Monthly Archives: May 2013

There’s nothing sadder than the wreck of a once-great submarine

There's nothing sadder than the wreck of a once-great submarine

They dove beneath the waves, and helped to win massive global wars. But submarines can’t submerge forever. Eventually, these old warhorses get swept away by history. Here are some images of the most haunting dead submarines of all time.

Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, May 17 1993

There's nothing sadder than the wreck of a once-great submarine

One submarine tender and 16 nuclear submarines are awaiting scrapping.

The remains of two XT-Craft midget submarines, Aberlady Bay, Scotland, UK

There's nothing sadder than the wreck of a once-great submarine

The XT-Craft submarines are the training versions of the X-Craft that attacked the Battleship Tirpitz in September 1943. Two of these vessels were transported to Aberlady Bay and used for target practice and gun tests by Royal Air Force aircraft.

There's nothing sadder than the wreck of a once-great submarine

There's nothing sadder than the wreck of a once-great submarine

There's nothing sadder than the wreck of a once-great submarine

There's nothing sadder than the wreck of a once-great submarine

Near the Russian naval base of Olenya Bay, Kola Peninsula, Russia

There's nothing sadder than the wreck of a once-great submarine Continue reading

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Submarine deal secures future for hundreds of Glasgow jobs

 IT IS taller than a Glasgow tenement and packs more punch than the late Gorbals-born world flyweight boxing champion Benny Lynch ever did.

The latest structure completed by Clyde shipbuilders

The latest structure completed by Clyde shipbuilders

The latest structure completed by Clyde shipbuilders

BAE Systems Clyde shipbuilders unveiled its latest engineering fete – a man-made island of steel which will tower over Britain’s newest aircraft carrier.

The Aft Island unit is 31m tall.

It is the tallest structure ever to be built at the Scotstoun warship yard and is the maritime equivalent of an air traffic control tower.

A flight commander will take charge of the hand picked personnel who will manage the fighter jets and helicopters which will fly from the new carrier.

The Ministry of Defence has yet to release details of the number of staff who will be on operational duty on ‘the island’ when the nation’s biggest warship goes into action.

But it is thought the on-board controllers could be responsible for up to 40 fighter jets, though the average number is likely to be 12.

The towering steel structure comprises nine decks, which include sleeping accommodation and a briefing room for pilots.

Once completed, it will bristle with radar and antenna.

It will also be used by a sailor to steer the massive carrier, under instruction from the ship’s captain who will be located elsewhere on the vessel.

The latest carrier block to be manufactured by Scotstoun and workers at the sister Govan yard is 32 metres long and unlike any ship ever seen on the Clyde.

Project head Derek McCaffrey, from Stewarton, East Ayrshire, said: “It’s shape dictates its radar signature. The smaller the signature the safer the crew from enemy attack.”

From the first steel cut in January last year it has taken 86 weeks to build the unit. It will be loaded and welded on to a barge in less than two weeks time before taken around Scotland’s northern coastline to Rosyth, where the super sized carrier – being built in sections at yards across the UK – is being put together like a giant metal jigsaw.

The Aft Island is the most intricate and most advanced block produced so far on the Clyde for the multi-billion pound carrier programme and the workmanship has impressed Systems Into Service Director Steven Carroll.

He is responsible for the delivery of both carriers – the Prince of Wales is the second of the fleet.

From the tradesmen at Scotstoun to the yard’s own specialist design engineers, he saluted them all when he said: “They have done a fantastic job.

“It was a 90-week programme but they managed to complete four weeks earlier than scheduled, which is all to their credit.”

 

Govan-based Thales Optronics is to help support the Royal Navy’s fleet of submarines as part of 10-year deal with the Ministry of Defence.

The deal will see the French-owned defence contractor manage the visual systems fitted on every Royal Navy submarine including the periscopes for the four Vanguard nuclear ballistic missile subs which form Britain’s so called nuclear deterrent as well as the five nuclear-powered Trafalgar fleet.

The contract will also see Thales maintain optronic masts fitted on the Navy’s new of Astute nuclear-driven subs.

Thales UK chief executive Victor Chavez, said: “This contract reinforces our positive well-established relationship with the Royal Navy.”

And Philip Dunne, Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology, said said the new long term contract was good for the MoD and Thales.

He added: “Not only will it secure a number of jobs across the UK while delivering savings but will also provide essential support for the combat equipment that helps give the Royal Navy’s fleet of ships and submarines a vital technological edge wherever they are based in the world.”

The latest bumper contract comes almost exactly two years after Thales Optronics won the Queen’s Award for Enterprise after selling more than £100m of military equipment to foreign buyers over a 36-month period.

The defence manufacturer which specialises in optronic based products including hi-tech binoculars used by frontline soldiers as well as laser rangefinders and infra-red thermal cameras was previously known as Barr & Stroud Ltd.

It was a leading Scots engineering company launched 125 years ago in Glasgow and is now located in custom built premises in Linthouse Road.

News of the £600m deal comes as BAE Systems Clyde shipbuilders unveiled its latest engineering fete – a man-made island of steel which will tower over Britain’s newest aircraft carrier.

The Aft Island unit is 31m tall. It is the tallest structure ever to be built at the Scotstoun warship yard and is the maritime equivalent of an air traffic control tower.

A flight commander will take charge of the hand picked personnel who will manage the fighter jets and helicopters which will fly from the new carrier.

The Ministry of Defence has yet to release details of the number of staff who will be on operational duty on ‘the island’ when the nation’s biggest warship goes into action.

But it is thought the on-board controllers could be responsible for up to 40 fighter jets, though the average number is likely to be 12.

The latest carrier block to be manufactured by Scotstoun and workers at the sister Govan yard is 32m long and unlike any ship ever seen on the Clyde.

Project head Derek McCaffrey, from Stewarton, East Ayrshire, said: “It’s shape dictates its radar signature. The smaller the signature the safer the crew from enemy attack.”

From the first steel cut in January last year it has taken 86 weeks to build the unit. It will be loaded and welded on to a barge in less than two weeks time before taken around Scotland’s northern coastline to Rosyth, where the super sized carrier – being built in sections at yards across the UK – is being put together like a giant metal jigsaw.

Source – Evening Times

Retired Veteran Recalls Life on a Submarine During the Vietnam War

USS Woodrow Wilson, ballistic missile submarine

USS Woodrow Wilson, ballistic missile submarine

In a recent interview, Sgt. 1st Class Bruce Lipe, who retired in 2009 after 41 years of collective service between the Navy and the National Guard, shared what it was like to be part of a submarine crew during the Vietnam War. While his days were not spent tromping through thick jungles, but rather hidden in the depths of the Pacific Ocean, he still faced a unique set of challenges while contributing service. The biggest of those challenges? Isolation and communication.

His entire time of service was spent aboard four different submarines (see photos), each with a specific function. The types of submarines included ballistic missile subs, fast attack subs and a patrol gun boat that was assigned to the coastal surveillance group.

His deployment during the Vietnam War was what was referred to as WESTPAC, which covers the area of the western Pacific Ocean and Southeast Asia. Each deployment lasted three to four months and most, if not all, of that time was spent under water within the submarine. Which, of course, meant that for those months under water, the crew was unable to see or feel any sunlight.

USS Daniel Webster, ballistic missile submarine

USS Daniel Webster, ballistic missile submarine

Those that were aboard submarines had to not only be able to perform their own duties and responsibilities, but also had to have an understanding and working knowledge of other jobs on the vessel. In the event that others were not able to perform their regular jobs, the remaining members of the crew had to be able to fill those positions. The inability to carry out a job may be due to the individual, such as sickness or injury, or it may be the result of other circumstances, such as flooding, in which event certain areas of the vessel would be sealed off, making it impossible to rotate work areas.

The submarine community is relatively small compared with the rest of the surface Navy, and the camaraderie within the submarine community is uniquely its own. While the brotherly bond is strong, as it is in within any military unit, residing within the depths of the ocean for several months at a time with only about 100 people in a 33-foot diameter metal tube, the bond can be distinctive. And there’s an understanding of challenges they all face in such conditions, an understanding which carries over even once back on land.

USS Queenfish, fast attack sub

USS Queenfish, fast attack sub

Due to the nature of the environment, the psychological and other screenings required to be stationed on a submarine are much more in depth, as adverse reactions, such as claustrophobia and paranoia, are much more likely to occur. In addition, one of the biggest challenges faced by those stationed on submarines is the effect of isolation.

During the time of the Vietnam War, communications on submarines were slow and unreliable at best. Sailors were allowed to receive communication through familygrams, a 25 to 50 word message. They could receive these messages, but not send any. Another problem was that family members sending the familygrams had no way of knowing whether or not the message was received. Oftentimes, those aboard the submarine would have to wait to receive news of any kind until surfacing, which could be up to four months later. Obviously, technology has since changed and communications are much improved aboard submarines.

USS Antelope, patrol gun boat

USS Antelope, patrol gun boat

Lipe then goes on to talk about the attitude surrounding the Vietnam War, describing it as “an unpopular time.” For the most part, soldiers were not looked upon as heroes. They were ridiculed and insulted, called horrific names and spat upon. Many soldiers were warned to change out of uniform immediately upon returning home, as Lipe explains, they “were not welcomed by the American people,” and for the most part were made to feel as if they had done something wrong for being a part of the war, regardless of the part that they played. He recalls a time when he came home on sick leave and was spit on in the airport. There was much animosity present and soldiers were often told, more or less, to just “suck it up and drive on.” And Lipe shares that that’s exactly what he did, keeping all of the emotions of the war bottled up inside for years.

With different times came different wars, and it wasn’t until many years later, during Desert Storm, that those emotions were released. Seeing the support of the American people for the soldiers during that time was the beginning of healing the emotional hurt from the Vietnam era. And some say, including Lipe’s wife, that the American people felt an obligation to treat those soldiers with the love and support that they so bitterly lacked during Vietnam.

Even those who were not deployed were still involved in the welcome home parades of Desert Storm and that’s when Lipe was truly able to let go of the negativity he had felt since Vietnam. He explains that he was reluctant to be involved, but nonetheless was. “When we crossed the Broadway Bridge over the Arkansas River and saw the crowds that had come out, lined up as far as you could see, and eight, 10, 12 people deep… a lot of those feelings were released.” Continuing on, the more recent events of 9/11 has molded the American public’s view, and the soldiers are once again getting the respect that they deserve.

He then goes on to talk about the outpouring of support that the soldier’s would receive, not only upon returning, but any time they were out and about in uniform. This was a support that the soldiers in Vietnam lacked. He spoke of taking flights and being moved to first class and going to pay for a meal in a restaurant, only to find that someone had already paid for it.

Jennifer Cruz on her wedding day with her father, Bruce Lipe.

The author on her wedding day with her father, Bruce Lipe.

Average Americans can feel respect and support for today’s soldiers, but often don’t know how to show it. Other than supporting organizations that strive to help vets, they are unaware how to show that they care. Sometimes the smallest gestures can mean the most, so the next time you’re out and see a soldier in uniform, pay for their meal, or just simply take the time to shake their hand and say, “Thank you for your service.”

US nuclear submarine fit for porpoise – Video Clip

AMERICA has a new submarine which is fit for a porpoise.

Or rather, it’s fit for dolphins – two of which appeared to give USS  Minnesota the seal of approval as they spectacularly surfed its churning bow  wave during recent, successful sea trials.

The beautiful moment when the two mammals swam into the 8000-tonne Virginia  class boat’s forward wake was captured on camera and has been shared widely  online by gobsmacked viewers.

The video shows the dolphins leaping high into the air as the huge nuclear  attack sub, launched late last year, barrels across the surface at up to  46km/h.

Two Navy personnel can be seen watching from the conning tower as the mammals  ride the wave, apparently enjoying being propelled forward so quickly.

 

“That is a beautiful sight! That must be like a surfer’s dream to the  dolphins,” one online viewer commented. 

Dr Hugh Finn, a researcher at WA’s Murdoch University, said he’s seen  dolphins riding the bow waves of Australia’s Collins class subs in Cockburn  Sound, off Fremantle’s coast.

“Essentially the dolphins get a free ride from the pressure wave that a ship  creates in front of it,” he told AAP.

“The ship is moving the water for them and they are quite adept at riding the  wave.

“The same sort of phenomenon – including the leaping – occurs when dolphins  ‘surf’ waves along the coast.”

Source – News Com. AU

Indian submarine in distress gets Egyptian help

India’s submarine INS Sindhurakshak received help from Egyptian Navy when it encountered extreme bad weather and rough sea on its way back home after mid-life up-gradation in Russia.
The Sindhurakshak, a Russian Kilo Class submarine built in 1997 at Admiralteiskie Verfi shipyard in St Petersburg, underwent mid-life up-gradation.

The Egyptian Navy towed the submarine to Port Said along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in March, sources said.
Indian submarine in distress gets Egyptian help

Welcoming the gesture, Indian ambassador to Egypt Navdeep Suri praised the professional handling by the Egyptian Navy.
Indian submarine in distress gets Egyptian helpIn thank you cable to Egypt’s Defence and Military Production Minister Gen Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi, Suri said, “(Egyptian) Naval troops towed the submarine in a professional way to a safe Egyptian port”, the official MENA news agency reported.

Source – Zee News

Applied Integration, in Stokesley, North Yorkshire, wins contract to supply control systems for HMS Agamemnon and HMS Ajax

Applied Integration, in Stokesley, North Yorkshire, wins contract to supply control systems for HMS Agamemnon and HMS Ajax

One of the Royal Navy's astute-class submarines

One of the Royal Navy’s astute-class submarines

NUCLEAR-POWERED Royal Navy attack submarines will defend the nation backed by North-East technology firm.

Applied Integration, based in Stokesley, North Yorkshire, has secured a multi-million pound deal to design and develop control systems for HMS Agamemnon and HMS Ajax.

The company, which already designs software for the HMS Audacious and HMS Anson submarines, will devote a 12-strong engineering team to a four-year programme building visual mechanisms allowing Royal Navy operators and sailors to manage conditions on the UK’s largest and most powerful fleet of submarines.

One of the Royal Navy's astute-class submarines

 

Garry Lofthouse, director, said the contract, with BAE Systems, was one of the most technical in the world, and similar to building a space shuttle.

He revealed it had helped the company create three engineering jobs and hoped to increase that number in the near future.

He said: “To be involved in the defence of the nation is amazing.

“It was a lot of hard work getting there but we’re unbelievably proud to be designing and developing the most complex build in the world here in the North-East.

“It is a massive challenge but we’ve already proved we are more than up to the job.”

Mr Lofthouse said it has achieved its five-year targets in only fine months, and the latest contract is the company’s third submarine deal with BAE.

My Raywood said: “Our first contract five years ago gave us stability and acted as the launch pad for us to grow the business, and to secure deals three times ahead of some of the UK’s largest systems manufacturers has been a major coup.

“It is a very tough and challenging programme but we have built our reputation on delivering world-class results to the Ministry of Defence and Royal Navy.

“It’s been an extremely steep learning curve but the experience we have gained means we are now in the perfect position to continue to meet the highest standards every time the bar is raised.”

“Our senior engineers are truly exceptional and our staff deserve great credit for our success.”

Source – The Northern Echo

World’s biggest Russian nuke-submarines to be scrapped

Russian nuke-submarine

Russia will decommission and scrap two of the world’s largest submarines by 2018, a defence industry source has said.
The Severstal and the Arkhangelsk, both Project 841 (Typhoon-class) ballistic-missile submarines, are based at Severodvinsk on the White Sea. They will be withdrawn from the Navy by this year-end and will begin to be dismantled.
“This process is to be completed before 2018-2020 at the latest,” the source said, adding the boats are outdated and it is too costly to modernise them.
A third submarine of this class, the Dmitry Donskoy, has been modernised as a test platform for Russia’s new Bulava submarine-launched ballistic missile It will remain in service in that capacity for some time yet, the source said.
Six Typhoon-class submarines entered service with the Soviet Navy in the 1980s, and remain the largest submarines ever built. Three have already been scrapped.

Source – India Today