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This Tiny Shark Can Take Out Nuclear Submarines

Cookiecutter shark (Isistius brasiliensis)

NOAA/Public Domain

The Cookiecutter shark (Isistius brasiliensis).

The cat-sized shark in the picture to the right doesn’t look that intimidating, but it has the power to take down an entire nuclear submarine. The fish’s strange bite can get at the softer areas of the submarines, National Geographic’s Ed Yong reports: 

The fearless cookie-cutters have even disabled the most dangerous ocean creature of all—the nuclear submarine. They attacked exposed soft areas including electrical cables and rubber sonar domes. In several cases, the attacks effectively blinded the subs, forcing them back to base for repairs. They later returned, fitted with fibreglass coverings.

The attacks happened in the 1970s and the problem seems to have been taken care of, though in several cases the sharks did enough damage to the vessel’s sonar equpiment that the oils inside that transmit sound would leak out of the ship and break the equipment — the subs could no longer see what was around them, according to the Reef Quest Centre for Shark Research.

Nuclear subs obviously aren’t all that tasty, but they seem to bite just about anything — even research equipment in the ocean. The distinctive bites have been found in all kinds of fish and other sharks, and even a human has been attacked by the little guys.

Source – Business Insider

 

Electric Boat Puts Forward Strong Outlook With Plans To Continue Hiring

GROTON — Electric Boat, southeastern Connecticut’s giant naval business that employs thousands in the state, ended the year with an expanded payroll and revenues holding firm at around $4 billion.

Kevin Poitras, the president of Electric Boat, a division of General Dynamics, spoke confidently about the future of sub-making, even as one round of defense cuts have already hit the Pentagon earlier in 2012 and another waits on the horizon.

“There is much uncertainty in federal spending,” Poitras told a conference room full of company executives and legislators at the Mystic Marriot on Thursday. “Many people believe that the overall defense budget will trend down in the next several years.”

That being said, he expects budgets for submarine programs to increase inasmuch as they have been identified as vital to the future national defense strategy. And in short-term, Electric Boat’s contracts are coming through. In December, Congress approved spending to continue the usual work on two Virginia-class submarines as well as design work on the Ohio-class replacement submarine.

If the across-the-board defense cuts that Congress delayed until March go into effect, it wouldn’t necessarily mean layoffs at Electric Boat, Poitras said. The company could possibly manage cost-savings by simply not filling positions emptied through attrition.

The company ended the year with 11,926 employees. Poitras, who took over Electric Boat in May, said that this was the first time in four years that the company has hired in all its divisions, with expectations to hire 300 more tradespeople in Groton to supplement repair work, like the fire-damaged USS Miami. The company also plans to hire about 500 to balance employees lost through attrition.

New hires more than compensated for the company’s 2012 layoffs, pushing Electric Boat’s Connecticut employment at the end of the year up by about 500 employees at 8,900 — 6,100 in Groton and 2,800 in New London.

“To fully appreciate the impact submarine production has and will continue to have in our region, you have to look not just at 2012’s excellent workforce numbers, but at the future of submarines in our national security strategy,” Congressman Joe Courtney, who represents eastern Connecticut and serves on the House Armed Services Committee, said in a written statement.

For 2012, about 61 percent of Electric Boat’s revenues came from production of Virginia-class submarines. Design made up about 28 percent of the company’s revenues, which included preliminary work on an Ohio-class replacement. Maintenance and modernization programs made up 8 percent of revenues.

In December, Electric Boat responded to a request for proposals for the fifth block of Virginia-class submarines, which would be built 2014-2023 and generate about $18 billion in future work, Poitras said. These “stretched” versions of the original Virginia-class include an extra 90-foot section for precision-strike, Tomahawk missile capabilities.

The company also landed a $390 million research and development contract for the Ohio-class replacement submarine, a program that aims to build 12 submarines that will be in service until 2080 and carry about 70 percent of the country’s deployed nuclear weapons.

To state and federal legislators, the message was not unlike the type heard throughout the wider business community: take care of deficit issues, continue to stimulate business development, build on education reform and support jobs.

Hank Teskey, Electric Boat’s director of taxes, said that cuts to jobs programs and incentives would have a negative impact on the state and that the company’s future workforce depends on a strong science and math education.

Source – Courant.com

Hawaii-based US Navy submarine damaged in Persian Gulf

US submarine's periscope hits vessel in Persian Gulf

A Pearl Harbor-based submarine was damaged early Thursday when one of its periscopes struck an unidentified vessel in the Persian Gulf, the U.S. Navy said Thursday.

U.S. Naval Forces Central Command said in a statement that no one was hurt in the pre-dawn incident Thursday involving the nuclear-powered USS Jacksonville.

The submarine surfaced from periscope depth to see if the collision damaged the vessel, but the ship continued “on a consistent course” offering no indication of distress or acknowledgement of a collision.

According to a U.S. Navy official, the submarine was submerged when there was a “thump.” When submariners tried to see what happened, they were unable to raise the periscope. When they raised the other periscope, they realized the first one had been sheared off and that a vessel — believed to be a fishing trawler — was motoring away and appeared to be operating normally, the official said.

The official, who was not authorized to discuss an ongoing investigation and spoke on condition of anonymity, said the vessel did not appear to be in any distress. The Navy tried to contact the vessel and determine what it was and what country it belonged to, but was unable to do so. The Navy also reviewed surveillance of the area later and found no vessels in distress, he official said.

The Navy said in its statement that one of the Jacksonville’s two periscopes was damaged. A P-3 Orion aircraft searched the area but saw no debris in the water or vessels in distress, officials said.

The Jacksonville is currently deployed to the Middle East, conducting normal patrol operations in the gulf.

Source – Fox News

Submarine Diary 2012 in review

Statistics of this site since its birth in early Dec 2012.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 8,800 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 15 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Full details of submarine fatal shooting to be heard

Lt Cdr Ian Molyneux

Lt Cdr Ian Molyneux

THE details of how a hero sailor was killed in a shooting on a nuclear submarine docked in Southampton will be heard today.

A two-week inquest into the death of Lieutenant Commander Ian Molyneux on board HMS Astute last April will be held at Southampton Coroner’s Court.

The 36-year-old father-of-four this year posthumously received the George Medal – the second highest civilian award for gallantry, belowthe George Cross.

As reported, he was killed when he ignored the obvious risk to his own safety as he tried to stop Able Seaman Ryan Donovan, who had begun shooting a semiautomatic rifle on board the submarine while it was on a formal visit to Southampton.

Ryan Donovan

Ryan Donovan

The officer, with 20 years of experience in the Navy, was shot in the side of the head at point blank range as he rushed towards the gunman, who had been acting as sentry on the vessel.

Donovan was eventually overpowered by the then leader of Southampton City Council Royston Smith and chief executive Alistair Neill, who had been on a civic tour of the submarine.

In September last year, Donovan was sentenced to at least 25 years behind bars after admitting the murder of Lt-Cdr Molyneux, and the attempted murder of two other officers

 Winchester Crown Court heard Donovan was as an “immature” fan of violent computer games and gangster rap who failed to cope with the stresses of cramped submarine life.

Despite spending four years in the Royal Navy, the then-22- year-old able seaman was said to have struggled to deal with the strict authority of the armed services and resented those he believed had unfairly targeted him.

Under the nickname “Reggie Moondog”, Donovan, from Dartford, Kent, wrote rap songs with lyrics about guns and killing, including a reference to the SA80 rifle he was to later use on his murderous rampage.

The court heard Donovan had repeatedly spoken of his desire to kill, and just hours before his terrifying gun frenzy he told a colleague he would shoot someone that day – advising him to “watch the news” later.

Donovan was said to suffer no mental illness, and far from being a crazed loner, was popular with many friends, relatives and colleagues, but saw “no way out”

of his predicament.

Angry at missing out on a draft to another ship after getting into trouble and facing military imprisonment for refusing orders over cleaning duty, he decided to kill the officers he held responsible.

He waited two days for the chance to murder Petty Officer Christopher Brown and Chief Petty Officer David McCoy, after which he planned to turn the gun on himself.

But his revenge mission failed when his shots missed the officers, and courageous Lt-Cdr Molyneux, from Wigan, Lancashire, made his fatal intervention.

Source – Daily Echo