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- The Washington Post of 3 April notes that the START negotiations are expected to be completed this year and that the agreed Treaty will not block much of the remarkable Soviet strategic modernization of their weapons. START will constrain the number of nuclear warheads on each side. The START accord “win count two submarine-launched ballistic missiles — the Soviet SS-N-23 and the U.S. D-5 — as carrying fewer than the maximum number of warheads which have been tested”. Peacetime inspections will be allowed to verify the number of warheads installed on these missiles.
- In a speech by Admiral C. A H. Trost, the Chief of Naval Operations, on 2 March 1990, he says that: “The global situation is clearly aggravated by the proliferation of first world weapons among any number of nations that can afford to buy them, or have the technical capability to build their own. Figures, such as 100 countries with cruise missiles, 15 with ba//istic missiles, over 40 with attack submarines, and 25 either with or developing chemical weapons, are alarming and have serious global implications. Economic and political competition among states can escalate quickly when it turns to military competition backed by arsenals of high technology weaponry. In short, while the security environment of the nineties may be characterized by a headline that reads ‘Peace is breaking out’, the text tells a more sobering story — one of hope, but punctuated with a need for ‘eyes wide open’ pragmatism.”
- The Washington Post of 24 April digests a speech by Senator Sam Nunn to the Senate on April 19. In it he notes that with the “scaling back of the Soviet Navy, out-of-area operations and other changes in the threat (the threat of a largescale Warsaw Pact attack against Western Europe virtually being eliminated) the U.S. Navy policy that virtually all deployable Navy ships have to be at sea or be able to get underway within days becomes increasingly unnecessary and unaffordable. The Navy must get more serious about the use of reserves to handle a portion of the Navy’s fleet … the word ‘reserve’ must not be synonymous with the word ‘mothball’! Nunn doesn’t see submarines as suitable for reseiVe operations. But he asks the question, “Does the Navy want to shrink by substantially more, with all ships at high readiness levels, or would it rather maintain a somewhat larger Navy with major elements at high readiness and others at adjusted readiness?”‘
- NAVY NEWS & Undersea Technolo~ of March 12 reports that the Soviet and Indian navies are mounting surfaceto-air missiles on selected classes of their submarines. The Soviefs TYPHOON and the diesel-powered KILO-class sold to the Indian navy, all carry these kinds of missiles. The missile system is housed in a circular pressure-tight compartment about four feet in diameter and sits atop a periscope-like extension when deployed. The system contains at least 12 and perhaps as many as 18 missiles. The missile used in the TYPHOON is thought to be the Gremlin of 3.2 nautical-mile range and up to 18,000 feet altitude. It is a heat seeker, like Stinger. The KILOs use a Grail missile like the U.S. Redeye, of 2.5 mile range and 16,000-foot altitude. Hinged blast deflectors on the top of the sail of both the TYPHOON and the KILO are evident.
- Vickers Shipbuilding of Britain, according to a NAVY NEWS & Underseas Technolo~ report, April2, is assembling a solid-polymer fuel cell module to begin evaluation of this concept for an air-independent propulsion system for submarines. The fuel cells used in such a power system would operate at room temperature and convert hydrogen and oxygen into electricity and water. A plastic membrane, similar in appearance to Saran Wrap, holds a catalyst which produces the reaction. The liquid fuel is probably methanol, which must be passed through a device called a reformer to produce the hydrogen gas neceSsary for fuel cell operation.
- In the same issue of NAVY TIMES & Undersea Technolo~ it is suggested that some of the D-5 missiles put into use will be armed with recycled TRIDENT I nuclear warheads (for C-4s) because the Department of Energy is unable to produce more D-5 warheads. “The C-4 SLBM normally carries eight W-76 thermonuclear warheads each with an explosive power of 90-100 kilotons of TNT and a 500-yard CEP. By contrast, the W -88 warhead for the D-5 has a CEP of 100-130 yards and an explosive power of 475 kilotons. Without the W-88 the D-5 will not be able to achieve its hard target capability.” Last week the TENNESSEE began its initial patrol carrying D-5s armed with W-88 warheads.
Also, the planned retirement of the QUEENFISH (SSN 651) and the SEA DEVIL (SSN 664), years ahead of schedule — to avoid costly overhauls — “will serve as the Navy’s model for future, force draw-downs. The limiting factor in such deactivations will be the disposal of radioactive cores, rather than the availability of dry dock space.”
- Vice Admiral Roger Bacon, Commander Submarine Force, Atlantic Fleet, in an address at the Change of Command aboard the USS EMORY LAND, on 24 March, said: “The command of a submarine tender is an awesome responsibility and requires the best leadership the Navy has to offer. While the submarine tender might not seem as glamorous to some of you as a submarine, let me assure you, the submarine tender is just as critical to the success of our national security strategy. Our submarines depend on the tender to help them get ready and stay ready for sea. In a very real way, the submarine tender is a linch-pin of our force. It is an understatement to say that the ship and submarine upkeep and repair business is virtually non-stop. From motor rewinds and valve overhauls to equipment calibration, lagging repair and resupply of tended units, this submarine tender -· whether inport or underway — has been working to keep not only the submarine force but also units of the surface force ready for sea. While many perceive the threat from the Soviet Union as receding and that this is a time for peaceful change, it is a simple fact today that the Soviet military capability is no less than when Mr. Gorbachev took the reins. Moscow’s talk of reducing the Soviet armed forces, the world’s largest, and adopting a defensive military doctrine, has not yet been fully implemented. In fact, the United States faces a more formidable Soviet offensive strategic arsenal today than we did when Mr. Gorbachev came to power. I believe the Soviet desires to help reduce world tensions are well intended and I hope they will continue. But history tells us to remain mindful that the best laid political intentions can change very quickly, while world geography can not.”‘
- The Observer of the Naval Sea Systems Command notes that Rear Admiral Walter Cantrell will relieve Rear Admiral Mal MacKinnon as Vice Commander of the Naval Sea Systems Command on his retiremenL Admiral Cantrell, the Deputy Commander for Submarines since August 1984 will be succeeded by Rear Admiral Tom Evans, the present director of the Advanced Research and Development Division of NavSea.
- Armed Forces JOURNAL IntemationaVApril1990 tells of a videotape released by the Soviets in Canada which shows details of the sunken MIKE submarine. Reportedly, the tape showed titanium slabs on the MIKE’s hull of about an inch of thickness. The distance between outer and inner hulls was between four and six feeL The submarine’s main periscope was equipped with a radar-warning receiver. The tape also showed a hydraulic system for pushing the torpedo doors outward before firing – a seemingly inefficient method for use of torpedo tubes. The tape also showed what appeared to be composite bulkheads in the submarine, and there were evidently sonar windows on the sail.
- Norman Polmar, writing in the PROCEEDINGS/April 1990, says that “the SEA WOLF unit cost is supposed to decline to about $1.2 billion per submarine– a 40% reduction from the Navy’s stated costs for the lead submarine: this compares to the previous LOS ANGELES class, in which the unit cost dropped 19% for the second year’s buy, but then averaged out at a production-run reduction of about 12% from the lead ship … The SSN force strength is declining precipitously. The current force of 95 nuclear attack submarines will drop to 86 by the end of fiscal year 1992. Accelerated retirements of the older units in lieu of refueling will speed up the SSN retirements until the year 2000, when the attack submarine force could consist of the 62 LOS ANGELES-class boats plus a maximum of 12 SEA WOLF submarines if the planned construction of six submarines every second year is funded.”
- Aviation Week & Space Technolo&YfMarch 12, 1990 has an article written by Admiral Thomas H. Moorer, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in which he recommends the basing of MX missiles at sea. “/disagree with those who oppose deployment of a modernized ICBM force. The problem is not with the missile, but with its deployment … From a strategic standpoint there are three good reasons for taking the MX to sea — geographic, geometric and economic … There is no technical reason to preclude water launch of the MX by Air Force missile crews on board Navy ships.” •
- NAVY NEWS & Undersea Technoloey of February 19 tells of a new torpedo propulsion system in development by an English Company. “Using a closed.cycle Rankine technology, the fuel systems division of Dowty’s Defense and Air Systems Group has developed a safe solution to the requirements for future torpedoes to have high speed, good endurance, high electrical power generation, quietness and insensitivity to operating depth. The system relies on lithium and sulfur hexafluoride as a power source, creating steam in a boiler to spin a turbine.”
- In the March S issue of NAVY NEWS & Undersea Technoloey the Soviet anechoic tile is described. “The tiles on the SIERRA and AKULA-class Soviet attack submarines use a new technique to both dampen self-noise and reduce sonar reflections. The configuration consists of a two-layer tile system. The inner layer consists of tiles with many small holes of various diameters. The outer layer is solid. Both layers are made of a rubber compound. The outer layer is designed to absorb active sonar signals. The inner tile dampens radiated sounds at specific frequencies. The tiles are approximately 2.8 by 3.0 feet and four inches thick. Sources say the latest anechoic tiles reduce the acoustic signature of the AKULA between 10-20 dB- causing a reduction in detection range of between 25% and SO% compared to a submarine without the new tiles. Part of the reduction in radiated noise from Soviet submarines comes from the use of skewed propellers — which were first sighted on the VICTOR Ills two years before the Toshiba sale of methods to quiet Soviet propellers. Prior to the VICTOR III class, Soviet quieting technology was considered 20 years behind the U.S. With the introduction of the VICTOR III, the gap closed to about five years. Now the new AKULA is only slightly noisier than the most recent American submarines.”
- DEFENSE WEEK of 12 March, in commenting on “The Hunt for Red October” says that when a Navy official was asked if the movie would be a great recruiting bonanza, he laughed and said, “There’s no Kelly McGillis. What kind of message does that send to the potential recruit? Do you want to be stuck under the water for months at a time with just a bunch of guys?” What part of the service did the official hail from? “No surprise, he’s a fighter jock.”
- DEFENSE WEEK of April 9 reports the possibility of the first eight SSN-21s being constructed of HY-100 steel, rather than shifting to HY-130 after the first 3 SEA WOLFs. The article says the two shipyards building SEA WOLFs are having difficultly using the stronger HY -130 steel. However, as part of the HY-130 certification program, both shipbuilders demonstrated their capability to fabricate HY-130 weldments. But welds on the stronger steel have a tendency to become brittle and break. A report of the GAO said that the service is anticipating some trouble in finding HY-130 supporters. (The AKULA class submarines are constructed out of titanium, sources say). Six TYPHOONs use HY-130. This steel is able to withstand 130,000 pounds of pressure per square inch. Subs constructed of HY -80 steel have a diving depth of about 1500 feet, but the TYPHOON should go to 2,000 feet. The only other country presently using HY-130 steel in attack submarine construction is Japan.
- SEA TECHNOLOGY February 1990 tells of the Soviet construction of two 4,000-meter submersibles of the RIFTclass. Made of titanium, they are being built at a Soviet port on the Black Sea. In the spirit of glasnost, attendees at an International Conference on Underwater Vehicles held at Suzdal, near Moscow, were shown progress pictures of the two submarines under construction.
- Perry Technologies, the major U.S. builder of small submarines, according to Armada Maiazine, is building a remotely operated submarine vehicle somewhat smaller than its pioneering TRITON. The new vehicle, the TRIUMPH, includes video grapl .ics capability, a micro-processor-based control system and retains the 25 hp hydraulic unit of the TRITON. It has three horizontal thrusters providing six degrees of motion, and it has a 2,000 kg lift capability.
- The Wall Street Journal of April 19, says that Japanese shipbuilders are nearing the launch of “the world’s first vessel powered by super-conducting magnets.” The YAMATO I, a 100-foot long hull will serve as test ship. The magnetic propulsion ship will be tested at sea next year. Potential advantages of such a power system are lower noise and higher speed.
- The NAVY TIMES of 26 March reports that “A sure bet to succeed (the submariner) Vice Admiral J. D. Williams as commander of the 6th F1eet is Rear Admiral William A Owens, a submariner.” Owens is a 1962 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and commanded the attack submarine CITY OF CORPUS CHRISTIE and strategic missile submarine, SAM HOUSTON.
- The Washington Post of 12 May tells of Admiral C. A H. Trosfs testimony before a Senate Armed Services subcommittee. Trost said he would support negotiations with the Soviet Union “to eliminate tactical nuclear weapons at sea” providing the Soviet leadership agrees to negotiate away all nuclear weapons that threaten in wartime the survivability of American carrier battle groups. Trost also pointed out that the Soviets have refused to discuss their short-range nuclear antiship missiles “dedicated to attacking U.S. carrier groups,” and that Soviet negotiating overtures were directed towards winning limits on the U.S. long-range Tomahawks, “while excluding the shorl-range nuclear missiles predominant in the Soviet FleeL”
- The NAVY TIMES of 7 May notes that “the Navy is retaining significantly more submarine officers, though longterm shortfalls still exist.” The retention rate of junior officers rose dramatically in 1989 to 54% from the 39% in 1987 and 1988. The 54% is “for officers between their 4th and 7th year of service.” Retention for 1990 is expected to remain above the 50% needed to meet requirements. The Navy, it is claimed, “is cautiously optimistic about maintaining the current high level of retention among junior submarine officers.”
- The NAVY TIMES of 14 May says that LOS ANGELES class submarines are receiving a major upgrade to their sonar systems — improving detection, classification and tracking of other submarines. The BQQ-5D “will include a thin-line array, about half as wide as previous submarine towed arrays. Both the towed hydrophone array and its towing cable will be thinner – allowing a far longer array, towed at a greater distance from a submarine.”
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