- Correction: USS FLASHER (SSN 613) was incorrectly identified in the last issue as an SSBN.
- One-star submarine Admirals, Dean Sackett, Guy Curtis, Guy Reynolds and Roger Bacon have been promoted to 2 stars.
- Rear Admiral Charles R. Larson, Superintendent of the u.s. Naval Academy, bas taken command of the Second Fleet and is being promoted to the rank of Vice Admiral, Rear Admiral Ronald F. Marryott, the President of the Naval War College at Newport, takes over the duties of Superintendent of the Naval Academy.
- The New Logdon DaY of August 17, 1986, reports on the commissioning of the USS NEVADA at the El~ctric Boat Company on August 16th — the eighth TRIDENT ballistic missile submarine to join the u.s. Fleet. Senator Paul Laxalt, in the main address at the commissioning said, “This magnificent vessel is not an instrument for war, it’s an instrument for peace.” Senator Laxalt als9 praised the TRIDENT submarine as the virtually invulnerable leg of the u.s. defense triad of sea, land, and air-based missiles. He noted that “70J or our nuclear weapons are based at sea.”
- Sea Power/June, 1986, quoting from Jane’s Defense WeeklY or 10 May, 1986, notes: “The United Kingdom has placed the contract for its first TRIDENT submarine with Vickers Shipbuilding and Engineering. It will be called HHS/m VANGUARD -the first of a 4-vessel •V-boat• force — the others will be called VENGEANCE, VICTORIOUS and VENERABLE. Each boat will have 16 missile tubes and each missile will carry 8 UK-designed and produced warheads, dispensed from a o.s.-supplied MIRVed bus.”
- Sub Notes of June, 1986, tells of the conventional D-type submarine NAUTILUS — built in 1917 — which was converted for Sir Hubert Wilkins• Arctic exploration, and which sank in a fjord outside of Bergen, Norway, in 1931, having been found in 350 meters of water. “MAX”, a privately built RCV used by the Norwegian Underway Technology Center, made positive identification or the old diesel boat. The pictures taken showed NAUTILUS halfway buried in mud with all deck hatches open and with no major damage evident. The NAUTILUS developed engine trouble before Sir Hubert was able to attempt a polar under-ice run and she was scuttled before reaching port in Bergen.
- Aviation Week & Space Technology of 30 June, 1986, quotes Len Hopkins, opposition spokesman for the Liberal Party in Canada’s parliament as saying: “West coast surveillance has ~een neglected, and now we’re getting an equal number of visiting Soviet subs off both Atlantic and Pacific shores. Where you used to get one in the Pacific and three in the Atlantic, now you get three in each. We think they’re doing a lot of mapping and if war ever comes, they’ll have the dope on our channels and currents . . . . Government interest in securing more naval weaponry is increasing. Possible purchases in the next 5-10 years include 8-12 submarines, with 3 or 4 in the first installment.”
- Navy News & Undersea Technology or 20 June, 1986, reports that the Polish Navy may soon receive as many as four KILO-class submarines from the Soviet Union — replacing the 3 WHISKEY-class subs which the Poles have now. A Polish crew is presently training onboard the first KILO in the Baltic. All the boats will be based at Gdynia, according to a “well-placed” source. Such submarines, according to Michael MccGwire of Brookings Institution, “are intended to provide area defense to the mainland in the Soviet concept or operations.” o Also in the same edition or Navy News s Un4ersea Technology, is a plan by the Israeli Navy — which uses MK 37 torpedoes in its three GALclass submarines — to update their Westinghouse battery-powered, MK 37-type 1970 torpedoes with a Honeywell thermal-powered version. This latter version, the NT37E, would be built by Westinghouse teamed up with an Israeli firm, •Tadiran Ltd. Initial development work is expected to be done by Westinghouse in the United States but Tadiran Ltd. would do the rest or the work.
- The USS ALEXANDER HAMILTON (SSBN 617) bas completed her 69th patrol — the most ever made by a fleet ballistic missile submarine. During her 20-year career, the ALEXANDER HAMILTON operated from Rota, Spain and Holy Loch, Scotland, spending 13 years submerged in deterrent patrols and covering more than 700,000 nautical miles.
- On March 8, 1961, the SSBN PATRICK HENRY sailed up the Firth or Clyde and moored in Holy Loch. Twenty-five years later, on March 8, 1986, the u.s. Navy, in conjunction with the British Royal Navy and the Argyll and Bute District Council, commemorated the 25th Anniversary or the American presence in the Holy Loeb area. A cairn and heather garden were donated to the Argyll and Bute District Council by COMSUBRON 14. The cairn bore a plaque inscribed “Twenty-Five years or cooperation 1961-1986. In recognition or the men and women or the Royal Navy and the United States Navy who have sailed rrom the Clyde to maintain peace.”
- Vice Admiral Kenneth M. Carr, USN(Ret.) will be nominated to a rive-year term as a member of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission according to a White House announcement. Admiral Carr, a rormer Commander Submarine Force Atlantic Fleet, will succeed Nunzio Palladino on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
- Sea Power or July, 1986, notes that •Two Soviet-built ROMEO-class diesel electric submarines have joined the Syrian Navy, according to Israeli sources. The arrival of the two submarines restores a capability that was lost by the Syrian Navy in 1961. Though elderly, it is believed that these boats will be used for training purposes and could be rollowed by more sophisticated submarines like the KILO-class.
- Richard Halloran, writing in the ~ York Times, August 4, 1986, quotes Vice Admiral Chuck Grifritbs, President or the Naval Submarine League: “The League is not a lobby. We have no paid lobbyists and we make no uninvited visits to Capitol Hill. Submarine programs did not need outside support in Admiral Rickover•s days because he was a tremendous salesman. But later we recognized that Admiral Rickover’s influence ‘was eroding and it became apparent we were losing a lot of strength in Congress. So,• said Admiral Grifriths, “the League is trying to fill the vacuum that opened up when the pervasive influence of the late Admiral Hyman Rickover waned after 1981.•
- An Assogiated Press release of 15 August, reports that 8 Tbe Pentagon has agreed to spearhead a search off the Egyptian coast for an Israeli submarine that mysteriously disappeared more than 15 years ago. The DAKAR, a dieselpowered submarine with 69 men aboard disappeared in January, 1968, after leaving England on its maiden voyage bound for Israel. The search for DAKAR is expected to last 90 days and will be a joint project of the u.s., Israel and Egypt. Egyptian participation seems crucial since debris found over the years have convinced Israel that the sub went down within Egypt’s 12 mile territorial limit.
- Armed Forces International, August, 1986, in an article by Robert King tells of the unveiling of the TIGERFISH Mark-24, Mod-2 quiet long-range heavyweight torpedo on 17 June. The new Mod-2 version retains only the bull and battery-driven propulsion unit of the old model. RADM Richard Heaslip, the British Royal Navy’s Flag Officer Submarines, said, “My submarines now have an operational advantage over the Soviets in what we call the ‘deep cold war’.” TIGERFISH is wire-guided but contains its own sonar with computer for a homing, final approach to its target. The warhead is designed to explode beneath the target, tending to break its back. (When a torpedo explodes under a ship its warhead creates a gas bubble which hits the keel of the ship and lifts the ship bodily. As the ship settles back into the water, the bubble is contracted, then it expands again lifting the ship at least once more. Such a whipping action tends to break a ship in half.) The SPEARFISH torpedo is expected to be operational in two years. But, “the SPEARFISH will be noisier than the TIGERFISH because it is a thermal torpedo and faster — the two will be complementary ••• TIGERFISH is our •stealth’ weapon.”
- Defense Week of August 4, 1986, under the by-line or Paul Bedard, tells or a Navy project, “X-1312”, which is a new listening sonar network for detecting the Red Navy’s ever-quieter fleet of submarines. “The system will conneot underwater listening devices — placed about one mile apart — with fiber-optic cable. The devices will be placed on the ocean’s bottom in grid form, “allowing the Navy to hear more than can now be beard by the SOSUS system. Each listening device will have a range of about one mile. Thousands of devices spread throughout a listening area -probably a choke point — will make it extremely hard for an enemy sub to stay away from the listening devices. Design of this new system is expected to be finished by m+d-1990s.•
- Defense Week of August 11, 1986, tells of the use of trained seals, dolphins, porpoises and possibly whales to conduct anti-submarine warfare and mine sweeping jobs. The three major projects oenter on: uncovering how the mammals’ biological sonar system works; training seals and dolphins to clear enemy mines from harbor areas; and development of a capability tor the mammals to attach limpet mines or tracking beacons to Soviet submarines. “Seals, dolphins and porpoises are attractive because they are highly intelligent and enjoy playing games such as tag. The mammals are also very fast and can sprint at speeds up to 40 knots.• A member of the Cousteau Society noted that there were reports that the Soviet Navy already has trained mammals to •blow things up.” In a recent test, the article says• “that, relative to the clearing of mines in the Charleston, SC harbor, nearly 80S of the objects the mammals identified as mines were actually mines — a substantially higher identification success rate than that experienced with mechanical devices.”
- An article in The Washington Post, datelined 22 August, says that the Soviet Union has built new submarine bases on the fortified Kola Peninsula. This is based on photos of the Kola Peninsula taken by Landsat, a civilian u.s. satellite. Pictures from this satellite show that the Soviets have established major naval bases in every fjord between Pechenga on the Norwegian border and Murmansk — about 80 miles east. It has been known that a submarine base was being built at Gremikhan. The peninsula houses 75S of Soviet strategic submarines, which can cruise for the most part undetected under the Arctic polar ice cap.
- Tbe Washington Times of 30 June, notes that, “The persistent problem of foreign submarines penetrating the important port of Harsfjarden in Sweden is to be ‘solved’ when the Swedish Navy finishes construction of permanent steel nets and cables anchored on the ocean bottom which will seal off every channel leading to Harsfjarden. The nets can be lowered in place for the passage of ships.”
- Navy News & Undersea Technology of 28 March, reports that the U.S. Navy has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOO) with the French Research Institute for the Exploitation of the Sea, that provides for the mutual rescue of each nation’s deep submersible research submarines. The U.S. SEA CLIFF and the French NAUTILE are covered by the agreement. Both can operate down to 20,000 feet of depth. In case of an undersea accident, the Navy will transport the other submersible to an appropriate port, aboard a C-5. (The SEA CLIFF’s HY-100 pressure sphere has been replaced with 2.8 inch titanium plating. and the old lead batteries have been replaced with silver zinc ones, giving SEA CLIFF about triple the battery power. )
- Defense Week of June 16th, in an article by Paul Bedard, describes the “huge strides” made by the Soviets in the quieting of their submarines. He quotes Admiral James Watkins, the former Chief of Naval Operations: “Of all Soviet Navy developments over the past decade, the improvements in their submarine force bas been the most striking.” With the appearance in 1978 of the VICTOR III — much quieter than the VICTOR II — it became apparent that the Sovie·ts were integrating quieting technology in their new submarines. While the Soviets appear to be behind the U.S. in quieting technology, “the swiftness with which they have caught up bas alarmed many ASW experts.” Thus, with the recent deployment of ever quieter nuclear-powered attack submarines -the AKULA, MIKE and SIERRA classes — the U.S. quieting advantage is seen to be “disappearing.” The AKULA (seemingly a scaled-up ALFA), it is estimated, “may be as quiet as some of the SSN688s deployed in the late 1970s.• Equally sobering is that the ALFA, a much smaller submarine than the VICTOR, “was able to keep the noise level steady with the VICTOR while reducing hull size by 22 percent.” And, the AKULA, apparently a larger version of the ALFA and using the ALFA’s quieting techniques is proving quieter than any sub ever deployed by the Red fleet. Thus, today’s war games which use the traits of the new quiet Soviet submarines, show a trimming of the 3 to 1 exchange rates enjoyed by u.s. subs in years past. The acoustic advantage we’ve always enjoyed has eroded. •and that erosion is occurring much quicker than anticipated.” said Representative Charles Bennett, Chairman of the Seapower Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee. It is concluded that, “The Navy’s key weapon to combat the quiet Soviet submarines remains the SSN-21 submarine now under development.”
- Defense Week of 25 August, reports that Gould Inc. will do the full-scale development work on the Navy’s SEA LANCE anti-submarine missile. The SEA LANCE, carried by Navy submarines, is a standoff weapon that will deliver a nuclear depth charge (as a replacement for SUBROC) or a conventional warhead torpedo. Boeing is the prime contractor for this weapon, but Gould will do work on the afterbody and fin actuators as well as on the equipment in the forward and art capsule enclosures.
- After 10 year’s production, the Navy has received its ~7~th and last TRIDENT I missile from Lockheed Missiles and Space Co., completing the Navy’s inventory of TRIDENT I’s. Eventually, TRIDENT II missiles will replace all TRIDENT I’s on board OHIO-class submarines. The first 21 TRIDENT lis are in production and are expected to be deployed in 1989 on board the ninth and succeeding TRIDENT submarines.
- Defense Week of 25 August, reports that in a first-of-a-kind move the Navy has Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics and Newport News Shipbuilding sharing in the design of the new SSN21 (the SEAWOLF), — a deviation from the competitive approach to major contracts stressed by the Secretary of the Navy. However, Newport News has been named as “the lead designer” but with no guarantee that it will build the lead ship of the class. Rear Admiral Platt, the Navy’s competition advocate general, revealed that “each company will have an equal share in the design contract even though Newport News has been given the lead role.” ••• “The Navy has never before split the design contract award for a vessel.” Newport News will design “the front end• and Electrio Boat will design “the propulsion end.”
- Armed Forces Journal International, August, 1986, notes that “a submarine from the Soviet’s Pacific Fleet ripped a bole in its hull after striking a rock, according to a May 31st Red Star report. The submarine was taken to an unspecified port for repairs.”
- On 5 August, the Editor of the Submarine Review visited the NAUTILUS Memorial and Museum at the Submarine Base, Groton, Connecticut. We were warned the night before that if we arrived much later than 0900 — the opening time — we would be subjected to a long wait because of the vast number of tourists who are visiting this new, free, attraction each day. The NAUTILUS Memorial and Museum proved esthetically delightful, while its design’s total completeness and overall layout’s agreeableness could only be marveled at. The earphone descriptions for each compartmen~ of NAUTILUS were superior and the displays inside and outside the Museum were hard to match anywhere for sheer spectator interest. It was an overwhelming experience even for an old submariner — and seemed as well appreciated by the crowd of mostly non-submariners. This might easily be the best tourist attraction in the United States today. We salute Dave Bell and his team that made this all possible.
- Vice Admiral Daniel Cooper relieved Vice Admiral Bernard Kauderer as Commander, Submarine Force, u.s. Atlantic Fleet (COMSUBLANT) on board USS NORFOLK (SSN 71~) in a change of command ceremony on August 1st.
Cooper, a graduate of the u.s. Naval Academy, became the 21st COMSUBLANT. Kauderer, who served 37 years in the Navy, retired from active duty following the ceremony.
- Rear Admiral H. G. Chiles, Jr., was assigned in June to Director, Strategic Submarine Division, OP-21, in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, relieving Rear Admiral Ted Lewin, who becomes Commander Naval Forces, Philippines.
- Approximately 1,200 people filled the Washington National Cathedral July 14, to pay their last respects to Admiral Hyman G. Rickover, the “Father of the Nuclear Navy.” Rickover died July B at his home in Arlington, VA. He was 86.
During his 64 years in the Navy, Rickover served 13 Presidents and 26 Secretaries of the Navy. Also, be was awarded two Congressional Gold Medals, saw the commissioning of a nuclear attack submarine bearing his name and the dedication of Rickover Hall at the U.S. Naval Academy.
In his eulogy, Admiral James D. Watkins said Rickover did not seek awards. “It was the reward of knowing that be had done the right thing, that he was his own toughest critic, even pushing himself forward while frequently towing a reluctant Navy along astern.” Watkins added “And, he returned to society every gram of the incredible potential God bad given him.”
Watkins called Rickover a “modern renaissance man” who pursued his dream of a nuclear navy with uncompromising zeal while maintaining safety and efficiency as his prime concerns.
Today more than 150 u.s. Naval combatant ships are nuclear-powered and have achieved an amazing safety record or more than 3,000 shipyears of accident-free operations.
Rickover was interred at Arlington National Cemetery July 10, in a private ceremony.
o The 32nd Annual Convention of the Submari~e Veterans of World War II was held in Baltimore, August 27-31, 1986. The Veterans organization, with over 7,000 members, had 3,013 registered at the Convention. James Tobin was inducted as the new President at the Banquet on 30 August, relieving James T. Hayward, the past president. Captain Ned Beach, a veteran submariner and the author of numerous submarine stories and books, was the main speaker at the banquet. He told of his own experiences in the War and emphasized the greatly increased potential of nuclear submarines in modern warfare. At the end of the banquet, all veterans rose to their feet and drank a toast to all submariners of the past and today — and they drank this toast from water–filled glasses. Water? Submariners? Affirmative! The great spirit of camaraderie and friendship for old shipmates and submariners in general was everywhere. And the wives were happy because their men were happy — to be together once again.
- Jane’s Defense Weekly of 23 August, 1986, in an article on new propulsion systems, highlights the concept of adding a small nuclear reactor-driven auxiliary power plant as an atmosphere-independent power source ••• The hybrid would be “a diesel-electric submarine with a small, low-power, low-cost nuclear power plant of intrinsically safe design, of negligible risk to personnel, and one which does not impose major demands on orew or support facilities.” Suoh a sub “can keep the main battery at full charge during dived operations,” and might use a lowcost, small nuclear reactor designed by Energy Conversion Systems Inc. of Ottawa, Canada — who are presently engaged in the design and construction of a non-military small reactor to be completed in 1988. A military version of this reactor is thought to provide a “conversion for any one of several modern conventional submarine designs into an affordable and capable hybrid.”