1943 | USS Whale (SS-239): Whale fired spreads of 3 torpedoes at each freighter, and hit both. The first target, tentatively identified as Mogamigawa Maru, sank rapidly by the stern.
1944 | USS Pollack (SS-180): Pollack made a night surface attack and watched 2 torpedo hits blow the 1,327 ton freighter, Hakuyo Maru, to pieces.
U.S. Undersea Warfare News
- Submariners Lost In Line Of Duty In 65 Submarines To Be Honored April 18
- Staff, Chattanoogan.com, Mar 19
- Fast Attack Submarine To Become Moored Training Ship
- Staff, Marine Log, Mar 19
International Undersea Warfare News
- Russian Navy Carries Out Mock Attack on Nuclear Submarine
- Damien Sharkov, Newsweek, Mar 19
- U.S. Confirms North Korean Sub Missiles
- Bill Gertz, The Washington Free Beacon, Mar 19
- The Secret Norwegian Submarine Base Being Rented by the Russians
- Elisabeth Braw, Newsweek, Mar 19
U.S. Undersea Warfare News
Staff, Chattanoogan.com, Mar 19
Members of the USS Carbonero Base, U.S. Submarine Veterans, will honor the memories of over 4,000 submariners lost in the line of duty in a formal public ceremony to recognize their service on April 18 at 11 a.m. at the Southern Belle Riverboat.
Since the founding of the U.S. Submarine force in 1900, 65 submarines and over 4,000 men have given up their lives. The great majority of these young lives were lost during WWII when 52 submarines were lost.
It is the duty of the members of United States Submarine Veterans to publicly honor submariners so that their service and sacrifice is never forgotten. The general public is invited to join in honoring these fallen heroes of the U.S. Submarine force.
United States Submarine Veterans is a National Veterans Fraternal Organization chartered in 1964 and recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)(19) entity. With over 13,000 members and 150 chapters (bases) nationwide, it is the largest organization of submarine qualified veterans in the world. Visit www.ussvi.org or call 360.337-2978 for additional information.
Staff, Marine Log, Mar 19
Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY) recently welcomed USS La Jolla (SSN 701) for conversion from an operational fast-attack submarine into a Moored Training Ship (MTS). The submarine was built by General Dynamics Electric Boat and commissioned in October 1981;
MTSs are nuclear training platforms used to qualify new nuclear operators. La Jolla and USS San Francisco (SSN 711) are the next-generation MTSs for the Nuclear Power Training Unit in Charleston, SC.
La Jolla’s conversion process will require two complete hull cuts, separating the ship into three pieces, recycling a portion of the hull, and adding three new hull sections. The new hull sections will arrive from Electric Boat (EB) via barge and then be craned into the dock. The Navy says the work will include Virginia Class new construction philosophies and methods with a major depot-level overhaul. EB’s new construction techniques and expertise are also being used in the handling and installing of the new hull modules.
“The biggest challenge for this project is coordinating the unprecedented volume of work on a submarine availability with overlapping planning effort while staying within aggressive schedule and budget constraints,” said Steve Seligman, deputy project superintendent “To mitigate these challenges, the project team personnel actively participated in design development to minimize execution challenges during the conversion.”
NNSY is also leveraging best practices and lessons learned provided by Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility Inactivation, Reactor Compartment Disposal, Recycling (IRR), because the conversion will dispose of or recycle a substantial portion of La Jolla.
“The Navy is depending on the timely delivery of the next generation of Moored Training Ships to ensure the contingent of highly trained, nuclear officers and sailors meets demands from the fleet to support its nuclear powered carriers and submarines,” said Chrystal Brady, project superintendent. “This is a unique project which is crucial to ensuring fleet readiness in support of the Navy’s primary mission.”
International Undersea Warfare News
Damien Sharkov, Newsweek, Mar 19
Russian naval units launched an air-and-sea practice offensive on a nuclear submarine today in the Barents Sea, which Russia shares with Norway. The drill is part of Russia’s massive snap military drills which are due to continue until 21 March.
The ‘strike and search group’, as the Russian Ministry of Defence referred to it, from the navy’s Northern Fleet comprised of Tu-142 ‘Bear’ naval aviation reconnaissance bombers and Il-38 ‘Dolphin’ maritime patrol jets as well as two small anti-submarine ships and support vessels.
The practice attack on one of the Northern Fleet’s nuclear submarine units, designated as a target for the benefit of the exercise, went ahead today and according to the Russian Ministry of Defence the drill was successful, Russian state news service Tass reports.
The aim of the exercise was to test the capability of the strike and search group to locate a nuclear submarine and force it to resurface.
“During the exercise crews from the anti-submarine vessels successfully completed fire of the RBU – 6000 reaction engine-bomb installation and also utilized torpedo capabilities,” the Ministry of Defence said.
The Barents Sea is located between Russia and both mainland Norway and the Norwegian island territories of of Svalbard have access to it. Russia’s interests in the Barents Sea have previously prompted Oslo to insist it supplements NATO submarines in the region with its own.
In 2012 Norwegian defence minister Espen Barthe Eide said he did not believe Norway “would ever be without its own submarines because we have such large seas with Russia as its neighbour”.
Meanwhile Russia announced it has commissioned two more submarines to be built by 2020, one of which is nuclear powered, in celebration of today’s military holiday – Submariner’s Day.
Russia’s large scale military exercises, which began on Monday, have increased Russian military activity near several of its borders as the fleet tests its combat readiness.
These drills have unsettled some of its European neighbours already. Lithuania reported yesterday that it had intercepted 11 Russian jets near its airspace, which flew with their tracking devices switched off and without giving warning of the route they would undertake.
Bill Gertz, The Washington Free Beacon, Mar 19
The commander of the U.S. Strategic Command, in charge of U.S. nuclear missile forces, confirmed on Thursday that North Korea is developing a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM).
Adm. Cecil D. Haney, the commander, also told Congress that China is developing a new multi-warhead, road-mobile missile.
The four-star admiral made the comments in prepared testimony for the Senate Armed Services Committee. The testimony was disclosed Thursday.
The comments were the first official U.S. government confirmation that North Korea is working on a new underwater missile capability and comes as the regime in Pyongyang has tested nuclear weapons and claims to have miniaturized a weapon to fit on top of a missile.
The North Korean SLBM was first disclosed by the Free Beacon Aug. 26 amid skepticism that the communist state had the technical expertise to build a missile capable of being fired from a submerged submarine.
U.S. intelligence agencies detected the first flight test of what the Pentagon is calling the KN-11 SLBM in February. It was considered a significant advancement for North Korea’s program to build a nuclear-capable missile that can be fired from a submarine.
Haney testified on the Stratcom’s fiscal 2016 budget request and outlined what he called the “complex and dangerous global security environment.”
“Nations around the world continue to execute long-term military modernization programs, including capabilities that pose an existential threat to the United States,” Haney said, adding that military forces of nations and groups are “improving across all domains.”
On North Korea, Haney said Pyongyang is continuing work to advance its nuclear weapons capabilities and claims to have “a miniaturized warhead capable of delivery by ballistic missile.”
“At the same time, North Korea continues to advance its ballistic missile capability, including the development of a new road-mobile ballistic missile and a submarine-launched ballistic missile, and [to] develop its offensive cyber capabilities,” he said.
The February test of the KN-11 followed a land-based ejection test in November from a static launcher at North Korea’s Sinpo South Shipyard, located on the southeastern coast about 100 miles from the Demilitarized Zone separating North Korea from rival South Korea.
Documents disclosed by Wikileaks revealed that North Korean obtained a SS-N-6 submarine-launched ballistic missile from Russia several years ago. That missile was adapted into Pyongyang’s Musudan intermediate-range ballistic missile.
North Korea also has deployed six KN-08 road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missiles that were developed with launchers supplied covertly by China.
As for submarines capable of launching missiles, North Korea obtained several decommissioned Soviet-era Golf II ballistic-missile submarines in the early 1990s. It is believed the North Koreans either refurbished the subs or copied their design for an indigenous submarine.
Russia also engaged in “troubling” activities last years, including long-range strategic bomber penetrations of U.S. and allied air defense zones, and strategic forces exercises during the Ukraine crisis.
“Russia has pursued more than a decade of investments and modernization across their strategic nuclear forces,” Haney said. “Russia also has significant cyber capability, as evidenced by events in Estonia, Georgia and Ukraine.”
Moscow also is building non-nuclear precision-strike, cyber warfare capabilities and space weapons, including anti-satellite arms.
Haney said China is using “low intensity coercion” in sovereignty disputes in the Asia Pacific and its space weapons developments also raise concerns about China’s global aspirations.
“China is using that wealth to modernize its strategic forces by enhancing existing silo-based ICBMs, conducting flight tests of a new mobile missile, and developing a follow-on mobile system capable of carrying multiple warheads,” he said.
U.S. officials disclosed to the Free Beacon in October that China had conducted the first flight test of a new missile called the DF-31B. The new missile is believed to be a multi-warhead version of the DF-31A, a road-mobile missile that is difficult to track and can be launched with little warning, posing a greater strategic threat to the United States.
China also is testing new ballistic missile submarines and “developing multi-dimensional space capabilities supporting their access-denial campaign.”
Access denial is Pentagon jargon for weapons that could be used to drive U.S. forces out of Asia and allow Beijing to become the dominant power there.
Haney also said China appears to be stepping up development of destructive space weapons, and has conducted cyber attacks on computer networks.
Haney also expressed worries about Iran’s nuclear activities, and said that there are increased concerns about Iranian cyber attacks.
On the terrorism front, Haney said that the natural biological threat of diseases such as Ebola are challenging but biological weapons in the hands of terrorists could be “catastrophic.”
Haney also said that the Syrian regime of Bashir Assad continued to engage in the use of “toxic industrial chemicals” as weapons in the civil war.
On space threats, the commander said that space warfare developments in such states as Russia, China require greater efforts to secure space for peaceful uses.
Cyber threats to the United States are continuing to grow as both state-sponsored cyber attacks and non-state cyber groups target U.S. networks on a daily basis.
“Today, a small number of cyber actors have the potential to create large-scale damage,” Haney said. “While most cyber threats can be characterized as criminal in nature, wide-ranging intrusions and attacks have threatened critical infrastructure and impacted commercial enterprise.”
A new unconventional missile threat, according to Haney, is the mating of advanced weapons systems with commonplace items. He mentioned disguising surface-to-surface cruise missiles as shipping containers is one such threat. The technique is blurring the line between military and civilian systems and “complicates our deterrence calculus,” he said.
Stratcom’s deterrence efforts involve more than just nuclear weapons, although nuclear forces remain the “ultimate guarantor of our security.”
Other deterrent elements include intelligence systems, space systems, cyber capabilities, conventional weapons, and missile defenses.
“The likelihood of major conflict with other nuclear powers is remote today, and the ultimate U.S. goal remains the achievement of a world without nuclear weapons,” he said. “Until that day comes, the U.S. requires a safe, secure and effective nuclear deterrent force, even as it continues to reduce its nuclear stockpile and the number of deployed nuclear warheads.”
Haney called for continuing to invest in the modernization and upgrading of the America’s aging nuclear arsenal.
“Sustaining and modernizing the nuclear enterprise infrastructure—in physical and intellectual terms—is central to our long-term strategy,” he said.
Elisabeth Braw, Newsweek, Mar 19
Norway is ruing the day it sold off a key submarine base near the Russian border and now, with President Putin flexing his muscles in the region, there is growing alarm among Nato chiefs that the west has left itself woefully unprotected.
Only six years ago, Norwegian politicians decided that Russia no longer posed a significant threat and that it was time to sell its top secret base called Olavsvern, which was hewn into a mountain and equipped with the most sophisticated electronics available. It’s located near the small town of Ramfjord near Norway’s border with Russia.
“Our military and civilian readiness has been badly weakened,” says Anne-Margrete Bollmann, a former career military officer and now president of the Norwegian Defence Association. “Facilities have been closed, reserve capabilities have been reduced, readiness plans have been forgotten. Olavsvern is a prime example of a facility that has been lost, and in hindsight it’s clear that selling it was not a good decision.”
Bollman believes that the increasing strategic importance of Norway and thus Nato’s North requires a permanent military presence in the region.
She is not alone. “[The Ukraine crisis] demands of us that we be more watchful of the activities that are taking place in our core areas,” Norway’s defence minister Ine Eriksen Soreide said recently said in a newspaper interview. “We need a Nato that has a good understanding of its regional areas.”
On 16 March, Putin raised Russia’s Northern Fleet to full combat readiness in exercises in Russia’s Arctic North, a move clearly intended as a response to Norway’s recently-completed Joint Viking exercise in the High North, its largest military exercise in a generation.
Russian defence minister Sergei Shoygu said the order came from Putin himself, who has promised to spend more than 21 trillion rubles ($340bn) by the end of the decade to overhaul Russia’s fighting forces.
The sale of Olavsvern was long in the making. Eventually, the government put it up for sale on finn.no, a Norwegian equivalent of eBay. Even then, this “unique property” – as the sales pitch put it – with a total area of 948,900 square metres, failed to catch the 105 million kroner (€12.1m) price the government had hoped for. In the end, it was sold to a businessman named Gunnar Wilhelmsen for 38.1 million kroner (€4.4m).
Compounding military officials’ anxiety, Wilhelmsen now rents the base out to a fleet of Russian research vessels. Wilhelmsen didn’t respond to an interview request, but on his website, he extols Olavsvern’s virtues, advertising a 25,000 square-metre mountain plant featuring a 3,000 square-metre deep-water quay (and 124 bedrooms).
One of the recently arrived ships at Olavsvern is the Akademik Nemchinov, which belongs to Sevmorneftegeofizika, a Russian geophysics company that specialises in seismic measuring in deep and shallow waters. Seismic surveys are a bona fide area of international research, so seismic research vessels docking in another country is not unusual. But Sevmorneftegeofizika is not just any seismic research firm: it counts among its clients both Gazprom and a host of other firms fully or partly owned by the Kremlin. “Russian research vessels are part of the Russian government’s sea power,” explains Göran Frisk, a retired top Swedish naval commander. “The Russian marine’s most important task is making sure that the country’s nuclear submarines can move freely in the world’s oceans. The Russian research vessels are no joking matter. It’s incomprehensible that the Norwegian government could make such a gaffe.”
According to Frisk, Russian research vessels off the Swedish, Finnish and Norwegian coasts also undock mini-submarines for surveillance and warfare preparations, and investigate the seabed and hydrographic conditions. Indeed, during last year’s submarine hunt in the Stockholm archipelago, the Russian research vessel Professor Logachev mysteriously appeared, quickly departing with, what eyewitnesses reported as, an object being towed. The suspected submarine was never found. Curiously, the prime minister who saw the sale through, Jens Stoltenberg, is now Nato’s secretary-general.
According to Øyvind Korsberg, an MP for the Tromsø region, where Olavsvern is situated, the naval base was crucial for the protection of Norway’s sovereignty. “Olavsvern was of strategic importance to a robust, Norwegian and Nato defence in the north,” he argues. “It’s unfortunate that while our big neighbour is growing their military capacity in the north, we’re doing the opposite.”
Yet locals aren’t overly concerned. “We hope that the new owner will bring as many vessels as possible to Olavsvern, which will benefit the local economy,” reports mayor Jens Johan Hjort of the Tromsø municipality, which includes Ramfjord. Hjort acknowledges that it might seem like a paradox given that Olavsvern was a top-secret facility until only a few years ago, “but it’s good that the facility can be monetised”.
And in everyday life in the Tromsø area, Russian-Norwegian relations are quite harmonious, with Russians constituting the area’s largest non-Norwegian community. Nils Kristian Sørheim Nilsen, managing director of the Regional Business Association of Tromsø, shares Hjorts optimism.
“I can’t see any larger problems with these kinds of customers [such as Russian vessels], other than taking normal precautions,” he says. “Due to increased oil and gas activities in the region, also involving Russia, these kinds of visits by our neighbour are natural.”
The parties currently forming Norway’s coalition government opposed the sale of Olavsvern, and defence minister Ine Eriksen Søreide frequently warns of Russian activities in Norway’s High North. But even if the government were to conclude it wanted Olavsvern back, it’s Wilhelmsen who decides. And there’s no indication that he’s prepared to sell.