- A Congressional Budget Office Study has concluded that nine additional Trident submarines
“would provide the same number of warheads as both of the land based missile systems under
consideration,” the MX and the small ICBM. While the combined life-cycle costs of the MX and the
small ICBM would exceed those of nine Tridents “by a factor of more than three.”
- Admiral James Watkins, the CNO, in plugging for a new attack submarine program, stressed that
in addition to this new submarine being bigger, more powerful, faster, deeper-diving and with a
far better sonar suite than the present 688 Class, it would also additionally be “hardened” and
configured for under ice opera tiona. He noted that the Soviets are “demonstrating a strong
interest in operating under the ice” and that “we’d better be able to fight them in that region.”
- The recently released report of the President’s Commission on Strategic Forces (the Scowcraft report on the MX) included a recommendation that research begin now on smaller balistic-missile carrying submarines, each carrying fewer missiles than the Trident, as a potential follow-on to the Trident submarine force. The report said that such small subs would present lower-value targets and “present radically different problems to a Soviet attacker than does the Trident submarine force.”
- On May 17 the Florida (SSBN 728), and the nation’s third Trident submarine, was delivered to
the Navy. Electric Boat, the builder of Trident submarines, has seven more of the 560-foot-long,
18,750 ton vessels in varying stages of construction.
- Cutting the cake this year at the Submarine Birthday Ball in Washington, commemorating the
83rd anniversary of the Submarine Force, were the host VAdm. N.R. Thunman, USN, Adm. John G.
Willimas, Jr., USN, VAdm. Lawson P. “Red” Ramage, USN (Ret) as the senior submariner at the Ball,
and Lt. David A. Veatch, USN, the most junior.
- In a by-line Stockholm, Sweden, it is reported that a Swedish government commission in
their findings which were published on April 26, 1983, concluded that the Soviets had tested spy
subs in the inner Stockholm archipelago in October, 1982. The commission said that on the
basis of sonar recordings and imprints on the seabed it was concluded that unmanned subs were
sent on reconnaisance missions from Soviet mother subs, and that underwater photos showed the minisubs to be about 50 feet long. At least six submarines — including three manned midgets with
a bottom crawling capability of a hitherto unknown character were considered to have
penetrated the archipelago area with three of the submarines evading a massive hunt in the
Horsfjarden bay where a main Swedish base is located. The imprints left by the subs inside
the bay showed what appeared to be tractor-type tracks of one submarine as it maneuvered along
the sea floor, and more conventional marks from a second submarine of propellers and a keel. The
report noted that there had been at least 40 incidents of submarine intrusions in 1982, and
that the judgement that the recent intrusions were Soviet, had been confirmed. (The apparently
long submerged endurance of these mini-subs is a new, unknown capability).
- On May 3rd the Naval Submarine League held its symposium and evening banquet with a strong
agenda of submariners focussing on the main topic of the day, the character of the next nuclear
attack submarine. Admiral Al Whittle, Chairman of the Board of the Naval Submarine League opened
the day’s symposium and introduced the speakers. In the morning session, Commodore Chauncey
Hoffman talked to the growing Soviet underseas force, and VAdm. N.R. Thunman described the
evolving U.s. submarine force and the nuclear attack submarine concepts for meeting this challenge. The Honorable George A. Sawyer, Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Shipbuilding and Logistics) told of submarine acquisition problems and their solutions. In the afternoon session, VAdm. Steve White gave the positions of’ the force commanders relative to missions versus force level, and RAdm. J.H. Webber described the R and D involved in generating a new attack submarine design. At the banquet, Adm. J .G. Williams described the useful role which the Naval Submarine League can play in getting the Navy the best follow-on nuclear attack submarine possible.
- An item in Sea Power, March 1983, notes that when the Secretary of the Navy was asked to comment on a report that a Soviet Tango-class submarine was seen in the Adriatic Sea with a twin
surface-to-air missile launcher aboard, he said: “We know they have developed such a system. We
are confident they have such a missile.” Later in the article it was described as being an SA-14
type. Although this is the first observed Soviet submarine anti-air weapon, the British for quite a
few years have had Blowpipe mounted on the bridge of their submarines in a quadruple launcher.
Blowpipe (like the SA-14, which is also possibly laser guided) is a small heat seeking missile
which in its infantry version saw considerable use in the Falklands War. This shoulder-held weapon
accounted for ten high performance aircraft -nine Argentine and one British. The Secretary of
the Navy contends that the U.S. Navy does not require a submarine surface to air missile because
Soviet maritime patrol aircraft have been unable to locate u.s. submarines.
- In the President’s early June action on the Budget, he asked Congress to approve appropriations in the next two fiscal years to build nine new submarines, two of which would be Trident submarines and the other seven would be 688-class attack submarines, three for Fiscal Year 1984 and four for the following year. The House Armed Services Committee, moreover, has approved
three 688-class submarines and one Trident for Fiscal Year 1984.
- On 21 May 1983 the USS NORFOLK (SSN 714) and the USS ALBUQUERQUE (SSN 706) were commissioned in Norfolk and New London respectively. The Honorable Caspar Weinberger was the speaker at the NORFOLK commissioning, with Senator Pete V. Domenici, the Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee the principal speaker at the ALBUQUERQUE ceremony. Mrs. Weinberger and Mrs. Domenici are the ships’ sponsors.
- Flag officer moves have been heavy this summer. The following three star and above changes are noted.
– ADM Robert L. J. Long, CINCPAC retired 1 July 1983.
– ADM William J. Crowe, Jr., relieved ADM Long as CINCPAC on 1 July 1983.
– ADM John G. Williams, Jr., CHNAVMAT retires 1 August 1983.
– ADM Steven A. White, relieves ADM Williams as CHNAVMAT on 1 August 1983.
– VADM Kenneth M. Carr became Deputy & Chief of Staff, CINCLANTFLT and CINCLANT on 1 April 1983.
– VADM William J. Cowhill, DCNO became J-4, JCS on 1 July 1983.
– VADM Edward P. Travers, Vice Chief of Naval Material retired 1 June 1983.
– VADM Bernard M. Kauderer relieved VADM White as COMSUBLANT on 27 June 1983.
– VADM Powell F. Carter, Jr., relieved VADM Carr in March 1983.
RADM Charles R. Larson relieves VADM Edward C. Waller, III as Superintendent of the Naval Academy this summer.
RADM Albert J. Baciocco, Jr. , COMSUBGRU SIX has been nominated for a third star and to relieve
VADM Monroe as OP-098 in August 1983.