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A New USS South Dakota Is Defending The Sea

China’s Submarines May Be Catching Up With U.S. Navy

Inside the U.S. Navy's newest, fastest $2B submarines

Audit finds some military hospitals issued potentially dangerous amounts of opioids

After Gallagher Case, Review Calls for Big Changes to Navy and Marine Corps Legal System

VA Records Request/VA Records Management Center

Pacific Commander: Sub-hunting spy plane missions continue in Pacific

USS Arizona and USS Oklahoma to Sail Again, Navy's Acting Secretary Says

China’s Submarines May Be Catching Up With U.S. Navy

Aerospace & Defense

I cover the changing world of underwater warfare.

“[Chinese submarines] are definitely catching up to us,” said Captain Chester Parks, commanding officer of the U.S. Navy’s missile submarine base at Kings Bay, Georgia, earlier this month while speaking about the Navy’s next-generation Colombia Class missile submarine.


The comment resonates with me. As a defense analyst I am constantly reminded of the rapid modernization of the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN). China has had a few nuclear-powered submarines since the 1970s but for many years they were widely regarded as inferior to Western types. The latest Type-093 ‘Shang’ Class fast attack submarines and Type-094 ‘Jin’ Class ballistic missile submarines are a different matter. They are more numerous and, very likely, substantially more potent. They are not necessarily as capable as their western equivalents, but the gap is closing over time.

There are a few variables at play, but submarine warfare is largely a game of stealth. Two straightforward questions are whether they are as good at staying hidden, and whether they are as good at detecting others.


Submarine stealth largely comes down to the amount of noise a submarine makes. The aim is to make the submarine as quiet as the ambient sea noise around it, typically around 90 decibels. Western submarines got close around 20-30 years ago. China has been seen as lagging. But the according to unclassified U.S. Navy estimates, the early Type-093 attack submarines are about 110 decibels. That is about the same as the U.S. Navy's improved Los Angeles Class boats. Ten years ago the latest Chinese attack submarines were considered to be as quiet as the latest Russian Akula Class submarines. Since these estimates were published in 2007, China has launched two improved variants of the Type-093 submarine. So it is a reasonable assumption that the latest Chinese boats will already be quieter.


There is even less information available on the second point, how well they can detect other submarines. However, Chinese technology is rapidly advancing and showing greater levels of innovation. Already Chinese submarines are known to have passive sonar arrays along their sides, known as flank arrays. This is similar to U.S. Navy submarines. And they have retractable towed array sonars which stretch far behind them, again like western boats.


And China is reputed to be working on a new generation of submarines. Very few details are available about the Type-095 ‘Tang’ Class, but I expected the first boat to be rolled out soon. As a completely new design, it will be twenty years newer than the U.S. Navy’s latest Virginia Class. That doesn’t automatically make it better, the Virginias are still being developed, but it has a newer foundation.


The biggest variable might be innovation. Historically many Chinese military products have been heavily influenced by other countries’ designs. Yet their nuclear submarines have always been indigenous. And their submarine industry is increasingly showing signs of experimentation, such as a mysterious submarine launched a year ago in Shanghai. Chinese submarine designers are capable of surprises.


Captain Parks also included Russia's submarines in his comments. That's a whole other topic. So U.S. Navy submarines may continue to be viewed as superior to non-NATO types, but their advantage is likely to diminish.^

The United States is deploying a new generation of submarines, the Virginia class, which can launch tomahawk cruise missiles and deploy a team of Navy SEALs from beneath the surface. Only on "CBS This Morning," Don Dahler takes you inside one of America's most lethal defense systems at sea.



Inside the U.S. Navy's newest, fastest $2B submarines



Audit finds some military hospitals issued potentially dangerous amounts of opioids

January 14, 2020

Combat exposure puts U.S. troops and veterans at substantial risk for abusing prescription opioids and even heroin — more so than service members who deployed but never saw a firefight, according to a working paper published last month by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

In the study, entitled “Did the War on Terror Ignite an Opioid Epidemic?” economists with NBER, a non-profit that conducts economic research and disseminates it to policy makers, corporations and academia, determined that opioid abuse among combat-exposed veterans was 7 percentage points higher than among those who deployed but didn’t see combat.

Regarding heroin use, the authors noted that combat exposure also is associated with higher use rates, finding that combat-exposed personnel took heroin at more than 1 percentage point higher than fellow service members who never directly engaged with the enemy.

The results are the first to “estimate the causal impact of combat deployments in the Global War on Terrorism on opioid abuse,” the authors wrote.

Resul Cesur, associate professor of healthcare economics at the University of Connecticut, said he and his colleagues undertook the study to understand the impact of the United States’ post 9/11 war footing and its relationship to the veteran opioid epidemic.
They were motivated by a study they did in 2010 that examined the relationship between combat and the development of post-traumatic stress disorder and revealed that service members who had PTSD also reported taking opioids.

We have an opioid epidemic in the military population. That is well known. And nearly three million deployed since 9/11, so what is the impact of this combat?” Cesur asked. “We wanted to know if it was driven by combat or by some other selection factor. For example, are people who are prone to opioid abuse drawn to enlist? ... Our evidence shows strong evidence that the reason why so many military people are using opiates is because they are exposed to combat.”

The authors said the differences appeared to be driven in part by the number of personnel wounded in combat and prescribed opioids.

About a third of opioid abuse among service members and veterans could be explained by a war injury, noted Cesur and his associates, Joseph Sabia, professor of economics at San Diego State University, and W. David Bradford, in the Department of Public Administration and Policy at the University of Georgia.

With heroin, nearly 58 percent of all abuse could be linked to a war injury, they found. Read All 


After Gallagher Case, Review Calls for Big Changes to Navy and Marine Corps Legal System


A months long review of the Navy and Marine Corps legal communities has identified serious training gaps, cultural problems and other areas in need of reform.

A 13-person panel -- which included military brass and outside legal experts -- released a 274-page report on Friday detailing ways the sea services can improve their legal communities.

The recommendations on training, career paths, incentive programs and cultural reforms could lead to big changes to the Navy's Judge Advocate General Corps and Marine Corps' staff judge advocate community.

"The men and women of both the Navy and the Marine Corps legal communities are high caliber, talented and impressive individuals," Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Bob Burke told reporters in his Pentagon office. "... That said, as a team, we've got some things that we can work on to get better."

Perhaps most alarming among the panel's findings was that the JAG officer culture isn't focused on introspection or accountability for its professional performance. Also troubling was a trend of Navy and Marine Corps commanders overstepping their bounds in legal cases, pointing to the need for better training on unlawful command influence.

The review was prompted by a series of headline-grabbing legal gaffes during embattled Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher's recent high-profile trial.

While the panel didn't review the findings of Gallagher's case directly, they consider it -- alongside other prominent cases -- to highlight "larger systematic issues," Burke said.


Other cases of study included the criminal case -- later dropped -- against the former commanding officer of the guided-missile destroyer Fitzgerald after its deadly collision in 2017, and the Fat Leonard corruption scandal that ensnarled multiple senior Navy leaders.

In Gallagher's case, a senior trial counsel was kicked off the case for prosecutorial misconduct after sending emails with tracking devices to a reporter and the former Navy SEAL's legal team. President Donald Trump also rescinded medals awarded to members of the prosecution who'd failed to secure a conviction.


In the case of the Fitzgerald CO, his defense attorneys called for the case to be thrown out over public comments the Navy's top leaders at the time made blaming their client for the fatal mishap.


Here are five big things the Navy and Marine Corps need to fix now, according to the review.


1. The JAG Corps' Culture Problem


The panel did not mince words when it came to cultural woes facing the Navy's JAG officers.


The JAG, the panel found, lacks a culture of "continuous, critical self-assessment focused on professional performance and accountability."

"This is an urgent concern given the seriousness of the issues leading to this review," it added.


Further, the panel found JAG officers aren't always in tune with Navy culture and values.


"Navy judge advocates are members of two honorable professions: the profession of arms and the profession of law," the report states. "... A

 judge advocate's role as both a Naval officer and attorney, is required and must be continually reinforced throughout the community."


2. A Pattern of UCI


Several recent high-profile Navy and Marine Corps courts-martial have led to findings of actual and apparent unlawful command influence involving senior commanders and legal officers.


That points to better training needed for commanders and those advising them, the panel found.


"We need to make sure that they're educated in how they can ensure good order and discipline in their units without prejudicing future potential military justice matters," said Maj. Gen. Gregg Olson, assistant deputy commandant for Marine Corps Plans, Policies and Operations.


UCI, the report adds, undermines the fairness and credibility of the military's justice system. It's an issue about which commanders need to be hyper aware, Burke said.


"Ultimately, this is an awareness issue," he said. "It's something that we're going to have to train [on] very hard for both commanders and the judge advocates -- you've got to come at it from two different angles."


3. Better Training


Aside from better training being needed to prevent UCI, Burke and Olson said the Navy and Marine Corps need to take steps to better train their legal experts in their craft throughout their careers.


In the Marine Corps, staff judge advocates are often pulled into non-legal command positions. When they go back to their role as an SJA, he said it's likely they need refresher training.


"We do a very good job in some of our communities at refreshing people as they return to their duties," he said, pointing to the training aviators receive after a tour outside the cockpit. "We recognize this [has] some potential parallels for our lawyers."


Burke said members of the JAG Corps also need training to help prepare them to take on more leadership responsibilities as they climb the ranks. A surface warfare or submarine officer would lead small teams to start, then build up to leading teams of teams when serving as an executive or commanding officer, the vice CNO said.


Members of the JAG Corps rarely get that type of experience. Burke said the report recommends the Navy better define that kind of path for them.

"I think that'll help a lot in terms of sequencing with the training and education that the JAGs get before they get that next job so that they're properly prepared and aren't getting surprised when they get into [it]," he said.


4. More Incentives Needed


Burke called some of the current incentives being offered to those serving in the Navy Department's legal roles outdated and underfunded.

Both services need to better retain officers with legal expertise. Olson said Marines tend to leave the staff judge advocate community when they're captains, at the O-3 rank. The Navy, Burke said, tends to lose its more experienced members of the JAG Corps around the O-6 level.


Most lawyers come into the Navy and Marine Corps with high debt, he added, and the services need to offer better incentives to stay. Around the five-year mark, Burke said some do qualify for a bonus program now.


"But it's broken up into three payments, and they're relatively small," he added. "That's going to need to be a relatively larger sum of money."

The services are also looking at covering JAGs' and SJAs' bar fees.


"That's a personal professional responsibility that they bear that really doesn't have a parallel elsewhere," Olson said. "I don't pay for my infantry certification every year, but they do pay to remain standing with their state bar."


5. New Demands


Many in the Navy and Marine Corps legal communities aren't spending as much time in the courtrooms as they might have in years past. Burke said the average number of courts-martial has fallen from about 1,200 cases per year a decade ago to about 250 annually.


But that doesn't make the lawyers any less busy. In fact, he suggests the roughly 950 Navy JAGs have seen their workload quadruple over time.

"So they're not litigating as much, but they're doing other things like sexual assault [cases], environmental law, cyber law -- they're doing all these areas that, like I said, 10 years ago, uh, weren't there," Burke said.


There will be continued demand for judge advocates, the report states, in permanent roles or supporting contingency operations.


Burke said the high demand for their skills has led to some of the challenges in the community, and it's important to have a better feedback loop so they don't end up too overtaxed to address some the fixes the panel is recommending.


"I think ... institutionally if we do not respond to that demand signal, that's going to be the trip wire going forward as we continue to heap additional work on them," he said.^



A New USS South Dakota Is Defending The Sea

Muenster Tells Of Steps Taken To Commission U.S. Navy's New Submarine

Lt. Tom Muenster may be retired in his role as an officer in the United States Navy, but he recently played an important role of service to that branch of the military and he shared his experiences with Monday’s Veterans Day gathering in Vermillion.


A capacity crowd filled the Vermillion High School gymnasium for the program which featured music from the Vermillion High School Band, a vocal selection my Mitchell Olson who was accompanied by the Vermillion High School Concert Choir, and performances by students from St. Agnes School.


The morning’s program also included the reading of winning essays written by Jolley Elementary fifth graders Dedrick Kinsey and Jenna Peterson and video produced by Vermillion seventh graders followed by a reading by Sahira Abraham, a VMS seventh grader, and a vocal performance by Austin Elementary students.


Muenster, the keynote speaker at Monday’s program, was born in Vermillion and is a graduate of Sioux Falls Washington High School. He earned his undergraduate degree in civil engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology and a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of South Dakota.


Muenster enlisted in the Navy Seabees in 1990 and later earned a commission through the ROTC program. He qualified as a Surface Warfare Officer aboard USS Hewitt (DD966), a Spruance-class destroyer based in Yokosuka, Japan. He also served as CRUDES Maintenance Officer at Southwest Regional Maintenance Center in San Diego.


In 2015, South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard appointed Tom as a founding member of the USS South Dakota (SSN 790) Commissioning Committee. Tom is self-employed as an asset administrator and specializes in private wealth management. Today, he and his wife, Rachel, live not far from Vermillion in Burbank.


In 2015, then Gov. Dennis Daugaard appointed Muenster as the founding member of the U.S.S. South Dakota (SSN 790) Commissioning Committee.


The U.S.S. South Dakota is one of the United States’ military’s newest submarines. It is the third vessel to take the state’s name.

“The U.S.S. South Dakota is an active warship in the U.S. Navy’s fleet today,” he said.


In addition to BB-57 — a South Dakota-class battleship which served during World War II — a Pennsylvania-class armored cruiser was designated USS South Dakota (ACR-9) and served the fleet from 1908-1929, finishing her career as the USS Huron (CA-9) after being renamed in 1920.


This renaming was done as the USS South Dakota name was to be applied to a new ship (BB-49) which was to be the lead battleship in her class; however, this class was canceled due to the implementation of the Washington Naval Treaty.


Much of his talk focused on the veterans who joined him in serving on the submarine’s commissioning committee.


“It all got started on June 23, 2012 when Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus came to Sioux Falls and at the Battleship Memorial announced that South Dakota would receive the naming honor of the 17th ship of the Virginia class of attack submarines,” Muenster said. “Lieutenant Governor Matt Michels was there to accept this honor on behalf of the state of South Dakota.”


The commissioning committee, he said, was tasked with funding and organizing all activities related to the commission of the new submarine.

“The goal was to build relationships between the submarine and the people of South Dakota,” Muenster said. “There are three key milestone events for any ship in the commissioning process. One is the keel laying. That’s the ceremonial start or the building of that particular vessel when keel would be laid.”


The next event, he said, is the vessel’s christening, usually accomplished by smashing a bottle of sparkling wine or champagne on the ship and it officially “becomes its namesake.


“That’s when it (the submarine) became known as the South Dakota,” Muenster said. “And the finally, the culmination of all of that results in its commissioning. That’s when the crew and that vessel are fully mission capable and ready to go to war.”`


The USS South Dakota Commissioning Committee included 20 members, 11 of which, like Muenster, are veterans. Besides Muenster, committee members include BG Jeff Marlette, Captain Deb Bodenstedt, Col. Steve Harding, CDR Ron Hill, CDR Wiley Cress, STCS (SS) Brian Brummet, Jeff Alvey (Navy), Rick Tupper (Navy) and Robert Hovey (Navy).


“Together as veterans, we knew we had some challenges facing this commissioning,” he said. “South Dakota is a small state – there have been 17 other states that had namesake vessels that were commissioned and they were big states – Illinois, Virginia, Texas, Minnesota, Colorado. There was a high bar; all of those states had tremendous commissioning efforts and showed those sailors that they are proud of their namesakes.”

Muenster said another challenge is South Dakota’s distance from any ocean.


“Here in South Dakota, we have a great Army presence, we have a great Air Force presence, but Navy guys are few and far between here in South Dakota sometimes,” he said.


Great opportunities were identified, however, including Battleship South Dakota, one of the greatest ships in U.S. Naval history.


“She earned 13 battle stars during World War II,” Muenster said. “Another opportunity we had is South Dakotans are very pro-military. We have an amazing number of veterans here who have served. We also have family members who know that they have veterans who have served …


 South Dakotans serve in some of the highest rates per capita of any state in the nation. We have an incredible record of service.”

The commission, he said, was fortunate to have the full support of the entire state, including strong backing from Gov. Dennis Daugaard and Lt. Gov. Matt Michels.


The commission had several objectives:


• Introduce the crew of the USS South Dakota to the people of South Dakota

• Promote South Dakota and celebrate the state’s heritage, industries and its people

• Ensure the USS South Dakota has a great commissioning and provide support to crew members to give them the best possible start in the Navy’s submarine fleet


The committee developed several initiatives to follow:


• The christening of the submarine with a South Dakota sparkling wine

• The development of a USS South Dakota Commemorative 1911 pistol

• Including an artistic image of the USS South Dakota in the Mitchell Corn Palace’s exterior art that had a “Salute to Military” theme.

• The creation of a USS South Dakota helmet decal program that included special decals that were placed on the football helmets of the SDSU Jackrabbits and the USD Coyotes teams

• The creation of a USS South Dakota 2018 Harley Davidson motorcycle


Muenster also shared a humorous anecdote of the head chef aboard the new submarine who commented that it would be great to see the new submarine launched into the Missouri River of South Dakota instead of the Thames River of Connecticut, where the vessel was built.


The new sub could never float in the Missouri River, but it could experience Missouri River water, he said.


“We did find a way to bring the Missouri River to Connecticut,” Muenster said. “We collected water from the Missouri River right here in Clay County … and we took those bottles of Missouri River water and we shipped them out to Connecticut.”


On Feb.2, 2018, Senior Chief Chris Peddycoart and Petty Officer Phil Alvey, both South Dakota natives, used that Missouri River water from Clay County to christen the U.S.S. South Dakota for a second time,” he said.


“The very first water to ever touch the hull of the U.S.S. South Dakota came from Clay County and our Missouri River,” Muenster said.

South Dakota veterans, he said, accepted the challenge to make a great commissioning for the state’s new namesake vessel. The new nuclear submarine was put through a set of arduous sea trials before being commissioned.


“I’m pleased to report that the sailors and the submarine performed very, very well. In fact, they had the highest score in the history of the United States Navy,” Muenster said, who added that he’s proud to be one of many veterans who helped to launch the U.S.S. South Dakota.


“Veterans have made a difference by serving our country and they continue to make a difference by volunteering in their communities,” he said. “We have some great veterans’ groups right here in Clay County … and to all the veterans who are here today, I say ‘thank you for your service and thank you for allowing me to be here with you today."^




VA Records Request/VA Records Management Center

Good Read

From Florida Base Submarine Veterans:

“I want to share a recent response we received pertaining to a records request for a veteran.

The VA is becoming slower in their response times to us and they are indicating that due to workload records requests will take longer to honor. Additionally, they are interrupting very literally and will only provide information that you specifically request. In the past requests for a copy of the c-file was a breeze and very painless. I draw your attention to the highlighted portion of this letter where the VA refuses to provide information pertaining to Social Security and redirects the veteran to that agency.

38 CFR 1.521 Special restrictions concerning social security records.

“Information received from the Social Security Administration may be filed in the veteran's claims folder without special provisions. Such information will be deemed privileged and may not be released by the Department of Veterans Affairs except that information concerning the amount of social security benefits paid to a claimant or the amount of social security tax contributions made by the claimant may be disclosed to the claimant or his or her duly authorized representative. Any request from outside the Department of Veterans Affairs for other social security information will be referred to the Social Security Administration for such action as they deem proper.”

This citation and the Center’s action to deny releasing Social Security records is proper. Unfortunately, specific records are used by the VA to reach a decision and the veteran deserves to have access to these records to compare them specifically to VA decisions. By referring veterans to Social Security places unnecessary burden on the veteran knowing they will face a further delay in obtaining this information. The VA has security concerns about releasing this information, however, the requestor in most cases are the veteran or his accredited representative.

Bottom line. If you know there are Social Security records involved, do yourself a favor, in addition to requesting records from the VA do one more thing and request record from Social Security.

I’m doing this to simply want to keep you in the loop.”


David A. Hill

Veterans and Military Liaison

Congressman Ted S. Yoho, DVM

House Agriculture Committee

House Foreign Affairs Committee

Proudly Serving Florida’s 3rd Congressional District

5000 NW 27th Court, Suite A

Gainesville, FL 32606

(352)505-0838 -- Phone




Pacific Commander: Sub-hunting spy plane missions continue in Pacific


By Kris Osborn | Warrior Maven | Fox News| January 9, 2020


The increasingly global reach of Chinese nuclear-armed ballistic missile submarines, armed with JL-2 weapons reportedly able to hit parts of the U.S., continues to inspire an ongoing Navy effort to accelerate production of attack submarines, prepare long-dwell drones for deployment to the Pacific and continue acquisition of torpedo-armed sub-hunting planes such as the P-8/A Poseidon.

The Navy has been moving quickly to increase its fleet of Poseidon’s on an accelerated timetable; in the Navy’s 2020 budget, the service was authorized for a near term increase in Poseidon production by three, moving funding for the year up for nine Poseidons, as cited in a report from USNI news. Last year, the Navy awarded Boeing a $2.4 billion deal to produce 19 more P-8A Poseidon surveillance and attack planes. The Poseidon increase appears to align with the service’s overall Pacific theater strategy, which makes a point to sustain peaceful, yet vital surveillance and Freedom of Navigation missions in the region.


Seeking to overcome the Pacific’s “tyranny of distance” dispersed geography, and track China’s expanding fleet of submarines, the Navy is working with Congress to accelerate and deliver more Virginia-class submarines per year, moving beyond previous plans. The Navy has also been moving to place its new Triton sea drones in Guam.


Interestingly, a Dec. 6 report in the Asia Times cites Pacific Air Forces commander Gen. Charles Brown stating that air patrols “in and around the South China Sea continue.




“We’ve been flying in and around the South China Sea for really about the past 15 years, and I would probably tell you we’ve done some as recently as this week,” Brown told reporters on Dec. 6, according to the Asia Times article.


As part of these missions, Brown specifically cited Poseidon aircraft as well as PQ-4 Global Hawks and U-2 Dragon Lady reconnaissance planes.

Given the Poseidon’s role as a high-tech surveillance aircraft, known for capturing video of Chinese phony island-building in the South China Sea (land reclamation) several years ago, it takes little imagination to envision ways its advanced sensors, sonobuoys and weapons could function as part of a containment strategy against Chinese expansion - - and even operate as a deterrent against China’s growing fleet of nuclear-armed ballistic missile submarines (SSBN).


The PLA Navy has, in recent years, been expanding its reach beyond the Pacific as part of a visible effort to become a major-power international force. Chinese SSBNs have been sighted at great distances from Western Pacific shores, according to numerous news reports - - and the existence of both JL-2s and emerging JL-3s has increased pressure on the US. According to the National Air and Space Intelligence Center, the Chinese had deployed up to 48 JL-2 launchers on submarines as of 2017. With ranges greater than 4,500 miles, JL-2s traveling well beyond China’s immediate vicinity can hold US areas at risk.




In 2018, Captain James Fanell, a former director of intelligence and information operations for the U.S. Pacific Fleet, warned Congress about the need to track and deter Chinese nuclear-armed submarines.


“Every time a [PLA Navy] SSBN departs on a strategic nuclear patrol, the [U.S. Navy] must follow closely enough to be ready to sink them if they ever attempt to launch a nuclear tipped ICBM towards our shores,” he told Congress, according to an essay called “China’s new undersea nuclear deterrent strategy doctrine and capabilities” from the National Defense University. (Dr. Toshi Yoshirara & Dr. James Holmes)

The essay goes on to make the case that, given the difficulties associated with intercepting possible Chinese SLBMs (submarine-launched ballistic missiles), an intelligent way to address the threat might be to “hold Chinese SSBNs at risk so they can be destroyed preemptively before their SLBMs can be launched.”


The Poseidon, alongside ISR-enabled SSN attack submarines, seems well-positioned to help perform this SSBN sub-hunting mission for a number of reasons. Not only is the P-8’s 564 mph speed considerably faster than the P-3 Orion it is replacing, but its six additional fuel tanks enable it to search wider swaths of ocean and spend more dwell-time patrolling high-threat areas. Navy developers explain the Poseidon can operate on 10-hour missions at ranges out to 1,200 nautical miles. More dwell time capacity, fortified by high-speeds, seems to position the Poseidon well for covering wide areas in search of “hidden” Chinese SSBNs.




The P-8A, a militarized variant of Boeing’s 737-800, includes torpedo and Harpoon weapons stations, 129 sonobuoys and an in-flight refueling station, providing longer ranges, sub-hunting depth penetration and various attack options. Given that a P-8 can conduct sonobuoy sub-hunting missions from higher altitudes than surface ships, helicopters or other lower-flying aircraft, it can operate with decreased risk from enemy surface fire and swarming small boat attacks. Unlike many drones and other ISR assets, a Poseidon can not only find and track enemy submarines but attack and destroy them as well.


Alongside its AN/APY-10 surveillance radar and MX-series electro-optical/infrared cameras optimized to scan the ocean surface, the Poseidon’s air-parachuted sonobuoys can find submarines at various depths beneath the surface. The surveillance aircraft can operate as a “node” within a broader sub-hunting network consisting of surface ships, unmanned surface vessels, aerial drone-mounted maritime sensors and submarines. As part of its contribution to interconnected sub-hunting missions, the Poseidon can draw upon an Active Electronically Scanned Array, Synthetic Aperture Radar and Ground Moving Target Indicator.


By lowering hydrophones and a magnetic compass to a pre-determined depth, connected by cable to a floating surface radio transmitter, Poseidon sonobuoys can convert acoustic energy from the water into a radio signal sent to aircraft computer processors, according to a June 2018 issue of “Physics World.”




Also, Poseidon-dispatched sonobuoys can contribute to the often discussed “US Navy Fish Hook Undersea Defense Line,” a seamless network of hydrophones, sensors and strategically positioned assets stretching from coastal areas off of Northern China down near the Philippines all the way to Indonesia, according to an essay from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, called “China’s Nuclear Ballistic Missile Submarines and Strategic Stability.”


An improved aerial sub-hunting presence offered by the Poseidon, it seems, could help reinforce this “Undersea Defense Line” effort to prevent Chinese SSBNs from leaving the region undetected.


Interestingly, Poseidons might offer a significant nuance to the Pentagon’s well-cultivated nuclear deterrence posture, by introducing a technically advanced method of finding and destroying enemy SSBNs from the air. It aligns with the current “offensive power can be the best defense” approach central to the Pentagon’s nuclear-triad strategic deterrence strategy. Holding Chinese SSBNs at risk, could at very least help further deter China from contemplating some kind of sub-launched nuclear strike. The Poseidon could almost function as a kind of connective tissue between the undersea and air portions of the nuclear triad. The current air leg of the triad, consisting of platforms such as the B-2 and B-52 bombers, is not able to track or destroy submarines. A Poseidon could further fortify the air leg of the triad while also providing crucial intelligence to surface ships and U.S. undersea assets seeking to track Chinese SSBNs.


Currently, in service with U.K., Norwegian, Indian and Australian militaries, among others, the Poseidon is increasingly in demand in the international market. ^



USS Arizona and USS Oklahoma to Sail Again, Navy's Acting Secretary Says

Navy ships named USS Arizona and USS Oklahoma will return to active duty with the announcement by Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly that two new Virginia-class attack submarines will be named after American heroes of the greatest generation who perished on the famed Pearl Harbor battleships.


The move brings back into service the hallowed ship names 78 years after both were badly damaged in the surprise Japanese attack on Dec. 7, 1941. Most of the Navy casualties that day came from losses on those two ships.


"I am honored and humbled to name the next two Virginia-class nuclear fast-attack submarines to be built as the USS Oklahoma (SSN-802 ) and the USS Arizona (SSN-803 ), " Modly said in a release. "It is my fondest wish that the citizens of the great states of Arizona and Oklahoma will understand and celebrate our Navy's desire to memorialize the 1, 177 heroes who perished in USS Arizona (BB-39 ) and the 429 more in USS Oklahoma (BB-37 ) in Pearl Harbor, on Dec. 7, 1941."


Modly added that "there is no greater honor I can think of for the Navy, the Marine Corps, and the nation than to build and commission into active service two state-of-the-art American warships carrying the spirit of those heroes of the greatest generation, as well as that of their families and the Grand Canyon and Sooner states as they sail through a new American maritime century."


Approximately 1.8 million people annually visit the Pearl Harbor National Memorial, which includes the USS Arizona, USS Oklahoma and USS Utah memorials, six officer bungalows, three mooring quays, and the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center.


"Today is a proud day for Arizona, " Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey said in a release. "It's been nearly 80 years since the attacks on Pearl Harbor, which resulted in the sinking of the USS Arizona and deaths of 1, 177 of her crewmembers. This ship and the name, 'USS Arizona, ' hold special meaning for our country, its history and the people of Arizona--and today, that legacy begins a new chapter." 


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