- The Washington Post of April 22 reports that the President has decided (but still subject to the opinions or our allies), to begin dismantling two POSEIDON submarines in order to remain below the missile limit set by SALT II. With the TRIDENT submarine NEVADA’s commencement of sea trials in Hay, the limit of 1200 launchers of multiple warhead missiles would have been exceeded by 22 missiles without the reduction of the32 missiles in the two POSEIDONs being dismantled.This decision rescinds the plan to put the two POSEIDON boats in “caretaker status” disarmed but not dismantled. At the same time, the Administration notes that if the Soviets fail to stop their violations of the SALT II treaty, an exceeding of the SALT II limit on launchers can be effected with the initiation of sea trials of future TRIDENT Submarines.
- The NAUTILUS was dedicated on April 20 as the centerpiece of the Nautilus Memorial and Submarine Force Library and Museum.As of 21 April, this $7.9 M project officially opened for the public — admission free. More than 1500 people attended the afternoon ceremony, including about 850 former NAUTILUS crew members and their families. Built at Electric Boat more than three decades ago, the NAUTILUS was retired from the Active Fleet in 1978. “She was a winner in whatever she did”, said VADM E. P. Wilkinson, her first commanding officer.”She logged over 500,000 miles and established records in virtually all of her operations”, was emphasized by Wilkinson. She was the first submarine to cross the North Pole when she went under it in the summer of 1958. Admiral Kinnaird McKee was the principal speaker at tbe dedication ceremony. “The NAUTILUS went to sea only five years after Congress appropriated the funds,” he noted, “while the TRIDENT took twice as long.”
- The Washington Post of 5 April reports, in an article by Walter Pincus, that the Administration is asking the Congress for money to preparefortheproduction of a nuclear antisubmarine standoff weapon. This ASW missile-carried nuclear depth bomb can be launched from surface ships or submarines and destroy enemy submarines at great ranges. Admiral James Watkins, the CNO, in February, 1985, noted to an Armed Services Subcommittee that after an explosion of this nuclear weapon “ensonification of the water for a period of time would rule out sensors for anybody in the immediate vicinity,” but that the blackout would fade in a matter of hours. Hence, while “it disappears,” Admiral Watkins noted, “our systems are sensitive enough within a short period of time to be picking up the kinds of information we need to continue progressing the conflict.” Because of damage to sonars in the area of the depth bomb explosion, a neutron warhead is planned to be used so as to affect a smaller area — the neutron weapon produces large amounts of radiation energy but less heat and blast than traditional nuclear warheads.
- A Navy release tells of the decommissioning of the USS SKATE in the fall of 1986 SKATE was the third nuclear boat built at Electric Boat and was the first of a class of nuclear powered submarines — and was similar in design to NAUTILUS. The main propulsion was a pressurized water-cooled S3W Westinghouse reactor with two steam turbines. In the spring of 1958 under the command of Commander James Calvert, SKATE established a record of 31 days submerged with a sealed atmosphere. In August, 1958, SKATE reached and became the first submarine to surface at the North Pole. In March of 1959, SKATE made the first dead of winter operation under the Arctic ice cap and confirmed the fact that nuclear submarines could operate in the Arctic environment year round.
During the past 28 and a half years of operations she was refueled six times. On decommissioning she’ll be towed to Bremerton and berthed in the Inactive Ship’s Facility in the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard — her work with the U.S. Navy completed.
- Navy News and Underseas Technology of 28 March reports on the Navy’s program for modifying nuclear submarines for the transport of swimmer-delivery vehicles in support of embarked SEAL teams. Six STURGEON class subs are apparently being provided large cylindrical hangers bolted to the forward deck which can carry the 20-foot cigar-shaped underwater vehicles for special operations forces to conduct clandestine coastal operations.”Before an operation, the hanger is pressurized to enable the SEAL team in its vehicle to exit the hangar while the sub is still submerged.” At present, the SSN’s SAM HOUSTON and JOHN MARSHAL are each modified to carry two swimmer delivery vehicles.The STURGEON class ubs will each carry one vehicle. The Navy’s coordinator of this program says that the basic mission of these manned submersibles will be “maritime sabotage where we’re primarily interested in those things which have access to the water.”
- In recent Congressional hearings, as reported in Nayy News & Undersea Technology of 14 March, RADM Stephen Hostettler, program manager of the TOMAHAWK cruise missile program outlined the Navy’s requirements for the future — $790 million for 324 cruise missiles in the FY’87 budget and a buy of 410 missiles for $908 million in FY”BB. Hostettler said that 15 SSNs are now capable of launching cruise missiles and another 10 will be TOMAHAWK capable at the end or this year. Also, that the Navy hopes to eventually make 107 subs capable or launching cruise missiles. The cruise missile is launchable from an SSN’s torpedo tubes as well as from the vertical tubes installed in new 688s.
- Defense Daily of 3 April reports on testimony by a Congressional Research Service analyst to the Congress in which the figure of 30 SSN-21s were believed to be the goal of the U.S. Navy by the turn or the century. The analyst’s estimates were that the first SSN-21 would cost $1.6 billion in FY’85 dollars with the fifth and follow-on boats costing $1 billion each.
- As reported in Nayy News and Underseas Technology, a report written by the Institute for Defense and Disarmament says that in order to counter the s. submarine offensive against Soviet submarines in their bastions, the Soviets are deploying a vast number of mines around their portsand their ballistic missilesubmarine operating areas.The most effective Sovie mine “it is claimed” is called CLUSTER BAY. “It is a moored, rocket-propelled torpedo with a detection mechanism which activates the mine when the acoustic signature of the u.s. sub is detected. An active sonar guides the torpedo to the sub.” (Like the u.s. CAPTOR mine.) “It has an estimated range of 500 meters.” The report further states that “the Soviets will deploy mines on older submarines and surface ships. Besides laying mines around Soviet ports, minefields could be laid in waters not controlled by the Soviet Navy since submarines contribute much of the mine-laying capability”.Also, “the Soviet Navy could install moored submarine simulators to emit characteristic Soviet submarine sounds to lure u.s. SSNs into the mines.”
- Only three conventionalsubmarines remain operational in the U.S. Navy. All are of the BARBEL class. The BARBEL and one other diesel boat are being based at Sasebo, Japan to render ASW training services to deployed surface ships and aircraft with the Seventh Fleet. The third is being used on the East Coast. The BARBEL departed for its new homeport of Sasebo in October, 1985 — ending 23 years of operations out of the island of Oahu and also ending the homeporting of diesel submarines at Pearl Harbor.The original BARBEL, the SS 316, was credited with sinking 10 ships in her first three patrols for a tonnage sunk of 55,200 tons.But on her fourth patrol she was lost after what was believed to be a suocesstul aerial attack by a Japanese aircraft tbat dropped two bombs. The current BARBEL (SS 580) was commissioned in January, 1959, bas the high-speed shape of the ALBACORE, and will continue to carry out its target-training mission for ASW units.
- A Navy News Release of 25 March notes that the USS OLYMPIA (SSN 717), the Navy’s 140th nuclear-powered submarine, arrived at ber home-port, the Pearl Harbor Submarine Base, on 28 March. Enroute she visited Olympia, Washington.
- Nayy News ana Submarine Tecbpology of 25 April reports that the Navy had issued a request for proposals for a low-cost, antisurface ship torpedo which precluded the use of high-tech guidance systems.Thus, wire guidance would not be included, but mainly because of its cost. The torpedo “must be tully compatible with the fire control system for the Navy’s MK 48 torpedo, use the same handling mechanism, require no changes to the submarine and no special training for Operators.” It is also noted tbat “the torpedo must be fitted with a passive and active homing head — partly because it must operate near tbe surface and in shallow water — and because of the range and target speed specifications set by the Navy.”
- A new York Times story of 19 Hay notes that Admiral Carlisle A. H. Trost was nominated by President Reagan to become the next Chief of Naval Operations relieving Admiral James Watkins. The 56-year-old submariner took over his command on 30 June in a change of command ceremony at the Naval Academy.In 1968 the Admiral had command of the “?Polaris submarine SAM RAYBURN and after promotion to Rear Admiral in 1973 he commanded a submarine group based in San Diego. The duty that best prepared Admiral Trost for his new job was being director of Navy program planning from 1981 to 1985 when he was instrumental in putting together and shepherding through Congress the budgets that Secretary of the Navy John Lehman, Jr. needed to build a 600-ship Navy. Admiral Trost is described as “a real people man”, who “in his post as Commander in Chief of the Atlantic Fleet reduced the time ships spend at sea, so that sailors are not away from their families so long.”
- In the same story referenced above, another submariner, Vice Admiral Frank B. Kelso, II, the Commander of the Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean who organized the recent s. air raids on Libya on April 15, was expected to replace Admiral Trost as commander of the Atlantic Fleet. “Although only a three-star admirat, be was reported to have been a candidate for the post Admiral Trost has now received.”
- Vice President Bush in a Hew York Times article on 28 May is quoted as saying at the Air Force Academy graduation ceremony that tbe cadets should not be “seduced by technology” . . . “For the low-intensity conflicts of tbe future, you must not let the highly sophisticated technology become your master . . . The s. military’s most important technology is the electrical activity in your own brain.”
- A Los Angeles Times story of 2 June quotes Secretary or Derense Caspar Weinberger as saying — in relation to the Administration’s decision to abandon the unratified SALT II agreement — that there will be a deployment of air-launched cruise missiles later this year, exceeding the Treaty limits. Also, that while President Reagan’s decision to dismantle two POSEIDON submarines — to keep the u.s. in “technical compliance with the Treaty for a rew more months” — that ballistic missile submarines are being shelved primarily for economic reasons. SALT II sets a limit or 1200 long-range missile launchers and a ceiling or 1320 multiple-warhead missiles and long-range bombers carrying cruise missiles.
- An article in the Washington Post or 26 April discusses a book by William Lind, the “MANEUVER WARFARE HANDBOOK.” (This handbook rerlects some or the ideas put forward by Captain Tom Jacobs in his April SUBMARINE REVIEW article, “Is the SSN a Maneuver Weapon?”) In Lind’s book “maneuver warfare” is likened to a screen pass used in football.”You let the enemy break through your line and then (you) attack his rear rlank”, Lind explains. But Lind’s doctrine goes well beyond battlefield tactics and includes weapon systems and personnel practices as well. Asobserved by the Post writer,”Lindis distrustful or high-tech weapons,because he thinks they are too complex ror the ever-changing circumstances of war. And he and Hart (Senator Gary Hart) for years have been calling on the Navy to build more submarines and fewer aircraft carriers.In a showdown between carriers and subs, they say subs win.”
- The Washington Post or 2 Hay features an article by George Wilson which tells of the grounding of two u.s. nuclear submarines in the month of April. The NATHANIEL GREENE, an SSBN, is reported to have run aground in the Irish Sea on April 1 and sustained such “major” damage that the Navy decided to scrap it as part of a formula for staying within the nuclear warhead limits of the SALT II treaty — when the next TRIDENT submarine goes to sea. (The NATHAN HALE is the other POSEIDON submarine to be dismantled.) On April 29, the SSN ATLANTA reportedly “ran aground in the Strait of Gibraltar . . . . with such force that it punched a hole in a ballast tank and smashed the sonar gear in its nose . . . . The ATLANTA disengaged itself from the sloping sea bottom, officials said, and limped into port at Gibraltar.”
- Sea Power magazine of February, 1986 notes that “A big explosion at a missile fuel plant bas forced the Soviet Union to drastically cut back production of (ss-N-20) missiles for its TYPHOON-class submarines,” according to a Tokyo daily.”The blast occurred in September at a missile fuel plant in Blysk, 50 miles southeast of Novosibirsk.” Sabotage was suspected.
- The Public Affairs Office of the Naval Academy released a story on Midshipman John DeNuto, relative to his designing a high-speed submarine as a project for his first class year. DeNuto is a TRIDENT Scholar, one of seven chosen for independent research work.His project ~will look at innovative submarine hull shapes — particularly as to bow configurations, to see how certain shapes are compatible with new sonar systemsand bow they affectasubmarine’s performance. The first part of DeNuto’s project is to develop the capability to test submarine models in the Academy’s 380-foot towing tank. “The first model to be tested will be the most difficult one because it is smaller and faster than tbe rest.” He expects to be assigned to submarine duty after graduation.
- A Navy release on 23 May announced the first rendezvous of three s. nuclear submarines at the geographic North Pole, on 6 May. The RAY, HAWIBILL and ARCHERFISH all remained surfaced at the pole for several hours to allow crew members out on the ice for recreation. The subs’ Arctic mission was to collect scientific data and test their readiness under Arctic conditions while detached from logistics base support.
- On 2 May, the Secretary of the Navy, John Lehman, during SUBICEX 86 visited Ice Camp APLIS in the Arctic for a first hand look at the Navy’s effort to counter Soviet intentions under the Arctic ice. During Secretary Lehman’s visit, be also embarked in a U.S. submarine to observe under-ice operations. Secy. Lehman noted that, “the continued presence of the United States in the Arctic may put a kink in Soviet strategic planning… They may end up regretting they ever drew our attention to these Arctic waters.R The main objective of SUBICEX “86 is to collect and analyze data about the Arctic ice cover and the waters underneath. Earlier, the Secy. of the Navy approved a Navy Arctic Service Ribbon to recognize people who serve in support of the Navy’s Arctic warfare program.This Arctic Service Ribbon is retroactive to January 1, 1982.
- A Navy release notes that on April 1, a TOMAHAWK cruise missile which was launched from an attack submarine off the coast of California, flew more than 460 miles before it arrived at its target on San Clemente Island. Once over its target — an aircraft surrounded by protective bunkers — the missile’s warhead exploded, with its blast fragments destroying the aircraft on the ground.
- An article in Defense Daily, March 19, 1986, relates: “The Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Atlantic Command, Admiral Lee Baggett, Jr. has told the Senate Armed Services Committee that qualitative advances in Soviet nuclear attack submarines have reached a point where the numerically-superior Soviet submarine fleet could be successful enough against u.s. forces for the Soviets to win a conventional war in Europe. ADM. Baggett is quoted as having told the Committee:
“Soviet submarines continue to have a numerical advantage of three to one over u.s. submarines. Coupled with this quantitative advantage is the fact that the ‘Soviets have rapidly closed the technology gap between our submarines and theirs in terms of quality. The sophistication and capability o~ their new submarines, and their sensors, C and weapon systems are, in many areas, comparable to ours. It can no longer be said that our numerical disadvantage can be offset by our technological superiority. This situation has developed, not because we have lacked support for our programs, but because the Soviets have made vast improvements in their submarines. Their large investments in research and development, and the apparent ease -‘ with which they have acquired Western technology, have permitted them to build submarines which are very much quieter, and therefore more and more difficult to detect.
Although our submarine force is the most capable in the world today, the Soviets are a close second and that may be good enough to provide them with an overall victory in a war. The Soviets do not have to be victorious at sea, they require only enough success to slow or blunt our offensive capabilities and prevent our reinforcement and resupply of Europe.”
- The Washington Times of March 17, 1986, in an article by Bill Gertz, reports that Libya is shopping for small submarines, to be used for destruction of commercial passenger and cargo liners. So far, only Yugoslavia, it is claimed, appears to be negotiating with Libyan officials. The Yugoslavian minisub, which is modeled after a Soviet design, is called the M-100, carries a crew of seven and is a diesel-electric boat. (The Soviets are credited with building, since mid- 1960s, towards a 200-boat minisub fleet.) Minisubs, the author says, weigh 150 to 200 tons, and cost $20 m. to $50 m. to build.
- A Jack Anderson and Dale Van Atta column in the Washington Post of 23 May, 1986, tells of the employment of mini-submarines by the Soviets. “Spetznaz” special forces. The column claims that Sweden has been “invaded” more than 100 times by
- Spetznaz mini-subs.These 65-foot boats with a “maximum operating depth of 344 feet” are launched from a mother submarine and can crawl along the bottom, if desirable to do so. “They can be used to attack shoreline targets or can be used against interior targets when sea infiltration is preferred . . . In Sweden’s case, the minisubs are undoubtedlyconducting reconnaissance and training activities.”
- The Historic World War II submarine BOWFIN a popular visitor attraction at Pearl Harbor was designated on 5 March a “National Historic Landmark” by the Secretary of Interior. Also, ABC Circle Films has expressed interest in using BOWFIN for the filming of submarine scenes for the upcoming television series, “War and Remembrance” — stemming from Herman Wouk’s book of that title. Assuming all goes well, and according to schedule, BOWFIN will be drydocked in June, then if declared fit for tow in open seas, will be used for at-sea filming for a 2-3 week period in the Fall.This is in addition to the filming at BOWFIN Park. Most exciting, however, is the Navy approval to move the Pacific Submarine Museum located at the Pearl Harbor Submarine Base to land adjacent to BOWFIN Park where a 10,000 square foot building will be constructed to house this museum. This will allow expansion of the present 4,000 square feet of submarine displays to include many presently non-displayed artifacts and BOWFIN-related memorabilia as well as professionally designed “hands on” types or displays to increase viewer participation. A considerable increase in BOWFIN visitors is expected from this planned addition.