metro to a hotel where Clancy was staying and we were able to send the boss author-signed copies.

11/26/2010 8:31 AM

Anonymous NHSparky said...

Glad to hear you're okay, Joel--that stretch between there and Pocatello ain't the most friendly stretch of interstate. I used to live as a kid in the Bear Lake area and saw more than a few cars hit the ditches in the wintertime.

And it's amazing how much information that's supposedly classified makes it into print or on the airwaves.

11/26/2010 8:38 AM

Blogger ETCS (SS/SW) said...

@Rubber Ducky - there are many things in the military, and other areas of the government that are not publicized, nor should they be for matters of national security. I won't go into specifics but in the strategic weapons area there are a number I can think of off the top of my head. I'm as much for an open society as anyone, but there are limits. Your statement is foolish.

Sounds like you've got your panties in an extra-tight bunch this morning.

11/26/2010 8:43 AM

Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

Chief: you probably think this is foolish too: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

11/26/2010 8:56 AM

Blogger Alexander said...

Being stationed in the Bremerton shipyard, I got to see some interesting things. For example, SSN 23 in drydock. Even more interesting were the high quality satellite photos you could check out on google earth. One would think that stuff like that might be blurred out. I also watched the Parche get cut up. I could imagine what the various bulges and things were for, but would likely have to put my head in a shredder if I thought too much about it. Anyways, there is a reason it is called the "Silent Service."

11/26/2010 10:14 AM

Blogger SJV said...

A story told in a bar isn't open source.

11/26/2010 10:16 AM

Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

Social networks are regarded as a primary source of open-source intel. Maybe you drink alone, but in my experience social networking in a bar is a fairly common thing, eh. It is and always has been fair game.

To be clear: Clancy's primary source of the materials in Hunt for Red October was casual conversation with former submarine nukes.

11/26/2010 10:26 AM

Blogger SJV said...

I'm with you on this, RD. In a general sense we can apply the open source label to just about anything that isn't marked "Classified", and if it somehow gets published on the internet....

But it WAS fiction. He didn't need a source, OSINT, or SIGINT, or ISR. The most interesting stuff was embellishment anyway. He sure spun a good story.

Funny thought: ISR could also be...IRS.

11/26/2010 12:32 PM

Blogger kwicslvr said...

Good to hear you're okay Joel. That same fron tfinally belw through here last night. Dropped our highs from 80 to a frigid 54! lol

11/26/2010 1:23 PM

Anonymous 3383 said...

If classified information is published, does that mean it is no longer classified?

Just because something can be gleaned from obscure references or bar conversations doesn't mean it should be collected and collated for any foreign intelligence service which likely missed the initial publishing.

But no, I don't include Clancy's works. It was surprising to see what he was writing, but it also sort of seconded as a psyop (intentional or not) aimed at the USSR.

11/26/2010 1:44 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

@Joel. Glad you and yours are OK.

@the duck. What exactly is your problem? Hmmm? Someone says they're surprised at the content of a web site and you rip into them? You yourself admitted surprise at what Clancy had written before you knew the source. What's the difference? There really isn't any, you're just a fucking prick.

You left this board for a while the last time your panties got in a bunch. Why don't you leave for good? Is it because in real life you do drink alone? Why lower yourself to our level? It's got to be getting really tiresome to have to come on here and keep telling every one over and over again how to fix the sub force, and how to live our lives, reminding us what the Constitution says, etc., etc. It's got be wearing you out. Why do it? Surely there's somewhere on the Internet that would welcome a self-righteous, arrogant, asshole such as yourself with open arms. Why don't you go find it. Again.

FTC(SS) ret.

11/26/2010 2:01 PM

Blogger Vigilis said...

RD -

"Ralph's been hanging around DARPA and Defense Science Board, though he may now be a full-time storyteller (am not making this up - Google him)."

Well, just like Clancy's dedication to Ralph Chatham in 'The Hunt for Red October' the latter's DARPA connection is conveniently pat.

Clancy has enjoyed a little more than Dr. Chatham's sub-driver truth:

"The military has kind of adopted me, confessed Mr. Clancy in a telephone interview."

"Central Intelligence Agency officials, amazed by the book's grasp of military weaponry and tactics,invited the insurance man over for a briefing. Navy admirals courted his friendship." -
(August 18, 1986) Wall Street Journal, Mark Zieman, "Pentagon Pet Lets the Soviets Have It Again"; Bookshelf, "Red Storm Rising" by Tom Clancy.

The (1990 film) 'The Hunt for Red October' garnered official cooperation of the U.S. Navy in proportions that have neither been precedented nor repeated.

The Navy gave the filmmakers unprecedented access to their submarines, allowing them to photograph unclassified sections of USS Chicago and USS Portsmouth.

Cooperation of such proportions have been very unusual. Compare the courtesies shown Mace Neufeld Productions to this, for instance.

Might not a reasonable person consider whether the CIA had been assisting Clancy all along? Hmmm.

11/26/2010 2:40 PM

Blogger Chap said...

Duck's been civil on this comment string, and has been intellectually honest about his experience with the Clancy book. He and I may disagree on many things, but he's giving you what he saw straight TINS when he was there to see it. I've heard similar stories from others about that time from others involved.

Joel, sorry to hear about the truck, glad to hear about the family.

Galrahn is getting press reports, which can mangle truth in creative ways. Take it for what it is: Gal reporting press reporting in a place where truth is hard to come by. First reports tend to be wrong and believed, no? (oh could I tell you a couple about the difference between press reports and reality in what I am doing at work right now! The press *almost* had the guess right this week...)

UAVs on/controlled by subs have been around for a while. In the unclas world: Here's an illustrative example from over a decade ago. That's way before some interesting advances in the tech. My point here is that you don't necessarily need a particular platform to do certain things. Just sayin'; I claim no current events knowledge there and wouldn't tell you if I did.

If you want to see the really significant thing Galrahn did this week, look at the hornet's nest he's stirring up over at the USNI blog right now. He's naming names and there are some bubbleheads out there who should be lucky that the post is surface-centric.

11/26/2010 5:02 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Central Intelligence Agency officials, amazed by the book's grasp of military weaponry and tactics, invited the insurance man over for a briefing. Navy admirals courted his friendship."

Had the unnamed CIA officials (considering their clearances) been truly "amazed", by Clancy's grasp of weaponry and tactics, Clancy would be in prison to this day.

As Vigilis suggested, insurance man Clancy may have been hired and helped in writing his book(s) by the CIA.

My insurance man does not believe me, however. He plans to write a submarine novel like Joe Buff. How far will their books and movies go?

There is no domestic help like the CIA's.


11/26/2010 5:20 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

UAV's which were controlled by submarines has been around for fifty years. It's really old school technology thats been tweaked a bit.. Ok, more than a bit. Think Regulus...

11/26/2010 6:00 PM

Blogger ETCS (SS/SW) said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

11/26/2010 6:32 PM

Anonymous T said...

Galrahn seems spot on. The problems with the fleet fester from the top down. The average sailor is just trying to do his job and stay out of the line of fire.

His writing style is painful, however.

11/26/2010 6:35 PM

Blogger ETCS (SS/SW) said...


@ chap 1702: To hell with the USNI blog, the JHUJPL article is awesome. Thanks for passing this on; it's just the fix this technician needs after reading all of the political BS here. Re: the UAV system - I'm not sure I'd want to be keeping such a large radome out of the water for any length of time.

11/26/2010 6:36 PM

Anonymous 6 said...

fun reading... and a damn fine photo of the Carter. As an ops guy, I thought Clancy's Red October was non-revealing, simply entertaining.
<a href="
>Could this be a reference to the Duck?</a>

11/26/2010 8:29 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a non-Navy guy myself, I didn't understand any of the "Top Secret" stuff you guys were talking about either.

The technology battle for stealthy Subs has been around for a while, even before I heard of a "Caterpiller Drive." In the Clancy Novel.

"Vasilly. One ping only."

11/26/2010 8:41 PM

Anonymous Mark/MM1(SS) said...

I have to wonder if, given the period of the duck's service, and that he was on exclusively diesel boats, whether he was ever in an operational area where he was at much of a risk. That would go a long way toward explaining how he could indulge himself with such an insipidly pious bit of ideological purity as that most recent post.

11/26/2010 9:04 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

As an army man, here's the drift I take from this blog so far:

Anything you guys have not had personal familiarity with as far as submarine operations and capabilities just can't be true, unless you hear over a drink in some bar. Shame! Shame!

My brother was a chief submariner and tells quite different stories of loose lip control some of you never imagined even existed.

11/26/2010 9:46 PM

Anonymous Veemann said...

Sorry to hear about the accident. Glad to hear you are ok. As for the truck - that's why we have insurance. I slid off the road the one winter that I was in Idaho Falls but I didn't have a good cover story like you did. Stay safe.

11/27/2010 7:03 AM

Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

mark/mm1(ss) :

Sorry Sonny. 6 FBM patrols, 5 in the Northern Gyre and one Med; fired 7-missile ripple Polaris A2 as Gun Boss. Gulf of Tonkin in CG during height of Vietnam War. Last diesel spec-op. Been there done that.

11/27/2010 7:16 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

That confirms it exactly - absolutely nothing relevant to today's areas and missions.

11/27/2010 8:26 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Last I checked we still fire SLBM's...

11/27/2010 10:45 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon @8:26 AM

While the Duck seems to enjoy grating binary button-pushers the wrong way, those who suspect history is ever irrelevant are more likely to be the ones who don't know what they are talking about.

I, for one, am learning to appreciate the views the Duck brings to TSSP.

The guy has had some fairly unique submarine experience.


11/27/2010 10:46 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The JHUAPL article was interesting but very old news. We are way beyond that now.

Additionally, people would be suprised on what's being worked in the R&D side of of the house now.

Sure old-fashioned submarine spec ops still have some limited usefulness, but a smaller, more technological advanced submarine force is the way of the future, like it or not.

11/27/2010 11:54 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

On the topic of whether once classified info is released by whatever means into the public domain is it still classified. The quick answer is yes. About A month ago when all this wikileak stuff was boiling, either navy or dod sent a.message saying essentially that all. Active duty were prohibited from possessing any classified info from that site. they explictly said that though compromised, classified info remains classified until declassified. Ftb4evr

11/27/2010 12:28 PM

Blogger ETCS (SS/SW) said...

@ Anon 27 Nov 1154 - Agreed, the JHUAPL article was written in 1998 from an operation that was conducted in 1996. There was virtually no practicality in the operational aspects of the experiment but it was a good proof of concept. I have no doubt we've progressed significantly in technical capabilities.

One thing I am not sure as far as UAV/submarine ops is whether or not there are submarine launched UAV's. And Joel's not talking. During the timeframe of the '96 op, the UAV was launched from the ground based control station and control of the UAV was passed on to the submarine. After the mission, the reverse was accomplished and the ground station landed the UAV. There were significant operation constraints.

I'd also agree with you that a smaller, more technological submarine force is the way of the future. However, the basics of submarining must always prevail. As long as we do not forgo the chicken switches in lieu of an electronic replacement. From this tour (see link) of the USS North Carolina, the chicken switches stand out like a sore thumb amidst the sea of electronics... just as they should. I found the pushbutton for 'Emergency Deep' on one of the touch panels amusing. Great tour here. Surprised the navy let some of this stuff out of the bag (sorry rubber ducky; as a former submarine electronics technician, I find this tour immensely interesting. However, as an American citizen, I see no practical reason for this stuff to be available to the general public.

@ Anon 27Nov 0826 - I'd have to disagree with you. I think all submarine operations from the past are still significantly relevant to today's areas and missions. This is particularly true in light of basic submarine operation.
@ Anon 26Nov 0946 - I'd have to agree with your brother. There were a number of evolutions that we performed in the nav center that placed the nav center a top secret condition. If you didn't have a need to know, you weren't going to be there during that evolution. Most of the crew did not know what was happening when those evolutions were in progress. I am quite sure there were things going on in other areas of the boat at times that I was not privy to.

Another thing that surprises me about current (and maybe past) submarine culture was the nuc cheating issue as discussed in the previous thread. I was truly shocked to hear how the engineers play their game. Call me naive, but I never had an inkling those things happened back in my time. All I know is the nucs always bitched about their training requirements and all the bullshit they had to put up with. In some cases, like having to come in hours earlier than the rest of the crew to start the reactor or having to stay late after pulling in, I could understand. I've always said that the engineering spaces were a nice place to visit. I found them fascinating. But I'd never want to work back there. Ultimately, they did it to themselves, and they continue (apparently) to do so today. (con’t)

11/27/2010 2:33 PM

Blogger ETCS (SS/SW) said...

(con’t) I can only speak from my own experience across four boomers as an E-3 through E-7 and during my instructor tour and I can emphatically state that there was no cheating in the SSPO area that I ever saw or participated in. You were expected to know your stuff. If you didn't know it, you were expected to know where to find it. If you couldn't find it, you were expected to ask where to find it. Everything... and I mean everything had to be done with a procedure out in front of you. The only exceptions were for casualty Immediate Actions which were expected to be memorized, and then verified with the procedure after the fact.

I would say this as far as having procedures out during all evolutions (including the most simple): this was very difficult to adhere to. We did do some ‘cheating’ in this area. Some operations were performed so often (i.e. every half hour), it just seemed useless to have your finger on the procedure when you could do that procedure in your sleep. As time always proves, there was one incident when I was performing an operation, and because of one erroneous key press I inadvertently reset the non-master SINS. Fortunately the reset sent zero corrections and fortunately it happened on the non-master SINS. The consequences, had the reset sent non-zero corrections, or had I reset the master SINS, would have been significant. It's that one time that you don't follow the procedure as you've been taught that gets you in trouble. All of the other times that you fail to follow the procedure and do things from memory are just living on borrowed time.

@ Anon 26Nov 2241 - "Vasilly. One ping... one ping only." A classic line. I love it. I also hate hearing active sonar.

OT for a minute since it's been brought up a couple of times in the thread. I don't know all of what rubby duck's done in the navy. I'm not even sure what his rank was, but I believe he was ultimately a CO. No matter. His behavior, in my opinion, is very un-officer like. His attitudes, the way he preaches, his name-dropping, and his condescension really irk me. It takes away from any submarine experience he has, in my opinion. I'm not in the least impugning his operation skills or career experiences as I am not in a position to do so. What I am saying is that, for me, he is his own worst enemy and he undermines himself by his own words and thoughts. I liken it to the one screaming CO I served under. I had no question the man was a competent CO. But he did not purport himself like a gentleman and his leadership suffered as a result. Indeed I did consider this CO a 'fucking prick' and I could easily apply the same epithet to the duck.

11/27/2010 2:34 PM

Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

etcs (ss/sw):

My crew thought otherwise: 96% retention rate for the tour.

11/27/2010 2:56 PM

Blogger SJV said...

Easy to just not read what RD writes on here. I always figure I'd rather hear the opinion than bury my head in the sand because I don't like the guy.

11/27/2010 3:28 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

RD @ 0256 - or maybe they just reenlisted for orders so they could get off your boat... If you were as much of a pompous, arrogant asshole on the boat as you are on this blog, then that would be my bet.

11/27/2010 3:43 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know that some of our allies' boats can launch UAVs, but I can't say if any of ours do. I am sure that anything that is known about the parche's capabilities is sure to be capable by the Jimmy Carter. In my own opinion, I would say submarine launched UAVs would go against anything I ever learned about our subs. We are the best in the world at staying quiet and generally undetected. To launch a UAV you would have to surface. I would see this as completely absurd. They are so much better at getting intel in other ways. Maybe this was a UAV from a Japanese submarine.

Other than the fact that other subs in other fleets can launch UAVs, the rest of this is speculation so don't take it as anything else.

11/27/2010 4:03 PM

Anonymous Been There, Doing That said...

As for UAV capabilities (and more) of our submarine forces, do a little research on the net, think outside of the box and let your imagination run a little wild. This ain't you father's (or your's, if you have been out of it for more than a few years) submarine force anymore.

11/27/2010 4:27 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can only think of one way to do that,and it would require launching one from a torpedo tube much like a UGM 109. I'm currently in, I just haven't heard anything like this before. I guess when you consider everything else we do that seems crazy, a UAV launched from a torpedo tube doesn't seem anymore crazy then other stuff I know for fact.

11/27/2010 4:42 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

So are UAVs the reason for the sub force's existence now? I can see the PPT headlines now: "US Submarine Force: the ONLY nuclear powered, UAV launching, underwater, single-screw, SHT-covered ISR asset in the Armed Forces today and forever. Sole-source, crown jewel baby. Don't cut our budget please!"

11/27/2010 4:58 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

For those that remember, what are/were your thoughts on the now out of print "Submarines for Dummies"?

11/27/2010 8:03 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

One word. SOTHOC.
Take it as a lookup. I'm sure there
are mo'bigger flying rigs than
that little booger.

11/27/2010 9:52 PM

Blogger ETCS (SS/SW) said...

@ Anon 27Nov 2152: SOTHOC = Great Google. This uses the TDU to eject the UAV from the boat. That must be interesting. The cranks are going to have a couple of new qual cards (jk). Also check out 'MPUAV: Cormorant".

@ Anon 27Nov 2003: It bought DiMercurio's book in 2003, the year it was published. (BTW, it's entitled 'The Complete Idiots Guide to Submarines; ISBN 0028644719.)

I think it's a very realistic portrayal of submarine operations, technology, and way-of-life. I learned some stuff tidbits the book.

Interestingly enough, the book did not remain in print long. It's currently available from Amazon third-party dealers for prices ranging from $75.00 up to $758.00 (!).

As an example, From Chapter 17: Reacting to an Emergency comes this:

Mercifully, the air conditioning turns back on, and cool, dry air blows over your sweat-soaked coveralls. Ah, God, that feels good!
The starboard turbine roars to life, and the EO shifts to a full-power lineup. For the next 20 minutes the diesel will cool. The sweating EWS shows up at the door. “Request to enter. Both main engines are warm; recommend shifting propulsion.”

“Thank you, Chief,” you say. “You are the man.” You pick up the 7MC mike and say, “Conn, Maneuvering, recommend shifting propulsion to the main engines.”

“Maneuvering, Conn, shift propulsion to the main engines.”

“Conn, Maneuvering, shift propulsion to the main engines, aye, request all stop.”

The engine order telegraph dings to all stop.

“EWS, shift propulsion to the mains,” you order. The EWS waves a salute and disappears. In 20 seconds, he’s back.

“Propulsion is shifted to the mains.”

“Conn, Maneuvering,” you announce on the 7MC with a flourish, “Propulsion is shifted to the main engines, ready to answer all bells, answering all stop.”

“Maneuvering, Conn aye.”

The engine order telegraph rings up ahead one third. The throttleman opens the throttles and cranks the screw to 30 RPM as he answers the bell on the telegraph.

“Control, Diesel,” the phonetalker from the diesel room says, “diesel is cool, recommend securing snorkeling.”

The word comes on the 1MC: “Secure snorkeling. Reeeee-circulate!”

The diesel crashes to a halt. In the diesel room, the operator shuts the inboard and outboard exhaust valves. In control, the watchstanders shut the inboard and outboard induction valves. The snorkel mast comes down, and the deck tilts as the officer of the deck takes her deep.

The engine order telegraph dings to all ahead standard, and the throttleman opens the throttles to 120 RPM. The depth indicator shows you’re down to 450 feet.

The scram drill is over. The engineer snarls, “I guess that was just barely sat.”

“Thanks, Slopehead,” you smile.

“That’s ‘Sloopehead, sir’ to you, A-hole.”

“Get out of here, Feng, Sir.”

He shuts the chain to maneuvering and disappears forward. You put your hands behind your head and your feet on the EOOW desk, a grin on your face. You haven’t heard a compliment like that from the engineer in years.

I've alway wondered why this book went out of print.

11/27/2010 11:34 PM

Anonymous T said...

I guess I'm not seeing the advantage to launching a surveillance UAV from a submarine. Last I checked, Global Hawk has plenty of legs to fly to Korea and can be controlled from the Continental US. Also, reusable unlike a submarine launched UAV.

It seems like a waste to to do the same thing from a submarine and control it using a mast where in all likelihood the submarine has less situational awareness than a ground installation. I do see other uses for shooting out UAV's, specifically for the SSGN's in support of ground troops as an OTH communications platform for command & control and calling in tomahawks. I remember an article about that in Undersea Warfare magazine several years ago before the SSGN's were completed.

But I'm not sure I see any real advantage to doing so just to "go look at stuff". Particularly as you probably are gonna ride around with a periscope out of the water and a big ass multifunction mast.

Keep in mind that the line of sight for an antenna 20 feet off of the water to something 6000 Feet out of the water is 115 miles or so(land miles, not nm), which is
1) a pretty generous set of assumptions for a submarine
2) means you need to be running around really close to land with some big ass antennas out of the water to be able to get much of any legs on a UAV from a sub.
3) The only other alternative is that the sub is controlling the UAV through a satellite. But if you're going to go that route why not just control it from land?

All in all global hawk would have more time in the air (bigger, more fuel), more room for sensors (physically larger), more reliability (presumably, since it's launched from land, pre-flight tests, etc), and its reusable.

The only real two advantages I can see to a sub launched UAV are you can launch closer so you can probably be on station quicker, and a presumably smaller UAV from a sub will have a smaller radar signature.

It just seems like a waste of money to me.

11/28/2010 12:24 AM

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11/28/2010 3:12 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

If one thinks about it, a lot of intel can be gained by launching UAV's from a Sub.
Collecting data from the operating/jamming bandwidths of possible threats, for one.
If all major limited assets such as the Global Hawk are dedicated to missions in places like Pakistan.
UAV's are just another chess piece for the bad guys to worry about.example, a UAV flies over a friendly island, detected by radar,a burst of jamming frequencies take over control of the UAV, it defaults to a return to launch point mode, the sub retieves it, now we got a bunch of data on enemy electromagnetic capabilities.
Now when we need to use the big boys like Global Hawks, we have a good idea of enemy capabilities and tactics.
There are probably a myriad of other uses I'm not smart enough to even think of.

"Snap shot's tube 1 and 2!"

11/28/2010 8:12 AM

Blogger Vigilis said...

"'Why does the military feel the need to publish things like online and in the clear?'

Duh. Maybe because we're a free nation and the owners of the military (the American people) might like to know what it does? Some folks just need to get out more." -Rubr Duck 11/26 6:16 AM

"There is a problem with the concept of total secrecy and we are seeing that in Canada right now. Due to the total lack of any news until just recently, the average Canadian would cheerfully suggest we scrap our boats and make do without." - Sturgeon, 7SEP 2007 22:03

Have to agree with the Duck. A reasonable person might guess Tom Clancy had DoD assistance with 'Red October' all along for precisely the political reason suggested: subs are important, but the public has has very little clue.

Moreover, most sub sailors have limited clues themselves, based on need to know. Even the goatlocker knows when to keep silent. So Silent it is The Mute Service?

11/28/2010 1:10 PM

Anonymous 5of9 said...

Agreed. Clancy and all of these recent releases may all be part of the ongoing twisted political agenda. A few lies blended with a fact or two - it simply doesn't matter. Knowing the public doesn't have the attention span, imagination, or is cognizant to understand what submarines actually do is just fine with me. If I wanted to be a hero in the spotlight, I would have shouldered an M16 instead.

11/28/2010 9:57 PM

Anonymous NHSparky said...

"There are probably a myriad of other uses I'm not smart enough to even think of."

UAV from an SSGN would be an even more formidable tool. SEALs, Tomahawks, etc...oh, the possibilities...

11/29/2010 7:30 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


Fail to justify your existence and you will cease to exist. When/if you get to the big leagues, you'll see why admirals are politicians first, and operators past!

11/29/2010 10:35 AM

Anonymous News reader said...

Why does the Wikipedia article about the USS Jimmy Carter list its test depth as precisely 1,050 feet (320 meters) instead of just "800+ feet".

Regardless of whether or not that is an accurate number why is there such a specific number even listed, that number had to come from somewhere. Not that Wikipedia is or has ever been the source of truth for anything.

11/29/2010 12:58 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

News reader,

Better questions may be: who placed such info into the Wiki article, and what authority was cited, if any?

Wiki can be a useful starting point when reliable people provide authenticatable sources for their content, and if other reliable people check and correct it as needed.

11/29/2010 3:18 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

They probably lifted it from Jane's, which has always had strangely accurate information.

I think speculating about the accuracy of anything on Wikipedia related to the submarine force is not a smart thing to do.

11/29/2010 5:26 PM

Anonymous T said...

nhsparky, that is the one use that Undersea Warfare magazine hinted at that I thought was really interesting.

11/29/2010 7:07 PM

Anonymous STSC said...

btw - What are you going to replace the truck with?

Glad to hear everyone is okay.

11/29/2010 7:48 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re: Jane's and wiki.

It's not a particularly tough engineering problem to extrapolate known variables - like, say, the strength of certain types of steel used in submarine pressure hulls and diameter of said hulls, etc - into all sorts of interesting assumptions about their capabilities. Ditto speed.

11/29/2010 11:31 PM

Anonymous hotel in bandung said...

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11/30/2010 4:24 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those would be impressive UAVs indeed, since Carter was sitting at service pier the whole time.

11/30/2010 11:54 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

hahahaha, classic!

12/01/2010 7:11 AM

Blogger Vigilis said...

Anon @ 7:11 AM

Great point; and had that "Mysterious Missile Launch in California" actually been a Chinese ICBM, where would most of our entire navy have been during most of November?


12/01/2010 6:32 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good trick... shooting an "IC"BM from the ocean. Generally, those of us in the Navy call those "SL"BM's, since they are Submarine Launched and technically not InterContinental.

But the real question is. If we were to absorb a Chinese attack on our submarine bases, would the Navy conspire to insure that only the USNA CO's would survive the attack by being out to sea?


12/01/2010 8:54 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, no, the USNA skippers would all be caught on shore and be wiped out in the blast. They would be replaced by females, rapidly promoted from the O-3 Supply Officer ranks.

Didn't you read the memo? I can send you another copy...

12/02/2010 8:38 AM

Blogger Vigilis said...

@Anon 12/01 8:54 PM

In connection with the media's ridiculous notion of a Chinese missile launch off California's coast, conspiracy nut Alex Jones advanced the concept of a sea sled launch, rather than an SLBM launch.

"A sea sled missile launch platform was first perfected by Nazi Germany in World War II and planned for use in the closing months of the war against New York and Washington, D.C."

'Intercontinental' (between continents) might certainly describe a ballistic missile launched from our continental shelf from a sea sled.

You may wish to see the right most panel at bottom of this page

The answer to my previous rhetorical question, "had that 'Mysterious Missile Launch in California' actually been a Chinese ICBM, where would most of our entire navy have been during most of November?", was scrambled to sea.

You appear to be the same pretender who unwittingly reveals his immaturity, lack of naval service, and total unfamiliarity with naval history.

12/02/2010 10:45 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree that if you launched from say Bangor to Asia, then that is technically *Intercontinental*, however, it remains that Submarine Launched Ballistic Missiles are called SLBM's. That is just what they are called. Period. Nobody that knows anything about them calls them ICBM's. Whether I'm a pretender or not, the one thing I can guarantee 100% is that I know more about this particular topic than you.

Who the hell cares enough about this stupid submarine crap (other than submariners) to come here and "pretend" to be a submariner? It's more likely that some real submariner would come here and pretend to be somebody pretending to be a submariner.

12/02/2010 9:38 PM

Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

Aha! The Platters!

"Oh yes, I'm the great pretender
Pretending I'm doing well
My need is such
I pretend too much
I'm lonely but no one can tell."

12/03/2010 5:11 AM


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