SUBROC

The introduction of nuclear power plants and the teardrop shaped hulls to US nuclear submarines in the late 1950s slightly overshadows one other important development in undersea warfare at that time. Sonar arrays on submarines became increasingly large. The size of an array is directly linked to the wavelengths they operate on. Larger arrays allow use of lower frequencies. And lower frequencies generally propagate further through water than higher frequencies. This, coupled with advances in passive sonar signal processing, extended the detection range against submarines from around 4000 yards to 50,000 or even sometimes 100,000 yards, or 25 to 50 nautical miles.

The increase in detection range called for an increase in weapons range. There was a limit to just how far a conventional torpedo might travel. Further, at long ranges, while a target might be detected, the precision of the plot was rather poor.

And so, like many other programs in the late 50s and early 60s, the answer was nuclear weapons. Where surface ships could use DASH to prosecute long range targets, submarines would have to use something that could be launched from a torpedo tube.

The answer was SUBROC, or Submarine Rocket, the UUM-44 underwater to underwater guided missile. Development began in 1958, and by 1965, it was deployed to the fleet. After being ejected from a torpedo tube, a solid rocket motor would drive it to the surface. The missile’s inertial navigation system would follow a precalculated ballistic trajectory. At the calculated time, the booster would be separated, and the warhead would continue to the impact point. There it would sink and then its W55 5 kiloton warhead would detonate.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X4X2lpKu-g4]

Unlike ASROC, SUBROC never carried a torpedo payload. It was only available as a nuclear weapon. While training and testing rounds were fired, no actual nuclear testing of an operational warhead were ever conducted.

SUBROC was deployed until 1989, with the end of the Cold War. A proposed follow on weapon armed with a torpedo, Sea Lance, was cancelled due to technical issues, cost overruns, and the perceived reduction of the submarine threat after the collapse of the USSR. Today’s US Navy submarine force relies solely on the M48 torpedo for anti-submarine warfare.

Sailor Hat

We’re on a bit of a nuclear weapons kick. This is actually a post that is about nuclear weapons, but doesn’t contain any.

After the Partial Test Ban Treaty, above ground nuclear explosions, including those in the ocean that would broach the surface, were prohibited.

In the meantime, the US Navy was rapidly running out of surplus World War II ships to upgrade, and was designing several classes of ships such as the Leahy class anti-air escorts using aluminum superstructures to save weight. Further, the array of antennas and other ancillary equipment on US ships was growing. But the Navy lacked empirical data on how such structures and arrays would fare in the blast overpressure regime of a nuclear weapon. What to do? Well, obviously, the thing to do was to generate blast overpressure. But since nukes were out, that meant something else was needed. What the Navy eventually did , in 1965, was stack a dome of 500 tons of high explosives along the shore of an uninhabited island in Hawaii, and blow it up, with ships nearby. Not once, but three times!

The prime target was the former light cruiser Atlanta. She was taken into the yard, had her superstructure razed, and new deckhouses erected using the design, materials and standards then in use for new construction.  Further, representative radar arrays of just about every type in use in the fleet were added to her deck. She had two bridges, one replica of a frigate/missile cruiser bridge forward, and a guided missile destroyer bridge aft.

While the former Atlanta was positioned closest to the blast, and was intended to actually sustain damage, other ships were also present, to validate the data. And not just target hulks, but actual, modern, in service ships, equipped with the same superstructures and sensors the test was designed to challenge. Further, the ships were fully manned by their regular crews.

Sailor Hat is pretty well documented. 10psi overpressure was quite damaging to ships, as you can see in the video.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tD6DypqD-sg]

Now, 500 tons of explosives is quite a bit. But it’s not even close to the biggest charges.

In the 1980s, two other programs tested massive conventional charges as substitutes for nuclear weapons. Operation Minor Scale set off 4,000 tons (that is, four kilotons) of conventional explosives. As the press release wryly noted, there were no plans for Operation Major Scale. Minor Scale represented the expected blast overpressure and ground wave effects of roughly an 8 kiloton airburst weapon, roughly half the power of the Hiroshima bomb. Similarly, Operation Misty Picture set off about 4,600 tons of explosives

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/9f/Minor_Scale_test_explosion.jpg

While neither Minor Scale nor Misty Picture are classified, and indeed reporters were present at Minor Scale, very few pictures have been released, and to date, no video, likely because of sensitive technical aspects of the measurement arrays for the tests. 

Operation Crossroads

We posted yesterday about researchers finding the former USS Independence, a light carrier that had served in World War II, and was later a target vessel used in atomic testing. She actually survived not one, but two atomic blasts, with considerable damage, but no loss of hull integrity. She was scuttled primarily because decontaminating her proved to be too difficult.

Immediately after World War II, the US realized it had the ultimate trump card in the atomic bomb, but was surprised to find just how little it knew about what the weapons could, and more importantly, could not, be expected to do to targets, particularly military targets. The Navy especially was concerned about what effect nuclear weapons would have on the future of naval warfare. Scientists as well needed to conduct research into the basics of weapon development. They had very little information to work with, as only three devices had ever been detonated, and rather obviously, very little scientific data was available from the two used in combat.

And so, even as the US was working to build an inventory of nuclear weapons, it chose to expend two in a test program at Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands. Further, the Navy arranged a target array of about 90 of virtually every type at varying ranges from the intended ground zero. The first weapon, Able,  was an airburst, dropped from a B-29. The second shot, Baker,  was a shallow underwater burst, with the device suspended by cables from a small ship.

Grab a cup of coffee, this is going to take a bit. The first video is quick, and shows the Baker shot in color.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a4njDofokYs]

This video is about 42 minutes long, and shows the set up and effects of both Able and Baker.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2HkLZekOZLU]

What’s astonishing is just how few ships were actually sunk. Ships only a few hundred yards from the burst survived with relatively little damage. The Able shot, being an airburst, left relatively little fallout. The Baker shot, however, was a radiological mess, heavily contaminating virtually every ship in the array.

The major wrecks at Bikini, Saratoga, Nagato, etc, are in quite shallow water, and can be dived with regular scuba equipment.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ORv0LCc0DDw]

Jet Bombers Go To Sea

One of the Lexicans tipped me to this, from the National Museum of Naval Aviation.

https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=215564371791027&permPage=1

Douglas’ A3D (later A-3) Skywarrior was the largest plane ever operationally deployed aboard carriers. Earlier attempts by the Navy to field a nuclear capable bomber at sea were… marginal at best. Some P2V (later P-2) Neptunes were intended to be launched as nuclear bombers, but no attempt was made at providing a capability of recovering them aboard. The later North American AJ (later A-2) Savage was a hybrid propulsion bomber, with twin reciprocating engines, and a small jet engine embedded in the tail. It was not a terribly successful aircraft.

About the time the A3D started entering into squadron service in significant numbers, advances in nuclear weapons reduced their size to the p0int where smaller tactical aircraft, such as the AD (later A-1) Skyraider and the A4D (later A-4)* could carry nuclear weapons. The widespread adoption of in flight refueling also meant smaller strike aircraft could reach well into the heart of the Soviet Union after launching from the Eastern Mediterranean Sea.

The A3D, with its great size and payload capacity soon found itself adapted to roles beyond the nuclear strike mission. Variants would serve as tankers, electronic warfare platforms, reconnaissance jets and even as transport. A-3s did fly a handful of conventional strike missions during the Vietnam war, but rarely ventured into the contested skies above North Vietnam.

A-3B_VAH-4_dropping_Mk_83_bomb_Vietnam_1965

The last Navy A-3s finally retired in the early 1990s.

Muslims Murdering Christians in Kenya

gunmen3

Or, as this Administration would couch it, this is either another tragic college campus shooting that highlights the need for stricter gun laws, or just some folks shooting at other folks, in which no one religion is responsible.   NBC News has the story.

Al Shabab, an al Qaeda-linked terror group based in neighboring Somalia, claimed responsibility for the pre-dawn attack. Sheik Abdiasis Abu Musab, the group’s military operations spokesman, said many Christians were being held by the militants. “We sorted people out and released the Muslims,” he told Reuters.

Witnesses corroborated the Al-Shabab claims:

When the gunmen arrived at his dorm he could hear them opening doors and asking if the people who had hidden inside whether they were Muslims or Christians. “If you were a Christian, you were shot on the spot,” Wetangula told The Associated Press. “With each blast of the gun I thought I was going to die.”

Prayers for the lives of the Christians who are hostages to these muhammedan monsters.  And for the souls who died because of their faith.  It is likely too late to pray that our Islamist sympathizer of a Chief Executive would have a pang of conscience about the massacres perpetrated by the radical Islamists whom he refuses to name as America’s enemies.   Reverend Wright got his wish.  God did damn America, with lazy, media-brainwashed voters who twice elected the empty-suit charlatan whose “hope and change” has eroded liberty, alienated our allies, and emboldened our enemies.

By all means, however, let’s avoid calling these filthy animals what they are.  Let’s instead make a deal with Iran to facilitate their nuclear weapons efforts.   Understanding that some things are not negotiable.

What a Statesman Sounds Like

The contrast with our President is stark indeed.  A clear and rational petition for the safety and existence of his nation and his people.

Small wonder that Obama and the far-left Democrats objected so much to Netanyahu’s appeal for the survival of Israel.  We get the Cairo speech, and “don’t insult Islam”.

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What’s some of the reaction to Netanyahu’s speech from the Arab world?

Tzvi Yechezkieli, the Arab affairs expert of Channel 10, said that many Arab commentators supported the content of Netanyahu’s speech. He cited a commentator on Al-Arabiya TV, who had said that he could have written a large part of the speech.

Yechezkieli said that the Arab countries are convinced that Obama will not safeguard their security interests in the current negotiations with Iran and will not protect them against Iranian aggression.

The above is not isolated opinion, either.  There was this on Bibi’s speech at AIPAC:

Yesterday, Faisal J. Abbas, the powerful Editor-in-Chief of Al Arabiya English, published an editorial under the headline: “President Obama, listen to Netanyahu on Iran.” Abbas’ editorial was a reaction to Netanyahu’s speech to AIPAC yesterday.

He wrote: “In just a few words, Mr. Netanyahu managed to accurately summarize a clear and present danger, not just to Israel (which obviously is his concern), but to other U.S. allies in the region.”

The Saudi Daily Al-Jazirah published an article written by Dr. Ahmad Al-Faraj, who supported Netanyahu’s decision to speak to the U.S. Congress against the upcoming deal with Iran. He called Obama “one of the worst American presidents” and said that Netanyahu’s campaign against the deal is justified because it also serves the interests of the Gulf States.

Barack Obama and his fellow travelers seem to be the only ones, aside from Iran, that were critical of the Prime Minister’s address.

Israeli News Report: Obama Threatened to Shoot Down IAF Iran Strike

f15

From Israelnationalnews.com via Drudge.

The Bethlehem-based news agency Ma’an has cited a Kuwaiti newspaper report Saturday, that US President Barack Obama thwarted an Israeli military attack against Iran’s nuclear facilities in 2014 by threatening to shoot down Israeli jets before they could reach their targets in Iran.

Not for the first time, Carter-era National Security Advisor (and anti-Semite/anti-Israel) Zbigniew Brzezinski advised shooting down Israeli aircraft to prevent them from striking the nuclear facilities of a mortal enemy that has vowed the destruction of the Jewish state.  It appears, if this report is true, that Obama actually agreed to such a notion.

Israel is far from a perfect ally, and they can be a thorn in the side of America even at the best of times.  But they are the only western-style free democracy in the Middle East.  They are also a valuable friend.  Conversely, Iran is an oppressive theocracy that has promised the destruction not only of Israel but of the United States, as well.  They are a destabilizing force in a strategic region, hostile to American interests and to those of our allies.

That Obama chose to heed the advice of the National Security Advisor of a pathetic weakling of a President speaks volumes (though Obama makes Jimmy Carter look like Bismarck). That he chose to make such a strong threat against an ally rather than our myriad Islamic fundamentalist enemies is positively thunderous.  Obama hates American power and influence, just as he does that of Israel and the UK.  He is an Islamist sympathizer and a statist communist, just as Rudy Giuliani had the courage to say publicly.   Obama is positively hot for a deal with Iran that would cede to them the ability to develop nuclear weapons, which they have promised to use against Israel.

The notion that the US would threaten an ally who wanted to strike Iran would seem preposterous under any other President.  I don’t know if it is true now, either, but such a thing is much more plausible with an anti-American, anti-Western communist in the White House.

What would have been the effect if Ronald Reagan had made a similar threat and stifled the Osirak strike?  Or George W. Bush had threatened Israel into canceling the attack on Syria’s nuclear facility in 2007?

There are 600+ days left of this malignant cabal of anti-American ultra-liberals in the Executive Branch.  One hopes there remains something resembling the United States of America on Inauguration Day, 2017.  And that our credibility and relationships with our allies around the world have not been irreparably damaged.  On Tuesday I will listen to Benjamin Netanyahu carefully.  I hope others do, too.

 

So Let's Let 'Em Have Nukes!

…what a great idea.

After all, just because they conduct naval maneuvers to practice sinking US warships is no reason to think they are hostile toward the United States.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=698f0uYzswU

Just like threatening to wipe Israel off the map is no indicator of any latent dislike of our ally.  More diplomatic success for our anti-American President.

North Korea Fires Russian SS-N-25 Switchblade ASCMs

ss-n-25-switchblade

Yesterday, the Korean People’s Navy (KPN) successfully fired three supposedly indigenously-developed anti-ship cruise missiles into the East Sea out to a range of approximately 200 km.  While the DPRK may claim the missiles are a home-made design, analysts say they are in actuality Russian export-variety Kh-35E Uran ASCMs (NATO codename SS-N-25 Switchblade).  The Kh-35 series is a close equivalent to the US AGM-84 Harpoon missile, being slightly smaller and with a lighter warhead (360 lbs) than the Harpoon (488  lbs).

It is possible that the newly-cultivated relationship between Putin’s Russia and the DPRK is bearing fruit for both entities.  This weapon system, if successfully integrated into the DPRK arsenal, represents a significant and problematic upgrade to North Korea’s offensive and defensive capabilities.  The SS-N-25 Switchblade has a seeker head very comparable to the deadly 3M-54 Klub (NATO codename SS-N-27 Sizzler), with both a radar homing and anti-radiation ability which can acquire out to 50km.

The fielding of significant numbers of SS-N-25s represents a multi-generational upgrade for the DPRK, the majority of whose ASCM inventories consist of obsolete SS-N-2 Styx and smaller (and shorter-ranged) C 801 and C 802 systems.  It is likely that the new capabilities will be employed in shore-based systems, greatly expanding both range and lethality of DPRK coastal defenses.  In addition, the plentiful but obsolescent smaller ships and craft of the Korean People’s Navy (corvettes, PTG/PG and Fast Attack Craft) configured to carry the SS-N-25 suddenly multiply exponentially their combat potential in a surface fight.  Ditto the obsolete IL-28s and other older aircraft of the Air Force, should they be configured to carry the Switchblade.

Should it come to pass that the SS-N-25 eventually comprises a major part of the DPRK ASCM inventory (courtesy of the Russians), a hard problem just got harder.   Just in time to shrink our Navy below 250 ships.

SECDEF Fired: Hagel Goes Under the Bus

Chuck Hagel

Big news this morning that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has been fired by President Obama.  Big news, but not surprising.  Hagel has openly contradicted the President several times, especially regarding the Administration’s rather childish assertions regarding the necessity of ground forces in the fight against ISIS.   You will hear various stories about how this was Hagel’s idea, and of course, the media will dutifully report as fact the White House’s version of events.  But that version will be as accurate and honest as WH proclamations on Benghazi, the IRS, Fast and Furious, ISIS intelligence failures, etc.

Though Hagel was not known as a deep thinker, the idea that he somehow couldn’t grasp the deeper and more complex defense issues smells like the intellectual elitism of the self-proclaimed far-left “ruling” class.  It is far more likely that Hagel attempted to keep Obama and his National Security Council grounded in reality, only to be poo-pooed and brushed aside by the overwhelming cacophony from the Marxist ideologues that have the President’s ample ears.   I was never a big Chuck Hagel fan, as he was a Global Zero guy whose viewpoints at various times bordered on the curious, but as SECDEF I thought he was one of the few at the top of the Defense structure with the spine to stand up to the rampant amateurish stupidity that emanated from 1600 Pennsylvania.  We could have done far worse.  We certainly might going forward.

Whether talks were “initiated” by Hagel or not, the nature of those talks were probably discussions about whether Obama was going to keep tossing aside wise counsel or not in favor of the childlike and naive rantings of his fellow-travelers.  And, the answer today seems to be a resounding YES.  Obama will continue to march forward in secular progressive lockstep to the Internationale, wreaking the concomitant damage on US security, foreign relations, and national power.

Funny that the Secretary of Defense that HE chose, to replace another that had had enough (Panetta), is now thought not to be up to the job.  One has to wonder who is.  Michele Flournoy has been mentioned, along with Ash Carter.  One has to think Bob Work is in the mix.  All are far too talented to want to serve out the last two years of the military train wreck that is the Defense Department under Obama.   It is like being hired to coach the Washington Generals, and being told you are expected to win.