Monthly Archives: July 2013

Major new submarine museum planned for River Clyde

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Two Navy servicemen on a ‘Stickleback’ submarine in 1954. Picture: Royal Maritime Museum

A MULTI-million pound museum to create the biggest ­memorial in the world to more than 5,300 Commonwealth sailors killed in the line of duty, and honour Scotland’s role in the ­development of submarine technology, is planned for the banks of the River Clyde.

 Award-winning architect ­Gareth Hoskins, who designed the £47 million National Museum of Scotland redevelopment, the Culloden Battlefield Memorial Centre and the Bridge Arts Centre, has been asked to draw up plans for the new £6m building overlooking the Firth of Clyde at Helensburgh.

Funding for the proposed Scottish Submarine Centre is being sought from a consortium of private and public bodies with organisers claiming to have secured pledges of more than £1m so far.

An application for £240,000 is due to go before the Scottish Regional Armed Forces Community Covenant Awards Board for approval later this month.

The Community Covenant grant scheme was launched by the Ministry of Defence in August last year. It offers funding of £30m over four years to UK projects which strengthen ties between serving and former military personnel with their communities.

The proposed Submarine Centre will be the only one of its kind in Scotland. Already, the Royal Navy Museum has agreed to donate an X51-class submarine as a centrepiece of the state-of-the-art digital museum to act as a memorial to submariners from around the world.

The midget submarine is a direct descendant of the X-class subs whose crews trained in the Firth of Clyde during the ­Second World War to develop the techniques needed to attack enemy shipping in the narrow fjords of Norway. The X51, improved on the wartime midget submarines, was first unveiled in 1954 on the Gareloch in the Firth of Clyde. Capable of carrying a crew of five, the miniature subs were used for a variety of roles. However, the history of submarines and the Clyde is much longer.

It is hoped the new facility will open by the end of 2016 in time for the 100th anniversary of the K13 disaster. Thirty-two people died when the steam-driven submarine failed during sea trials in the Gareloch near Helensburgh on 29 January, 1917 within sight of the location proposed for the new museum and memorial. Brian Keating, a Helensburgh-based businessman who is driving the project, said: “Helensburgh and the Clyde have been associated with the submarine service for more than 100 years. A lot of work was done here to pioneer the technology.

“The Clyde has also played a major role as a home to submarines on active duty. Many of the most famous and daring ­missions carried out during the Second World War either began here or were in some way connected with the Clyde.

“We want to create a world-class museum which celebrates the marine engineering heritage of the Clyde shipbuilders involved in the development of submarines and serves as a memorial to the brave men from all over the Commonwealth who served in the ­‘silent service’.”

Architect Hoskins, a native of Helensburgh, was recently awarded a series of top awards.

Source – The Scotsman

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Jude Law apes Gibraltar submarine captain for new film Black Sea

ACTOR Jude Law has prepared for his next Hollywood role by joining the crew of an operational Royal Navy nuclear submarine on patrol.

Jude-Law-on-board-submarine-HMS-Talent-in-Gribraltar-for-filmingJude Law on board submarine HMS Talent in Gribraltar for filming

The 40-year-old actor spent several days on HMS Talent learning the life of a submariner, and he remained on board when the vessel left Gibraltar to take part in war games in the Mediterranean.

However, London-based Law, whose film credits include The Talented Mr Ripley and Sherlock Holmes, was not allowed to see the most sensitive operational areas of the hi-tech submarine.

The actor is due to star in the film Black Sea as a British submarine captain who embarks on a hunt for a stolen submarine with gold on board.

He was very down-to-earth, he went around every department and worked out with the Captain

Leading Seaman Anthony Morgan

Crewmen said he immersed himself in the job and made sure he ate with all the officers and sailors. Leading Seaman Anthony Morgan said: “He was very down-to-earth, he went around every department and worked out with the Captain.”

When Law left he was given a “dolphin” badge, which is presented to newly-qualified submariners.

Source – Express

US – SSBNX Under Pressure: Submarine Chief Says Navy Can’t Reduce – Video Clip

SSBN Force Level Requirements: It’s Simply a Matter of Geography

By Rear Adm. Richard Breckenridge Director, Undersea Warfare, OPNAV N97

There have been recent claims that today’s ballistic missile submarine force is operating with excess capacity and, therefore, force reductions to save resources may be in order. As I have noted in response to a recent op-ed, this supposition is untrue – in fact, our lean SSBN force is providing the cornerstone of our national security at a pace that has remained essentially constant since the late 1990s. Even so, questions about the size and capability of our future at-sea deterrence are appropriate to consider as we recapitalize this national asset. Given past force structure reductions from the “41 for Freedom” SSBN force of the 1960s and 1970s, to the 18 Ohio-class SSBNs of the 1980s and 1990s, to our current force of 14 SSBNs, one might wonder, “What is the minimum number needed for strategic deterrence?” Given advances in technology and the changing scope and complexity of post-Cold War deterrence, is there a way to “do more with less” as we field the next class of SSBNs?

The Mission: Delivering survivable nuclear deterrence from large open-ocean areas

The purpose of the SSBN force is to deter nuclear attack against the United States and against our friends and allies. Our “boomers” do this as part of a nuclear triad. The SSBN role is to provide an assured response capability that is survivable, reliable and robust enough to act as compelling deterrent against a nuclear strike from a foreign power. To make sure our SSBNs are survivable, they are operated from bases giving them access to the broad ocean areas in both the Atlantic and the Pacific. They are stealthy – both in transit and on station. They are operated in a manner that makes their locations unpredictable, while still ensuring that our adversaries know that we have the ability to hold them at risk. This enduring, certain deterrent force acts as an important stabilizer; it is always there and always at the ready.

The Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine USS Rhode Island (SSBN 740) returns to Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay after three months at sea, March 20, 2013. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class James Kimber/Released)

The Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine USS Rhode Island (SSBN 740) returns to Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay after three months at sea, March 20, 2013.

Our Current and Future SSBN Force: A case study in system optimization

An unarmed Trident II D5 missile launches from the Ohio-class fleet ballistic-missile submarine USS Nevada (SSBN 733) off the coast of Southern California, March 1, 2011. The test launch was part of the U.S. Navy Strategic Systems Programs demonstration and shakedown operation certification process. The successful launch certified the readiness of an SSBN crew and the operational performance of the submarine's strategic weapons system before returning to operational availability. The launch was the 135th consecutive successful test flight. (U.S. Navy photo by Seaman Benjamin Crossley/Released)

An unarmed Trident II D5 missile launches from the Ohio-class fleet ballistic-missile submarine USS Nevada (SSBN 733) off the coast of Southern California, March 1, 2011. The test launch was part of the U.S. Navy Strategic Systems Programs demonstration and shakedown operation certification process. The successful launch certified the readiness of an SSBN crew and the operational performance of the submarine’s strategic weapons system before returning to operational availability. The launch was the 135th consecutive successful test flight.

Our SSBN force has been “optimized for leanness” based on more than 50 years and 4,000 patrols of proven performance. The deterrent value we provided with 41 SSBNs we now provide with 14 Ohio-class SSBNs. This 65 percent force reduction is a result of two impressive technological developments – the extended range of the D5 missile and quieting technologies that make our SSBNs that much harder to find, even by a persistent and determined adversary. Our boomers are able to exploit the vast reaches of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans to patrol silently while within range of key targets to hold an aggressor at risk.

As we return to our question of the leanest force capable of providing this credible and persuasive deterrent, our answer simply comes down to world geography 101 principles. Because the Pacific Ocean is larger, we operate two additional SSBNs in the Pacific to accommodate range and survivability considerations. Six SSBNs in the Pacific and four in the Atlantic is the bare minimum required to provide uninterrupted alert coverage for the combatant commander.

So if 10 SSBNs is our absolute minimum, why do we need 14 today? The reason hinges on the three-year refueling overhaul at the mid-life of each SSBN removing them from strategic service. Today, of our 14 SSBNs, we operate on average 11 to provide vital nuclear deterrence. Based upon other electronic system modernizations, this minimum force level occasionally dips to 10 operational SSBNs. One important historical note is relevant to the refueling overhaul discussion. The Ohio-class core life exceeded the design estimates of 15 years and the Navy was able to postpone mid-life refueling by six years.  Naval Sea Systems Command engineers then conducted detailed technical analysis of all other shipboard systems and extended the service life of our Ohio class from 30 to 42 years – a mind-staggering 40 percent life extension. This technological feat saved the country substantial budgetary resources, reaping a greater return from the initial investment in this SSBN class; essentially four less SSBNs will be procured during this century as a result of this achievement.

The good news is that this legacy of lean success is being imprinted in the DNA of the new Ohio replacement SSBN. The engineers at NAVSEA and our partners in industry are designing a new boomer with a 42-year service life and a reactor core that will not require refueling throughout the life of the ship. This will reduce the class mid-life overhaul by one-third and we will be able to deploy our 10 operational SSBNs with a force of just 12 total SSBNs.

If you want to see a “lean, mean fighting machine,” look no further than our current and future ballistic missile submarine force.

Source – Navy Life

‘Sub should go on show in Greenock’ – HMS Onyx

CALLS for a submarine to be exhibited in Greenock have resurfaced – following news that a new ‘silent service’ museum is to be opened on the other side of the Clyde

HMS Onyx

SAVE SUB: HMS Onyx could be scrapped if no-one comes up with the money to buy the submarine

Source – Greenock Telegraph

 

The Malpas birthplace of Newport’s submariner hero, Commander John ‘Tubby’ Linton VC, is to get a blue plaque

linton

HONOUR: The Malpas birthplace of Newport’s submariner hero, Commander John ‘Tubby’ Linton VC, is to get a blue plaque

A RENOWNED submarine commander from Newport who was awarded the Victoria Cross will be recognised tomorrow with the unveiling of a plaque on the house where he was born.

John Wallace Linton VC, known as ‘Tubby’, was born in Malpas and went on to command submarines during the Second World War.

He was responsible for sinking around 100,000 tonnes of enemy shipping but died along with his crew, almost certainly due to his submarine, HMS Turbulent, being hit by an Italian depth charge.

The blue plaque will be 18 inches in diameter and will read: “Commander John Wallace Linton VC, distinguished service across the Royal Navy, was born here 15 October 1905. Posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross 25 May 1943 for conspicuous gallantry whilst in command of HM Submarine Turbulent during operations in the Mediterranean Sea.”

It will be mounted on the porch of the house where he was born in the grounds of St Joseph’s Hospital.

This plaque will be the first of a series dedicated to submarine commanders.

Rick Rothwell, secretary of the Submariners’ Association, said: “He was very well thought of by all his crew.

“That goes a long way to a submarine achieving good results, the crew being 100 per cent behind the commander.

“The management committee thought it was a good idea, while there are still living contacts to the submarine VCs, to commemorate them.

“It’s a piece of history that may never be repeated. The submarine service is over 113 years of age and in that very short time it achieved 14 Victoria Crosses.”

The Victoria Cross is the highest military honour for gallantry awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.

Doug Piddington, 81, secretary of the Newport and Cwmbran Royal Naval Association, said: “He (Tubby) was one of the greatest submarine commanders that the country has ever seen.”

A memorial service to Commander Linton is held every year and in 2004 a Wetherspoons pub on Cambrian Road was named after him.

Source – South Wales Argus

WWI submarine graveyard discovered by underwater archaeologists

german u-boat (whatsthatpicture flickr)

A short way off England’s south and east coasts, under less than 50 feet of water, archaeologists have discovered the remains of 41 German and 3 UK submarines sunk during World War I. Der Spiegel reports that the watery graveyard is home to several U-boats that the German Imperial Navy still lists as missing. Now that the vessels have been discovered, the race is on to explore them before they disintegrate entirely.


Nearly half of Germany’s 380 U-boats were lost during the war

The German vessels were an integral part of Germany’s naval strategy at the time, inflicting heavy damages on the British fleet. But when discovered, their slow speed and undeveloped torpedo technology ultimately left them easy prey for warships, and nearly half of Germany’s 380 U-boats were lost during the war.

Since many of the subs were sunk during active duty, the bodies of the crew are expected to still be inside — what are called “disaster samples.” But further examination and preservation of the sites presents some tricky legal hurdles. Firstly, under UK law, the sunken subs are considered “inviolable gravesites.” And secondly, UNESCO doesn’t consider the wrecks to be archaeological artifacts worth protecting since they’re still less than 100 years old.

Source – The Verge

German Submarines for Poland?

ORP Bielik

At the end of May 2013, the German and Polish defense ministers signed a Letter of Intent on naval cooperation. What does that mean for Polish submarine plans?

Poland’s current submarine fleet includes 1 Russian Kilo Class boat, ORP Orzel , which was commissioned in 1986. Another 4 modernized U207 Kobben Class  pocket submarines of German design were given to Poland by Norway, who added 1 Type 207 used for spares/ training. The tiny 435t Type 207s were commissioned in Norway from 1964 – 1967, which doesn’t leave them much of a safe lifespan.

Poland’s 2013 – 2022 defense modernization plan expects to finalize specifications for new submarines by the end of 2013. Two would be bought in 2022, and a 3rd in 2030. Poland’s shipyards had been expecting to participate, and to receive technology transfer benefits.

A copy of the LoI received by Defense Industry Daily sets out 28 named cooperation domains. They include joint exercises and services, exchange of knowledge and personnel, operational activities together, and the acquisition and maintenance of new equipment.

Procurement projects include include common procurement and operation of Joint Support Ships, and of mission modules for Germany’s 6 forthcoming MKS180/ K131 special mission ships. New oilers and tankers are listed as a common development and operation case: Poland operates only ORP Baltyk, and Germany’s 2 remaining Walchensee Class coastal tankers were commissioned in 1966.

U-212A Cutaway

Submarines are mentioned twice, via generic “cooperation in the field of submarines” (#1), and “Establishment of a DEU-POL submarine operating authority” (#8). The first is normal, but the second is an important step, especially in light of recent events in both Poland and Germany.

Germany’s budget has seen steady pressure, leading to planned reductions and sell-offs within a number of major orders. Poland’s defense budget, which had defied European trends, is headed for imminent cuts as 2013 government revenues come in below expectations. The MON has stated that it will protect land systems modernization as a top priority, and recent orders for more wheeled Rosomak IFVs seem to reinforce that trend. On the modern battlefield, airpower is the dominant asset, and Poland’s planning acknowledges that they need to improve both their aerial fleet and their air & missile defense capabilities. The Polish Navy has generally been the lowest priority for Polish military modernization, and current imperatives show no signs of changing that status.

In that environment, new submarines look to face funding challenges, unless the budgetary environment improves.

ORP Orzel

Those circumstances are adding plausibility to an unconfirmed report we’ve received that that the German BWB has proposed leasing 2 of the Deutsche Marine’s U212A submarines to Poland, a move that would keep the German fleet at 4 despite planned deliveries. A common operating authority is certainly a good way to tie that kind of arrangement together, and each government has reasons to like the idea. Not only would Germany save on operating expenses by remaining at 4 boats, they would be able to make money doing it, instead of paying for basic maintenance of mothballed boats. Meanwhile, Poland would avoid the huge up-front cost of buying new boats, and might be able to save money by decommissioning the old, maintenance-intensive U207/Kobben Class boats soon after any U212A lease.

Our source says that a deal could be done by the end of 2013.

If true, the EU can be expected to stick its nose in – as they did in 2010 when the Czech Republic bought/ bartered for 4 C-295M light transports from EADS, without opening the deal to EU-wide competition.

Poland’s shipyards like Stocznia Remontowa Nauta and Stocznia Marynarki Wojennej, whose owners were hoping to use the submarine deal to modernize their aging infrastructure, would also be out in the cold. The Polish shipbuilding industry is a shadow of what it was in the 1980s, when the Gdansk-centered Solidarity movement began bringing down the Soviet Empire. Then again, neither are they easily dismissed.

Source – Defence Industry Daily