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  • Jane’s Defense WeeklY of 18 January describes the new Commander in Chief or the Soviet Navy, Admiral of the Fleet Vladimir N. Chernavin who replaces Admiral Gorshkov. Born in 1928, “his career centered on submarines and he advanced from lieutenant and navigator aboard a submarine to becoming the Commander-in-Chief of the Northern Fleet in 1977.” In 1962, he led the first major cruise of Soviet nuclear submarines under the Arctic, developing new methods for communication, navigation and surfacing from under the ice. Shortly after that he was criticized in Morskoi Sbornik for “mistakes” in training. But a few months later he was described as a “good officer” indicating he was back in the good graces of the political community. He was graduated from the Naval Academy in 1965, and from the Voroshilov Academy of the General Staff in 1969. While in the Northern Fleet, Chernavin contributed regularly to the Soviet military press. As a submariner he particularly emphasized the significance of the ocean-going submarine. “Throughout his career, Chernavin operated submarines in the Northern Fleet with almost complete operational and tactical autonomy, having responsibility to determine the specific operation profiles of the submarines according to their technical performance.” In early 1982, Chernavin launched a debate with Admiral Gorshkov on the future art of war for the Soviet fleet. Unlike Admiral Gorshkov who was credited with believing that the Navy should have an independent art of war. Chernavin evidently felt that only a complete integration of the fleet and particularly the submarines into a combined arms command — would not necessarily lose the operational autonomy of the fleet — but would “integrate all naval knowledge on armed struggle within the framework of a unified service.” This thesis was consistent with the views of Marshall Ogarkov who saw the need for a centralized and unified high command under which the Soviet Navy would be a subsystem within the organizational framework within the combined-arms armed forces.
  • Recent selection of submarine captains to the one-star rank of Rear Admiral were: Pete Chabot (a Material Professional), George W. Davis VI, Henry McKinney, David Oliver, Arlington Campbell, and Walter H. Cantrell (a submarine E.D.O.)
  • Defense Daily of January 9 tells of the Navy’s plan to have about 30 new SSN-21 nuclear attack submarines. Captain Al Carney, the executive assistant to the Navy director of RDT&E, is quoted as saying the inventory objective “is about 30 ships” at a cost of “at least $1 billion per copy.” This cost of about $30 billion for 30 ships can be compared to the estimated cost of $31.6 billion for 66 SSN-688s.
  • The Washington Post of 25 January notes that retired VADM Lando Zech Jr., a former skipper of Albacore and Nautilus, has been named by President Reagan to replace Nunzio Palladino as Chairman or the Nuclear Regulatory Commission effective June 30. Lando Zech’s last Navy assignment before retirement in 1983 was as the Chief of Naval Personnel.
  • On Tuesday, January 21, 1986, VADM Bill Behrens, Jr., retired, died of a heart attack in St. Petersburg, Florida. One of the Navy’s most decorated officers of flag rank, he was promoted to Rear Admiral at the age of 43 and later became the youngest submariner to make Vice Admiral rank. As skipper of the SSN SKIPJACK, he pioneered the operations of the Navy’s first truly high speed nuclear submarine.
  • An article on the Stirling closed cycle engine, in the Submarine Oldtimer Comrades Assoc. News, 1985, notes that its present state of development appears to preclude its use as a primary form of submarine propulsion. However, a combination or this non-air breathing engine along with diesel propulsion in a hybrid system “is under serious investigation in a number of countries.” This conceptual approach seems to combine the advantages of a conventional submarine with an extended quiet, operational, submergedendurance at low speeds “while conserving battery power for a sprint capability.”
  • An article in the Paterson Star Ledger by Scott Ladd tells of the acquisition or John Philip Holland memorabilia by the Paterson Museum in January. Holland’s 31 foot submarine and his first 14-foot craft are joined by some 889 additional Holland documents, sketches, photos, correspondence and the inventor’s hand written diary collected by Edward Max Graf over a 40-year period. With the donation, the museum now contains nearly 3,000 documents and photographs that once belonged to the late inventor, making it the nation’s largest repository of original submarine memorabilia. Holland’s first craft, resembling an iron kayak was tested successfully in the Passaic River. The oil-powered vessel moved underwater for a half-hour. The larger submarine, weighing more than 19 tons, is cigar shaped and closer in shape to modern submarines. It was launched in New York harbor in 1881. Holland later formed the Torpedo Boat Company, an enterprise that grew into the General Dynamics Corporation. The new Holland documents will be made available for research and scholarly review.
  • Defense News of January notes that defense companies that have been approached to build the low-cost (no more than $200,000 per unit) antiship torpedo have not shown any interest in this Navy project. The Navy sent their draft specifications to several companies last October, but none have responded — on the basis that the torpedo, as described, could not be built so inexpensively and produced by mid-1986. At this point, the Navy is soliciting ideas from torpedo producers on the kind or low-cost antiship torpedo they might produce to do the job. Gould, Westinghouse Electric, and Honeywell have indicated an interest in developing an antiship torpedo for a stockpile or about 2,000 units, and be low-cost yet effective against merchant ships and enemy support ships.
  • An article in Nayy News and Undersea Technology of 17 January by Paul Bedard tells of new Navy plans to install the eight torpedo tubes in the mid section or the SSN-21 — four on each side — instead or in the nose or the SSN-21 new design attack submarine. The change was apparently made after a decision that a large spherical array in the bow or the sub would not leave room for the torpedo tubes. The eight torpedo tubes are planned to be 30 inches in diameter allowing for a quiet, swi~out or torpedoes. In addition to having twice as many torpedo tubes as the Los Angeles-class attack submarines, the SSN-21 is expected to carry up to 50 torpedoes or other tube-launched weapons.
  • Defense Daily of 10 January has a report attributed to Admiral Kinnard McKee, that a new method or building u.s. submarines will be initiated with the construction of the SSN-21. The new method, being partially used by General Dynamics’ Electric Boat Division will see submarine hull sections built with their interior equipment virtually completed before the sections are joined together. This methodology was developed by Nazi Germany in 1942 to accelerate the U-boat building schedule. The Germans, who built about 30 boats a month, had the sections of these boats built all over Germany, then shipped by rail and brought rapidly together in the port areas — mainly at night because of the intense bombing by the Allies of the German shipyards. Newport News is credited with initiating a $300 million program to provide this capability, while the Quonset Point yard of General Dynamics will perfect this technique for submarine construction. Design of the SSN-21 from the beginning to require construction in this fashion is the Navy’s goal for the SSN-21.
  • In subsequent testimony by Admiral Kinnard McKee to the Congress he is quoted as saying, regarding the Navy’s requirement for attack submarines: “The number that has been around for years on what you really ought to have is on the order of 130 to 140 (SSNs).” He is credited with admitting that the number to be bought (100) is what can be “afforded.”
  • A Defense Daily item of 9 January, on the Soviet’s submarine programs notes that Navy officials have told the Congress that it appears that the Soviets have completed their Victor IIIClass SSN program with the launching of the 20th unit and intend to succeed it with the Akula-class submarine, first launched in 1984. “We think this is the submarine they are going to build in big numbers”, a Navy Admiral is quoted as saying. The Akula displaces 8,000 tons and is 107 meters long. The Akula and the Mike are so advanced, they may still be in the research and development phase.” The Mike is 110 meters long, displaces 9,700 tons, and can fire the SS-N-16 standoff ASW missile and “possibly the SS-NX-21, a land attack sea launched cruise missile”. The Soviets also introduced the 8,000-ton Sierra-class SSN, “capable of shooting cruise missiles (similar to TOMAHAWK), as well as torpedoes and advanced weapons.” Also in the Soviet arsenal is the Oscar-class attack submarine, which is believed to carry the Ss-N-19 antiship cruise missile. It was estimated that the Soviets have “some 35 to 40 submarines under construction today” and are expected to launch “about 9 or 10 each year.”
  • A Navy release announced that the name or the first SSN-21 will be SEAWOLF. This makes a return to the tradition of naming submarines after marine creatures. Two previous subs have been named SEAWOLF. The first, a diesel boat, was high on the list for total numbers of Japanese ships sunk in World War II before she was lost in 19~4. The second was one of the first of the nuclear submarines. It had a liquid-metal (sodium) reactor making it unique. This SEAWOLF will be retired from service in 1986.
  • Nayy News and Undersea Technology of 6 December, 1985, tells of a study by the Institute for Defense and Disarmament which concludes that the Soviets, in response to the forward U.S. offensive naval strategy outlined in “The Maritime Strategy” delineated by both Secretary Lehman and Admiral Watkins, is countering the U.S. offense by sowing a vast number of mines around Soviet port areas and around the bastion areas used by Soviet ballistic missile submarines. The study identifies a particularly effective mine in use as the Cluster Bay. “It is a moored, rocketpropelled torpedo with a detection mechanism which actives the mine when the acoustic signature or a U.S. sub is detected. An active sonar then guides the torpedo to its target.” The study further notes that the Soviets deploy mines on older submarines and surface ships and carry some 5,300 mines for Arctic sowing, and 4,600 in the Pacific.
  • Nayy News and Underseas Technology also reports on “the brisk international trade in submarines in 1985.” Bangladesh bought an undetermined number of ROMEO-class submarines from China. Libya bought 4 AGOSTA-class boats from Spain. Libya reportedly received a number or FOXTROT submarines from the Soviet Union. The Soviets upgraded the 8 FOXTROTS sold to the Indian Navy and transferred one or two ROMEO subs to Vietnam. The Norwegians bought a number of Type 209 boats from the Germans, and Sweden purchased a number or R-2 MALA two-man mini subs from Yugoslavia. Australia is negotiating for a conventional submarine design co-production agreement with a West German and a Swedish firm, for production of a number or boats in Australia. And Israel is putting out a request for proposal to build three diesel boats.
  • The Washington Post of 31 December reports that the Soviet Union bad 96 space launches in 1985 compared to the 17 for the U.S. (9 or the U.S. launches involved the space shuttle.) The Soviets in 1985 continued to stress the ability to locate ships on the oceans with satellites — with 5 ocean surveillance satellites and three electronic intercept satellites. A five-year comparison of u.s. and Soviet launches shows the 96:17 ratio to be consistent with previous years.
  • The ALASKA {SSBN 732) was commissioned on 25 January. After shakedown operations this TRIDENT submarine will be transferred to the Pacific fleet in about September. The Alabama (SSBN 731), a similar TRIDENT submarine, was transferred to the Pacific fleet in February.
  • A Navy release of February 12, 1986, told of the Nuclear-powered NR-1 joining the search for parts of the space shuttle CHALLENGER, on the bottom of the ocean. The NR-1 can operate to 2,375 feet, and maneuver on the seabed while searching for and recovering bottomed objects. Maneuverability is provided by ducted thrusters -two forward and two aft.
  • A Navy release, January 29, 1986, told or the u.s. Navy and French Research Institute for Exploitation or the Sea signing a French-American Memorandum of Understanding providing for the mutual rescue of deep submersibles. Covered by this agreement are the u.s. SEA CLIFF and the French NAUTILE, the world’s two deepest diving submarines. Both vehicles can operate at depths or 20,000 feet. The agreement states that should either submarine become disabled and cannot surface, its counterpart will be sent to retrieve the crippled sub from the bottom.
  • An article by Eric Margolis in the ~ Street Journal, February 21, 1986, tells of stepped-up Soviet efforts to utilize the polar ice cap as a means to move their SSBNs to firing positions off northern Canada as well as to provide a covert route for attack submarines down to the sea lanes of the North Atlantic — eluding the Norwegian Sea SOSUS System and bypassing the G1-UK gap. In the first instance, the SSBN can breach the ice and fire their missiles south on a flat trajectory that allows the u.s. only a few minutes warning — rather than the 30 minutes upon which a U.S. nuclear retaliatory strategy is based. In the second instance, Soviet attack submarines can sail due north out of Kola Gulf, cross ‘under the polar ice cap to the vicinity or Ellesmere Island, then thread their way through Jones or Lancaster Sound and into Baffin Bay. Continuing south through Davis Strait, they can  arrive in the North Atlantic astride the main convoy route to Britain. The back door is now evidently wide open to the Soviet submarines. If war broke out tomorrow, many Soviet subs could appear without any warning along NATO’s most important supply artery.


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