The “41 for Freedom” were 41 ballistic missile submarines commissioned by the US Navy during the Cold War. They included submarines from the George Washington (5), Ethan Allen (5), Lafayette (9), James Madison (10) and Benjamin Franklin (12) classes. The first to enter commission was the USS George Washington (SSBN-598) on 30 December 1959 and the last to inactivate from US Navy service was the USS Kamehameha (SSBN-642) on 2 April 2002.
If the SS-NX-32 Bulava missile isn’t ready in time (how’s that testing going, Volodya?) then the Russian Navy will commission its new Borei-class submarines as “multi-purpose attack submarines” armed with conventional weapons. Why they don’t simply retrofit SS-N-23 Sineva missile is anyone’s guess.
АПЛ “Борей” смогут временно выполнять задачи многоцелевых подлодок
Как сообщил высокопоставленный представитель Генштаба, это возможно за счет применения штатных торпед и ракето-торпед на борту, а не баллистических ракет “Булава”.
МОСКВА, 1 ноя — РИА Новости. Стратегические атомные подводные лодки (АПЛ) класса “Борей” “Александр Невский” и “Владимир Мономах” (проект 955) могут быть приняты ВМФ РФ не на вооружение, а в опытовую эксплуатацию и выполнять задачи в качестве многоцелевых ударных субмарин.
Как сообщил РИА Новости в пятницу высокопоставленный представитель Генштаба, это возможно за счет применения штатных торпед и ракето-торпед на борту, а не баллистических ракет “Булава”.
Головная лодка этого проекта “Юрий Долгорукий” была принята на вооружение ВМФ в конце 2012 года. Однако после неудачного последнего пуска штатного ударного оружия этой лодки — баллистической ракеты “Булава” — 6 сентября министр обороны Сергей Шойгу принял решение приостановить принятие этих лодок на вооружение и провести пять дополнительных пусков этих ракет.
Между тем первые две серийные лодки этого проекта “Александр Невский” уже фактически готовы и планируются к передаче флоту до конца этого года.
“Стратегические подводные лодки “Борей” в рабочем порядке могут выполнять функции многоцелевых лодок за счет другого штатного оружия на борту — торпед и ракето-торпед. Ведь доктор технических наук может преподавать в школе арифметику”, — сказал собеседник агентства.
По его словам, такое временное решение может быть принято в связи с тем, что фактически АПЛ “Александр Невский” готова, и к самой лодке замечаний нет. “Значит, экипаж может отрабатывать в море и другие учебно-боевые задачи до решения всех технических вопросов с “Булавой””, — сказал представитель Генштаба.
Он напомнил, что головная дизель-электрическая подлодка “Санкт-Петербург” была принята в опытовую эксплуатацию еще в 2010 году и до сих пор находится в этой статусе, а не в боевом составе флота. Сейчас она проходит испытания на Северном флоте.
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On face value it would be tempting to dismiss this article as a hatchet job by a Texan blogger. I’m sure that many American readers of Foreign Policy are going to reblog it with glee. (Because, you know, ‘Murica showed up in two world wars and saved Yurop’s ass, right?) But I genuinely don’t think that was Beckhusen’s intent. He’s merely cataloging facts that any observer of British naval policy already knows. He’s cataloging those facts for an audience (Americans) that might not be paying that much attention. They’ve got their own budget battles, procurement snafus, ship decommissionings and operational overreach to worry about. So if, charitably, 1% of the article’s American readership actually pays attention to what Beckhusen is trying to point out, then that’s a bloody good thing. The other 99% can repeat the hackneyed trope of “savin’ Yurop’s ass” and we needn’t worry about them. So… here’s the article:
Here Are All The Things the British Military Can’t Do Anymore
In late September, the Royal Navy unveiled its latest nuclear-powered Astute-class submarine, HMS Artful, and also “christened” the hefty but sleek Daring-class destroyer HMS Duncan — the sixth and last of its class. Aside from the United Kingdom’s aircraft carrier program, these represent the two most significant naval shipbuilding programs happening in Britain at the moment. And two of the most controversial.
The vessels are impressive on the surface, but each ship originates from troubled development programs which — although coming with creature comforts and advanced technology — turned out to be less than impressive when put to the test.
New submarines running aground, older subs breaking down and destroyers put into service without adequate defenses against enemy submarines. It’s not completely surprising. The Ministry of Defence’s budget is half that of 30 years ago.
Perhaps more troubling for the Royal Navy: the vessels tasked with carrying Britain’s military into the 21st century have sacrificed key systems needed to defend against attacks, while suffering limitations in their ability to strike back at enemy planes and missiles.
Meanwhile, Royal Air Force ocean patrol planes that once buzzed the ocean scooping every signal they could detect have been cut altogether, meaning the surface ships are sailing blind — and Britain’s nuclear-missile force is sailing without escorts.
Here’s what Britain’s military can’t do. Or if it does do it, it doesn’t do it well.
Absent frigates and troubled destroyers
This is the Daring-class destroyer. It is one of the most embarrassing military programs in the British armed forces.
It wasn’t meant to be this way. Intended to replace the Type 42 destroyer which first entered service in the 1970s, the Daring class was envisioned as an 8,000-ton, 152-meter-long vessel with anti-air and anti-submarine capabilities par excellence. The centerpiece: an anti-aircraft system called Sea Viper with a Sampson dual-band radar capable of tracking 1,000 objects the size of a tennis ball as far away as 400 kilometers.
The system also has two different types of anti-aircraft missiles: the Aster 15 medium-range missile and its long-range cousin, the Aster 30, which can travel up to an impressive 75 miles. There’s also a 4.5-inch main gun for surface targets.
The Royal Navy is acutely aware of its need for robust destroyers with advanced anti-aircraft systems, principally owing to the Falklands War. Two Type 42 destroyers, the HMS Sheffield and Coventry, were sunk during the war by low-flying Argentinian aircraft. The Sea Viper system is also a big improvement over the Type 42’s radar.
But the Royal Navy built a ship with major weaknesses where it should be strong. For one, Sea Viper’s planned inter-ship communication system was to be added later, meaning one destroyer can’t share information via a satellite network with other ships. The complexity of all the new electronic systems and shoddy oversight also led to repeated delays and ballooning costs.
And there’s a problem with the missiles. The Aster 15s are fine for a lone incoming anti-ship missile — the Aster 15 is highly maneuverable and functions as a both short- and medium-range defense weapon. But the missiles take up a lot of space and can’t be “quad-packed” into a missile tube.
This reduces the number of available Aster 15s to a mere 20 missiles compared to the 96 missiles carried by the U.S. Arleigh Burke-class destroyers. The number is even fewer than the advanced (but much smaller) Sachsen-class frigates of the German navy, which carry 32 missiles — and that was already on the low-end. In the event of an enemy saturation attack — like a blitz but with anti-ship missiles instead of linebackers — the air-defense-focused Daring class could be in serious trouble.
Radar-guided Phalanx guns, which throw up a wall of 20-millimeter rounds as a last resort against incoming missiles, were not installed on the lead ship of the class until this year. Oh, and unlike the Type 42, the destroyer has no torpedo tubes to defend against attacking submarines. This job is left for the destroyer’s helicopters and — either a single Merlin or a pair of Lynx choppers — and a torpedo decoy system. The ship has no missiles for attacking land targets.
The Royal Navy has also built fewer Darings than it ever did for the now-retired Type 42. Cost-cutting measures forced a trim to the number of planned destroyers from 12 to eight ships, and then to a final number of only six ships. (The Royal Navy built 14 Type 42s.) So the Daring class is an anti-aircraft ship that’s fewer in number than its predecessor, with several major anti-air weaknesses and the ship has a major weakness against submarines.
The total price for the ships is now $10.35 billion?-?$2.4 billion more than anticipated — and was enough for one U.S. Naval War College report to describe the Daring class as “a symbol in the United Kingdom for mismanagement of procurement.”
That’s not all. The Royal Navy has retired the anti-submarine Type 22 frigate and doesn’t have the money to replace it. Also first dating to the 1970s, none of the 14 Type 22s are still in service — the last four of the line were sold for scrap in 2011. Thirteen Type 23 frigates are still in service, though.
But the Type 22 was Britain’s primary anti-submarine warfare ship. The Type 22 also doubled as the Royal Navy’s ship-based signals intelligence force. The ships contained the “only combination of systems enabling wide ranging monitoring of the frequencies and wavelengths of the Electromagnetic Spectrum of the sea,” Parliament’s Defense Committee noted in 2012. Now that’s gone.
Maritime reconnaissance planes turned to scrap
Let this sink in for a second. The United Kingdom has no dedicated maritime patrol planes.
That’s a pretty big deal. Patrol planes are more or less a requirement for a navy worth its sea-faring salt, and many coastal countries without sizable navies have at least some planes for ocean patrol missions. Even Denmark and Peru have maritime patrol planes.
They’re the eyes and ears of a fleet, and use a combination of radar, sonar buoys and other sensors to detect enemy ships or conduct search and rescue missions. The U.K. has also long used maritime surveillance aircraft to track Russian submarines navigating north of Scotland, peeking on naval maneuvers in the Arctic Sea and escorting the Royal Navy’s own ballistic missile subs.
For much of the Cold War, the Royal Air Force tasked this mission to the Nimrod MR1 and MR2 planes, which first entered service in 1969. An advanced aircraft for its time, the older Nimrods were eventually retired in 2011 to be replaced by the modern Nimrod MRA4.
The new Nimrod was supposed to be a major upgrade, and entailed rebuilding the plane from the inside out. There was going to be new engines and larger wings. New sensor systems would let the MRA4 see from longer distances, and the design enabled it to travel up to 2,500 miles further than its predecessor.
Upgrading the Nimrods proved to be an impossible task for an absurd reason. The planes are based on the de Havilland Comet, a 1950s-era commercial airliner which had been transformed over several generations during military service. But the Comet was never built to a standard — they were custom made. This means each plane is slightly different than the others, and thus exorbitant to upgrade when installing millions of dollars worth of advanced electronics.
Only one MRA4 was ever built. “The single MRA4 aircraft that had been delivered to the RAF was so riddled with flaws it could not pass its flight tests, it was simply unsafe to fly,” Liam Fox, the former British Secretary of Defence, wrote in the The Telegraph in 2011.
Fox was attempting to justify the complete scrapping of the program?-?it wasn’t easy. Twelve under-construction MRA4s were disassembled, and more than $6.3 billion went down the drain. The U.K. is now considering buying P-3 Orion patrol planes from the United States to fill the gap.
Rusty and broken submarines
In theory, the Astute-class nuclear-powered attack submarine is the most advanced British submarine ever built. In reality it’s underpowered, prone to numerous technical problems and is far behind schedule.
A replacement for Britain’s Trafalgar-class submarines, the 7,000-ton Astute class uses a Thales sonar — touted by the Royal Navy as the world’s best (which it might be) — while packing a combination of 38 Spearfish torpedoes and/or Tomahawk missiles. The sub also does not have a conventional periscope but a photonics mast, like a digital camera capable of seeing in infrared. There have been two Astute-class subs commissioned, the HMS Astute and Ambush. Four more are under construction, and a seventh is planned.
But neither Astute nor Ambush have become operational, owing to a number of problems and delays leaving the Royal Navy with only five aging Trafalgar-class subs in service. These older subs will be gradually decommissioned over the decade, and there’s rarely a time when a single Trafalgar-class sub is operational at any given time due to maintenance issues. HMS Tireless was put out of action earlier this year after a reactor coolant leak.
But what’s the problem with the Astute class? The main problem — and most serious — is that it’s achingly slow.
Designed to travel faster than 30 knots, the sub tops out below that (though how far below hasn’t been revealed). This means it can’t keep up with the ships like the under-construction Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers it’s meant to protect. In battle, that’s a potentially fatal flaw for the submarine and the carrier.
The reason for the trouble is believed to be incompatibility between the sub’s steam turbines which were built for the Trafalgar-class, and its nuclear reactor which was built for the giant Vanguard-class ballistic missile subs, according to The Guardian. Among other problems include corrosion, faulty monitoring instruments for the submarine’s reactor and even flooding during a dive. Astute also quite literally ran aground in Scotland in 2010 and had to be rescued.
Left out of this, of course, is the Harrier force. The Royal Navy’s carrier-launched jump jets were retired in late 2010, meaning the U.K. no longer has fixed-wing jets capable of operating from Britain’s one remaining ski-jump carrier, the Illustrious. However, the Royal Navy has pledged to buy F-35s for the Queen Elizabeth class. It may want to reconsider before more problems arise.
Robert Beckhusen is a collection editor at War is Boring, the site that explores how and why we fight above, on and below an angry world.
Naval History and Heritage Command, Photographic Section, UM-23.
Naval Station Rota (NAVSTA Rota) is a Spanish naval base opened in 1955, commanded by a Spanish Admiral, called Base Naval de Rota in Spanish, and yet fully-funded by the United States of America. Often described by the US Navy as the “Gateway to the Mediterranean,” Rota is headquarters for Commander US Naval Activities Spain (COMNAVACTSPAIN). Under the mutual defense agreement signed by the US and Spain during the Franco regime (Convenio de Defensa y Ayuda Económica Mutua), the US is responsible for maintaining the station’s infrastructure, including a 670-acre (2.7 km2) airfield, three active piers, 426 facilities and 806 family housing units.
Rota is home to the Spanish Navy’s Grupo de Acción Naval 2, comprising the aircraft carrier Príncipe de Asturias (R-11), the LPDs Galicia (L-51) and Castilla (L-52), and the LST Pizarro (L-42). On its transfer to a state of “restrictive standby” (or what the rest of the world calls “decommissioning”), the Príncipe de Asturias will be replaced by the LHD Juan Carlos I (L61).
Rota is also home to the 41ª Escuadrilla de Escoltas, comprising the Santa Maria-class frigates Santa Maria (F-81), Victoria (F-82), Numancia (F-83), Reina Sofía (F-84), Navarra (F-85) and Canarias (F-86). The Spanish vessels are based on the US Navy’s Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates.
US tenant units based at Rota include Fleet Anti-Terrorism Security Team Company Europe (FAST Co. Europe), US Naval Hospital Rota, Naval Special Warfare Unit 10 and 725th Air Mobility Squadron.
The strategic location of the base allows it to provide excellent support to US Sixth Fleet units in the Mediterranean and to US Air Force Air Mobility Command units. It is the only base in the Mediterranean which supports amphibious readiness group (ARG) post-deployment wash-downs. The naval station also offers pier-side maintenance and backload facilities. The base complements the ARG unit transfers, and accommodates the sailors and marines of visiting ships.
During the Cold War, Rota was home port to Submarine Squadron 16 (SUBRON 16) and the depot ship USS Proteus (AS-19), later USS Holland (AS-32). Submarines assigned to the squadron included the USS Lafayette (SSBN-616) and USS Francis Scott Key (SSBN-657).
At present, 43 nations have over 600 submarines
TNN | Aug 19, 2013, 06.03 AM IST
The INS Sindhurakshak tragedy has brought the focus on the mysterious world of submarines. Here are some interesting submarine facts.
When was submarine first used in war?
By early 18th century, many inventors made several designs of naval vessels that could travel on the surface as well as beneath water. The American Revolution was the first war that witnessed military deployment of such boats. Submarines were also used during the American civil war. Submarines equipped with torpedo became a major factor during the First and the Second World War. According to US navy at present there are 43 countries operating over 600 submarines.
How does a submarine submerge?
One of the most important features of a submarine’s design is the ballast tanks. These tanks could be alternatively filled with water or air depending on the requirement, whether the vessel wants to float on water’s surface or travel underwater. The tanks are filled with air when the submarine is at the surface. To submerge the air is released and the tanks are filled with sea water which makes the vessel heavier.
Submarines maintain a stock compressed air while travelling underwater. This air is used for life support and for filling the ballast tank.
How does a submarine propel?
Most of the today’s diesel submarines work like a hybrid vehicle. A typical diesel submarine has two diesel engines. One engine is used to propel the vehicle when it is on surface while the other is used to charge its batteries. These vehicles can only go underwater after fully charging their batteries. After going underwater they are propelled by battery-powered electric motors. Because of the battery powered propulsion the diesel submarine can stay underwater for a limited period.
A nuclear powered submarine is not based on combustion engine. Unlike diesel subs, a nuclear sub doesn’t need air to burn it fuel and hence it can remain underwater for a much longer period.
How is the underwater navigation done?
Typically, submarines don’t have windows and hence the crew could see outside underwater. When a submarine is near surface then it uses periscope to have the outside vision. Most of the submarine travel much deeper than the periscope depth and the navigation is done with the help of computers. Like any other conventional ship, a submarine navigator is also dependent on regular ocean navigation chart.
The submarine uses Sonar (Sound Navigation and Ranging) to detect target ships.
How is the submarine’s environment controlled to support life?
Modern submarines- nuclear as well as diesel are designed to stay underwater for a significantly longer period. To have a healthy environment for humans a submarine is required to maintain earth like air quality, supply fresh water and maintain suitable temperature. Most of the submarines are equipped with oxygen generator and water purifiers.
These equipments use sea water to generate oxygen as well as produce fresh water. Apart from this the carbon dioxide and moisture is periodically removed to keep the environment healthy.
‘Arihant’ means “slayer of enemies” in Sanskrit. That’s a heck of a name for a missile boat!
India plans to build 4 boats in the Arihant class. The INS Arihant is the lead vessel in her class and, with reactor activation, is ready to commence sea trials. The second boat in the class, the INS Aridhaman, is nearing completion at Visakhapatnam and will be ready to be launched in late 2013/early 2014.
In a first for India, nuclear sub’s reactor activated
Capping 25 years of indigenous efforts in a technologically challenging area that only a handful of nations have mastered so far, the reactor on board India’s nuclear-powered submarine, Arihant, went into operation at 1.20 a.m. on Saturday.
Arihant’s reactor achieved “criticality” — the term used to describe the self-sustaining nuclear reaction which is the first step towards the stable production of power — when the boat was “already in the sea.”
The submarine — which is about 111 metres long, 11 metres broad and about 15 metres tall — is designed to be propelled by a pressurised water reactor (PWR) that uses enriched uranium as fuel, and light water as both coolant and moderator. The PWR will generate about 80 MWt.
The main challenge, say the scientists who worked on the project, lay in making the reactor compact enough to fit into a submarine. Besides, the reactor needs to be stable when the submarine is accelerating in the depths of the sea.
The submarine will eventually be fitted with K-15 underwater fired missiles, which can hit targets 700 km away. The K-15 missiles, which will carry nuclear warheads, are already under production. India is building three more nuclear-powered submarines at Visakhapatnam as part of its programme to shore up its second strike capability.
Five countries already possess nuclear-powered submarines: the U.S., Russia, the U.K., France and China. Apart from India, Brazil is working on naval nuclear propulsion.