The dates of the 2021 Swedish Congress-UK invests in UUV-China Modernization-Australian new Subs-Hypersonic Sub Weapon-Laika Russian Next Gen Sub-Electro op upgrade-Radio/It rates merge on Subs-Why did Thresher sink-Sonar Autonomous vehicle-Additional D5s
Date: 23 March 2020
From: Lars Nordenberg and the Submariners of Sweeden firstname.lastname@example.org
Hello, to all of you in the International Community of Submariners!
We have had discussions with most of the involved partners for the ISC Congress, which was planned for this year. All of them understand the situation because of the Coronavirus and wish us to welcome all of you back next year to Sweeden.
We have decided on the new dates for 2021. Please plan for next year’s Congress to be held in Karlskrona 23rd-27th of May 2021(Sun-Thu).
This change is almost the same program as this year. It will soon be possible to register and rebook or change the dates of the hotels on our website again.
All those who have paid the fee for this year´s Congress will still be on the list for next year. Others have to register again to come upon the list of participants. When they have paid the fee, they will be marked in green color.
We will also try to have a limit of attendees from each country to a maximum limit of 300 participants.
Sorry to hear that several will not attend next year!
Naturally, we will pay back money to those who already decided not to come next year! Hopefully not all will jump of! Please let us know who will be staying and who will not participate next year by e-mailing email@example.com
We have already had lots of costs for all the items and gifts we bought! Hopefully, we will have new participants signing up soon!
If they paid with pay pal, it’s easily accessible to reimburse! If they can wait some time, it would help us a lot.
Tomorrow I will contact all hotels and rebook them again for next year!
With respect, Lars
Postscript: Those of you who signed up to go on the cruise around the Baltic on Princess lines can change their reservation to:
2021 May 27
11 days, round-trip Scandinavia & Russia (from Copenhagen)
The Swedish Congress website
Congress in Greece will be held 2022 and
Congress in Germany will be held in 2023.
The USSVI Convention in Tucson Web Page
Join 31 Other Nation’s Submariners for fun and travel.
Consider becoming a member of the ISA-USA; you will benefit in many ways.
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ISA/USA Membership Application. All new members of ISA/USA receive a Membership card, ISA/USA Patch, and new larger Vest Pin. Click on the attached file below.
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Send completed application and membership fee to:
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UK: GBP 2.5M investment in XL autonomous submarine development
An initial GBP 1 million (USD 1.3 million) contract has been awarded to Plymouth-based company MSubs Ltd to build a test submarine, which will be used to explore the potential capabilities of larger uncrewed underwater vehicles in the future, the UK Ministry of Defence (UK MOD) said.
Measuring about 30 feet in length, this extra-large autonomous submarine is significantly larger than autonomous submarines used for beach reconnaissance, allowing it to operate at a range of 3,000 nautical miles.
Admiral Tony Radakin, First Sea Lord, announced the contract at the Underwater Defence & Security Symposium in Southampton. He noted how the ministry wants to increase its presence in the underwater battlespace and is exploring the use of extra-large uncrewed underwater vehicles (XLUUV) for surveillance, reconnaissance, and anti-submarine warfare operations.
“I am enormously excited about the potential for remotely piloted and autonomous systems to increase our reach and lethality, improve our efficiency and reduce the number of people we have to put in harm’s way,” Radakin said.
“These XLUUVs are at the forefront of underwater systems technology; UK technological developments such as this will be key to the Royal Navy, maintaining its battle-winning edge in the underwater environment.”
XLUUV submarines are especially adept at covert intelligence gathering. They can leave their dock autonomously and secretly move to the operational area without any embarked crew for up to three months. They are also able to sense hostile targets and report their findings back to the station, making them an essential barrier for anti-submarine warfare.
“Submersible autonomous vessels have huge potential, and this project could be a game-changer for the UK’s underwater capability, taking our submarine service to the next level,” Defence Minister Jeremy Quin said.
The first phase of Defence and Security Accelerator’s (DASA) Developing the Royal Navy’s Autonomous Underwater Capability program, run jointly with the Royal Navy and Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), will see an existing crewed submersible refitted with autonomous control systems.
If initial testing is successful, up to a further GBP 1.5 million is available to test the new capability further, making it the most significant joint contract awarded as part of a DASA competition, according to the UK MOD.
Currently, smaller autonomous and remotely piloted submarines are unable to undertake all the tasks of larger crewed submarines.
“DASA’s involvement is enabling this technology to advance at a much quicker pace and to deliver new capabilities to the Royal Navy years earlier than otherwise possible,” Adam Moore, DASA delivery manager, explained.
Report on China Naval Modernization and Implications for the U.S. Navy
March 19, 2020 7:07 AM
The following is the 18 March 2020 Congressional Research Service, China Naval Modernization: Implications for U.S. Navy Capabilities—Background and Issues for Congress.
From the report
In an era of renewed high power competition, China’s military modernization effort, including its naval modernization effort, has become the top focus of U.S. defense planning and budgeting. China’s navy, which China has been steadily modernizing for more than 25 years, since the early to mid-1990s. It has become a formidable military force within China’s near-seas region, and it is conducting a growing number of operations in more-distant waters, including the broader waters of the Western Pacific, the Indian Ocean, and waters around Europe. China’s navy is viewed as posing a significant challenge to the U.S. Navy’s ability to achieve and maintain wartime control of blue-water ocean areas in the Western Pacific. This the first such challenge the U.S. Navy has faced since the end of the Cold War—and forms a critical element of a Chinese challenge to the long-standing status of the United States as the leading military power in the Western Pacific.
China’s naval modernization effort encompasses a wide array of platform and weapon acquisition programs, including anti-ship ballistic missiles (ASBMs), anti-ship cruise missiles (ASCMs), submarines, surface ships, aircraft, uncrewed vehicles (UVs), and supporting C4ISR (command and control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance) systems. China’s naval modernization effort also includes improvements in maintenance and logistics, doctrine, personnel quality, education and training, and exercises.
China’s military modernization effort, including its naval modernization effort, is assessed as being aimed at developing capabilities for addressing the situation with Taiwan militarily if need be. China feels that this will achieve a higher degree of control or domination over China’s near-seas region, particularly the South China Sea, for enforcing China’s view that it has the right to regulate foreign military activities in its 200-mile maritime exclusive economic zone (EEZ); defending China’s commercial sea lines of communication (SLOCs), particularly those linking China to the Persian Gulf; for displacing U.S. influence in the Western Pacific; and for asserting China’s status as the leading regional power and significant world power.
Consistent with these goals, observers believe China wants its navy to be capable of acting as part of a Chinese anti-access/area-denial (A2/AD) force—a force that can deter U.S. intervention in a conflict in China’s near-seas region over Taiwan or some other issue, or failing that, delay the arrival or reduce the effectiveness of intervening U.S. forces. Additional missions for China’s navy include conducting maritime security (including antipiracy) operations, evacuating Chinese nationals from foreign countries when necessary, and conducting humanitarian assistance/disaster response (HA/DR) operations.
The U.S. Navy, in recent years, has taken several actions to counter China’s naval modernization effort. Among other things, the U.S. Navy has shifted a greater percentage of its fleet to the Pacific; assigned its most-capable new ships and aircraft and its best personnel to the Pacific; maintained or increased general presence operations, training and developmental exercises, and engagement and cooperation with allied and other navies in the Indo-Pacific; increased the planned future size of the Navy; initiated, supplemented, or accelerated numerous programs for developing new military technologies and acquiring new ships, aircraft, uncrewed vehicles, and weapons; begun development of new operational concepts (i.e., new ways to employ Navy and Marine Corps forces) for countering Chinese maritime A2/AD effects; and signaled that the Navy in coming years would shift to a more-distributed fleet architecture that will feature a smaller portion of larger ships, a more significant share of smaller vessels, and substantially higher use of crewless vehicles. The issue for Congress is whether the U.S. Navy is responding appropriately to China’s naval modernization effort.
Australian Attack-class submarines: Contracts for MSB design awarded
Photo: Naval Group
Adelaide-based PMB Defence and Greek Sunlight have won contracts for the design of the primary storage batteries (MSB) stage 1 and 2 for the Royal Australian Navy’s new Attack-class submarines.
The two companies have been contracted to provide design, prototyping, and qualification activities for the primary storage batteries.
“The supply contract will be awarded to the organization that provides technically superior design, represents the best value for money and demonstrates a strong commitment to the program’s Australian Industry Capability requirements,” John Davis, CEO, Naval Group Australia, explained.
“Naval Group will continue to work with both parties in a range of areas moving forwards to ensure best program outcomes and the maximization of the involvement of the Australian industry in all phases on the contract.”
The primary storage batteries are responsible for supplying power to the propulsion system of the submarine and other equipment on-board the ship. They directly impact the safety of the submarine when diving, making them a critical piece of equipment for the platform.
PMB is a supplier of energy and specialized engineering solutions for submarine platforms in Australia. Since 1989 the company has continuously supplied MSB’s for the Collins Class and, more recently, has been contracted to design the UK’s next-generation submarine battery.
Sunlight is a submarine battery designer and manufacturer with extensive knowledge of submarines.
The Australian Government’s AUD 50 billion programs will see 12 Attack-class submarines designed and built for the Australian Navy.
One of the Pentagon’s First Hypersonic Weapons Will Ride on Submarines
This Mach 5+ weapon will go to sea in 2028.
20 February 2020
- The U.S Navy plans to put one of its first hypersonic weapons to sea in eight years, aboard submarines.
- Hypersonic weapons travel at speeds more than 3,800 miles an hour.
- Hypersonics will be used to strike fleeting, time-sensitive targets or kick down the enemy’s door in a conventional conflict.
The U.S. Navy plans to put its first hypersonic weapons to sea in eight years, stowing them aboard nuclear attack submarines. The Conventional Prompt Strike weapons will be embarked aboard new Virginia-class submarines, giving the Navy a Mach 5+ weapon invulnerable to modern air defenses. The gun could be used against fleeting targets, such as terrorist meetings, or an enemy headquarters.
The U.S. Navy tested the Global Strike weapon in October 2017. Since then, the Navy has decided to fit the weapon in the new Virginia Payload Modules being added to new Virginia-class attack submarines starting in 2019. Each 84-foot long VPM is designed to carry up to 28 Tomahawk cruise missiles, though they are also meant to carry other payloads as well. One of those new payloads is Global Strike.
According to USNI News, Global Strike consists of a “Common Hypersonic Glide Body (C-HGB) and a 34.5-inch two-stage booster.” This more or less confirms that Global Strike is a boost-glide hypersonic weapon. Boost glide hypersonic weapons take off like ballistic missiles but remain in the atmosphere, leveling off and then gliding to their targets at speeds in excess of Mach 5. The unique flight profile of boost-glide weapons makes them unstoppable by modern air defenses.
Global Strike’s extreme speed could take warfare to a whole new level, with a submarine on one side of the world capable of striking a target anywhere on Earth in an hour less. If the U.S. government had credible information that a wanted terrorist was going to be at a particular location at a specific time with little advance notice, Global Strike could hit a target before anything else. Global Strike would also be useful in a major conflict with an adversary, targeting enemy headquarters, radar sites, and missile batteries, weakening the enemy’s defenses and paving the way for strikes by crewed aircraft.
The Zumwalt class destroyers could also be equipped with Global Strike.
It’s unclear exactly how fast Global Strike can go, but it’s fast enough for the Navy to claim it can hit any target on Earth in less than an hour. That’s likely in the Mach 10 to Mach 20 range or 7,600 to 15,200 miles an hour.
The Navy is building 10 Virginia-class submarines with the Virginia Payload Module, thus ensuring at least ten platforms capable of carrying Global Strike. The service might also install the weapons on the Zumwalt-class destroyers. The destroyers, built initially to bombard targets on land, recently switched missions to the anti-surface role, which includes attacking ships at sea and targets on land.
Russia Unveils Laika, Its Next-Gen Nuclear Attack Submarine
It looks like an exotic sea creature.
24 February 2020
Malachite Design Bureau
- The designs for Russia’s next class of nuclear attack submarine, the Laika class, were recently revealed.
- The Laika ships will replace the existing Alfa-class boats, which have been in production for nearly 50 years.
- The new submarines will embark regular guided torpedoes, anti-ship missiles, and land-attack cruise missiles.
Russia is preparing to begin work on a brand new class of nuclear-powered attack submarine designed to compete with the best of NATO’s submarines. The new Laika-class submarine, named after a breed of Siberian snow dog, is Moscow’s first clean sheet nuclear attack sub in nearly 50 years. But we don’t know how long it will take to develop the sub—or how many the Russian Navy will eventually receive.
The Russian Federation remains one of the largest submarine fleets in the world, including nuclear and conventional attack submarines, guided-missile submarines armed with cruise missiles, and ballistic missile submarines armed with long-range nuclear weapons. Although large, the fleet has a secret: many of the ships are decades old and in need of replacement. Of the 16 nuclear-powered attack submarines in operation, almost all were built by the Soviet Union before the end of the Cold War.
The new Borei-class ballistic missile submarine Kynaz Vladimir, 2019.
Sergei BobylevGetty Images
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The submarine arm of the Russian Navy, like most of the Russian military, suffered for decades after the end of the Soviet Union. Only recently has the submarine force gained new ships, including the new Borei-class ballistic missile submarines and Yasen-class guided-missile submarines. Like the USSR, Russia considers submarines useful in a rivalry with the West, as they could threaten U.S. aircraft carriers and threaten enemy shipping.
The Laika class is the third new post-Cold War submarine scheduled to enter production and will replace the Akula (“Shark”) and Victor (NATO code name) submarine classes. According to submarine authority H.I. Sutton, author of the Covert Shores website and contributor at Naval News, the Laika class will incorporate many new design features to allow Russia’s attack submarine fleet to catch up to western standards.
The Laika class is being developed by the Malachite Design Bureau in St. Petersburg, Russia. The submarines will displace 11,340 tons, making them considerably more massive than the U.S. Navy’s current Virginia class submarines at 8,700 tons. Sutton reports the nuclear-powered sub will have a top speed of 35 knots, or about the equivalent of 40 miles per hour on land. It will have a maximum dive capability of 1,698 feet. The maximum depth of the Virginia class is secret, but it’s known to be at least 800 feet, and probably closer to 1,600 feet.
The Virginia-class submarine USS Indiana, showing more of a prominent, taller sail than the Laika class.
The new submarine is in line with Russian submarines in having more of an “organic” look than many western subs. While U.S. submarines have large, conspicuous sails and a tubular, almost pencil-like design, Russian submarines tend to have thicker, more full hulls and lower, longer sail. As a result, Russian subs tend to look more like exotic sea creatures than their American, British, and French counterparts.
The submarines have some catching up to do and will feature a conformal sonar array that wraps around the hull, providing sound detection in all directions. The submarine likely has about eight 533-millimeter (21-inch) torpedo tubes, the size standard used by navies worldwide, including the U.S. Navy. The torpedo tubes will launch heavyweight guided torpedoes for use against other submarines and surface ships. The submarines will also have up to 16 vertical launch missile silos for Kh-35 anti-ship missiles and Klub land-attack cruise missiles.
Russia plans to replace its aging Akula- and Victor-class submarines on more or less of a 1:1 basis, which means about a dozen Laika boats. That depends, however, on how trouble-free the development of this new class of submarines is, and the health of the Russian economy. Moscow’s Borei- and Yasen-class missile submarines each spent nearly two decades in development due not only to their complexity, but a lack of funds to complete production, too. While Russia’s economy has since improved, a global economic downturn, Western sanctions over Moscow’s assassination campaign abroad, and annexation of the Crimea could threaten economic growth.
U.S. Navy asks Lockheed Martin to upgrade and support electro-optical surveillance system for the submarine fleet
ISIS provides all-weather, visual, and electronic search, digital imaging, indication, warning, and platform architecture interface capabilities.
19 March 2020
WASHINGTON – Submarine combat systems experts at Lockheed Martin Corp. will upgrade and support a U.S. Navy electro-optical surveillance system designed for several classes of attack and guided-missile submarines.
Officials of the Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington announced an $8.8 million order on Wednesday to the Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems activities in Manassas, Va., and in Syracuse, N.Y., to provide kits and spares for the AN/BVY-1 Integrated Submarine Imaging System (ISIS).
These kits and spares will be for the AN/BLQ-10 submarine electronic warfare (EW) system, technology insertion 18 (TI-18), versions.
ISIS provides mission-critical, all-weather, visual, and electronic search, digital image management, indication, warning, and platform architecture interface capabilities for Los Angeles-, Ohio-, and Virginia-class submarines, Navy officials say. The system has the potential for installation on Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines and other kinds of submarines.
The AN/BLQ-10 submarine EW system, meanwhile, provides automatic detection, classification, localization, and identification of potentially hostile radar and communications signals at sea. The AN/BLQ-10 is for Virginia-, Los Angeles-, and Seawolf-class fast-attack submarines, Ohio-class conventional guided-missile submarines, and future Columbia-class ballistic-missile submarines.
The ISIS submarine electro-optical surveillance system rolls-up existing components and near-term capabilities into an architecture for inserting future capabilities as they become available, including items leveraged from the Virginia-class submarine photonics program, Navy officials say.
ISIS is a back-fit system to integrate all imaging capabilities on existing Navy submarine classes. It is part of the Navy’s submarine Photonics Imaging System, a non-hull-penetrating replacement for existing optical periscopes. The Photonics Imaging System uses a vast portion of the electromagnetic spectrum with advanced daylight cameras, infrared thermal imaging sensors, and communications intercept and electronic warfare support.
The ISIS program seeks to replace the optical light path of existing submarine periscopes with high-definition cameras and fiber optic digital imagery. The project aims to use infrared cameras for image enhancement, provide active and passive range finding control, and install image enhancement capabilities and analysis tools for real-time and recorded imagery.
The ISIS program also will provide Navy submarines with image recording, storage, and recall capabilities, as well as offer the ability to transmit imagery of the submarine to other naval and joint forces.
In-Depth Engineering Corp. in Fairfax, Va., under subcontract to Lockheed Martin, serves as the software development lead for AN/BVY-1 ISIS.
ISIS revolutionizes Navy submarine surveillance capabilities by integrating digital video and still images from devices on a submarine’s exterior and presenting real-time imagery and analysis on existing control room tactical displays.
ISIS provides digital image enhancement for data from a modern submarine’s photonics mast, which uses optical fiber to move imaging data from a raised mast aboard a submerged submarine through tiny openings in the submarine’s hull to tactical displays around the interior of the vessel.
The photonics mast replaces or augments the traditional periscope aboard U.S. submarines. The photonics mast not only replaces the large opening in the submarine pressure hull necessary for the optics and hydraulics of a conventional periscope but also can blend image data from several kinds of electro-optical sensors aboard the photonics mast, including visible-light and infrared cameras.
The ISIS system enables submarine crew members to manipulate a photonics mast with a joystick while looking at a digital video on a computer monitor and share that video real-time with the submarine’s combat team on various displays aboard the vessel.
On this contract modification, Lockheed Martin will do the work in Manassas, and Chantilly Va.; Syracuse, N.Y.; Marion, Mass.; and Newport, R.I., and should be finished by March 2023.
For more information, contact Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems online at www.lockheedmartin.com, In-Depth Engineering Corp. at http://in-depthengineering.com, or Naval Sea Systems Command at www.navsea.navy.mil.
Navy Merges Sub Radio and IT Ratings
Story Number: NNS200316-12Release Date: 3/16/2020 6:23:00 PM
By MC1 Mark D. Faram, Chief of Naval Personnel Public Affairs ,
WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The rise of great power competition at sea has led to the Navy redoubling its efforts to own electronic warfare across the world’s oceans - both above and below the surface.
That battle in the subsurface domain is getting a boost in the form of a rating merger, the result of which increases the Navy’s undersea electronic warfare effectiveness while enhancing the force’s ability to operate and maintain computer networks onboard its boats.
Starting this summer, one of the silent service’s newest ratings – Information Systems Technician (Submarines), or ITS for short, will nearly triple in size as it merges with the fellow submarine rating Electronics Technician (Radio), known as ETRs.
“This merger will allow the Submarine Force to address concerns with ITS workload while simultaneously building our electronic warfare subject matter expertise,” said Vice Admiral Daryl L. Caudle, Commander Submarine Forces. “Mastery of electronic warfare will be critical to the Submarine Force’s contribution to the high-end fight.”
The move, which has been in the works since the summer of 2019, is expected to take another year to be fully complete. On the manpower side, the 740-strong ITS rating will bring on-board the roughly 1,600 ETRs.
The end result will be an ITS general rating made up of two service ratings – one dedicated to communications, the other concentrating on electronic warfare. Both skill sets will share the workload of submarine information technology, too.
The merger decision was made after a multi-year manpower survey identified a need to increase the numbers of information technology specialists on submarines intersected with the need to beef up the ability for responding to emerging subsurface electronic warfare threats.
“Merging ETR into ITS as a service rating addresses both of these priorities,” said Capt. Angela Katson, head of enlisted plans and policy for the Chief of Naval Personnel. “While raising the total number of Sailors available to perform local-area network maintenance and operations on submarines, it also creates a career path for Sailors to become specialized professionals in the electronic warfare mission area.”
The move is in keeping with the Navy’s Rating Modernization effort, part of the Navy’s ongoing Sailor 2025 move. It is expected that the merger will eventually allow ITS Sailors greater flexibility in duty assignments.
The move will be more than just getting a new rating patch for ETRs but bring with it a choice among two separate career paths. All Sailors in the combined rating will now get a new career path in either the ITS-Communications or ITS-Electronic Warfare service ratings.
These career paths will be distinct, each managed by separate training pipelines and NECs, and will have their own rating examinations as well as advancement quotas. Billets will be managed by NECs and aligned to enhance the career paths of our Sailors.
Sailors currently serving in ETR or ITS ratings will work closely with their community managers to ensure they are selected into the optimal career path.
“Sailors will be assigned by a combination of their desires and the needs of the Submarine Force,” Katson said. “While every effort will be made to ensure that the Sailor’s desires are met, ensuring a healthy future rating structure and future promotion potential is vital to the future health of all Sailors in the rating.”
Once converted, all Sailors will be required to complete a qualification package that denotes their current skills and identifies what new training they need to come up to speed in their new duties and responsibilities.
The first E-4 through E-6 advancement exams will be given this coming fall. The first chief’s exam will come in January, 2021.
For ETR Sailors converting in, they’ll switch their rating badge to the iconic lightning bolts of both the ITS rating and surface Information Systems Technicians.
This historic mark has signified communications in the Navy since 2012, when it was first introduced for electrician’s mates qualified as radio operators. The device was then a specialty mark worn on the lower uniform sleeve signifying the qualification.
When the radioman rating was created in 1921 the same lightning bolts were adopted for the uniform badge. In the late 1990’s the radioman rating in the submarine force became ETR’s. Meanwhile their surface counterparts merged with data processing technicians to create information systems technician.
More information can be found in NAVADMIN 066/20.
For more news from Chief of Naval Personnel, visit www.navy.mil/local/cnp/.
Why Did the USS Thresher Sink? Finally, the Navy Is Being Forced to Tell Us
The submarine mysteriously went down in 1963, killing everyone on board. Thanks to a lawsuit, we're about to learn why.
Mar 10, 2020
Pictorial ParadeGetty Images
- A retired U.S. Navy submarine commander sued the Navy to release an official report on the sinking of the USS Thresher—and won.
- Thresher sank in April 1963, lost with all hands, but there has never been an official explanation as to why.
- The loss of Thresher lead to an improved culture of safety in the Navy, and since 1968, the service hasn’t lost a single submarine.
A retired U.S. Navy submarine commander has won a lawsuit forcing the Navy to release its report on what happened to the USS Thresher, a nuclear-powered attack submarine that sank during diving tests in 1963. The loss of the submarine has never been fully explained, and the Navy has never released the report on the sub’s sinking.
Diagram of Thresher showing off its teardrop hull.
Pictorial ParadeGetty Images
USS Thresher was the first of its class, a new type of fast, deep diving attack submarine. The Thresher-class subs used a streamlined hull designed for fast underwater travel. With a torpedo-like hull design and a S5W nuclear reactor, the Thresher class could make 20 knots on the surface and 30 knots underwater—the reverse of World War II-era submarines designed to spend most of their time on the surface. The submarines were 278 feet long, 31 feet wide, and carried Mk. 37 homing torpedoes for use against surface and subsurface targets, SUBROC anti-submarine torpedoes, and sea mines.
On April 9, 1963, the Thresher was 220 miles east of Cape Cod, conducting diving tests. It was the first submarine to use the new HY-80 steel alloy, and the Navy was eager to determine how deep the new design could safely dive. At 9:13 a.m., while at a depth of 1,300 feet, the submarine radioed the submarine rescue ship USS Skylark, waiting above:
“Experiencing minor difficulties. Have a positive up angle. I Am attempting to blow (ballast tanks). Will keep you informed.”
The sail of USS Thresher, located after the sinking.
Pictorial ParadeGetty Images
But Thresher never surfaced, and the Navy later found the sub in six pieces on the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. All 129 personnel on board were killed. People have come up with many theories about how the sub sank, including blaming the faulty welds that failed during the tests, shorting out the sub's critical electrical systems and sapping its power.
Capt. Jim Bryant, a retired Navy submarine officer, wanted to see the Navy’s 1,700-page report on the Thresher’s sinking, but the Navy refused to release it. So Bryant, Stars and Stripes reports, sued the Navy, and last month a federal judge ordered the service to release it in 300-page chunks.
The Navy has long been extremely protective of the report. The Navy submarine force is notoriously tight-lipped; submariners say the nickname “the silent service” not only applies to the quiet nature of subs, but the secretive nature of the sub community as a whole.
The service first said it would release the Thresher report in 1998, but released only 19 of 1,700 pages, claiming that keeping it classified was to protect serving submarine crews. The problem with that explanation? The accident happened during normal dive tests. More than 50 years have passed since the sinking, and the submarine’s technology is obsolete.
Memorial to the USS Thresher at Arlington Memorial Cemetery.
The Washington PostGetty Images
The loss of the Thresher led to a sea change in the Navy submarine force. After the sinking, the service instituted SUBSAFE, a program that ensures the safe operation of submarines. SUBSAFE monitors the design and construction of new subs to ensure ships can remain watertight and survive accidents at sea. (The Navy lost another submarine, the USS Scorpion, in 1968, but it wasn't built to SUBSAFE standards.)
In 2005, the attack submarine USS San Francisco collided with an underwater seamount at the equivalent of 30 miles an hour—and was still able to sail to Guam for repairs. The culture of safety spawned by SUBSAFE—and indirectly Thresher—is credited for ensuring the San Francisco’s survival.
The Navy will begin releasing the Thresher report in segments on May 15 and will continue until Oct. 15.
Navy researchers ask Penn State to develop sonar autonomous underwater navigation for submarines and UUVs
Penn State researchers will develop and demonstrate navigational sonar systems for continuous underwater autonomous navigation.
Mar 17th, 2020
ARLINGTON, Va. – U.S. Navy researchers needed enabling technologies for sonar-based continuous subsea autonomous navigation for manned and unmanned submarines. They found their solution from the Penn State University Applied Research Laboratory in University Park, Pa.
Officials of the Office of Naval Research (ONR) in Arlington, Va., announced an $8.4 million contract to the Penn State Applied Research Lab on Friday for the Advanced Broadband Navigation Sonar System Future Naval Capabilities program.
Penn State researchers will develop and demonstrate navigational sonar systems for continuous subsea autonomous navigation. Sonar, short for sound navigation and ranging, detects undersea objects by transmitting powerful sound waves through the ocean and detecting return signals that bounce off objects.
ONR researchers are asking Penn State experts to improve undersea position and velocity estimation using sonar to give Navy manned submarines and unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs) with enhanced navigational performance.
Penn State won this contract by participating in the Long Range Broad Agency Announcement for Navy and Marine Corps Science & Technology project.
On this contract the Penn State Applied Research Lab will do the work in University Park, Pa., and should be finished by March 2023. For more information contact the Penn State Applied Research Lab at https://arl.psu.edu.
Navy asks Lockheed Martin to build additional Trident II D5 submarine-launched ballistic nuclear missiles
The Trident II D5 is the primary U.S. sea-based nuclear ballistic missile, and is deployed aboard U.S. Navy Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines.
Mar 20th, 2020
WASHINGTON – Strategic weapons experts at Lockheed Martin Corp. will build additional UGM-133A Trident II D5 submarine-launched ballistic nuclear missiles and support deployed D5 nuclear weapons under terms of a half-billion-dollar order announced Thursday.
Officials of the U.S. Navy Strategic Systems Programs (SSP) office in Washington are awarding a $601.3 million contract modification to the Lockheed Martin Space Systems segment in Titusville, Fla., to provide for Trident II (D5) missile production and deployed systems support.
The Trident II D5 is one of the most advanced long-range submarine-launched nuclear missiles in the world. It is the primary U.S. sea-based nuclear ballistic missile, and is deployed aboard U.S. Navy Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines.
The U.S. Navy operates 14 of these ballistic missile submarines, each of which can carry as many as 24 Trident II missiles. Although the Trident II is designed to carry as many as 12 multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle (MIRV) warheads, current treaties reduce this number to four or five.
Each Trident II missile has a range of 4,000 to 7,000 miles. The Trident II D5 was first deployed in 1990 and is scheduled to remain in service until at least 2027.
The Navy started the D5 Life Extension Program in 2002 to replace obsolete components using as many commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) parts as possible to keep costs down and to enhance the missile's capability. Draper Lab is in charge of upgrading the Trident II's guidance system, and has been working on this project since 2005.
In practice, the Trident II missile's inertial measurement system receives targeting data from computers aboard the submarine. The inertial measurement unit then transmits signals to the D5 flight-control computer and converts them into steering commands to keep the ballistic missile on target.
The missile's post-boost control system maneuvers the missile in flight to observe stars for the missile's celestial navigation subsystem, which updates the inertial system in flight.
Lockheed Martin also is integrating the Trident II onto the next-generation ballistic submarine designs of the U.S. and United Kingdom by adapting the Trident II missile and reentry subsystems into the common missile compartment for the future Columbia-class missile submarine and United Kingdom Dreadnought class missile boats.
The Columbia-class ballistic missile submarine is being designed to replace the Navy's fleet of Ohio-class submarines. The future United Kingdom Dreadnought submarine, meanwhile, will replace the Royal Navy's fleet of Vanguard-class ballistic missile submarines.
The U.S. Navy today operates 18 Ohio-class submarines -- 14 of which carry the Trident nuclear missile. Four Ohio-class subs have been modified to carry conventionally armed long-range cruise missiles.
The Ohio-class submarine has been in commission since 1981, and this class is scheduled to be decommissioned and replaced starting in 2029. The United Kingdom Vanguard-class ballistic missile submarine has been at sea since 1993. The Royal Navy operates four Vanguard-class subs.
On this order Lockheed Martin will do the work in Magna, Utah; Sunnyvale, El Segundo, and Inglewood, Calif.; Denver; Cape Canaveral, Titusville, and Clearwater, Fla.; Orange, Va.; Kings Bay, Ga.; Kingsport, Tenn.; Pittsfield, Mass.; Lancaster, Pa.; and other locations, and should be finished by September 2024.
Historical Look at U.S. Navy Diesel Boat Service
There have been many significant changes in the U.S. Navy Submarine Service since the WWII Diesel Boat Era. It might be interesting historically to note some of them.
- Initially, there were only seven pay grades (actually eight). They ran from one to seven with Apprentice Seaman (AS) as one, Seaman Second Class (S2/c) as two, Seaman First Class (S1/c) as three, Petty Officer Third Class (e.g., MM3c) as four. Petty Officers Second and First Class as five and six. Chief Petty Officers were initially promoted to "seven A" for one year (Acting Appointment) and then to Chief Petty Officer as pay grade seven. There were no Master or Command Chief, etc. The "C" for Chief Petty Officers preceded the rate designation, for example, C.M.M., not MMC as today. For all of the seaman ratings, there was a comparable Fireman (F)
- The Officer's rank structure has remained consistent with minor exceptions. During WWII, a five star Fleet Admiral rank was added and bestowed on Nimitz and King. No one promoted to that rank since WWII. Another thing there was no Commodore rank utilized. Officers were promoted from Captain to Rear Admiral (lower half) and hence to Rear Admiral (upper half). The Rear Admiral (Lower Half) replaced the Commodore rank. As it is custom to call any Commanding Officer Captain, it also was custom to name a Submarine Squadron Commander Commodore.
- Before WWII, an Apprentice Seaman's pay was $21.00 per month. Pays increased in WWII with Apprentice Seaman to $50.00 per month and around $120.00 per month for a Chief. All personnel on Submarines got 50% submarine money and 20% sea duty pay. When added together, added up to about 80% extra pay. If you were married and had dependents, your pay was reduced by $28.00 per month; the U.S. Navy supplemented another $22.00, and your dependent was sent a monthly check for $50.00.
- Consequently, an Apprentice Seaman would get $22.00 per month. However, enlisted personnel below pay grade four could not marry without the permission of their Commanding Officer. This breached more often than observed, and many entered the service married.
- At one time, the Navy Paymasters would pay personnel with $2.00 bills so that when spent, it would indicate to the local economy the impact of the service. Also, when being paid by the Paymaster on board a tender, you would line up with your "pay chit" to draw your pay. When you reached the pay desk, you would salute the Paymaster, put your fingerprint on the "pay chit," and draw your money. There was a posted pay list indicating what you had on the "books," and you could draw all or whatever amount you desired Submarine and sea pay were a real boon especially when sea store cigarettes at six cents a pack and a bottle of beer on Bank St. was twenty-five cents. Later, when you came in off patrol, you would have that back pay and be really flush.
- Due to the rapid expansion of every aspect of the U.S. Navy, if you could cut the mustard, promotions were forthcoming. Many a serving enlisted person commissioned (called mustangs) or advanced in rating because of the enormous need to fill billets in new construction and replace casualties. Classes at the U.S. Naval Academy graduated early. Personnel with special qualifications were coming into the service rated or commissioned. You could see a Chief Petty Officer with no hash marks. These ratings were derided and called "slick arms" (no hash marks) or "Tajo" ratings by the old-timers. Some enlisted personnel commissioned as regular line officers, Warrant Officers, and Limited Duty Officers (LDOs) in specific areas. Such commissions initially were considered temporary with reversion back to their permanent grades after hostilities
- They created many specialty ratings. In their "Crow" specialty designator was a diamond with a letter inside, e.g., the letter "A" would be for a coach or professional athlete who would conduct physical conditioning, etc. Most, if not all, of these ratings ceased to exist with the end of the war. Some referred to these as "square knot" rates. There were right and left arm rates. Right arm rates were considered "Sea Going Rates" (B.M., QM. G.M. S.M., F.C., TM, etc.) and the "Crow" was worn on the right arm. Left arm rates were ancillary and were MM, Y, EM, R.M., MOMM, E.T., etc. Right arm rates were senior to left arm ratings. There was no Boatswain Mate Third Class they were called Coxswains.
- Seamen and Firemen wore a "watch stripe" round the right shoulder - white for seamen red for firemen. There was other colors of "Watch Stripes" for aviation, C.B.s, etc. Indication of rate was on uniform cuffs. One white/red stripe for AS/FA, two for S2c/F2/c and three for S1/c and F1/c. The present diagonal 1, 2, or 3 stripe(s), in color was originally for WAVE uniforms and after WWII were adopted for the present enlisted uniform and the watch stripe was eliminated.
- The "T-Shirt" a part of the enlisted uniform initially served two purposes. (1) It was to be worn without the Jumper on work details, especially in tropical locations. (2) It was meant to have the high white neckline to show in the "V" of the Jumper. Some personnel, to enhance the appearance would cut the tab off and wore the "T-shirt" backward for a better appearance especially if with age and washings it seemed to sag. The popularity of the T-Shirt expanded into wide public acceptance after WWII and in now utilized, not only as an undergarment but as outerwear with various designs, logos, etc.
- There were no Silver Metal Dolphins for enlisted personnel. Dolphins for enlisted personnel consisted of embroidered "patches". (white for blues and blue for whites) sewn on the right forearm. Silver Metal Dolphins for enlisted personnel was authorized after WWII.
- All enlisted personnel wore embroidered "patches" as distinguishing marks e.g., if you were a designated striker you could wear the insignia for that specialty on the left upper sleeve. Other distinguishing marks for enlisted personnel were "patches" on uniforms, e.g., an Expert Lookout "patch" binoculars, a diver a divers helmet (M for Master. with degree of qualification indicated on the chest section of the helmet. These worn on the right upper sleeve and there were many of them. One "perk" that has persisted is the wearing of gold rating insignia and hash marks for those with 12 years of good conduct. Chief Petty Officers merely pinned their fouled anchor hat insignia to the front top of their hat covers. The black band and background for the insignia was initiated after WWII. Officers did wear Gold Metal Dolphins as they do today.
- Unknown today was also the fact that there was a dress white uniform for enlisted personnel. The collar and cuffs were blue and were adorned with piping. What is worn today are "undress whites". Pictures of them are in old "Bluejacket Manuals". Officers wore swords for ceremonial occasions as they do today but back before WWII Chief Petty Officers had a cutlass for ceremonial dress occasions. Another uniform item that is now passé is the flat hat. Once the ribbon had the name of your ship but this discontinued for security reasons and all flat hats merely had U.S. Navy in gold on the ribbon.
- In boot camp all of your uniform items were stenciled with your name and service number. There were no doors on lockers and each item had a prescribed method of folding and stowing. It was even prescribed as to how you would pack your seabag.
- Originally, the entire submarine base was literally below the railroad tracks. Later as the base expanded it was called "lower base". Most of the upper base buildings, i.e., Morton Hall, Dealey Center, etc., were constructed for WWII. The road from the present main gate past the golf course was the Groton-Norwich road. About half way up the road was an overhead railroad bridge. The entrance to the base was under the bridge and the Marine guard stationed there in a guard shack. The base commanders office was housed in a small brick building about half way between the training tower and the Torpedo Shop.
- Submarine School - six weeks enlisted and three months for officers. Of some 250,000 men who applied for submarine duty less than 10% made it to Sub School and many of those washed out. Submarine School was the sole tyrannical domain of one Chief Torpedoman Charles Spritz. Submarine School was called "Spritz's Navy". He ruled with an iron hand and was feared by instructors and students alike. He had little regard for rate whether you were a Seaman First Class or a Petty Officer First Class. To call him eccentric was a gross understatement. He did not smoke, did not drink and was single It is open to debate as to if he ever even pulled a liberty. His total devotion was to the Submarine School. It was universally conceded that he had gone "asiatic", not 100% stable and perhaps as a youngster he might have been dropped on his head.
He insisted that personnel, at all times, be properly and neatly attired in the regulation "Uniform of the Day" without exception. No tailor made, proper rolled neckerchief down to the "V" in the Jumper with immaculate white T-Shirt showing, shoes well shined, etc. He did not permit smoking nor any type of horseplay. He demanded that all personnel move at a fast pace. Chief Spritz had the uncanny ability to be everywhere at all times and pity the poor individual who crossed his path. His discipline was swift and sure. He felt it was his personal mission to ascertain that anyone leaving sub school for submarine duty was in every respect ready. He had many axioms but his favorite was "There is room for anything on a submarine except a mistake". Sub school students were not "boots", many, if not most, had time in the U.S. Navy and were rated. There is an article in POLARIS issue of August, 2000 (Submarine Saga segment) which delves into more detail relative to Chief Spritz and is briefly incorporated here as it is a definite part of the Diesel Boat Era. Sub Vets of WWII in recognition of respect, and a fealty obligation to this once feudal lord and master, wear a "Spritz's Navy" patch on their vests.
- It would seem that the screening at Sub School served us well. Friction between members of the crew was unbefitting and unacceptable. If an individual demonstrated an inability to "get along" he could be transferred to another boat. If the same conduct prevailed there he would be transferred out of submarines.
- The training tower caused many a wash out for both physical and mental reasons. If a person could not "pop" his ears it could cause pain and even bleeding from the ears. You voice changed dramatically to a high pitch under pressure. All personnel had to qualify from the 100' lock with the Mommsen Lung. Right after the war it was noted that some German submariners had made emergency escapes using free ascents. A number of crews from boats went to the tower and made free ascents.
- We had less pomp insofar as the ceremony observed when a member of the crew qualified than is apparent today. The individual, thrown over the side then sewed dolphins on his uniforms and wore them with pride. They have always been, and always will be, a badge of honor regardless of manner in which bestowed. There was less reverence on some other occasions also., e.g., when a "Good Conduct Medal" was awarded to a member of the crew it would be given by the Captain (or perhaps the Exec) at quarters amid "hoots and hollers" with cries of "Undiscovered Crime". There was also a bonus system for awards ranging from $1.00 per month for the Good Conduct Medal to $5.00 per month for the Congressional Medal of Honor.
- "Tailor Made" dress blues were the uniform of the day for liberty. The jumper was skin tight with a zipper in the side so that it could be taken off. Accentuated bell bottoms were mandated. The inside of the cuffs were decorated with embroidered color decorations, usually dragons, etc., and were only visible when the cuffs were turned up.
When you made Chief you initially bought the cheapest hat you could find since it was also considered appropriate and properly respectful to have all of the crew urinate in your first hat.
- Sad to note in this day and enlightened age all of the military services of the United States were segregated during our era. The practice abolished by President Truman over 50 years ago. Stewards, at that time, recruited from America territories and from American minorities. Even in such a tight knit group as American Submarines two racks in the Forward Torpedo Room hung off the overhead beneath The Torpedo Loading Hatch were reserved for the Stewards. Rated Stewards wore uniforms similar to Chiefs.
- The submarine sailor was a very irreverent individual with an avid distaste for regulations, etc. The average life span of a submarine sailor was four patrols (about a year). Despite bravado, that thought prevailed to varying degrees depending upon the individual. That premise however, was unsaid but used as an excuse for hell-raising. Rarely mentioned in tales of WWII submarine lore was the fact that going through minefields was as apprehensive as being depth charged.
- Submarine Officers and crews were very young - anyone past thirty was a very old man. Admiral Charles Lockwood (Uncle Charley) Com Sub Pac was most forgiving, as were Skippers and Execs, of transgressions of both Officers and men. Returning from patrol crews were treated extremely well.
- Another "perk" of the submarine force was that any record of "minor" disciplinary action that a member of the crew suffered would be entered into the "page 9" of his service record. Virtually all disciplinary action was handled internally on the boat. However, both the original and carbon copy (BuPers Copy) retained in his jacket. When transferred, the original and copy, removed by the Yeoman to be deep sixed. Unless there was a serious offence personnel transferred with a clean record.
- Many friendships were formed in sub school, plus other training and schools and transfers were not uncommon due to the needs of new construction, promotions, etc. Consequently, the force became even more closely knit. It was the rare boat that did not have personnel whom you knew.
- Submariners were very independent and resourceful, both individually and as a group. Needs (and desires) of the boat as prescribed by the U.S. Navy, did not always coincide with what was considered proper nor adequate. Therefore, a system of "midnight requisitioning" and "midnight small stores" developed to enhance efficiency. This avenue of acquisition considered a solemn duty in promoting the war effort. Those proficient and innovative in this endeavor were greatly admired. It was an art as well as a science executed individually or as a group cooperative effort. Some of these escapades took great ingenuity as well as "brass balls". As a term of affection they were called "scroungers" and/or "dog robbers". If a Skipper or Exec made an "innocent" passing remark that some particular thing might be "nice" it would appear mysteriously in due time.
- On board an informal, but professional, attitude prevailed. Although we had an evaporator to make fresh water, battery watering was primary. In the design and scheme of things, personal hygiene or washing of clothes did not seem to be considered. One Engineering Petty Officer, called the "Water King" ran the evaporators. Personal hygiene or washing of clothing was an afterthought. The use of after-shave lotions, deodorants and especially talcum powders prevailed. Large cans of "Lilac" were the norm, purchased inexpensively and sprinkled liberally.
- To the unacquainted it could appear that the rapport between Officers and men was quite informal and to a degree it was but it in no way detracted from efficiency, military courtesy, tradition or discipline. There was a strong mutual respect. Aye-Aye Sir, Very Well and Well Done were accorded as appropriate. The vast majority of the crew was rated and competent in their skills. Obviously so were our officers. There was no such thing as stenciled ratings on dungaree shirts so a person coming aboard a submarine at sea would have a difficult time determining any individuals rate. Also there was an axiom that in submarines "you left your rate on the dock". Ability was the hallmark.
- When conditions approached that of a Chinese garbage scow junk with an over flowing head and the crew in dire need of fumigation the Skipper might decide to allow showers piecemeal by sections. You lined up to enter the shower, the Chief of the Boat turned on the water for 2 seconds and shut it down while you soaped down. You were then allowed a correspondingly brief rinse.
- Each member of the crew was allotted one locker which measured about 12" high, 18" wide and about 18" deep. You kept your uniforms under your mattress. Your rack had a plastic zip around cover. Your mattress was encased in a "mattress cover" which was akin to an oversized pillow case. Able to be turned over once and some even turned them inside out and got two more uses. Less the uninitiated be stunned by that you must be cognizant of lack of water for regular laundry.
- Internal communications on board were conducted by the 1MC and 7MC phone and speaker systems.
- To reenter a submarine after handling lines etc. when returning to port was a shocking revelation. It was impossible to believe that you had survived that malodorous environment. Politely put the atmosphere was conducive to a shanty town house of ill repute that also was inundated by a backup of its sewer system. Pity the poor relief crew that had to come on board and make the boat shipshape again.
- You could immediately identify an Electrician on a submarine. He was the individual with the most shredded moth eaten dungarees.
- Ribald humor was the tenor of the day. No topic or human frailty was off limits. Nothing was sacred. Horseplay and trickery were the order of the day. The antics and demeanor of the crew, both at sea and ashore, would not be socially acceptable nor politically correct nowadays. I fear that the late Admiral Rickover would have been aghast.
- One real advantage was food, especially when you first went out. Although they were ridden without mercy the cooks did an excellent job of feeding the crew. We ate family style off china plates. Our officers ate exactly what the enlisted personnel did. The stewards would come back to the After Battery Galley and fill their serving plates and bring it to the Forward Battery for the Wardroom. When leaving port rations were stored in every conceivable space (including the shower since it wouldn't be needed). However, as supplies diminished the cooks were hard pressed to come up with varied favorable menus. All boats had "open icebox" so you could prepare and cook anything you wanted at any time as long as you cleaned up after yourself. The After Battery "Mess" was for chow, off duty recreation, meeting space and a hang-out.
This is a collective attempt at recollection after the passing of a half-century so any errors or omissions hopefully forgiven as "senior frailties". Much of this is collective memory and is a compilation of boats in general. There is no pride of authorship so any comments, additions, corrections and/or deletions are welcome and appreciated. This is merely a historical comparison as best one can do and is in no way a negative reflection between "then and now". GOD BLESS ALL SUBMARINERS - Past, Present and Future
Central Connecticut Chapter U.S. Submarine Veterans World War II
John Bud Cunnally E.T.C. (S.S.) Ret. U.S.N. – President
International Submariners Association of the U.S.A. (ISA/USA)
4704 Coppola Drive
Mount Dora, Fl 32757-8069