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  • The Navy Times of 9 May, 1988, reports on the battery explosion sustained by the BONEFISH on 2~ April, 160 miles off Cape Canaveral. Three of the crew died as fire raged in the battery compartment and smoke filled the 29-year-old diesel submarine. BONEFISH, like the ALBACORE, is one of the four remaining conventional submarines in the Submarine Force. The stricken sub was towed back to her home port of Charleston, S.C . “Sailors from the BONEFISH”, according to the Charleston News Courier, “attributed the explosion and fire to a leaky valve that let sea water run into the submarine and seep into the battery compartment.” The survivors were transferred from the main deck of the BONEFISH to the aircraft carrier KENNEDY by helo, and to the frigate CARR by motor whaleboat.
  • VADM Lawson (Red) Ramage, as the oldest qualified submariner, cut the birthday cake at Washington’s Submarine Birthday Ball on April 12th. He was then specially honored by VADM Bruce DeMars for his exploits leading to his award of the Congressional Medal of Honor. His citation noted that as CO of PARCHE in an attack on a Japanese convoy July 31, 1944, “he penetrated the screen of a heavily escorted convoy — delivered a crippling stern shot into a freighter — then with bow and stern torpedoes he sank the leading tanker and damaged the second one.With shellfire passing overhead, he struck again, sinking a transport. He then calmly ordered his men below. Avoiding a ram by a fast transport, he launched three torpedoes in down-the-throat shots at a transport dead ahead, scoring a killing hit as a climax to 46 minutes of violent action with the PARCHE.”
  • In the PRQCEEDINGS/Nayal Review 19Q8, Norman Friedman discussed three new small subma-rine propulsion systems — fuel cells, closed cycle engines and a small nuclear-reactor SSn to relieve “the loitering load on the battery.” Friedman says of the latter, “Canada might find the SSn attractive because a submarine so equipped could cruise (albeit at very low speed) under tbe ice for a protracted period.” For the second alternative, relative to the Stirling engine being pushed by Kockums of Sweden, he says, “Earlier closed cycle engines were intended to provide dash power, so they were relatively large and used large volumes of fuel and oxidant. Kockum’s sys-tem is the opposite — a small engine allows the submarine to loiter without exhausting its battery or giving away its position by snorkeling.”
  • Relative to the first alternative listed above, SUBNOTES, April 1986 says that a West German test submarine, the U-1 of 450 tons has been “converted to accommodate a fuel cell power system.” Sea trials on this submarine propulsion system will commence soon. “With the fuel cell providing direct current from the oxygen-hydrogen chemical reactor, submarines will be able to approach the endurance of nuclear submarines but at a much reduced cost when the concept is fully developed.”
  • SUBNOTES, April 1986 also notes that the Soviet CHARLIE-class missile-carrying SSN leased to India, will be for training only. This is evidently in preparation for the sale of four SIERRA-class submarines to India, starting in 1991 . An update in SQBNOTES of U.S. Submarine Force “items” lists: “Today’s U.S. Navy submarine forces account for 38J of the Navy’s combatant ships, 20l of the budget and 10l of its personnel. There   are   96   SSNs  in service.About   75l   are highly quiet 688 and 637 submarines. Twenty-one submarines are currently equipped with TOMAHAWKS. About 75l will be certified for this weapon system by 1991.The SEA LANCE ASW standoff Hk 50 torpedo, missile-carried weapon is scheduled for first test flight in July 1989.”
  • Jane’s Defense WeeklY of 22 January, shows a photograph of the anechoic tiles attached to the hulls of British SWIFTSURE-class SSNs. “The SWIFTSURE class are already noted as being among the quietest SSNs in the world and therefore the newly fitted tiles can only enhance their effectiveness. “Sources” indicate that HMS SUPERB “was pitted against two U.S. Navy STURGEON-class SSNs in what is described as a simulated attack under the polar seas. According to the sources, SUPERB was not detected once throughout the exercise, even when the Americans went on active sonar.” In the same edition of Jaoe’s Defense Weekly, Admiral of the Fleet, N. I. Smirnov, it is noted, says that “although 375,000 (3-year) conscripts in the Soviet Navy should have mastered Russian by the time they leave school, this is not so in practice.”
  • Jane’s Defense WeeklY of 13 February notes that Taiwan commissioned the SEA DRAGON — its first submarine in 15 years.And that a second, the SEA TIGER will commission later this year. These submarines are based on the Royal Netherlands Navy’s SWARDVI5-class, “but Taiwanese boats have four high frequency sonar-intercept arrays mounted on the bow-casing as the prominent distinguishing feature.”
  • NAVY-NEWS & Un4ersea Technology of 28 March says that the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) “will receive $114 million in FY 1989 to continue the advanced research program established by Congress last year.” The language in the defense authorization bill “stipulated that the $114 million can be used only for basicresearch.exploratory   developmentand advanced technology development of hull, mechanical and electrical systems for submarines.
  • NAVY NEWS & Undersea Technology of 28 March, reports that the House Armed Services r esearch and development subcommittee. believing that the small Hk50 torpedo “does not pack enough punch to sink Soviet submarines”, is directing DARPA to spend $10 million in FY 1 89 “for a program to develop an advanced lightweight torpedo.” The new torpedo should: “use the latest technology in high-speed, high-density integrated circuits; be able to penetrate and deliver worthwhile impact payload; be silent enough to not give away the ship or aircraft that launched it; use innovative guidance, power and control technologies which will result in a large payload-to-weight ratio; incorporate revolutionary technologies; and be capable of integration with existing programs, looking at advanced warhead concepts and new homing techniques.”
  • In the April 11 issue of NAYY NEHS & Undersea Technology, RADM Richard Macke, Commander of the Naval Space Command, said that using state-of-the-art technology, submarines could launch anti-satellite weapons as large as TOMAHAWK from their vertical launch tubes — and “take out enemy ocean surveillance satellites that can target s. Navy ships at sea.” Macke sees Navy sea-based anti-satellite weapons as usable from three-fifths of  the  Earth’s  surface the  oceans of  the   world and a good “adjunct to a national ASAT capability.”
  • An article by  Senator Dan Quayle  in the Journal of Defense & Diplomacy,discusses, in part, the role of submarines using conventional land-attack cruise missiles — SLCMs. Using these missiles: “Some land attack missions, in fact, may not absolutely require a carrier. In the case of Libya, if we had had enough conventionally-armed land-attack cruise missiles of the right range, with the right targeting information, we might not have needed as many manned aircraft — and conceivably none at all. Submarines will be critical to enable us to get safely within range of targets such as Backfire bomber bases and key air defense complexes.” The latter thought, Senator Quayle feels, is because “it may be necessary for the Navy to consider attacking Soviet naval bases, simply to maintain an adequate level of air defense for our fleet.”
  • The Washington Post of 3 March had an article by George Wilson telling of the Navy’s SEAL force having 15 mini-submarines “for sneaking in and out of unfriendly places.” There are two-and six-man versions of the minisub — with speeds up  to  6 knots.The  two-man  sub  is  a  wet   version with its crew wearing scuba gear.The six-man sub is dry inside. These minisubs “are carried in compartments atop large nuclear-powered subma-rines,” like the converted SSBN, JOHN MARSHALL. General James J. Lindsay, commander of the u.s. Special Operations Command says these minisubs “can plant a magnetic bomb on the bottom of an unsuspecting ship in a harbor and sneak SEALS, or other commandos, onto hostile beaches for counter terrorist missions.”
  • NAVY-NEWS & Undersea Technology of 2 May, describes the amendment to the FY ’89 defense authorization bill, introduced by Representative Robert Torricelli, which would initiate a program “to encourage s. shipyards to construct combatant vessels including diesel submarinesfor nations allied to, or friendly with, the United States.” Torricelli notes that his amendment is “Specifically aimed at promoting diesel submarine construction because the Navy has intimidated V.S. shipyards into not building these ships.” (Israel and Egypt have been forced to use V.S. military assistance funds to build subs in Holland and Germany).Torricelli notes that although his district has no shipyards, as a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee he is “troubled by our votingmilitary assistance funds to other countries” (which could be spent in the United States).Torricelli adds, “No one is going to propose that we go back to building diesel submarines   for  the  United  States  Navy.That   debate was settled years ago. That is a senseless concern on the part of the Navy.” But that, “the Navy is exhibiting its past paranoia and is fighting the amendment. The Navy should share our concern that we have been reduced to two shipyards that can construct submarines. I see this as a way to create a mobilization capability for a national emergency.” Although the shipbuilding industry is aware of Torricelli’s amendment, he notes that “Private companies do not want to express an interest in this for fear of retribution from the Navy.”
  • Admiral Carl Trost, the Chief of Naval Operations, in an article in the Wall Street Journal of 7 March, tells of Soviet leader Gorbachev’s initiative to create northern “zones of peace” as part of “a peace offensive.” Admiral Trost sees this proposal as a means to possibly undermine NATO’s successful deterrent strategy for Northern  Europe.He  feels  that  the  curtailing  of militaryactivity (eliminating naval and air presence) in the Baltic, North, Norwegian and Greenland Seas has widespread appeal in Western Europe. But European leaders have expressed concern that any such maritime accord would work to the advantage of the Soviets. “Acquiescence to the Soviet proposal,” Admiral Trost notes, “would sacrifice one of the West’s greatest competitive strengths. NATO absolutely requires use of the high seas and international air space for reinforcement and sustainment. The Soviets, deeply concerned about our effective forward strategy, seek to obviate it through negotiations.” If Gorbachev’s “zones of peace” initiative succeeds, “stability will be reduced and our ability to deterSoviet aggression in Europe will be degraded.”
  • The Naval War College  Reyiew,Spring 1988, describes the Soviet’s Naval Spetsnaz forces. “Each of the four naval Spetsnaz brigades would field approximately 100 small, five to twelve-man teams in wartime. They most likely would be infiltrated to their target locations prior to the initiation of hostilities. Mini-submarines (manned by Spetsnaz members) would be transported to their target area on conventional submarines or surface vessels. The priority naval Spetsnaz wartime mission is the destruction or neutralization of enemy seaborne nuclear delivery capabilities and support facilities. Their targets would be u.s., French and British SSBNs, sea-launched cruise missile platforms, our subma-rine bases, nuclear weapons storage facilities and associated command and control nodes. The person-nel manning the Spetsnaz brigades are extremely reliable, well trained and highly motivated. They are divided into teams of assassins, combat swim-mers, paratroops and mini submarine crews for operational employment. As the Soviet Navy continues to grow into a blue-ocean power, the potential military leverage provided by its naval special operations forces may substantially increase.”
  • National Defense, April 1988, notes that “Brazil has confirmed its plan to develop a nuclear submarine of indigenous design. The estimated price tag for development and construction of the lead vessel would be around ten times the funding spent so far on the program. South Africa has also begun to develop submarines of indigenous design — but of the diesel-electric type.”
  • The Daily Press, 13 March, reports that according to RADM William Studeman, testifying before the House Armed Services seapower subcommittee, the Soviets have stopped sending YANKEE SSBNs to patrol off the Atlantic coast of the u.s. and    are diverting  them  to  European waters  instead to compensate  for  the  loss of land-based   ss-20 nuclear, intermediate-range missiles targeted against Europe which will be eliminated under terms of the new arms control agreement between the U.S. and the Soviet Union.
  • NAVY NEWS & Undersea Technology of 21 March, in an article by Frank Elliott, discusses the speed of the Soviet’s new AKULA-class submarine. The AKULA appears to be a scaled-up ALFA which makes at least 42 knots, some analysts believe.They feel that “given the same technology that the ALFA demonstrated 20 years ago, it (the AKULA) is definitely a 40-knot submarine.”
  • Aviation Week & Space Technology/March 21, 1988, notes that the Soviets renewed their claim “last week” that they have a means to detect and will verify deployed nuclear-armed sea-launched cruise missiles on submarines and would demonstrate this capability to the u.s. — without an   on-vessel  inspection.Secretary   of   Defense Frank Carlucci agreed to examine any Soviet verification proposals, “but voiced doubt that a one-time experiment could demonstrate foolproof reliability.”
  • Navy Times of 4 April reports that the House Armed Services Committee liked what they’ve seen about the THIDENT II ballistic missile.”Of all the strategic weapons programs we have looked at,” Representative Lee Aspin said, “I would give this one the highest marks.” Aspin noted that “it is important to highlight weapon system success stories because the failures are so well publicized. If you don’t report the successes, it gives the inaccurate impression that none of the stuff works.” The first THIDENT lis are scheduled to be sent to the fleet in December 1989.
  • Commander Joe McGrievy, USN(Ret.), past national president of the SubVets of World War II, reported on the ceremony rededicating a refur-bished Memorial to the submarines and submariners lost in WW II, at the Pearl Harbor Submarine Base. Joe, as one of a 3-man ad hoc committee, put the Memorial back into first class condition, and ensured that the names on the plaques were at least “99.9J” accurate. Over 300 attended the ceremony.
  • A news release from USP 1 88 announces that Captain Roger Venables, Royal Navy will be Keynote and Banquet Speaker at the Under Seas Defense 1 88 Exposition & Conference, to be held in San Diego 3-6 October 1988.CAPT Venables is presently Captain (S/M), First Submarine Squadron at HMS DOLPHIN, Gosport, UK. His command includes ten submarines and the Royal Navy Submarine School, which includes the “Perisher Course” for future submarine CO’s. He has served in submarines since 1956, has held two commands, including CO, HMS RESOLUTION (SSBN) . He also has been British Naval Attache in Bonn, West Germany. His keynote address will stress the importance of allied cooperation in meeting the ASW challenge.

This is the  second annual   Seas  Defense expo and conference. For exhibits and attendance information, please contact USD 1 88 at P.O. Box 368,  Spring  Valley,  CA  92077.  Tel:  (619)   465-2262 Tlx: 530111.

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