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China sub stalked US Navy carrier group
Old 11-13-2006, 08:08 PM   #1
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China sub stalked US Navy carrier group

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Originally Posted by newguy888
Whats with the chinese sub that was stalking the kitty hawk last month and we didn't know about it until it surfaces 5 miles from her on october 26th??
Good question. For those who haven't read about it yet here's the Reuters link.

A couple things could have happened. These articles usually get started when some disgruntled crewmember drops a phone call or an e-mail to the press. The crew may be right in their recitation of the events but they may not have the whole picture. Much of that is fragmented among different groups and not shared with everyone.

I can see two Sonar Techs or Operations Specialists sitting in the ASW Warfare Commander's spaces looking at each other and saying, "No, dude, for the last time YOU have the port side, I'm looking at starboard!"

Or the battlegroup had a unit (not a submarine) keeping an eye on the SONG and just let it do its thing.

Five miles may be enough range to do some torpedo damage (depending on the attack geometry and the depth it was fired at) and the SONG is credited with the ability to launch anti-shipping cruise missiles while submerged. That would certainly cause a ruckus in the battlegroup and probably some deaths & damage, although it'd probably be short of sinking anything.

I suspect that the SONG was undetected & unexpected due to a lower threat condition and a tight budget. If there had been any of the usual indicators that China was out to cause trouble then the battlegroup would have been executing the usual anti-diesel tactics of spending a lot of money racing through the area at 30 knots and ensonifying the ocean. But now that the sneaky submariners have scored some dignity points, you can bet that it'll be tracked all the way home!
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Re: China sub stalked US Navy carrier group
Old 11-14-2006, 11:01 AM   #2
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Re: China sub stalked US Navy carrier group

I still worry that after the Bejing olympics all bets are off
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Re: China sub stalked US Navy carrier group
Old 11-14-2006, 11:50 AM   #3
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Re: China sub stalked US Navy carrier group

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I still worry that after the Bejing olympics all bets are off
Here's another view:

http://starbulletin.com/2006/11/14/news/story10.html
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Re: China sub stalked US Navy carrier group
Old 11-14-2006, 11:58 AM   #4
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Re: China sub stalked US Navy carrier group

Q for Nords:

When I saw the article in the local fish wrap today I immediately thought about The Hunt for Red October which I read when Clancy was just another new writer with an interesting military book. I recall all of the to-do that was made about the "screws" on the American subs and the USSR subs. Have the Chinese subs narrowed the "screws" gap?
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Re: China sub stalked US Navy carrier group
Old 11-14-2006, 12:19 PM   #5
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Re: China sub stalked US Navy carrier group

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Originally Posted by mickeyd
Have the Chinese subs narrowed the "screws" gap?
Absolutely-- they bought their knowledge from the Russians, who outsourced it to John Walker and Toshiba's five-axis computerized screw-milling machine.

It's complicated, difficult, & horribly expensive to keep a submarine's acoustic energy inside the hull (or at least not radiating & cavitating). And even if the sub is absolutely silent when it's launched from the builder's dock, a major effort is required to keep the equipment & hardware performing at peak capability. For example U.S. submarine throttlemen actually wear headphones to listen to the screw noise and avoid cavitation when they're opening the throttles. That requires a sensitive hydrophone transducer mounted outside the pressure hull in the stern ballast tanks, along with its attendant electrical cables & hull penetrations to bring the signal to sonar and back to the engine room. If throttlemen don't do a good job then the sonar watchstanders will immediately rat them out to the OOD provide quantitative feedback on their performance.

The U.S. still has a narrow lead over the Russians in sound silencing, although the slope of the range vs radiated decibles graph is so steep as to render the lead negligible. The "acoustic advantage" used to be measured in thousands of yards and is now smaller by at least one order of magnitude. Last I knew the Chinese HAN & XIA classes were still at Russia's late 1970s (pre-espionage) level of quieting, which causes U.S. sub trackers to heave a huge sigh of relief and reminisce about ASW's good ol' days.

Diesel submarines [operating submerged on battery or air-independent systems]* don't radiate much noise to begin with so they don't have to worry as much about sound silencing. The best way to counter a diesel submarine threat is to not go there in the first place, followed by taking the chance of going through there at high speed. Actually ensonifying the threat area and killing the submerged objects is by far harder, prohibitively time-consuming, hugely more expensive, and much less reliable.

The U.S. Navy's first law of ASW is "ASW is hard. If you're stupid it's impossible."

*[Edited for clarity.]
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Re: China sub stalked US Navy carrier group
Old 11-14-2006, 01:21 PM   #6
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Re: China sub stalked US Navy carrier group

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords
Diesel submarines don't radiate much noise to begin ...
Whuh ?

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Re: China sub stalked US Navy carrier group
Old 11-14-2006, 02:15 PM   #7
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Re: China sub stalked US Navy carrier group

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Whuh ?
When submerged and running on the battery, they are almost silent and very difficult to find with passive sonar. When they are at snorkel depth and running the diesel to recharge the battery, they make quite a racket.
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Re: China sub stalked US Navy carrier group
Old 11-14-2006, 09:26 PM   #8
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Re: China sub stalked US Navy carrier group

Nords, thanks for the info. Isn't there a Gato class sub in San Francisco Bay? Took a tour on it once, and I think that's right ... WWII.

Subs are amazing. Are there any other places where a civilian can board a sub and snoop around?
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Re: China sub stalked US Navy carrier group
Old 11-14-2006, 09:42 PM   #9
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Re: China sub stalked US Navy carrier group

Here are the ones I know about:

USS Torsk in Baltimore's inner harbor
USS Nautilus (1st nuclear powered sub) in Groton CT
USS Growler at the Intrepid Museum in New York City
USS Lionfish at Battleship Cove in Fall River, MA
USS Pompanito at Pier 45 Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco
U-505 (a German WW-II U-Boat) at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry
USS Becuna at Penn's Landing in Philadelphia
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Re: China sub stalked US Navy carrier group
Old 11-14-2006, 09:59 PM   #10
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Re: China sub stalked US Navy carrier group

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gumby
Here are the ones I know about:

USS Torsk in Baltimore's inner harbor
USS Nautilus (1st nuclear powered sub) in Groton CT
USS Growler at the Intrepid Museum in New York City
USS Lionfish at Battleship Cove in Fall River, MA
USS Pompanito at Pier 45 Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco
U-505 (a German WW-II U-Boat) at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry
USS Becuna at Penn's Landing in Philadelphia
There is also the USS Blueback at OMSI in Portland Oregon.
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Re: China sub stalked US Navy carrier group
Old 11-14-2006, 10:29 PM   #11
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Re: China sub stalked US Navy carrier group

Just a question....

I had a friend in the sub service a couple of decades ago.... an attack sub... he said they would 'track' Russian subs as they were more noisy (sp), but that they were faster than ours... so if they wanted to make sure they were not tracked, they just went full speed and left ours in the dust.....

Any truth
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Re: China sub stalked US Navy carrier group
Old 11-14-2006, 11:48 PM   #12
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Re: China sub stalked US Navy carrier group

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnEyles
Whuh ?
Good point, I edited my original post.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles
Subs are amazing. Are there any other places where a civilian can board a sub and snoop around?
Man, Gumby, you know more of them than I ever heard of! There's also the USS BOWFIN Submarine Museum in Pearl Harbor.

Submarines are pretty much like any other tourist attraction. You can visit one or buy your own...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas Proud
I had a friend in the sub service a couple of decades ago.... an attack sub... he said they would 'track' Russian subs as they were more noisy (sp), but that they were faster than ours... so if they wanted to make sure they were not tracked, they just went full speed and left ours in the dust.....
Yep. Above 20 knots the hydrodynamic flow turbulence over the hull is pretty noisy and it's very difficult to hear anything. You just run away fast, the same as an aircraft carrier can do. Of course U.S. T-AGOS towed array ships and SOSUS arrays could track the Russians as they lit up the ocean with their noise. Unfortunately those days are pretty much over-- not that many T-AGOS ships, SOSUS arrays, or open-ocean Russian submarines.

In the 1960s the USS ENTERPRISE battlegroup left Norfolk and sprinted across the Atlantic at well over 30 knots. Much to our chagrin a Russian ECHO class submarine kept up with them the entire way, theoretically within range of its cruise missiles. It was such a discouraging performance that Rickover was taken to task by Congress and he decreed the design effort that led to the LOS ANGELES class.

Meanwhile the Naval Reactors engineers were going crazy trying to figure out how that much speed could come from the ECHO's known size, hull form, and engineroom constraints. It had to be some sort of super propulsion system that we'd missed, although several weird, expensive, & unreliable innovative U.S. reactor designs had been tried since the 1950s. One possibility was that the ECHO submarine was running without many tons of lead shielding necessary to protect the crew from radiation exposure, but that possibility was immediately discarded because "no one would be that crazy to design it that way or expect a crew to serve on it".

When the Cold War ended we confirmed that's exactly why ECHOs were so fast.
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Re: China sub stalked US Navy carrier group
Old 11-15-2006, 06:45 AM   #13
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Re: China sub stalked US Navy carrier group

While I know next to nothing about submarines, San Diego has this one which you can poke around to your hearts content. Not much is off limits.

B-39 Soviet Attack Submarine
Project 641/Foxtrot Class Diesel-Electric Submarine



http://www.sdmaritime.com/contentpage.asp?ContentID=177
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Re: China sub stalked US Navy carrier group
Old 11-15-2006, 07:11 AM   #14
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Re: China sub stalked US Navy carrier group

Thanks, folks ... a good list to work down in our travels.

Nords, your submarine for sale link is interesting:

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The "Whiskey Class" Submarine and six more like it are available for purchase from the owner for one easy payment of $497,000 USD. Discount available for fleet purchase.


What do you get the man who has everything for Christmas?

A SUBMARINE OF COURSE! Shop early to beat the rush!

This craft is powered by 2 X 2000 HP diesels or 2 X 1400 HP electric engines.
This unique craft when converted would make an extraordinary yacht.
And, the season is upon us. I'll bet that craft would get some looks on a Tennessee lake. Talk about bass fishing ...
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Re: China sub stalked US Navy carrier group
Old 11-15-2006, 07:19 AM   #15
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Re: China sub stalked US Navy carrier group

Don't forget

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Re: China sub stalked US Navy carrier group
Old 11-15-2006, 07:20 AM   #16
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Re: China sub stalked US Navy carrier group

Nords-
Can you speculate on the reason the Chinese were doing this? Was it maybe related to our posture toward N. Korea, ie a provocation to let us know they won't let us have a free hand in the area? Or maybe a tactical move to probe our detection capabilities and response?
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Re: China sub stalked US Navy carrier group
Old 11-15-2006, 07:26 AM   #17
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Re: China sub stalked US Navy carrier group

Nords,

Why did the Navy eliminate the ASW capability of the carrier based S-3 Viking? As I understand it all airborne ASW is now handled by land based P-3s and short range ASW helos.

2soon
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Re: China sub stalked US Navy carrier group
Old 11-15-2006, 08:14 AM   #18
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Re: China sub stalked US Navy carrier group

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords
Good point, I edited my original post.
Man, Gumby, you know more of them than I ever heard of! There's also the USS BOWFIN Submarine Museum in Pearl Harbor.

Submarines are pretty much like any other tourist attraction. You can visit one or buy your own...
Yep. Above 20 knots the hydrodynamic flow turbulence over the hull is pretty noisy and it's very difficult to hear anything. You just run away fast, the same as an aircraft carrier can do. Of course U.S. T-AGOS towed array ships and SOSUS arrays could track the Russians as they lit up the ocean with their noise. Unfortunately those days are pretty much over-- not that many T-AGOS ships, SOSUS arrays, or open-ocean Russian submarines.

In the 1960s the USS ENTERPRISE battlegroup left Norfolk and sprinted across the Atlantic at well over 30 knots. Much to our chagrin a Russian ECHO class submarine kept up with them the entire way, theoretically within range of its cruise missiles. It was such a discouraging performance that Rickover was taken to task by Congress and he decreed the design effort that led to the LOS ANGELES class.

Meanwhile the Naval Reactors engineers were going crazy trying to figure out how that much speed could come from the ECHO's known size, hull form, and engineroom constraints. It had to be some sort of super propulsion system that we'd missed, although several weird, expensive, & unreliable innovative U.S. reactor designs had been tried since the 1950s. One possibility was that the ECHO submarine was running without many tons of lead shielding necessary to protect the crew from radiation exposure, but that possibility was immediately discarded because "no one would be that crazy to design it that way or expect a crew to serve on it".

When the Cold War ended we confirmed that's exactly why ECHOs were so fast.
Reminds me of a Cold War joke.

How do you tell which Soviet sailors were in the North Atlantic Fleet?
They're the ones that glow in the dark.
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Re: China sub stalked US Navy carrier group
Old 11-15-2006, 05:17 PM   #19
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Re: China sub stalked US Navy carrier group

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Originally Posted by Bobot
Can you speculate on the reason the Chinese were doing this? Was it maybe related to our posture toward N. Korea, ie a provocation to let us know they won't let us have a free hand in the area? Or maybe a tactical move to probe our detection capabilities and response?
I don't know, but that won't stop me from speculating. This is one of the very few times in ER that I've wished I was kicked back in a classified space with a hot cup of coffee, reviewing the SITREPs as they rolled across, and chuckling over what must be happening to the KITTY HAWK's poor bastards highly skilled ASW warriors. Of course their situation never happened to me, or at least won't be declassified for another five or six decades.

Okinawa is considered a reach for the PRC's submarine force's operational history but they've done it before. KITTY HAWK's schedule isn't particularly tightly held and it wouldn't take much effort to get out in front and throw them a surprise party. You can learn a lot about tactics by which way everyone jumps and by recording all the transmissions you can catch or decrypt. I think a smart submarine CO felt that he'd more than made his point and so he surfaced to log the fix and enjoy the photo session. Now he's probably smiling about his impending promotion to commodore as he writes up his patrol report and his tactical recommendations. I bet that his only regret was that he wasn't able to fire a green flare over the carrier's flight deck-- not that I ever got caught doing anything like that.

Or there could be another reason. I don't speak Mandarin or Cantonese, but if I saw a video of the control room watch team I'd be able to translate it from their facial expressions & gestures:
OOD: "G*****mit, Diving Officer, get this boat down to ordered depth RIGHT NOW!"
Dive: "Sir, I'm trying! Request additional speed!!"
Planesman: "Sorry, Dive, I thought I was right on the mark there. Our trim might be a little light."
OOD: "S**t, too late now, there's the $%^&ing P-3!"
CO: "OOD, kindly come see me in my stateroom as soon as your relief takes the watch. XO, I think we need to schedule a little more training for the ship's control parties when we return to port. Let's start this weekend!"

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2soon2tell
Why did the Navy eliminate the ASW capability of the carrier based S-3 Viking? As I understand it all airborne ASW is now handled by land based P-3s and short range ASW helos.
Yeah, and the rest of the naval aviators really miss being able to make all those snide "Hoover" remarks about the S-3's engines.

S-3s were basically a casualty of the Cold War peace dividend. ASW went out of style in the 1990s in favor of air/space control and land attack missiles, so the mission was starving for money & attention. S-3s weren't aging gracefully, they were expensive to repair & upgrade, they took too much space away from the F/A-18s, and you can do a lot more with the P-3's bigger airframe, longer loiter time, and extra weapons. Battle groups liked having the S-3s under their thumbs but they've learned to work with the P-3 loaners, and today's P-3s are so desperate for gainful employment that they're very careful to keep their new customers happy.

Assuming that any of them young whippersnappers actually remember how to do ASW, but that's just an old phart rant.
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Re: China sub stalked US Navy carrier group
Old 11-15-2006, 06:00 PM   #20
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Re: China sub stalked US Navy carrier group

Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles
Are there any other places where a civilian can board a sub and snoop around?
When I was a pre-teen, I was with my grandfather aboard the sub he was assigned to, while they were conducting a party for families of the crew. We got a tiny bit of a tour, but not much.

At one point, I looked over the side and saw bubbles coming up, and asked if they had divers down. As I recall, a bunch of uproar ensued, and they made us all get off the boat, and they sent divers down.

The divers came up and said it was bubbles from dry ice, that had been used to chill the ice cream and was then thrown overboard.

As I recall, my grandfather was not all that happy I had spoken up.

(This was right in the midst of the Cuban Missile Crisis.)
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