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  • The Post of January 13 explains the last-minute “secret” change made to the u.s. yacht, Stars and Stripes, for its final round or· races off Fremantle, Australia to pick a challenger for the America’s Cup. Dennis Conner’s boat had gotten a new plastic hull coating designed to reduce drag. The coating was “applied in 30 three feet by one foot panels of about .007 inches thickness and with V-shaped micro grooves — like an LP record.” The coating was designed by 3 r-1 to cut drag on space vehicles and “will boost boat speed.” {The subsequent 4-1 victory of Stars and Stripes over the seemingly invincible New Zealand boat and later the 4-0 win over KOOI(ABURRA III was apparently conclusive evidence that Stars and Stripes had gained a good deal of speed by adding this coating. The SUBMARINE REVIEW article “Slippery Skins for Speedier Subs” in the July 1984 edition, notes that “thin grooves running lengthwise along the outer skin of a sub, reduce boundary-layer turbulence” — and “seem to reduce drag better than perfectly smooth finishes.”)
  • Defense Week of 22 December, 1986 reports that inaccurate design drawings for the installation of the BSY-1 combat and weapons launch system (formerly the SUBACS) in the SSN751, an SSN-688 Los Angeles class submarine, will delay the delivery of the SAN JUAN seven months. SAN JUAN, SSN-751, was christened at Electric Boat’s Shipyard on Dec. 6th. Vice Admiral Hernandez, Commander of the U.S. Third Fleet said, at the christening, “When commissioned, she will be the most capable submarine in the world.” And, launching this submarine on the eve of the anniversary of Pearl Harbor was a fitting reminder of the “consequences of being ill-prepared for war in a time of peace.” San Juan Mayor Baltasa Corrada hoped that the SAN JUAN’s hull number was a prophesy of things to come, i.e. San Juan as the capital city of the 51st state of the union.
  • An ALNAV of January 1987 lists five unrestricted submarine line officers who were selected for promotion to the grade of Rear Admiral (Lower Half):

Douglas Volgenau, CO, NUSC Newport, RI.
Thomas A. Meinioke, Chief of Staff COMSUBLANT
Raymond G. Jones, Jr., OPNAV (OP-90B)
Willi~ P. Houley, OPNAV (OP-11)
William A. OWens, Exec. Asst. to VCNO (OP-90A)

This selection lists 29 unrestricted line officers who made flag rank with this selection. Eleven were aviators and 13 were surface officers.

  • The Post of 27 January tells of the use of STINGER missiles by Afghan guerrillas to shoot down Soviet helicopters and rixed wing aircrart. One guerrilla commander said they were shooting down aircrart in about 70J of their attempts with this heat-seeking weapon. This shoulder-launched missile when used by the commander’s unit had downed two helos and 3 transport planes with the seven missiles the unit had fired. The commander rurther noted that he believed 90 to 100 Soviet or Afghan government aircraft had been brought down by the STINGERs so far. This is the first wholesale use of the STINGER in actual battles. Six were reportedly fired in the Falkland Islands War with one aircraft claimed destroyed. But this first test of this weapon in a war environment was with little training of the men who fired the missile. [Ed. Note: Some British submarines have a battery of Blowpipe missiles (similar to the STINGER but far less sophisticated) installed in their shears for anti-aircraft use.) The STINGER, as identified from The World’s Missile Systems is a U.S. missile of 3 miles range, 60 inches long, weighs 22.3 #s, is supersonic in speed, is fired from a 7.7# shoulder launcher, has dual thrust solid propellant propulsion, and has countercountermeasures circuitry to give it immunity to any known IR threat. It can engage aircraft of up to mach 1 speed, at all aspects, and is a fireand-rorget weapon. Its diameter is 2.75 inches and it is a replacement for REDEYE.
  • On Dec. 13th, the TENNESSEE (SSBN 734) was christened at Electric Boat by Mrs. Landess Kelso, the wife of Admiral Frank B. Kelso II, Commander in Chief of the Atlantic Fleet. This 9th submarine of the TRIDENT class is the first of her class designed from the keel up to carry the TRIDENT II (D-5) ballistic missile, which has significantly greater range and payload than the TRIDENT I (C-4) and an accuracy which in effect makes it a good counterforce weapon. ADM Kelso said, “So today we witness, with the launch of the TENNESSEE, the final step in the modernization of the submarine leg of our nation’s strategic triad.” Adm. Kelso added •••• “Today the TENNESSEE begins its historic journey to add a new capability to maintain world peace.” Senator Gore of Tennessee called the christening “truly significant” because it “marked the era of the new missiles” and “will deter Russians around the world.”
  • General Dynamics World of January 1987, reports that on Nov. 21st at the Naval Weapons Center China Lake, California, the TOMAHAWK cruise missile demonstrated a new land attack capability. The test was the first flight of the production configured submunitions-dispensing variant. Launched by the USS ARKANSAS at sea, the missile flew a 500-mile mission to the China Lake Range and successfully engaged multiple targets with its 24 packs containing seven inert “combined effects bomblets ( CEBs).” This TOl-iAHAWK warhead enables a single missile to attack multiple·targets such as revetted aircraft or air defense installations. “Approximately 30 percent of Navy TOMAHAWK cruise missiles will be the submunitions variant.” (This submarine-launched weapon is considered to be usable prior to strikes by a U.S. attack carrier’s manned aircraft on land objectives — it is a means to soften up enemy air defenses and reduce attrition of follow-on U.S. manned aircraft.) On Nov. 26th a TOMAHAWK was vertically launched for the first time from a submerged submarine. This anti-ship variant flew 250 miles and passed within a lethal distance of a target hulk. This first of seven flights will give submarines a vertical launch capability for TOMAHAWK in addition to a torpedo tube launch capability. (In mid-January there were two more submerged launchings with cruise flights to Eglin Air Force Base about 700 miles away. )
  • Jane’s Naval Review of 1986 has an article by Commander Roy Corlett, RN, which poses the question of what is inside the very large pod, mounted on the rudder structure of the VICTOR IIIs. (In previous SUBMARINE REVIEWs the functions of this pod have been guessed at.) CDR Corlett notes that, “What has been described as a magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) propulsion pod on the VICTOR IIIs is now fitted to SIERRA and AKULAclass submarines — a sure sign that whatever it is, it works.” He notes that “the way an icing coat forms on the superstructures of some Soviet submarines within minutes of surfacing seems to indicate cryogenics in some form or other,” in use by the Soviets in their submarines. As to the pod itself, his guess, he feels — as to how the pod as a propulsion system works — is backed by some good published Soviet evidence. He describes the pod as having a tube with a venturi entrance and which runs down the center of the pod. A streamlined cover at the forward end of the tube opens when the submarine is submerged. This cover protects the tube when the submarine is on the surface. Around the tube is a flexible sheath partitioned into segments each of which is filled with a magnetic fluid. Around the sheath, and separated from it by partitioned cavities, are inductor coils which match the resilient sheath segments. Around the propulsion tube are liquid helium cooling coils to provide superconductivity of the inductor coils. In operation, a static converter converts direct current into a voltage variation in the inductor coils and generates a pulsed magnetic field. This field, acting on the magnetic fluid, sets up a traveling wave in the fluid and thence in the flexible sheath. The resulting motion draws water into the tube’s venturi entrance and expels it art, creating a thrust. For the size of the pod and the method of propulsion described, a cruising speed of 7 knots seems possible.
  • The Washington Times of reports 6 January on an article by Desmond London’s Sunday Telegraoh. Wettern “plans for big surface warships for Navy .have been curbed in favor Wettern of wrote that the Soviet of the new submarines.” He said that Soviet submarines could circumvent the u.s. SDI system by flying their cruise missiles close to the earth’s surface -skimming the surface of the sea before striking targets far inland. The article also notes that according to Jane’s Fighting Shios 1986-87, at least one Soviet nuclear submarine (a Yankee ballistic missile submarine) has been rebuilt to carry the SS-NX-24 land attack cruise missile which has a range of up to 4800 miles and is being tested. “The missile is thought to be capable or striking any targets in the continental United States from a submarine lying hidden off either seaboard. The report also said that Admiral Vladimir Chernavin, successor to Admiral Gorsbkov as Head of the Soviet Navy, “is a leading exponent of submarine warfare.”
  • YNCM(SS) Henry Buermeyer writes about the National Submarine Memorial located in a park in Groton, CT, and consisting of the conning tower of the USS FLASHER along with a set of bronze plates showing the names of the 52 submarines lost in World War II. There, at the Memorial, the sacrifices of the 3,505 officers and men and their lost submarines are to be remembered during formal memorial services on Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day. FLASHER sank more tonnage than any other U.S. submarine during World War II. The Memorial still needs $47,000 to complete this project -still, the goal is to dedicate this National Submarine Memorial on Memorial Day, 1987. Contributions can be mailed to: National Submarine Memorial Preservation Fund, P.O. Box 57, Gales Ferry, CT 06335. It is also noted that the City of Groton is looking at the feasibility of acquiring land for a walkway from the National Memorial to the Thames River and to erect along this walkway memorials for the THRESHER and SCORPION.
  • Aerospace Daily of December 15, 1986, quotes VADH Bruce DeMars, Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Submarine Warfare, as telling the House Armed Services seapower subcommittee that the improved 688 class submarines will be twice as effective as the current 688 class boats and would have a wartime kill ratio over Soviet attack subs of more than five to one. The .first of the upgraded 688s, the SSN-751, “will be able to counter the seven new types of Soviet attack submarines that have become operational since 1976.” Admiral Kinnaird McKee in later testimony noted that some say the Soviet Union has a threeto-one advantage in submarine numbers, but this really isn’t so. “If you match their first-line attack boats against our first-line attack submarines, the ratio is about one-to-one. If you sprinkle in the Soviet diesel boats, that runs the ratio up. But diesel boats are really minefields, in my judgement. And again, to get the three-toone ratio, you also have to throw in the SSBNs which aren’t going to go hunting for trouble.”
  • An Af story on January 13, 1987, announces the imminent first flight test of the TRIDENT II (D-5} intercontinental ballistic missile — submarine launched. “When the first TRIDENT II rises from a launch pad at Cape Kennedy, FL on January 15th, the Navy will be testing a weapon said to be so accurate it can match the targeting ability of land-based missiles, even though it’s fired from a submerged, moving submarine.” Critics claim that this weapon will turn the nation’s strategic submarines into “first strike” weapons systems, undermining the deterrent balance with the Soviet Union. The first test involved a launch from a ground pad instead of a submarine, but following the flat pad tests, firing the missile 5-10 times from a submarine will be needed before it is declared operational.
  • A Navy release of 24 December, 1986, names the USS PLUNGER (SSN-595) as the Pacific Fleet winner and USS FINBACK (SSN-670) as Atlantic Fleet winner or the Marjorie Sterrett Battleship Fund award. “The award is given annually to the submarine judged to have the highest level or combat readiness.”
  • Air Force Magazine of December 1986 in an article by Edgar Ulsamer says. “we are witnessing a modernization and upgrading or their (Soviet) rorces that spans the spectrum from strategic to conventional conrlict ••• this stemto-stern overhaul of the Soviet Armed Forces has transformed them from garrison forces to global forces that routinely test and probe this nation’s perimeters: ” The article mentions that three TYPHOON-class submarines are operational with a fourth and fifth nearing operational status. They carry twenty solid-propellant SS-N-20 SLBMs with a range or more than 8,000 kilometers. Four new ballistic missile submarines of the DELTA IV-class are at sea and will carry the SS-NX-23 which is completing its flight testing. This liquidpropelled SLBM carries ten mirved warheads over a range of more than 8,000 kilometers. It is also noted that the YANKEE SSBNs — being decommissioned to keep Soviet ballistic missile launchers within the 950 SALT II limits, as new Soviet SSBNs enter the force — are being converted to a “widehipped” configuration in order to accommodate the launch tubes for their new, large submarinelaunched cruise missiles.
  • The San Diego Nayy Dispatch of October 30, 1986, tells about the Submarine Escape Tank at Pearl Harbor and the hopes that it will be preserved as an historical landmark. Decommissioned, along with its sister tank at Groton, CT, in 1982 on its Fiftieth Anniversary. the Pearl Harbor tank had its plumbing removed but still stands. semi-occupied. while the Groton tank is planned for demolition this year. Submarine escape training was initiated at both tanks in 1932 following a “disturbing increase” in submarine accidents after World War I. All submariners, except those with waivers, trained in these unusual tanks, making ascents — with “lung” or “free” — from various depths (up to 100 feet) to prepare them for escape from a stricken submarine. Two instructors usually accompanied the trainees on their ascents and if problems arose, an air look was less than five seconds away. But today, these tanks have outlived their usefulness, as advanced methods of submarine escape and rescue have rendered the tanks obsolete.
  • Defense Week of 26 January tells of delays in the Navy’s SEA LANCE anti-submarine standoff weapon — of about 80-mile range. Two versions have been planned, one with a nuclear depth charge type of w~rhead (a replacement for SUBROC) and the other a conventional version which combines the missile body with the Mk 50 advanced lightweight torpedo. Technical difficulties with the nuclear version which was first to be operational in the original program, have caused the Navy to now opt for the first development of the conventional version. Program delays due to this shift have evidently delayed the development of the SEA LANCE missile up to one year.
  • A flyer distributed around the Chicago area tells of the battle by WW II submarine veterans to find a permanent home for SILVERSIDES — which accounted for 23 enemy ships in he~ 4year Pacific campaign. Presently anchored at the foot of Chicago’s Navy Pier and open to visitors, SILVERSIDES has been offered a permanent home in Muskegon, Michigan, but the Chicago Park District has also promised a lakefront docking site and adjacent land for a Great Lakes Naval and Maritime Museum. The latter proposal is certainly a more favorable one but inaction by the Park District has kept SILVERSIDES1s siting in limbo — and her potential as a lakefront monument to Chicago war veterans not being realized. The help or submariners to increase interest in this project, generate political pressures and increase financing is needed. The contact in Chicago is through Great Lakes Naval and Maritime Museum, Box A-3785, Chicago, Illinois, 60690.
  • The Washington Post of March 3, 1987, has a story on Navy Secretary Lehman’s demands to have three nuclear submarine commanders who were recommended for promotion to captain by a selection board convened in January, be “deselected” to make room for three others. According to “Navy officials,” Secy. Lehman “did not reel that the promotions of almost 300 commanders to captains were fairly distributed among the submarine, surface and aviation branches,” and directed that the board be reconvened. But VADM DeMars objected on the basis that the Secretary’s deselection process “was not legal.” However, when on February 27th, VADM DeMars, Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Submarine Warfare, was ordered by Lehman to reconvene the board to select three other officers in specified warfare communities, DeMars reminded the Secretary that he had previously declined to carry out such an order. At which, Lehman directed DeMars’ resignation as President of the FY 88 Active Duty Line Captain Selection Board. DeMars letter of resignation was then submitted. According to George Wilson, author of the ~ article, a Navy officer in the Pentagon circulated a memorandum which said that the Secretary “~ould not manipulate the current Chief of Naval Operations to bend the legal rules governing the completed board results.” In a follow-on article in the ~ of 4 March, George Wilson noted that Secy. Lehman, at a Pentagon news conference, denied breaking any laws by ordering VADH DeMars to “deselect” three commanders already recommended for promotion to captain. And, that DeMars action in resigning as head of the selection board -rather than carry out his direction which DeMars considered to be “illegal” — was, in Lehman’s words “in more than six years as Navy Secretary this was the first time an admiral had refused to obey an order.” The Secretary attributed this defiance to his “lame duck” status, since he has announced he will leave his job in about a month, being relieved by James Webb. The Secretary also said he “had rejected five previous promotion lists because they favored nuclear submarine officers disproportionately.” George Wilson also reported that “The Senate Armed Services Committee sent a letter to Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger yesterday demanding a ‘complete and thorough’ investigation of Lehman’s role in all promotion board deliberations,” and suggested that no more Navy promotion boards be convened by Lehman until after the investigation. In the selection made by DeMars’ board, “253 commanders were recommended for promotion to captain. or that total, there were 30 nuclear submariners, 73 surface warfare officers, 122 pilots and 28 naval flight officers.” The nuclear submariners had 30 of 38 selected — 79% of the eligible officers, whereas other specialties had about SOJ. And, according to the Secretary, DeMars board had not complied with the Secretary’s guidance “and indeed exceeded by 150 percent” the number of submariners to be selected for captain. A Nayy Times article on the same subject says that nuclear submarine officer retention is projected to fall to 40% in 1987.
  • The groundwork for establishing a new Submarine League chapter in the mid-Atlantic region (New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware) fro~ members of the Naval Submarine League is beiftg spearheaded by Henry Palmer and Dick Tauber. Those who want to participate should write Palmer at Computer Sciences Corporation, Rt 38 Box N, Moorestown, NJ 08057, with home phone number (609) 953-1143; or write to Tauber at RCA Corp., (Bldg 127-294) Borton Landing Road, Moorestown, NJ, home phone (609) 654-1165.
  • Rear Admiral Jim Blanchard, who died March 5, 1987, is well remembered for his sinking of the Japanese aircraft carrier TAIHO of 31,000 tons. It was the newest and largest carrier in the Japanese fleet at that time and was Admiral Ozawa’s flagship at the Battle of the Philippine Sea. But the story of Blanchard’s sinking of TAIHO is not a simple one. On June 19, 1944, Blanchard in ALBACORE found himself in the path of Ozawa’s main carrier group. Blanchard, after avoiding a destroyer, took a quick periscope look at the second carrier in line. Hearing that his TDC was not functioning properly, he shot six torpedoes by “seaman’s eye.” As 3 Jap destroyers charged ALBACORE, Blanchard took her deep. One solid hit was heard, plus what sounded like a possible second hit but which was a heroic sacrifice of a Japanese pilot who spotted the wake of an ALBACORE torpedo and dove on it — destroying the torpedo and himself. The one hit by ALBACORE seemed so inconsequential that TAIHO’s flight operations were continued for the next seven hours. But, spreading gasoline fumes then caused a severe explosion — the sides of TAIHO being blown out. At this, Ozawa transferred his flag to the cruiser HAGURO — just in time, as a second explosion caused TAIHO to sink stern first. For many months, the U.S. was unaware of this sinking and consequently Admiral Lockwood awarded only a Commendation Ribbon to Blanchard “for damaging an aircraft carrier.” Eventually a Japanese prisoner of war said that TAIHO had been sunk in the Battle of the Philippine Sea by a submarine’s torpedo. When this was confirmed, Admiral Lockwood changed Blanchard’s Commendation Ribbon to a Navy Cross.
  • USS JACK (SSN 605) is planning a 20th Anniversary reunion along with a reunion of the JACK’s (SS 259) crew members. The reunion is scheduled for May 8 to 10, 1987, in the Groton area. For information contact Ensign Mike Metzger, (203) 449-3329, or Senior Chief David Ellis, (203) 889-4740.

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