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Translated from the Russian Naval Journal ‘Morskoy Sbornik”. No. 6, 1996, pp. 64-67. Submitted by A.H. Skinner, Marblehead, MA.

If we don’t dig too far into history, when the.first sonarman, Leonardo da Vinci, put into the water the end of a tube, and placing the other end in his ear, .. heard the sound of far away ships moving”, we can consider that, with us, the beginning of systematic work on the quieting of ships was the decision of the Chief Military Council of the Navy dated 21 October 1940 entitled On the Quieting of Submarines. At that time, the Council, noting the unsatisfactory state of “matters concerning the listening to, and quieting of, submarines”, directed as follows:

“To the Chief of the Main Naval Staff:

1. Prepare and deliver to the Directorate of Shipbuilding by 15/11/1940 the operating tactical standards for the audibility of submarines.

2. Prepare and deliver to Naval Communications by 15/11/- 1940 an order for the equipment, for all fleets, to set up trials areas for listening to submarines and establishing their levels [pasportizatsiya]. To the Chief of Communications of the Navy: In accordance with data from the main Naval Staff, in 1941 equip trials areas in each fleet for listening to submarines and establishing their sound levels … ”

But the Great Fatherland War (WWII) somewhat delayed the carrying out of that order. Right after the end of the war, in the First Institute of the Navy, an Acoustic Department was formed in 1946. Here it is necessity to state that the research departments of the various industrial and defense-related institutes are the primary structural organizations specifically set up to solve complex scientific problems of vital importance. And under one of these departments, undoubtedly, came the panel Nondetectability and protection of warships with respect to their acoustic field created 50 years ago. Subsequently it took on other names, but essentially its function al ways correspondent to the title Department of .Acoustical Protection and Nondetectabillty (Otdel Akusticheskoy zashchiry i Skritnosti, OAZiS].

“People who have mastered the technology .. .solve everything.” In that old slogan there is a grain of truth, because well prepared specialists actually can solve a whole lot. Therefore the leadership of the department was always chosen with great care. The responsibility for beading up this department was vested in (sequentially): G.N. Bogdanov-Katkov, V.S. Dobrodsiky, Ye. Z. Grigoryev, V.A. Tkachenko, Ya. F. Sharov, V.D. Boyarskiy, A.V. Avrinskiy, V.N. Parkhomenlco, P.F. Tomchuk, and V.M. Seleznev. Also, the problem of finding highly qualified personnel was very difficult. This was because measures for ensuring nondetectability, or quietness covered many fields of technology, and the responsibility for carrying this out in the navy was lodged in several subsections, but the most competent scientific organ for this problem as a whole was, always, the Acoustics Department of the First Central Scientific Research Institute of the Ministry of Defense. Therefore, with its relatively small number of personnel, the department strove to find people who were specialists in hydroacoustics, ship structural mechanics and hydrodynamics, competent in modem physical-mathematical methods of research, having shipboard experience, an adequate knowledge of operational procedures, and familiarity with the actual capabilities of onboard equipment and naval weapons.

Another factor was that, until recently, there existed neither military nor civilian educational institutions having program or staff that could provide the training necessary for specialists in ship acoustics, the science of the quieting of ships. We began to solve this problem by creating, with the active help of our Institute, a faculty called Physical Fields of Ships at the Dzerzhinskiy and Lenin Naval Academies: a faculty Development and Operation of Systems for the Protection and Masking of the Physical Fields of Ships at the Naval War College; and a faculty Marine Acoustics and Hydrophysics at the St. Petersburg National Marine Technical College.

Experience with these faculties has shown that specializing in the education of young officers has been very worthwhile. In particular, we should introduce into the Dzerzhinskiy Academy’s existing Shipbuilding Faculty, a new one entitled Development and Operation of the Technical Means of Protecting Ships with Respect to Their Physical Fields. In making the application for that, which was prepared by personnel of our Institute for the Commander-in-Chief of the Navy, we have had the help of the leading scientific naval constructors and designers: I.D. Spassky, I.G. Zakhrov, D.M. Rostovtsev, V. Ye. Yuknin, and others. In this speciality it is proposed to train hydroacoustics officers for appointment to the following duties: Engineering personnel for naval ship repair yards, research and test ranges; vibration and noise laboratories; sections for overseeing the corresponding activities in submarine fleet staffs; naval shipyard inspectors; naval personnel at Central Design Bureaus; and finally, scientific personnel of the specialized departments and laboratories of the scientific organizations of the Navy.

It is probably not necessary to add that, for effective participation in quality control and overseeing the design, construction and acceptance of naval ships; for providing competent assistance in solving operational problems with new technology; and also for a deep understanding of scientific research work, personnel of high qualifications are required. And officers can become so, generally, at an age of around 45 or 50, which corresponds to the maximum age for remaining in the service. Not belaboring this thought further, we may note that, in our view, the retirement into the reserves, in a single year, of five PhDs of age 50 who had completed their service in our Institute was most regrettable. But the nuances of service politics must be laid aside in this paper.

Being the only large scientific unit in the navy of its kind, the OAZiS from the beginning supplied the solutions to fundamental problems in the area of the physical fields of ships, namely:

  • determination of their priority from the point of view of importance for the protection and nondetectability of ships by hostile systems for detection and destruction;
  • controlling the characteristic parameters of those fields both during the ship design process and during operational deployment;
  • measuring and maintaining certain standardized values for those fields.

Historically, noncontact systems for guiding naval weapons (mines and torpedoes), which react to the hydroacoustic field or other fields of a ship, were developed earlier than systems for detecting ships by their physical fields. Therefore, initially, in the wort on protection and nondetectability of ships, the hydroacoustic field was not emphasized. The direction of the work, which was determined in the first phase by members of OAZiS jointly with scientists of other institutes and industry specialists, in the main, coincided with studies that bad already been conducted aboard.

Without doubt, the basic scientific accomplishments and the orientation and direction of the work carried out by OAZiS in the field of the acoustical protection and nondetectability of ships is welt reflected in the dissertations presented by its members. Seventeen masters and five doctoral dissertations prepared by members constitute a weighty contribution to the development of ship acoustics. Research carried out for our audience by A.P. Golovnin, V.G. Savitskiy, N.V. Kaspustin, V.C. Boyarskiy, Ye. M. Mikheyev, A.I. Trilesnik, M. Ya. Pekel, A.K. Kvashenkin, V.N. Parkbomeoko, V.B. Mironova, and others from 1952 to 1978 was devoted to the investigation of the acoustical and vibrational characteristics of the basic noise sources that create the acoustical field of ships, and also to constructional methods of lowering its level. The incorporation of the results of those researches in the designs of submarines and surface ships is reflected by specific values in decibels.

And one must say that, having noted very evident acoustical defects in our ships that were built in the 1950s and ’60s, we took urgent measures to quickly and relatively inexpensively reduce their noise, even as they were being serially constructed. As the years progressed, however, further success in quieting them came at a higher and higher price. For example, the cost of noise reduction measures as a percent of the total cost of an SSN was approximately as follows: in the 1960s, five percent; 1970s, seven percent; 1980s, 10 percent; and in the 1990s, 20 percent. And present estimates are showing a very real growth in the cost of lowering the decibels [stolimost ‘umen ‘sheniya ‘detsibelov]. Additional evaluations made by our acoustics specialists at that time confirmed the impermissible excess of noisiness of Soviet SSBNs over’ the U.S. Navy’s SSBNs, when compared by year of construction. The solution of this problem, in the main, came to depend upon the introduction into the production process (principally in machinery building plants and the shipyards) of the most modem technology, which required a very large financial outlay.

Even though at that time enormous sums were being spent for defense, there was still not enough for the quieting of nuclear submarines. In this situation, the navy finally got its way, and the problem of the acoustic nondetectability of SSBNs was made a national objective [obshchegosudarstvennaya). Nevertheless, a sharp divergence arose between the fleet’s requirement for the elimination of the lag in noise levels with respect to the U.S. Navy’s nuclear submarines along with the achievement of levels corresponding to background levels in operating areas on the one hand, and the capabilities of our industry on the other. At this juncture, shipyard personnel made attempts to secure a review of those critical numbers, claiming that the navy’s requirements were without basis. But thanks to the persistence of the navy specialists, this only resulted in placing the wishes of the Navy on such a high level that in the 1980s, to talk about their unattainability became not only unthinkable but downright dangerous.

One positive result of this victory of the naval acousticians over their colleagues in industry was that now they were both directing their energies toward finding the means and methods for solving the superproblem facing them. As is well known, in our country we have the tradition of finding a way to employ secret reserves and obtaining optimum solutions when faced with the absolute necessity of achieving the impossible. As a result, the noise levels of our ships were reduced by 30 times (I) [emphasis in original), which was objectively proven by the results of full-scale trials. Moreover, the latest research showed, in the opinion of specialists, that it would be possible to increase that number, i.e., to reduce the noise of ships by 100 to 300 times.

Such very significant results were achieved at the initiative of the Navy. To solve the problem a search for nontraditional technical approaches was begun, with more and more active participation of the leading scientific research institutes of the country, including the academic. In 1981, a special seminar was held at the Institute of Machine Studies of the Academy of Sciences, under the leadership of the President of the Academy and the Commander-in-Chief of the Navy. Basic presentations by the Navy were made by Fleet Admiral S.G. Gorshkov, and the Director of the First Central Scientific Research Institute of the Ministry of Defense, Vice Admiral V.N. Burov. In the papers presented by officers from our Institute and the Navy’s Chief Directorate of Shipbuilding (V.M. Solovyev, D.A. Gidaspov, V.A. Dobrodeyev, O.N. Maslov, A.V. Avrinskiy, V.V. Sorokin, A.V. Romanenko, and others) the foundation was laid for a transition to the acoustical designing of submarines as a solution to the problem of making them undetectable.

In this kind of a design approach, it was proposed to use a type of systems design in which there is established a relationship between the desired values of the acoustical parameters of machines as complex noise-radiating systems, and the physical-technical characteristics of such systems. In practical terms, the solution to the problem of the optimization of the system sources of noise-means of acoustical detection-radiated acoustical field of the ship was investigated with respect to the criterion of maximum nondetectability. When considering the optimum combination of the tactical-technical characteristics of the ship, priority was given to noise.

But even after this seminar, there remained quite a few who were hostile to the acoustical designing of ships, including some of the leading specialists of the Navy. However, the basic features of this methodology, worked out in our Institute and in the Kyrlov Central Scientific Research Institute, were persuasive in demonstrating the necessity for Central Design Bureaus to adopt the recommendations for acoustical design procedures. In the development of the bases for the methodology and the recommendations for designers, the contributions of our associates: PhDs Ya. F. Sharov, A.V. Avrinskiy, V.N. Parkhomenko, V.I. Dorofeyev, V.N. Sbchegolikhin, and MSs A.A. Gorshkov, P.F. Tomchuk, Ye. A. Zavgorodnyy, Yu. I. Zakonov, V.V. Yemelyanov, and V.M. Seleznev played a le.ading role. V.P. Balashenko and V.M. Kriyltsov of the Navy’s Scientific-Technical Committee provided significant support in approving the concept.

This new approach to the design of nuclear submarines and its actual initiation signaled a departure from the mere repetition of western technology which had condemned us to the necessity of catching up, by repeating technical solutions that bad already been adopted abroad. Our method envisaged primarily a search for nonttaditional design and structures suitable for ships, that would eliminate the highly undesirable low-frequency vibrations, as well as a complex approach to the application of design concepts and methods for acoustical protection, thereby obtaining the additional
effect of compensation [kompensirovaniye]. The solution of optimization problem, in which we took as the target function the minimized noise levels in local frequency zones with subsequent search for a global minimum, were made a part of the design process for the acoustical protection of ships. We also developed new types of propulsion systems, external and internal acoustical coatings, waveguide isolation mounts, and suspensions of a new design for unsupported members, as well as methods and whole new systems for active compensation. The use of these on our nuclear submarines (taking account of their unusual architectural features) was more pronounced than in foreign submarines. The technical tasking and the thematic programs for developing these new designs, as well as those who carried out the work, were prepared and trained by the members of our Institute.

The scientists of OAZiS demonstrated that considerable potential for increasing the effectiveness could be found in the rational combining of traditional design measures on the basis of the Aristotelian principle, which says that “the whole must be greater than the sum of its component parts”. Tuning out or tuning in elements of vibrating systems, taking account of the kinds of selective conductivity of acoustic signals through different mechanical structures and creating acoustic filters, synchronizing the rpm of machines and propulsors, and the mutual compensation of the vibrations of the various sources can, by several times, increase the effectiveness of acoustical protection over the traditional methods of vibration isolation, vibration damping, and sound absorption.

And just a word about another important direction taken by the acousticians of our Institute-proving a technical presence during industrial operations. That, in essence, is the creative participation of Navy specialists in shipbuilding when developing and constructing new ships, during which the carrying out of the technical policies of the Navy is ensured. To achieve this end, as applied to the acoustical protection of ships, the following approach was developed and approved by the acoustic section of the First Central Scientific Research Institute of the Defense Ministry. In the ship design stage, the naval Supervisor concentrates his attention on pointing out any deficiencies in the measures adopted by the design bureaus for meeting the specifications in the technical tasking. This becomes the basis for the necessity of further work to introduce additional technical solutions into the ship’s design. In the construction and delivery stages, on the other hand, we seek convincing evidence of the capability to ensure conformity with the specifications within the framework of the design solutions that were adopted. This stimulates design bureaus and shipyards to eliminate constructional and technological defects as well as small design errors.

The approach has had the result that, in individual cases, the effectiveness of one or another shipyard solution for acoustical treatment has been evaluated differently by us, depending on what stage of construction the ship is in. Although both designers and the authorities of the Chief Directorate of Shipbuilding of the Navy have not failed to notice this, nevertheless, in the main, the approach we have chosen fits the needs of the matter and has become standard for us.

Speaking of customs and traditions, we shouldn’t forget that we are on the eve of the 3~ anniversary of the founding of our Navy. This significant date is falling in a period of extreme difficulty in our Navy’s history. But those who now see only the decline of our country’s naval power are deeply mistaken. Paradoxically, it is especially after great economic crises that Russia’s Navy has been reborn. The commissioning this year of the nuclear powered guided missile, heavy cruiser PETER THE GREAT stands as a symbol of the preserving of our state’s naval power. The work of many of our scientists, engineers, workers, and naval personnel has assured its high combat capabilities. And indeed, the members of the Acoustics Department of the First Central Scientific Research Institute of the Defense Ministry made their own contribution to the improvement of the very important tactical/technical element of this cruiser-reducing its noise.

In conclusion, I would like to congratulate the members of OAZiS on the occasion of its 50111 anniversary. Over those years they worked with distinction in the interests of the Navy. May they have further creative success.

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