Previous Gertrude Checks
Soup Down Sked
Valor ar Sea
Kitsap Navy News
The Sub Scuttlebutt
National Museum of the US Navy
Puget Sound Navy Museum
Navy Undersea Museum
Navy Submarine League
Sub Force News
WWII Patrol Rpts
Wixom's Bit's of Wisdom
TTF Graduation Sked
Submariner Burial Site
Designed for Submariners
Shipmate Goes on Eternal Patrol
member Robert C. Welsh (MMCM(SS) ret) went on
eternal patrol on January 3, 2012. Bob qualified on
Sculpin (1969) and went on to serve in Seahorse,
Gurnard and Thomas A. Edison.
Bob's funeral is at 2:30 PM on Friday, 1/13/12 at Rill
Chapel in Port Orchard.
Obituary will be
posted when available.
"Voices of the Great War" with USSVI member & Author
/ Museum of Flight Docent Don Ulmer
Saturday, January 14, 2012 - 2:00pm
Event Type:Public Program
Location: William M. Allen Theater
Museum of Flight docent-author Don Ulmer will present
"Voices of the Great War," a true story behind his
recent novella of World War I, "Where or When." Ulmer,
captivated by this story since first hearing it
seventy-one years ago, delved into surviving journals,
letters and photos passed down by 1st Lieutenant Malcom
Gunn, Word War I aviator, and his childhood sweetheart
Marge Van Sciver. Provided by Marge’s nephew and Ulmer’s
lifelong friend, these artifacts unravel an intriguing,
bittersweet yarn. Ulmer presents ‘then and now’ photos
and spices his talk with film clips from a musical play
based on his story, "Canadiyanks," presented at the
Museum in May 2009. The Alpha Singers’ choral group of
greater Seattle skillfully renders a blend of stirring,
toe-tapping songs of World War I.
Join us at the Museum of Flight William Allen Auditorium
at 2:00 p.m. Saturday 14 January 2012. Listen to Voices
of the Great War, its timeless music, and the poignant
saga of Marge and Malcom.
This program is included with Museum admission and is
Free for members of the Museum of Flight.
HC & Life Member Succumbs
Theodore Kenneth Russell,
85 of Bremerton, WA, passed away 28 Dec 2011 at Harrison
Medical Center after struggling with pneumonia and other
pulmonary disorders. ENCM(SS) (ret) Ted qualified on
Pampanito in 1944 and participated in her 4th, 5th and
6th war patrols. He
completed a 30 year Navy career serving in Carp,
Caiman, Alexander Hamilton, Stonewall Jackson and
Ethan Allen. Sailor, rest your oar!
Per Ted's request,
no service is planned. Ted also requested he be buried
at sea. Cards and letters may be sent C/O Annetta
Varner, 1511 Carr Blvd, Bremerton WA, 98312. Read more
Bremerton Base Presents Gifts to Residents of WA State
Yesterday, Tuesday, Dec 20th, four base members, L-R, Ralph
Harris, Tommy Robinson,
Don Bassler led by Chaplain Fred Borgmann,
presented a variety gifts donated by individuals, businesses and
the base to Retsil Superintendent Don Veverka (center of
image). Don was accompanied by his assistants,
Dax Dowling and Tami Reuter.
The gifts given
from the base were
and stickers, 56 books of postage stamps,
cards (15) & cards. Other gifts donated by individuals and
businesses were 7 models (ships and planes) and a lot of glue (Dennis
Wendt) and a case of playing cards courtesy of Jim DeMott
and Chips Casino.
Sound Naval Museum Here are some pictures
of the special warfare section of the Puget Sound Naval Museum
that features submarines. There are interactive exhibits for
sonar and ships course. Also there is an excellent movie about
the training and mission of the Navy Seals. I don't know if our
membership is aware of these exhibits but in any case I will
send them to you for inclusion in the Gertrude Check if you
The Museum hours are:
1000 to 1600 Monday, Wednesday through Saturday and 1300 to 1600
The Museum is closed on Tuesdays until April. Reporter
Dutch Kaiser sends.
SubVet News - #2011-115
NEWS-01: Thresher Memorial
Submitted by: T. Michael Bircumshaw on 12/9/2011
Granddaughter of Charles Wiggins FTGI(SS), is organizing a
dinner for the former crew and families of those who served
aboard the USS Thresher SSN-593 to be held on the 14th of April
2012 at 4:00pm in Portsmouth, NH. She is looking for contact
information on surviving family members of the Crew and Officers
of Thresher. If you have any information or would care to know
more about the program and current status please contact
Victoria at 609-519-1707 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Deterrent Park Up Date
Since the October 2011 brick installation,
three sponsors have donated 4 engraved bricks to Deterrent Park.
They will be installed, with other donated bricks, in May 2012.
These sponsors are Barton, Davison and Aiello(2),
Kolbeck(2) and Briggs.
An engraved brick for a loved one that served
his/her country could be an everlasting memory. You may
want to consider one or more for Christmas presents or a gift
for other occasions. All the
information you may want to know about the Park and an
are online. (And the donation is IRS
2012 Annual National & Base Dues are Due by Dec 31, 2011
Dues schedule below.
Annual Dues are: National $20 + Base $20 = $40
Make a single check for $40 made out to USSVI Bremerton Base and
give it to the Treasurer or
mail it to PO Box 465, Silverdale, WA 98383
Life Membership Dues
are in the table below.
members are not except from national
or base dues. (2011 change to base by-laws applies)
As an example, at the current annual rate of $40 National & Base
dues, it would take a member <45 years old about 19 years
to = $750 National Life & base dues. About 58 Bremerton
Base members should take a look.
Over time, dues increase, so if you have good intentions
of sticking it out, please consider a life membership, no matter
what your current age. (pay now or pay more later/GC ed)
BREMERTON BASE BOOSTERS for 2012
The following Members are recognized
for their generous donations to the Base
Updated: Jan 4,
Fri, Jan 13, 1130
Silverdale Way NW Silverdale, WA 98383
Fun, click for Images
* Ltr of 2011
appreciation/request for 2012 gift certificate
Founder & Editor
Other News of Interest to Submariners
Bangor galley earns 10th Five-Star
By: Navy News Service
Naval Base Kitsap (NBK) Bangor’s Trident Inn Galley
received its tenth consecutive Five-Star Excellence
Award for food service during a ceremony held at the NBK-Bangor
galley Jan. 6. Read it all here
Navy Needs New Wharf For Trident Subs
Mynorthwest.com, Jan 9, 2012
SEATTLE (AP) - The Navy plans to begin construction in
July on a new $751 million wharf at the submarine base
The Navy says it's needed to handle upgraded nuclear
ballistic missiles for the eight Pacific Trident
As the Pentagon prepares to issue the final
environmental impact statement, The Seattle Times
reports opponents question the spending at a time of
Pentagon cutbacks and changing defense priorities.
of Poulsbo calls it a "Cold War relic."
The new Bangor wharf is supported by Congressman Norm
Dicks and Kitsap County officials who expect the
four-year project will create thousands of construction
and support jobs
U.S. Strategy Boosts Navy Subs,
Aviation Week, January 5
The new set of Pentagon priorities discussed Jan. 5 by
President Barack Obama and Defense Secretary Leon
Panetta includes provisions that will likely bolster
U.S. naval forces — but possibly dampen service plans
for some proposed fleet upgrades.
The new strategy includes a refocus on the Asia-Pacific
region — with several allusions to China — which, many
defense analysts say, will surely make certain Navy
programs more desirable given the greater need to access
the region by sea.
The strategy also focuses on intelligence, surveillance,
and reconnaissance, anti-access capability and undersea
investments, which bodes well for submarine programs.
But the Pentagon’s renewed focus on readiness could
cause the Navy to shift funds from procurement to repair
In releasing the strategy, Obama says that, in
particular, the nation will continue to invest in the
capabilities critical to future success, including
“intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance;
counterterrorism; countering weapons of mass
destruction” and operating in areas “where adversaries
deny us access.”
Panetta says of the future force, “It will have global
presence, emphasizing the Asia-Pacific and the Middle
East.” He says, “of necessity” the Pentagon will have to
“rebalance toward the Asia-Pacific.”
Of particular concern, the Pentagon says, is China.
“Over the long term, China’s emergence as a regional
power will have the potential to affect the U.S. economy
and our security in a variety of ways. The growth of
China’s military power must be accompanied by greater
clarity of its strategic intentions in order to avoid
causing friction in the region,” the Defense Department
says in its summary of the new strategy.
One of the primary missions of U.S. armed forces, the
Pentagon says, is to “project power despite
anti-access/area denial challenges.”
In these areas, “Sophisticated adversaries will use
asymmetric capabilities to include ... ballistic and
cruise missiles, advanced air defenses, mining and other
methods,” the summary says. “States such as China and
Iran will continue to pursue asymmetric means to counter
our power projection.”
Accordingly, “The U.S. military will invest as required
to ensure its ability to operate effectively in
anti-access and area denial environments. This will
include implementing the Joint Operational Access
Concept, sustaining our undersea capabilities ...
improving missile defense and continuing efforts to
enhance the resiliency and effectiveness of critical
While making such investments, the Pentagon says it must
make sure it maintains its current assets, which has
proved problematic for the U.S. Navy when it comes to
taking care of its surface ships and equipment,
especially its Aegis-equipped destroyers, cruisers and
Recent Navy reports underscore years of maintenance
neglect and now, analysts say, the service faces a huge
repair bill to fix and maintain those ships and systems
— costs that could upend the Navy’s plans for a
redesigned destroyer fleet and new radar system desired
for missile defense.
“We will resist the temptation to sacrifice readiness in
order to retain force structure,” the Pentagon says,
“and will in fact rebuild readiness in areas that, by
necessity, were de-emphasized over the past decade.”
Plan for new Navy wharf at Bangor
fires up nuke debate
Seattle Times, January 8
WASHINGTON — The Cold War ended in 1991. But you might
not know it to look at Naval Base Kitsap Bangor.
The base's eight nuclear submarines typically sail on
patrol three times a year for up to 100 days at a
stretch, much as they did before the Soviet Union
Three of those submarines might be on alert at any given
time, and the entire fleet carries enough nuclear
warheads on its Trident missiles to obliterate every
major city in Russia and China.
Now the Navy wants a $715 million second munitions wharf
to accommodate upgrade work on the missiles. The
Pentagon is scheduled to issue its final
environmental-impact statement early this year, one of
the last major hurdles before the four-year construction
can begin in July.
The Navy says expanding wharf capacity to load and
unload weapons at Bangor is critical to defense
readiness. But critics are trying to block it, calling
it a costly, unneeded project for a bygone era.
The United States and Russia last year began a new round
of whittling down their nuclear arsenals. Last week, the
Obama administration released a much-awaited strategic
shift in defense priorities, calling for, among other
things, both fewer nuclear weapons as well as less
reliance on them for national security.
And diminished federal budgets have even top Pentagon
officials mulling the possibility that the U.S.
eventually may drop one leg of its sea-land-air nuclear
For Tom Rogers, of Poulsbo, those are more than enough
reasons to scrap plans for the second weapons-handling
Rogers, a retired Navy captain turned anti-nuclear
activist, was one of five dozen people who showed up at
a public hearing in April at North Kitsap High School.
The meeting was to discuss environmental consequences of
building the 152,000-square-foot wharf on Hood Canal.
But most of the attendees who spoke instead questioned
why one needed to be built at all.
"Why are we doing this? We're spending a whole lot of
taxpayer money on a Cold War relic," Rogers said in an
interview. "All we are doing is making defense
Rogers, 65, served three decades on attack submarines at
Naval Base San Diego. He believes the massive American
nuclear stockpile makes little difference to such
unstable nuclear states as North Korea or possible
would-be player Iran. And it encourages potential
enemies such as Russia or China to keep up their own
"We're not deterring anyone with those weapons right
now," Rogers said. "This is ridiculous spending."
Navy: wharf "critical"
The Navy, however, argues the existing 1970s-era
munitions wharf is simply inadequate. Over many years,
the military will be upgrading the Trident II D5
missiles to extend their service through 2042.
The Navy estimates it would need 400 days of wharf
access a year to remove and reinstall electronics
components and perform other work. That's twice the
number of days the existing wharf is currently available
due to maintenance work and pile replacements.
Six other Trident submarines are based in the Atlantic
in Kings Bay, Ga. Of the total fleet of 14 submarines,
12 are operational at a time.
In March, Adm. Gary Roughead, chief of naval operations,
testified in Congress that a second munitions wharf in
the Pacific is "critical to nuclear weapons surety and
our national security."
Roughead said the Navy has budgeted $715 million for the
wharf. The fiscal 2012 military construction spending
bill includes $78 million as the first installment.
Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Bremerton, the top Democrat on the
House Appropriations Committee, said the Navy made "a
very strong case" to justify the project.
Dicks said that compared with their predecessor Trident
I C4 missiles, the newer missiles are more complex and
handling them takes longer.
"I looked at this [wharf] very carefully. And I'm aware
about the concerns about the necessity," he said. "I
think this is a worthy project."
Dicks added the project will create sorely needed jobs.
Kitsap County officials, who generally favor the
project, also cited the new paychecks from the
construction and related mitigation work.
According to the Navy's estimates, the wharf is expected
to create 4,370 direct jobs and 1,970 indirect jobs. The
Navy plans to use workers hired through local union
Dicks contends the second wharf is warranted even though
the number of submarines at Bangor likely will shrink in
the future. The Navy is looking to replace the current
fleet starting in 2029 with a new class of submarines.
The Navy wants a dozen, at an estimated total cost of
$100 billion. Some defense experts expect only 10 may
get built, split between Pacific and Atlantic homeports.
Still, Dicks believes submarine-launched ballistic
missiles have the "most secure" role in the nation's
nuclear armament. He said it would make sense for the
Pentagon to cut nuclear spending by reducing the number
of land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles first.
Future unclear for subs
Michael Krepon, a security expert who blogs at
armscontrolwonk.com, questioned how the second wharf
would fit into a downsized nuclear — and fiscal — world.
"In times of great budgetary stringency, this
appropriations ought to raise eyebrows," said Krepon,
who was an aide to both Dicks and to his predecessor in
the 6th Congressional District, Rep. Floyd Hicks.
The Navy has talked about the need for a second and even
a third wharf at Bangor for more than 30 years.
Hans Kristensen, a nuclear expert at the Federation of
American Scientists, said the Trident missiles are the
"crown jewels" of the U.S. nuclear arsenal. Yet
Kristensen said it's possible that in 15 years, Bangor
may have only five or six submarines.
"The real driver is, 'How many subs are going to be
operating at the base in the future?' " Kristensen said.
"This has to be taken into consideration."
According to inspection numbers under the New START
Treaty with Russia, the United States as of Sept. 1 had
1,790 nuclear warheads deployed. The Russian Federation
had 1,566. The treaty limits deployed warheads to 1,550
Each Trident submarine typically carries 20 missiles,
each with four or five warheads. The new-generation subs
would have 16 missile launchers.
But the size and purpose of future American nuclear
forces is very much under debate. Kristensen believes
the results of the strategic review announced by
President Obama, who has pledged to end "Cold War
thinking," could fundamentally reshape the role of
nuclear weapons in the nation's defense.
Meanwhile, the federal budget deficit has given new
impetus to re-examine the nation's nuclear spending. The
Pentagon is facing a possible budget cut of $1 trillion
over the next decade, or roughly 15 percent.
In October, 65 House Democrats, including Rep. Jim
McDermott, of Seattle, sent a letter to the now-defunct
congressional "supercommittee" on deficit reduction
calling for cuts to an "outdated radioactive relic."
"Cut Minuteman missiles. Do not cut Medicare and
Medicaid," they wrote. "Cut nuclear-armed B-52 and B-2
bombers. Do not cut Social Security."
Rogers, the retired submarine officer,
contends that fears of a dangerous world and ignorance
keep many citizens from asking hard questions about the
Trident submarines. But if they did, Rogers said, there
would be no second wharf.
"The American people could certainly stop it," he said.
"Because it's stupid."
Defense News, January 9, 2012
The announcement called for technology so new it might
exist only in the minds of inventors. Prospective
contractors and analysts routinely compare the endeavor
to the search for the Holy Grail.
In this case, the grail is an unmanned submarine smart
enough to sense and avoid obstructions, powerful enough
to stay out on months-long missions without detection,
and cool enough to keep computers from overheating.
Those are among the challenges facing the companies and
universities vying to provide ideas to the U.S. Navy
about how to power and autonomously navigate a Large
Displacement Unmanned Undersea Vehicle (LDUUV), a
development project led by the U.S. Office of Naval
Proposals were submitted to the office in late
September, with winners informed Dec. 19, although they
won't necessarily be publicly identified, ONR said. The
Navy wants to gather up ideas and technologies from
organizations that might not be equipped to build an
entire vessel. A major company then could be hired to
integrate the parts.
At the top of the list of challenges would be power and
heat. Development of futuristic sensors and processing
software will be moot if those issues cannot be managed.
Complicating matters, the Navy has ruled out nuclear
power because no human would be aboard to address an
"People might say, 'I've got the Holy Grail. I've got
the engine and I've got the fuel,'" said Robert Nowak,
an independent energy consultant who has run programs
for ONR and the Defense Advanced Research Projects
Agency. But that's only true if the heat that engine
puts out from that fuel doesn't play havoc with the
other systems onboard.
Once those issues are solved, "sensing and avoiding a
fishing net are going to be the Holy Grail," said Jeff
Smith, projects manager of Bluefin Robotics, which is
working on autonomous control for unmanned submarines.
"The number of dolphins and seals that get caught in
nets is not insignificant. Let's face it: As smart as we
are with unmanned vehicles, we're never going to come
close to a dolphin or a seal when it comes to their
ONR's July announcement seeks ideas for enough energy
for the craft to remain at sea for 70 days or longer in
open-ocean transit with operations as deep as 800 feet.
The craft will need the autonomy to conduct missions in
littoral waters, amid local merchant shipping, fishing
boats and nets. As a steppingstone, ONR has set a goal
of power and autonomy for a 30-day mission, including
operations at depths down to 400 feet.
These quests, particularly power generation and storage,
have become the signature problems in building a
prototype of what is envisioned as a 48-inch-diameter
vehicle with a fiberglass hull to defeat sonar.
The Navy's Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance
Roadmap calls for building an LDUUV by 2014 and having
it on missions by 2017. It envisions a fleet of LDUUVs
by the end of the decade.
Job No. 1 will be proving the energy technologies
required for such a vehicle.
"The higher-ups in the Navy are emphasizing this and
saying, 'If you can't develop the energy we need, we
can't do the mission,'" said Nowak, who is not
affiliated with the program.
The ISR Roadmap directs funding "UUV power and Endurance
first," then "sensors, C3, networks and autonomy."
Chief among those higher-ups was now-retired Adm. Gary
Roughead, who was chief of naval operations until
September. Roughead laid out a vision of LDUUVs as
submarine-force multipliers providing persistent ISR, a
capability the Navy can't get from smaller unmanned subs
that measure their mission capability in hours.
"I cast the net widely in the continued pursuit of
high-density underwater power," Roughead said at
August's Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems
International conference in Washington. "That clearly is
something that will be a game-changer for us."
As bait, he committed 50 percent of the Navy's research
and development budget over the next five years to
solving the energy problem for underwater vehicles,
including LDUUV. The Navy is seeking $47 million for
LDUUV work in the 2012 budget request.
The Navy is envisioning a different concept of
operations for LDUUV compared with other robotic
vehicles it has conceived of in the past, including the
Long-term Mine Reconnaissance System and the Mission
Reconfigurable UUV. The blueprint for those vehicles
called for launching them from torpedo tubes and
recovering them. The concept proved to be unworkable
because, for example, the launch vehicles would have
overcrowded torpedo rooms.
The Navy envisions the LDUUV leaving from a pier, doing
its ISR work and returning, or perhaps being recovered
by a surface ship away from the littorals. It sees a UUV
that can loiter undetected long enough to map the sea
bottom; track local submarine, merchant ship and fishing
boat traffic; and detect mines, though a formal concept
of operations has not yet been drafted.
With all of that in mind, the LDUUV will have an open
software and hardware architecture to make it receptive
to varying sensor suites to be replaced as missions
Smaller UUVs have done those missions for more than a
decade, and the results have been subject to their range
and payload capacity limitations. But the kind of
endurance the Navy wants from the LDUUV requires the
kind of energy that has remained elusive, and with
cause, Nowak said.
need not apply.
Conventional power systems, which in the case of other
unmanned vehicles means
"You will find that there aren't any batteries that are
capable of meeting the requirements the Navy is looking
for," Nowak said.
But fuel-only probably isn't the answer either. The Navy
has a contract with AlumiFuel Power to experiment with
smaller undersea vehicles driven by hydrogen cylinders.
But while hydrogen's energy potential is widely known,
its storage under compression in thick-skinned cells
would present weight and volume issues in the LDUUV.
Other fuels are possible - much of industry and ONR were
mum about their ideas while proposals were being
evaluated - but Nowak posits that some combination of
power is more likely.
The longevity issue can become complicated by problems
accumulated along the way on a voyage.
"Endurance is more than just putting out power," said
Antoine Martin, president of Unmanned Vehicle
Systems-Consulting, who recently completed a
comprehensive study of power for robotic vehicles. "It's
being able to manage the power you have, being able to
play with the materials in the hull of the UUV so that
it doesn't develop drag by accumulating particles at
Barnacles or algae growing on a slow-moving UUV could
hamper its performance, as could saltwater corrosion,
storm damage, ice and myriad other potential problems.
"All of this is a long step from where we are today,"
Sleep Well You Men of Indy's Crew © Bob Welsh 2011
Military to be pared, but not necessarily in Kitsap
By Ed Friedrich, Kitsap sun
BREMERTON —President Obama
and top military brass published their guidelines
Thursday to strategically cut billions of dollars from
the defense budget over the next decade. It looks like
the Northwest Navy could avoid most of the lopping......
"I think we're going to be fine," U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks
said of Puget Sound Navy bases. "The emphasis is on the
Pacific. With the problems in North Korea and China's
growing military capability and our major trade
commitments in that area, it's going to be a positive
for our area."
Guy Stitt (base life member), longtime Puget Sound Naval Bases
Association board member, thought the same thing when he
read the document. It's good for the Navy overall and
even better for the Pacific Navy....
Submarines Connecticut, Nebraska, Michigan win battle
Pearl Harbor, Hawaii —Three Bangor-based submarines
received 2011 Battle Efficiency Awards, given to one
boat per squadron for technical performance and combat
readiness. The commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet
submarine force announced the winners Jan. 1.
USS Connecticut won for Development Squadron 5
(comprising three Seawolf-class attack subs), USS
Nebraska Blue and Gold crews for Squadron 17 (six
ballistic missile subs), and USS Michigan Blue Crew for
Squadron 19 (two ballistic missile subs and two guided
Submarine Force 2011 Year In Review
COMSUBFOR Public Affairs, Dec. 31
Link to video:
China’s Noisy Subs Get Busier — And Easier To Track
Wired, December 27
The military’s latest secret assessment of China’s
rapidly modernizing submarines has good news and bad
news for the U.S. Navy. On one hand, the roughly 60
submarines in the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN)
fleet are spending more and more time on combat-ready
patrols — signaling China’s increasing naval competence
and growing seriousness about influencing the western
On the other hand, the flurry of undersea activity gives
American forces more opportunities to tail and examine
Chinese subs. And U.S. analysts discovered a silver
lining in the gathering strategic storm clouds. Chinese
submarines are a hell of a lot noisier than anyone
expected. The sound you hear is the Pacific balance of
power tipping in Washington’s favor.
As recently as 2007, China’s diesel-powered subs and a
handful of nuclear-propelled models managed just a few
patrols per year, combined. Two years before that, none
of Beijing’s undersea boats went on patrol. For years,
the majority of PLAN submarines remained tied up at
naval bases, sidelined by mechanical problems and a
shortage of adequately trained crews.
As long as the PLAN’s submarines were idle, the U.S.
Navy’s spy planes, surveillance ships and snooping subs
had few opportunities to assess China’s undersea
capabilities — and, most importantly, how much noise the
Chinese generate while submerged and moving. Navies can
use passive sonars to track submarines by the sounds
they make. The louder a vessel, the easier it is to
detect. And destroy.
With little information to go on, American intelligence
officials had to guess. In cases like that, “you guess
conservatively,” a respected U.S.-based naval analyst
tells Danger Room on the condition of anonymity. The
conservative estimates placed the latest PLAN subs
roughly a decade behind the state-of-art for Russian
submarines — and potentially 20 years behind U.S.
Now Chinese subs are patrolling more frequently. “Within
the last year or two the Chinese have begun to deploy
diesel boats more frequently into places like the
Philippines Sea,” the analyst reveals. More and better
data is flowing in from U.S. forces. With that data, the
Navy conducted a fresh assessment of PLAN submarines.
The unnamed analyst attended a classified briefing based
on the assessment.
The assessment’s biggest surprise: Leaving aside the
PLAN’s dozen imported Russian subs, new Chinese
submarines can be detected at what’s known as the “first
convergence zone,” a ring approximately 25 miles from an
undersea vessel where outward-traveling sound waves pack
During the Cold War, the U.S. Navy would arrange its own
submarines in lines where each boat was 25 miles from
the next, forming a sort of net to catch Soviet subs.
With the introduction of the latest generation of quiet
Russian diesel subs in the 1990s, the Americans thought
that convergence-zone detection was no longer possible.
But the Navy’s just discovered that China’s homemade
subs are even louder than 20-year-old Russian boats.
“Apparently they [U.S. subs] are making first
convergence zone detections and holding them,” the
Assuming the Chinese stay with their current sub
designs, American submarines should be capable of
swiftly defeating Chinese boats in any potential future
shooting war — helping clear the way for U.S. aircraft
carriers to strike Chinese land targets. Combined with a
slowdown in Chinese sub production, and the recent
doubling of America’s submarine build-rate, the noise
revelation could lead to a radical recalculation of the
Pacific balance of power.
The U.S. Navy had a comfortable technological lead over
the PLAN even before the increased Chinese sub activity
fueled the recent intelligence coup. Now that lead has
gotten even wider. And noisier.
Take A Ride On The USS Chicago
NBC Chicago, December 22
Chicago's namesake nuclear submarine has close ties to
the city. Ride along with a group of dedicated civilian
supporters as they find out what life's like beneath the
Link to video:
Navy To Launch Kamikaze Drone From Submarine
Tucson Citizen, December 26
Unmanned aerial warfare is heading underwater. The Navy
is preparing to test-launch a small, kamikaze drone from
a submarine next year, Defense Tech reports.
The Switchblade drone, essentially a self-propelled,
remotely guided missile, will be enclosed in a special
launch canister and fired from one the sub’s trash
chutes at periscope depth, Def Tech explains, citing
Aviation Week. The canister floats to the surface, where
the electric-motor, folded-wing drone launches itself.
Here’s an illustration.
The launch is planned during the biennial RIMPAC, billed
as “the world’s largest multi-national maritime
exercise,” next year in Hawaii.
The Army has used the Switchblade against Taliban
targets and will resume such attacks next year,
Bloomberg reported in October. The aircraft can be
carried in a soldier’s backpack.
The Army paid AeroVironment $4.9 million this summer for
a small initial squadron of Switchblades. More on that
Here’s how the manufacturer describes its little killer:
The Switchblade is designed to provide the warfighter
with a “magic bullet”. It can rapidly provide a
powerful, but expendable miniature flying Intelligence,
Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) package on a
Beyond Line-of-Sight (BLOS) target within minutes. This
miniature, remotely-piloted or autonomous platform can
either glide or propel itself via quiet electric
propulsion, providing real-time GPS coordinates and
video for information gathering, targeting, or
feature/object recognition. The vehicle’s small size and
quiet motor make it difficult to detect, recognize, and
track even at very close range. The Switchblade is fully
scalable and can be launched from a variety of air and
Def Tech wonders “how the Navy controls the tiny UAVs
without signals from its subs being detected.”
Defense Review, which declares itself “a big fan” of
armed drones, offers its assessment of the Switchblade.
GC issues of the past 12 months, go to
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