Sunday, November 5, 2017

Russia says its submarine fired missiles at IS base in Syria

Staff, WION
31 October 2017

Russia said Tuesday its submarine deployed in the Mediterranean fired three ballistic missiles to destroy a command post of the Islamic State group in Syria's eastern Deir Ezzor province.
"A missile strike with three Kalibr missiles destroyed a command post with large numbers of militants and armed vehicles and also a large weapons and ammunition depot," the Russian defence ministry said in a statement posted on Facebook.
It said the strikes targeted the area around the town of Abu Kamal, one of the few remaining urban strongholds of IS in Syria.
The ministry added it could confirm "the destruction of all the given targets."
It posted a video on Twitter of a missile blasting out of the sea.
There have been heavy clashes between the Syrian army and the Islamic state group in the city of Deir Ezzor, capital of the Deir Ezzor province in eastern Syria.

Russia said Tuesday that its Veliky Novgorod submarine has carried out four cruise missile strikes on terrorist groups since it was deployed to the Mediterranean in late August.
At Russia`s Syrian naval base of Tartus in the eastern Mediterranean, Russian ships have played a prominent role backing up an aerial bombing campaign in support of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad.
The submarines are covered from Syria by Moscow`s S-300 and S-400 missiles systems and its Bastion coastal defence system.
More than 330,000 people have been killed in Syria since the conflict began in March 2011 with anti-government protests

North Korea Hackers May Have Stolen Submarine, Weapons Info From South Korea

Joe Difazio, International Business Times
1 November 2017

North Korean hackers broke into a South Korean defense contractor's computers and stole submarine blueprints and other classified military information, according to a South Korean lawmaker.
Kyung Dae-soo, a member of South Korea's hawkish Liberty Korea Party, revealed Tuesday that North Korea was most likely behind a hacking breach into Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co. in April.
“We are almost 100 percent certain that North Korean hackers were behind the hacking and stole the company’s sensitive documents,” Kyung told Reuters.
The hackers stole 60 classified documents that included blueprints and data for submarines and different weapons systems, according to Kyung. The latest hacking revelation comes weeks after it was disclosed that a similar hack last year allowed North Korea to steal confidential U.S.-South Korean military information including a plan to take out leadership in Pyongyang in the event of a war.
Kyung said that some of the information pertained to submarine-launched missile technology. North Korea has a fleet of submarines and tested a submarine-launched nuclear-capable ballistic missile last year. Some experts believe that North Korea’s submarines aren’t particularly reliable or advanced, however.
There have been recent reports that North Korea appears to be building its biggest submarine capable of launching nuclear missiles.
Daewoo is responsible for building 17 submarines and 44 warships for South Korea, according to the Wall Street Journal Tuesday.
Hackers also stole Aegis missile defense technology information. Aegis is a missile defense system designed to take out airborne missiles. The system is also employed by the U.S. Navy.

'We're Fed Up Of Nuclear Submarines Rotting In Rosyth' Blasts Scottish MP

Staff, Dunfermline Press
30 October 2017

Dunfermline and West Fife MP Douglas Chapman has called on the MoD to speed up a programme to dismantle seven nuclear submarines in Rosyth.
While welcoming a report from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) which showed radioactivity doses in Scotland were well within international limits, Mr Chapman said work to rid Rosyth of the vessels was “excruciatingly slow”.
“It’s encouraging that SEPA’s latest report shows radioactivity doses are well within limits,” said Mr Chapman.
“However, Rosyth should not be a sanctuary for toxic submarines and this is something I have raised in Parliament as constituents are fed-up with the subs rotting in their own back yard.
“Yes, they are to be dismantled and removed, but the timescale is excruciatingly slow.
“I’m encouraging SEPA to progress its work with the MoD to manage the area effectively and help rid Rosyth of the subs so that the space in the dockyard basin can be used for more economically-productive uses.”
A total of seven submarines are due to be dismantled at Rosyth and work began on the first, Swiftsure, in December last year.
Once this is completed, best practices developed will be used to refine the disposal process as the programme is progressed.
An MoD spokesperson said work was well under way after initial dismantling began last year as planned. He said all the decommissioned submarines were subject to regular maintenance and checks by the MoD and regulators and pose no additional risks to workers or members of the public.
“Our priority is to ensure that submarine dismantling is undertaken in a safe, secure, cost-effective and environmentally-sound manner,” added the spokesperson.
The current estimation is that one submarine is likely to be dismantled every 18 months.
Dr Paul Dale, radioactive substances unit manager at SEPA, said their report demonstrated that Scotland’s public was protected adequately against sources of radioactivity which could impact on our food and the wider natural environment.
He added: “The report represents a collaborative effort by all agencies to carry out rigorous annual monitoring, to ensure dose levels are well within international limits and the 2016 report confirms that this remains the case.”

Sub Force of Colombia Works Deep Beneath The Sea

Yolima Dussán, Dialogo Military Magazine
30 October 2017

Its work is unseen, its operations silent, its responsibility ongoing, and its results constant: this is the Submarine Force of Colombia. This unit of the Colombian Navy, which navigates in national and international waters in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, celebrated 45 years of operations on May 14th, 2017.
“The submarine fleet is among the highest representatives of our nation’s naval power,” Captain Rafael Aranguren Devia, commander of the Submarine Force of Colombia, told Diálogo. “The 45 years that we’re celebrating represent Colombia’s pledge to always have a strategic arsenal available, and a responsibility to keep it active, vigilant, and evolving, year after year.”
Also known as the Caribbean Submarine Fleet, the force includes four conventional attack submarines that share operations in the waters of both oceans, and extend their capabilities to other operations where needed. The fleet actively participated in multinational operations such as UNITAS exercises, Operation Pelican, and the Diesel-Electric Submarine Initiative (DESI).
Naval power projection
The submarine force has trained and exchanged doctrines with Ecuador, Germany, and Peru. “To have crew members from other navies aboard our submarines is not frequent. When it happens, it’s due to a very special operation,” Capt. Aranguren said. “We strive to maintain our strategic capacity throughout the region. To achieve that, we continually work on training our men on fleet maintenance.”
The submarine force dates back to 1972, when the Colombian Navy acquired its first two submarines. Those vessels were christened the ARC Tayrona and ARC Pijao, both names of indigenous Colombian tribes that are legendary for the strength and bravery of their men.
The submersibles have been retrofitted in the shipyard of the Science and Technology Corporation of the Naval, Maritime, and Riverine Industry Development in Cartagena, Colombia. They were completely taken apart, their parts repaired, obsolete parts replaced, and were upgraded with the latest sensors, sonar (radar), and control systems. Colombian professionals performed all the work.
“The lifespan of a submarine depends on faithfully following maintenance schedule,” Capt. Aranguren said. “The incorporation of new technology is ongoing to the extent that it has an impact on the doctrine. At this moment, the four submarines we have are highly operational.”
The submarines are 56 meters long, with a six-meter beam and a displacement of 1,200 tons. They can conduct any kind of naval operation with a crew of up to 36 men and eight officers, spending 15 to 45 days at depth.
Another two submarines acquired for $86 million in 2012 complete the fleet. They were operational in 2015, following a three-year process of adaptation to the warm waters of Colombia.
Christened with names that illustrate the operations they conduct—ARC Intrépido (intrepid) and ARC Indomable (untamed)—they can carry 23 people and 800 tons onboard. The submarines can stay on a mission for 15 days without needing to be resupplied. As of 2017, the ARC Intrépido, with a 500-ton displacement, has already navigated 10,000 miles.

A costly dream

In February 1975, three years after the creation of the Submarine Force of Colombia, the Submarine School was established. The center trains officers and non-commissioned officers who man the Colombian Navy’s submarine fleet.
Many men yearn to become submariners. To be a part of a strategic arsenal that heavily influences the nation’s naval and sea power is the dream of many sailors, but not all can achieve it.
“The school only admits sailors who are able to pass the [mandatory] test—a psychological examination. Candidates must meet a specific profile to be able to endure the tremendous psychological pressure experienced in a confined space,” explained Captain Luis Felipe Rojas, director of the Colombian Navy’s “CFESU César Neira Mora” Submarine School, to Diálogo. “After passing that exam, you are then faced with 30 more medical tests in which your overall health is [examined].”
Only five officers and 15 non-commissioned officers are admitted to the course—two years of training. As of today, 300 sailors have achieved the goal of becoming a part of the submarine force. “The knowledge, use, and operation of submarines is highly restricted, which is why there are no exchanges with other countries,” Capt. Rojas explained.
Submariners spend a long time in this unit, nearly 16 years of continuous work in the depths of the ocean, with very little rotation due to the highly specialized nature of the work. There, at the bottom of the sea, they follow a rigorous protocol, working two six-hour shifts with a strict duty log, a balanced dietary program, and recreation spaces—all within the framework of the learned culture that teaches crew members to look after one another, in a cohesive chain of work.

All trained equal

The submariner course has four phases. The first phase consists of physical training and submarine evacuation techniques. In this basic phase, submariners also learn the basic workings of the various onboard systems. The advanced phase involves knowledge and specific use of the equipment. Finally, in the practical phase of boarding, students apply theoretical knowledge and come into permanent contact with navigations.
“There are no specialties,” said Colombian Navy Petty Officer Third Class Robinson Montalbán, who is in the final phase of the course. “The training requires that each submariner learn how to do his colleague’s job. It’s a way of being completely integrated.”
“After 45 years of continuous operations for the [submarine] fleet, the first thing one feels is great pride—group pride, because this is a unit of the Colombian Navy with a lot of esprit de corps and a high degree of teamwork,” Capt. Rojas said. “Having to live together during long deployments closed up in a 56-meter space, where each crew member knows that the crew’s survival depends on him executing his duties, carries with it a high degree of cohesion and professionalism.”

Lockheed Designing US Navy’s XL Unmanned Sub

Robert Brooks, American Machinist
30 October 2017

Lockheed Martin Corp. has a $43.2-million contract from the U.S. Navy to develop a design for the Extra Large Unmanned Undersea Vehicle (XLUUV, known as Orca), a long-haul, long-distance unmanned submarine capable of carrying various types of payloads, such as sensors or weapons.
Lockheed Martin workers in Palm Beach, Fla., will work on Orca, with additional support operations in Manassas, Va., and Syracuse, York, and Owego, N.Y. The timing of the design phase was not announced.
The contract covers the design phase of a two-stage development program. What follows will be a competitive, production phase for up to nine unmanned undersea vehicles.
Earlier it was reported that Boeing Co. also would be participating in the design-phase XLUUV/Orca program, though it has not confirmed its participation.
The Orca will have a reconfigurable payload bay, up to 325 cubic meters, according to some reports. As described by Lockheed, the vessels’ missions would see it transit to an area of operation, and “loiter with the ability to periodically establish communications, deploy payloads, and transit home.” Navy personnel would launch, recover, operate, and communicate with the vehicle in safety, from a home base.
“With each new undersea vehicle that Lockheed Martin designs, we bring to bear the state-of-the-art in technology, and innovative system integration of those technologies, to increase the range, reach, and effectiveness of undersea forces and their missions,” stated Frank Drennan, director, submersibles and autonomous systems, business development. “With decades of experience supporting the U.S. Navy’s mission, our engineers are approaching this design with a sense of urgency and continued agility.”

Israel Is a Military Superpower for This One Simple Reason: Nuclear-armed Subs

Kyle Mizokami, Scout
28 October 2017

Israel’s submarine corps is a tiny force with a big open secret: in all likelihood, it is armed with nuclear weapons. The five Dolphin-class submarines represent an ace in the hole for Israel, the ultimate guarantor of the country’s security, ensuring that if attacked with nukes, the tiny nation can strike back in kind.
Israel’s first nuclear weapons were completed by the early 1970s, and deployed among both free-fall aircraft bombs and Jericho ballistic missiles. The 1991 Persian Gulf War, which saw Iraqi Scuds and Al Hussein [3] ballistic missiles raining down on Israeli cities, led Tel Aviv to conclude that the country needed a true nuclear triad of air-, land- and sea-based nukes to give the country’s nuclear deterrent maximum flexibility—and survivability.
The most survivable arm of the nuclear triad is typically the sea-based one, consisting of nuclear-armed submarines. Submarines can disappear for weeks or even months, taking up a highly classified patrol route while waiting for orders to launch their missiles. This so-called “second-strike capability” is built on the principle of nuclear deterrence and ensures potential enemies will think twice before attacking, knowing Israel’s submarines will be available to carry out revenge attacks.
The first three submarines were authorized before the Gulf War, in 1988, though it is not clear they were built with nuclear weapons in mind. After years of delays construction began in Germany instead of the United States as originally planned, with German combat systems instead of American ones. Most importantly, the project went ahead with German financing; Berlin reportedly felt obliged to finance two of the submarines, and split the third as lax German nonproliferation enforcement had partly enabled Iraq’s nuclear and chemical weapons program.
The first three submarines, Dolphin, Leviathan and Tekuma, were laid down in the early 1990s, but only entered service between 1999 and 2000. The submarines are 187 feet long, displace 1,720 tons submerged and have an operating depth of 1,148 feet. Sensors include the STN Atlas Elektronik CSU-90-1 sonar suite with the DBSQS-21D active and AN 5039A1 passive sonar systems. The Dolphin class also has PRS-3-15 passive ranging sonar and FAS-3-1 passive flank arrays.
Each has ten torpedo tubes in the bow, six standard 533-millimeter standard diameter tubes and four larger 650-millimeter torpedoes. The larger torpedo tubes are more than two feet wide, and reportedly double as ingress/egress chambers for divers. Armament is a mixture of German, American and Israeli weapons, including Seahake heavyweight wire-guided torpedoes and Harpoon antiship missiles. The authoritative Combat Fleets of the World claims the Dolphin subs may have the Triton fiber-optic guided-weapon system. With a range of more than nine miles, Triton allows submarines the ability to attack helicopters, surface ships and coastal targets.
The four large torpedo tubes are the key to Israel’s sea-based deterrent, and without them it’s unlikely the country would have nukes on submarines. The large tubes are used not only for laying mines and sending and receiving divers, but also to launch nuclear cruise missiles. In 2000, the U.S. Navy observed a missile launch from off the coast of Sri Lanka that traveled an estimated 932 miles. Exactly what this missile was is a matter of speculation, but the leading candidate is some advanced form of the Popeye missile.
Popeye was originally an air-launched ground-attack missile. Developed in the late 1980s, Popeye originally used a television camera or infrared seeker to deliver a 750-pound warhead to ranges of up to forty-five miles. The United States Air Force bought 154 Popeye missiles to arm B-52 bombers for conventional attacks, renaming them the AGM-142 Raptor. Israel’s nuclear deterrent is thought to be based on cruise missile version of Popeye, Popeye Turbo, which has a turbofan engine for long.

Russia's Stealth Submarines Have a Problem

Sebastien Roblin, Scout Warrior
29 October 2017

Moscow failed to develop key AIP propulsion technology for its “new” diesel submarines.
Russian media has been trumpeting plans to launch two additional Lada-class diesel-electric submarines, two decades after the hull of the lead boat, the St. Petersburg, was laid down. Left delicately unstated in some of the press releases is that these new boats will lack the Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) systems that were intended to be the class’s defining feature.
Nuclear-powered submarines can easily cost four to eight times more than traditional diesel submarines—but they come with tremendous advantages in quietness, speed and range, plus virtually unlimited underwater endurance. Not only are air-breathing diesel engines noisier, but they require a submarine to periodically surface or snorkel to regenerate the air supply—placing them at great risk of detection. Still, economic and technological considerations dictate that most countries operate mostly or exclusively diesel submarines. Besides, a diesel sub’s short range is less of a problem when employed to patrol local waters rather than cross transoceanic distances.
However, new submarines in the 1990s and 2000s introduced a variety of Air Independent Propulsion systems that allowed them to operate more quietly, and with underwater endurance measured potentially in weeks rather than days—albeit only while traveling at very slow speeds. Germany [4], France, Sweden [5], Japan and China [6] have all become major producers of AIP-powered submarines, and sold them to numerous additional countries.
It made sense, then, that Russia—which historically has operated many diesel submarines alongside its nuclear-powered submarine force—would attempt to develop its own AIP-powered submarine. In 1997, the hull of the Saint
Petersburg was laid down by the Admiralty shipyards, the first of what was to be the Project 677 Lada class. Two additional boats were laid down in 2005 and 2006, the Kronstadt and Veliye Luki (formerly named the Sevastopol).
The Lada class was meant to be a fourth-generation successor to the extremely successful Kilo-class diesel submarine [9], more than fifty of which have been built in three variants and serve in the fleets of Russia, China, Vietnam, Algeria, Poland and Iran. The Project 636 and 636.3 Improved Kilo variants are amongst the quietest diesel submarines—one report [10]claims they equal improved Los Angeles–class nuclear attack submarines in noise levels. In December 2015 the Kilo-class boat Rostov-on-Don was the first Russian submarine since World War II to fire in anger when it launched a cruise missile strike targeting Syrian rebels.
Russian engineers promised that the Lada would produce 50 percent of the noise a Kilo does. The Saint Petersburg finally launched in 2004, and remains in service today as a test bed. The sixty-seven-meter-long submarine has considerably less bulk than the Kilo, displacing only 1,765 tons, and operated by crew of just thirty-five to thirty-eight. Six 533-millimeter tubes with eighteen torpedoes or missiles constitute its armament, and unlike nearly every Russian submarine since World War II, it is of single-hulled construction. Other features included a quasi-conformal Liara bow-mounted sonar, a Letiya (“Lithium”) combat-management system, sensors for detecting electromagnetic emissions (ESM), a seven-bladed propeller with a vortex-cancelling hub, and a special antisonar coating called Molniya (“Lightning.”)
However, the key innovation was intended to be a hydrogen-oxygen AIP which, according to Russian press, converts diesel fuel into hydrogen for power. A Russian designer argued these were preferable to Stirling and MESMA AIP generators, which have moving parts that produce some noise, and the quieter hydrogen fuel-cell technology used in German submarines, which requires the storage of dangerously flammable hydrogen cells. (This might seem an especially pressing concern given the frequency of deadly fires on Russian and Soviet submarines over the years.)
China, which operates Stirling-AIP-powered Yuan-class subs, declared it was interested in purchasing four Ladas. The Admiralty shipyard also floated the possibility of a smaller twenty-one-crew export variant, the Amur-950, which attracted interest from Morocco and was offered to India for its Project 75I program.
But the St. Petersburg never left its sea trials. A November 2011 article [11] by the Russian periodical Izvestia reported that the St. Petersburg’s smaller D49 generators, combined with 2,700-horsepower motors, could only produce half of the power required. Other key systems, including new torpedoes and sonar were reportedly still under development. Construction was abandoned even though Izvestia claimed the hulls of the other two were “almost complete.” Later, Adm. Vladimir Vysotsky groused [12] that the Lada class was on the power level of a “World War II–era” submarine. “Who needs it?”
However, in 2013, Itar-Tass announced that work on the Lada class had resumed. However, actions speak louder than words. In the same time period, the Russian Ministry of Defense ordered six additional Improved Kilo Project 636.3 boats to serve in its Pacific fleet. Most experts agree that Russia simply wasn’t able to develop an effective AIP propulsion system, in part due to a pervasive lack of funding and a tendency to promise big new projects that frequently fail to materialize.
Though Russian officials have occasionally talked up the benefits of AIP-powered submarines, necessary research and development funding has been concentrated on two nuclear-powered submarine projects, the Yasen-class attack submarine and the Borei ballistic-missile submarine.
In 2014, the Russian defense ministry announced it was going to pursue a “fifth-generation” AIP-powered Kalina-class diesel submarine to succeed a “fourth generation” that hadn’t materialized. Among the few details available concerning the Kalina is that it will be able to operate underwater for twenty-five days and feature a modular propulsion unit that “can be replaced at any stage,” suggesting they may begin service with conventional engines until effective AIP can be developed. Though some reports claim new propulsion tech is already well under development, a Russian officer in naval construction stated [13] that a new AIP drive is only likely to come around in 2021–22.
Russian designers have also spoken about developing lithium-ion-battery-powered submarines as an alternate means of extending underwater endurance. However, currently only Japan[14] and South Korea [15] are at all close to implementing this technology on operational submarines.
Ultimately, construction finally did resume on the Lada-class boats, with the Kronstadt and Veliye Luki expected to launch in 2019 and 2021 [16] respectively—without AIP propulsion. After an announcement that production of the series would end after these two boats in 2016, Adm. Vladimir Korolev announced [17] in July 2017 that a fourth and fifth Lada boat would follow—possibly equipped with AIP-powered propulsion, if it were available.
The Kronstadt has already been fitted with two 1,250-kilowatt diesel generators and the same 5,500-horsepower DL42 motor as on the Kilo class. The two upcoming Lada boats will likely bring some new technologies to the table, including the Molniya antisonar coating—just not the extra-quiet AIP system intended to be their defining feature.