New Sonar For Navy Frigates Could Turn Any Ship into Submarine Hunter, Maker Says


A sonar system being installed on new U.S. Navy Constellation-class frigates could also protect merchant ships during a conflict and give them the ability to search for submarines, according to the company that manufactures the technology.

The towed-sensor system is already being used by U.S. allies and could be quickly installed on non-military ships.

“It’s a modular system that can be placed on vessels of opportunity,” said Mark Bock, vice president for strategy and business development at Thales’ Advanced Acoustic Concepts. 

At the Surface Navy Association conference in Arlington, Virginia, this week, the company showed off a video of the technology being installed on a commercial ship within 48 hours, turning the vessel into an anti-submarine “asset,” Bock said.

“We believe we can repeat that turnaround [time],” he said.

The company believes the sonar system could be loaded on a military cargo plane and quickly flown to a ship that needs it. 

“This is not a concept that is new or developmental,” Bock said. “It’s a concept of how to rapidly address [anti-submarine warfare] capacity from a DOD or navy perspective.”

U.S. Transportation Command boss Gen. Jacqueline Van Ovost said in October that the military would rely heavily on commercial cargo ships and aircraft to replenish troops during a war in the vast spaces of the Pacific. Van Ovost said the command is looking at placing military advisors on merchant ships along with special communications gear that gives the ships a better picture of enemy locations.

Last March, the Navy said it would install Advanced Acoustic Concepts’ CAPTAS anti-submarine sonar on its Constellation-class frigates over similar Raytheon-made technology.

The sonar system is made up of a long cable that tows a sensor in the water that pings for submarines. Unlike the Navy’s current bow-mounted sonars, the so-called variable-depth sonar can be “placed at a depth that has the highest probability of getting a target acquisition,” Bock said.

Thales acquired Advanced Acoustic Concepts, a undersea technology joint venture it previously had with Leonardo DRS, in July. The acquisition, Thales said at the time, was to “increase its engineering and industrial footprint in the U.S. defense market, with reinforced U.S.-based teams and capabilities.”

The anti-submarine technology is already used on British, French, Spanish, and Chilean ships.

“You’re talking about a system that’s mature, has a track record, past performance record against targets,” Bock said.

One might ask whether linking a merchant ship to a military sensor network would make it more of a target. The classification of civilian vessels into legitimate targets and illegal ones is an unsettled area of international law; much depends on circumstances. The U.S. Navy’s own guidance indicates that merchant ships “incorporated into, or assisting in any way, the intelligence system of an enemy’s armed forces” may be “attacked and destroyed” by aircraft or surface warships “with or without prior warning.”  

Bradley Peniston contributed to this report.





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Important milestone in Hampton Roads for Navy submarine Arkansas


Saturday will bring the keel authentication ceremony for the fast-attack submarine Arkansas, which is under construction at the shipyard.

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — An important milestone is at hand for the Navy, Hampton Roads’ largest industrial employer, Newport News Shipbuilding, and some civil rights pioneers.

Saturday will bring the keel authentication ceremony for the fast-attack submarine Arkansas, which is under construction at the shipyard.

When it’s completed, hopefully in 2025, the future USS Arkansas will become the Navy’s 27th Virginia Class submarine.

“It’s not just a warship we’re going to get, but it’s a fully trained crew, ready to go to battle warship. So, it’s a fantastic value for the American taxpayer,” said CDR Adam Kaunke, the Arkansas’ commanding officer.

The thousands of men and women who are constructing the $2.8 billion, 377-foot long vessel are proud, nobody more than Arkansas native Joe Holden, who is now a production foreman at the shipyard.

“Every day I look at it and say, ‘I get to build something that represents my home,'” he said. “Everything I am–bravery, courage, willingness to step up.'”

Also beaming with pride are Arkansas’ ship’s sponsors: the Little Rock Nine, who made history in 1957 as the first African American students to attend all-white Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. 

“Yeah, we’ve come a long way, but we still have a distance to go. And that is why I wanted to be a part of the change,” said Little Rock Nine member Ernest Green.

After all he and his school-mates went through, Green has one piece of advice for all people facing adversity.

“If you believe in it, stand up for it and things can change for the better,” he said.

Newport News Shipbuilding President Jennifer Boykin was thrilled to host these eyewitnesses to history.

“To be able to celebrate one the boats we build with the Little Rock Nine, their legacies, their struggles, what they’ve done for the nation, the challenges they went through to set the nation on the right path, it’s an incredible day for the shipbuilders,” she said.

The keel authentication ceremony takes place at 11 a.m. on Saturday. You can watch it live on 13NewsNow.com and 13News Now-plus.



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DVIDS – News – 28 Chief Petty Officers Promoted at USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and Park



Twenty-eight new chief petty officers from Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, Naval Submarine Training Center Pacific, Submarine Readiness Squadron 33, USS Tucson (SSN 770), USS Hawaii (SSN 776), USS North Carolina (SSN 777) and USS Minnesota (SSN 783) were promoted during a pinning ceremony held at the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and Park in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, Oct. 21.

The ceremony was the culmination to chief’s initiation, commonly referred to as “chief season” during which chief-selects completed six weeks of education and training to enhance their leadership styles and prepare them for the challenges of being a U.S. Navy chief petty officer, as outlined by the Chief Petty Officer Creed. Unique to the Navy, being a chief petty officer marks a career milestone that comes with responsibilities unlike any other position.

“Being a chief petty officer means you are expected to lead up, down and laterally. Chiefs are in a unique position to mentor and train Sailors under their charge, with the goal of making them better than we were in their shoes,” said Force Master Chief Jason Avin, Force Master Chief, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet. “However, chiefs are also expected to mentor junior officers and aid in their development as well as continuously accept the responsibility of teaching and learning from every chief in the Mess. The final six weeks of initiation season are used not only to focus selectees on what the Chief Petty Officer Creed means, but also to Get Real and Get Better through honest self-assessment and teamwork.”

Navy chiefs are expected to not only maintain in-rate technical expertise that exceeds that of any other Sailor, but also to stand ready to handle challenges ranging from their Sailors’ administrative issues to their professional development. Navy chiefs are deckplate leaders who bridge the gap between officers and enlisted personnel, filling a role that could be done by no other.

Being promoted to the rank of chief petty officer represents not only a significant achievement in any Sailor’s career, but also formally recognizes the family members, shipmates, and friends who have supported and helped each of these Sailors achieve this milestone.

“Today, you enter an entirely new level of leadership and responsibility — and it will be one of the most rewarding aspects of your career. It’s your turn to … BE THE CHIEF, to wear the anchors and the khaki uniform, to shoulder the responsibility and burdens of leadership, to always be ready to answer the call, and to carry forward our Navy’s highest traditions.” said Rear Adm. Jeff Jablon, commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet.







Date Taken: 10.21.2022
Date Posted: 10.21.2022 21:39
Story ID: 431841
Location: PEARL HARBOR, HI, US 






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Interview: “The qualification section of Brazil’s nuclear submarine is scheduled between 2022 and 2023”


RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The Director-General of Nuclear and Technological Development of the Brazilian Navy (DGDNTM), Fleet Admiral Petrônio Augusto Siqueira de Aguiar, and the President of Itaguaí Construções Navais (ICN), André Portalis, received a group of media to provide details on the Navy’s main programs and activities and updates on Itaguai Construções Navais’ work in support of Brazil’s Prosub submarine program.

How many programs does the Navy currently carry . . .

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Russia test-fires new hypersonic Tsirkon missiles from frigate, submarine


FILE PHOTO: Russian President Putin meets with Kazakh former President Nazarbayev in Saint Petersburg

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia test-fired around 10 new Tsirkon (Zircon) hypersonic cruise missiles from a frigate and two more from a submarine, Interfax news agency said on Friday citing northern fleet.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has lauded the weapon as part of a new generation of unrivalled arms systems.

Putin has called a missile test, conducted last week, “a big event in the country’s life”, adding that this was “a substantial step” in increasing Russia’s defence capabilities.

Some Western experts have questioned how advanced Russia’s new generation of weapons is, while recognising that the combination of speed, manoeuvrability and altitude of hypersonic missiles makes them difficult to track and intercept.

Putin announced an array of new hypersonic weapons in 2018 in one of his most bellicose speeches in years, saying they could hit almost any point in the world and evade a U.S.-built missile shield.

(Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin, Editing by Louise Heavens)



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Submarine work led to death of ex Royal Navy seaman from Blakeney — Gloucestershire News Service


A Blakeney man’s service in the Royal Navy led to his death from asbestos-related cancer, a coroner heard yesterday (Dec 16).

Michael Berry, of All Saints rd, Blakeney, who died on December 6th at the age of 74, had worked on the removal of asbestos from a number of Naval vessels during his life as a seaman and submariner, the Gloucester inquest was told.

When his terminal cancer was diagnosed at the end of 2019 he was awarded a £140,000 lump sum by the Ministry of Defence in recognition that the condition was due to his Naval work, the assistant Gloucestershire Coroner Roland Wooderson was told.

The coroner recorded a conclusion that Mr Berry died of industrial disease on 6th Dec 2021 at his home address.

Mr Berry’s son Dan found him dead that morning when he took him a cup of tea, said the coroner.

Mr Wooderson added “Prior to his diagnoses with mesothelima he was pretty fit and well. It seems likely he had exposure to asbestos when working on submarines in the 1970s.

“After his Naval service he worked as a publican in various parts of the country.

“He was a widower and he served in the Royal Navy from 1962 to 1976 including a period on the Ark Royal and then on submarines.

“He was working on submarines when they were being refitted. “

Conclusion: Industrial Disease.



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USS Connecticut: How did a $3 billion US Navy submarine hit an undersea mountain?


The Connecticut is now pierside at a US Navy base on the Pacific island of Guam. The Navy says it got there — more than 1,800 miles (2,900 kilometers) east of the South China Sea — under its own power and its nuclear reactor was not harmed, although 11 of its crew of suffered minor injuries in the collision.

The Pentagon has not released details of the damage the vessel incurred nor how long it might be out of action in a region which, with the rise of the Chinese navy, is seeing growing demands on the US fleet.

Which leaves US military planners with some big questions to answer in the coming weeks and months.

Not the least of which is, how did this happen?

Driving a submarine

The Navy on Thursday gave a hint of what might have led to the accident when it relieved the Connecticut’s leadership of their command due to loss of confidence.

The commanding officer, Cmdr. Cameron Aljilani, was relieved of duty, as were the executive officer, Lt. Cmdr. Patrick Cashin, and the chief of the boat, Master Chief Sonar Technician Cory Rodgers.

Vice Adm. Karl Thomas, commander of US 7th Fleet, determined that “sound judgment, prudent decision-making and adherence to required procedures in navigation planning, watch team execution and risk management could have prevented the incident,” according to a statement about the decision.

The undersea environment is unforgiving and even small mistakes can have huge consequences.

“Submarining is hard, it’s really hard. Not everything goes right all the time,” said Thomas Shugart, who spent more than 11 years on US submarines, including commanding an attack sub.

Members of the crew sit at the controls aboard the Seawolf-class attack submarine USS Jimmy Carter in 2005.

Surface ships or a sub operating at periscope depth can relay on global positioning satellites to give sailors a very accurate location, said Shugart, now an adjunct senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security.

But at depth, the GPS systems are not available. Submariners use their compasses and charts.

Accurate charts (with a resolution of 328 feet or 100 meters) of the sea bottom are compiled by sending surface ships over an area and bathing the bottom in sound waves — a method called multi-beam sonar.

But the process is expensive and time consuming, leaving as much as 80% of Earth’s seafloor unmapped.

In the busy South China Sea, through which a third of the world’s maritime trade passes and where China has been building and militarily fortifying man-made islands, less than 50% of the sea bottom has been mapped, David Sandwell, a professor of geophysics at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in California, told CNN.

“It’s not surprising that you could run into something,” he said.

The US Navy has not said exactly where the Connecticut hit the seamount.

Officially, the service says it was in Indo-Pacific waters, but US defense officials had previously told CNN it occurred in the South China Sea.

Sandwell tried to narrow down the area.

Using a method called vertical gravity grading — taking satellite altimetry measurements of the Earth’s gravitational field — and overlaying those results with mapping of the bottom of the South China Sea, he was able to identify 27 places where the Connecticut could have hit a seamount that was not on US Navy charts.

“These are places where the gravity predicts there is something shallower than 400 meters (1,312 feet), around the depth where a submarine might run into it,” he said.

Officially, the Navy says Seawolf-class subs have a maximum depth of more than 243 meters (800 feet), although some experts put their maximum depth around double that.

Submarines do have their own sonar, but using it comes at a price — loss of stealthiness.

Those sonar pings — so ubiquitous in submarine movies — also give away the sub’s position to opposing forces.

“Sonar is your only way to look at the bottom, but you don’t want to put out more sound than you have to,” Shugart said.

“You’d have to do that about every 20 seconds or so,” to get an accurate picture, Sandwell said. “It makes a lot of noise.”

When it comes to knowing the terrain beneath them, even astronauts might have it easier than submariners, according to Shugart.

“Basically, the surface of the moon is better charted than the bottom of the ocean is,” he said.

A history of submarine groundings

The USS Connecticut isn’t the first US Navy sub to be involved in an underwater collision.
The attack submarine USS San Francisco sits in dry dock, on January 27, 2005, in Apra Harbor, Guam to assess damage sustained after running aground approximately 350 miles south of Guam on January 8, 2005.

On January 8, 2005, the USS San Francisco, a Los Angeles-class attack submarine, struck a seamount about 350 miles (563 kilometers) south of Guam in the Pacific Ocean.

The incident killed one sailor and injured 97 others among the crew of 137.

A Navy investigation concluded the San Francisco was traveling at maximum speed at a depth of 525 feet (160 meters) when it hit the seamount, which was not on the chart the sub’s commanders were using at the time.

But the probe found the commanders should have known the undersea mountain was there based on other charts in their possession, which indicated a navigational hazard in the area.

“If San Francisco’s leaders and watchteams had complied with requisite procedures and exercised prudent navigation practices, the grounding would most likely have been avoided,” the Navy report said. “Even if not wholly avoided, however, the grounding would not have been as severe and loss of life may be been prevented.”

Other incidents have been less serious but illustrate the difficulties of maneuvering subs even in familiar waters.

For instance, in November 2015, the USS Georgia, an Ohio-class guided missile submarine, struck a channel buoy and grounded as it was returning to port in Kings Bay, Georgia.
The Ohio-class guided-missile submarine USS Georgia departs Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay in 2015.

The 18,000-ton, 560-foot-long (170 meters) sub sustained more than $1 million in damage and its captain was relieved of command.

And in 2003, the USS Hartford ran aground while entering a NATO base in Spain, resulting in a $9 million repair bill and its commander being relieved of duty.

Despite those incidents, Shugart, the former US Navy sub commander, defends the US Navy’s record under the sea.

“We have more submarines, they spend more time at sea, they go a lot farther away from home and they operate at higher speeds than probably anybody else’s,” he said.

“We do the most challenging submarine missions that anybody does and the farthest away from home,” he said, adding: “even the pros have bad days.”

What makes the USS Connecticut so special?

The Connecticut is one of three Seawolf-class submarines in the US Navy fleet, each costing about $3 billion to build. The 9,300-ton, 353-foot sub, commissioned in 1998 and is crewed by 140 sailors.

What are nuclear-powered submarines and how do they work?

Like all modern US Navy attack submarines, the Connecticut is powered by a nuclear reactor, which enables it to be fast but quiet, with none of the noise produced by a combustion engine. Nuclear power enables such subs to stay at sea and underwater as long as provisions for the crew hold out.

The Navy doesn’t give exact figures in publicizing the abilities of its submarine, but experts say the Seawolf-class is exceptional.

“These subs have some of the most advanced — in fact the most advanced — underwater capabilities in the business,” said Alessio Patalano, professor of war and strategy at King’s College in London.

The Navy says it is “exceptionally quiet, fast, well-armed, and equipped with advanced sensors.”

A Navy fact sheet says the Connecticut is capable of going faster than 28 mph (46.3 kph) under water. That’s faster than the average container or cargo ship on the surface of the sea and almost as fast as the US Navy’s Arleigh Burke-class destroyers.

As it is larger than even the newest Virginia-class attack subs, the Connecticut can carry more weaponry than other US attack submarines — including up to 50 torpedoes as well as Tomahawk cruise missiles, according to a US Navy fact sheet.

The USS Connecticut was commissioned in Groton, Connecticut on December 11, 1998.

And despite being more than 20 years old, it’s also technologically advanced with updates to its systems performed during its service life.

Though the Navy doesn’t give details on the missions its submarines undertake, the three Seawolf-class subs are thought to be important intelligence-gathering assets, especially in shallower environments.

“The robust design of the Seawolf class enables these submarines to perform a wide spectrum of crucial military assignments — from underneath the Arctic icepack to littoral regions anywhere in the world,” the manufacturer, General Dynamics Electric Boat, says on its website.

“Their missions include surveillance, intelligence collection, special warfare, cruise missile strike, mine warfare, and anti-submarine and anti-surface ship warfare,” Electric Boat says.

With no combat taking place in the South China Sea, the focus of the sub in the current environment is likely to be in intelligence gathering.

And that’s why China is paying close attention.

The  guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain, rear, and the Royal Australian Navy  frigate HMAS Ballarat sail together during integrated operations in the South China Sea in October 2020.

Questions from Beijing

Following the collision, Beijing has accused Washington of not being forthcoming about what happened and how it could affect countries around the South China Sea.

“We have repeatedly expressed our grave concern over the incident and asked the US side to take a responsible attitude and provide a detailed clarification so as to give a satisfactory account to the international community and countries in the region,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said this week.

The subject of nuclear-powered submarines has been prominent in Chinese state media over the past few months in the wake of Australia’s decision to acquire such vessels from the United States and the United Kingdom under a deal known as AUKUS.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said in September the AUKUS deal “seriously damages regional peace and stability.”

The Connecticut incident just added fuel to Beijing’s propaganda push.

Washington issued its first public statement on the collision five days after it occurred. It did not disclose the fact that the Connecticut hit a seamount until earlier this week, nearly a month after the incident.

US Navy officials told CNN on Wednesday the delays stemmed from concerns including keeping the damaged sub safe and ensuring a thorough investigation of the incident, as is standard.

“Due to operations security, we could not disclose the location of the submarine or the incident to the public at an earlier date,” Cmdr. Hayley Sims, a public affairs officer for the US 7th Fleet, said in an email.

Sims said two internal investigations were launched, one on the command of the sub and a second on safety procedures.

Analysis: Why Russian and Chinese warships teaming up to circle Japan is a big deal

The first, she said, “determined USS Connecticut grounded on an uncharted seamount while operating in international waters in the Indo-Pacific region” and has been submitted to 7th Fleet commanders for review.

The second probe, being conducted by Submarine Force, US Pacific Fleet in Hawaii, is ongoing.

A spokesperson for the sub force, Cmdr. Cindy Fields, told CNN this week the submarine is in “a safe and stable condition” at the port in Guam.

“USS Connecticut’s nuclear propulsion plant and spaces were not affected and remain fully operational,” she said.

The Navy said Thursday the Connecticut would be moved to Bremerton, Washington, for repairs.

According to a report by the state-run Xinhua news agency, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang called on Washington to clarify “the intended navigation of the nuclear submarine, whether the specific location of the incident was in an exclusive economic zone or territorial sea of any other country, or whether the incident has caused nuclear leakage or damaged the marine environment.”

The US has not revealed any of those details, but when it comes to the South China Sea, Washington’s policy is consistent.

After a US destroyer performed a freedom of navigation operation in the waterway in September, a US 7th Fleet statement responded definitively to Chinese objections: “The United States will continue to fly, sail, and operate wherever international law allows,” the statement said. “Nothing (China) says otherwise will deter us.”

CNN’s Oren Liebermann and Barbara Starr contributed to this report.



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S. Korea signs deal with Daewoo Shipbuilding to build new submarine


SEOUL, Sept. 10 (Yonhap) — The arms procurement agency said Friday it has signed a 985.7 billion won (US$853 million) deal with Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co. to build a new 3,600-ton-class submarine with improved defense capabilities.

The Defense Acquisition Program Administration signed the contract Thursday for the second unit of three Changbogo-III Batch-II class submarines that South Korea plans to build by 2029. Construction of the first unit began just last month.

Carrying 50 crewmembers aboard, the 89-meter-long and 9.6-meter-wide submarine will be equipped with improved combat capabilities to better detect and target enemies and partially powered by a lithium battery, the agency said.

It will be designed with nearly 80 percent of its component parts made locally.

The deal comes a month after the Navy received the country’s first 3,000-ton-class indigenous submarine, Dosan Ahn Chang-ho, capable of firing submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs).

The Dosan Ahn Chang-ho, also constructed by Daewoo Shipbuilding, was the first of three 3,000-ton-class submarines South Korea plans to build by 2023.

“With world-class capabilities, the new submarine will play a key role as a strategic asset of our country to counter security threats from all directions,” R. Adm. Jeon Yong-kyu heading the submarine project at the agency said.



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Skipper Schlitt and the only submarine ever sunk by its toilet


When you’ve gotta go, you’ve gotta go. Even when you’re 200 feet underwater. 

But 76 years ago, answering nature’s call actually sent a submarine to the bottom of the ocean. 

Submersibles have been destroyed a host of ways over the years. Depth charges, naval and aerial bombings, collisions, even mechanical troubles have all dispatched them to Davy Jones’ Locker. 

But only one holds the, err, distinction of being done in by its own potty. 

U-1206 was the pride of Nazi Germany’s navy when she went into service in March 1944. Some 50 officers and men were assigned to her as she set out to attack Allied shipping. 

Holy Cow! History is written by novelist, former television journalist and diehard history buff J. Mark Powell. Have a historic mystery that needs solving? A forgotten moment worth remembering? Send it to HolyCow@insidesources.com. 


Daily life aboard a U-boat was rough. They were built for combat performance, not comfort. Crewmen made their way around machinery and weaponry as best they could for months at a time. The food was bad, the air was stale and smelled of diesel exhaust fumes, and guys who had gone too long without showering. 

Then there was the matter of the “head,” naval slang for the bathroom. U-boats had only two – and one was often used to store extra food for the long undersea voyages. That’s right, all 50 men had to share one – and only one – restroom. 

But U-1206 boasted a creature comfort most other submarines didn’t have: A state-of-the-art high-pressure toilet that could be flushed while submerged at great depths. That was important because when 50 guys are using the same facility, you want all the flushing you can get. 

Without going into technobabble, the pressure system was extremely complex. Leave it to the Germans to devise a flushing mechanism that was so complicated that an engineer “specialist” had to be present every time it was used. 

And it worked well … until Saturday, April 14, 1945. 

U-1206 had left occupied Norway eight days earlier and was cruising off the Scottish coast when something happened. Kapitänleutnant Karl Adolf Schlitt (you have to be careful pronouncing that name when you tell this story) was commanding a U-boat for the very first time. Naturally, that would drive up a man’s sense of self-importance. 

But it’s possible Schlitt may have carried cockiness a bit too far because there are different versions of what happened next. 

The skipper’s official report says the intricate water pressure system sprang a leak. It leaked all right. But the crew told a completely different story. 

They said Captain Schlitt had an inflated view of his mechanical competence. He didn’t need any “specialist” to tell him how to work the new-fangled system. He could read the manual and make it flush all by himself. 

Except, he couldn’t. 

When he pulled the chain, the sub began filling with water from the ocean combined with raw sewage from its storage compartment. Talk about a mess. Schlitt cried for help. But nobody could figure out how how to stop the rapidly spreading slop. 

It eventually reached the U-boat’s batteries. Saltwater and battery acid combined to create dangerous chlorine gas (one of several gases that had been used in World War I’s deadly trench attacks). 

With toxic fumes quickly filling the boat, Schlitt had no choice but to order U-1206 to surface and open the hatch — the most dangerous thing a submarine can do in wartime. 

It didn’t take the Brits long to spot the sub and attack it from the air. One crew member was killed, and U-1206 was so badly damaged it couldn’t dive. So Schlitt had it scuttled and then gave the order to abandon ship. 

Three men drowned during the evacuation. Nearby British ships picked up 36 others. The remaining 10 made it to shore in a lifeboat and were quickly captured. 

In a way, U-1206’s demise was a fitting metaphor for its homeland’s sinking condition, because Nazi Germany was also going down the drain at the time. Within a fortnight, Adolf Hitler fired a bullet into his brain; the Third Reich went out of business a week later. 

Nobody knows what happened to the skipper after the war. Schlitt slunk home in shame and disappeared from history. 

Divers working on a pipeline stumbled upon the U-boat’s remains in the 1970s. It sits silently rusting on the bottom of the sea today, the only submarine ever sunk because someone had to use the facilities. 



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Indonesian Navy Submarine Still Missing; Officials Say Time Is Running Out : NPR


An Indonesian navy ship searches for the submarine KRI Nanggala 402 that went missing this week in the waters off Bali.

Eric Ireng/AP


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Eric Ireng/AP


An Indonesian navy ship searches for the submarine KRI Nanggala 402 that went missing this week in the waters off Bali.

Eric Ireng/AP

Rescuers scouring the Bali Sea for a stricken Indonesian submarine with 53 sailors aboard are hoping the crew could still be alive, but as the hours since the vessel’s disappearance tick by, the chances of survival grow increasingly slim.

The Indonesian navy chief of staff, Adm. Yudo Margono, told reporters Thursday that a search of the vicinity where the diesel-powered KRI Nanggala 402 is believed to have gone down, about 60 miles north of the resort island of Bali, had located an object with “high magnetic force” floating at a depth of 50 to 100 meters (about 165 to 330 feet). “We hope it is the KRI Nanggala,” he said.

But the navy had said previously that it believes the submarine may have sunk in a particularly deep spot in the otherwise relatively shallow sea — about 600-700 meters (2,000-2,300 feet) down — much deeper than the boat’s maximum operating depth and likely below its crush depth.

Even in a best case scenario, the navy chief of staff emphasized that with oxygen expected to run out early Saturday a quick rescue would be critical. “Hopefully we can rescue them before the oxygen has run out,” he said.

The KRI Nanggala was conducting a weapons training exercise early Wednesday when the navy said the sub was given permission to dive and then never made radio contact again.

Earlier, rescuers reported finding an oil slick on the surface and the smell of diesel fuel, but there was no way of knowing whether it came from the sub. While an oil slick might be a sign that the vessel was destroyed, the navy said it could simply mean that the submarine’s fuel tank had been damaged. It could even be a deliberate signal from the crew.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo said Thursday that he had ordered an “optimal” search for the submarine and that the rescue of its crew was the “main priority.” He expressed sympathy with family members over their ordeal.

The German-built submarine has been in service since the early 1980s. Despite its age, a refit of the vessel by South Korea’s Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering was completed in 2012. A Daewoo official told The Associated Press that the company had upgraded the boat’s internal structures and systems.

Speaking to reporters, the navy chief of staff said the submarine had “received a letter of feasibility from the navy” and that “it was ready for battle.”

Navy spokesman Julius Widjojono told Indonesia’s KompasTV earlier that the boat could sustain a depth of 250-500 meters (about 820-1,640 feet). “Anything more than that can be pretty fatal, dangerous,” he said.

A Daewoo Shipbuilding official, Ahn Guk-hyeon, told the AP that the submarine would collapse if it goes deeper than about 200 meters (about 655 feet).

If the vessel is intact, it could be too deep for a rescue, said Frank Owen, secretary of the Submarine Institute of Australia.

“Most rescue systems are really only rated to about 600 meters (1,969 feet),” he told the AP. “They can go deeper than that because they will have a safety margin built into the design, but the pumps and other systems that are associated with that may not have the capacity to operate. So they can survive at that depth, but not necessarily operate.”

He said the Indonesian sub was not fitted with a special hatch seal that would allow the crew to escape into a different vessel during an underwater rescue.

“So the only system they have is to get to the surface and abandon the submarine on the surface; or if they’re in water that is less than 180 metres [590 feet] in depth they could put a special suit on so they can breathe and not burst their lungs and they can get to the surface,” Owen told The Sydney Morning Herald.

“It’s still risky but it’s doable,” Owen said.

The Indonesian military said Thursday that at least 20 navy ships, two submarines and five aircraft have been searching the area and that a hydro-oceanographic survey ship equipped with underwater detection equipment was also on its way to the area of the oil slick.

Australia, South Korea, the United States, Germany, France, Russia, India and Turkey have all offered to assist in the search for the submarine and a possible rescue, the Indonesian navy said.

Vessels from Singapore and Malaysia are also reportedly joining in the search but won’t be able to reach the area until the weekend.



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