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, June 27, 2013

N97 On Ohio Replacement

Check out this video from RDML Breckenridge:

Here's the blog article he mentions. Excerpts:
The Right Answer: A new design SSBN that improves on Ohio:
What has emerged from the Navy’s exhaustive analysis is an Ohio replacement submarine that starts with the foundation of the proven performance of the Ohio SSBN, its Trident II D5 strategic weapons system and its operating cycle. To this it adds:
* Enhanced stealth as necessary to pace emerging threats expected over its service life
* Systems commonality with Virginia (pumps, valves, sonars, etc.) wherever possible, enabling cost savings in design, procurement, maintenance and logistics
* Modular construction and use of COTS equipment consistent with those used in today’s submarines to reduce the cost of fabrication, maintenance and modernization.
* Total ownership cost reduction (for example, investing in a life-of-the-ship reactor core enables providing the same at-sea presence with fewer platforms).
I notice that they did not consider what I've always thought was the most cost-efficient and useful option: A Seawolf-based design with the D5 missile. This significantly mitigates the hull streamlining issue (since a Seawolf has a diameter 7 feet larger than a Virginia) and the Seawolf power plant could easily drive an SSBN at speeds that likely would exceed that of a Virginia SSN. Plus, we've already proven we can insert a module into the middle of a Seawolf hull.

Off-topic aside: When I was assigned as initial manning Eng of the aforementioned Jimmy Carter, I was the second Newcon Eng (after Virginia) that was part of a new initiative to have the initial manning Eng billet be a post-DH shore tour; I thought it made a lot of sense. I note from this article about the initial manning of PCU Illinois (SSN 786) that the Eng is a Lieutenant, so it appears they've gone away from this model. Does anyone know when that happened?

Friday, June 21, 2013

"I'd Rather Have A Sister In A Whorehouse..."

"... than a brother who was a recruiter." Those were among the first words I heard in Boot Camp as we were getting the customary "CCs yelling at new recruits to try to get them to hand over contraband" welcome. I thought of that episode when reading this recruiting article written, apparently, by a recruiter who'd never been on a submarine (or a former Boomer JO). Excerpts:
Normally, a Sailor is assigned to a submarine for a three-year period, followed by a three-year period of shore duty. But don’t expect to be at sea for three years straight – remember most subs spend a significant amount of time docked at their home port.
Because of the nature of the work, the living conditions and the limited space for onboard supplies, submarines typically have shorter deployments than surface ships. A typical submarine deployment would be:
3 months for a smaller Fast Attack Submarine
3–6 months for a larger Ballistic Missile Submarine
Rest assured, it’s not all work and no play aboard a Navy Sub. There is some downtime that can be beneficial to team building and personal rejuvenation. And it’s important take advantage of it when you can. Here’s how a typical day breaks down:
6 hours of sleep time
6 hours spent on watch (actively operating assigned equipment)
12 hours spent off watch (this time is divided between eating, studying, training, qualifying and free time)
How many other errors can you find? Do you have any good stories of lying recruiters (or, even better, stories from when you were a recruiter)?

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Light Weekend Reading

Here are some submarine-related tidbits that have come out in the last week or so:

1) The CO/XO and DH screening messages came out. Everyone on them is so young that I have nothing to add to the traditional "I can't believe that puppy-molester screened" conversation Submariners have. That being said, if you do have something to add, please don't use names in the comments.

2) CDR Salamander had a post about a letter sent out by the CNO directing NAVSEA 08 to "stand up a Navy-wide working group" to reduce administrative overhead. I remember the last such initiative, under ADM Boorda. I remember how there was a message from the CNO directing that one particular program (the part of the ORSE Admin requirement that required A-gang participation) be cancelled immediately. I remember how, at the next ORSE (not officially an NR program, of course, but everyone knows the score on that one), they asked me for these records, and I gave them the message from the CNO from 9 months earlier saying it had been canx'd. I clearly remember how the ORSE board member (look, I didn't capitalize it! Man, that's liberating) said he'd never heard of such a thing. Figuring this would happen, I then gave him the records, since I knew that NR would never let something as insignificant as a direct written order from the CNO get in the way of their ORSE Admin requirements.

That being said, ADM Richardson has been known to be interested in reducing unneeded admin, so we'll see if this initiative comes to anything. Heck, it might even be more successful than the clearly doomed-to-almost-immediate-worthlessness of the new "21st Century Sailor office".

3) USS Cheyenne (SSN 773) got back from a WESTPAC! Subic Bay, Pusan, Yoko, and Guam. I've seen worse sets of port visits.

4) Looks like vehicle decals for Navy bases are going to be a thing of the past as of next month.

5) Hey, we should launch a discussion about the U.S. government intercepting communications on a submarine blog! Not.


7) Scandal or non-event? I'm thinking that, as most submarines are commanded by O-5s and we still call them "Captain", it's not a big deal.

Update 1518 18 June: 8) A Brit officer becomes just the 2nd UK officer to earn American gold dolphins.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

EB To The Rescue!

Good story from the AP yesterday about a miscalculation by Spanish submarine designers:
A new, Spanish-designed submarine has a weighty problem: The vessel is more than 70 tons too heavy, and officials fear if it goes out to sea, it will not be able to surface.
And a former Spanish official says the problem can be traced to a miscalculation — someone apparently put a decimal point in the wrong place.
"It was a fatal mistake," said Rafael Bardaji, who until recently was director of the Office of Strategic Assessment at Spain's Defense Ministry.
The Isaac Peral, the first in a new class of diesel-electric submarines, was nearly completed when engineers discovered the problem. A U.S. Navy contractor in Connecticut, Electric Boat, has signed a deal to help the Spanish Defense Ministry find ways to slim down the 2,200-ton submarine.
Being a 2x Newcon Eng, I worked with EB design guys quite a lot; the ones who were served Submariners were pretty good, but some of the other ones required quite a bit of explaining to understand how their designs translated to issues for the crew. Still, as far as I know all the boats they designed could at least make it back to the surface.

Have you ever worked with civilian submarine design engineers?

Update 0855 07 June: For any non-submariners that wander by, here's a quick and simplified primer on submarine buoyancy. Ships in general float because they displace a volume of seawater with weight greater than the weight of the ship. A submerged submarine strives for neutral buoyancy, in which the submerged submarine displaces a volume of seawater equal to its weight.

For the Spanish submarine problem, assuming it's not carrying 70 tons of extraneous equipment, the simplest solution would be to increase the volume of the boat with a new compartment that weighs 70 tons less than the volume of seawater it displaces. I suggest a win/win solution - put in a big-ass berthing compartment. It wouldn't have a lot of heavy equipment, and would give the crew lots of sleeping space. They could increase the length of the submarine by 10%, displacing about 220 extra tons of seawater, and I'm sure they could bring it in at under 150 tons. Everybody wins!