Wednesday, September 27, 2017

North Korea Is Trying to Build Mobile ICBMs and Submarine Missiles

Staff, The Epoch Times
26 September 2017

North Korea’s military parades have incited many laughs in the past among weapons experts. They have featured soldiers carrying World War II-era weapons, special forces troops with non-combat sunglasses, and mobile missiles with their warheads on crooked.
Yet, the weapons programs of the communist regime aren’t as backwards as some would imagine—and this is mainly due to weapons and technologies it has obtained from other nations, which have helped jump-start its nuclear programs.
When North Korea recently fired ballistic missiles over Japan, it released images showing a Transporter Erector Launcher (TEL) that was provided by the Chinese regime. Reuters reported that the first launch was likely from a TEL. These launchers are nothing to scoff at, as they are technologies that even the United States has not developed for intercontinental ballistic missiles.
They give the rogue regime the ability to keep their nuclear weapons mobile, and the ability to fire nuclear warheads with little warning.
“These TELs are actually critically important. Without them the North Koreans would not be able to launch surprise nuclear attacks on the United States or our allies,” said Rick Fisher, senior fellow with the International Assessment and Strategy Center.
By supplying North Korea with the launchers, Fisher said, the Chinese Communist Party had a “direct hand in helping North Korea to have the capability to launch surprise nuclear strikes.” He noted that when China shipped the TELs to North Korea around 2011, the exchange was monitored by Japanese, South Korean, and North American satellites.
Fisher noted that while the United States has TELs for weapons such as artillery rockets and short-range ballistic missiles, it does not have the transport vehicles for medium or long-range ballistic missiles.
“We don’t have the larger 16-wheel TELs that Russia, China, North Korea, or Pakistan have for their missiles,” he said.
According to Fisher, while North Korea has not yet been able to place an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on a TEL, it did display a TEL capable of this during a recent parade, with a place-holder cold-launch tube loaded on top.
“The solid fuel three-stage ICBM from North Korea is not quite ready, but by putting the tube on top of the TEL,”
he said. “The North Koreans are telling us they’re on the way.”

North Korea’s Next Goals

North Korea isn’t conducting its tests of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles in a haphazard manner. Its tests have instead followed a clear course.
According to Willliam Triplett, a veteran of the Reagan White House and the American intelligence community, the North Korean regime released a critical image after the launch from a TEL of a missile that flew over Japan, showing its missile crew standing on the TEL after the weapon had been fired. This suggests, he said, that the TEL was able to survive the launch.
Triplett said, “If in fact they now have the capability to run these things over highways and just stop and shoot at that moment, that makes it much more difficult for us to take them out.”
He noted the latest launch is part of a series of developments that North Korea appears to have made, and this pattern also shows what their next plans likely are.
Watching the developments in North Korea, he said the next logical step would be for it to test a hydrogen bomb in the ocean, then to launch a missile from a submarine.
North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un has already said he plans to test a hydrogen bomb in the Pacific Ocean, although Triplett said the new sanctions on North Korea which President Donald Trump pressed for may damage its plans.
If North Korea is able to move forward with the test, however, Triplett said, “Then the next step of course is a submarine launch—then take it off the coast of Baja California.”
North Korea already has several Soviet-era submarines, including models capable of firing ballistic missiles. It is currently developing its own versions of these submarines.
It acquired these rusted Soviet submarines in the 1990s, and they included Gulf Class submarines. Fisher noted this model was capable of launching up to three submarine-launched ballistic missiles, and at least one of them was still loaded with its ballistic missiles.
“North Korea could have also worked very hard to copy or to reverse engineer the Russian ballistic missile launching submarine, but in addition, China had the last Gulf submarine in service until around 2012, and had 30 years of experience maintaining and upgrading that submarine,” he said.
Fisher noted that China’s history of supporting North Korea could mean the Chinese Communist Party has aided North Korea’s development or restoration of its submarines.
North Korea, he said, is reportedly close to launching two larger class ballistic missile submarines, possibly 3,000-ton submarines, which could be the same size as the Soviet Gulf class.

Marise Payne, Christopher Pyne Hit Back At Report Into $50bn Aussie Subs Plan

Rosie Lewis, The Australian
27 September 2017

The Turnbull government has hit back at a scathing independent report into the $50 billion plan for a fleet of French-built submarines, declaring it had been produced by “individuals who have no experience in designing, building or operating submarines”.
Commissioned by Sydney businessman Gary Johnston, who launched a push to torpedo the French-built submarines last year, the report from Insight Economics says the selected Shortfin Barracuda submarines carry “excessive costs” and come with strategic, economic, technical and industrial risks.
The report, Australia’s Future Submarine: Getting This Key Capability Right, urges the government to urgently move to acquire a fleet of military off-the-shelf submarines if Australia is to avoid a “very serious capability gap of several years”.
“The most immediate and possibly the biggest risk flowing from the decision to acquire the Shortfin Barracuda — a submarine that is yet to be designed, let alone built — is the inevitable long schedule for its delivery,” the report states.
“Even on the best possible scenario where everything goes according to present plans, the first Shortfin Barracuda becomes operational only in 2033, while the Collins Class submarines are scheduled to be progressively withdrawn at the age of 30, between 2026 and 2033. Even then, under these very benign circumstances where everything goes according to plan, the Navy will have only one submarine in 2034 and perhaps four by 2040. This capability is clearly inadequate.”
Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne called the 11-page document a “hatchet job” while Defence Minister Marise Payne said it appeared to be a “beat up” rather than an authoritative contribution to the submarine capability discussion.
The ministers said the consistent advice from Defence and “actual experts in the field” was that there was no military off-the-shelf submarine options that met Australia’s “unique capability requirements”.
“Much of this report is inaccurate and not informed by the facts. The writers of this report have not been involved in the process of the tender or the projects since the tender was completed,” Mr Pyne said.
“The submarine project is on schedule; on budget and will deliver the most lethal and effective weapon in the navy in the 2030s as planned. The Collins Class life of type extension will ensure there is no capability gap in Australia’s submarine fleet.”

Buy off the shelf’

The report blames “both persuasions” of government, from the Rudd government through to the Turnbull government, for the “predicament in which we now find ourselves” and estimates a “whole of life cost” for the 12 new submarines, including the acquisition, sustainment and a possible life extension for the Collins Class, of $180bn.
Insight Economics says the question is not whether the Navy needs to renew its submarine capability but what would be the most appropriate type of sub and how many are needed.
While it notes the proposal to extend the life of the Collins class submarines to help maintain “some capability into the 2030s and perhaps beyond”, the report suggests acquiring an evolved version of a military off-the-shelf submarine “built at a fixed price and modified for Australian conditions and requirements”.
“To avoid long and fatiguing transits, this fleet of smaller submarines would be serviced by a tender (mother) ship that could operate much closer to the submarines’ area of operations,” it states.
“This option should cost under $10bn for a 30-year life; much less than (extending the life of the) the Collins option and for a submarine that would have a longer life and be less at risk of detection. Importantly, this approach would also offer an insurance policy if the Shortfin Barracuda program failed, in that more of the military off-the-shelf boats could be acquired. A Collins (life of type extension) would not offer this very important benefit.”
Senator Payne said a modified off-the-shelf submarine was an “oxymoron” and any suggestion the future submarines would not be in service until the 2040s was “uninformed scaremongering”.
“Submarines are among the most complex pieces of machinery on earth. Contrary to the claims made today, modifying an existing submarine to substantially extend its range would involve a complex and risky redesign process,” she said.
The report’s co-author Hugh White, professor of strategic studies at the Australian National University and a former deputy secretary for strategy at the Department of Defence, said he was not surprised by the government’s response.
“There’s a very serious risk, a very evident risk, that the project they now have underway to build a very sophisticated submarine in a very technically risky way is likely to deliver submarines too late after our present submarines are gone out of service,” he told Sky News.
The report argues the government took the “most risky option possible” when it chose the Shortfin Barracuda, which it labels a “new bespoke design”, and says there was “very little cabinet consideration of this enormous investment”.
“While the National Security Committee of Cabinet met five times to consider the Air Warfare Destroyer acquisition, which was basically a MMOTS (modified military-off-the-shelf) platform, ministers had only a very limited time around the Anzac Day long weekend to consider Defence’s much more complex, costly and risky FSM (future submarine) proposal,” the report states.
Mr Johnston, who owns Jaycar Electronics and runs a website for “those concerned about Australia’s future maritime defence”, said he decided to commission a “thorough investigation of the acquisition process” for the future submarine project after the government agreed last year to spend $50bn on the 12 new French subs.
He said the program will not be “regionally superior” as the waters to Australia’s north “teem with nuclear submarines in the 2030s”.
“In a time of a heightened strategic threat, we may lack any credible submarine
capability for a decade or more. And it takes a long time to restore that capability, not
just in terms of platforms but in retaining personnel and being able to train new people,” he said.
“The way forward would not require the government to change existing policy decisions.”
Mr Johnston said the Insight Economics team had consulted “very widely” with local and international strategic experts, admirals, former submarine commanding officers, engineers, shipbuilders and former defence officials to write up the report.
Insight Economics was founded in 2006 and says it is a consulting firm “uniquely focused on both public policy and corporate strategy”
Michael Keating, one of the firm’s directors who helped launch the report at the National Press Club today, is a former head of the Australian Public Service and secretary of three Commonwealth departments, including Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Australian Navy May Be Without Submarine Fleet For Two Decades Due To Replacement Plan, Experts Say

Tom Iggulden, ABC News
27 September 2017

The Navy could be left without a submarine fleet for up to 20 years because of a "wildly ambitious" schedule to replace the ageing Collins Class fleet, an independent report has found.
The report found the multi-billion dollar project to replace the submarines is likely to be three times more expensive than comparative builds for other countries' defence forces.
The first new submarine is due to come into service in 2033, the same year the last of the Collins Class boats is due for decommissioning.
But the group of former public servants and defence analysts who authored the report say with regional tensions on the rise the risk could not come at a worse time.
ANU strategic studies professor Hugh White, who coordinated the report, said delays of longer than normal were highly likely because of the highly complex design of the replacement fleet.
"We are here to sound the alarm and to encourage a rethink," Professor White told the National Press Club in Canberra today.
"Submarines are unusually difficult to get right and, as we argue in the report, the submarine project we have underway at the moment is in unusually deep trouble."
Professor White said while delays of five or 10 years were the norm for submarine projects around the world, the Government's delay would have massive knock-on effects for the Navy's ability to defend Australia.
Crews and captains' skills would deteriorate with no boats to train on, and new crews would need to be trained up as new boats came into service.
The report suggests buying six off-the-shelf submarines from France to help fill the gap between when the Collins fleet is decommissioned and the new fleet is ready.
"And that's if everything goes according to plan, and that's wildly optimistic."
Submarine costs 'very sobering thought'
French company DCNS was last year awarded the contract for 12 new submarines to replace Australia's ageing Collins Class submarine fleet, estimated to be worth $46 billion in 2016 prices.
"That makes it on the calculations in the report up to three times the cost of other conventionally powered submarines, and that's a very sobering thought indeed," Professor White said.

Impressive practice submarine rescue operation off Turkey

Photos of Operation Dynamic Monarch which took place off the Turkish Coast. To view, please follow this link:

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Navy Racing to Test, Field Unmanned Maritime Vehicles for Future Ships

Megan Eckstein, USNI News
21 September 2017

With unmanned vehicles integral to the future of the Littoral Combat Ship, the Future Surface Combatant and the next-generation SSN(X) attack submarine, the Unmanned Maritime Systems Program Office is testing as many unmanned vehicles – both programs of record and prototypes alike – as fast as it can to learn lessons and field systems to the fleet.
Capt. Jon Rucker, the unmanned maritime systems program manager (PMS 406) within the Program Executive Office for Littoral Combat Ships, told USNI News in a recent interview that he’s had the ear of the chief of naval operations, the resource sponsors at the Pentagon, researchers and engineers at warfare centers and systems commands, and industry as he’s pushed to develop unmanned maritime systems and integrate them into how the Navy operates.
Among the programs in the portfolio furthest along in development is the Knifefish unmanned underwater vehicle, which will detect and classify buried mines and mine in high-clutter environments. That system wrapped up contractor trials in late August, and initial factory acceptance testing was completed last week, Rucker said. Sea acceptance trials, which are the final contractor-led tests, will take place at the end of October, and the Navy will follow that up with its own formal developmental test and operational assessment.
Also in the LCS mine countermeasures mission package is the Common Unmanned Surface Vehicle (CUSV), which will pull a minesweeper in its role as the
Unmanned Influence Sweep System (UISS). That craft is in the middle of contractor testing in South Florida now, and Navy testing will begin after the contractor testing wraps up. CUSV will also be evaluated for a role in mine-hunting missions, which will require its own schedule of contractor- and Navy-led tests.
On the undersea warfare side of the portfolio, the Navy’s Large Displacement UUV (LDUUV) and Extra Large UUV (XLUUV) have both made recent progress as well.
The Snakehead LDUUV completed a preliminary design review on Sept. 12 and is now in the detail design phase. The program is ramping up manning and aiming for a critical design review in the first quarter of Fiscal Year 2019, assuming the program is fully funded in the FY 2018 budget, Rucker said.
The Orca XLUUV is in source selection and is on track to award an initial design contract in the last week of September.
Prototypes and Experimentation
In addition to these programs of record, the Navy and Marine Corps have been testing as many unmanned vehicle prototypes as they can, hoping to see the art of the possible for unmanned systems taking on new mission sets. Many of these systems being tested are small surface and underwater vehicles that can be tested by the dozens at tech demonstrations or by operating units.
The ADARO small unmanned surface vehicle, for example, is still in the initial development stage but is being tested by Naval Surface Warfare Center Combatant Craft in Norfolk. This vehicle, developed under the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, is about three feet long and could assist special operators, explosive ordnance disposal technicians or Marines.
“If you look at the special forces guys, they’re looking for something that they can plop in the water quickly to be able to go do reconnaissance or other communications-type things they want to do,” Rucker said.
“So this particular craft – just like anything we put in the water first, the company developing it improved the engines, improved the efficiency, got it to be a little more watertight so if it hits a wave it flips over and rights itself – they improved all that. So they’re at a stage now where they have a few out there and they’re going through testing with the small business, with the special forces guys” to see if NSWC-CC would want to use its funding to continue with that product.
Rucker said a lot of the small unmanned vehicles are used to extend the reach of a mission through aiding in communications or reconnaissance. None have become programs of record yet, but PMS 406 is monitoring their development and their participation in events like the Ship-to-Shore Maneuver Exploration and Experimentation Advanced Naval Technology Exercise, which featured several small UUVs and USVs.
“I would anticipate down the road there being a need” for a vehicle like that and the transition of at least one or two to a program of record, but for now Rucker said the systems need to prove not only that they work but that their success is repeatable in an operational environment.
On the UUV side, Rucker said his office is working with the Expeditionary Missions Program Office (PMS 408) at Naval Sea Systems Command and the Battlespace Awareness and Information Operations Program Office (PMW-120) at the Naval Space and Warfare Systems Command on a collection of small and medium UUVs that can do sea sensing, oceanography, mine countermeasures and more. For one small vehicle, the Iver, the Navy has 50 or 60 of the UUVs at its unmanned squadron (UUVRON-1) in Keyport, Wash., for testing concepts of operations, developing tactics and training.
Future Manned-Unmanned Teaming
Even as unmanned system prototypes are tested today with the hopes of procuring those that may fill a capability gap, the Navy has a longer-term reason to continue testing these unmanned systems: several of its future ship classes will rely on unmanned systems, by design, to fulfill their missions. The Littoral Combat Ship was designed around being a mothership for unmanned vehicles in several warfare mission areas. The Future Surface Combatant will include a large manned combatant, a small manned combatant, and a family of unmanned surface vehicles. And the SSN(X) – the attack sub planned to come after the Virginia class – will rely on UUVs to extend its reach.
“Going forward, no UUV any time in the near future is going to replace a manned system. The capability of a submarine is just not matched by one of these,” Rucker said.
“However, with submarines, the number we have isn’t what we want in terms of total number, so if you can augment the submarines and have a manned and unmanned platform working in concert, or helping with some of the easier, more repetitious missions, you can unburden the submarine to do some of the other capabilities we need it to do.”
He said the Navy isn’t waiting for the start of SSN(X) to learn how to do this. The next increment of the Virginia class, the Block V design for which a request for proposals went out to industry last month, will ensure the submarine and the Snakehead UUV are compatible, to begin to pave the way for SSN(X)’s manned-unmanned teaming.
“The SSN(X) of the future, as they go forward with that design, everything that they’re looking at is taking unmanned into account, because going forward that’s something that a submarine will need to be able to do – not only its normal missions, but be able to act as a large ocean interface to support unmanned vehicles,” Rucker said. All the interfaces will be defined so that developers can build unmanned vehicles or payloads that are inherently compatible with the submarine – a process being started now with the Virginia-class/Snakehead integration.
On Future Surface Combatant, Rucker said he’s working closely with the surface warfare directorate at the Pentagon (OPNAV N96) to understand the timeline of the program, but he said wargames and workshops this year validated the need for a family of unmanned surface vessels
to be included in the FSC concept. The FY 2019 budget cycle will likely yield more answers, he said, but he explained that two ongoing USV projects today will be integral in teaching PMS 406 what the unmanned piece will look like.
ONR now controls the first Anti-Submarine Warfare Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel (ACTUV) vehicle, since renamed the Medium Displacement USV (MDUSV) and also called Sea Hunter. The 2017 budget included funding to build a second vehicle. Rucker said ONR is testing the first vehicle in San Diego, buying down risk for the operational navy as they learn how to operate an unmanned surface craft while adhering to the rules outlined in the Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (commonly known as COLREGS), for example. Additionally, a Pentagon-led effort called Ghost Fleet is testing a larger USV with additional payloads that Rucker said he could not discuss. But both efforts would be important, he said, because Future Surface Combatant may likely end up with a family of two USVs to fill the unmanned portion – a smaller USV similar to MDUSV, about 100 to 150 feet long, and a larger one akin to Ghost Fleet, at about 200 to 250 feet long with greater payload capacity.
“Those craft, from an endurance, speed, payload capability, they’re quite different,” he said, adding that having both would give surface warfare officers great flexibility in conducting missions at sea.
“From these two, as they learn, they’re going to kind of gauge from the ACTUV, the Sea Hunter, and the Ghost Fleet, they’re going to take those – and in parallel be developing requirements that we learn from that – to then decide this is what we want to go buy,” he said of the Future Surface Combatant effort.

Navy Awards Electric Boat $5.1B Columbia-Class Submarine Design Contract

Sam LaGrone, USNI News
21 September 2017

General Dynamics Electric Boat has been awarded a $5.1 billion contract to undertake the detailed design work for the U.S. Navy’s next generation of ballistic missile submarines – the Columbia-class (SSBN(X))
According to the Pentagon notification, “the Integrated Product and Process Development (IPPD) contract award is for the design, completion, component and technology development and prototyping efforts for the Columbia-class Fleet Ballistic Missile Submarines (SSBNs). This work will also include United Kingdom (U.K.) unique efforts related to the Common Missile Compartment.
“The Columbia-class submarine is the most important acquisition program the Navy has today,” said Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer in a statement.
“This contract represents a significant investment in maintaining our strategic deterrent into the future, as well as our ongoing partnership with the United Kingdom.”
In a statement, Rep. Joe Courtney (D-Conn.) praised the work of the Navy and EB.
“Every day, countless individuals – from the shipyard to suppliers to workforce development experts – are working to ensure that our region is ready to meet the multi-generational challenge of designing and building this new submarine,” he said.
“This milestone today is a testament to their work, but a reminder that we still have a lot to do as Congress and the Navy look to grow our undersea fleet.”
The contract award follows a January Milestone B approval for the program to enter the detailed design and engineering phase of the program.
“A program this large and complex will undoubtedly face financial and technical challenges in the years ahead, but it will eventually result in what is arguably the most advanced weapon system ever developed,” Eric Wertheim, author of U.S. Naval Institute’s Combat Fleets told USNI News on Thursday.
The recapitalization of the ballistic missile submarines is the Navy’s top acquisition priority and is poised to make a major dent in the Navy’s shipbuilding accounts.
According to a recent Navy cost estimate from earlier this year, the lead ship is expected to cost $10.4 billion – including $4.2 billion in detail design and non-recurring engineering work, as well as $6.2 billion for ship construction – and follow-on ships to cost $5.2 billion, all in 2010 dollars, USNI News reported at the time of the milestone B award.
An August estimate of the total program cost obtained by the Congressional Research Service put the total cost of the program at $122.3 billion in 2010 dollars.
The class of 12 boomers will replace the current class of 14 Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines as part of the U.S. nuclear deterrent triad along with ground-based intercontinental ballistic missiles and nuclear bombers.
Columbias and the planned four-vessel U.K. Royal Navy Dreadnaught-class of SSBNs share a common missile compartment that will field Trident II D5 nuclear missiles.
The U.S. boomers will feature a new life-of-boat reactor, a quiet electric drive and field 16 Trident II D5s.
The Navy estimates the future USS Columbia will be operational by 2030.

Faslane Nuclear Submarine Base Could Be Flooded As Sea Levels Rise, Warns Scottish Natural Heritage

Ian Johnston, The Independent
21 September 2017

The Faslane nuclear submarine base on the Clyde estuary could be at risk because of rising seas, Scottish Natural Heritage has warned.
A new report by SNH, which is funded by the Scottish Government, said that sea levels were expected to rise by 47cm in the area by 2080 as a result of climate change.
This would “inundate” buildings and fixed mooring at the base close to the shore, it warned, as well as low-lying areas in several coastal communities. Flooding caused by rising seas could also put “pressure” on Prestwick International Airport, the report added.
Britain’s independent nuclear missile fleet of submarines is based at Her Majesty’s Naval Base Clyde at Faslane on Gare Loch, which extends north from the Firth of Clyde.
The Ministry of Defence said the “potential risks” posed by climate change to the base had been discussed earlier this year and it would “continue to monitor the situation closely”.
The SNH report said: “The main objective of this study is to provide an evidence base of the projected extent of sea-level rise and storm surges in the Firth of Clyde, and associated risks to vulnerable habitats, coastal communities, and infrastructure.”
This would help plan future developments and manage the risk of flooding.
While changes in future storm surges were likely to be “very small”, sea level rise was expected to cause a problem for much of the coast.
An initial visual review had “identified over 100 locations where there would appear to be risks of changes to the likely flood levels, and where these will be associated with developed areas, designated sites, and infrastructure such as roads and railways”.
“The assessment has been based on where the predicted sea level rise and associated flood risk appears to be significant with regard to the current coastline,” the report added.
“However, the ‘flood’ mapping doesn’t take account of factors such as local surface-water and fluvial input, and erosion associated with wave activity (eg likely to be especially important on the Ayrshire seafronts), and therefore underestimates flood risk.”
Faslane Bay was listed as one of the areas where the “potential impacts are predicted to be the greatest”.
Regarding the naval base specifically, the report said: “Buildings close to the shore will be inundated, as will any static (non-floating) moorings.”
Floodwater could also extend beyond a railway line in the Prestwick area, “putting pressure on Prestwick International Airport Railway Station and potentially inundating the airport car park”.

Lockheed Martin To Invest In Submaran S10 Submersible Drone

Bill Cooke, Gears of Biz
20 September 2017

Lockheed Martin is investing in Ocean Aero alongside Teledyne Technologies for the development of the Submaran unmanned maritime vehicle.
The Submaran S10 is an autonomous unmanned submarine that is powered by solar and wind energy, giving it virtually unlimited endurance and letting it operate for months at a time. It can raise a small sail that can propel it at over 5 knots to conserve power.
“Ocean Aero represents the next generation of environmentally powered, autonomous ocean systems,” said Chris Moran, executive director and general manager of Lockheed Martin Ventures. “Our investment will allow
us to better respond to customers’ maritime needs with technology solutions for a diverse set of missions.”
The Submaran can mount a sophisticated suite of sensors for long-term ocean observation, including seismic survey gear, passive sonar, satellite communications, cellular and WiFi data-links and other systems.
The Submaran’s technology was demonstrated last year at the Annual Navy Technology Exercise for the Naval Undersea Warfare Center.
Lockheed Martin sees the platform as ideal for long-term intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions for the Navy, taking the place of manned vessels and providing a semi-permanent observation ability.

Pyongyang Secretly Building Submarine With Nuclear Power

Guy Taylor, Washington Times
18 September 2017

North Korea’s military is clandestinely building a nuclear-powered submarine, according to a Japanese newspaper report, the latest provocation by Pyongyang in an escalating clash with the U.S. and its allies in a region already on edge.
The report by Japan’s Sekai Nippo, citing an “informed” but unidentified “source familiar with the North Korean situation,” said the size of the nuclear-powered submarine under construction is unclear but that the Kim Jong-un regime in Pyongyang hopes to have it deployed within three years.
The claim could not be independently verified by The Washington Times, and U.S. intelligence sources could not immediately be reached for comment. If true, however, the claim could indicate a dramatic step forward for North Korea’s navy, which analysts estimate operates a fleet of 50 to 60 diesel-electric submarines that are louder and easier to detect than the nuclear-powered vessels.
North Korea is expected to be a prime focus of President Trump’s week in New York meeting with other world leaders at the U.N. General Assembly. On Twitter, Mr. Trump revealed that he had spoken with South Korean President Moon Jae-in Sunday about Pyongyang. His tweet mocked Mr. Kim as “Rocket Man” and boasted about the effectiveness of international sanctions to cut off the North’s energy supplies.
“President Trump and President Moon committed to continuing to take steps to strengthen deterrence and defense capabilities, and to maximize economic and diplomatic pressure on North Korea,” the White House said in a statement. Mr. Kim, who rarely travels, will not be in New York, but North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho is expected to address the world body Friday.
The Sekai Nippo report suggested a nuclear-powered submarine would dramatically increase the threat posed to the U.S. and its allies by North Korean submarine-launched ballistic missiles.
Pyongyang has quietly carried out as many as six test launches of the Pukguksong-1 SLBM since 2014, according to 38 North, a website that analyzes North Korea at John’s Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies in Washington.
The submarine could be used to move the Pukguksong-1 SLBM into international waters in a much quieter and harder-to-detect manner capable of evading existing U.S., Japanese and South Korean missile defenses.
Pyongyang has dramatically accelerated its nuclear weapons and land-based ballistic missile programs, raising the prospect that it will soon have a nuclear device it could deliver to much of the U.S. mainland. A small nuclear device also could be put on the sub.
But analysts say the status of North Korea’s SLBM program is murky.
U.S. officials have increased their scrutiny of Pyongyang’s naval operations following reports last month that the North Korean navy may have carried out an “ejection test” relating to the SLBM program.
In May, 38 North published an analysis claiming that commercial satellite imagery had identified a second submersible test stand barge for North Korea’s SLBM program at Nampo Naval Shipyard, located on the nation’s western coast.
The barge appeared to be identical in size and layout to an original barge first seen in 2014 at the Sinpo South Shipyard on the nation’s eastern coast and resemble the Russian PSD-4 submersible missile-test barge.
The Sekai Nippo report said Chinese and Russian engineers are involved in North Korea’s push to build a nuclear-powered submarine and that the construction has been occurring clandestinely inside a dock near Nampo since January.
Nampo is a port city roughly 30 miles from Pyongyang and is home to a concentration of factories manufacturing electronic and machine products, making it “ideally suited for building a submarine,” the Japanese newspaper said.

Robot Submarines Could Soon Be Used To Spy On America’s Enemies

Aaron Gregg, The Washington Post
15 September 2017

More than a decade after airborne drones took flight over battlefields, the world’s biggest defense manufacturers are eyeing a new market below the ocean’s surface.
The Navy recently opened up a competition for unmanned submarines that can navigate autonomously. Chicago-based Boeing has taken an early lead in the fledgling market: The company has developed a 51-foot-long vessel called the Echo Voyager to compete for the contract, and last year it bought a company called Liquid Robotics that focuses on smaller unmanned subs.
Bethesda-based competitor Lockheed Martin is also competing for the contract, a company spokeswoman said Thursday, and it, too, is now ramping up its efforts by investing in another company specializing in the autonomous watercraft.
The company’s technology investment unit, Lockheed Martin Ventures, announced Friday that it is backing a San Diego-based company called Ocean Aero, which makes various classes of seafaring drones, termed unmanned underwater vehicles, or UUV’s. The size and terms of the transaction were not disclosed, but the venture unit typically makes investments of between $1 million and $5 million.
“This just speaks to how big the unmanned systems market has become, that you have Boeing and Lockheed going at this full speed,” said Ocean Aero chief executive Eric Patten.
Ocean Aero makes a four-meter-long, battery-powered submarine called the Submaran S10. The S10 can loiter on the surface or dive down to a relatively shallow 30 feet. It can navigate autonomously based on preprogrammed waypoints and be outfitted to scout for and hide from threats completely on its own. It can recharge its battery on the surface using tiny solar panels or raise a sail to harness the wind for propulsion, something the manufacturer calls “energy scavenging.” The S10 has already been sold to two undisclosed customers.
The company plans to introduce a larger model called the S200 next year that can travel faster and dive deeper. It is about to start testing a 12-meter-long model it calls the Silent Arrow that aims to dive down to 200 meters and navigate with the help of an electronic thruster.
Patten says his company’s Silent Arrow sub positions the company for future Navy competitions.
“When the competition started in January we weren’t in a position to compete,” he said. “Now we’re in a position to compete for that.”
Ocean Aero is part of a nascent but crowded field of start-ups that has emerged in tandem with smaller, more fail-safe lithium-ion batteries.
The industry is responding to a new school of thought in the upper echelons of the U.S. military. Agencies are looking to use advances in robotics and artificial intelligence as “force multipliers,” with the idea that combat-capable robots will augment but not replace humans in the wars of the future.
The Air Force is working on robotic drones that would fly alongside fighter jets, scout ahead and absorb enemy fire. The Army is experimenting with small-scale reconnaissance robots. Even U.S. law enforcement officers are buying in: Last year Dallas police used a robot outfitted with C-4 explosives to remotely kill a gunman who had killed five police officers.
Some worry that involving robots in military operations could imperil human lives and inflame conflict.
Last month Elon Musk and 115 experts wrote an open letter to the United Nations urging the body to “protect us all” from autonomous weaponry, which they described as a dangerous escalation in military technology.
“Once deployed, they will permit armed conflict to be fought at a scale greater than ever, and at time scales faster than humans can comprehend,” they wrote. “These are weapons of terror, weapons that despots and terrorists use against innocent populations, and weapons hacked to behave in unexpected ways.”
Lockheed and Boeing argue the robotic subs could one day become the Navy’s robotic scouts, augmenting the efforts of the Navy’s limited and aging fleet of manned submarines.
“My main challenge in the Navy was there were many demands for what people wanted a submarine to do and you couldn’t come close to meeting all of them,” said Mike Connor, a retired Navy vice admiral and submarine force commander who now runs a company called ThayerMahan.
Autonomous watercraft “could make each one of those submarines and destroyers that much more powerful and impactful by orders of magnitude,” he said.
Ocean Aero’s robotic subs are likely to be priced in the hundreds of thousands of dollars each, and in the tens of millions for the larger models. That’s significantly cheaper than the manned nuclear submarines that currently patrol the waters.
Ocean Aero’s robotic subs “can’t do everything a normal submarine can do, and we would probably never want them to,” Patten said. “But they can be tasked with things that might waste a normal submarine’s time. It would free up the more capable submarines.”
For now, the small subs are being pitched mainly as a surveillance tool. Officials at Lockheed Martin say Ocean Aero’s subs are most likely to be used to map maritime threats, similar to how U.S. military and intelligence agencies already use satellites and aerial drones to collect information from above.
“We’ll be putting eyes and ears more distant from the force to collect information,” said Chris Moran, executive director of Lockheed Martin Ventures.
But more dangerous missions could soon follow for the Navy’s robots.
The Navy has actively tested unmanned underwater drones’ ability to find and disable mines, hoping they will one day protect aircraft carriers in hostile territory. It’s not out of the question that the robotic subs could be used to actively attack enemy submarines.
Ocean Aero’s Silent Arrow, its largest submarine at 12-meters long, can carry up to 2,000 pounds worth of equipment, meaning it could theoretically be outfitted with advanced weaponry.
“It can carry a pretty large payload,” Lockheed’s Moran said. “That was one of the big attractions for us.”

Is the Ohio-Class Submarine America's Ultimate Weapon?

Kyle Mizokami, Scout Warrior
16 September 2017

America’s Ohio-class ballistic-missile submarines are some of the quietest, stealthiest submarines in the world. The Ohio submarines represent America’s ace in the hole, megatons of nuclear firepower quietly patrolling the world’s oceans, ensuring that any nuclear attack on the United States will not go unpunished. In addition to the fourteen ballistic-missile submarines, four have been converted to missile carriers, capable of unleashing more than 150 conventionally armed cruise missiles against the most heavily defended of targets.
The Ohio-class submarines were the result of a early 1970s requirement for a larger missile submarine capable of carrying the next generation (and beyond) of submarine-launched ballistic missiles. Submarine-launched missiles were growing longer and wider, due to the demand that they carry multiple-warhead reentry vehicles while maintaining and even extending their range. The U.S. Navy’s older submarines of the George Washington and Ethan Allen classes were physically unable to
accommodate the newer Poseidon and the projected Trident series of missiles.
The Ohio class was initially meant to be a simple upgrade of the Lafayette-class submarines, but the Navy was anxious to include advances in nuclear propulsion quieting learned from the USS Narwhal submarine [3]and its Natural Circulation Technology reactor, the S5G, and ultimately decided in favor of a clean-sheet submarine design. The submarines were designed to be 560 feet long, with a beam of forty-two feet able to accommodate two rows of twelve Trident C-4 (later D-5) missiles each. The hulls were constructed of HY-80 steel for strength. The submarine displaces 18,750 tons submerged, and has an operating speed in excess of twenty knots.
The Ohio boats packed twenty-four Trident C-4 missiles, each with a range of 4,600 miles and carrying eight one-hundred-kiloton warheads. This was a marked improvement over the earlier Poseidon missile, which had a range of just 2,876 miles. While Poseidon could easily hit Moscow from the Norwegian Sea, more distant targets in central Russia and Soviet Central Asia were out of reach. The C-4 allowed the Ohio class to strike the same area from as far as the mid-Atlantic, or the entire western half of the USSR if operating east of Iceland. Altogether, each submarine boasted a total of 19.2 megatons in nuclear weapons.
In 1990, the Ohio-class submarines began transitioning to a new missile, Trident D-5, that is still in service today. D-5 is a larger, heavier missile that carried eight warheads of a hundred or 475 kilotons each, and has amaximum effective range of 7,456 miles [4]. This considerable range upgrade makes it possible for a submarine equipped with Trident D-5 to strike any point in the former Soviet Union while tied up at the submarine base at Kings Bay, Georgia. Depending on the warhead configuration, each Ohio submarine armed with D-5s went to sea with a total of 19.2 to 91.2 megatons.
Each fleet ballistic-missile submarine spends an estimated 66 percent of its time at sea, with two sets of crews, Blue and Gold, alternately manning the boat. Patrols last for seventy days, with a twenty-five-day handover period in port between crews, meaning an average crew will spend seventy days at sea and ninety-five days on shore. A major twelve-month overhaul is undertaken every nine years.
Since the end of the Cold War a number of changes have come about to the missile submarine fleet. Under the terms of the START II treaty, the number of nuclear-armed submarines was reduced from eighteen to fourteen. The 2010 New START treaty limited the number of Trident D-5s deployed at any one time to 240 missiles. To comply with this, four missile-launch tubes per submarine are removed, reducing each submarine to twenty missiles each. Under New START each missile has an average of three to six warheads each.
Arms control experts Hans Christensen and Robert S. Norris estimate [5] the United States has between four and five submarines on “hard alert” at any one time, capable of responding to a surprise nuclear attack, with another two undergoing overhauls. One of the least obvious but more important upgrades to the D-5 in recent years is the advent of the “super fuze” [6] that allows them to attack hardened targets, including communications sites and missile silos. Although this ability to hand off counterforce targets to the submarine fleet is meant to make a smaller nuclear force more credible, some experts believe it making such a difficult to detect weapon so deadly is inherently destabilizing.
The four Ohio-class submarines removed from fleet ballistic-missile submarine duty still had ten to fifteen years worth of service left in them. Rather than dispose of the hulls the Navy found a radical solution: convert each to a guided-missile submarine, or SSGN. Each submarine had its ballistic-missile tubes reworked to carry up to seven Tomahawk cruise missiles [7], for a total of 154 missiles per submarine. A single sub can strike up to 154 targets with a one-ton warhead at ranges of nearly a thousand miles, a valuable capability in conventional conflict against countries like Iran, North Korea, or even Russia or China. The guided-missile variants represent a potent “kick down the door” capability, striking enemy command-and-control and air-defense assets before friendly manned aircraft come within range.
The fourteen Ohio-class missile submarines are unseen protectors of America from nuclear ambush. Each will probably remain in service for forty years or more, depending on how well their replacements, the Columbia class [8], stick to their timetable. Their conventionally armed brethren offer a powerful, flexible option for dealing with everything from terrorist groups to nation states. These undersea giants are not only the most deadly war machines ever built but some of the most flexible as well.

Autonomous Submarines Are The Next Frontier For The US Navy

Staff, The Merkle
17 September 2017

The US military wants to explore every possible option when it comes to autonomous combat. Putting fewer trained soldiers in harm’s way makes a lot of sense and will certainly be appreciated by many people. However, not every type of military asset should be autonomous either. Submarines, for example, are very complex mechanisms which often require a full staff to maintain and operate properly.
Granted, there are smaller subs which can be operated by one person. It appears this is the main area of interest to the US Navy, at least for the time being. Its new competition involving unmanned submarines has attracted a lot of attention from defense manufacturers already. Interestingly enough, Boeing is one of the market leaders right now, thanks to the company’s 51-foot-long autonomous submarine called the Echo Voyager.
These autonomous watercraft can prove greatly valuable to any nation and military organization. It takes a very long time to train submarine personnel, who are often away from home for months on end. There is no ideal situation for any of the parties involved. Coming up with solutions to fully automate this concept will be pretty challenging in every possible way, but the companies exploring these opportunities are quite excited.
There is a lot more to the unmanned systems market than most people assume. Various startups are focusing on autonomous solutions which can be used for many different purposes. Submarines are very different from cars or even small aircraft, but it is not a new form of technology either. There will be initial limitations in terms of how large a submarine can be made autonomous, but as the technology evolves, more opportunities will be unlocked.
It will be particularly interesting to see how deep these autonomous submarines can dive. The main purpose of a submarine is to explore the oceans, which can be quite deep as we all know. A depth of anything less than 100 meters will not make any impact. However, companies have to start somewhere when it comes to developing these new technologies. There is still a lot of work to be done in this industry, but it is an intriguing concept regardless.
With the US military now focusing in this area as well, things will start to get pretty interesting moving forward. It would not be surprising to see other military organizations show a keen interest in autonomous submarines soon. Advances in robots and AI will affect every aspect of life, including the military. While most of these efforts will not see the replacement of humans right away, it is always worth the time to experiment with alternative technologies and see how things play out.

Report: North Korea Completing Work On New SLBM Submarines

Elizabeth Shim, UPI
14 September 2017

North Korea may have completed 80 percent of the work needed on submarines capable of launching SLBMs, or submarine-launched ballistic missiles, according to a Japanese newspaper.
The Tokyo Shimbun reported Thursday that Pyongyang has two or three missile-launch capable submarines that are almost ready to be deployed.
The newspaper was citing a North Korean source who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
The submarines can be equipped with the newly developed Pukguksong-3, according to the report, and would join the 2,000-ton Sinpo-class submarine that has only one launcher.
North Korea's submarines under development are bigger.
They would have a displacement of 3,000 tons and would be equipped with multiple launchers.
The new submarines are capable of staying submerged for longer periods of time because of air-independent propulsion technology that would allow the non-nuclear submarine to operate without access to atmospheric oxygen.
The engine of the submarine is being built at the Pukchung Machinery Factory in Yongchon, North Pyongan Province, Tokyo Shimbun's source said.
North Korea is building new weapons at a rapid pace, following an order from Kim Jong Un issued in June 2016.
Kim had told military officers a new submarine must be built before Sept. 9, 2018, the 70th anniversary of the founding day of the country.
North Korea launched the SLBM Pukguksong-2 on Feb. 12, and displayed a new missile during its April 15 military parade that experts have surmised may be the Pukguksong-3.
In August, Pyongyang's Workers' Party newspaper Rodong Sinmun published an image of the North Korean leader, showing Kim Jong Un in a room that included what appeared to be missile parts, and a poster that read, "Pukguksong-3," which has yet to undergo testing.
The U.S. Senate is reviewing a 2018 defense bill that includes a proposal to reconsider the relocation of submarine-launched nuclear cruise missiles to the Asia-Pacific, Radio Free Asia reported Thursday.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Israeli Police Make Six Arrests Over ThyssenKrupp 'Submarine Affair'

Staff, Deutsche Welle
3 September 2017

Israeli police arrested six people on Sunday amid a widening corruption probe into the deals for submarines and naval vessels agreed between the government and German industrial giant ThyssenKrupp.
In a statement, police said the six suspects were detained on suspicion of "economic and integrity offenses."
Authorities did not name those in detention, but the Haaretz newspaper reported that the group included "a former senior official in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's bureau" as well as several high-ranking naval officers.
In July, Thyssenkrupp issued a statement saying it had found no evidence of corruption in its handling of the $2 billion (1.69 billion euro) contract to sell submarines and naval patrol craft to Israel. "Based on the investigative measures we were able to carry out, we found no concrete indications of corruption - neither with regard to submarine projects, nor in connection with the procurement of corvettes," it said, adding the investigation results were "provisional."
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's relative and family lawyer, David Shimron, was cited in reports of the case when retired naval captain Michael Ganor, ThyssenKrupp's former representative in Israel, claimed he was due to earn large amounts of money from the agreement to buy three submarines from Germany.
Germany then said it would not sign off on the arms deal, originally agreed in October 2016, until the investigation into possible corruption was complete. The signing of a memorandum of understanding on the German sale of the three submarines to Israel was postponed in July.
According to television reports in July, Ganor told police that Shimron's commission from the deal between the Israeli state and ThyssenKrupp was to be 20 percent of Ganor's own fee from the German company for brokering it.
The scandal has also touched Avriel Bar-Yosef, a former deputy head of the National Security Council and Eliezer Marom, the former commander of the Israeli Navy. The pair, along with Shimron, have denied any wrongdoing.
ThyssenKrupp rep and his lawyer
Ganor signed a state’s witness arrangement with Israel’s justice ministry in July. In exchange for a reduced sentence of a year in prison and a $2.8 million fine, he agreed to disclose everything he knew.
Netanyahu's lawyer Shimron also acted for Ganor and was allegedly involved in many of his business dealings. Netanyahu reportedly suggested more submarines be bought than the defense chiefs had recommended, but he has denied knowing about his lawyer’s involvement in the arms deals.
The Israeli Justice Ministry has said that Prime Minister Netanyahu is not a suspect in the case.
According to its website: "Virtually no shipyard the world over has more experience in the design and construction of non-nuclear submarines than ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems with its Operating Unit Submarines (Kiel). The Operating Unit is a partner of the German Navy and has also delivered submarines for coastal and blue water deployment to the navies of 19 other countries."

Indian Navy Bids Adieu to INS Sindhurakshak, Sinks Graveyard of 18 Navy Men

Staff, Financial Express
5 September 2017

In August 2013, a huge fire broke out on board the vessel while it was docked at the naval dockyard in Mumbai. The fire led to a series of explosions. This incident led to the deaths of 18 Navy personnel, including three officers.
The Indian Navy has sunk the Indian Naval Submarine (INS) Sindhurakshak four years after a series of explosions on board the submarine claimed the lives of 18 Naval personnel, states a report in the Indian Express. The Navy had decommissioned the submarine earlier this year after two Boards of Inquiry (BoI) stated that the submarine was ‘not seaworthy’. The submarine had been used by the Navy for target practice by the Marine Commandos (Marcos) of the Indian Navy and was sunk recently, according to an Indian Express report.
A top official of the Navy told the Indian Express, “We lost officers and sailors on board the Sindhurakshak. The vessel is akin to a grave site for us and for this reason, we will not scrap the submarine. The submarine was sunk by Marine Commandos after we tested the viability of using the submarine for target practice.” The senior naval officer went on to add that the berth occupied by the vessel on the dock has been cleared and is now being used by other vessels.
In August 2013, a huge fire broke out on board the vessel while it was docked at the naval dockyard in Mumbai. The fire led to a series of explosions. This incident led to the deaths of 18 Navy personnel, including three officers. The 3,000-tonne vessel then sank in the South Breakwater of the naval dockyard. In January 2015 the Navy contracted the Indian arm of US-based Resolve Marine to salvage the submarine. The submarine was then salvaged by the firm in June of that year and handed over to the Navy. The then Navy Chief, Admiral DK Joshi resigned from his post taking moral responsibility for a spate of incidents including the Sindhurakshak, as per an Indian Express report.

Navy Upgrades Attack Submarine Weapons Controls, Sensors

Kris Osborn, Scout Warrior
4 September 2017

Sensors, sonar, weapons control, quieting technologies, undersea drones and communications systems provide the vital arenas through which the US Navy will seek to sustain and build upon its advantage beneath the surface of the ocean.
With this in mind, the Navy’s Virginia-Class Attack Submarines are being upgraded with a new Tactical Control System (TCS) technology to provide weapons control, improved network subsystems, and faster component modernization, a Pentagon announcement said.
The idea with fast evolving TCS and other undersea controls and networking technologies is to engineer a circumstance wherein U.S. submarines can operate undetected in or near enemy waters or coastline, conduct reconnaissance or attack missions and sense any movement or enemy activities at farther ranges than adversaries can.
Along these lines, Navy leaders say the service is making progress developing new acoustics, sensors and quieting technologies to ensure the U.S. retains its technological edge in the undersea domain – as countries like China and Russia continue rapid military modernization and construction of new submarines.
A key element of improving TCS for the submarines includes ongoing Navy efforts to expedite integration of emerging commercial hardware and software.
The current pace of technological changes, including miniaturized components, faster processing speed, new undersea communications possibilities and developing quieting technologies requires submarine operators to quickly integrate the newest innovations as they emerge.
TCS integrates sensor inputs to provide a common operational picture and enhance information assurance for attack and guided missile submarines, according to statements from General Dynamics Mission Systems.
Hardening security and solidifying information assurance between sensors, electronics and data systems is a crucial component of the technical improvements being sought after for TCS. A more secure, interoperable technological system, General Dynamics Mission Systems says, “exploits the power of sonar, electronic support measures, radar, navigation, periscopes and communication."
A key reason for integrating COTS into the Virginia class submarines is because the newer submarines rely heavily on computer technology, automation and advanced sensors.
According to the Navy, TCS makes use of advanced equipment through commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) technology and upgrades it with a practice called Acoustic Rapid COTS Insertion.
“By adapting off-the-shelf technology to upgrading Virginia class, the Navy and its contractors are able to exploit the latest commercial advances while saving money. The commercial sector typically leads the military in fielding cutting-edge electronics, so it makes sense to leverage what's available in the marketplace in support of naval needs,” Loren Thompson, Chief Operating Officer at Lexington Institute, told Scout Warrior.
The Navy will continue to work with GD over a period of more than eight years to sustain the initiative to integrate COTS technologies into the submarine fleet. The most recent deal included a $36 million modification to the arrangement.
Commercially developed software and information are provided openly and freely to the TCS development community of contractors, laboratories, and universities as well as other DOD organizations and partners.
Throughout each development and integration cycle, which takes place on a biennial schedule, the software and system design information is provided at set increments.
This is designed to allow for frequent evaluation and testing by the end user, GD said.
In today’s increasingly contested undersea domain, attack submarines are increasingly performing ISR missions since they are able to reach areas closer to enemy coastline than some surface ships.
Compared to older Navy attack subs like the Los Angeles class, the Virginia class submarines are engineered to bring vastly improved littoral warfare, surveillance and open ocean capabilities, service officials said.
The Virginia-class submarines are designed with this “Fly-by-Wire” capability which allows the ship to quietly linger in shallow waters without having to surface or have each small move controlled by a human operator.
With this technology, a human operator will order depth and speed, allowing software to direct the movement of the planes and rudder to maintain course and depth.
The Block III Virginia class submarines also have a Large Aperture Bow conformal array sonar system that is designed to send out an acoustic ping, analyze the return signal, and provide the location and possible contours of enemy ships, submarines and other threats.
Recent innovations, many details of which are secret and not available, include quieting technologies for the engine room to make the submarine harder to detect, a new large vertical array and additional coating materials for the hull, Navy officials and developers have explained.
Acoustic sensor technology works by using underwater submarine sensors to detect sound “pings” in order to determine the contours, speed and range of an enemy ship, submarine or approaching weapon. Much like radar
analyzes the return electromagnetic signal bounced off an object, acoustics works by using “sound” in a similar fashion. Most of the undersea acoustic technology is “passive,” meaning it is engineered to receive pings and “listen” without sending out a signal which might reveal their undersea presence or location to an enemy, experts have said.
Described as a technology insertion, the improvements will be integrated on board both Virginia-Class submarines and the now-in -development next-generation nuclear-armed boats called the Columbia-Class. .
The Navy’s acoustic technological advancement effort is immersed in performing tactical assessments as well as due diligence from an academic standpoint to make sure the service looks at all the threat vectors – whether that be hydrodynamics, acoustics, lasers, among others.
The emerging technologies, however, are heavily focused upon sensitive, passive acoustic sensors able to detect movement and objects of potential adversary boats and ships at much further ranges and with a higher-degree of fidelity.
While high-frequency, fast two-way communication is currently difficult to sustain from the undersea domain, submarines are able to use a Very Low Frequency radio to communicate while at various depths beneath the surface.
Senior Navy officials have explained that the innovations brought to fruition with these recent efforts do, at least in part, help address an issue raised by a report more than a year ago by the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.
The report, titled “The Emerging Era in Undersea Warfare,” says the technological margin of difference separating the U.S from potential rivals is expected to get much smaller. This is requiring the U.S. to re-think the role of manned submarines and prioritize innovation in the realm of undersea warfare, the study says.
“America’s superiority in undersea warfare results from decades of research and development, operations, and training. It is, however, far from assured. U.S. submarines are the world’s quietest, but new detection techniques are emerging that don’t rely on the noise a submarine makes, and may make traditional manned submarine operations far more risky in the future. America’s competitors are likely pursuing these technologies even while expanding their own undersea forces,” writes the report’s author Bryan Clark.
In the report, Clark details some increasingly available technologies expected to change the equation regarding U.S. undersea technological supremacy. They include increased use of lower frequency active sonar and non-acoustic methods of detecting submarine wakes at short ranges. In particular, Clark cites a technique of bouncing laser light or light-emitting-diodes off of a submarine hull to detect its presence.
“The physics behind most of these alternative techniques has been known for decades, but was not exploited because computer processors were too slow to run the detailed models needed to see small changes in the environment caused by a quiet submarine. Today, ‘big dat’” processing enables advanced navies to run sophisticated oceanographic models in real time to exploit these detection techniques,” Clark writes.
A Congressional report from several years ago states that Chinese modernization plans call for a sharp increase in attack submarines and nuclear-armed submarines or SSBNs. Chinese SSBNs are now able to patrol with nuclear-armed JL-2 missiles able to strike targets more than 4,500 nautical miles.
The Chinese are currently working on a new, modernized SSBN platform as well as a long-range missile, the JL-3, Congressional information says.

S. Korea Launches New 1,800-Ton Submarine

Staff, Yonhap News Agency
7 September 2017

SEOUL – South Korea on Thursday launched a new 1,800-ton submarine, characterizing it as a "strategic dagger" to strike precisely at a range of targets.
The launch of the diesel-electric submarine wrapped up the Navy's KSS-II acquisition program, which began in 2000, for the introduction of nine 1,800-ton 214-class submarines.
"It's a national strategic dagger capable of precisely striking not only the enemy's ships and submarines but also ground targets deep inland," Adm. Um Hyun-seong, the Navy chief of staff, said during the launch ceremony at the Hyundai Heavy Industries shipyard in Ulsan.
The Sin Dol Seok sub is named after a famous Korean admiral who led the country's fight against Japanese aggression in the late 1890s and early 1900s.
Equipped with South Korea's indigenous 1,000-kilometer-range cruise missile, it is 65 meters long and 6.3 meters wide, and it can sail at a maximum speed of 20 knots.
The Navy plans to put it into operation in 2019 after a series of tests.
It will increase the number of the Navy's submarines to 18. The Navy will begin to introduce 3,000-ton submarines in 2020.

Russia’s New ‘Invisible’ Nuclear Submarines Will Be Undetectable to Enemy Forces

Mikhail Klikushin, Observer
6 September 2017

“In the whole world, Russia has only two true allies,” Russian Tsar Alexander III “The Peacemaker” loved to explain to his advisors, “her Army and her Navy.” Almost 150 years later, Russians wholeheartedly support this motto. In 2015, Vladimir Putin happily repeated it while answering a concerned citizen’s question.
Ten years ago, Russia started to ambitiously modernize her ground and air forces. The country successfully demonstrated the results in Syria and last week declared “the end of the civil war” there.
Russia is modernizing the Navy too, with heavy emphasis on a new class of noiseless nuclear submarines.
The newest Russian nuclear submarines of the Borey-A and Yasen-M classes will soon be invisible to the sonar radars of NATO submarines, anti-submarine ships and aircraft, reports Russian newspaper Izvestia. The submarines will be equipped with new, sealed pumps. The circulation of liquids in the submarine’s reactor, the cooling of its systems and equipment, the submarine’s surfacing and diving, and, most importantly, the filling of torpedo launch tubes with water before firing all depend on the pumps.
The noise from these pumps is a major risk and detection factor for any submarine.
The technical characteristics of these new noiseless sealed pumps are top secret, since they define the physical portrait of each particular submarine. If these parameters become known, the submarine can be easily detected against the background of natural noises in the ocean.
“The amount of noise that a submarine makes is influenced by a lot of factors,” Vladimir Shcherbakov, an expert on naval weaponry, told the newspaper. “First of all, it’s influenced by the main power plant—the nuclear reactor, pumps, diesel engines, shafts, propellers and water jets. In the case of propellers and water jets, noise reduction is achieved by improving their designs. Reducing the detectability of working diesel engines or of auxiliary motors can be achieved with the help of suspension systems and rubber mats onto which they are placed. It’s more complicated with the reactor, since it cannot be placed on the vibro-platform or covered with rugs. Therefore, it’s possible to achieve noise reduction by improving the operation of the reactor’s pumps. The noise of continuously circulating liquid is the loudest sound on the nuclear submarine.”
Moscow promised to build 5 Borey-A and 6 Yasen-M class nuclear submarines by 2020.
In addition to noiseless pumps, these Russian submarines will be equipped with “wet” mufflers to fire torpedoes. New torpedo launch tubes have also been designed to make Russian submarines invisible. They work the same way as silencers on small arms; they drown out the sound of the shot.
Currently, Russian submarines’ torpedo launch tubes are built based on the air-pressure method, meaning that the torpedo’s launch is achieved by highly compressed air. The system requires several minutes to prepare and limits the depth application of torpedoes to 1,000 to 1,300 feet. It also makes the submarine visible to its enemy’s sonic radars, which easily pick up on the noise that the compressed air makes while entering and leaving the torpedo launch tubes. After the torpedo is fired, air bubbles left behind reveal the submarine’s location.
Russian nuclear submarines’ new “wet” torpedo launch tubes will operate on unique impulse-turbo-pump engines that can drive 1,321 gallons of water through their systems in a single second.
“Modern Russian torpedoes will be placed into the launch tubes already in drowned state,” Roman Pykhtin, executive director of the “Vane Hydraulic Machine”
company that produces the launch tubes, told Izvestia. “The crew just has to press the button, and our pump instantly creates the necessary water pressure. As a result, the torpedo will be propelled 23 feet from the submarine. It is the safe distance at which the torpedo’s engine turns on, and the missile starts pursuing its target.”
“Preparation for torpedo launch is a very noisy experience,” Viktor Karavaev, lead designer of the nuclear submarines, told Izvestia. “The process takes only minutes, but it is enough for an enemy to ‘hear’ that an attack is being prepared and take retaliatory measures. Under water, the opening of the torpedo launch tube alone is audible for miles. A new impulse-electronic trigger system provides the weapon’s instant launch, which remains completely unnoticed by the enemy since no preliminary steps, no ‘impulse’ of the launch, and no subsequent perturbations of the environment occur.”
Vadim Kozyulin, professor of the Academy of Military Science in Russia, said that the deployment of the “wet” torpedo launch tubes excludes the use of compressed air, which means that firing missiles will be entirely noiseless and hidden. He explains, “The maximum depth of torpedo weapons’ ‘air’ launch is 1,000 feet. Deeper, it gets impossible to produce the necessary air pressure inside the torpedo launch tube. Modern submarines descend up to 1,650 feet. Currently, a unique deep sea submarine is being created in Russia. It’s the underwater robot carrier ‘Khabarovsk.’ According to available information, the depth of her immersion is 3,280 feet. The use of the impulse-turbo-pump systems for launching torpedo weapons will allow it to shoot them without regard to the fact that the compressed air cylinders simply do not have enough power to push the robot to a safe distance from the submarine. ‘Drones,’ launched at such a depth, are completely invisible to the enemy.”
Torpedo launch tubes are used not only to launch torpedoes, cruise missiles and drones; they set mines and serve as exits for marine saboteurs.
Additionally, Russia is developing another new device to deceive the enemy that can be released from the torpedo launch tube. The device is called a “small-size hydroacoustic countermeasure device Vist-2.” It is 2.6 feet long and weighs 30 pounds. Vist creates a powerful acoustic hindrance that silences the homing heads of torpedoes and submarines’ sonar. It emits a special signal that simulates the sound of a ship or submarine. According to experts, the device, whose operation life is more than five minutes (enough to evade a torpedo or hide from the enemy’s hydroacoustic complex) seriously increases the Russian submarine fleet’s combat capabilities.
Russia’s new generation of noiseless submarines, which can be hidden anywhere around the world in the depths of the oceans—the “black holes” that carry cruise missiles or drones armed with nuclear warheads—is part of Vladimir Putin’s plan to show Washington that no Missile Defense Shield in Europe and no great ocean will protect American soil in case of military conflict.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Iranian Submarine Being Tested: Minister

Staff, Tasnim News
30 August 2017

TEHRAN – Iran’s homegrown military submarine Fateh (Conquerer) has been put through tests for final results, Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami said.
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, the defense minister said the Iranian submarine is undergoing tests, whose results will determine when the vessel would enter service.
The 527-ton Fateh submarine is considered a semi-heavy undersurface vessel whose weigh at depth increases to 593 tons. The submarine is equipped with an advanced sonic radar system for identifying enemy vessels and uses a missile defense system.
Thanks to Fateh, the Iranian Navy is now equipped with a full range of light, semi-heavy and heavy submarines.

An Interview with Gen John E. Hyten, Commander, USSTRATCOM

Strategic Studies Quarterly
28 August 2017

General John E. Hyten is Commander of US Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM), one of nine Unifi Commands under the Department of Defense. USSTRATCOM is responsible for global command and control of US strategic forces to meet decisive national security objectives, providing a broad range of strategic capabilities and options for the President and Secretary of Defense.
SSQ: What do you see as the top three challenges for USSTRATCOM?
General Hyten: Challenge number one is, are we ready to execute our mission right now? So readiness must remain the first challenge. But, being “ready” means more than the nuclear business. It means being ready with a decisive nuclear response, it means being ready in space, ready in cyber, ready in global strike, and ready in missile defense. All of the elements—are we ready tonight if the worst day in our country’s history starts.
The second priority is the need to be ready tomorrow. That means modernizing our forces. I talked about the nuclear modernization piece during the USSTRATCOM Deterrence Symposium, but we have a very similar challenge with space modernization. Our current space infra- structure is not built for the contested space environment that exists today, so we have to modernize our space capabilities. Similarly, cyber- space abilities need to be modernized because cyber is still being created and is evolving rapidly. Finally, our missile defense capabilities must be improved. So my second priority is to make sure the commander who comes after me is as ready as we are now.
USSTRATCOM’s third priority is to make sure we always take care of our people. About a decade ago, the ICBM business was almost broken. The morale was low and we lost focus on the most important element of our business, and that’s the nuclear enterprise. And that’s when we started having problems. But, if you go out into the field now you will find a force that is unbelievably motivated and ready. Sometimes I think caring for people is really priority one, because without people we don’t have anything. When the entire security of the nation is at risk, being ready has to be job one. Because if for some reason that readiness goes away, then all of us have a problem.
SSQ: When you look at the breadth of the USSTRATCOM mission, what threats concern you most?
General Hyten: I’ve talked about the threat that concerns me most: can we go fast enough? Somewhere we lost the ability to rapidly adapt and stay ahead of our adversaries. It’s an indictment of every one of us, because we’re all part of the buying process. It’s a threat of ourselves. That’s where my head goes first. People always expect me to talk about an adversary, but that’s my biggest concern, because we are ready today for any adversary we would face. I have ready forces on alert right now that can handle any threat that comes against the United States. And I have no doubt that over the next three years we’re going to work and we’ll stay ready. But, can we go fast enough to make sure it stays that way in the future?
When I look at our adversaries, the biggest concern has to be Russia because it is still the only existential threat to the United States. And then below that, it depends on the specific question, because China, North Korea, Iran, and violent extremism all become great concerns depending on what part of our enterprise you consider. North Korea jumps out right now because they’re the most uncertain. China jumps out for what they’re doing in space. Iran jumps out for what they’re doing with missiles, and violent extremism for the fight that is around the world today, in scattered places. So all of them, depending on the specific question or issue. But, it starts with, we have to go fast enough and we’ve got to make sure we always take care of Russia.
SSQ: When you compare those threats to capabilities, are you satisfied with the current state of the nuclear force?
General Hyten: The current state of the nuclear force is just fine. It’s ready. It’s on alert. It’s ready to perform. The Airmen in the missile fields, the Sailors in the submarine force, the Airmen that operate the bombers and the tankers—they are all ready, right now. The equipment they have is ready right now and they can do the job right now. The equipment they have is ready right now, but the equipment is quite old. This goes back to my priorities. First priority is, can we do it today? And we always have to be, so whoever the commander is, from now for the next 20 years, that’s going to be the top priority. I have a job to make sure that I advocate for resources and capabilities to make sure the commander 20 years from now is as ready as we are today. And unless we modernize our forces, that commander will have a problem. That can’t be allowed to happen.
SSQ: The Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) and the Ballistic Missile Defense Review (BMDR) are both in progress right now. What are your expectations for those reviews?
General Hyten: While both are under way, I would say the Nuclear Posture Review is probably a little ahead of the Ballistic Missile Defense Review, but they’re both in good shape. US Strategic Command is involved in both of those efforts and we understand where they are. I don’t want to share where I think the reviews are going to go because those are the policy of the administration. The president of the United States has the final vote, and he hasn’t voted yet.
So we’re putting together all the work that needs to be done, both on the nuclear side as well as the ballistic missile defense side. Our recommendations will be presented to the administration and ultimately to the president for a decision. I don’t want to assume where either one of those reviews will end up. I’m pretty confident that we will end up with a very strong approach to nuclear deterrence, which will include modernization of our forces.
SSQ: Would you characterize the NPR or BMDR changes as evolutionary or revolutionary?
General Hyten: I would say evolutionary. I don’t think when it comes to our nuclear deterrent, there’s a revolutionary change about to happen. It won’t include space and cyber, but coming out of the Nuclear Posture Review we will broaden our discussion of what strategic deterrence really is in the twenty-first century. The nuclear enterprise is the backbone of strategic deterrence and where deterrence starts. But now we need to build on that and create a multi-domain deterrence structure that delivers integrated effects. Integrated effects means we’ll bring all the capabilities of US Strategic Command against any adversary, anywhere in the world, in any domain, at any time.
SSQ: The Russians have effectively violated the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. What should the United States do now?
General Hyten: Since Russia violated the INF Treaty, I believe it is in our nation’s best interests to somehow work to bring them back into compliance. That includes a range of options, with our partners and allies, and all the instruments of US government power. I give my recommendations to my leadership, who is the secretary of defense. The secretary of defense, the secretary of state will give their recommendations to the president. The president has the opportunity to make a number of decisions based on our recommendations and he will.
But my desire, and I think the desire of our country right now, is to bring the Russians back into compliance with the INF Treaty because it provides a certain amount of stability we need in the intermediate- range nuclear force regime. It’s the same with the New START Treaty. I support the New START Treaty, particularly the force levels in the New START Treaty because that allows me a clear idea of what it takes to deter Russia. My first job is to provide strategic deterrence. If I know specifically what the Russian capabilities are, and it’s verifiable under a treaty, then I know the force I have to have prepared and ready to provide that deterrence. If that goes a different direction, then it becomes a much more difficult problem for US Strategic Command and all our forces.
Our job as a nation—not just my job, but our job—is to bring them back into compliance. I’ll give my military recommendations and the State Department will give their recommendations and the president will decide the way forward. That will also be part of the Nuclear Posture Review.
SSQ: Very recently you ordered some changes to the organization of USSTRATCOM. Can you share some of the details and explain why you made those changes?
General Hyten: We are making these changes to arrive at a simpler structure. When I took command in November 2016, I sat down with all my commanders—18 of them. And I had four-stars, Navy admirals on my left, Air Force generals on my right; and all my task force and functional component commanders around the table. The agenda had all my component and task force commanders talking to me, but not the four-stars. I realized that all the component commanders and task force commanders worked for those four-stars. So I asked myself, why aren’t they the components, and I’ll just ask them and they can reach out to the guys that already work for them and fix the problem?
We started working through this restructure, and it became part of a larger effort to make sure everybody that works in this command understands it’s a war-fighting command with a normal structure. And that means we should have a war-fighting construct. A war-fighting construct means we’ll have an air component, a maritime component, a space component, and right now, a missile defense component, pending the outcome of the BMDR. But it’s just a war-fighting structure. Everybody who comes into this command comes from a background accustomed to having an air component, a maritime component, a land component—it is a familiar structure.
The only part that is a little different is the space component, since space is part of the command. We need somebody focused on space, and I have a four-star in Colorado Springs in the job I used to be in, that wasn’t the component. He’s the one who knows more about space than anybody and all the space professionals for the most part work for him. So we’re just structuring to focus on war fighting when we come in every morning. It is simpler. I understand why the old structure may have made sense 15 years ago. But to me, the way the world has changed and the threats out there right now require us to focus on war fighting.
SSQ: When you thought about making these organizational changes, were there some missions that needed to be moved into USSTRATCOM or maybe separated from USSTRATCOM?
General Hyten: The only issue that was really on the table was the nuclear targeting piece that was in the Joint Functional Component Command for Global Strike. When it comes to execution of the nuclear mission, that is executed by the president through the commander of STRATCOM and not through a component. So that targeting function needs to be in STRATCOM. I haven’t made the final decision there yet, but the one thing I can tell you is it’s going to come back inside the STRATCOM staff. And again, it’s just going to be normalized.
SSQ: We don’t hear much of anything on civil defense anymore. Should the United States focus more on it?
General Hyten: The Russians did a civil defense drill last year as part of their big exercise with 40 million Russian citizens. Not many people heard about that but you can’t keep something like that secret. Forty million people were involved, responding to a simulated attack. Th attack has to be from the United States.
This is a complicated question but an important one for our citizens. A big part of me, the American citizen part of me, loves living in a country where people don’t worry about that stuff. But there has to be a balance where the people understand they don’t worry about nuclear attack because they support the readiness of the capabilities that allow them not to. That’s the balance we have to find as we go forward.
So I don’t want to scare people. I don’t want to go back to the place where we’re under imminent threat of complete destruction. I want my kids and your kids to be able to live a life where they don’t worry about that stuff in the future. But I also want citizens to be aware that we have to have these capabilities and they have to be ready all the time. For our part, we need to educate the public that a large number of Americans and our allies spend their entire lives creating the environment where others can be free from that type of worry. So that’s the balance I would like to get back to. We’re not going to build giant, million-person civil defense shelters. The public needs to understand that they’re safe and secure because we are ready for the worst day if it comes.
SSQ: If you could change three things within the DOD that affect USSTRATCOM, what would you change?
General Hyten: I would change the buying process we have. Note I said buying process, not acquisition process. One of my big pet peeves is when people hear my speech on modernization challenges they say I’m slamming the acquisition community. I’m not. It’s the buying process that we have across the board. It’s from budget to requirements to acquisition to test—every part of the process. Why I tell the story of the Minuteman I program is because the one thing Gen Bernard Schriever had that we do not have today is all the authority and responsibility to execute a program and a budget on the first of the year. When you have those two pieces, you have the ability to go fast. And oh, by the way, if you fail there is no doubt who’s accountable. If you succeed, there’s no doubt who’s accountable. I would like to reestablish accountability back in the program, which would lessen a number of the bureaucratic layers we have built—not just in the Pentagon, but across our service structure, our buying structure, our contracting structure, everything. I’d like to put those authorities back in the right place.
People think I’m trying to eliminate the Defense Acquisition Executive but that is not the case. I want that oversight. I want the authorities out there in the field, but everybody has a boss. I’m not trying to eliminate bosses, but I would really like to get authority and responsibility back to the field. That’s probably the biggest change I would make.
Next, I would have a budget on the first of the year every year. That would be enormously beneficial. And I’ll just keep it at those two.
SSQ: Twenty years from now, do you envision the command being different than it is today? And if so, how?
General Hyten: Twenty years from now. Well, Cyber will have stood up as a unified command. I expect to have a very interesting command relationship with US Cyber Command because we’re going to have to integrate the information component of our nation, and that’s going to require a very tight partnership between Cyber Command and Strategic Command.
I also see 20 years from now a Space Command that’s probably either under as a subunified command or a separate command. And we’re going to have to figure out how to integrate those pieces together.
So I see some changes happening. It will be interesting 40 years from now to see whether all that stuff comes back together. But, in the near future the cyber and space elements—because of their importance— standing up and being focused on. Then the job of Strategic Command will be to integrate all that together to provide a strategic deterrent for the nation across all the capabilities that we have. But the mission will remain the same, with more modern capabilities, and I still see the priorities being the same.
SSQ: General Hyten, on behalf of the Strategic Studies Quarterly team and the entire SSQ audience, thank you for your time and for sharing your thoughts and ideas. We wish you all the best as commander of USSTRATCOM.

India’s Second Nuclear-Armed Submarine, ‘Aridaman’, Ready For Launch

Staff, Swarajyamag
25 August 2017

Aridaman, India’s second nuclear-armed submarine of the Arihant class, could be launched as early as in the next six to eight weeks, reported Manu Pubby for The Print.
Directly monitored by India’s National Security Adviser, the development of the nuclear submarine was kept under wraps “with no Indian official authorised to talk about the project”, said the report.
According to Pubby, “it will be a while – a year at the earliest – for the boat to be ready for sea trials”.
India's indigenously built first nuclear submarine INS Arihant was quietly inducted into the strategic force command, completing the nuclear triad, in October last year.
India is among a select group of countries which has a nuclear triad, i.e., capable of delivering nuclear weapons by aircraft, ballistic missiles and submarine-launched missiles.
India also has plans to develop six nuclear-powered but conventionally armed submarines at a likely cost of over $12 billion.

Solving The Mystery Of What Killed A Civil War Submarine Crew

Michael Nedelman, CNN
23 August 2017

The dead submarine crew hadn't moved from their stations for nearly 150 years when the vessel was raised from the ocean in 2000. Whatever killed them happened so suddenly that they never made a run for the escape hatch. What's more, they had no obvious physical injuries.
There was no major damage to the hull that could be definitively traced back to the day the H.L. Hunley, a 40-foot-long Confederate submarine, sank to the ocean floor off Charleston, South Carolina, on February 17, 1864.
Researchers had unsealed the crew compartment of the submarine, but they have yet to find conclusive evidence of how the eight men aboard died.
A number of theories have tried to explain the mystery of the Hunley: Maybe the crew went too deep, misjudged their oxygen supply and got trapped by the current. Maybe a nearby ship collided with the sub, throwing it off balance into chaotic waters. Maybe a bullet made through a porthole, killing the captain and leaving a beleaguered crew adrift at sea.
But in research published Wednesday in the journal Plos One, one group of scientists thinks they've finally cracked the case of what killed the crew so swiftly.
The Hunley became the first sub to sink an enemy ship in battle: the USS Housatonic. But sometime after, it went down, too.
It sank the enemy ship with a 135-pound torpedo, which was filled with black powder and attached to a pole 16 feet from the ship's hull. The study authors say the torpedo is the key -- but many have wondered how an explosion could've killed the entire crew without leaving a trace.
To answer this question, biomechanist Rachel Lance designed a model of the Hunley, one-sixth the length of the 40-foot-long submarine. The model, built by Durham-based sculptor Tripp Jarvis, was christened the CSS Tiny.
Lance, then a graduate student at Duke University and an engineer with the Naval Surface Warfare Center, decided she would set off test explosions next to the model submarine. So she found an eight-acre pond on a family-run farm in St. Louis, North Carolina. Bert Pitt of Pitt Family Farms agreed to let Lance use the pond to conduct her experiments.
"Initially, when she was talking about blasting, I was a little concerned," said Pitt, 65, a sixth-generation family farmer, whose grandchildren now make eight generations.
Pitt recalled the wires snaking into the lake and the charges that detonated beneath the surface, splashing water into the air like a large firecracker, he said. One of his grandkids got to press the button. "It had a little geyser to it," he said. "It was neat to see."
Pitt, a self-proclaimed history buff, had always been interested in the Civil War. He has ancestors who were in the North Carolina Regiments, and at least one of them is buried in their own family graveyard. The house he lives in was built in 1830, before the Hunley sank.
He keenly eyed reports about the Hunley on the History Channel and the National Geographic Channel.
"They were sitting perfectly still in that submarine," Pitt said. "I think people would like to know what did happen to the crew. Everything about the story is intriguing."
Suspended inside the CSS Tiny was a small pressure gauge, which revealed how the sub's own torpedo blast could have killed the Hunley crew without leaving a lasting mark: the shock wave created by the blast.
The shock wave hit the Hunley's hull, which was less than an inch thick, said Lance, lead author of the new study. The metal bent ever so slightly but fast enough to transfer the blast wave to the inside of the cabin.
That wave then traveled through the cabin, hitting each of the eight crewmembers, traveling through their bodies. But the real damage, Lance said, probably occurred when the pressure wave reached their lungs.
"The issue is when it's passing through (the tissues) and it suddenly hits air," she said.
Shock waves, like sound waves, travel quickly in water and solids but not air. The wave slows as it hits the lung, Lance said, and "that energy has to transmit somewhere."
The end result: The blood vessels in the lungs can rupture, known as a pulmonary hemorrhage.
"It was ... noted that men could be killed or disabled at considerable distance" from an explosive, Dr. Thomas Chiffelle, a pathologist from Albuquerque, New Mexico, wrote in a 1966 report for the US Department of Defense. "The man or animal may be killed outright, without external signs of injury, but often with blood-tinged froth or frank blood appearing in the nose and mouth."
It is possible to survive a blast wave from far enough, according to Chiffelle's accounts. Witness accounts from the night of the Hunley's sinking claimed that there was a blue light coming from the ocean. Some speculated that it was the Hunley crew signaling that they'd accomplished their mission.
But Lance, who is working on a book about the Hunley, said that she has doubts about inconsistencies in these testimonies.
It is virtually impossible to know how powerful the Hunley's torpedo blast was, even with the amount of black powder used. The blast can also change with how tightly the powder is packed and how fine the grains are, according to the Naval History and Heritage Command. Replicating the black powder explosion, Lance said, was the trickiest part of the experiment.
So Lance lowballed it, testing several blasts in the process. She concluded that the shock wave would have instantly killed those aboard the Hunley, based on her calculations and a wealth of prior air blast experiments on large animals.
"Any explosive we've seen in the field ... would definitely create a lethal wave," Lance said.
"These types of injuries are not subtle," she added. "The damage is immediate."
There was another piece of evidence that stood in her favor: a gold pocket watch that belonged to the Hunley's captain, Lt. George Dixon.
The watch had stopped at 8:23, about the time of the Hunley's attack, historians believe.
"Most importantly, it appears it didn't wind down naturally," according to a 2007 update by a research partnership known as the Hunley Project. "Something traumatic -- perhaps water, a shock wave, or some other intervening force -- caused it to stop at that precise time."
Friends of the Hunley -- part of the Hunley Project, which was not involved in the new research -- declined to comment on the research. The organization maintains and researches the original submarine.
Prior naval research has concluded that "neither phase of the explosion was severe enough ... to have significantly impacted Hunley."
"We had a lot of submariners survive being depth-charged at very close quarters during WWII," said Paul Taylor, a spokesman at Naval History and Heritage Command. "You sort of wonder how they did OK, but supposedly the folks in the Hunley didn't."
The Navy researchers who have been examining the Hunley for over a decade declined to comment on Lance's study while their own research on the crew deaths is ongoing.
But Lance, for one, said she feels like this part of the mystery has been solved.
"This project was originally intended to be a side project, and then it spiraled out of control when we realized we could do actually do it," she said.