Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Submariner Community Responds

Somehow, I missed this e-mail string that Michelle Malkin posted a couple of days ago. Most are from former U.S. Navy submariners, responding to the recent incident involving the Kitty Hawk carrier battle group and that Chinese Song-class attack sub. The consensus of the ex-submariners is that (a) we probably detected the Chinese boat long before it approached the Kitty Hawk, and (b) the quality of PRC subs and their crews leaves a lot to be desired.

I tend to agree with them on Point B, although Beijing is making strides in both areas. Regarding the detection issue, it would be a nice if the Navy could confirm that we knew the Chinese sub was in the area before it surfaced. There's no reason that such a statement would have to "give away" intelligence or ASW secrets; just let CINCPAC (now in China on an official visit) tell his hosts and the press: "We were aware that the sub was in the area, and our vessels were prepared for any contingency." If that's an accurate assessment of what happened off Okinawa last month, it would be far more reassuring than some comments from the Navy brass, which suggest there was some element of surprise when the Chinese sub appeared on the surface, about five miles from the carrier.

Those that wore the Dolphins are welcome to weigh in here as well.

12 comments:

Roy Lofquist said...

I am not a submariner but I do have some spook experience in the nuclear field.

Either the sub was detected or not.

If detected the US would say it was undetected to lull the Chinese into a false sense of security. The Chinese made a provocative move for unknown reasons.

If undetected the US would say it had been detected all along to cast doubt. The Chinese committed a serious blunder in revealing capabilities.

It was detected.

RogerL said...

Undetected => say it is detected.
Detected => say that it is undetected.

I guess it has to be true then that HMS Gotland is still undetected...

Bubblehead said...

I'm just wondering if some of the same people who are complaining about the sub getting so close are the same ones who complain about the Navy's use of active sonar, because if might hurt marine mammals.

Wanderlust said...

Well you know that the radical environmentalist would congratulate the sub driver boys on their bravery if they took a torpedo up their a** just to protect a hapless whale...that's courage, right?

/sarc

eatyourbeans said...

I'm still curious about the sub commander's motive in surfacing.

Was it to convey a warning from their government that we cannot intervene on behalf of Tawian without losing our whole fleet and that we shouldn't even try? Or was the commander simply a loose cannon?

Perhaps there's a lot more of alternative #2 going on than we civilians here about?

eatyourbeans said...

oops! Make that:

Perhaps there's a lot more of alternative #2 going on than we civilians hear about?

Gregg said...

A third alternative is that the captain was trying to get as close as possible to the group and just ran out of battery power, forcing him to surface. Or there was some sort of minor casualty on board forcing him to surface. Just speculation, but there are plenty of things that may have happened (and we'll probably never be told what actually did).

DoofusOfDeath said...

How about we detected it, but the Navy is saying we didn't so that the Congress won't gut the Navy funding in favor of the Army during the next few funding cycles?

DoofusOfDeath said...

How about we detected it, but the Navy is saying we didn't so that the Congress won't gut the Navy funding in favor of the Army during the next few funding cycles?

JDL said...

I suspect detected, but every once in a while I think the military makes it look like the risks are worse than they are so they can improve their budget position.

American Scribbles said...

Being well aware of the quality of our submarine forces and knowing that an attack sub was attached to the Kitty Hawk group, I find it difficult to believe that the relatively noisy Chinese sub was not detected and tracked by our attack sub from a superior firing position long before it ever got close to where it was visually sighted upon surfacing.

While I was alarmed by the early reports of this incident, as more information becomes available I've come to recognize that this situation is unlikely to be as dire as initially reported.

As for why the Chinese sub commander chose to surface, one has to wonder if this particular officer thought it appropriate to reveal his presence in a "Gotcha" kind of moment, wreckless as that might be. Chances are, he never knew he was in the crosshairs for even a moment.

Jaek said...

What's the chances that AS took a hit for the community... Probably a S-3 or P-3 jockey... that might cause some 2nd thoughts on mothballing ASW air assets ... just a thought