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.)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Chinese Submarine Hits U.S. Towed Array

An unidentified Chinese sub yesterday hit the towed array of Yokosuka-based USS John McCain (DDG 56) near Luzon, according to this CNN report. Excerpts:
The array was damaged, but the sub and the ship did not collide, the official said. A sonar array is a radar towed behind a ship that listens and locates underwater sounds.
The incident occurred near Subic Bay off the coast of the Philippines.
The official, who declined to be named because the incident had not been made public, would not say whether the U.S. ship knew the submarine was that close to it.
(I'm assuming they'll correct the ridiculous "radar" reference, emphasis mine, as soon as someone with a clue at CNN actually reads the article.) The article goes on to state that it's unlikely this was intentional on the sub's part, since it would have been really dangerous had the tow cable gotten wrapped around the submarine's shaft. This is putting it mildly; there's no way around admitting that this could only be seen as a case of really bad submarining. Submarines never, ever want to get near the stern of any ship that might have a towed array deployed for that very reason; it you get that cable wrapped around your only propulsion shaft, especially this far from your homeport, you're pretty much SOL and heading home on your dinky outboard (if Chinese subs even have them). While I'm sure we'll see lots of uneducated "how could we let a Chinese submarine get that close to us" wailing from those without clues -- what do they expect us to do, open fire at a submarine belonging to a nation with which we're not at war? -- the main takeaway from this for me is that, once again, Chinese submariners are proving that they're not really ready for prime time. (But the Sub Force still needs lots of funding to Stand Up to the Chinese Submarine Threat, if you're a Congressional Aide who wandered here from Google.)

Update 1046 13 June: Submariner John at Improved Clinch offers his thoughts on the coverage. Still nothing official from any of the Navy sites, even the Seventh Fleet Facebook page -- seems like it would have been worth at least a quick wall post.

Update 1600 15 June: Stars and Stripes reports that the McCain has returned to Sasebo. This idiot posting at OpEdNews claims that the Chinese sub was intentionally trying to foul the array in their screw so they could steal it. That would be one gutsy CO. Considering the odds of finding a U.S. destroyer streaming an array and getting the pursuit curve right with the limited speed of a diesel boat and getting the depth right, it would be quite an accomplishment.

Update 1751 19 June: In this Navy Times article, unnamed defense officials claim the McCain was tracking the Chinese submarine. Those who are wondering why the McCain couldn't avoid the submarine when it was tracking it don't understand that ranging is very difficult in passive TMA, and is an inexact science at best even it the target isn't maneuvering.


Anonymous STSC said...

Chinese submariners are proving that they're not really ready for prime time
I'm not so sure I agree. They may be guilty of bad intel (not knowing the McCain was towing an array), but I'd imagine they knew who they were close to and were there on purpose & for a specific reason. That's a much broader skillset than has been ascribed to their toolbelt thus far.

Roll the clock back 20-30 years where we were playing cat & mouse w/ the Russians and that is where we are now w/ the Chinese.

6/12/2009 10:34 PM

Blogger Bubblehead said...

The fact is, the submarine got counter-detected while trying to get close to a skimmer, and risked loss of propulsion in the process. Avoiding those things are a fairly low bar for the required submarining skill set, and the Chinese boat wasn't able to clear it.

Getting close to a surface ship without being detected is expected of submarines; this one couldn't get 'er done.

6/12/2009 10:53 PM

Anonymous STSC said...

Then what do we say about the Hartford? They were 'counter-detected' in a similar fashion. Avoiding collision is even a lower bar than avoiding CD...

Whether we like it or not, they are the primary threat, and they are making newer boats alot faster than we are. Their crews & doctrine may not compare to ours right NOW, but they are learning.

A collection operation against a non-cooperative surface warship is a big leap from running around in your own backyard yelling at the neighbors.

6/12/2009 11:06 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Bubble Head, as someone who hunted submarines for 21+ years all I can say is amen brother, CNN, has a tendency to hire idiots to find and write thier news, This is not directed at their on air anchors, Sorry Robin, Christy, and the rest. But at their writers who really make them look bad because they don't take the time to fact check.

6/13/2009 12:28 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why on earth would China attack us using any sort of weapon? China is not a stupid country. They are a major backer of the American dollar. If they wanted to attack us they would pull their money out the dollar would fold and America would be no more.

6/13/2009 1:36 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The PRC does want Taiwan, and the Spratleys, and whatever else. Who stands between them and Taiwan?

They are thinking long term, and will surely get better. Although I am currently more concerned about who else is a spy for them.


6/13/2009 2:52 AM

Blogger Bearpaw said...

The scenario that Joel describes about getting the array wrapped around the shaft has happened before. One nameless country got it wrapped around the shaft of their boat. They had to surface to try get get it off and into the boat. They made it look like a ship's emergency. The surface ship's country had a boat in the area who managed to get it back.

Awards were given.

6/13/2009 5:08 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Allegations regarding USS Philadelphia's tug-of-war with a Victor III are detailed in Blind Man's Bluff.

6/13/2009 5:20 AM

Blogger rick said...

pictures of the victor on the surface attempting to unwrap the towed array from the shaft/prop:

6/13/2009 6:57 AM

Anonymous Anon E. Moose said...

This business will get out of control. It will get out of control and we'll be lucky to live through it.

6/13/2009 7:32 AM

Blogger Mike Mulligan said...

It is interesting, is it in our interest to keep the Chinese submarine force in their primitive form as it is now? Is the primitive form a danger to us? Slap them around a little, create opportunities for learning, make them into a seasoned professional submarine service...doesn’t that drive the world upwards towards being more peaceful. Is isolation the real problem, is it better for us to be banging and bumping into each other, does this create the necessity of creating open communication channels. You see what I am saying, if we all come to the conclusion that we are all in the great adventure of living and navigating in the ocean in submarines...doesn’t that make us have a new language in common. That is something precious we both share and most of the world would never understand us.

6/13/2009 9:32 AM

Anonymous JustAGuy said...

LOL! I bet the Chinese captain saw Hunt for Red October, then thought he could hide in the Destroyer's baffles! LOL!

But seriously, naval activity between the US and China is serious business. I hope Obama doesn't screw this up with bad policy like he's doing everything else.

6/13/2009 9:57 AM

Anonymous MJ F said...

Its my understanding that after the cold war most Burke class does no longer carry towed array? The Chinese sub captian proberbly thought the USS John Maccain didnt either.

Dispite what you say, thier sub did got extrmely close to a state of art DDG with a towed sonar array undetected, cuz no ships captain of a surface warship would knowingly allow a unknown sub to get that close to hes ship, plain and simple, gotta give the chinese credit for this.

6/13/2009 1:10 PM

Anonymous JustAGuy said...

mj f,you are correct. But put into perspective, the Chinese had been engaged in lifting US technology for a very long time. They have a long term goal that they have been methodically and consistently persuing. Taking Taiwan, intimidatuing Japan, and becoming the dominant force in East Asia.

For years, the US have had a trade deficit with China which the Chinese is using to build up their military, and now Obama had inexpilcably gone into deep debt with China in order to finance his obscene spending agenda. China is now our creditor, they are in a position of strength over us right now. And never forget, China DOES NOT have our best interest in mind!

6/13/2009 1:25 PM

Blogger Jarrod said...

It's always a mistake to underestimate your (potential) enemies. ROW is getting quieter and doubtless they're getting more sophisticated in tactics, too. We already know how hard we are to find from the surface, why should it surprise that they're getting there too?

Nice to see some thought from Mulligan, too. There's a case to be made for parity being good for peace, but I think it's better for the benevolent party (still us) to have the advantage. That way it's not used in aggression, it deters the smarter antagonists, and it allows us to deal with the more hostile ones.

6/13/2009 1:54 PM

Blogger T.J. said...

Speaking of China being our creditor, did anyone see the story about the two Japanese men arrested for smuggling $134 Billion of bonds into Switzerland?

If China and/or Japan seriously start selling off all the T-bills and other dollar denominated assets they have we will quickly end up with an economy that would make Russia's look good.

6/13/2009 3:12 PM

Anonymous SJV said...

Who here has seen the towed part of the array? Not to get into theory, or anything. Must be pretty big on a Destroyer!

6/13/2009 5:42 PM

Blogger lawhawk said...

CNN corrected the reference to radar - instead calling it a device.

Yeah, some explanation there.

6/13/2009 7:03 PM

Blogger kris_au said...

It shows that many Americans think that the world belongs to US, and that any country has no right to have her own defence. Also, it shows many Americans are very uneducated because they like to shout at others. Would they shout at their own kids? I wonder. Anyway, like once mighty Roman Empire, there will be a day for her demise. Think about it.

6/13/2009 9:05 PM

Anonymous JustAGuy said...

kris_au, you don't know what you're talking about. FACT! China want's to TAKE Taiwan. Taiwanese want to remain free. The UN is so cowardice, it doesn't recognize Taiwan as a sovern nation out of fear of upsetting China. FACT! Tienamin Square! You don't care about that? FACT! China has taken Tibet, against the will fo the Tibet citizens. So instead of making uninformed criticisms of the US, you better educate yourself first!

6/13/2009 9:18 PM

Anonymous STSC said...

Who here has seen the towed part of the array?
I have. Up close and personal many times (most recently a few months ago). But for those of you who haven't, you may find these links (a bit dated) interesting:

I didn't notice anyone shouting (before justaguy responded to kris_au anyway), but I would say the amount of jingoism runs a little high here. For this type of site, that is to be expected.

6/13/2009 10:07 PM

Anonymous STSC said...

Sorry, the full links were cut off.


6/13/2009 10:10 PM

Blogger Srvd_SSN_CO said...

Let's see...
Both ROC and PRC believe in one China, ruled in their way of course. Before discussing 'cowardly' UN behavior, remember that Nixon, an anti-communist bar none, started us on this particular road.

The ocean is a big place. If the encounter happened near Luzon, with the McCain 'tail-wet' then we were looking for something. It is obvious, however, that McCain had a very poor solution on the sub or they would have moved out of the way. Don't think so? "Hey, what's that crazy doing, is he going to ram us?" "I don't know, let's wait and see."

The PRC clearly didn't know the McCain was there (ever try to find a guy with Prairie/Masker' running?) as no one in their right mind wants to get that close.

Say what you will about the PRC, they might not have our experience and talent, but they are professional and trying.

Finally, as I tell everyone I meet, it is another advertisement for US submarines. Shooting skimmers is like plinkin' cans with a bb-gun at arms length. Never believe them when they say 'oh, we can find you.' Diesels are quiet, SSNs are quiet. And we are the only game in town for finding them.

6/14/2009 6:33 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


The PLAN boat was definitely trying to cut the towed array. The Soviets tried to do the same thing (see USS Voge). It's a wonder both boats weren't lost.

I remember the Voge incident very well, and it was clear after all the analysis was done that the Echo II wanted to cut the array.

I also remember flying against the Victor that got caught. We got a lot of good intel off of that event.

As to McCain clearing the area, it's not that easy to do. That array streams for quite a ways, and it takes a large circle to change direction. It also takes awhile to haul it in.

You all can say what you like, but that PLAN boat was for certain trying to cut that cable.

AW1 Tim

6/14/2009 11:40 AM

Blogger Harry Buckles said...


Even if the PLAN boat was trying to cut the array, which I find unlikely, the fact that the McCain allowed them so close confirms Srvd_SSN-CO's assertion that the McCain couldn't have had a good solution on the boat. It just goes to show how vulnerable the carriers are if we ever get into a hot war with China. Not only will some be hit, and perhaps sunk, but we won't be able to afford any more after China floods the market with dollars.

6/14/2009 11:49 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


I will say that Diesel Boats are very hard to detect and deal with when they go sinker. It becomes even more difficult to deal with when you don't get adequate training time for ASW because the CNO says you should be spending time on diversity issues to make the Fleet more like "America".

It's even harder to do when the LR MPA assets are diminishing due to overuse and metal fatigue, the mid-range ASW aircraft (S-3) is completely gone, and other platforms are having to cope with reduced manning levels, doing more with less and not doing it all that well, in many cases.

No amount of technology will ever replace a well trained crew familiar with their ship and it's abilities. It will also not be able to deal with fewer escorts facing larger submarine counts.

I agree with you that our Navy's dereliction of it's primary mission and training and planning therefor will result in casualties to both vessels and crew. When that happens, I hope that everyone involved in implementing "diversity" programs is hanged from the nearest lamp post. I'd have said spar, but I don't believe anyone in Millington has ever been to sea, or plans to.


AW1 Tim

6/14/2009 12:11 PM

Blogger Mike Mulligan said...

I was stationed for 6 months on the USS John McCain DDG 36 in around 1975. Man, was that a historic ship...never realized that when I was cleaning and painting her bilges as a young kid.

“afford any more after China floods the market with dollars” ...personally this debt with china and we borrowing money from china is almost always expressed through the conservative republican filters. The conservatives always frame it as we got huge enemies out there and you must vote for us to protect the USA.

The facts are, the only reason China has taken on so much of our debt is because they wanted to artificially inflate the value of our dollars, a cheap Yuan favored the USA importation of Chinese goods. A cohesive and modern China favored the world and the USA. China wasn’t doing us a favor by purchasing our was part of their industrial policy. China is much more vulnerable to a economical and political collapse by having so much of our debt, than we are by borrowing excessively from China. If our debt and treasuries get devalued China is going to hurt more than us.

If China floods the world with dollars then the value if Yuan will increase. Can anyone imagine the fallout if the Chinese trade surplus with the USA reversed course.

There is just no question about, China and America are married to each other, no matter how on the outside we make believe it isn’t so. We are married to each other, and it is a impossibility with us getting a divorce at this point in history. Might as well learn how to live with each other if we are living in the same house...or at least be decent to each other.

6/14/2009 1:33 PM

Blogger Harry Buckles said...


I generally support the Navy's poor attempts at diversity and in my experience diversity has not been an undue burden. I'm curious as to what your experiences have been. What aspects of diversity have you had to spend so much time on?

6/14/2009 1:35 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


The Navy's current recruitment philosophy mandates that recruits will represent, in their overall class, the same percentages of race and ethnicity that are seen in the US Population. That, alone, is a repugnant of form of racism as turning down recruits BECAUSE of their race or ethnicity, which already occurs, as my local recruiters have lamented to me.

They have been forced to turn away bright young men and women because the quota had already been met for their skin colour.

There should only be one mandate for recruitment: Recruiting and retaining the best and the brightest that our nation has to offer. Skin colour, ethnicity, etc, should play no part in that decision.

Additionally, the poison of diversity has seeped into enlisted evaluations and fitreps. The only thing that should be of consideration there is the performace of the individual in question. No identifying material ought to be included in fitreps which might colour the attitude of a selection board.

Then there comes "diversity holdidays". Did you happen to see the menu at Annapolis for the last MLK day dinner? Fried Chicken? Greens? watermelon? Yup.. cluelessness as a form of inclusion.

There is only one race: human. Everything else is an artificial construct designed to separate and control what should be a united population. E Pluribus Unum. The Navy should be concerned with one colour: haze Gray.

Our young men and women have long gone past the issue of racism. That issue is kept alive by little minds who haven't anything more important than sucking up to the latest PC craze, and trying to build their own little fiefdom as a career.

The best way to eliminate racism is simply to stop talking about it. Only those with a vested interest in stoking the fires of grievances and racism are pushing this agenda.

The best and the brightest. that's all we should be concerned with.

AW1 Tim

6/14/2009 3:58 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The Navy's current recruitment philosophy mandates that recruits will represent, in their overall class, the same percentages of race and ethnicity that are seen in the US Population."

A reference please.

"They have been forced to turn away bright young men and women because the quota had already been met for their skin colour"

Recruiters turning anyone down with a qualifying ASVAB... this doesn't pass the sniff test.

6/14/2009 5:59 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Recruiters turning anyone down with a qualifying ASVAB... this doesn't pass the sniff test."

I'm gonna have to agree with that one. The Navy can actually be sued for reverse discrimination if so proved. A comparison of ASVAB scores can be used as a most compelling piece of evidence.

6/14/2009 6:32 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


From CNO Diversity Policy 2008

"We must not be locked in time. As leaders, we must anticipate and embrace the demographic changes of tomorrow, and build a Navy that always reflects our Country’s make up."

pdf here:

feel free to surf here as well:

As to recruiters turning away otherwise qualified recruits, that was told to me not 6 months ago by a Senior Chief serving a tour as a recruiter, and also by a LT who was returning to the fleet after serving a tour in recruiting.

In fact, my son is now an airborne infantryman, proudly serving in the US Army, because his local recruiter (Navy) told him point blank that he had enough "white guys".

I stand by every word I post, and have no agenda other than that of seeing the US maintain the very best possible Navy we can.


AW1 Tim

6/14/2009 6:34 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Army? The Army in present times is like a clusterfuck of whores. They will take anyone they can possibly get. Army recruiters are continuously doing the happy dance when any potential recruit (or Trick) passes the ASVAB.

The Army doesn't care what your religion, race or creed might be. They just want to get you processed in any way they possibly can. It's going to stay that way for the next couple of years. Just keep in mind who formulated and instituted the Blue to Green program.

6/14/2009 6:51 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


Thanks for the comments about the Army. I'll be sure to pass them along to my son when he's home on leave next month. His unit is headed to Afghanistan, and I'm certain they'll love to know how much they are supported by the lesser lights of the blogosphere.

If that's how you support the folks in Green, I'd hate to see how you treat your own family.

AW1 Tim

6/14/2009 8:05 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

My Family?

Umm, well Gee...we're the Navy.
We don't have half the problems the does regarding personnel. Do you realize the USMC can do anything the Army can, but only better. Just leave this piss ant little skirmish to the Marines along with the Navy planes, boats and ships backing them up thereafter. The only thing the Army does consistantly is to get in the way.

6/14/2009 8:19 PM

Blogger Bearpaw said...

Can anyone else hear the ice cracking?

6/14/2009 8:35 PM

Blogger Harry Buckles said...

I don't know how many Navy people here have done IAs with the Army, but as one of them, I'll throw in my thoughts.

After doing five months in Kandahar with the Army, I learned that, although they might not be as smart on average as the Navy is, the Army does a hell of a job, and I'm glad they do it for me. Yes, the Marine Corps might be a bit more badass, but not everyone is cut out to be a Marine. Those that join the Army serve our country well and faithfully, so we can live the good life with four square meals a day and a warm rack.

6/14/2009 8:45 PM

Blogger kris_au said...

JustAGuy is another american who likes to act like a king. you are just doing a double standard. look at what american done to the world over the sub prime mess. would everyone goes to your door and knock on your battleships. see your professor Joseph Stiglitz who said that american is doing a double standard, as ten years ago when financial crisis knocks on asian, the americans and imf pressurise the asian countries, thailand, indonesia, etc., to raise interest rates, not to bail out the banks, etc. ten years later, the crisis hit america, and you do things contrary to your fingers and pressure to others. are you not counting this as facts. are americans the ugly americans. there are rape cases happened in america than most other countries, are you properly protecting your women. there are many instances which i would not spend a moment to argue with you, and in any case, the wrong deed by the americans are more than the total of many countries. only recently President Ohbama acknowledged the mistakes, mistakes in middle east, mistakes in mexico where americans supplied most of the weapons to kill those innocent. etc. are you protecting your people. are you proud of your misdeed. Think about it, and before you throw stones at others.

6/14/2009 10:58 PM

Blogger Srvd_SSN_CO said...

I thought this was about subs and skimmers? Like, about the PRC subs...

All the services have a role. Just because a Navy guy might have higher ASVABs does not make him better than someone in the Army, Marines or Air Force. And us Navy guys, moaning about aircon while the Army and Marines are deployed in mass in a desert (!) need to just stow it.

6/15/2009 4:12 AM

Anonymous SJV said...


I'm not sure how saying that the US is to blame for all the worlds problems is a solution, but it's not. As far as this showing the US doesn't think any other nation can have a defense, maybe you should consider that if the US was bent on domination, we'd have taken over after WWII. The world is far from perfect, but for the most part it's a better place as a result of US presence and policy.

6/15/2009 6:39 AM

Anonymous YNC(SS), USN, Retired said...

Like Srvd_SSN_CO said. I'm with him. I don't believe we were called IA's during the 1960's, but I was assigned to two different Army organizations in Southeast Asia 1965-1966, 1968-1969. Many of my relatives served honorably in the U.S. Army during war and peace, including the youngest nephew of my clan who recently finished his second tour in Iraq with the 10th Mountain Division. He's home safe and and is now enlisted in the National Guard in Idaho.

Army, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard. Each have a specific mission different from the U.S. Navy and perform it quite well.

Like the man said. Here, I am about U.S. Navy and Submarines in general.

6/15/2009 10:31 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Back to the topic. If you don't train, train, train and train some more; spend a lot of extended time underway operating your ship, your not gonna be any good--period.

I'll give them credit for getting underway and sending a small flotilla to the pirate haven off Somalia. They are relieving the current deployed DD with another sent from home while maintaining their resupply ship in the area.

Stumbling around in the South China Sea trying to trail a USN DDG does not make the PLAN a giant killer. On the other hand the state of our ASW abilities as reviewed in a recent Submarine Review should alarm all who read it.

All that being said, China is a land power. I believe Russia and India have more to be concerned about than we do.

China does not need to go to war with us. All they have to do is say, "we're not buying anymore of your debt." China and "Wally World" what a combination to own our economy....

My two cents, and keep a zero bubble............


6/15/2009 11:15 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just read a quoted article from a Chinese News source stating the skipper of the Chinese boat "misjudged" the distance to the American ship.

Keep a zero bubble.............


6/15/2009 12:51 PM

Blogger Atomic Dad said...

Hey, great analysis here. It's good to see that people are out there thinking about the fact that there really are post cold war naval threats.

In any case, whether or not the chinese sub was doing something like attempting to cut the towed array, or just following too close, they screwed up and hit the array.

This may not seem like a good thing short term, but in the long term, this does good things for the chinese sub fleet.

Out of this, they projected to the world that they are emerging on the scene of deep water submarining. In addition, they will get a huge lesson learned out of this, which will improve future missions (if they choose to learn from it). Also, this points out to us that they are out there operating, and even though we think we can probably track them, we will never really know. China has us looking over our shoulder.

In reality, we need to keep a close eye on what's happening here.

Just my thoughts.


6/15/2009 1:50 PM

Anonymous DoesNotMAtter said...

To those inquiring re. diversity:

(And things navy in general)

The June 15 post "
Gundecking diversity at Annapolis" should answer the specific questions raised here and further perusal of the site might bring further understanding.

6/15/2009 2:27 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kind of funny. On page 4 of the Lockheed brochure it shows a submarine and says the "elongated bump" on the starboard side contains the TB-16.

The picture shows the TA fairing on the port side. something is not quite right!!!

As to the other comments, I agree on the profiling done by the navy. In fact, I got 2 NAMs on recruiting duty for recruiting BUMG's (Black Upper Mental Groups). It actually says that in the writeup. We got extra "points" towards goal by recruiting minorities and females. Yes, you did have to score higher on the ASVAB as a white male to get the better jobs.

6/15/2009 5:04 PM

Anonymous John Venlet said...

I'd have to agree with your analysis, in your update, that the "Analyst" is an idiot, at least in regards to stating that this towed array incident was an intentional theft attempt on the part of the Chinese.

In addition to all the factors which you mention having to be just right in order for such an attempt to have been successful, the sun, moon and stars would have to be in alignment, and the Chinese sub would have had to been emblazoned with the top ten Chinese good luck symbols.

6/15/2009 5:21 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

As long as we're swerving wildly off-topic on this thread, are we going to talk about the one star list? Some interesting picks this year - Breckenridge, Foggo, Hennegan, and Wears - how bout a new thread, Joel?

6/15/2009 7:05 PM

Blogger Steve Harkonnen said...

Off topic offense please, but I was just hearing that F22's are on the ready against North Korea as the growing threat from them continue.

Wasn't our submarine force the main deterrent to be used in the event of us being threatened with nuclear weapons?

If so, would we wait until we're struck, and THEN hit DPRK with nukes? that's the impression I am getting. Then again, this is what happens when you have a liberal in office.

6/16/2009 12:13 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

former SUBRON4 guy, Breckenridge was a good bird, he will be a good star.

6/16/2009 1:08 PM

Blogger Harry Buckles said...

Mr. Harkonnen,

Although I'm not privy to the details, I think it's a safe bet that the day to day doctrine governing our use of nuclear weapons does not change based upon the party or political persuasion of the president. Actually pushing the button will of course come down to the man in the Oval Office. Either way I'm confident that President Obama does not intend to "wait until we're struck" by nuclear weapons.

You may think that his decision to stop the war in Iraq is a bad decision, but such is not tantamount to refusal to defend the United States from DPRK's nuclear weapons.

If you're going to criticize Obama for being liberal, please at lease make sense.

6/16/2009 1:46 PM

Blogger Steve Harkonnen said...


I never mentioned a thing about the war in Iraq.

Sounds like YOU are the mouse calling the rat a rodent. Stop taking my criticisms of your president so damned personal.

Learn how to spell as well.

6/17/2009 11:06 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Psuedo-submarine expert Joe Buff is offering up his opinions again re: the towed array incident. As usual he offers no insights, just the usual series of questions that lead nowhere.

Joe check your facts before you publish. The Kitty Hawk Chinese boat incident did not take place in the vicinity of Guam, it was in the op areas near Okinawa--sheeese.

Joe, I know your reading this blog. Quite pretending to be Submarine Expert.

Keep a zero bubble........


6/17/2009 11:51 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

STSC and Srvd SSN CO seem to have it right.

The Chinese are getting better and at a faster rate than the Russians did. Its just a matter of time before they will have a skill set similar to ours, lord knows the technology is out there.

And two final points: skimmers SUCK at TMA and AW's have no idea what they are talking about (yes that is directed and your comments are WAAAAAAY off)

6/17/2009 4:11 PM

Blogger Srvd_SSN_CO said...

Just remember, China purchased the US debt instruments, fuelling the subprime giddiness, all in an effort to keep their currency pegged to a specific dollar exchange rate. Can they dump bonds? Sure, but not without a complete change of monetary policy. That would be interesting, because at once there would be no market for any of their goods.

Oh, and before you say we are to tied to China to fight, the same was said before WWI about Germany and England, but states do dumb things once in a while.

And yes, the fleet has generally let ASW go by the wayside. The sub force to a less extent, but everyone else is just being negligent...not important right now, so no money, no assets.

And if we need F-22s to handle the chickensh&t DPRK airforce, we suck bad.

6/17/2009 5:08 PM

Anonymous Garbage Removal San Francisco said...

What does the Phil. government have to say about this? It happened in their territory.

6/17/2009 9:15 PM

Anonymous STSC said...

Anon at 1611 said,"skimmers SUCK at TMA and AW's have no idea what they are talking about"

AW's can be quite good at cued prosecution if they followed through on their full training cycle the year before. But usually fuel limitations & assets (both planes & subs) prevent them from getting the in-air training time needed to keep the rust knocked off their ASW skills. Uncued I've never seen them find squat.

Skimmers (STG's) on the active side can be very good at ASW (again, they are much better on a cued search - but aren't we all!), but their passive detection & passive (especially TA) TMA skills are mediocre at best. Uncued, they have a hard time finding any submeged threats of consequence.

I'd imagine IF (& that's a very big if) the McCain shack had contact they drastically overcalled the range in their solution. That stuff happens. Ranging errors can be substantial even when you are extremely proficient & doing everything right. I doubt they were using the same kind of plots (T/R, T/F,) we use all the time on a boat to help separate the wheat from the chaff on range calls. When the opfor is an SS at slow speeds, course determination can also be very problematic to nail down.

To Harry, who said, "It just goes to show how vulnerable the carriers are if we ever get into a hot war with China."
HVU protection is a standard (if boring) mission for us. It isn't the DDG's that are keeping our birdfarms safe, it is our boats.

I disagree w/ Served_SSN_CO on one point...that the PRC clearly didn't know the McCain was there.

I think they knew exactly what they were doing (although snagging the array was a huge surprise) except for the fact that the McCain was tail wet. I'd doubt the McCain had their masker on at the time w/ their tail out when this went down, which would make them easy to track by even a bad sub sonar shack.

6/17/2009 10:27 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with STSC re: Chinese boat skipper knew exactly what he was doing. My hunch is they were on training patrol in South China Sea and picked up the McCain. Skipper decides to close to collect intel and accidently snags McCains towed array.

I may have to alter my opinion of PLAN skills and abilities based on their small flotilla deployment to pirate haven off somalia and their willingness to go out and practice and spend extended periods underway. They're still a long, long way from the kind of operational proficiency demonstrated by USN and JMSDF, but their efforts to improve should be noted. Big change from decades of "negative Intel" or nothings happening, coined by one of my SS-580 skippers following several months of waiting for them to "come out and play."

I'll bet the Chinese skipper gets an "atta boy" when he gets back to port.

My two cents and keep a zero bubble........


6/18/2009 11:01 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Someone mentioned that it was the UN who were being cowards by recognizing China instead of Taiwan. In fact it was the United States that changed that, in 1979 the US suddenly switched diplomatic recognition of China from Taipei to Beijing with little or no warning leaving the rest of the world to catch up, including the UN.

6/19/2009 1:13 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"skimmers SUCK at TMA..."

If the STG gang was given half the time to use their gear and practice their trade as the OS (radar) guys get tracking air and surface targets, they would be a lot better.

From my long ago experience (and I bet it is still similar today) that the sonar gang is too busy on other tasks such as cleaning and painting in the engineering space in preparation for OPPE. Even if they have the time to stay on their gear and listen passive, it doesn't look like that is much of a priority for the navy right now.

I remember asking an STG1 in 1986 why there was only a fathometer watch in sonar while we were in the persian gulf. His reply was that "there are no subs in the gulf; it is too shallow for them"

When I told him that a submarine would go wherever there was a mission for it, he would not believe me.

Our subs may always be better at ASW than our surface ships (Lord I hope so!), but we could make our surface ASW skills much better if we made it more of a priority.

6/21/2009 7:23 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

found a comment this morning from an "official" DOD source that yes, The McCain was indeed tracking the Chinese boat. Chinese offical claims the collision with the towed array was an accident.

Keep a zero bubble........


6/25/2009 11:58 AM

Anonymous Sujan Patricia said...

PDN has not responded to the accusations of passive racism, so it is hard to say whether it is an oversight on their part, or something more sinister. It appears more to be a symptom of the culture.

6/25/2009 1:49 PM

Anonymous Prague Paul said...

Yes, I saw that story on BBC News online a few weeks ago and it was a crazy situation.

At the end of the day though it is a cyber war rather than land or water war these days. The hackers who took down twitter for a day are a prime example.

8/13/2009 11:38 AM

Anonymous contactos en madrid said...

It won't truly have success, I suppose this way.

10/19/2011 1:24 AM


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