Mrs. Peel

A Russian Ghost Submarine, its U.S. Pursuers and a Deadly New Cold War

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Linking to an article in the Wall St. Journal about the global cat & mouse game between U.S. and Russian submarine fleets...  with a particular focus on Russia's newest subs, which they claim are the world's quietest.

So, is it me? Or does it sound like we lost some ground technologically in recent years? The article certainly gives that impression! I'm sure our resident submariner, @Displaced Texan, and a few others with military knowledge will weigh in!

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/a-russian-ghost-submarine-its-us-pursuers-and-a-deadly-new-cold-war/ar-AAtLTc1?li=BBmkt5R&ocid=spartanntp

 

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It's not really a surprise to me, or anyone in the submarine community, that Russian boats are becoming quieter. So are ours. I dont think we are losing ground to the Russians, or anyone else for that matter. 

New tech means quieter boats. I remember when I was on my last boat, (USS Salt Lake City) the Seawolf had just been launched. Seawolf was said to be as quiet at a flank bell (full throttle, for you non-submariners) as we were tied to the pier. The Seawolf class was, at the time, ground breaking tech. THE most capable, and the quietest nuclear powered submarine in the world. Seawolf was expensive, so we only built 3. The follow on class is the Virginia class boats, even better, every bit as capable, even quieter, but less expensive. I have been aboard one...absolutely incredible machine. Designed for littoral warfare, specifically for detecting and killing high end diesel boats in shallow waters...where diesel boats are the most deadly. 

This new Russian boat is apparently non-nuclear powered. Russian diesel boats were always pretty good, but very range limited. This boat sounds like it MAY even have Air Independent Propulsion (AIP), so that she may recharge her batteries without snorkeling. Most likely improved battery tech, so she can run longer and faster between battery charges. Sounds like she is cruise missle capabile, so I imagine she has some form of vertical launch system. Sounds like it may be an interesting new boat our Russian friends have there!

Quiet as she may be, no worries, there are various ways to detect and track submarines. We have become quite astute at that, using acoustic, magnetic, and 'other' means. 

 

One more thing...as far as the submarine force is concerned, the Cold War never ended. We still keep close tabs on the Russian boats...just like the 'good old days'.

 

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I would wager our SS*N’s are equal if not substantially better than Russian equivalents.  They were during the 80-90’s and we have continued to fund that technology pretty substantially. 

Ther being said: SSK’s are a whole different animal. Their non-nuke and usually run on diesel.  That means a whole lot less machinery and plant noise. Also cheaper to build/maintain/operate. The downside is range.  The US hasn’t focused on diesel subs in a lon time and in that area the foreign versions are superior. 

US SSN vs foreign SSK?  Good question. Answer goes way beyond the technology. Situation, crews, ROE, etc. 

also, US has dropped the ball on ASuW. Detecting and attacking subs from the surface is an art we have sadly not focused on. 

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2 hours ago, George Yetka said:

How do they know we dont run ours extra loud until we actually need them?

They do this for the stealth aircraft all the time.  The difference is usually the AirForce is just flying them around doing Fuckall. The Navy subs are actually doing shit they don’t want to be seen doing. 

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I don't think we have lost our edge on ASW from surface/air. We are pretty damn good at it. We have added a lot of new tools to the toolbox, even using UUV's (underwater unmanned vehicles) deployed from surface ships, and submarines, to find enemy submarines. Pretty cool tech. 

Traditional diesel boats are formidable opponents in shallow water, but they have to snorkel sometime...what scares me in the shallows is the AIP boats. Have a read: http://www.hisutton.com/World survey of AIP submarines.html

 

Our Virginia class SSN's are designed to hunt and kill diesel boats in littoral waters, as well as being a formidable deep water attack boat. Very impressive tools. 

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Diesel subs running on batteries are quieter than Nuclear subs... however they have to surface to snorkel to recharge batteries.  That limits the range...  

When they invent the Caterpillar drive though...

ohroctc.jpg

 

 

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2 minutes ago, Krdshrk said:

Diesel subs running on batteries are quieter than Nuclear subs... however they have to surface to snorkel to recharge batteries.  That limits the range...  

When they invent the Caterpillar drive though...

ohroctc.jpg

 

 

Isn’t that the hydro thermodynamic motor? No moving parts.

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1 minute ago, Zeke said:

Isn’t that the hydro thermodynamic motor? No moving parts.

Correct.  Just lots of magnetic fields...

Everything I know about Sub Warfare I learned from reading Tom Clancy Novels.

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10 minutes ago, Krdshrk said:

Diesel subs running on batteries are quieter than Nuclear subs... however they have to surface to snorkel to recharge batteries.  That limits the range...  

When they invent the Caterpillar drive though...

ohroctc.jpg

 

 

They’ve really done it, haven’t they?!

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3 minutes ago, Zeke said:

27 years ago ace

With a typical power of 1000 W and an efficiency of the order 0.1%, our MHD ship is able to reach a maximum velocity of 0.3 m.s−1

https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01555343/document

That's so inefficient and slow... lol

http://aapt.scitation.org/doi/10.1119/1.5008337

 

Reading those 2 papers says it's definitely possible but requires a LOT of power...

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1 minute ago, Krdshrk said:

With a typical power of 1000 W and an efficiency of the order 0.1%, our MHD ship is able to reach a maximum velocity of 0.3 m.s−1

https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01555343/document

That's so inefficient and slow... lol

http://aapt.scitation.org/doi/10.1119/1.5008337

 

Reading those 2 papers says it's definitely possible but requires a LOT of power...

Technology... and it’s doubler rate

And our deep space probes are using this tech. Ion drive

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1 hour ago, Krdshrk said:

Correct.  Just lots of magnetic fields...

Everything I know about Sub Warfare I learned from reading Tom Clancy Novels.

While I was serving on submarines, I was reading a lot of Tom Clancy. I was shocked about his knowledge of submarine warfare and tactics. That stuff is pretty classified...I can't imagine how he found out what he wrote about...

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45 minutes ago, Displaced Texan said:

While I was serving on submarines, I was reading a lot of Tom Clancy. I was shocked about his knowledge of submarine warfare and tactics. That stuff is pretty classified...I can't imagine how he found out what he wrote about...

Library of Congress 

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1 hour ago, Displaced Texan said:

While I was serving on submarines, I was reading a lot of Tom Clancy. I was shocked about his knowledge of submarine warfare and tactics. That stuff is pretty classified...I can't imagine how he found out what he wrote about...

I was amazed at his knowledge of nucIear weapon authentication and capabilities of some intelligence assets.  I read an interview with him.  He was asked about his sources of what many knew to be highly classified information. He responded it was all obtained from overt sources.

@Zeke is probably right.

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13 hours ago, Displaced Texan said:

While I was serving on submarines, I was reading a lot of Tom Clancy. I was shocked about his knowledge of submarine warfare and tactics. That stuff is pretty classified...I can't imagine how he found out what he wrote about...

He has some non-fiction books on Submarines and other military units as well.  He's well-researched on the actual subjects which made them really great to read.  

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15 hours ago, Displaced Texan said:

While I was serving on submarines, I was reading a lot of Tom Clancy. I was shocked about his knowledge of submarine warfare and tactics. That stuff is pretty classified...I can't imagine how he found out what he wrote about...

Zeke is correct, the Library of Congress!  Clancy is one of the best by far!  He also used Jane's Fighting Ships, personal research & interviews of recently separated crew members patched together (none of which gave him anything Top Secret), and then extrapolated the rest.  He wasn't 100% on the money, but he was so "glaringly close" to that.  Clancy was visited several times by multiple "alphabet soup agencies" that went "mole hunting".  They couldn't "read him in" on actual secrets, but they tipped their hands asking poignant questions.  It became such a ritual that Clancy knew some of his visitors by first name when they rang his doorbell :) .  What's really interesting is that the DOD & SecNav had what can best be described as a symbiotic relationship with Clancy.  The Navy abhorred the release of any intel about their secret service as they always do (even though the Russians could obtain it on the web or by visiting the Library of Congress), AND AT THE SAME TIME used Clancy as a means to an end to get funding for Seawolf & Virginia Class boats approved! 

The VLS (Vertical Launch System) for cruise missiles (regular & "specials") was well written about in Clancy's book, " Submarine" published in 1994 (23 YEARS ago!) after his research on HMS Triumph & the USS Miami (SSN-755), a Los Angeles Class Fast Attack.  In the book, Clancy extrapolates how a single Virginia Class could conduct operations in littoral waters by launching both cruise missiles AND SEAL Teams.  Quite a nice read!

A friend of mine is currently serving aboard the Ohio, and the SSBN "Boomer" has been converted to a Guided Missile SSGN with 22 of its' 24 Trident tubes converted to MAC's that hold 7 cruise missiles each, for a total of 154 cruise missiles.  The remaining two Trident tubes were converted to "Lockout Chambers" for deployment of Special Forces (SEAL) personnel. 

The idea that the US Navy may come up against a diesel sub isn't that far fetched.  Several movie plots have already covered it including "Under Siege" with Steven Seagal & "Down Periscope" with Kelsey Grammer :) .  If it's in the movies, the DOD already spent money programming sonar suites to "listen" for it.

Displaced Texan thanks for your service.  I'll have to re-read my copy of "Blind Man's Bluff" soon :) 

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Thank you for paying me to play with cool toys!!

 

USS Miami (SSN-755) was the sister ship to my first boat, USS Topeka (SSN-754). Miami recently was heavily damaged in a fire while in depot modernization in Portsmouth Naval shipyard, fire was set by a shipyard worker who wanted to go home to his girlfriend....

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Displaced texan. my son-inlaw served on the SSN-771 marine machinist 3 based out of pearl harbor. He also earned his Dolphins while based in pearl harbor.

We did visit Pearl Harbor and my daughters Colledge when he was serving.

Submariners are special group of people.

Thank's For your Service..

 

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On 10/21/2017 at 1:08 PM, Displaced Texan said:

USS Miami (SSN-755) was the sister ship to my first boat, USS Topeka (SSN-754). Miami recently was heavily damaged in a fire while in depot modernization in Portsmouth Naval shipyard, fire was set by a shipyard worker who wanted to go home to his girlfriend....

Unfortunately, they deactivated the Miami

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One needs to understand the Russian/Soviet/Russian design philosophy to understand the Russian "fascination" with diesel/electric submarines.

Russian/Soviet  design philosophy haso always been "perfection is the enemy of good enough".  I've seen the quote attributed to Voltaire and a few others. That includes a Marshal of the Soviet Union.  It really doesn't matter who said it.  The concept is important.

How does it work?  Well during the Battle of Stalingrad (which lasted about a year and a half) there was a factory that cranked out T34 tanks. They were not superior to German tanks in most respects.  They got to the point they didn't even paint them as they rolled off the assembly line.  They wouldn't last long enough in combat to rust.  Throwing a number of tanks against the Germans they won.

We adopted the same philosophy in WW2 to an extent.  When we first encountered Tiger tanks it wasn't unusual for a platoon (4-5 tanks) of Tigers to take out a company (15 tanks) of M4 Shermans with no casualties.  Once we learned how to engage the Tigers they started to lose. We could lose 5 or 6 Shermans to kill one Tiger. We could produce 10-15 M4s for each Tiger.  We would win.

Jump to the 80s. The Fulda Gap.  The place the Soviets were expected to pour through. Yeah, the Soviets outnumbered us and more importantly outnumbered us in artillery.  The biggest killer on the battlefield since the Napoleantic wars. We were mostly using self propelled artillery.  More mobile which increased the survivabilty.  The Warsaw Pact had SPs but had a lot more towed artillery. Reason?  Much cheaper.  They could have several towed artillery pieces for the cost of one SP.

This philosophy goes for diesel electric submarines.  One can build 4 or 5 diesel electric for the cost of one nuclear sub.  Yes your enemy will kill 2 or 3 but you'll still have survivors.

High tech is important but many times numbers win.

 

 

 

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