Monthly Archives: December 2012

US Submariner drowns while swimming off Guam

USS Buffalo surfacing from the depths of the Pacific Ocean

USS Buffalo surfaces from the depths of the Pacific Ocean

The swimmer who died off the Pagat coastline earlier this week was a Navy sailor from New York City who was set to leave the island in a few months.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Nicholas Barrett would most likely have left Guam early next year if he had not drowned on Monday. Barrett was assigned to the nuclear submarine Buffalo, which will soon switch its homeport to Hawaii.

Barrett was originally from the Bronx borough of New York City, and he enlisted in the Navy in July 2009. He joined Buffalo’s crew in Guam in April 2011, according to a Navy news release.

“Petty Officer Barrett was a friend to everyone in the crew,” said Cmdr. Rick Seif, commanding officer of the submarine. “His strong work ethic and positive attitude were infectious. The thoughts and prayers of the entire crew are with his family and friends during this most difficult time. He will be dearly missed by all of us.”

Barrett died Monday afternoon off the coastline of the Pagat area, which is notorious for rough seas and dangerous rocks.

Barrett was among a group of about nine hikers, and his body was recovered from the water by the HSC-25 Navy helicopter squadron.

According to the Navy news release, preliminary medical tests suggest that Barrett’s cause of death was head trauma and drowning. The death is also under investigation by the Navy Criminal Investigative Service.

According to the release, Barrett was assigned to Recruit Training Command at Great Lakes, Ill., and Basic Enlisted Submarine School at Groton, Conn., prior to reporting to Buffalo. He qualified in submarines, earning the coveted “dolphin” pin, in April 2012 and had recently been promoted to petty officer third class. He had also been awarded a letter of commendation for his outstanding performance during the ship’s most recent deployment.

Source – Navy Times

US$150 million for submarine yard in Surabaya (Indonesia)

KRI Cakra 401: (Tribunnews/Surya/Izi Hartono)

State-run shipyard company PT PAL Indonesia is commencing construction of a 2.5-hectare submarine works and repair facility in the Ujung dock area in Surabaya, East Java, after the government promised to provide US$150
million for the purpose.

During an inspection of warships by the ministry at the PT PAL docks on Friday, Deputy Defense Minister Lt. Gen. (ret.) Sjafrie Sjamsoedin said the submarine project should be completed in 21 months, or by September 2014.

The Indonesian Navy (TNI-AL) expects to have five submarines by 2016 and for the country to be able to produce and maintain its own submarines.

The company will make use of technology from South Korea and Germany at the facility.

The measure is part of the strategic plan for the domestic defense industry.

The government has earmarked Rp 7.9 trillion ($87 million) over the next five years, be it for PT PAL, state arms manufacturer PT Pindad or state-owned aircraft manufacturer PT Dirgantara Indonesia, as well as other private domestic companies to meet the Indonesian Military arms demand, Sjafrie told journalists after the inspection. Rp 1.2 trillion from 2011 until 2012 was assigned for the purpose.

The Defense Ministry has orders in for three tugboats and three 60-meter fast attack missile ships (KCR) from PT PAL and a 105-meter destroy escort (PKR), produced jointly by PT PAL and Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding of the Netherlands.

Three submarines are on order from Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering in South Korea. Two will be built in South Korea and the third in Indonesia, upon completion of the aforementioned submarine works in Surabaya.

TNI-AL currently operates two submarines built at the Howaldtswerke shipyard in Kiel, Germany — the KRI Cakra 401 and KRI Nanggala 402.

The tugboats will be delivered to the Defense Ministry starting in April next year, while the 60-meter PKR will be delivered in December next year.

PT PAL managing director Mohammad Firmansyah Arifin said work would not begin on the 105-meter destroyer, jointly produced with the Netherlands, until the end of 2014, or early 2015.

“In 2013, we will send our experts to the Netherlands to design and plan the construction of the destroyer escort. They will be there for up to 10 months, after which production will commence,” said Arifin.

PT PAL Indonesia will send over 200 operatives (20 designers and at least 180 production experts) to South Korea, on the submarine project. They will be involved in every stage of construction for the two submarines from the design to the production process.

While the two submarines are being built in South Korea, PT PAL will recruit over 250 new staff and build the submarine facility for the production of the third submarine in Indonesia.

It is expected that by 2024, Indonesia will be able to produce its own submarines to meet the anticipated demand for 12 naval vessels.

Source – The Jakarta Post

RSN’s second Archer-class submarine back in Singapore

RSS Swordsman, which is berthed at Changi Naval Base, at the homecoming ceremony on Monday.

SINGAPORE: The Republic of Singapore Navy’s (RSN) second Archer-class submarine is back from Sweden.

On hand to welcome the RSS Swordsman at Changi Naval Base was Chief of Navy, Rear-Admiral Ng Chee Peng, and other senior naval officers.

The RSS Swordsman is one of two ex-Royal Swedish Navy Västergötland-class submarines that Singapore acquired in 2005. It has been comprehensively upgraded, refurbished and tropicalised to ensure its suitability for operations in local conditions.

The submarine’s crew has also undergone extensive training in Sweden since 2008 to acquire the skill sets needed to operate and maintain the submarine.

The RSS Swordsman was launched in Karlskrona, Sweden, on October 20, 2010. It will join the 171 Squadron, under the RSN’s Fleet Command, to enhance the RSN’s capability in securing the seaward defence of Singapore and protect vital sea lines of communication.

The RSS Archer was the RSN’s first Archer-class submarine.

Source – Channel News Asia

Silent sub: Russian noiseless Borei class nuclear submarine immersed

Borei class nuclear submarine Vladimir Monomah at the “Sevmash” shipyard before its launch in Severodvinsk. (RIA Novosti/A. Petrov)

Borei class nuclear submarine Vladimir Monomah at the “Sevmash” shipyard before its launch in Severodvinsk.

Super-modern, powerful and almost noiseless Russian nuclear submarine Vladimir Monomakh has been put in water to become the third ship of the Borei project. The cruiser is about to begin sea trials and mooring to become fully operational in 2013.

Vladimir Monomakh was laid down at Russia’s largest shipbuilding complex Sevmash, located on the shores of the White Sea in the town of Severodvinsk in northern Russia on March 19, 2006 – the 100th anniversary of the Russian submarine fleet.

Borei-class submarine

Length: 170 m
Beam: 13.5 m
Draught: 10 m
Test depth: 450 m
14,720 tons surfaced
24,000 tons submerged
Speed: 29 knots (54 km/h)
Complement: 107 (55 officers)
Armament: 16-20 × Bulava SLBMs
6 × 533 mm torpedo tubes

It belongs to a class of missile strategic submarine cruisers with a new generation of nuclear reactor, which allows the submarine to dive to a depth of 480 meters. It can spend up to three months in autonomous navigation and, thanks to the latest achievements in the reduction of noise, it is almost silent compared to previous generations of submarines.

The submarine is armed with the new missile system, which has from 16 to 20 solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missiles Bulava (SS-NX-30 by NATO classification). The rocket is able to overcome any prospective missile defense system.

On August 27, 2011, the Russian Defense Ministry reported on a successful test of Bulava to investigate its maximum range. The missile was launched from the White Sea, flew 9,300km in just 33 minutes, and then fell in the specified area in the Pacific Ocean.

All Borei class submarines are equipped with a floating rescue chamber designed to fit in the whole crew.

Nuclear submarine (NS) "Yuri Dolgoruky" undergoing sea trials. (RIA Novosti)
Nuclear submarine (NS) “Yuri Dolgoruky” undergoing sea trials. 

The Borei family

The first and head submarine of Borei class, Yury Dolgoruky, has already completed the test program and is to be officially adopted by the Russian Navy on Sunday. Construction of the missile carrier is approximately estimated at around US$770 million, while other Borei class submarines are believed to cost less.

“The hoisting of the flag and the signing of the acceptance act is to be adopted at the Sevmash shipyard in Severodvinsk on Sunday, December 30,” the Rubin design bureau that designed the submarine said in a statement on Saturday.

Another missile cruiser of this project, the Aleksandr Nevsky, is undergoing tests, according to Borisov. While a fourth, more advanced submarine, the Knyaz Vladimir, with enhanced technical characteristics and increased ammunition is currently being built.

Over the next eight years Russia plans to have built 10 Borei class submarines altogether, according to the state armaments program of 2011-2020. All Borei class submarines are believed to provide a basis of naval strategic nuclear forces of Russia in the coming decades.

The nuclear submarine (NS) "Yuri Dolgoruky" in the area of the JSC "Sevmash". (RIA Novosti)
The nuclear submarine (NS) “Yuri Dolgoruky” in the area of the JSC “Sevmash”. (RIA Novosti)
Source – RT dot Com

Inside the Royal Navy’s new £1billion supersub – HMS Ambush

Deadly Hunter Killer submarine is  capable of hearing a ship leaving port in New York… whilst sat underwater in  the English channel

  • One of the world’s most sophisticated and  powerful nuclear submarines
  • Carries dozens of cruise missiles capable of  hitting targets 1,200 miles away
  • Her sonar can detect vessels moving on the  other side of the ocean
  • Powerful nuclear reactor allows her to  cruise non-stop for 25 years
  • HMS Ambush is so hi-tech the giant submarine  doesn’t even need a periscope
She cost around £1billion to build, has sonar  so sensitive it can hear other vessels 3,000 miles away and carries a giant  payload of 38 deadly Tomahawk cruise missiles.

HMS Ambush, the Royal Navy’s newest nuclear  attack submarine, is one of the most sophisticated and powerful vessels of her  type ever built.

The giant Astute-class sub, which was  launched today, is so hi-tech she doesn’t even need a periscope.

Awesome: HMS Ambush, which was built by BAE Systems, is believed to be the world's most powerful nuclear attack submarine. Her huge weapons payload includes super-accurate Tomahawk cruise missiles and Spearfish torpedoes for fighting other vessels

Awesome: HMS Ambush, which was built by BAE Systems, is  believed to be the world’s most powerful nuclear attack submarine. Her huge  weapons payload includes super-accurate Tomahawk cruise missiles and Spearfish  torpedoes for fighting other vessels

Success: The super hi-tech vessel has undergone rigorous testing ahead of today's launch. Despite her size the sub's 103 crew will be tightly packed, with some sleeping up to eight to a room in bunk bedsSuccess: The super hi-tech vessel has undergone rigorous  testing ahead of today’s launch. Despite her size the sub’s 103 crew will be  tightly packed, with some sleeping up to eight to a room in bunk beds

Enlarge Super sophisticated: A cross-section of the sub shows the complexity of her design and the need to fit as much technology in as possible

Super sophisticated: A cross-section of the sub shows  the complexity of her design and the need to fit as much technology in as  possible

HMS Ambush graphic

Her crew instead using a digital camera  system to see above the surface when she is submerged.

Built by BAE Systems, she has enough nuclear  fuel to carry on cruising for up to 25 years non-stop – giving her huge tactical  flexibility.

Her nuclear reactor is so powerful her range  is only really limited by the need for maintenance and resupply.

 Astute-class submarines are the largest,  most advanced and most powerful in the history of the  Navy, boasting  world-class design, weaponry and versatility.

HMS Ambush can travel over 500 miles in a  day, allowing them to be deployed anywhere in the world within two  weeks.

The vessel is also one of the quietest  sea-going vessels built, capable of sneaking along an enemy coastline to drop  off special forces or tracking a boat for weeks.

Detailed: HMS Ambush was fitted out with her sophisticated technology at Devonshire dock hall in Barrow-in-Furness Cumbria. She contains some of the most hi-tech weapons and sonar systems ever created Detailed: HMS Ambush was fitted out with her  sophisticated technology at Devonshire dock hall in Barrow-in-Furness Cumbria.  She contains some of the most hi-tech weapons and sonar systems ever created
HMS Ambush: Her powerful nuclear reactor allows her to travel around the world without stopping. She can cruise for up to 500 miles in a dayHMS Ambush: Her powerful nuclear reactor allows her to  travel around the world without stopping. She can cruise for up to 500 miles in  a day

Foreign forces will find it almost  impossible to sneak up undetected by her incredibly powerful sonar  equipment  that can hear halfway around the world.

Her Tomahawk missiles are capable of  hitting  targets up to 1,200 miles away – making her a vital weapon for  Britain’s armed  forces.

The sub’s commander Peter Green, 47, said the  vessel’s capabilities are ‘unparalleled.’

‘This sub is a huge step forward in  underwater operations,’

‘Her listening ability is quite awesome.  She has a sonar system with  the processing power of 2,000 laptop  computers.

Inside: The weapons room of the £1billion sub. Many details of her weapons system remain top secretInside: The weapons room of the £1billion sub. Many  details of her weapons system remain top secret
Feeding the crew: The submarine's kitchen will be staffed by five chefs providing food 24-hours a day for her officers and crewFeeding the crew: The submarine’s kitchen will be  staffed by five chefs providing food 24-hours a day for her officers and  crew
Technology: Leading engineering technician Andrew Gee tests out the sub's steering system in the control roomTechnology: Leading engineering technician Andrew Gee  tests out the sub’s steering system in the control room

‘It is possible this class of submarine is  the most advanced in the world.’

Another Astute Class sub is currently  undergoing sea trials – and could be operational within a year.

Many details of HMS Ambush’s weapons systems  cannot be revealed for security reasons.

Most of her 103-strong crew live in bunk-beds  measuring two metres by one metre, with up to 18 submariners sharing one  room.

After today’s launch HMS Ambush will begin  sea trials before eventually beginning operations.

VIDEO: Watch the ambush dummy weapons test for the 7,400 tonne  submarine!…


US nuclear submarine to dock in N. Philippine port

A US nuclear-powered attack submarine, USS Bremerton (SSN 698), will arrive in the northern Philippine port of Subic Bay for a “routine port call” on Saturday, the United States embassy said Friday.

The US embassy said the visit will allow the submarine to replenish supplies as well as give the crew an opportunity to rest.

The nuclear-powered attack sub carries 12 officers and 98 crew members.

The USS Bremerton (698) is named in honor of the city of Bremerton in Washington, home to Puget Sound Naval Shipyard.

It is the second US ship to bear the name. The first USS Bremerton (CA 130) was a heavy cruiser of the Baltimore Class commissioned at the close of the second World War.

Source – Global Times

Submarine Escape Training Tank “SETT” – Video clip

The Royal Navy Submarine Escape Training Tank in Gosport is a 30 metre deep pool with hatches to “escape” from at 9m, 18m and a mock submarine tower at 30m. The purpose of the training is to give submariners the confidence to escape from a stricken submarine if it has sunk. The escapees do not use any diving equipment to breathe but due to the expanding volume of gas in their lungs as the pressure reduces, it is possible to continue breathing out all the way from 30m to the surface. This video also shows a demonstration of the Submarine Escape Immersion Suit that would be worn.

Find out more about SETT: Submarine Escape Training Tank

Indian Submarine launched ballistic missile ready for production

India’s submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) is ready for production. Its pre-production test flight on Wednesday from a pontoon off the coast of Visakhapatnam was successful.

The missile is ready for integration with the country’s nuclear submarine ‘INS Arihant’. The capability puts India among the elite club of nations possessing such weapons. These include the US, Russia, France, UK, Israel and China.

The underwater-launched ballistic missile was tested for the minimum range as per the requirement of the user. It achieved all its objectives, said Avinash Chander, Chief Controller R&D (Missiles & Strategic Systems).

The missile system for the nuclear-powered Arihant platform will give the country the complete cycle of possessing options to deploy nuclear weapons from air, land and under sea. This is the tenth flight test of the missile.

The missile has a maximum range of 700 km , according to defence experts.

Source – Business Line

Navy Vets Celebrate Submarine Name- USS South Dakota

Wednesday several local veterans are celebrating a submarine that will now be named USS South Dakota.

The Rapid City Council along with Mayor Sam Kooiker were guests at a presentation by US Navy Veterans to recognize the last submarine of the Virginia Class that will carry the name the name USS South Dakota.

About 12 veterans took part in the presentation and even gave Mayor Kooiker a USS South Dakota hat.

In addition to celebrating the Secretary of Navy authorizing the name of the submarine after our state, Mayor Kooiker took the time to honor a WWII Veteran.

“It means a lot to our community and it means a lot to me to have so many veterans in our community,” says Mayor Kooiker.

The most exciting thing for these Navy Veterans is just the recognition of South Dakota.

“It just recognizes South Dakota- the battle ship South Dakota during WWII was the most decorated ship in the Navy and now we haven’t had a South Dakota for 50-60 years and now we got South Dakota again,” says U.S. Navy Veteran Don Hix.

This is 2 years in the making and many of the veterans can’t wait to be at the commissioning ceremony.

Source – News Center 1

We’re learning from Astute submarine flaws, admiral promises

MoD should not have boasted about ‘classified’ top speed of hunter-killer boats

Astute arrives at Faslane for the first time

Astute sailing up the Clyde estuary into her home port of Faslane, Scotland, for the first time after the journey from Barrow-in-Furness shipyard.

The head of the Royal Navy’s submarine programme has told the Guardian that his team discovered design faults, technical problems and flaws in the construction of the multibillion-pound Astute class boats, but said he was still confident it would enter service on time next year.

In a frank interview in which he spoke in detail for the first time about the challenges of launching the submarines, Admiral Simon Lister also admitted the military should not have boasted about the boats’ top speed.

It was not unusual, he said, for the first of a class to be “a difficult birth”, but he added that the Astute was now the most tested boat in the navy. Lister insisted that lessons were being learned and that changes were already being made to Astute’s sister boats, which are due to come into service over the next decade.

He said he was feeding these modifications into the blueprints now on the drawing board for the submarines, dubbed Successor, to carry the Trident replacement.

Lister said he wished none of the problems on the Astute had occurred, but they were being dealt with and safety had not been compromised. “I wish none of them had happened. I wish I could buy a submarine as if it was a Mercedes-Benz coming off the production line after 10 years of product development. It isn’t that.

“What I would say is that the speed and the quality of the activity to put things right is second to none. The ambition to bring Astute into service in perfect order so that she is able to enter service within three months of exiting the shipyard, if anyone thinks that’s possible, they would be mistaken. A nuclear submarine is a complex beast. It has many different disciplines. It is one of the most complex things man produces.”

Lister said it would be wrong for the military to claim the difficulties were just “stuff and nonsense and teething troubles”, but he said it would also be wrong for critics to write off what is the navy’s most technically advanced boat.

The Ministry of Defence has ordered seven Astute hunter-killer submarines that will cost up to £10bn and expects them to become the backbone of the fleet.

The programme has been hindered by delays and overspends since it was commissioned 15 years ago, and suffered embarrassment in 2010 when Astute was grounded off Scotland – a calamity that led to the commander being removed.

Last month, the Guardian revealed that Astute, which is coming to the end of three years of sea trials, was forced into an emergency surfacing when it sprang a leak, suffered from internal corrosion, and been fitted with equipment and materials of the wrong quality.

Since then the Guardian has discovered new issues. The MoD has admitted to problems with the trays that carry important cables controlling Astute’s sonar, which has led some of them to fray badly. During a recent test, Ambush – the second of the class and also built at BAE Systems in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria – flew its “Not Under Command” flag – which denotes that due to exceptional circumstances it is unable to manoeuvre properly.

Both boats are having to be equipped with an electronic chart system, after a report into the grounding of the Astute in 2010 ordered the upgrade.

Significantly, both have also suffered propulsion problems that have prevented them from reaching or exceeding the speed published by the MoD – 30 knots.

The Guardian has been told that the design is likely to restrict the top speed of all the boats, but the navy will not be drawn on the issue, saying it is a confidential matter. However, Lister insisted the Astute did not have to be a fast boat, and admitted the MoD should have been more cautious about discussing speed when the fleet was first commissioned.

“Is Astute a high-speed submarine? No sir. We have emphasised stealth over outright speed. That is an operational decision we have made, a trade-off, to achieve other capabilities. We haven’t designed this submarine to be quick, we have designed it to be quick enough. Whoever [in the MoD] put ‘this submarine goes at 30 knots’ didn’t understand that the top speed of a submarine is a classified matter and missed out ‘up to’ which is traditionally the formula.

“Because you have poked us, we want to say it [will go] more than 20 knots, which we can say with certainty without giving too much away to the enemy. We don’t reveal the top speed because it would give a potential enemy an advantage. It is a classified number.”

Lister said he had identified three sorts of problems with the Astute: flaws in design that only became apparent when testing started; equipment that broke down too easily; and some problems relating to poor construction at the shipyard.

“In the programme of testing over three years we have identified issues in all of those categories. And got on and fixed them. Is this normal? Where is this on the spectrum of scandalous waste of taxpayers’ money? Is this what we could expect, is this the normal endeavour of dragging any ship out of the dockyard? You will have to make your own mind up. [But] the programme of testing is on track and the submarine will enter service this coming year.

“Every aspect of that submarine has been tested to the limit. It is the most thoroughly tested submarine in the navy today. Point me to any submarine building yard that produces a first of class and I will show you a process that is extraordinarily challenging. The level of challenge in Astute I don’t think has been any more than in the level of challenge in the first of class in other submarines.”

He said he had not and would not compromise on safety, even if that meant further delays to the programme. “I buy these things, I set the pace, I place the demand on the company, I judge whether the product is right enough and good enough.

“My rule is the thing that gives is not safety, the thing that gives is time. Where the shipyard needs to learn to do something it is the schedule that is relaxed to enable that learning to take place. What gives? It is the schedule, which is why Ambush emerged from the dockyard later than planned.”

He added: “The first child has been a difficult birth. We have learned those lessons and every engineering development that we put into Astute has gone into or is going into Ambush. Astute as she emerged from the dockyard will be very different from the seventh one because we learn from Astute.”

Lister said he had 800 people on his Astute team and 1,000 working on the replacement for the Trident-carrying Vanguard class submarines. He said the navy was using the lessons from Astute to refine plans for Successor.

“My policy is to take every lesson I can from every quarter I can find it into the design of Successor and its manufacturing plan. I am having meetings about Successor and attempting to learn the lessons from other areas of the programme – including Astute. You would expect me to. That is what we do.

“I am not sitting down saying ‘Astute has been a failure we are not doing that again’. I am saying what must we learn from our experience on a daily basis in how we put Successor together. Astute is a superb submarine and is going to be the backbone of the fleet, the submarine flotilla, when she enters into service.”

Source – The Guardian