Category Archives: The world’s submarines

News, views and stories about the rest of the world’s submarines

World War II Japanese mega-submarine discovered off Hawaii

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  • The Hawaii Undersea Research Laboratory Pisces V submersible at the deck of the I-400 submarine. (NOAA HURL ARCHIVES)

  • I-400.jpg

    The I-400 was one of the “Sen-Toku” class submarines, which were the largest submarines ever built until nuclear-powered subs were invented. It could travel one and a half times around the world without refueling.

A Japanese submarine that was lost at sea after it was intentionally scuttled by the U.S. Navy during World War II has been located by a team of explorers off the coast of Hawaii.

A spokesman for the University of Hawaii at Mānoa said in a press release the discovery of the Imperial Japanese Navy’s mega-submarine, the I-400, solves the decades-old mystery of where the submarine lay on the ocean floor.

The I-400 was one of the “Sen-Toku” class submarines, which were the largest submarines ever built until nuclear-powered subs were invented. It is 400 feet long and could travel one and a half times around the world without refueling.

“The I-400 has been on our ‘to-find’ list for some time,” said veteran undersea explorer Terry Kerby, who led the expedition that found the submarine. “It was the first of its kind of only three built, so it is a unique and very historic submarine.”

Kerby said finding the submarine where they did was “totally unexpected” because they had expected it to be further out to sea.

“It was a thrill when the view of a giant submarine appeared out of the darkness,” Kerby said.

The U.S. Navy captured the I-400 and four other Japanese submarines at the end of the war and brought them to Pearl Harbor to inspect them. In 1946, the Soviet Union demanded access to the submarines under the terms of the treaty that ended the war.

Instead of allowing the Soviets access to the submarines’ advanced technology, the U.S. sunk them and claimed to have no information about where they were. Four out of the five submarines have since been located.

The I-400 was discovered in August and its discovery was announced Tuesday, after the NOAA reviewed the discovery with government officials in the U.S. and Japan.

Source – Fox News

China – Nuclear submarine fleet comes of age

Sailors stand at attention on the nuclear submarine, stationed at the Qingdao base.

Sailors stand at attention on the nuclear submarine, stationed at the Qingdao base.

Excellent safety record, demanding training make force exceptional

China’s nuclear submarine fleet has had a remarkable safety record for more than 40 years and gained rich experience through rigorous training and drills, its fleet commanders said.

“We are China’s first nuclear submarine force, and the 42 years since our establishment have witnessed our success in avoiding nuclear accidents,” Rear Admiral Gao Feng, commander of one of the People’s Liberation Army navy’s submarine bases, told reporters during a rare open house in Qingdao.

China's nuclear submarine conducts a drill with other submarines.

China’s nuclear submarine conducts a drill with other submarines.

This is a tremendous achievement because almost all of the other naval powers in the world, including the United States and Russia, have had nuclear accidents on nuclear submarines, Gao said.

Senior Captain Jin Xupu, deputy chief of staff of the base, said nuclear reactors at nuclear submarines are much more sophisticated than those used in nuclear power stations and require higher safety standards.

“A nuclear submarine is like a moving nuclear power station, and its reactors must be capable of resisting stormy waves.”

Soliders stand guard at the Qingdao submarine base

Soliders stand guard at the Qingdao submarine base

 Jin said crewmembers on nuclear submarines must be able to respond quickly and promptly to any kind of contingency, such as a steam leak or fire.

“It’s very difficult to handle a fire during combat because the situation is different than when the submarine stays on the surface or it is peacetime, so crewmembers must pass numerous training tests and exercises on emergency response.”

When stationed in the base, captains and their crewmembers must check equipment on the boat on a weekly basis so that hazards can be discovered and fixed before the submarine leaves the base, said Peng Weihua, head of equipment supervision at the Qingdao base.

Ever since it was founded, the elite unit has been maintaining a low profile. Military observers and analysts have had few opportunities to look inside the deterrence force.

Sun Ruiqiang, a submarine captain, gives orders during a drill

Sun Ruiqiang, a submarine captain, gives orders during a drill

 The official debut of the fleet was in 2009, when the PLA navy celebrated the 60th anniversary of its founding with a spectacular parade that included warships from China and 14 other nations.

Two nuclear submarines of the Chinese navy led the parade and attracted much attention from the international media and the public, with many foreign military observers speculating that China’s nuclear submarine force had become strong and confident enough to show its muscle.

However, the force had chosen to continue a low profile until a recent open house for Chinese journalists.

“After more than 40 years of development, now is the time for us to show the world our determination and ability to safeguard peace and tell our people about this ‘mysterious’ force,” said Rear Admiral Li Yanming, political commissar of the Qingdao base.

Officers walk past the submarine's nuclear reaction cabin

Officers walk past the submarine’s nuclear reaction cabin

With China’s advancements in technological and manufacturing capabilities together with the increasing investment in arsenal modernization, the nuclear submarine fleet has made huge strides in its long-distance patrol trainings, senior officers said.

“I think the claims of some on the Internet that we are backward and can’t defeat other nations’ navies are biased,” Gao said. “Although our boats are not as advanced as our rivals’, we have the ‘spirit of victory’, and our tactics are good enough to enable us to compete with them.”

Moreover, the training and drills are designed for and simulate actual combat, leading to submariners being well prepared for any situation, he said.

In addition, we have gained a lot of experience through confrontation with our rivals, and such occasions testify to our prowess and confidence.”

Gao’s remarks were endorsed by retired commanders.

Qu Weiping, former political commissar at the base, said: “A nuclear submarine is a symbol of a powerful nation and a guardian of national security. We are the only maritime strategic force in Asia and an important part of the navy’s emergency-response combat forces.”

Qu said he has received several foreign military delegations that have visited Chinese nuclear submarines, and they all spoke highly of the crewmembers’ performance. Although he is unable to compare the skills and abilities of foreign submarines’ crewmembers with his own submariners, “I am convinced our men are able to rival any of their foreign counterparts”.

He said the world record for longest voyage of submarine, 90 days, was set by one of his boats, and the distance it traveled is one and a half times the length of the equator.

Wang Ping, a retired officer at the base who had been political commissar on a nuclear submarine, said he had taken part in receiving a visiting delegation of French naval officers.

“Back then, our vessel and equipment were backward compared with theirs, but they were impressed by the good condition of our equipment and my officers’ excellent ability to operate and maintain them,” he said.

Officers said their dreams have become realities as more advanced submarines and weapons are delivered to them.

“When I first joined the nuclear submarine force, becoming a captain was my dream,” said Senior Captain Yang Su, deputy commander of the base.

“And now, what I dream is to navigate our most advanced, modern nuclear submarine to sail around the world to promote peace and friendship

Source – China Daily

Canada – Underway on board a Canadian submarine (Video)

No one would argue the Canadian Navy has had an easy time of it with its four Upholder-class diesel-electric submarines. Each one has been plagued with problems since they were acquired from the British Royal Navy a decade ago.

Here’s a nice video of one of them, HMCS CORNER BROOK (ex-HMS URSULA) underway in early June 2011. One of three submarines based on the west coast at Esquimalt, British Columbia, the CORNER BROOK had just transferred from the east coast when this video was shot.

Sadly, the cheerfulness shown in the video didn’t last long. The submarine struck bottom while operating submerged near Vancouver Island in Nootka Sound on June 4, 2011. Despite injuries to two sailors and damage to the submarine, CORNER BROOK was able to return to Esquimalt under her own power. There she remains, awaiting full repairs that are not expected to be completed until at least . . . 2016.

Of the four Upholder-class submarines, only one, HMCS VICTORIA, is operational, although she has yet to be elevated to the fully operational status.

Source – Defence News

Russia to hand over first submarine to Vietnam in November

 Admiralty Shipyards this year will hand over to the Vietnam Navy, the first of the six diesel-electric submarines of Project 636 Varshavyanka.

submarine, russia, vietnam, navy, kilo class
Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung visited the 636 Kilo class submarine named “Hanoi” of Vietnam’s navy during his visit to Russia

The first of the six submarines of project 636, built at the Admiralty Shipyard has passed the tests successfully

“The tests have been completed. The delivery of product signing is scheduled in early November this year. In late January 2014, the submarine will be sent to Cam Ranh and the final minutes of the receipt of goods will be signed,” a spokesman for the shipyard said.

Earlier, the “Kanwa Defense Review” magazine, dated November, made an exclusive interview with Deputy Director of RUBUN Design Bureau (Russia), Mr. Andrey Baranov, who said that the manufacturing of the six Kilo 636 class submarines for Vietnam was progressing very smoothly.

Under the plan, in 2014 Russia will hand over a 636 Kilo class submarine to Vietnam, three others in 2015 and the last two in 2016. These boats are equipped with more modern technology than the submarines of the same type of the Chinese navy.

Source – Vietnam Net

UK – MP is impressed with submarine contractor’s work

Penny Mordaunt MP visits Atmosphere Control International Ltd in Hilsea, pictured with managing director Steve Cassidy

Penny Mordaunt MP visits Atmosphere Control International Ltd in Hilsea, pictured with managing director Steve Cassidy

A DEFENCE contractor for naval submarines impressed a Portsmouth MP with its equipment and standards of work.

Penny Mordaunt, Portsmouth North MP, visited Atmosphere Control International and was given a tour of its headquarters.

The business, based in Williams Road, in Hilsea, makes air purification equipment for UK nuclear submarines allowing the sailors to breathe for months in their underwater vessel.

Its life support systems allow the submarines to obtain oxygen from the sea but it also makes gas management systems to dispose of unwanted gases such as hydrogen, carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide.

In the 1970s, the business was put on the Royal Navy’s nuclear submarines programme.

The main challenge to overcome for the programme was how to maintain a breathable atmosphere onboard the submarine over a period of several months without servicing or using a snorkel.

Now, the company is supplying all UK submarines as well as many overseas nuclear and conventional submarines.

Ms Mordaunt said: ‘Atmosphere Control International is a really incredible place and a great company.

‘I realised this morning that the last time an MP has been to look around was the 1980s so a lot has changed since then.

‘I was really pleased that I was able to see them because they do some amazing work.

‘They supply some great equipment to our submarines and I found it all so interesting. I was really grateful that the business showed me around.’

Ms Mordaunt found the whole experience helpful as she is working on the Defence Reform Bill.

By seeing behind the scenes, the MP said it gave her a better understanding of what businesses need and the standards of equipment they have.

She added: ‘It was very very helpful and it was great for me to see what happens at a successful supply chain.

‘We often see and hear about BAE Systems but it’s not very often that you get to learn about the smaller ones and see how they are coping and what sort of equipment they have.

‘I was very impressed with the standard of equipment but they need to keep up to date as the submarines change so the reform bill is really important for things like that.

‘The visit helped a lot and I can understand better what is going on behind the scenes.’

Source –The News

Aus – Collins one of the most capable conventional submarines

THE navy has defended its troubled Collins-class submarines, saying it had to identify properly all of their faults in a report to help determine whether their service life could be extended.

Defence said the Collins remained one of the most capable conventional submarines in the world despite a report, revealed in The Australian this week, that found 68 critical faults that could force the boats into early retirement.

The report by the Defence Materiel Organisation late last year found hopes of extending the life of the six Collins submarines until the 2030s when new submarines could be built would be “unachievable” unless urgent action was taken to fix major systems faults aboard each boat.It revealed that the submarines were getting hotter, heavier and noisier each year and detailed flaws in the diesel engines, command and control systems, periscopes, sonars and other key systems and equipment.

This contrasted with the sanitised public summary of the report given by the former Labor government that focused on a single sentence in the report saying that there was “no single technical issue” which would prevent the service life of the boats being extended.The report’s findings have left the new Coalition government with difficult choices about whether to attempt to extend the life of the submarine fleet or purchase or lease smaller submarines as an interim measure to ensure Australia continues to have submarines to defend it into the early 2030s.

Defence said the submarines were subject to a rigorous safety and certification system and were operated by a dedicated and well-trained team of officers and sailors.It said The Australian’s articles were based on “an internal report prepared by the Defence Materiel Organisation which examined the feasibility of extending the life of the Collins-class submarine”.

“The purpose of the report was to identify potential issues and risks that would need to be addressed to extend the life of the class,” Defence said.”This is a common and normal process to be followed if consideration is being given to the life-extension of any system. It was always expected that the report would identify systems that would require attention should a life-extension be required.”Defence said many of these were already known and some were being addressed in planned upgrades or through continuous improvement programs.”As with any risk analysis, a risk must first be identified before it can be assessed and determined whether controls will need to be put in place to manage the risk,” it said.Defence said there had been “significant improvement” in submarine availability over the past 15 months. It said its submarines were “busy operating domestically and as far afield as conducting exercises in Japan and Hawaii”.

“This is a testament to the hard work being conducted by all members of the submarine enterprise involved in the sustainment of the Collins-class submarine,” it said. The DMO report made it clear that any plan to extend the life of the Collins fleet would be high risk.

Source – The Australian

Development of China’s fourth-generation nuclear submarine completed

Hong Kong media prattle about China's fourth generation nuclear submarines: MHD propulsion Speed ​​100

Chinese navy next 096 strategic missile submarines

At the recent 2013 Four Northeastern Provinces Cooperation Leaders’ Conference held in Ordos, Inner Mongolia, Tan Zuojun, vice governor of Liaoning Province and former general manager of China State Shipbuilding Corporation, revealed that development of China’s fourth-generation nuclear submarines and other high-tech weapons and items of equipment in the Northeastern Provinces of China had been completed. The news attracted considerable attention.

The fourth generation nuclear submarine features high performance and low noise

Military expert Du Wenlong pointed out that the main characteristic of the fourth generation nuclear submarine would be its high performance. Compared with earlier submarines, modern attack submarines differ significantly in offensive power, possessing both anti-submarine capabilities and also strong potential for anti-ship action and attacks on land-based targets. He pointed out that the fourth generation nuclear submarines of the United States and Russia already have these capabilities; China’s fourth-generation nuclear submarines too will be equipped with the appropriate torpedoes, along with missiles suitable for use against other sea-going or land-based targets. In addition, the Chinese submarine will have low noise output, a key indicator for measuring a modern nuclear submarine’s underwater survival capacity, as well as its ability to remain hidden during maneuvers, or undetected while launching an attack. He pointed out that the fourth-generation nuclear submarine will possess effective noise damping features, such as a quieter nuclear power plant with less vibration, and a more advanced hull muffler system, so that it will be difficult to detect even if within range of enemy sonar.

On the question when the fourth-generation nuclear submarine will enter service, Du Wenlong said that completion of development and completion of construction are two different phases – the cycle from completion of development to manufacturing, and then to fitting out and launch, can be very long, perhaps several years. Progress is determined by two factors: one is technical indicators, and the other is strategic need.

A significant enhancement of nuclear counterattack capability

Analysts believe that continual development of attack submarines and strategic nuclear submarines at times of peace, adding better performance and greater combat ability, can enhance strategic deterrence capability. China’s strategic nuclear forces are weapons to deter third parties from becoming involved in local conflicts. China firmly adheres to the principle of non-first use of nuclear weapons, but the existence of strategic nuclear submarines will give China a stronger voice and more room for maneuver in the case of any crisis. In addition, Song Xiaojun points out that the United States, Russia, Britain and France all possess modern strategic nuclear submarines as a symbol of their status as ‘Great Powers’; it is natural that China should be unwilling to lag behind.
Source – English People Daily

 

15 hospitalized after fire on Russian nuclear submarine

      

MOSCOW, Russia – Russian investigators on Tuesday, September 17 said 15 servicemen had been hospitalized after a fire during repairs on a nuclear-powered submarine in the Far East, with the vessel sustaining significant damage.

The Russian Investigative Committee, which probes major crimes in Russia, said it had opened a criminal probe into suspected abuse of authority over the fire on the Tomsk submarine in the Bolshoi Kamen shipyard in the Russian Far East.

“The Tomsk partly lost some of its functional characteristics” as a result of the fire, the investigators said, without giving further details on the nature of the damage.

“The health of 15 servicemen was harmed and they are now receiving treatment in a military hospital,” the statement said. It did not give further details on the nature of the injuries.

Initial reports about the fire on Monday morning on the Tomsk made no mention of the injuries or the damage to the vessel.

Reports on Monday said that the staff were evacuated after the fire, which took place during welding operations. The fire was said to have produced smoke rather than an open blaze.

Officials emphasized that the submarine’s reactor had long been shut off and posed no danger of radiation leaks. All its weapons had been removed before the repair work was undertaken.

However a source familiar with the situation told the Interfax news agency in MoscowTuesday of the near-farcical circumstances as workers on the scene unsuccessfully tried to put out the fire.

“There was a fire-extinguisher but it was empty. They called the fire brigade and tried to put it out themselves but nothing came out,” said the source.

The first fire engine only arrived on the scene some 20 minutes after the fire broke out, the source said.

“The repair workers are specialists of the highest class. But it seems that on this occasion they lost their alertness. The chain of errors was long and everyone is going to make the corresponding conclusions,” the source added.

Russia’s aging fleet of nuclear-powered submarines has long been the subject of safety concerns. The rubberized coating on the Delta IV class submarine Yekaterinburg caught fire in a major blaze in December 2011, injuring nine people.

Reports later said that the vessel was armed with long-range missiles.

Source – Rappler

Vietnamese PM visits Hanoi submarine in Russia

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung on Monday visited Vietnamese crew members on Hanoi submarine, the country’s first Kilo class submarine, docked at the Port of Kaliningrad, Russia while on an official trip to Moscow.

The submarine, named Hanoi, is the first of six Kilo-class submarines that Vietnam contracted to buy from Russia during Dung’s visit to the country in 2009.

According to the contract, the Russian side is also responsible for training sailors and supplying necessary equipment for the submarines.
The Kilo-636 submarine was built in Admiralty Verfi Shipyards in St. Petersburg and is being tested near Svetlyi port in Kaliningrad.

The submarine, which has successfully experienced 23 test dives, has a displacement of 3,000-3,950 tons, can operate at a maximum depth of 300 metres and at a range of 6,000-7,500 nautical miles for 45 days and nights, and carry a crew of 52.
Having  the quietest engine in the world, the submarine is the best choice for reconnaissance and patrols.

In talking with sailors aboard, the Prime Minister expressed his hope that the crewmembers will promote their proactiveness, activeness and creativeness to overcome all difficulties and rapidly grasp modern military technologies so that they can master the ship after it is transferred to Vietnam, Vietnam News Agency (VNA) reported.

Captain Major Nguyen Van Quan, on behalf of the crew, thanked the Party, State and people for their care for the submarine’s crew in particular and the naval force in general.

Quan said all the crew men are committed to do their utmost to rapidly acquire the latest military technologies and fulfill their assigned missions, according to VNA.

The same day, Dung had a meeting with the press in Kaliningrad , expressing his delight to visit such a peaceful and hospitable city.

He affirmed that the Vietnamese people will never forget the support that Russia has given to their country during the past struggle for national independence and unification as well as the current national defence.
Dung thanked the Kaliningrad government and people for creating favourable conditions for Vietnamese sailors during their training in the city, VNA reported.

Source – Tuoitre news

 

Canada – DND pays $1M for submarine technology, now can’t find company

 

DND pays $1M for submarine technology, now can’t find company

HMCS Corner Brook is one of four Victoria-class submarines the navy purchased from Britain.

A European company that was paid $1 million to provide equipment for the Canadian navy’s submarines has taken the money and run.

The Department of National Defence has been trying since 2009 to get the equipment it paid for from Applied Radar and Sonar Technologies GmbH, a German firm.

But the company is no longer registered in Germany and “cannot be contacted,” according to a December 2012 briefing document for senior department staff.

The Citizen has tracked the firm to Izmir, a city in Turkey, but company officials did not respond to emails or phone calls seeking comment.

The company was supposed to deliver a transportable acoustic range to the Royal Canadian Navy. It was supposedly being built at the company’s facilities in Turkey but officials with Public Works and Government Services Canada couldn’t locate that site.

The equipment, designed to support submarine operations, was to have been delivered in 2009.

“Contractor has not delivered on key deliverables and cannot be contacted,” pointed out the briefing note obtained by the Citizen. “Neither (Public Works and Government Services Canada) nor DND has been able to reach the contractor since January 2012.”

Canada signed a deal with Applied Radar and Sonar Technologies in December 2008 for the transportable acoustic range and paid the firm a little more than $1 million out of the total price-tag of $1.3 million. But according to the DND briefing the firm ran into a series of unspecified problems with the equipment.

In June 2012, with the delivery almost three years behind schedule, Public Works requested the company provide evidence as to why the contract should not be terminated. It sent letters to the company’s German office and a Turkish address where the equipment was supposed to be manufactured. But those letters couldn’t be delivered, prompting Public Works to determine that Applied Radar and Sonar Technologies was no longer registered in Germany and there was no record of the firm having a Turkish company.

It is now up to DND to try to recover the $1 million.

DND spokeswoman Tracy Poirier stated in an email that “following a default by the contractor, Public Works and Government Services Canada terminated the contract.”

“DND recently received a legal opinion that it can now engage international collections agencies to recover the money the Government of Canada paid to the company,” she added.

The company, however, is still trying to sell its sonar products to other customers.

The firm’s website lists its capabilities in maritime surveillance, noting that: “Our services do not end after distribution, installation and testing of the equipment. We keep close contact to our clients and can provide an individual after-sales support.”

The site also carries details on the company’s mobile acoustic range. “The Mobile Accoustic (sic) Range is a platform for measurement of radiated noise and sea ambient noise,” states the website. “It is developed and successful (sic) tested on surface ships and submarines.”

“Mobile Accustion (sic) Range is easy to deploy,” the site noted.

DND officials could not answer whether the department had properly checked out the credentials of Applied Radar and Sonar Technologies before awarding it the contract.

Navies use such systems to monitor and verify the noise and magnetic signature of their ships and submarines.

A number of firms produce such equipment and, in the case of the Canadian project, three companies bid.

The equipment was to be used on the west coast to support Victoria-class submarine operations. Instead, the Royal Canadian Navy will have to use U.S. military facilities if it wants that capability, according to the DND documents.

Canada purchased its submarines second-hand from Britain and took delivery of the boats between 2000 and 2004. The fleet, however, has been plagued with a series of technical problems and incidents over the years. Navy officers say the fleet is now proving its worth while critics say the submarines should be scrapped.

Source – The Ottawa Citizen