On Dec. 8th at the launching of the USS PITTSBURGH (SSN 720) three collateral descendents of John Holland, designer and builder of what is considered to be “the first submarine• of today’s line of submarines, were part of the launching activities. Vincent, Edward and Thomas Clifford, the great grandsons of the inventor’s sister Ellen Holland McCaffrey, assisted in the christening ceremony, prior to the launching. The PITTSBURGH was launched at General Dynamics’ Electric Boat Co. and was sponsored by Mrs. Carol Sawyer, the wife of Hon. George A. Sawyer who was the speaker at the launching ceremony.
Other launchings and commissioning& of U.S. submarines include: the ALASKA (SSBN 732) was launched on 12 January with the main speaker, Senator Stevens of Alaska, and sponsor, Mrs. Catherine Stevens: the AUGUSTA (SSM 710) was commissioned at Kittery, Maine, on 19 January, 1985, sponsored by Mrs. Diana s. Cohen.
In Underwater System Design, June/July 1984 edition, a small item tells of a joint Canada-France venture to develop a nuclear powered submarine work system. “The submarine will be capable of deploying a range of mission specific Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) as well as support saturation diver lookout operations — for 30 days or longer if required, including in ice covered waters.”
Janes Defense Weekly of 15 Sept., 1984, reports that Soviet midget submarines have recently been operating within Japanese Territorial waters. “Tracks identical to those found in Swedish territorial waters have been discovered on the sea bed within 3 nm of the Hokkaido coast in the Soya and Tsugaru straits . . . . It is estimated that the midget submersibles are about 5 meters long and have a crew of between 2 and 4.”
Janes Defense Weekly or 8 Sept. shows a photo of the new “Sierra” SSH and gives the characteristics or the Soviet sub as “a submerged displacement or 6,500 tons, an overall length of 105 meters and a beam of 11 meters . . . . with twin reactors reputed to drive her at 32 knots under water.” This article further states that: “Although U.S. opinion thinks that the faired housing on top of the rudder fin may house a towed sonar array, Norwegian experts suggest that it might be a towed decoy for use against homing torpedoes. This would be useful when passing through NATO ASW barriers, when they would race Captor mines as well as air and ship-launched homing torpedoes.”
The Washington Post of Sept.22 tells of a collision between a Victor-class Soviet submarine and a Soviet merchant ship in the Straits of Gibraltar. The sub “with a badly damaged bow” left the scene, “steaming slowly on the surface” while the merchant ship was “in distress and possibly sinking.” At about the same time, the Post notes, “a Los Angeles class submarine, the JACKSONVILLE, collided with a 270-toot Navy barge while steaming on the surface toward port at about 5 a.m.” The collision which caused only “minor damage” to the sub and barge occurred off the coast of Norfolk, Va. A third submarine incident was, according to the Post, reported by the Japanese Defense Agency. “A Soviet submarine in distress and possibly on tire was spotted in the Sea of Japan . . . . A military plane had flown over the Golf II-class ballistic-missile submarine and white smoke was observed pouring from the submarine, while a Soviet surface ship was seen transferring water to the sub, apparently to put out the fire . . . The submarine later submerged.”
The Hongkong Standard of Sept.23, reported that on the following day •tbe ballistic missile submarine was observed ‘drifting’ in the same area (75 kilometers northwest of Okinoshima — oft Honshu) after apparently heading north then turning around. At this time, the submarine had no smoke visible and was accompanied by a Soviet support tanker and two tug boats. Shortly after the submarine had returns~ to the area ‘spewing smoke’ . . . a tug boat sprayed the submarine with water, and the smoke disappeared.” It was “speculated that the submarine was damaged by fire and that if it bad not been extinguished, its nuclear missile could have been damaged inadvertently” but that “a safety device would have prevented a nuclear explosion.”
Defense Week of Oot. 1, reports that Hr. Gerald Cann at an NSIA conference “told the NSIA executives that the class of subs to follow the SSN-21 could have a double bull, much like modern Soviet subs. A double hull” he said, “quiets the boat and increases the ship’s survivability, particularly against lightweight torpedoes which cannot penetrate two hulls and the water between.”
Navy News and Underseas Technology of Dec. 7th notes that the Naval Audio Visual Command in Washington is seeking a design for a new submarine periscope closed circuit television. “The design objective is optimum tactical and reconnaissance imagery, using solid state sensors with existing periscope optics as the primary image forming lens system.”
An AP release dated Dec. 9 tells of an Iraqui Air Force warplane attack on a 163,155-ton Bahamian-registered oil tanker, using an Exocet missile. The Captain of the ship reported that damage to his vessel was “negligible”, the missile ignited no fire and none of the 32 crew aboard was injured. Exocets with their 360-pound HE warheads have since January 198~ in the Iraq-Iran War, damaged several dozen large ships without sinking any. (Ed.Note: These results are of interest since some submarines are now fitted to fire the submerged launched Exocet while other submarines can now use Harpoon with its somewhat larger 507pound high explosive warhead.)
NAVOP 1~~/8~ of 1 Dec. announces the awarding of contracts for four nuclear attack submarines. Newport News Shipbuilding was awarded three, totaling $779.~00.00 while General Dynamics Corporation’s Electric Boat Division was awarded one, at $282,900.00.