The Southeast Georgian, 8 October 1987, contained an article on the recently deceased Captain Bill Purdum. One of the Submarine League’s most active members, and former president of the NSL NAUTILUS Chapter in the New England area, Purdum was remembered in this article by Alan Lipsett as “The naval officer who in 1977 introduced Camden County to the idea of supporting Fleet Ballistic Missile Submarines at Kings Bay, Georgia, which at that time was a mothballed U.S. Army shipping terminal.” Lipsett noted that Purdum had said that “the Kings Bay project was one of the most important things I worked on while I was on active duty.” Purdum then asked, “How well has the Navy lived up to its promises of 1977?” At that time, “the Navy promised a $40-50 million payroll at the $92 million Naval Base. Today the payroll is $85 million and by the time it gets to be a TRIDENT base it will cost $1.7 billion.” Also, in answer to Purdum’s question “Has the Base lived up to its promise of increased employment?” the article by Lipsett stated that “earlier predictions that 1000 new jobs would be created each year, have proved conservative with more than 10,000 additional jobs by 1995.” It is emphasized that “the TRIDENT submarine force will continue to be the strongest leg of the defense Triad and that these submarines will be a part of this area for many years to come.”
Defense Week of 14 December 1987, in an article by Paul Bedard tells of Navy plans to backfit the new sonar and fire control system developed for the SSN-21 into not only LOS ANGELES and STURGEON-class submarines but also into TRIDENT submarines. TRIDENTs would get these improvements starting in 1992. This TRIDENT program according to “Navy officials” is in response to Soviet submarine quieting advances, and secondly to use common systems on subs, thereby easing logistic nightmares. Although this would provide TRIDENTs a good capability to fight back if a Soviet attack sub located a TRIDENT, there is apparently no intention of sending TRIDENTs in search of Soviet boats instead of trying to avoid contact. The new fire control system, called Combat Control System Mk 2 “would boost the TRIDENT’s detection and attack capabilities. A change from the BQQ-6 sonar system to the BQQ-5E is also contemplated.”
PATROL, the Submarine Base, Pearl Harbor newspaper, reported on the Memorial Service held for Vice Admiral Ralph Christie, 94, who died on December 20th after a long illness. A captain at the outbreak of World War II, he commanded a majority of the Atlantic based submarines. Briefly assigned to the Naval Torpedo Station as inspector of torpedoes, he quickly was promoted to Rear Admiral and was then ordered to Submarines Southwest Pacific as Commander Task Force 71. Yearning for combat he made unauthorized war patrols in BOWFIN and HARDER. “Admiral Christie was quick to recognize the valiant and heroic deeds of our submariners and became well known for his dockside presentations of medals to returning submarine skippers.” It was he who fought to see that Commander Sam Dealey of HARDER was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. Christie retired in 1949 upon promotion to Vice Admiral.
INSIQHT/January 25, 1988 notes that the Soviets have begun test launches of their S8-NX-21 cruise missiles from AKULA-class SSNs, in the Sea of Japan. With a range of 1,800 miles, they can be launched from standard submarine torpedo tubes. “It appears that the Soviets are planning to deploy them on submarines of the VICTOR, SIERRA and AKULA classes.” There are three AKULA-class submarines in service and a fourth is under construction.
Friendly An editorial by Cherie Edris and Sherrie in the DOLPHIN of 4 December, 1987, makes some excellent points about the wives of submariners. 11The first thing that comes to mind is the bonding we share with special friends. We don’t go through this (separation from husbands) alone: we have each other to depend on. Submariner wives are a strong and special breed. We need to pat ourselves on the back. We have grown stronger as individuals; we have learned to cope. We have become independent and self-reliant and can handle many problems alone, from paying bills on time, handling car repairs, juggling work and children, to major crises such as serious illness. We stretch ourselves and grow every day. We adapt! Let us not look back with sadness on deployments, let us look back with pride for all we have done.”
Tom Clancy, author of “Hunt for Red October” writes in Policy Rev..i!m about “America’s favorite whipping boys — the military” and how the Left attacks the competence of men and women of our armed forces. Clancy feels that the U.S. submarine community “is composed of the most indecently competent professionals one could ever hope to meet.” He notes their lack of awe for “the Russian Navy which is the most formidable in the world.” And he asks himself, “Why aren’t American submarine captains properly terrified by the Soviet Navy? Where does this confidence come from?” Then Clancy observes that “The confidence comes from the fact that, unique among military forces, the submarine community operates against the Soviets on a daily basis.” Whereas the U.S. Navy has its “Top Gun” tactical training school for naval aviators against simulated “aggressor” Soviet forces, “The submariners, can and do conduct the same sort of operations continually against the real thing. They track Soviet surface ships and submarines, gather intelligence of various sorts, and generally conduct themselves as though on a war footing at all times. The first rule of war is that one should know one’s enemy; the men driving the fast attack submarines do, and they think they can win.”
An article in the Washington Post of Feb. 21 by P.O. Zimmerman and Alton Frye proposes electronic locks as a key to the next Arms Limitations treaty which would probably, in part, deal with limiting sea launched cruise missiles (SLCMs). The main problem with SLCMs is how to count and verify those which are nuclear armed and carried on submarines — since from the outside they look the same as conventional SLCMs. A device such as a Permissive Action Link is proposed which requires a special code to electronically unlock the nuclear SLCM before it can be detonated. But to solve an Arms limitation problem, a Permissive Action Link could be used to seal a canister containing a conventional SLCM with half of the electronic unlocking code supplied by the U.S. and half by the Soviets. That way, conventional SLCMs could not be converted to nuclear weapons — without knowledge of the American and Soviet inspection teams. If an unauthorized attempt was made to open the canister of the conventional SLCM for a conversion of warheads, the canister’s sealing mechanism could have an explosive charge which would disable the guidance system of the SLCM rendering it useless. If the SLCM was, by acceptance of both sides, removed from its canister for repairs, modification or maintenance, it would then later be resealed into its canister by inspection teams of both sides. If the conventional SLCM however was to be used in war, a firing of the SLCM from its canister could have an inertial time-sensitive device built into the Permissive Action Link which would negate the coded electronic unlocking device.
The Proceedings/February 1988 has an item by Norman Friedman which describes a 100-foot test-model of the SEAWOLF SSN-21. This batterypropelled, computer controlled, free-swimming vehicle will be used to simulate high-speed maneuvers and measure the expected flow field over the submarine. This model is reminiscent of the ALBACORE. It represents a reversion to the ALBACORE’s length-to-beam relationship. The model’s control surfaces will evidently require special tests not only to measure the efficacy of control but also to determine the noise created by control-surface movement at high speed. Similarly, the flow over the hull may affect the placement of sonars.
Ayiation Week and Space Technology of 19 October, 1987, tells of a number of submariners who are pushing for an early 1990s start of a proof-of-concept program for an encapsulated surface-to-air missile for offensive submarine missions,n although nthe Navy in the past has rejected the idea of an anti-aircraft missile for defense, contending that it is easier to escape the threat (than to fight back).n The use or SSBNs for launching small satellites into space is also being evaluated — as a potential role in the SDI.
1[R: December 1987 puts out a call for information on all u.s. submariners who served in WW II. The SubVets organization is putting together a history or u.s. submariners or WW II, and is seeking additional biographical information for inclusion in Volume III — Volumes I and II having been completed. A brochure on the kind or information needed can be obtained from Robert A. Link, U.S. Submarine Veterans of WW II, 32 W. Bolton Avenue, Absecon, NJ 08201.
The SubVets of WW II in their Submarine National Review have nan appealn from the editor urging nall submariners to boycott goods manufactured by Toshiba.”
A news release from SUBRON Six tells or how the 130 crew members of the modern nuclear submarineSILVERSIDES, while out on their last three-month deployment under the Atlantic Ocean, had a fund raising project to provide the exterior lighting for the old fleet boat, SILVERSIDES. This WW II relic is now a tourist attraction and part of the Great Lakes Naval and Maritime Museum at Muskegon, Illinois. One of the men on the present SILVERSIDES said, “The crew was really behind the fund raising, ($2,236 was raised while on patrol by holding auctions, selling trinkets, running a ‘Las Vegas night and holding other contests.) Our crew wanted to do this to help out the guys who used to work on the old SILVERSIDES. They served under a lot of arduous conditions during World War II, more than we can imagine. It is our namesake and our heritage and we wanted to save it and that’s what we worked for.”
NAYY NEWS & Underseas Technology of 18 December 1987, tells of the investigation of Soviet submarine technology by a House panel of “staffers,” headed by an Armed Services Committee Staff member, Russel Murray. Murray recalls “wanting to go to war with Japan convinced that America’s better warplanes and ships would stop Japan’s military expansion, (back in 1941). But we found out the hard way that their planes were just as good, if not better than ours and their ships were as good as ours.” Murray makes this observation as he and four other staffers look into the state of Soviet submarine technology -to reduce the chances of being surprised by the reported innovations being made in the Soviet submarine navy. “The list of suspected innovations is long” and, “Others, outside the service, fear the Navy’s intelligence community is underestimating Soviet advances.” The 4-inch thick tiles which cover the outer hull of Soviet submarines is one innovation being examined. “The Navy says the tiles are anechoic. But many analysts are sure the Soviets use their tiles for more than absorbing sound. They believe they reduce resistance so Russian subs slide more easily through the water. This makes them faster without adding
power.” The pod on the stern of tbe VICTOR IIIs and the AKULA is also being looked at. Its opening at tbe back of the pod has been shown to be 15 inches in diameter — far too big for a towed array system. “Contrary to Navy views, some defense analysts believe the pod is for propulsion.” Photos show it being “coated with something white” suggesting it might be ice and that the pod is extremely cold because it could bouse a cryogenic power plant of the MHO variety. Other Soviet technologies are similarly being examined.
Nayy Times of 15 February notes that Naval Academy midshipmen are selecting nuclear power training and submarine duty in declining numbers. Whereas 155 midshipmen out of a total 109~. chose submarine duty in 1986, in 1988 only 119 out of a class of 1141 want to go into submarines. (None of the approximately 70 women in either class selected submarine duty.) “An Academy official said there is no specific explanation for the declining popularity of nuclear training. “
Jane’s Defense Weekly of 23 January, 1988, reports that an SSN built by the Soviets sailed for the Indian submarine base at Vishakhapatnam on 9 January. There is speculation that the Indian Navy bas leased this missile firing nuclear submarine, which has eight externally mounted missile tubes for evidently cruise missiles. And that the Indians will acquire, eventually, four such submarines. A team of at least 200 Indian sailors have been in training in the Soviet union since 198~ to man the Indian submarine. However, the reactor technical staff must still be backed up, initially, by Soviet naval engineers.
NAVY NEWS & Undersea Technology of 8 February notes that the naval airship (blimp) has been removed from the 1989 budget by the budget analysts — who cut to zero the $100 million
programmed in FY’89 for the lighter-than-air blimp. Westinghouse Airship Industries Inc. which is developing the blimp concept “is giving up hope or rescuing the program from the budget axe.” An industry source estimated that #100 million would build the first airship, with later blimps costing $10-30 million per unit.
Jane’s Defense Weekly of 16 January tells or a YANKEE-class Soviet submarine, refitted to carry the ss-N-21 cruise missile, being photographed in the Norwegian Sea. The photo revealed that the YANKEE’s 153 meter long hull had been lengthened by 10 meters and its sail had been made 3 meters longer. “Norwegian sources have now indicated that between 20 and 40 cruise missiles can be carried in the missile compartment amidships.”
NAVY NEWS & Undersea Technology of 15 January, reports that on January 5th the Navy awarded General Dynamics (Electric Boat Division) a $644 million contract for the 15th TRIDENT. The other bidder for the contract, Newport News, seemingly “turned in a non-competitive bid by adding $85 million in tooling costs to its bid and by stating it could not deliver the TRIDENT when the Navy wanted it.” In an earlier issue or NAVY NEWS & Undersea Technology or 18 December 1987, it was related that Navy Secretary James Webb had recommended that the TRIDENT be cut out or the 1989 budget but that this was overridden by Defense Secretary Frank Carlucci who restored its financing in the FY89 budget.
Defense Week of 25 January describes the plans or Vice Admiral Bruce Demars relative to using surveillance drones remotely controlled by submarines. This plan, first suggested last year, “was shot down by defense budget appropriators.” But it seems that Admiral DeMars is not letting it drop. Drones, or remotely piloted vehicles, would be used to “Expand the surveillance capabilities of attack submarines and broaden the role of the sub. Drones would be launched when a u.s. sub captain believes an enemy vessel is nearby but undetectable by most means. Using the drone’s sensors, the submarine-based operator could direct the sub’s weapons to the target.” David Stanley, in Jane’s Defense Weekly of 28 November, says, “Projects for operating air vehicles from submarines may gain impetus from other motives than the need for target fixing. Rapid and continuing improvements in methods of finding and hitting air, sea and land targets put a high defensive premium upon concealment underwater.”
CNO (OP-02) has incorporated an important CNA study on submarine contermeasures in the Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC) library. DTIC code AD9555~ has been assigned. Use of this particular document is restricted to registered users of DTIC with a SECRET FACILITY CLEARANCE. A DTIC registration package can be obtained by calling DTIC central register at: (703) 274-6871.
USS TULLIBEE (SSN 597) will decommission in June 1988 at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Portsmouth, NH. All former crew members and interested personnel desiring to attend the decommissioning ceremony or obtain further information can contact YNCM(SS) Frank w. Reinhold, USN Chief of the Boat, at Autovon 684-1648/1577 or Commercial (207) 438-1648/1577.