- SUBNOTES/ September 1987 says that “to date Atlantis tourist subs (operating in Caribbean waters) have had more than 2,500 dives while taking over 50,000 passengers to explore reefs and sealite.Each sub holds 28 passengers.” The new Atlantis III, which will carry 48 people, will operate from St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands. In commenting on “the expanding tourist sub business,” the head of Winchester Associates Ltd. in Aberdeen says, “We don’t approve at all of these large single hull designs with no means of restricting flooding and are surprised the U.S. Coast Guard hasn’t stopped them from being used.”···· “unlike others, ours (new tourist subs) have watertight and pressure tight compartments to restrict water ingress to one area and preserve buoyancy.”
- Admiral C A. H. Trost, USN, said at COMOPTEVFOR’s Change of Command on 6 August, 1987:
“Today we are on the verge of a new epoch. People talk about the coming revolution at sea: It’s true . . . . . . at least in concept. If we were to visit the NOB piers this after-noon, we would see the navy of the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. But if we were to go inside the headquarters building to my left, we would see aspects of the navy of the 1990s and beyond. The potential breakthroughs in technology that lie just ahead, if only we can capture them in a practical, affordable way, make the vision of the navy of the future something to behold indeed.
Let me give you a glimpse: Ships powered by superconducting electric-drive motors; hypersonic airplanes capable of exiting the earth’s atmosphere, docking in space, re-entering, and recovering on board futuristic aircraft carriers; submarines performing roles unheard or today; sensors that provide total surveillance of the battle sphere; directed energy weapons that never need reloading.
All these are dazzling prospects. But their realization depends upon a spindly, narrow footbridge suspended between the twin peaks of the laboratory and the field. In the years to come, thousands of ideas will try to make the trip across that bridge. When ideas work, when the navy can take them to sea and fight and win with them, then you must help them make the trip across the bridge as expeditiously as possible. But when they don’t work, then you must not hesitate to snatch them up . . . and throw them bodily into the gorge below.”
- Aviation Week & Space Technology/Sept. 28, 1987, notes that two Navy Transit navigation satellites were placed into polar orbit on Sept. 16th, bringing to 9 the total or Transits used by submarines for their navigation.
- The Washington Post of 20 October, tells or a plan to sink the Navy’s SS BLENNY in waters off Ocean City, Maryland, to serve as a reef to nurture underwater sealife. “Maryland has been struggling to increase the population of fish in state waters.” Sinking submarines near Ocean City will attract and keep fish in that area.
- In an article in NAVY NEWS & Undersea Technology of 9 October, it is noted that “The s. has refused to let Canada build a U.S. design submarine, as Canada preferred,” and “could veto a Canadiandecision to build the (British) TRAFALGAR . . . . whose nuclear reactor is based on U.S. technology transferrsd to Britain in 1958. Under the terms of the transfer, the u.s. has a say over any British attempt to sell the technology to a third party.”
- Also, in the same edition of Navy News is a note on the MK 50 lightweight. anti-submarine torpedo — SEA LANCE — a submarine launched missile-delivered torpedo.Now undergoing tests. SEA LANCE is expected to be operational within three years. This program has been delayed in the development stage ~or more than a year while Honeywell (the prime contractor) engineers “have labored to meet size and weight requirements.”
- Janes’s Defense Weekly of 17 October. reports a successful firing of the TRIDENT II (D-5) ballistic missile and notes that this missile’s first submerged test firing is scheduled for 1989. “About 13 more land launches are planned be~ore the tests from submarines start.”
- The Washington Post of 24 October reports that “a team of five trained bottle-nosed dolphins . . . to be used for mine-bunting and detection o~ underwater divers and swimmers” have been added to Navy security forces in the Persian Gulf.” The five dolphins which arrived in the Gulf 13. were trained at a Navy research laboratory at Point Loma. San Diego.”
- The Proceedings/November 1987 tells of a present Department of Defense contract with Aquanautics “to build an artificial gill — a chemical device to extract free oxygen from sea water — ~or an unmanned, long endurance submersible vehicle” This device would be like a fish extracting the dissolved oxygen in sea water by passing the water through its gills. Since oxygen as a fuel has a much higher energy density than batteries, using this device will provide far greater endurance “than a battery-powered equivalent.”
- The Navy Times of 2 November says that a House-Senate conference committee has tentatively approved a 35 percent increase in submarine pay. This could mean as much as $100 extra per month for eligible officers. This raise in submarine pay plus other measures are expected to help stem “a continuing slide in officer retention and recruiting.” The submarine force appears to be 100 officers short of its 622 recruiting goal, and officer retention is down to approximately 40 percent.
- The Washington Post of 7 November in an article authored by Walter Pincus, tells of delays in testing a TRIDENT II ( D-5) missile with 12 dummy warheads — and the debate created by the testing of this missile configuration. Under the rules of SALT I, when such a missile is finally deployed in a TRIDENT submarine, ~ strategic missiles carried would be counted as 12-warhead weapons.Thus, with START’s (strategic arms talks) 50 percent reduction, a cap of 3500 submarine-launched warheads would cause the u.s. to be limited to having only 12 TRIDENT submarines.(Each TRIDENT carrying 24 missiles would then be assumed to have 288 warheads on board.) The Navy presently has 6 TRIDENT submarines deployed, with 6 more under construction, another budgeted by the Congress, and an eventual planned force of at least 20. A delegation of 45 Senators have urged the President to delay the 12-warhead test, saying that the test “may well weaken the u.s. strategic force posture” for START deliberations.The TRIDENT IIs, to be first deployed in 1989, will carry 8 large MK 5 warheads. A later version may carry 12 smaller MK 4 warheads — to be used against softer strategic targets.
- Sea Technology/October 1987 reports that Admiral Chernavin, Soviet Navy Commander-in-Chief, in an interview with the newspaper Izvestiya said that the Soviet Navy was “taking every necessary step to improve the quality of its nuclear submarines rather than their numbers.”
- In the same edition of Sea Tecbnology it is pointed out that an investigation by the Norwegian Kongsberg company came up with the findings that the export of their computers along with the Japanese Toshiba milling machines to the Soviet Union “almost certainly contributed nothing to the quieting of the propellers of the Soviet SIERRA and AKULA class SSNs. The first SIERRA was launched in July 1983 and the AKULA in July 1984. This would make it unlikely that the improved Toshiba methods of milling the propellers had been used in their construction — rather that “the Soviet Union had silent propellers before the equipment was delivered by Kongsberg and Toshiba between April and July 1984. However, it is apparently evident that about 200 SSNs and SSBNs plus large numbers or conventional submarines could be provided silent propellers with the help of the Kongsberg-Toshiba exported technology.
- A UPI release in September tells of VADM Bruce DeMars’ desire “to develop new classes of submarines that use laser and satellite technology to shoot down enemy aircraft and bombard enemy shores.” DeMars sees the use of the $100 million R&D money in the House 1988 defense authorization bill “to build experimental prototypes for possible new classes of submarines.” Anti-aircraft and shore bombardment nuclear submarines are apparently envisioned. For either air targets or mobile land targets, missiles launched by a submarine “could be radar guided by satellite, surface warships or even ‘some guy sitting on a hill in Europe.'” DeMars is also quoted as saying that “satellites using laser beams now hold promise of solving the communication problem and providing submerged submarines with sufficient target information and intelligence to hit mobile land targets such as tank formations and aircraft.”
- A new long-range surveillance sonar for the protection of harbors and offshore assets against underwater swimmers and small submersibles the AS370 made by UDI Group Ltd — is presently undergoing Swedish evaluation trials. This sonar can detect underwater swimmers out to 500 meters and small submersibles to a range of 1000 meters. Multiple underwater sensors can form a complete intruder protection system.
- Janes’s Defense Weekly of 24 October 1987 tells of the Polish Navy replacing their old WHISKEY boats with the new Soviet KILO class diesel-electric submarines — for use in the Baltic.The KILOs displace 3,200 tons, have a teardrop shaped hull and make about 25 knots submerged. Their increased maneuverability makes them more effective Cor shallow water operations. The appearance of these KILOs in the Polish Navy indicates “that the Soviets wish to encourage the Poles to bear more or the naval burden in the Baltic.
- An article in Nayy News & Undersea Technology of 9 October relates that “Despite overwhelming test success, Navy Secretary James Webb has killed the low-cost (about $200,000) antiship torpedo and will not submit a congressionally ordered report on the test results.” However, ‘torpedo enthusiasts hope that political factors beyond the Navy’s purview may yet save the Italian-made (WHITEHEAD) weapon that passed sea trials with flying colors.” Webb’s decision, it was reported, was based on the low priority of the operational requirement Cor a submarine anti-surface ship torpedo, plus a belief that “there are significant unknowns in interfacing this foreign-made torpedo with existing submarine systems.” However, in later action by the House Appropriations Committee, Secretary Webb’s order to kill the anti-ship torpedo was contradicted and the Navy told to continue the testing of the WHITEHEAD A 184 electric torpedo, while ordering the Navy to spend up to $10 million to procure 27 such torpedoes for follow-on test and evaluation.The tests will show the compatibility of the A 184 with u.s. submarine fire control systems and how well the warhead works. In addition, the committee noted that the Navy bad not submitted the report on the torpedo which was due in May. And therefore, the Committee forbids obligation of any of the recom-mended amount for submarine tactical warfare systems ($35 million) until 30 days after submission of the report, including in-water test results.”
- The same House Appropriations Committee report or 28 October recommended “$112,899,000 for Attack Submarine Development,” an addition or $100 million to the budget request authorized by the House. Based upon the threat, the Committee believes that work in a number of areas should be significantly accelerated: in advanced submarine bull, mechanical and electrical (H H & E) techno-logies such as boundary layer control, compliant coatings, advanced materials, automated control systems and structures, and advanced propulsion systems — but not for sensors or weapons development.Funding or at least $100 million in FY ’89 “to continue this effort” is called for.And, “the Navy is directed to apply $11 million to continue its investigation of new battery technology.”TheCommittee “also recommends$15 million, not included in the budget, but authorized by the House, be· spent for shipbuilder and Navy concept studies for improving the SSN-688 class.
- NAVY NEWS & Underseas Technology of 6 November notes that Navy Secretary Webb has approved production of 150 HK 48 ADCAP torpedoes. The ADCAP was scheduled to enter the fleet inventory in 1983/84, but delays pushed this back to the late 1980s. Operational testing of ADCAPs at sea will begin in December with a batch delivered by Hughes during pilot production (·or 100 torpedoes).
- In the same issue of Navy News, an article bylined by Elli Bessner tells of a ride in October by Canadian officials on a TRAFALGAR- class nuclear submarine — the TORBAY. The officials thought that the British SSN TORBAY “was a tremendous piece of technology, and so impressive that it is going to be a tough act for the French to follow.” A choice is to be made by Canada between the British TRAFALGAR type and the French RUBIS for a planned 10-12 Canadian nuclear attack submarine program. Canada anticipates that the Americans will agree to release the technology for the British nuclears. The French RUBIS submarine is priced at approximately $350 million and the TRAFALGARs are about $500 million per submarine.
- Defense Week of 13 October reports that a British-designed and built by the British nuclear reactor — is running at full power and was completed a few days ahead of its 5-year schedule and within its $500 million budget. This Rolls Royce and Associates-built PWR2 reactor is twice as powerful as any reactor previously built by the British. It will be used in Britain’s four TRIDENT-type SSBNs. It has, according to its designers, “new safety features in its forged pressure vessel, reduced noise from cooling pumps, gr·eater shock resistance under attack and less maintenance.”
- Defense Week of November notes that a submarine-launched TOMAHAWK cruise missile “suc-cessfully demonstrated a conventional submunitions land attack capability — using a live warhead in a test conducted on San Clemente Island.” The missile flew about 500 miles, and along the way hit several targets on the island with live combined-effects bomblets, before diving into a simulated target on the island.”
- INSIGHT/November 9, 1987 reports that Swedish ASW forces are hoping the s. will develop antisubmarine torpedoes which ‘are suitable for use in relatively shallow waters — and which could aid the Swedes in defending their coastal areas against penetration by Soviet submarines.” It is noted that the penetrations appear to be made by smaller Soviet submarines and that “most existing ASW weapons are intended for use in the open ocean with its greater depths.”
- The House Appropriations Committee calls for expenditure by the Navy or the $39 million appropriated for a satellite-to-submarine laser communications capability. Although the Navy plans to test, in 1988, blue laser communication to submerged submarines, the Committee appears “skeptical about the Navy’s commitment to laser communications” — having spent only $11 million of the $20 million appropriated last year. According to Representative Young (R-Fla.), “I get the reeling that you (the Navy} are not putting the emphasis on the program that my colleagu’es and I hoped you would.” A Navy plan for the development and deployment of a laser communications system (to ballistic missile submarines) is called for.
- In a recent talk to NSIA1 s ASW Committee, Admiral Carl Trost. the Chief of Naval Operations, delivered these remarks — amongst others — about the Navy’s use of space:
“At a time when space technology is almost begging us to use it, we are still wrapped in our earth-bound security blanket. We are thinking in terms of the millions of square miles or opaque ocean when we should be thinking in terms of a planet seen as the size of a basketball.
“We are falling farther behind in a space race that affects not only ASW and naval warfare but our very national security. Today we know that in wartime, even in a conventional war or limited duration, the two superpowers would fight a battle of attrition in space until one side or other had wrested control. The winner would then use the surviving space systems to decide the contests on land and sea. Today, that superpower would probably not be the United States. Despite our successes in the past, despite our superior technological base, we are today farther behind the Soviet Union in the military application of space technology than we were when SPUTNIK first went up.
“In short, the Soviets are prepared to go to war in space, and we are not. They’ve thought about it; they’ve developed a competitive strategy that exploits their advantages; they’ve procured the hardware to execute that strategy; they’re organized; and they’re getting better. In 1986, they spent 30 billion dollars on space to our 18 billion. They conducted 91 launches to our 9. More than 90 percent of their missions, manned and unmanned, have supported military operations.For our part, whether our space station is even to have a military mission has become an international cause celebre. In numbers, flexibility, and redundancy of satellites; in survivability and reconstitu-tion of space systems; and turning the coin over, in anti-satellite weapons, the Soviet Union has deployed what we are still discussing.
“I submit to you that notwithstanding all our other efforts, gaatering space is the key element in preserving our lead in ASW — and ultimately our ability to defend the sea lanes and project power where and when required. We have got to do a better job.
“Given our current and projected funding levels, that’s a tough proposition. I am sure you get as tired as I do or being enjoined to “Do more with less.” There are, however, certain things we can do right now to improve our performance, both in space and in the other areas of ASW that make such a difference to our capability.
“In closing, with regard to space, we’ve got to stop being squeamish, and we’ve got to start thinking ambitiously and innovatively. The Soviet Union, whose international objectives are by no means as high-minded as ours, has no scruples about putting weapons in space. We need to reorient our thinking. It only makes sense to build all our systems and particularly our ASW systems — imper-vious to jamming, interference, interception and to any other countermeasures that might be used against them. This means hardened systems, achieved by heavy lift. It means deploying them far enough into space that an adversary would find it unrealistic to try to intercept or interfere with them. And it means deploying enough satellites to be sure that no matter what countermeasures were used, some would survive to remain dedicated to protracted naval warfare. Or perhaps it means accelerating the efforts to develop simpler, lower-cost systems in greater num-bers that could be reconstituted in times of crisis to ensure continuing capability.”
- Navy News & Undersea Technology of 20 November, reports that a panel of the House Armed Services Committee staffers “will investigate how good Soviet submarines are compared to U.S. submarines.” The panel hopes to reach its conclusions before Congress acts on the FY 189 defense budget. Anthony Batista, the staff direc-tor of the House Armed Services R&D subcommittee, and who led the push for this submarine panel, said about the submarine balance, “I’m scared to death.I think the SSN-21 is not good enough, in relation to the next generation Soviet submarines.” Earlier, the Navy had said that “the SSN-21 will restore U.S. submarine superiority to the wide margin enjoyed in the early 1970s.” But the R&D subcommittee is worried that more advanced technologies than those in the SEAWOLF may be required. “The seapower subcommittee, however, has felt that the SSN-21 can overcome the threat posed by the new Soviet AKULA-class submarines.”
- An article in the Washington Post of 3 December by Brent Scowcroft, John Deutoh and R. James Woolsey, discussed “the survivability prob-lem” for our strategic nuclear defense forces. It is noted the “Eight or so submarines (SSBNs) are very few baskets in which to put the nation’s entire survivable nuclear deterrent.” This is based on the assumption that a 50S agreed upon cut in strategic warheads would then limit the U.S. to 12 SSBNs with about 8 on patrol at any one time — because the Navy’s testing of a 12-warhead TRIDENT II would cause each SSBN to be credited with carrying 288 warheads and 12 TRIDENTs would involve almost all of the 3600 warheads that would be allocated to this part of the Triad of strategic defense systems.But, “this is especially alarming when one looks at a Soviet force of well over 100 nuclear attack submarines that could threaten this handful of TRIDENTs.” And “given the march of technology, the 1990s will bring serious vulnerabilities for the bombers on their bases and for nonmobile ICBMs’ (since the Admini-stration is not pushing for the mobile ICBM). Thus, as a result, “in the relatively near future, there will be vulnerable landbased ICBM and bomber forces and only a few submarines to carry our whole strategic deterrent.” And that rather than a 50S reduction in strategic nuclear warheads producing a more stable form of deterrence, the opposite is more likely to be true.
- A commentary in SIGNAL, November 1987 by Admiral Jon Boyes says: “More command, control and communications capabilities were added to Soviet strategic and attack submarine forces with the activation of three extremely low frequency (ELF) (40 to 80 hertz range) radio stations in the Soviet Union. These stations outpower and reliably outdistance the sole, small u.s. ELF station, (used to transmit messages to distant submarines at great depths). ELF gives the military and political leadership a better degree of control.”
- The oldest (29 years old) nuclear subma-rine in commission, the USS SWORDFISH (SSN 579) was finally deactivated on 19 November at the Naval Submarine Base, Pearl Harbor. The President of the Naval Submarine League, Vice Admiral Shannon D. Cramer Jr., USN(Ret.), the original Commanding Officer or SWORDFISH, was the keynote speaker at the deactivation ceremony. The present CNO, Admiral Carlisle A. H. Trost, was a member or the original SWORDFISH complement and qualified in submarines while on board. Last of the SKATE class to be deactivated, SWORDFISH logged more than 500,000 miles.