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
Remote Operated Vehicles (ROV).
Canceled due to school closures preventing preparation.
Will be rescheduled. You are invited to observe a remote
operated vehicle (ROV) demonstration at the Olympic High
School pool on ????????, from ???????????.
The Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics
(STEM) class, consisting of 30 students and 15 ROVs will put on the show. The pool is very warm so if
you want to watch the kids displaying their ROV's, dress
will assist in this demonstration.
Junk Mail, Safety Options
From time to time I will ask someone if
they have received my e-mail. When they say "no",
I go back and insure I have sent them the message and it
has the right address. Now, I automatically send a copy
to myself to ensure it did go out. But their are
other reasons they may have not received the mail, They
may have purposely blocked me, or they may have the
safety filter on their incoming e-mail set too
"high". With Windows Live Mail on Windows 7, this
is set when when "home" is selected on the tool bar, and
you click on down arrow below "Junk" , then set "safety"
options. Also, checking your "junk" mail box once
in a while might reveal messages that have automatically
gone in there vice your "incoming" box.
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)
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
BREMERTON BASE BOOSTERS for 2012
The following Members are recognized
for their generous donations to the Base
Updated: Jan 4,
Fri, Jan 27, 1130*Family
Inn at Manchester,
Colchester Dr E
Fun, click for Images
* Ltr of 2011
appreciation/request for 2012 gift certificate
Founder & Editor
Other News of Interest to Submariners
DARPA Awards 3rd Contract to Develop
Low-Power, Non-Acoustic Anti-Submarine Warfare
Technologies for UAS
UAS Vision, January 19
Anti-submarine warfare (ASW) experts in the US Defense
Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in Arlington,
Virginia, have awarded their third industry contract for
a programme that seeks to develop technologies to help
detect enemy submarines in shallow coastal waters and
harbours without using traditional acoustic
submarine-hunting technologies like sonar.
unmanned aircraft systems
The DARPA Strategic Technology Office has awarded
Cortana Corp. in Falls Church, Virginia, a $496,500
contract for the Shallow Water Agile Submarine Hunting
(SWASH) programme, which seeks to develop small,
lightweight, low power non-acoustic ASW surveillance and
cued search capability for
UAS operating over shallow-water coastal areas and
For the SWASH research programme DARPA also awarded a
$249,735.48 to SRC Inc. in North Syracuse, New York,
last October, and a $367,507 contract last September to
Applied Physical Sciences Corp. in Groton, Connecticut.
Cued search capability refers to a way of looking for
submerged submarines using data from separate or remote
The companies will try to develop advanced ASW
surveillance capability, which does not use traditional
acoustics or sonar, for
DARPA scientists are asking experts from Cortana, SRC,
and Applied Physical Sciences to concentrate small,
lightweight, low power ASW sensing approaches for UAS.
Pacific Fleet change of command set
Stars and Stripes, January 19
SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — Pacific Fleet commander Adm.
Patrick Walsh – who led the military response to the
March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan – will retire
on Friday after 34 years of service, the Navy has
Walsh will be replaced by Adm. Cecil Haney, former
deputy of the U.S. Strategic Command, during a change of
command ceremony at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, a Navy news
Haney will become the 33rd fleet commander since the
fleet was established in 1941.
At U.S. Strategic Command, Haney, who holds three
Master’s degrees, was responsible for providing
capabilities and options to the president and secretary
of defense in regard to nuclear force operations,
missile defense, cyberspace operations, and efforts to
combat proliferation or use of weapons of mass
destruction, according to the release. He served on the
USS John C. Calhoun and USS Asheville and commanded
Submarine Squadron One and Submarine Group Two.
Walsh served as the 35th Vice Chief of Naval Operations
prior to taking over as Pac Fleet commander, but he got
his start as a pilot, flying with the “Golden Dragons”
of Attack Squadron 192 and later, the Blue Angels. He
commanded Carrier Air Wing 1 aboard USS John F. Kennedy,
Carrier Group 7/USS John C. Stennis Strike Group, as
well as the Combined Maritime Forces conducting
Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. He has
also served as a White House fellow.
The Pacific Fleet, which is headquartered in Hawaii, is
responsible for more than half the world’s surface, from
the West Coast of the U.S. to the Indian Ocean, the
release said. Its commander is responsible for
approximately 180 ships, 2,000 aircraft, and 125,000
sailors and Marines, as well as civilian personnel.
The change-of-command ceremony is scheduled for Friday
at Pearl Harbor’s Kilo Pier with the USS Arizona and USS
Missouri memorials as a backdrop.
“TANG” – A Vision for the Future.
Commander, Submarine Forces Blog, Jan 17, 2012
This is pretty cool. I was recently briefed on the
results of our first try at a new way for us to
innovate. We held an “event” in San Diego that brought
together 27 of our best and brightest Junior Officers,
Sonarmen and Fire Control Technicians to participate in
what will be the first of many workshops. Submarine
Development Squadron TWELVE (DEVRON 12) allied with
Johns Hopkins University (JHU) Applied Physics
Laboratory and the Submarine Advanced Development Team
at NAVSEA, making this a “first of its kind” for the
Submarine Force and maybe the Navy.
We asked our partners at IDEO to join us. IDEO is a
design firm that specializes in human-centered
innovation and helping organizations in the business,
government, education and social sectors to innovate and
grow. They’ve worked on projects like designing the
first Apple Mouse to designing the portable
defibrillators you can find in many public areas. Most
notably, and applicable to our situation, IDEO has a
process to teach innovation and design using fast
prototyping to achieve terrific results for very low
costs. You see, we have a deep understanding of our
problem, and a lot of ideas, but lacked the discipline
to turn that into something real. IDEO helped us through
We’re calling these workshops the “TANG” series:
“Tactical Advancement for the Next Generation.” Anyone
who knows their submarine history knows this is a deeply
meaningful acronym for us. The USS TANG (SS-306) was a
Balao-class submarine in World War II. In her short
career, with Commander Richard Hetherington O'Kane as
her Commanding Officer, TANG sank 33 ships displacing
116,454 tons. CDR O’Kane received the Medal of Honor for
Our goal at the TANG workshop was to more effectively
leverage the knowledge and enthusiasm of these
Submariners to help us execute a paradigm shift - we
want to quickly and effectively evolve - using what our
force already “knows” as consumers and experts of
smartphones and modern video game consoles like the XBOX
360. Most Sailors entering the Navy can pick up a
smartphone and handle it like an ace. They are familiar
with the icons and display modes of the new apps and
games that deliver a tremendous amount of complexity in
an intuitive interface and system design. We want to
bring that into our combat systems and take advantage of
all the experience and “training” that our Submariners
have when they first arrive.
In short, we want to go from screens that look like
To screens that look more like
The TANG workshop was a big success. The response from
our Sailors was amazing. Once they formed into small
teams and got the picture of what the event was about,
they took over…and the days were full of discovery and
“a-ha” moments. With simple props, the small,
high-performing teams produced BIG ideas - a validation
of the “rapid prototyping” skills inherent in our
Submariners when coached by the pros at IDEO! The team
used cardboard, markers, foam, PVC piping, glue guns,
and yellow stickies to explore different form factors
that might better present the information they were used
to managing. You can see scenes from the conference, and
some of these ideas in this video that highlights the
accomplishments of the first TANG. We knew that given an
opportunity to have their voices heard and to bring
their experience to bear on some focused “how might we?”
type questions, our teams would produce…and they
delivered big time.
Some of the ideas for new sonar and imaging displays
were so good – and achievable – that we’re working to
get these ideas incorporated into the next sonar and
fire control software upgrade, slated for fleet
introduction in 2014. Working prototypes have been built
and are running with at-sea data… only 2 months later!
And this is only a first step. We will continue to
engage with industry “thought leaders” regarding how we
might adapt their capabilities into our mission needs.
Thanks to Josh Smith and the JHU/APL team in organizing
the TANG forum, Pete Scala and PEO IWS5A for supporting
the forum with people and funding, the IDEO team of Dave
Blakely, David Haygood, Peter MacDonald and Dan
Soltzberg, the Submarine Learning Center Detachment in
San Diego and the DEVRON 12 team under the leadership of
Commodore Bill Merz.
I’m proud of the accomplishments of the first TANG
workshop. Well done to the whole team – especially the
Submariners who gave it their best effort and will guide
our way ahead! Keep your eyes open for “TANG 2”… maybe
the next great idea we use will be yours!
FT1 Don Moreno – USS Bremerton
LTJG John Dubiel – USS Bremerton
FT1 Rich Gunter – USS Charlotte
STS2 Charles Augustine – USS City of Corpus Christi
LTJG Jason Frederick – USS City of Corpus Christi
FT3 Jordan Larry – USS City of Corpus Christi
LT Dan Kohnen – USS Columbus
LTJG Dan Justice – USS Florida
FT1 John Keagle – USS Florida
STS1 Randy Kelly – USS Florida
STS2 Don Grubbe – USS Houston
LTJG Stephen Emerson – USS Houston
FT2 Thaddeus Siongco – USS Houston
LT David Camp – USS Key West
FT3 Glen Elam – USS Key West
STS1 Robert Sarvis – USS Key West
LT Tim Manke – USS New Hampshire
STS1 J.P. Whitney – USS Norfolk
FT1 Brent Caraway – USS San Francisco
LT Eric Dridge – USS San Francisco
STS1 Rich Hering – USS San Francisco
STS2 Chris Remiesiewicz – USS Virginia
FT1 Brandolf Schlieper – USS Virginia
LT Arlo Swallow – USS West Virginia
FT1 Ben Lang – USS West Virginia
STS1 Gabe Brazell – USS West Virginia
STS2 Jake Malone – SLC Det. San Diego
The IDEO Coaching Team:
VADM John M. Richardson
Commander, Submarine Force
SUBRON 17 Welcomes New Commander
By Lt. Ed Early, Commander, Submarine Group 9 Public
Affairs, Jan 14, 2012
KEYPORT, Wash. (NNS) -- Submarine Squadron 17 held a
change of command ceremony Jan. 12 at the Keyport
Capt. John Tolliver relieved Capt. Paul Skarpness.
"I am deeply honored to have had the opportunity to
serve with such an exceptional team of submarine
warriors," said Skarpness, who had served as commander
of Submarine Squadron 17 since April 2010. "Your daily
contributions to our national security are remarkable,
unmistakable, and essential. Thank you for making this
one of the most rewarding tours of my career."
As the squadron's commander, Skarpness oversaw more than
30 strategic deterrent patrols and numerous refits. In
addition, two ballistic missile submarines underwent
engineered refueling overhauls - USS Nevada (SSBN 733)
returned to service last summer and USS Pennsylvania (SSBN
735) is scheduled to rejoin Submarine Squadron 17 later
"Success is a team effort, and this team has achieved
many successes over the past two years under the
leadership of Commodore Skarpness," said Rear Adm. Frank
Caldwell, Commander Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet,
who served as the keynote speaker.
Skarpness' next assignment will be on Caldwell's staff
at the Pacific Submarine Force in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
Tolliver comes to Submarine Squadron 17 from that staff.
He previously served as Blue Crew executive officer of
USS Rhode Island (SSBN 740) and Blue Crew commanding
officer of USS Maine (SSBN 741), which is homeported at
Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, Wash.
"It is great to be back in the best submarine homeport
in the Navy," said Tolliver. "It is an honor to be
entrusted with the six SSBNs, 12 commanding officers and
people of Squadron 17."
Submarine Squadron 17 is responsible for manning,
training and equipping six ballistic missile submarines
and 12 crews homeported at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor.
Complete Civil War submarine unveiled
for first time
NORTH CHARLESTON, South Carolina (Reuters) - Confederate
Civil War vessel H.L. Hunley, the world's first
successful combat submarine when it sank a Union ship in
1864, was unveiled in full and unobstructed for the
first time on Thursday, capping a decade of careful
"No one alive has ever seen the Hunley complete. We're
going to see it today," said engineer John King as a
crane at a Charleston conservation laboratory slowly
lifted a massive steel truss covering the top of the
the rest of the story here. Dave Niemy Sends
Service in Submarines
This pre-World War II (WWII) film profiles the Submarine
Training School at New London Connecticut. Features
footage of the R4 (R-4) and R11 (R-11) both R-1 class
A Must See! Fred Green Sends
Submarine’s torpedo compartment was on
Revealing photos of the nuclear powered submarine
“Yekaterinburg” from before and during last week’s fire
clearly indicate that the flames come from inside the
Read more with images here
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:
GC issues of the past 12 months, go to
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