Accountability



It’s no big surprise to anybody who has been around the show for more than a week that I despise people like AJ, and even to a lesser degree Hannity. The reason is simple – they are not about thinking, they are about shocking people and confusing them into believing nonsense.

Like AJ, the Hal Turner “Show” decided to spread a great big lie. The problem is that (a) he knew it was a lie and (b) he didn’t give a rats behind about the people who could be hurt by his lie. It’s the worst part of Talk Radio… the nutjobs who are more interested in spreading manure than any actual information to the sheeple who won’t think for themselves. Then ask them for money.

The sadder act is that there will be no accountability for his lie…


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Declassify the Thresher Data | U.S. Naval Institute

Source: Declassify the Thresher Data | U.S. Naval Institute

The Most Advanced Sub 

The first nuclear-powered submarines, slow and radiating excessive noise, retained the traditional diesel-electric hull design. The USS Albacore (AGSS-569), a diesel-electric research submarine, was commissioned in 1953 to improve submerged performance. Based on the Albacore, the Navy determined that the teardrop-shaped hull, with the single screw aft of the rudder and stern planes, was the best design for the Skipjack (SSN-585), commissioned in 1959. These innovations, combined with Naval Reactors’ director Admiral Hyman Rickover’s more powerful S5W reactor plant—easier to maintain and operate—created a high-speed (29.5 knots) but noisy submarine.

Commissioned 3 August 1961, the Thresher featured 22 percent more displacement and a beam two feet wider than the Skipjack ’s. The torpedo room was moved from the bow to amidships to fit a large, spherical active and passive sonar in the bow. Machinery sound dampening drastically reduced radiated noise, increased sonar detection capabilities, and reduced passive sonar counter- detection ranges, making theThresher a real threat to Soviet submarines. The test depth nearly doubled, from 700 to 1,300 feet, providing more protection from antisubmarine weapons, making active surface-ship sonars less effective, and increasing the margin of safety for depth excursions during control-surface casualties.

The Nuclear System Failed

In sound trials, weapons testing, and submarine exercises, the Thresher ’s performance was outstanding, but she had not yet deployed overseas to face Soviet submarines. After explosive-shock testing, she entered Portsmouth Naval Shipyard (PNSY) in Kittery, Maine, on 16 July 1962 for a nine-month post-shakedown availability (PSA). On 9 April 1963, the Thresherdeparted for post-PSA sea trials in tactical command of, and escorted by, the submarine rescue vessel USS Skylark (ASR-20). The ships rendezvoused the next morning just beyond the continental shelf for a deep-dive test, during which theThresher sank. Until communications were lost, they had been maintained with the Skylark through an underwater telephone system (Gertrude).

In 1962–63, Lieutenant Bruce Rule was the analysis officer for the SOSUS Evaluation Center in Norfolk, Virginia; he analyzed the LoFARGrams and testified to the Naval Court of Inquiry. After leaving the Navy in September 1963, Rule spent the next 42 years as the lead acoustic analyst for the Office of Naval Intelligence. Key information from Rule’s LoFARGram analysis that was redacted from the released portions of the inquiry’s report includes the following points:

• The Thresher ran main coolant pumps (MCPs) in fast speed until they stopped at 0911. If power from steam-driven ship’s service turbine generators (SSTGs) failed, slow-speed MCPs could run using power generated by the ship’s service motor generators. Fast-speed MCPs did not have this capability.

• The Thresher ’s MCPs gradually
varied in speed up to 24 revolutions per minute (rpm) about five times over a two-minute period, from 0909 until 0911. This resulted from a change of up to four-tenths of a Hertz in the 60-cycle power supplying the fast-speed MCPs from the SSTGs. 4

• Since SOSUS did not detect blade rate (screw rpm), the Thresher did not exceed 12 knots.

• Rule’s analysis of LoFARGrams from SOSUS stations as remote as Argentia, Newfoundland, and Antigua, British West Indies, produced a time-difference fix on where the Thresher imploded. This time-difference fix resulted in a four-by-eight nautical-mile ellipse, with the major axis oriented 040 degrees to 220 degrees true.

The Naval Court of Inquiry justified its finding of major flooding by citing a then-recent history of silver-brazed pipe joint failures on six submarines, including the Thresher . But even though all the silver-brazed joints that had been worked during the Thresher ’s overhaul had been ultrasonically tested, only 145 of the submarine’s unworked joints had been tested, with a 14 percent failure rate. This left 2,855 silver-brazed joints untested. 5

Major flooding creates streams of high-velocity seawater striking the pressure hull and internal structures, producing broadband noise and narrowband resonances. Rule reported a LoFARGram showing a compartment flooding at great depth producing more than 100 individual strong narrowband resonances detectable from more than 700 nautical miles. SOSUS Array Fox, 30 nautical miles from the Thresher , detected  MCPs and main ballast tank (MBT) blow events, but not flooding.

The inquiry reported that the Thresher ’s MCPs had stopped, which would have caused an automatic reactor shutdown (scram) or a shift to slow speed. While Rule was positive the MCPs stopped, Naval Reactors said the acoustic data were inconclusive. Two commanders—not members of the Naval Court of Inquiry and likely acting as agents for Naval Reactors—tried to intimidate Rule during his classified testimony before the court into saying that the MCPs were in slow speed, not fast. Slow-speed MCPs were a more reliable lineup, but Ronald Estes, a reactor operator who served 14 months on the Thresher , recalls that it was normal to run fast-peed MCPs during deep dives to ensure immediate availability of flank speed to go shallow.

In a 1987 interview with Fred Korth, Secretary of the Navy when the Thresher was lost, and his executive assistant, Vice Admiral Marmaduke Bayne, both said Rickover had altered portions of the Naval Court of Inquiry’s report, and had probably done so because wording on MCPs was left as “inconclusive.” This deflected blame for the sinking away from Naval Reactors by creating doubt that there had been a scram.

Anatomy of a Rush Job

The final ten minutes of the Thresher are detailed in the March 2018 Proceedings (p. 87). Here the analysis begins at 0853, 16 minutes earlier, because it is at this point that the inadequacy of testing becomes clear. At 0853, the Thresher reported going to test depth: 1,300 feet. Why did she not use planes, angle, and speed to go shallow during the next 18 minutes, while the propulsion plant was capable of flank speed?

Acoustic data rule out major flooding, but control-surface casualties were relatively common. Stern planes stuck in a dive position would require the Thresher to stop to prevent a large down angle and downward depth excursion. Only de-ballasting by blowing MBTs and pumping variable ballast tanks to sea would enable ascent. One admittedly speculative, yet entirely plausible, scenario is such a stern planes failure.

During an NBC News interview in his official capacity on 10 April 1963, hours after the Thresher was lost, Captain James Calvert (later Vice Admiral), commanding a division of nuclear submarines, implicitly speculated about a control-surface casualty as a cause for the loss. Rear Admiral Charles Curtze, a deputy commander at the Bureau of Ships, testified before a congressional hearing that the electro-hydraulic control valves and piping for ship control surfaces were under review because failures had caused submarines to take large trim angles and lose depth control. Curtze also said a review of the reliability of ship control systems was Task No. 10 of the Submarine Safety (SubSafe) Program.

The following timeline delves more deeply into the information presented in the March 2018 Proceedings :

• 0909: SOSUS detects SSTGs changing speed slowly by measuring MCP frequency—a symptom of an ongoing problem in the engine room, probably caused by seawater-leak isolation of the main seawater system that supplied cooling to the main condensers. It should have prompted shifting MCPs to slow to prevent a reactor scram and to go shallow. Instead, an MBT blow was detected starting 48 seconds later, indicating that main propulsion was not usable, and the Thresher was sinking.

• 0909.8 to 0911.3: SOSUS detected an MBT blow. Flank speed, about 28 knots, would have surfaced theThresher in under two minutes, but speed stayed below 12 knots. Rickover reported to Congress on the sub’s inadequate MBT blow capacity. By design, new submarine classes relied on nuclear propulsion to surface in case of emergency, rather than on the MBT blow system. On the Thresher , the MBTs were made smaller to increase speed, which reduced reserve buoyancy and the effectiveness of the MBT blow. Crews became complacent about being negatively buoyant. 8

Rickover rode the Thresher during the first deep dive after new construction and was concerned with flooding recovery at depth. He demanded that the submarine stop every 100 feet to check for leaks, cycle valves, and test critical equipment. Lieutenant Commander John Harvey, commanding officer (CO) of theThresher for just three months, approved the PNSY sea-trial agenda for a two-hour deep dive—not enough time for tests, and with brief stops at 400, 650, 1,000, and 1,300 feet to check for leaks. The CO and his executive officer had no experience on the S5W reactor plant or deep-diving high-speed submarines with fairwater planes on the sail.

Excessive leakage from multiple sources would not cause high-pressure streams of water, although it could make the Thresher negatively buoyant. A Thresher -class submarine gets 1,000 pounds heavier for every 100-foot increase in depth, as hull compression reduces ship volume. If variable ballast was not pumped to sea to compensate, and with normal increases in weight, such as sanitary tanks filling, the Thresher might have reached test depth at least 12,000 pounds heavy. This is consistent with testimony that neutral buoyancy was no longer a priority with reliable nuclear propulsion. 10

There were many potential sources of leakage, as even sanitary flushing was directly connected to the sea.  As the Thresher continued her descent, leakage rates increased, and new sources of leakage developed. The cumulative effect of multiple leaks could have exceeded the capacity to deballast by pumping to sea or blowing MBTs.

• 0910: The Skylark acknowledged the Thresher ’s course change to match the Skylark ’s course—standard procedure to minimize the chance of collision, as the expected result of the MBT blow was to surface.

After the Thresher loss, the Naval Court of Inquiry directed a pierside test of the MBT blow system on theTinosa (SSN-606), a Thresher -class submarine in the final stages of construction at PNSY. Lieutenant Zack Pate (later Captain), the Tinosa auxiliary division officer and damage control assistant, directed this test. The inquiry’s Finding of Fact 50 inaccurately describes its results: “Strainers in the reducers of Tinosawere blocked and ruptured by the formation of ice in about 30 seconds.” The Marotta Company manufactured the 4,500–3,000-pounds-per-square-inch (PSI) reducing valves used for ship’s service air, including MBT blow. Pate reported that conical strainers and orifice plates were installed upstream of these reducers, and that the strainers were collapsed, not ruptured, as shown in this photo that he took.

The airflow stopped and restarted sporadically every few seconds for six minutes, until the test was stopped. 11 Ruptured strainers would be less restrictive than collapsed strainers, and orifice plates (not mentioned in the Naval Court of Inquiry’s report) significantly restricted air flow to the MBTs. This inaccurate description of an important test was referred to many times in testimony before the court and Congress. Marotta provided the orifice plates and strainers, and PNSY installed them, without anyone on the Thresheror the Tinosa knowing that to prevent construction debris from damaging the reducing valves, they should have been removed when the work was completed. Ice forming on the strainers from adiabatic cooling from the Venturi effect blocked air flow until the ice melted or broke free, allowing reduced air flow until ice formed again. This explains the intermittent interruptions during the Thresher ’s MBT blow. Pate provided one set of the orifice plates and strainers to the court and retained the other. Yet a letter from Marotta’s president and chief executive officer states that there were no records or corporate memory of this issue. 12

• 0911: SOSUS detected MCPs stopping, causing a reactor scram. Alternating-current power was not lost, as the Gertrude was still working. The reactor operator shut main steam stop valves (MS-1 and 2) per the scram procedure, which secured steam supply to the main engines and SSTGs.

MCPs were not started in slow speed to remove decay heat from the reactor core, a procedural violation. With MS-1 and 2 shut and no running MCPs to transfer decay and residual heat from the reactor to generate steam, the main engines were useless. Keeping MS-1 and 2 open after a reactor scram for emergency propulsion was a well-known procedure, but had not yet been approved by Naval Reactors. 13Naval Court of Inquiry board member Captain James Osborn (later Rear Admiral) had served as the first CO of the USS George Washington (SSBN-598). His standing orders, approved by Rickover, were to allow MS-1 and 2 to stay open and to answer the ordered propulsion bell if the reactor scrammed while below 500 feet when experiencing a 20-degree down angle, or during the maneuvering watch. 14 This class of submarine had a test depth of 700 feet. With MS-1 and 2 shut, the only means of propulsion was the emergency propulsion motor, a large, direct-current motor powered by the ship’s battery that could propel the ship at speeds of up to five knots.

0913: The court derived this underwater-telephone report using testimony from four witnesses:

“Experiencing minor difficulties”

“Have positive up angle”

“Am attempting to blow up”

“Will keep you informed.” 15

By 0913 the Thresher had exceeded test depth, maybe by as much as 600 feet if the 0917 report, “900 North,” is interpreted as 900 feet below test depth or 2,200 feet—reasonable, given that the submarine was reporting depth relative to test depth. There were no running MCPs; the reactor had scrammed; MS-1 and 2 were shut; main propulsion was lost; the boat was accelerating downward in an uncontrolled descent that the MBT blow could not stop; and the crew could hear the creaking and groaning sounds of the pressure hull compressing. The Thresher ’s difficulties were by no means “minor” at 0913.

One possible explanation is that “experiencing minor difficulties” in the 0913 report was from a delayed transmission describing an earlier event considered minor at the time, such as a control surface failure.

An up angle was expected to enable the Thresher to go shallow. “Have positive up angle” implies that the submarine had recovered from a down angle, possibly caused by a stern plane’s jam dive. The report of “attempting to blow up” confirms that the MBT blow was ineffective.

• 0913.5 to 0914: SOSUS and the Skylark detected a 30-second MBT blow. This was probably a restart of the blow started at 0909.8.

• 0916: The Thresher made a garbled report believed to include the words “test depth,” possibly preceded by the word “exceeding.”

• 0917: The Thresher sent a garbled report interpreted to include the phrase “900 North.”

• 0918.4: SOSUS and the Skylark detected hull collapse at a calculated depth of 2,400 feet, 450 feet below the crush depth of 1,950 feet (150 percent of test depth), creating a bubble pulse with an energy release equivalent to 22,500 pounds of TNT. The hull collapsed in 47 milliseconds (~1/20th of a second), too fast to be cognitively recognized by those on board. 16  

An Avoidable Disaster; A Better Future 

A simple decision to schedule more time for the deep dive could have saved the Thresher . Her loss resulted in the creation of the SubSafe program, which mandated the redesign of and strict quality control procedures for the manufacture, repair, and testing of critical systems on submarines. The prevention of unauthorized alterations in critical systems—including the hull, seawater systems, high-pressure air, and control surfaces—was prioritized. New SubSafe systems, such as a separate emergency MBT blow system and an emergency remote hydraulic seawater hull valve closure system, were installed on all submarines. Until a boat was SubSafe-certified, she was restricted to operating at half her test depth.

Like radar at the start of World War II, SOSUS data were not fully trusted or used in the investigation. If they had been, the Naval Court of Inquiry’s report on MCPs would not have been deemed “inconclusive.” Relying on a single normally reliable system—the nuclear propulsion plant—without a designed and tested backup proved catastrophic for the Thresher .

Even though the SubSafe program has already brought lifesaving changes, there may be more to be learned. It is time for the Navy to fully share all the evidence pertaining to this historic watershed naval loss.

No SubSafe-certified submarines have been lost. The only other sinking of a U.S. nuclear submarine was the USS Scorpion (SSN-589) after a battery explosion in May 1968. Release of the Naval Court of Inquiry’s report, declassifiable per Executive Order 13526, would give valuable insight.

Author’s Note 

With respect to sources, SOSUS information not from Rule’s book is either from emails or interviews with him. Technical information on submarines is from Norman Polmar and Kenneth J. Moore, Cold War Submarines: The Design and Construction of U.S. and Soviet Submarines (Washington, DC: Brassey’s, 2004). Recent Proceedings articles pertaining to this subject include most saliently Captain Joseph F. Yurso, USN (Ret.), “Unraveling the Thresher ’s Story” (October 2017, 38–42); and Comment & Discussion contributions from K. Highfill (January 2018, pp. 87–88) and J. Bryant (March 2018, p. 87).

1. Department of the Navy, Office of the Judge Advocate General’s Corps, “ Loss at Sea of USS Thresher ,” 25 June 1963. Opinions of the Naval Court of Inquiry (NCoI), section 4, 13.

2. Bruce Rule, Why the USS Thresher (SSN-593) Was Lost: A Technical Assessment Based on Analyses of Acoustic Detections of the Event (Ann Arbor, MI: Nimble Books, 2017), 11.

3. Ibid., iv.

4. Ibid., 11.

5. Stanford Libraries, “Loss of the USS Thresher : Hearings before the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy, Congress of the United States, Eighty-Eighth Congress, First and Second Sessions on the Loss of the USSThresher ”: 26–27 June, 23 July 1963, and 1 July 1964, 12.

6. Francis Duncan, Rickover and the Nuclear Navy: The Discipline of Technology (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1990), 90, 91.

7. Philip Martin Callaghan, “Effects of the USS Thresher Disaster upon Submarine Safety and Deep-Submergence Capabilities in the United States Navy,” MA thesis, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA (1987), 11.

8. Ibid., 25–28. Stanford Libraries, “Loss of the USS Thresher ,” 33.

9. Stanford Libraries, “Loss of the USS Thresher ,” 85, 86.

10. Callaghan, “Effects of the USS Thresher Disaster upon Submarine Safety,” 25–28; Stanford Libraries, “Loss of the USS Thresher ,” 33.

11. Captain Zack Pate’s letter of 31 May 2013 to Rear Admiral David Goebel, president, Submarine Force Library and Museum Association. Bryant and Evans have an unsigned copy that was verified by telephone with Pate. Admiral William Smith and Captains Clarence Moore and Walter Coakley are listed in the letter certifying it.

12. Patrick A. Marotta, president and CEO of Marotta Controls. Email to James Bryant, 7 December 2017, held by Bryant, Evans, and Wulfekuhle.

13. Callaghan, “Effects of the USS Thresher Disaster upon Submarine Safety,” 11, 23.

14. Personal communication, email, Captain James Collins.

15. NCoI, section III 36–54. Los Angeles Times , “Navy Board Told of Sub’s Last Minutes,” 14 April 1963, 1.

16. Rule, Why the USS Thresher (SSN-593) Was Lost , 16, 17.


Captain Bryant served on three Thresher –class submarines and commanded the USS Guardfish (SSN-612) from 1987 to 1990. He is grateful to Harold Evans and Nicholas Wulfekuhle for their research and editing in the preparation of this article, and to Iowa State Professor Capt. Tim Wolters, USNR (Ret.), for his mentoring. He thanks Capt. Zack Pate, USN (Ret.); Molly Hammett Kronberg; Steve Walsh; and all the others, especially the submariners who provided assistance in this team effort.

Warship Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2018: Nimitz’s pogy boat | laststandonzombieisland

Here at LSOZI, we are going to take off every Wednesday for a look at the old steam/diesel navies of the 1833-1946 time period and will profile a different ship each week. These ships have a life, a tale all their own, which sometimes takes them to the strangest places.- Christopher Eger

Source: Warship Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2018: Nimitz’s pogy boat | laststandonzombieisland

Here we see the Balao-class diesel-electric fleet submarine USS Menhaden (SS-377) underway during sea trials in Lake Michigan, January 1945. One of 28 “freshwater submarines” made by Manitowoc in Wisconsin during WWII, she cut her teeth in the depths of the Great Lakes but was soon enough sent off to war. Before her career was said and done she would participate in three of them and help aid the next generation of bubbleheads well into the Red October-era.

A member of the 128-ship Balao class, she was one of the most mature U.S. Navy diesel designs of the World War Two era, constructed with knowledge gained from the earlier Gato-class. U.S. subs, unlike those of many navies of the day, were ‘fleet’ boats, capable of unsupported operations in deep water far from home.

Able to range 11,000 nautical miles on their reliable diesel engines, they could undertake 75-day patrols that could span the immensity of the Pacific. Carrying 24 (often unreliable) Mk14 Torpedoes, these subs often sank anything short of a 5000-ton Maru or warship by surfacing and using their 4-inch/50 caliber and 40mm/20mm AAA’s. The also served as the firetrucks of the fleet, rescuing downed naval aviators from right under the noses of Japanese warships.

We have covered a number of this class before, such as the rocket-mailing USS Barbero, the carrier-sinking USS Archerfish the long-serving USS Catfish and the frogman Cadillac USS Perch —but don’t complain, they have lots of great stories

Like most pre-Rickover submarines, the subject of our tale today was named for a fish. Menhaden, commonly called pogy, is a small and greasy fish of the herring family found in the Lakes, as well as in the Atlantic and Gulf. Where I live in Pascagoula, we have a menhaden plant that processes boatloads of these nasty little boogers to mash for their oil, which is later used in cosmetics (remember that next time you see lipstick) and for fish oil supplements.

Read the full story HERE

 

USS Thresher memorial at Arlington takes a step forward with committee’s approval – U.S. – Stripes

The effort to memorialize the 129 men who were lost aboard the USS Thresher on the grounds of Arlington National Cemetery got a boost this month with approval from the cemetery’s advisory committee.

Source: USS Thresher memorial at Arlington takes a step forward with committee’s approval – U.S. – Stripes

The committee unanimously approved the project at its Nov. 7 meeting. The superintendent of Arlington and the head of Army National Military Cemeteries will next consider the project with a final decision coming from the Secretary of the Army.

Kevin Galeaz, a submarine veteran and president of the USS Thresher ANC Memorial Foundation, said he’s hoping for a decision before the 56th anniversary of the disaster next April.

The foundation has raised $60,000, exclusively from private donations, to build the monument, which is only expected to cost $5,000. The extra money is to cover any replacement or other costs that arise after the memorial is erected. Many of the donations have come from submarine veterans and Electric Boat employees in southeastern Connecticut, Galeaz said. The U.S. Submarine Veterans Groton Base donated $200 to the project.

The USS Thresher (SSN-593) departed the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine, for deep-diving tests on April 10, 1963. It sank shortly thereafter, more than 200 miles off the New England coast — the first nuclear-powered submarine to be lost at sea.

Among the 129 men killed were residents of New London, Groton, Norwich, Gales Ferry, Mystic, Uncasville and Jewett City.

The Navy has said the disaster likely was caused by a leak in the boat’s engine room, which led to seawater flooding an electric panel that triggered the nuclear reactor to shut down. With no propulsion, and with the added weight of the water, the ship sank below its crush depth and imploded.

“It is our understanding that the men of the USS Thresher stayed at their assigned stations while descending, making reports on the situation and the submarine’s condition even though knowing that they were doomed. They displayed an outstanding example of courage and commitment to ensure the challenges they encountered would not happen again,” the family of Lt. j.g. John Joseph Wiley, of Altoona, Pa., one of the deceased crew members, said in a letter to the advisory committee in support of project.

The Navy responded to the disaster by accelerating safety improvements and creating a program called “SUBSAFE,” an extensive series of design modifications, training and other improvements. No submarine certified under the program has been lost since.

Galeaz said the foundation is suggesting the small, granite monument be situated along a walkway in a non-burial area at Arlington near the memorials to the crews lost aboard the space shuttles Challenger and Columbia to highlight how the disasters relate. The Columbia Accident Investigation Board said the Navy’s Subsafe program could be a model for NASA.

“NASA approached the Subsafe community to learn how to change its industrial paradigm,” Galeaz said.

j.bergman@theday.com

The U.S. Navy Can’t Fix Its Submarines | War Is Boring

The U.S. Navy wants to add 10 new attack submarines to its fleet, but according to a scathing government report, it can’t maintain the 56 attack submarines it has as of late 2018.

“The Navy has been unable to begin or complete the vast majority of its attack submarine maintenance periods on time resulting in significant maintenance delays and operating and support cost expenditures,” the Government Accountability Office concluded in its November 2018 report.

“GAO’s analysis of Navy maintenance data shows that between fiscal year 2008 and 2018, attack submarines have incurred 10,363 days of idle time and maintenance delays as a result of delays in getting into and out of the shipyards,” the GAO continued.

The GAO cited the example of USS Boise, a Los Angeles-class attack submarine that commissioned into service in 1992. “Th Navy originally scheduled the USS Boise to enter a shipyard for an extended maintenance period in 2013 but, due to heavy shipyard workload, the Navy delayed the start of the maintenance period,” the GAO explained.

“In June 2016, the USS Boise could no longer conduct normal operations and the boat has remained idle, pierside for over two years since then waiting to enter a shipyard.”

Attack submarines represent a main pillar of the Navy’s strategy for deterring Russia and China. Stealthy and heavily-armed with torpedoes, anti-ship missiles and land-attack cruise missiles, attack subs “provide the global presence required to support national tasking and prompt warfighting response,” the Navy stated.

Source: The U.S. Navy Can’t Fix Its Submarines | War Is Boring

But in the 1990s the sailing branch allowed its undersea fleet to wither. During the post-Cold War “procurement holiday,” the Navy bought only a handful of submarines. When the nuclear reactor cores aboard 1980s-vintage Los Angeles-class boats wear out, the overall attack-boat fleet could slip to a modern low of 42 in 2028, according to the 2019 edition of the Navy’s 30-year shipbuilding plan.

To meet regional commanders’ requirements, the Navy needs 66 attack boats, Ray Mabus, then the Navy secretary announced in December 2016. The shipbuilding plan projects the fleet finally reaching its 66-boat goal in 2046, assuming it can maintain steady annual production of at least two new attack submarines. The Navy plans for as many as 35 attack boats to deploy at the same time during a major war.

But today the sailing branch can’t fix the subs it has, never mind the greater number of subs it wants, the GAO found. “GAO estimated that since fiscal year 2008 the Navy has spent more than $1.5 billion in fiscal year 2018 constant dollars to support attack submarines that provide no operational capability—those sitting idle while waiting to enter the shipyards, and those delayed in completing their maintenance at the shipyards.”

Despite some labor and equipment shortages, there should be enough shipyards to maintain all the boats, the GAO explained. The problem is that the Navy prefers to repair subs at its own yards rather than contracting the same work to for-profit yards. The Navy “has not effectively allocated maintenance periods among public shipyards and private shipyards that may also be available to help minimize attack-submarine idle time,” according to the GAO.

“Navy leadership has acknowledged that they need to be more proactive in leveraging potential private shipyard repair capacity,” the GAO reported. “Without addressing this challenge, the Navy risks continued expenditure of operating and support funding to crew maintain, and support attack submarines that provide no operational capability because they are delayed in getting into and out of maintenance.”

If the Navy doesn’t fix the problem, it could buy all those new submarines it said it wants and still fall short of the number of operational submarines it said it needs.

This story originally appeared at The National Interest.

Argentine sub found partially ‘imploded’ after yearlong search

Argentina has confirmed the location of the wreck of the ARA San Juan, lost a year ago with forty-four souls.

The reports are that the ship is “partially” imploded, with the forward section apparently somewhat intact. This would imply (to me) that the forward section(s) were flooded prior to collapse depth, with the after section(s) still intact and secured watertight until the final moment. I have believed from the early days that induction flooding might be a cause, possibly caused by electrical failures which interfered with the operation of the Head Valve. Under normal conditions, loss of power would have caused a Head Valve to fail shut.

There are far more questions than answers at this point. But the first step has been accomplished, now we may find answers. Or we may never know for certain.

May G-d bless and we always remember the 44 submariners who lie in the wreck of ARA San Juan.

 Lord God, our power evermore,
Whose arm doth reach the ocean floor, 
Dive with our men beneath the sea;
Traverse the depths protectively.
O hear us when we pray, and keep
Them safe from peril in the deep.

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) – The Argentine Navy submarine that went missing a year ago off the country’s Atlantic Coast was found by a private company involved in what had been a massive search for the vessel and its 44-member crew, the defense ministry said in a news conference on Saturday.

The ARA San Juan submarine was discovered by marine tracking contractor Ocean Infinity, 907 meters (2,975 feet) below the ocean surface. The vessel was found in an underwater canyon with its tail partially “imploded,” Argentina’s Defense Minister Carlos Aguad said.

Given the poor visibility at the site, the ministry said it only had preliminary information about the state of the submarine, which was scattered in pieces on the ocean floor.

Aguad could neither confirm nor deny if the vessel could be recovered, but said the government did “not have the means to extract the submarine.”

The disappearance gripped the nation’s attention as the government struggled to provide information about the tragedy. Relatives of the crew still have questions.

“We have found them,” Jorge Villarreal, father of one crew member told local radio. “Now we are going to search for the truth. For us this is the start of a new chapter.”

Aguad said: “Much of what happens from here will have to be resolved by the justice department. If there is someone responsible, they will be held responsible.”

At the time of the disappearance, the Navy said water that had entered the submarine’s snorkel caused its battery to short-circuit.

Naval officials said international organizations helping to search for the missing vessel a year ago detected a noise that could have been the submarine imploding, just two hours after its last contact.

The first anniversary of the submarine’s disappearance was commemorated at the Mar del Plata naval base on Nov. 15, with President Mauricio Macri in attendance.

The crew had been ordered to return to Mar del Plata on the country’s east coast. But the vessel was never heard from again.

Source: Argentine sub found partially ‘imploded’ after yearlong search

Bremerton shipyard’s history with submarines traces back to WW I 

By the end of World War I, Puget Sound Naval Shipyard had built over 1,700 vessels, including seven submarines. One of those submarines was the largest to have ever been built in the Pacific Northwest.

Source: Bremerton shipyard’s history with submarines traces back to WW I | king5.com

BREMERTON — While Puget Sound Naval Shipyard has a long history of maintaining, decommissioning and recycling the Navy’s fleet of modern nuclear-powered submarines, the shipyard’s work on such vessels can be traced back a century to the manufacture of early submarines during World War I.

Although the shipyard was originally intended to be a West Coast outpost where the fleet’s vessels would go for repair and overhaul, its mission grew to encompass a variety of new tasks as the American government prepared for the likelihood of being brought into the war in Europe while outwardly maintaining a stance of neutrality.

Almost three years after the start of the conflict, the United States joined the war on April 6, 1917, until it ended on Nov. 11, 1918.

On Sunday, the world observes the 100th anniversary of the armistice that ended the war that claimed the lives of an estimated 9 million service members.

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By the end of the war, the shipyard had built or nearly completed more than 1,700 small boats, 25 sub-chasers, seven tugboats, two minesweepers, two ammunition ships and seven submarines, according to local historians Louise M. Reh and Helen Lou Ross in their book “Nipsic to Nimitz.”

Those seven submarines, one of which was the largest to have ever been built in the Pacific Northwest, were the only submarines the shipyard has ever built.

The shipyard had unsuccessfully lobbied the federal government for funding to construct facilities where workers could build submarines in the years leading up to the war, according to author Bill Lightfoot’s history of submarines built in Puget Sound, “Beneath the Surface.”

The Navy sought to find a way to break the “stranglehold” that private shipbuilders like Electric Boat Company had on the nascent market for submarine manufacturing, according to Lightfoot. The company, an early precursor to modern submarine manufacturer General Dynamics Electric Boat, built the Navy’s first commissioned undersea warship in 1899.

The outbreak of war in Europe in 1914 presented the opportunity for the shipyard to take on the task after the federal government authorized the Navy to build two submarines to demonstrate its capacity to do so. The first submarine was to be built at Portsmouth Navy Yard and the second was to built at Puget Sound Navy Yard.

It took some time for the shipyard to get the project up and running.

Three months after America joined the war in April 1917, crews finally laid the keel for the submarine built in Bremerton, which was named O-Two. It took a total of 10 months to build what was the largest submarine ever to have been built in Northwest, according to Lightfoot.

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O-class submarines, known as “pig boats” for their “foul living quarters and unusually stubby hull shape,” had a crew of 29 sailors, according to the Puget Sound Navy Museum.

The subs were almost 173 feet in length and 18 feet wide, with a diving depth of 200 feet. They were armed with one 3-inch gun and four 18-inch torpedo tubes, and the sub carried eight torpedoes onboard.

Two diesel engines powered the vessel when it was on the surface, where it could reach a speed of 14 knots. When submerged, two electric motors powered the submarine and it could reach a speed of almost 11 knots, according to the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.

After being commissioned in October 1918, O-Two patrolled the New England coast for a short while until the war ended on Nov. 11, according to records from the Navy History and Heritage Command.

While the submarine missed most of the war, O-Two went on to train crews during World War II.

Although that was the shipyard’s first foray into submarine construction — it wasn’t the last time crews tackled such an undertaking during the war.

As Allied demand for submarines continued to increase, it presented an opportunity for the shipyard to once again undertake the task of building the vessels.

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In 1917, the Russians had purchased a lot of six submarines from Electric Boat, only to have the order fall through after the start of the Russian Revolution. The submarine parts, which were manufactured in Vancouver, B.C., waited pier-side in crates while the company decided what to do with them.

After almost four months of negotiations, the Navy purchased the unassembled submarines at a price of $395,000 each and settled on having them manufactured in Bremerton.

The submarines, known as USS H-Four through H-Nine, were built at the same time as workers were finishing O-Two, in the area where Pier 7 currently stands at the shipyard.

The H-class submarines, with crews of 25 sailors, were 150 feet long and could dive in depths up to 200 feet. Powered by two diesel engines and two electric motors, the vessels could reach up to almost 11 knots while submerged and 14 knots while on the surface. Each sub could be armed with up to eight torpedos, according to the Puget Sound Navy Museum.

Within six months, the shipyard had manufactured all six of the vessels. While most of the submarines were commissioned in the months leading up to the end of the war, all six of them missed joining the war effort before the end of hostilities.

During the interwar years, those six submarines participated in a number of training exercises along the West Coast, with intermittent patrol duty off Santa Catalina Island and trips to Mare Island Navy Yard in California for maintenance, according to the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.

Eventually, all six of the shipyard’s submarines were decommissioned in Norfolk in September 1931, where they waited for more than two years until they were sold for scrap in 1933.