Author Missing Submarine  (Read 1876 times)

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Re: Missing Submarine
« Reply #60 on: November 21, 2017, 09:27:14 PM »
I was in the Submarine Force and had the duty at a Submarine Flotilla Headquarters the night USS Scorpion (SSN589) was declared overdue.  The Scorpion was a nuclear powered Skipjack-class fast attack submarine homeported in Norfolk, Va.  it was in transit returning from a Mediterranean deployment and had missed a scheduled check report which is an encrypted message sent to the operational commander periodically when a sub is in transit. 

A massive search was launched which included submarines, surface ships and P2/3 Orion ASW aircraft along the likely track of the Scorpion which basically ranged from the approaches To the Chesapeake Bay/Hampton Roads to Gibraltar.  The Submarine Force Commander, U.S. Atlantic Fleet (COMSUBLANT) a Vice Admiral (3 stars) embarked in one of the fast attacks participating and directed the search.  I canít recall if at the time we had a flyaway deep submergance rescue vehicle (DSRV) that could be loaded on an aircraft like a C-5 and be transported anywhere in world as we do now.  (That program might have been iniated as a result of the Scorpion going down).

The Argentine sub is a very capable diesel electric powered ship built by the Germans who have made huge improvements in the state of the art of such craft, most notably in battery capacity and power plant efficiency.  I imagine the Argentines have similar check procedures for their subs, an equivalent to our submarine rescue ships (ASRs) which are small auxiliaries,  and maritime patrol aircraft.  I believe that a U.S. Navy P8 Poseidon has been dedicated to the search and no doubt one of our DSRVís is in hot standby.

I read somewhere that the Scorpion was notorious for having things going wrong with it and that the crewmen used to jokingly refer to it as the Scrapiron.

Remember the Thresher?  That was the first nuclear submarine that was lost back in the 1960's.  It was on a test dive and they couldn't pull up from it.  The pressure got so bad that it burst apart.  A guy named Norman Polmar wrote a book about it called 'Death of The Thresher.'  He seemed to think that the valve that shot out air for buoyancy had froze up and didn't work.  One of the last messages received by the support ship was a garbled "Attempting to blow."  That word 'attempting' is quite telling.  Like saying you are attempting to apply the brakes on your automobile.
 
 

Re: Missing Submarine
« Reply #61 on: November 21, 2017, 09:32:56 PM »


Hi, Rix!

Did you know you won this week's football pool picker?  Congratulations. ;D

Re: Missing Submarine
« Reply #62 on: November 21, 2017, 09:38:22 PM »
Hi, Rix!

Did you know you won this week's football pool picker?  Congratulations. ;D

Thanks Starr, yes I noticed.  I've been lucky to be at the top for a number of weeks now.  Don't know for how much longer though, because it's getting harder to make those picks.  :)


Re: Missing Submarine
« Reply #63 on: November 21, 2017, 09:47:46 PM »
I was in the Submarine Force and had the duty at a Submarine Flotilla Headquarters the night USS Scorpion (SSN589) was declared overdue.  The Scorpion was a nuclear powered Skipjack-class fast attack submarine homeported in Norfolk, Va.  it was in transit returning from a Mediterranean deployment and had missed a scheduled check report which is an encrypted message sent to the operational commander periodically when a sub is in transit. 

A massive search was launched which included submarines, surface ships and P2/3 Orion ASW aircraft along the likely track of the Scorpion which basically ranged from the approaches To the Chesapeake Bay/Hampton Roads to Gibraltar.  The Submarine Force Commander, U.S. Atlantic Fleet (COMSUBLANT) a Vice Admiral (3 stars) embarked in one of the fast attacks participating and directed the search.  I canít recall if at the time we had a flyaway deep submergance rescue vehicle (DSRV) that could be loaded on an aircraft like a C-5 and be transported anywhere in world as we do now.  (That program might have been iniated as a result of the Scorpion going down).

The Argentine sub is a very capable diesel electric powered ship built by the Germans who have made huge improvements in the state of the art of such craft, most notably in battery capacity and power plant efficiency. I imagine the Argentines have similar check procedures for their subs, an equivalent to our submarine rescue ships (ASRs) which are small auxiliaries,  and maritime patrol aircraft.  I believe that a U.S. Navy P8 Poseidon has been dedicated to the search and no doubt one of our DSRVís is in hot standby.

Design might be good, but the Argentine military, like the rest of the country, is in a world of hurt financially.  I know from "Air Forces Monthly" the Argentine Air Force is all but grounded due to a lack of O&M funds.  I also know when money is tight, training funds are usually cut as well.  I would bet the Argentine Navy is no better off than their Air Force, and those submariners put to sea short on training/experience in a boat in need of maintenance. 

Re: Missing Submarine
« Reply #64 on: November 21, 2017, 09:48:29 PM »
Thanks Starr, yes I noticed.  I've been lucky to be at the top for a number of weeks now.  Don't know for how much longer though, because it's getting harder to make those picks.  :)
Have any "hints" for this week? ::) ;) ;D

Re: Missing Submarine
« Reply #65 on: November 21, 2017, 09:53:02 PM »
In one of the reports (first page), I think it said a battery failure was the cause of the problem.  Correct me if I'm wrong.

I am on a cruise ship right know heading back to Tampa from the Mediterranean (repositioning cruise) and access to the internet is spotty.  I have a problem connecting through links so Iím at a disadvantage. 

Unless it was a battery explosion/fire I donít think it likely.  If the battery were to simply fail for some reason the ship could surface by blowing main ballast tanks and once on the surface could light off the diesels to restore main propulsion and evacuate any bad air if that was a problem.   

When we still had diesel boats there was always the awareness that if seawater were to get into the battery through some casualty like the rupture of a seawater line or a breach in the pressure hull it would mix with the electrolytes and produce phosgene gas which is deadly nerve agent used in chemical warfare.   I donít know if modern submarine batteries are still as susceptible to that but it definitely would be worse case scenario.


 

Re: Missing Submarine
« Reply #66 on: November 21, 2017, 09:53:46 PM »
Another boat mystery. :o


Re: Missing Submarine
« Reply #67 on: November 21, 2017, 09:56:00 PM »
I am on a cruise ship right know heading back to Tampa from the Mediterranean (repositioning cruise) and access to the internet is spotty.  I have a problem connecting through links so Iím at a disadvantage. 

Unless it was a battery explosion/fire I donít think it likely.  If the battery were to simply fail for some reason the ship could surface by blowing main ballast tanks and once on the surface could light off the diesels to restore main propulsion and evacuate any bad air if that was a problem.   

When we still had diesel boats there was always the awareness that if seawater were to get into the battery through some casualty like the rupture of a seawater line or a breach in the pressure hull it would mix with the electrolytes and produce phosgene gas which is deadly nerve agent used in chemical warfare.   I donít know if modern submarine batteries are still as susceptible to that but it definitely would be worse case scenario.

Thanks, Kid.  I have no idea how a submarine operates.

Re: Missing Submarine
« Reply #68 on: November 21, 2017, 10:17:35 PM »
I read somewhere that the Scorpion was notorious for having things going wrong with it and that the crewmen used to jokingly refer to it as the Scrapiron.

Remember the Thresher?  That was the first nuclear submarine that was lost back in the 1960's.  It was on a test dive and they couldn't pull up from it.  The pressure got so bad that it burst apart.  A guy named Norman Polmar wrote a book about it called 'Death of The Thresher.'  He seemed to think that the valve that shot out air for buoyancy had froze up and didn't work.  One of the last messages received by the support ship was a garbled "Attempting to blow."  That word 'attempting' is quite telling.  Like saying you are attempting to apply the brakes on your automobile.
 
 

That seems to be the conventional wisdom.  If I recall correctly it was determined that at certain points high pressure air lines had valves that where susceptible to a buildup of water so as to form an ice plug when a 3000 psi emergency blow of main ballast tanks was initiated.  This was the impetus for the SUBSAFE program which involved a major overhaul of all ships of that class and follow on classes that, among other things, installed a back up valve for every valve that opened to sea.  My first boat had gone through a SUBSAFE overhaul just before I joined. 

Interestingly, the Scorpion was scheduled for such an overhaul that I believe took 18 months or more but her shipyard availability was cut to only a few months and she went back to sea sans the SUBSAFE package.  I canít remember whether it was due to OPTEMPO or funding problems. 


Re: Missing Submarine
« Reply #69 on: November 21, 2017, 10:29:36 PM »
Design might be good, but the Argentine military, like the rest of the country, is in a world of hurt financially.  I know from "Air Forces Monthly" the Argentine Air Force is all but grounded due to a lack of O&M funds.  I also know when money is tight, training funds are usually cut as well.  I would bet the Argentine Navy is no better off than their Air Force, and those submariners put to sea short on training/experience in a boat in need of maintenance.

Training and material readiness are the key factors in war fighting and safe navigation.  I have no doubt that budget cuts under Obama combined with the increase in OPTEMPO is the primary cause of recent collisions at sea and aircraft losses. 

Re: Missing Submarine
« Reply #70 on: November 22, 2017, 01:30:39 AM »




They don't want help from England or America?  Beginning to sound like The Hunt For Red October.
Hmmm.  Maybe I was right. :o

Maybe they defected to Bolivia.

Re: Missing Submarine
« Reply #71 on: November 22, 2017, 07:38:14 AM »
Design might be good, but the Argentine military, like the rest of the country, is in a world of hurt financially.  I know from "Air Forces Monthly" the Argentine Air Force is all but grounded due to a lack of O&M funds.  I also know when money is tight, training funds are usually cut as well.  I would bet the Argentine Navy is no better off than their Air Force, and those submariners put to sea short on training/experience in a boat in need of maintenance.

I've also read that class of sub was designed for a 30 year life expectancy, and they were on year 35, or something like that.

Re: Missing Submarine
« Reply #72 on: November 22, 2017, 08:12:21 AM »
I've also read that class of sub was designed for a 30 year life expectancy, and they were on year 35, or something like that.

I didnít realize that.  Metal fatigue could definitely be a factor in a cascading casualty.

Re: Missing Submarine
« Reply #73 on: November 22, 2017, 08:46:50 AM »
I also wonder if it could be a fatal depth excursion.  When operating in rough seas submarines go to periscope/snorkel depth heavy with more than the usual amount of water in variable ballast tanks so as to not breech the surface (a big no no) due to wave action.   if the ship unexpectedly encountered patrol aircraft or surface craft it would go ďemergency deepĒ which involves putting the planes in full dive, flooding tanks very quickly and increasing propeller speed.  It sometimes happens when going emergency deep that subs are unable to arrest the downward headway and exceed test depth and on rare occasions crush depth.  Itís a viscious cycleóin the descent, the  deeper you go the more sea pressure increases your speed and the harder it is to arrest the downward momentum.   I have heard an estimate that the Thresher was doing 60+ mph when she hit bottom.  There is also the possibility of a stern plane jam in the full dive position. 

Re: Sub Found??
« Reply #74 on: November 22, 2017, 09:27:33 AM »
https://www.unilad.co.uk/film/missing-argentine-submarine-found-by-us-navy/

Have not seen this "news" on any other site, and apparently Unilad doesn't have the best reputation as a news source, but hopeful the story is true.

Re: Missing Submarine
« Reply #75 on: November 22, 2017, 09:38:18 AM »
I also wonder if it could be a fatal depth excursion.  When operating in rough seas submarines go to periscope/snorkel depth heavy with more than the usual amount of water in variable ballast tanks so as to not breech the surface (a big no no) due to wave action.   if the ship unexpectedly encountered patrol aircraft or surface craft it would go ďemergency deepĒ

It's a possibility that the sub could have been operating around the Falklands and ran into trouble or did something like this and the Argentine's are covering their ass and not reporting their actual course to US/UK assets who could actually find them.

Re: Missing Submarine
« Reply #76 on: November 22, 2017, 10:49:18 AM »
It's a possibility that the sub could have been operating around the Falklands and ran into trouble or did something like this and the Argentine's are covering their ass and not reporting their actual course to US/UK assets who could actually find them.

That occurred to me. 

Re: Missing Submarine
« Reply #77 on: November 22, 2017, 11:33:50 AM »
It's a possibility that the sub could have been operating around the Falklands and ran into trouble or did something like this and the Argentine's are covering their ass and not reporting their actual course to US/UK assets who could actually find them.

I too had thoughts along those lines early on, but discounted them fairly quickly.  I find it had to believe a country like Argentina would purposely mislead nations of the world who are providing/expending high dollar assets to assist in a search and rescue operation.  Not only would that seemingly doom their countrymen, but it would also have repercussions in the international relations and diplomatic arenas.  Besides, why would the Argies send a sub to the Falklands?  They know they have nothing to fear in terms of a British attack on them, and they now have no power projection capability to invade/retake the islands.  They have no fighter aircraft operational after grounding their A-4Rs for lack of spares, and are having to cannibalize the C-130 fleet just to keep a few of them airworthy.  Mounting an invasion with zero air cover in the face of Falklands based Typhoons would be nothing short of suicidal.

Re: Missing Submarine
« Reply #78 on: November 22, 2017, 11:37:52 AM »
I too had thoughts along those lines early on, but discounted them fairly quickly.  I find it had to believe a country like Argentina would purposely mislead nations of the world who are providing/expending high dollar assets to assist in a search and rescue operation.  Not only would that seemingly doom their countrymen, but it would also have repercussions in the international relations and diplomatic arenas.  Besides, why would the Argies send a sub to the Falklands?  They know they have nothing to fear in terms of a British attack on them, and they now have no power projection capability to invade/retake the islands.  They have no fighter aircraft operational after grounding their A-4Rs for lack of spares, and are having to cannibalize the C-130 fleet just to keep a few of them airworthy.  Mounting an invasion with zero air cover in the face of Falklands based Typhoons would be nothing short of suicidal.

Routine intelligence gathering works for me.

Re: Missing Submarine
« Reply #79 on: November 22, 2017, 11:54:36 AM »
Design might be good, but the Argentine military, like the rest of the country, is in a world of hurt financially.  I know from "Air Forces Monthly" the Argentine Air Force is all but grounded due to a lack of O&M funds.  I also know when money is tight, training funds are usually cut as well.  I would bet the Argentine Navy is no better off than their Air Force, and those submariners put to sea short on training/experience in a boat in need of maintenance.

A few years back I seem to recall their flagship (might be mistaken) sank while in port, so that doesn't inspire much confidence. This is after all a nation so in debt that their sailing training ship was impounded in Africa.

Re: Missing Submarine
« Reply #80 on: November 22, 2017, 07:47:35 PM »
Routine intelligence gathering works for me.

I suppose that makes sense, assuming they are willing to use their limited resources collecting non-actionable intel and accept the risk of getting damaged/captured/sunk if found in British waters.  I am curious though, what would you expect the intel gathering capabilities of a thirty-plus year old diesel boat to be? SIGINT?

Meanwhile,  the Russians have graciously joined the search.

Argentina missing submarine: Russia joins search operation - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-42090497

Re: Missing Submarine
« Reply #81 on: November 22, 2017, 07:56:14 PM »
I suppose that makes sense, assuming they are willing to use their limited resources collecting non-actionable intel and accept the risk of getting damaged/captured/sunk if found in British waters.  I am curious though, what would you expect the intel gathering capabilities of a thirty-plus year old diesel boat to be? SIGINT?

Meanwhile,  the Russians have graciously joined the search.

Argentina missing submarine: Russia joins search operation - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-42090497

National pride in maintaining the capability.  Do you think they need it for coastal defense because they fear invasion from Uraguay.  Why have a submarine at all.  Think macho Latino mentality. 

Re: Missing Submarine
« Reply #82 on: November 22, 2017, 08:01:31 PM »
National pride in maintaining the capability.  Do you think they need it for coastal defense because they fear invasion from Uraguay.  Why have a submarine at all.  Think macho Latino mentality.

Or grandson's of Kriegsmarine U-Boaters wanting to keep the family business viable.   

Re: Missing Submarine
« Reply #83 on: November 22, 2017, 08:14:03 PM »
Or grandson's of Kriegsmarine U-Boaters wanting to keep the family business viable.   

Anythingís possible.

Re: Missing Submarine
« Reply #84 on: November 22, 2017, 08:41:22 PM »
Or grandson's of Kriegsmarine U-Boaters wanting to keep the family business viable.   
Plus, a 128 old Fuhrer needs an occasional U-Boat ride, especially during "hunting" season.


Re: Missing Submarine
« Reply #85 on: November 22, 2017, 08:59:18 PM »
National pride in maintaining the capability.  Do you think they need it for coastal defense because they fear invasion from Uraguay.  Why have a submarine at all.  Think macho Latino mentality.

Uruguay?  No, but the Argies and Chileans have been at each others throats for a long time, primarily over the Beagle Channel, however. The sub was coming from that area when it was lost.  Several years ago when the Brits declassified the high degree of assistance they received from Chile during the Falklands war, old wounds were reopened. 

Re: Missing Submarine
« Reply #86 on: November 22, 2017, 09:03:51 PM »
Plus, a 128 old Fuhrer needs an occasional U-Boat ride, especially during "hunting" season.



Hunting Hitler?  Never seen that one!

Re: Missing Submarine
« Reply #87 on: November 22, 2017, 09:08:14 PM »

Re: Missing Submarine
« Reply #88 on: November 22, 2017, 09:11:40 PM »
You didn't miss much. 

http://www.history.com/shows/hunting-hitler

So, you don't believe what's in the JFK files about him? You know something we don't? Spill it, McGyver!  >:(

Re: Missing Submarine
« Reply #89 on: November 22, 2017, 09:18:18 PM »
So, you don't believe what's in the JFK files about him? You know something we don't? Spill it, McGyver!  >:(
Sorry, I'm immersed in "Forged in Fire: Bladesgiving."  And I thought "Swamp People: Swampsgiving" was as good as it could get.  ::)