An article in the Washington Times of 15 February 1984 reports that the Cuban Navy has been augmented by the delivery of a Foxtrot diesel electric submarine, from the Soviet Union. This brings to 3 the force of Cuban Foxtrots. It is further surmised that these submarines will be based at the Cienfiegos naval base which has become a semipermanent Soviet base and where the submarine pens have been “hardened” against attack, with layers of reinforced concrete.
An AP wire-note of 15 February 1984 said that the Swedish Navy was again on a search for a submarine intruder into Swedish waters and was “using depth charges powerful enough to cripple a conventional submarine.” The new depth charges “which are twice as powerful as those dropped in previous submarine searches were dropped about four miles from where a Soviet submarine (a Whiskey-class) went aground in 1982, on the doorstep of Sweden’s largest naval base,” near the town of Karlskrona. “Tens of depth charges” were reported to have been dropped. In addition to new depth charges for use against intruders, an article in Military Technology of November 1983 reveals that FFV of Sweden has developed a so-called “incident torpedo” in order to attack submarines in peacetime. This torpedo “has a small warhead which will destroy the propeller of the attacked submarine which will force it to the surface.” Also, “Sweden has developed a submarine reporting system MALIN which is magnetically fastened to a submarine’s hull and transmits a revealing signal. The submarine has to surface in order to remove MALIN from the hull.”
An AP wire-note of 14 February 1984 reports that there has been a substantial surge in the number of Soviet strategic submarines cruising off the east coast of the u.s Secretary of the Navy John Lehman is quoted as saying that the Soviet activity is part of the long-promised Soviet reaction to the U.S. deployment of nuclear tipped Pershing 2s · and cruise missiles in NATO nations. He also noted that “there are now 3 Delta-class boats off the American coast in addition to 2 or 3 Yankee-class missile-firing subs the Soviets normally have in the Western Atlantic.”
As reported in Defense Week of 3 January 1984, the Spanish Foreign Minister Fernando Moran announced that Spain was ready to request from the Spanish Parliament the funding necessary for the construction of a new class of nuclear-powered attack submarines. And, that because of this plan, Spain has refused to ratify the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Aerospace Daily of 23 February 1984, reports that a British Defense Committee is examining the performance of Royal Navy weapons systems in the Falklands War and expects to hear the sort of criticism voiced by Adm. Sir James Eberle, a former commander in chief of the RN’s home command. He was quoted as saying the reliability of these systems was not “nearly good enough, and some obviously didn’t work •• The Navy allowed itself to be taken in by sophistication. We sacrificed reliability and simplicity for highly complex weapons that were highly unreliable.” (Ed. Note: The choice of the old MK VIII torpedoes by Conqueror’s skipper in preference to the new Tigerfish aboard might be relevant.)
A Navy release says that the New Design Attack Submarine will support “a 100 SSN force level.” And, “The FY 85 budget contains $174 million to focus and accelerate a number of submarine R&D program elements in order to support a 1989 authorization for a fleet introduction in 1995.”
An AP wire-note of 29 February 1984 reports that the Navy’s Intelligence Chief, RAdm. John Butts, USN, acknowledges the Soviet development of two new submarine launched cruise missiles for land attack missions. “The Soviet SS-NX-21 cruise missile, which can be fired from submarine torpedo tubes at targets nearly 1,900 miles away, could be deployed for the first time as early as this year.” Rear Admiral Butts also notes that, “a second land-attack cruise missile with a potentially greater range is being tested. Much larger than the SS-NX-21, this missile is expected to be placed aboard a new class of submarine in mid-decade.”
An article in The Baltimore Sun of 1 March 1984 says that a Soviet defector, Arkody Shevenko, revealed that “Moscow had plans to hide its nuclear submarines in the fjords of Norway and Sweden in an international crisis.” Shevenko also told a news conference, “the ruling Politburo had empowered the Soviet military in the early 1970s systematically to survey the Scandinavian coastline.” (Ed. Note: The submarine intrusions into Swedish waters mentioned in the January Submarine Review seem consistent with this article and the Soviet deployments into fjords for the purposes of hiding during a crisis pose a seemingly new problem for controlling Soviet submarines through forward deployed U.S. ASW submarines.)
The u.S. Navy Submarine Force completed its 2,200th strategic deterrent patrol on 18 December 1983, when the fleet ballistic missile submarine USS BENJAMIN FRANKLIN (SSBN 640), with the Blue crew embarked, returned to its homeport of Kings Bay, Georgia, following 68 days at Sea. The first strategic deterrent patrol was completed by USS GEORGE WASHINGTON (SSBN 598) in January 1961. The 2, 200 patrols have involved 43 fleet ballistic missile submarines and more than 400 ship-years of submerged operations.