Monthly Archives: November 2012

Severodvinsk Sub Fires First Cruise Missile

Severodvinsk submarine

Severodvinsk nuclear attack submarine

Russia’s newest attack submarine, the Project 855 Severodvinsk, successfully fired its first cruise missile at a land target during manufacturer’s sea trials in the White Sea, a source in the United Shipbuilding Corporation told RIA Novosti on Monday.

The Severodvinsk, laid down in 1993, is one of eight Yasen-class boats being built for the Russian Navy.

“The multi-role nuclear-powered submarine Severodvinsk fired a supersonic cruise missile at a land target for the first time during sea trials in the White Sea. The target was successfully destroyed,” the source said, without specifying what the weapon was.

“This is of course a big achievement for the shipyard and United Shipbuilding as a whole. Manufacturers’ trials are drawing to a close and the boat will soon start state acceptance trials,” he said.

The Severodvinsk has a submerged displacement of 13,800 tons, length of 119 meters, speed of 31 knots, and can dive to 600 meters. It has a crew of 90 including 32 officers.

Its main armament consists of 3M55 Oniks (SS-N-26) and 3M54 (SS-N-27) Kalibr cruise missiles and conventional torpedos, rocket-torpedos and mines.

Source – Rianovosti

Delaware’s namesake submarine was a long time coming

 Jill Biden (left), Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, Sen. Tom Carper and Lt. Gov. Matt Denn attend the announcement at the Pentagon.

Jill Biden (left), Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, Sen. Tom Carper and Lt. Gov. Matt Denn attend the announcement at the Pentagon.  /  William H. McMichael/The News Journal


// // // On Apr. 13, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus announced that the next five Virginia-class attack submarines would be named Illinois, Washington, Colorado, Indiana and South Dakota. He said that none of those states had had a ship named after them “for more than 49 years.” Of those five, only two, Washington and Illinois, have a significant U.S. Navy presence.

Actually, it was more than 60 years – 65, to be precise. So someone gave Mabus some bad information or wasn’t sure and was really fudging it with that phrase. According to the press release, the battleship USS Indiana was decommissioned in October 1963. It was sold for scrapping in September 1963. But it was decommissioned in September 1947 – 65 years ago.

That means Newark’s Steven Llanso had the time lapse right in his April 18 letter to The News Journal editor noting that in announcing the new submarine names, the Navy had missed an obvious candidate in Delaware – an oversight remedied Monday. Llanso’s letter, Delaware’s congressional delegation said, was the spark that initiated their lobbying campaign to get the state its own namesake sub, which will join the fleet in 2018.

Down through history, Navy ships have been named after presidents, war heroes and famous battles. Beginning in 1931, the Navy began naming submarines after fish and “denizens of the deep,” with names such as Barracuda and Skipjack. But a famous about-face took place in 1970, when a submarine was named for William H. Bates, a congressman and staunch Navy supporter on the House Armed Services Committee. The powerful Adm. Hyman Rickover, who governed the Navy sub program with an iron fist for decades, had a pithy explanation for the change: “Fish don’t vote.”

But it is the secretary of the Navy, by custom, who gets to name ships.

If the process of naming ships is something of GREAT interest to you … read the October report by the Congressional Research Service. It notes that recent Navy tradition has followed these rough guidelines:

Aircraft carriers are generally named for past U.S. presidents. Of the last 13, 10 were named for past U.S. presidents and two for Members of Congress.

Virginia (SSN-774) class attack submarines are being named for states. One exception has been made: then-Navy Secretary Donald Winter named SSN-785 after former Sen. John Warner of Virginia. Warner was himself a former Navy secretary and a powerful advocate for the service, particularly in his home state, during his years in the Senate.

Destroyers are named for deceased members of the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard, including secretaries of the Navy.

Littoral Combat Ships (LCSs) are being named for regionally important U.S. cities and communities.

Amphibious assault ships are being named for important battles in which U.S. Marines played a prominent part and for famous earlier U.S. Navy ships that were not named for battles.

San Antonio (LPD-17) class amphibious ships are being named for major U.S. cities and communities and cities and communities attacked on Sept. 11, 2001.

Lewis and Clark (TAKE-1) class cargo and ammunition ships were named for famous American explorers, trailblazers and pioneers.

Mobile Landing Platform (MLP) ships/Afloat Forward Staging Bases (AFSBs) are being named for famous names or places of historical significance to U.S. Marines.

Source – Delaware online

Royal Navy submariner admits meeting ‘Russian spies’

Royal Navy submariner admits meeting ‘Russian spies’

Petty officer gathered secret coding programs and met two people he thought were Russian agents, court hears

Nuclear submarines

A Royal Navy submariner was caught trying to sell secrets to Russia in a sting operation led by the security services, the Guardian understands.

Edward Devenney, 30, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to collecting secret coding programs used by the British and attempting to pass the classified information on to Moscow.

Petty Officer Edward Devenney

Devenney, who is formerly from Northern Ireland, was a submariner on HMS Vigilant, a Trident nuclear submarine, when he decided to pass on secrets to the “enemy”, it is understood. The submarine – one of four that make up the UK’s nuclear deterrent – is normally based at Faslane in Scotland but had been refuelling at Devonport dock in Plymouth when Devenney’s activities raised the suspicions of his senior officers.

Devenney’s motivation, it is believed, was unhappiness with his situation and a degree of anger towards his employers after being passed over for promotion, rather than an issue of ideology or money.

A prolific tweeter, his behaviour raised the suspicions of his senior officers and over a period of months an undercover operation was carried out.

This led to Devenney contacting two people he believed were from the Russian secret service and discussing information relating to the movement of nuclear submarines with them. However, he was in fact talking to British agents.

Devenney was arrested and charged under the Official Secrets Act. He appeared at the Old Bailey in London and pleaded guilty to gathering details of encryption programs in breach of the act.

The charge related to collecting information for a purpose prejudicial to the safety of the state between 18 November 2011 and 7 March 2012. The information was described in court as “crypto material” – or codes used to encrypt secret information – which could be useful to an enemy.

Devenney also admitted a charge of misconduct in a public office in relation to a meeting with two people he believed were from the Russian secret service. He admitted meeting the two individuals and discussing the movement of nuclear submarines with them. He denied a further count of communicating information to another person. The Crown Prosecution Service would not pursue this charge, the court heard.

HMS Vigilant’s £300m refit at Devonport involved upgrading the reactor core in a refuelling which will last the submarine the rest of its life. The refit was completed earlier this year and the submarine was returned to Faslane from where it has been taking part in extensive sea trials.

Devenney’s career on board the submarine is likely to be over, however. He is expected to be discharged from the navy if he is given a custodial sentence at the central criminal court in London next month. Parts of the prosecution case will be heard in secret.

Mr Justice Saunders told Devenney: “Your sentence will be adjourned to December 12 when I will hear all the matters and consider them all. Until then you are remanded in custody.”

Assystem Energy and Nuclear Engineers pay a visit HMS/M Vengeance in Devonport

The 15,000 tonne Scotland based Trident submarine ‘HMS Vengeance’ sailed into Devonport in March this year. As part of a £350m Ministry of Defence contract to refit and refuel, it’s been suggested that the ballistic nuclear submarine has safeguarded upwards of 2,000 UK jobs across the defence industry.

Assystem Energy and Nuclear staff pictured outside the Trident refit complex in Babcock’s Devonport dockyard (left to right, Amy Bowers, Tim Wicksteed, Pete Gillham, Mike Ormston & Jason Lockley)

With work on the Vanguard class vessel securing 1,000 jobs at Babcock in Devonport alone, Assystem Energy and Nuclear is representative of a number of other companies involved in ensuring that this nuclear deterrent will continue to operate safely and effectively for years to come once back at sea and operational.

Sitting out of the water in her specially converted dry dock, Assystem Energy and Nuclear were invited to step aboard the 150m (492ft) long vessel. HMS Vengeance, the last of her class to be refitted in Devonport is undergoing a complete overhaul of equipment, improvements to her missile launch capabilities and upgrades to the onboard computer systems. A new reactor core will also be fitted, a core that has been designed to last the submarine until she is finally decommissioned.

UK Trident Submarine – HMS Vengeance – Photo (RN)

As guests of the HMS Vengeance’s Assistant Marine Engineering Officer – Lieutenant Sam Gill RN, Assystem Energy and Nuclear Bristol based engineers couldn’t help but marvel at the size and complexity of the vessel as they set foot onto the submarine’s casing.

” It was great to be able to link the work I’ve been doing with the people who are operating the submarines on a day-to-day basis. The UK’s fleet of nuclear submarines have an excellent safety record and that has only been possible due to the combined efforts of the engineers who design them and the crews themselves, whose meticulous approach to maintenance ensures any problems are identified and dealt with swiftly.” –  Tim Wicksteed (Assystem Energy and Nuclear Stress Engineer)

“It’s proved to be a very successful and rewarding day. Our engineers and designers work hard on lots of submarine projects, but not many of them ever get the opportunity to see where their bits of the puzzle fit into the incredibly large picture. I think it gives our guys a much greater sense of achievement to see their efforts up close” Jason Lockley (Assystem Energy and Nuclear Business Development Manager (ex Submariner))

“You don’t fully appreciate the density or diversity of the systems that are involved until you get to see them installed in an operational environment. It’s absolutely invaluable to talk to the teams that are involved with operating and maintaining the boat and to learn from their experiences”. Mike Ormston (Assystem Energy and Nuclear Principal EC&I Engineer) 

Assystem Energy and Nuclear engineering consultancy specialises in mechanical and electrical design, structural integrity work and the generation of safety reports for many primary nuclear components onboard the UK’s existing submarine fleet. Assystem Energy and Nuclear are also involved with future submarine programmes as well as being heavily involved in the civil nuclear sector, supporting new build, maintenance and decommissioning activities.

Rear Admiral Simon Lister was quoted as saying “The highly sophisticated nature of the work involved in the deep maintenance of these magnificent vessels is testament to the experience and skills of the workforce in Devonport and those in the supply chain across the UK.” (BBC News, 26 March 2012)

One of Assystem Energy and Nuclear’s bright young engineering stars, who’s soon to finish her PhD said.  

When you see the scale of the submarine and all the components involved it’s very impressive – it’s fantastic to get the opportunity to work on such projects. You only have to take a look at projects like this one and others that companies like ours are involved with to realise that we have great engineering talent in the UK. It’s amazing what we can achieve when we put our minds to it. Amy Bowers (Assystem Energy and Nuclear Graduate Stress Engineer)

Assystem Energy and Nuclear would like to thank HMS Vengeance ship’s staff, especially MEO – Lt Cdr Shaun Southward RN & AMEO Lt Sam Gill RN for such an enlightening tour, and the interest shown in how the wider MoD Supply chain works to support the submarine programme.

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Russian Nuclear Submarine Within 200 Miles Of The East Coast When Sandy Hit

Russian Nuclear Submarine Within 200 Miles Of The East Coast When Sandy  Hit

Russian Sierra-2 Submarine

Network  54

For the second time in three months Bill  Gertz at The  Washington Free Beacon claims to have sources confirming a Russian nuclear  submarine was sailing near the U.S. coast.


Gertz is a renowned Washington defense insider and says the most recent  spotting of a Russian Sierra-2 class submarine, believed to be with Russia’s  Northern Fleet, happened as Hurricane Sandy swept up the East Coast.

This would be the first time a Sierra-2 class attack submarine has been  detected near a U.S. coastline and if the report is true, shows Russia is  determined to regain its naval projection power.

The Russian vessel is said to have been conducting anti-submarine exercises  near the U.S. submarine base Kings  Bay in Georgia, but did not threaten a nearby U.S. aircraft carrier strike  group.

From The Washington  Free Beacon:

Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base, north of  Jacksonville, Fla., is homeport for two guided missile submarines and six  nuclear missile submarines. The submarines are known to be a target of Russian  attack submarines. Meanwhile, the officials also said that a Russian  electronic intelligence-gathering vessel was granted safe harbor in the  commercial port of Jacksonville, Fla., within listening range of Kings Bay.

The Russian AGI ship, or Auxiliary-General  Intelligence, was allowed to stay in the port to avoid the superstorm that  battered the U.S. East Coast last week. A Jacksonville Port Authority  spokeswoman had no immediate comment on the Russian AGI at the port.

The last of its class, the titanium hulled Sierra’s were advanced at the time  of their launch in 1992, moreso than Western designs, but they were expensive  and very few were produced. This would be only one  of two active Sierra-2 subs still in active service, both with Russia’s  Northern Fleet.

The Sierra carries two types of anti-submarine and torpedoes that it can  replace with 42 naval mines.

The Beacon reported in August that an Akula class Russian submarine sailed  into the Gulf of Mexico. That story was widely circulated as proof of  Obama’s failure to reset Russian relations, and illustrate the crippling nature  of looming U.S. defense cuts.

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert wrote  of that incident to Sen. John Cornyn (R., Texas)  saying “based on all of the source information available to us,  a Russian submarine did not enter the Gulf of Mexico.”

The Washington Free Beacon is a nonprofit publication funded  by the Center for American Freedom, which  was profiled earlier this year as the conservative counterweight to the  Center for American Progress by Politico’s Ben  Smith.

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