Thursday, 12 January 2012

January 13th - On This Date - Australian Navy History


189 men of the RANBT, then encamped at Mudros on the island of Imbros, mutinied over lack of pay and refused to muster for work. They were placed under arrest and an enquiry was held. Three weeks later the men were released and the units second in command, LEUT T. A. Bond, DSO, RANR was removed due to his failure to ensure that the men had been adequately paid.

HMA Ships PARRAMATTA, and WARREGO (destroyers), joined the allied contraband patrols in the South China Sea. The destroyers operated out of Bangkok.

The armed yacht and patrol vessel HMAS SLEUTH was commissioned. As the steam-yacht ENA she was built in Sydney in 1901. ENA was requisitioned for patrol service in January 1917.


HMA Ships STUART and VAMPIRE (destroyers), intercepted the Italian supply schooner SAN DIEGO attempting to enter Tobruk under cover of darkness. The schooner was later sunk by VAMPIRE.


Fremantle-based USS SEARAVEN (submarine), sank the Japanese supply ship SHIRAHA MARU in the Philippines.


CPO B. W. Wilson and AB R. H. Spicer of Clearance Diving Team 3, participated in an amphibious operation to destroy enemy positions on 5km of river bank in southern An Xuyen Province, Vietnam. The divers destroyed 65 bunkers, 13 huts, and a concrete revetment while under enemy sniper fire.
RAN Clearance Diving Team 1, under LEUT D. Ramsden, RAN, salvaged the patrol boat HMAS ARROW at Darwin. The patrol boat sank during Cyclone Tracy.


HMAS KANIMBLA, (CMDR Steve Woodall, RAN), arrived at Banda Aceh, (Northern Sumatra), to provide support as part of Operation Sumatra Assist, following the devastation wreaked on the area by a Tsunami on 26 December 2004. Large portions of the coastal areas of Northern Sumatra, Thailand, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, and India were destroyed, and nearly 400,000 people killed, and millions made homeless. KANIMBLA carried Sea King helicopters which were used to support the distribution of food and water, and heavy engineering equipment for use by the Australian Army’s 1st Combat Engineer Regiment, (which flew to Aceh by RAAF C-130 aircraft). The Primary Casualty Receiving Facility onboard KANIMBLA was also used to treat many injured Indonesian civilians.
 INDIAN SUBMARINES - Shishumar Class

Vessel Type: Submarine, Type 1500. (HDW 209)

Names & Pennant Numbers with commission dates:
INS Shishumar S44 (22 September 1986) - Refit Complete
INS Shankush S45 (20 November 1986)
INS Shalki S46 (07 February 1992)
INS Shankul S47 (28 May 1994) - Refit Complete
Structure: The Shishumar Class have a central bulkhead and an IKL designed integrated escape sphere which can carry the full crew of 40 personnel, has an oxygen supply of 8 hours and can withstand pressure at least as great as those that can be withstood by the submarine's pressure hull.


Surfaced; 1450 tons.
Dived; 1850 tons.


Length - 64.4 metres.
Beam - 6.5 metres.
Draught - 6 metres.

Diving Depth: 
260 meters (853 feet)

Main Machinery: Four diesel-electric 2400 hp motors, one Siemens 4600 hp motor, four Siemens 1.8 MW alternators and one shaft.

Maximum Speed: 

Surfaced; 11 knots.
Dived; 22 knots.

Maximum Range:

8000 miles at 8 knots. snorting
13,000 miles at 10 knots. surfaced.

40 (incl. 8 Officers).


Surface; One Thomson-CSF Calypso radar at I-band frequency.


One Atlas Elektronic CSU-83; active/passive search & attack with medium frequency. Also fitted with a Thomson Sintra DUUX-5 with passive ranging & intercept. Six Thomson-CSF Eldone TSM 2272 sonars were purchased from France in the 1990s and they could be installed onboard the Shishumar Class submarines, during their mid-life refits.


Has eight 21" torpedo tubes which can fire the AEG-SUT Mod-1 wire-guided, active/passive homing torpedo, with a 250 kg warhead weight, at 15.3n miles; 28 km at 23 knots. The Type 1500 carries 14 torpedoes in total. Can carry 24 mines as an external strap-on type.
Weapons Control: Singer Librascope Mk.1


: ESM; Argo Phoenix II AR 700.
Kollmorgen Sea Sentry.

Comments: After several years of discussion with Howaldtswerke Deutsche Werft AG Kiel, the Indian Navy came to an agreement on 11 December 1981. This was in four basic parts;

1) The building in West Germany of two HDW 209 Class subs.
2) The supply of packages for building of two more at Mazagon DY.
3) Training of various groups of specialists for the design & construction of last the two submarines.
4) Provide logistics services during the trials and commissioning as well as consultation services in Bombay.

The first two submarines sailed for India in February 1987, while the last two were delayed by assembly problems caused by faulty welding. In 1984 it was announced that two more submarines would be built at the Mazagon Dock Ltd. (MDL) in Mumbai, but this was overtaken by events in 1987-88 and the agreement with HDW was terminated at just four submarines. This was reconsidered in 1992 and again in 1997, but no orders were placed. It was reported that INS Shishumar suffered some minor damage, in early October 2003 off Goa, when it hit an underwater object.

The then-incumbent Defence Minister - George Fernandes - in a Parliamentary session on 22 November 2001, stated that equipment & spares of various supplies of American origin for the submarines was expected to arrive in the coming months and the target set for completion of the project is August 2002. Press reports state that the equipment and spares are fire control systems, radar warning systems and other related equipment worth $50 million. Captain S V Nair (Retd.), the then-incumbent Chairman & Managing Director of Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL), in an interview which appeared in a July/August 2000 issue of Business India, stated that INS Shishumar completed a mid-life refit at MDL in Mumbai and that INS Shankul was undergoing a similar refit.
The United News of India (UNI) reported, that Siemens of Germany has offered the Indian Navy an upgrade for the Shishumar Class submarines, which will involve the installation of an Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) system. Siemens has developed the PEM (Polymer Electrolyte Membrane) fuel cell modules which generate energy by converting hydrogen and oxygen into electricity. Dr Albert Hammerschmidt, Siemen's Director of PEM Fuel Cells for Submarines, stated that fuel cells are small, silent, produce only little heat, generate no exhaust gases and are highly efficient. 

He also mentioned that they have no moving parts, are practically maintenance-free and that they meet all military  requirements for submarines with regard to magnetic behaviour, acoustic properties, and stray fields. Siemens Sales Manager, Richard Schmitzer, and Dr Hammerschmidt also mentioned that installing the AIP system will improve a submarine's functioning, by making less noise, have a lower magnetic and thermal signature, have lesser tell-tale emissions and can stay submerged longer.

Naval insiders feel that the four Shishumar Class submarines will approach the end of their combat life between 2016 and 2024, and thus the time is ripe to think about an upgrade. Talking about the upgrade process, Mr Schmitzer said it will involve cutting open the submarine, inserting the fuel cell module and then welding it back again and re-establishing all connections. 

Siemens has already carried out the upgrade of five HDW 209 Class submarines for the Greek Navy. The technology finds place in the U212 and U214 classes of submarines, being built by HDW, which are or shortly will be in service of German, Italian, Greek and South Korean navies. However, the Indian Navy is concerned with some aspects of design of this new technology, specially the storage of hydrogen (the raw fuel in the process) ashore. Navy sources state that while the submarine is at sea, there are no problems. But there are concerns about the storage of hydrogen, which is extremely flammable, on shore. According to the Siemens design, the hydrogen and the oxygen tanks are on opposite sides to reduce danger of an accident.
A clearer view: Steel truss surrounding Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley will be removed

The Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley will be in clear view for the first time in nearly 150 years once a truss weighing more than eight tons surrounding it is removed in South Carolina.
The work is scheduled for Thursday at a conservation lab in North Charleston.

The truss was used to suspend slings that lifted the sub from the water off the South Carolina coast almost a dozen years ago.

Scientists say finally removing the truss will provide the first unobstructed view of the hand-cranked sub since it sank in 1864.

The Hunley sent the federal blockade ship Housatonic to the bottom, becoming the first sub in history to sink an enemy warship. But the Hunley sank as well and scientists still aren’t sure why.
U.S. naval strike group arrives in Arabian Sea as tensions continue to rise with Iran
Carl Vinson

A new aircraft carrier strike group has been sent to the Arabian Sea - as U.S. tensions with Iran continue to escalate.

The move comes as Iran threatens to close the world's most important oil shipping lane, the Strait of Hormuz, if sanctions over its nuclear programme cut off its oil exports.    

The U.S. military said it will stop any blockade of the strategic strait, and the top U.S. naval officer said preparing for a potential conflict there was something that 'keeps me awake at night'.
New arrival: The USS Carl Vinson is now in the Arabian Sea as tensions between the U.S. and Iran continue to escalate

But the Pentagon denied any direct link between recent tensions and the movement of aircraft carriers.     

Spokesman Captain John Kirby said: 'I don't want to leave anybody with the impression that we're somehow (speeding) two carriers over there because we're concerned about what happened, you know, today in Iran. It's just not the case.'

Military officials said the USS Carl Vinson arrived in the Arabian Sea on Monday to replace the outgoing USS John C. Stennis carrier strike group, which Iran last week warned not to return to the Gulf after departing in late December.
John C Stennis

The Stennis was due to return to its home port in San Diego but the Pentagon did not say when that would happen.

Shipped out: The USS John C. Stennis left the area in December, which prompted Iran to tell it to 'never come back'

Another carrier strike group, led by the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, concluded a port visit to Thailand on Tuesday and was now in the Indian Ocean.
Abraham Lincoln
It is on track to join the Vinson in the Central Command area of operations, which begins in the neighboring Arabian Sea.

A second U.S. military official added: 'It is not unusual to have two carriers in the CENTCOM theatre at the same time.'

'I don't want to leave anybody with the impression that we're somehow (speeding) two carriers over there because we're concerned about what happened, you know, today in Iran. It's just not the case.'- U.S. Captain John Kirby

Tensions between Iran and the United States ratcheted up again in the past week.
Iran started an underground uranium enrichment plant and sentenced an American to death for spying.

Washington and Europe have stepped up efforts to cripple Iran's oil exports, and Tehran on Wednesday blamed U.S. and Israeli agents for killing an Iranian nuclear scientist.    

Israel declined to comment on the killing and the United States denied any U.S. role and condemned the attack, in which the scientist was blown up by a bomb attached to his car by a motorbike hitman.     

Iran had warned the Stennis not to re-enter the Gulf and it is unclear when another U.S. carrier will enter Gulf waters.

The Pentagon has suggested only that, sooner or later, a carrier will pass through the Strait of Hormuz into the Gulf.    

Kirby added: 'We routinely operate our ships - all of our ships, all of our types of ships - inside the Arabian Gulf and that will continue.'
Nuclear Submarine Accidents

From 1961 up to the present, there have been a number of accidents and incidents involving Soviet/Russian nuclear submarines. At least 507 people have died in accidents on submarines throughout this period.  The most serious accidents have been caused by fires that have resulted in the sinking of the submarine, or by severe damage to the nuclear reactor following overheating of the reactor core (loss of coolant accidents) and a number of smaller incidents in which radioactivity has been released. Most of the vessels affected by accidents have belonged to the Russian Northern Fleet. This chapter discusses only those accidents that have resulted in the loss of life and/or in releases of radioactivity.

There have also been a number of other incidents in which Northern Fleet submarines have been involved. These include collisions with other submarines, fires at naval bases and shipyards, submarines that have become entangled in trawler nets, accidents during test launches of submarine launched missiles, collisions with icebergs and so forth.

Sunken nuclear submarines
As a consequence of either accident or extensive damage, there are six nuclear submarines that now lie on the ocean floor: two American vessels (USS Thresher and USS Scorpion) and four Soviet (K-8, K-219, K-278 Komsomolets and K-27). The two American submarines and three of the Soviet nuclear submarines sank as a result of accident; the fourth Soviet vessel was scuttled in the Kara Sea upon the decision of responsible authorities when repair was deemed impossible and decommissioning too expensive. All four of the Soviet submarines belonged to the Northern Fleet.
Despite the differences in time and in location, the Soviet submarine accidents all followed a similar pattern:

1.      Fire while submerged on return from patrol.

2.      Surfacing of the submarine. Attempts made to salvage the submarine, both in submerged and surface position. By the time of surfacing, vessel had already lost power and possibility for outside contact.
3.      Penetration of outside water into the vessel.

4.      Command post loss of control over submarine's essential systems.

5.      Loss of buoyancy and stability of pitch.

6.      Capsize and sinking.

It was not always an accident involving the nuclear reactor that caused these submarines to sink. On all of the Soviet vessels that have sunk, the reactor's shut-down mechanism had been engaged. For extra security, the control rods were lowered manually to their lowest position, an operation entailing such great risk of radiation that it presented a real threat to life.

There have been a number of incidents involving naval nuclear reactors of the Northern Fleet that have had serious consequences. Among them are accidents that have resulted in the deaths or overexposure to radiation of the crew, as well as extensive damage to the submarine. The damage was expensive and difficult to repair; and in some instances, the damage to the vessel was so comprehensive that future use was impossible.

The three most serious accidents involving Soviet nuclear submarines are described below.

The first accident involving a Soviet nuclear submarine involved the Project 627 A - November class vessel K-8, which sank in the Bay of Biscaya on April 8, 1970 while returning from the exercise OKEAN. Two fires started simultaneously in both the third (central) and eighth compartments. The submarine surfaced, but the crew was unable to extinguish the fires. The reactor emergency systems kicked in, leaving the submarine with virtually no power. The auxiliary diesel generators could not be started either. The control room and all the neighbouring compartments were filled with fumes from the fire. Air was pumped into the aft most main ballast tanks in an attempt to keep the vessel afloat. By April 10, the air tanks had been emptied, and water began to flow into the seventh and eighth compartments. On the evening of April 10, part of the crew was evacuated to an escorting ship. On the morning of April 11 at 06:20, the submarine sank at a depth of 4680 metres following a loss of stability in pitch. Fifty two people died, including the captain of the vessel. Details of this accident were kept secret until 1991.

In October 1986, the strategic nuclear submarine K-219 (Project 667 A - Yankee class) sank in the Atlantic ocean north of Bermuda with ballistic missiles on board after an explosion in one of the missile tubes. The explosion caused a leak in the fourth compartment (missile compartment). Steam and smoke from the missile fuel began to stream out of the damaged missile tube. At the time of the explosion, only one of the vessel's two reactors was running. The submarine surfaced and the other reactor was started up. Despite the fact that water was beginning to come in, a fire broke out in the fourth compartment. A short in the electrical system tripped off one of the submarine's emergency systems. One life was lost in the struggle to lower the control rods. Though still in a surfaced position, the buoyancy of the submarine was steadily impaired when water filled the main ballast tank. When the second reactor broke down, the crew was transferred to a rescue vessel. The captain and nine crew members remained in the conning tower, but when the bow began to sink, they were obliged to abandon ship. On October 6, at 11:03, the submarine sank with a loss of four lives.
The reason for the explosion in the missile tube is unclear. There are two theories of how the accident happened: a defect in the missile tube itself or a fire that broke out following a collision with an American submarine.  The submarine had two nuclear reactors and carried 16 nuclear missiles.

K-278 (Komsomolets)
In April, 1989, the nuclear submarine K-278, Komsomolets, (Project 685 - Mike class) sank in the Norwegian Sea following a fire. Komsomolets was a unique titanium-hulled submarine that could dive to depths of 1000 metres. On the morning of April 7, 1989, the vessel was on the way back to her base at Zapadnaya Litsa, positioned at a depth of 160m approximately 180km south of Bear Island. At 11:03 the alarm sounded due to a fire in the seventh compartment. Eleven minutes after the fire had broken out, the vessel surfaced. However, the fire had caused short circuits in the electrical system which set off the reactor's emergency systems. The fire was so fierce that a leak was sprung in the compressed air system, and this led in turn to a spreading of the fire. Attempts by the crew to extinguish the flames were futile. The submarine lost power, and finally ran out of compressed air. By 17:00, the leak had worsened, and the submarine lost buoyancy and stability. The crew began to be evacuated into life rafts, but there were not enough rafts. The life rafts that were lowered were too far away for the crew to reach. At 17:08, the submarine sank at a depth of 1685 meters, with a loss of 41 lives and her commander. The ship Aleksandr Khlobystsov which came to the rescue after 81 minutes took aboard 25 survivors and 5 fatalities. The exact cause of the fire is unknown. One speculation is that the concentration of oxygen in the seventh compartment was too high, setting off short circuits in the electrical system.

 The nuclear submarine Komsomolets sank in the Norwegian Sea on April 7, 1989, south of Bear Island. The submarine sank with its reactor and two nuclear warheads on board, and lies at a depth of 1 685 metres.

It has also been asserted that shortly before the accident, the vessel had completed a test that indicated it was not seaworthy. Others claim that K-278's crew was not qualified to serve on the Komsomolets.
Timeline: Nuclear submarine incidents

Here is a timeline of some of the major accidents and incidents involving nuclear submarines in the 21st century:

August 12, 2000 - The Russian Oscar-II class submarine Kursk with 118 crew members sinks to the bottom of the Barents Sea after an explosion triggered a raging fire in the vessel. A 2002 report said a torpedo fuel leak caused the massive explosion.

February 9, 2001 - The nuclear submarine USS Greeneville's rudder tears through the Ehime Maru's lower deck during a fast surface maneuver, sinking the Japanese fishing boat within minutes. Nine people aboard die, including students and instructors in commercial fishing. Twenty-six people are rescued.

August 30, 2003 - A Russian nuclear-powered submarine, the K-159 sinks as it is being transported through the Barents Sea on its way to a scrapyard at the port of Polyarny. Nine out of the 10 crew aboard die.

January 9, 2005 - One crewman dies after the U.S. nuclear submarine San Francisco runs aground off Guam in the Pacific Ocean. Another 23 crewmen are injured.

August 1, 2005 - One worker is killed and another seriously injured in an explosion on a decommissioned Victor-III class Russian nuclear submarine docked in the northern shipyard of Severodvinsk for dismantling.

September 6, 2006 - A fire on board a Viktor-III class Russian navy submarine kills two crew. The St Daniel of Moscow was moored in the Barents sea, north of the Rybachiy peninsula near Russia's border with Finland when it caught fire.

March 21, 2007 - Two British submariners die and another is injured on HMS Tireless during an exercise in the Arctic.

November 8, 2008 - More than 20 people are killed and another 21 injured by toxic gas when a fire safety system misfires on Russia's Nerpa nuclear submarine during trials in the Sea of Japan.

April 8, 2011 - Two Royal Navy personnel are shot, one fatally, on board the Astute, a British nuclear submarine in the southern English port of Southampton. Another sailor is later arrested. The 7,500-tonne vessel is the first of a new class of British nuclear-powered submarines which will be the largest and most powerful attack submarines ever built for the navy. The submarine had run aground the previous October for ten hours near the Skye Bridge and the captain was relieved of his command the next month.

December 30, 2011 - A fire aboard the 167-metre (550 feet) 18,200-tonne Yekaterinburg is extinguished after blazing for nearly a full day and night. Nine people are injured. The submarine is based at the Roslyakovo dock, one of the main dockyards of Russia's Northern Fleet, 1,500 km (900 miles) north of Moscow.
Hormuz Straitjacket: US-Iranian standoff

The cauldron of tension between Iran and the west is simmering. It seems a slightest increase of heat could cause it to boil over into an all-out war.

It does not appease Washington that the international nuclear watchdog is on site closely monitoring Iran’s nuclear activities.

“Are they trying to develop a nuclear weapon? No. But we know that they're trying to develop a nuclear capability. And that's what concerns us. And our red line to Iran is ‘Do not develop a nuclear weapon,’” said US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta.

Meanwhile, Iran’s main source of livelihood – its oil export – is in danger. The US is imposing fresh sanctions that will dramatically complicate transactions through Iran’s Central Bank. Iran is also close to losing Europe as a customer.

Cornered by crippling sanctions, Iran threatened to block the Strait of Hormuz – a vital oil artery through which one sixth of the world's oil is shipped.

The US has replied by moving its Fifth Fleet to the region, saying if Iran goes for it, they will attack.
Experts say the policy of isolating Iran may lead to other threats from Tehran and a possibility that one day they will go through with their threats.

Washington signals that it is ready, or at least it wants everybody to believe that it is ready.
Some believe it is just a war of words, and neither side will go for an all-out conflict, considering what a disaster it would be for the whole region. It may be a war of words, but actions are already showing.
Thousands of US troops are being deployed to Israel. An American citizen in Iran has been sentenced to death, convicted of espionage.

A look back in history – the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, the heir presumptive to the Austro-Hungarian throne, in 1914 set in motion a series of events that led to World War One and then, World War Two.

With regards to Iran today, the possible blocking of the Strait of Hormuz could become that trigger. Or it could be the killing of the American citizen.

Iran might feel cornered, and therefore make drastic moves. Right now it is a war of words. But one bullet fired and the powder keg could blow up. The question is: what is going to provide that deadly spark?
January 12th - On This Date - Australian Navy

Commonwealth Naval and Military Boards were constituted under the Defence Act of 1903-1904. The regular members of the Naval Board were the Minister for Defence, (Mr J. W. McKay) as President, the Director of Naval Forces, (CAPT William Creswell), and a civilian as finance member, (Mr J. A. Thompson). CMDR F. Brownlow, (Officer Commanding Naval Forces New South Wales), was named as consultative member.

The Australian tug HEROS, (escort vessel), was commissioned into the RAN. She was re-commissioned on 12 February 1943 as a naval salvage tug.

HMAS AUSTRALIA and USS NASHVILLE, (cruisers), commenced refit in Sydney.

HMAS NAPIER, (destroyer), and the Royal Indian Navy ships JUMNA and NARBADA, supported by HDML1248 and ML854, launched the assault on Myebon, Burma, (operation Pungent).

The River class frigate HMAS BARWON, was commissioned. BARWON was laid down in Cockatoo Island Dockyard, Sydney, on 31 May 1943, and launched on 3 August 1944.

Naval aircrewmen, K. R. Wardle and K. J. French were rescued by helicopters of No. 9 Squadron, RAAF, when their helicopter gunship crashed in jungle north of Baria, Phuoc Tuy Province, Vietnam. Both airmen were injured in the crash.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

IRAN – Latest Crap from Delusional Leaders On Terrorist State of Iran

Top ten US military violations

A political analyst says the US is the biggest violator of the self-written treaty that makes war unlawful unless attacked by another nation.

Before enumerating the most unlawful US wars in history, Carl Herman urges the American military and/or law enforcement to arrest the current American war criminals and prevent Washington from launching another war.

“The basis of law provides US military and all with Oaths to defend the US Constitution to refuse unlawful orders and act to arrest those who issue them,” Herman said.

1. The US has regularly violated treaties with Native Americans, as well as manipulating their meaning for the purpose of stealing their land.

2. In 1848, US President James Polk lied to Congress to start a war with Mexico, despite Abraham Lincoln's crystal-clear explanation as a member of Congress that the Adams-Onis Treaty placed the "border dispute" 400 miles within land forever promised to Mexico and forever promised as outside any US claim.

3. The US violated a treaty with Hawaii and stole their country in 1898.

4. The US entered in the First World War I on the basis that nothing should threatens America's national security and imprisoned the 3rd party Presidential candidates for questioning the war.

5. In the covert “Operation Ajax” the CIA overthrew the elected Iranian government led by Dr. Mohammad Mosaddegh and installed a US-friendly brutal dictator. When that dictator was overthrown and Iran refused another, the US aided Iraq to unlawfully attack Iran from 1980-1988, killing up to a million Iranians.

6. The Vietnam War occurred after the US allowed the cancellation of an election to unify the South Vietnam with North Vietnam.

7. The US reneged on promises of freedom after the Spanish American War to impose its rule on the Philippines and install US-friendly dictators in Cuba.

8. The US and NATO promoted the war in Kosovo based on short-term military and casualty reports that were later found highly inaccurate.

9. After the September 11 attacks, the US army with the help of NATO invaded Afghanistan under the pretext of combating terrorism and locating Osama Bin Laden, which is now the longest military conflict in US history.

10. The entire world now knows that all “reasons” for war with Iraq were known to be false as they were told, according to Congressional reports.

Herman says that the "reasons" for war with Iran are as false as the "reasons" for war with Iraq and warns American to beware of another so called “defensive” war under false pretexts.
‘Don’t exaggerate case against Iran’ – Russia

While expressing concern over Tehran’s reluctance to comply with demands set down by the international community, Moscow is also telling foreign powers that Iran’s military and nuclear prowess should not be blown out of proportion.

Following a 10-day naval exercise last week in the strategic Strait of Hormuz, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard test-fired two missiles. This apparently excited some foreign powers, especially the United States and Israel. Russia, however, put the situation into perspective, reminding that the Islamic Republic lacks the technical expertise to build long-range ballistic missiles.

"Iran does not have the technology to make medium or long-range ballistic missiles ready for immediate use and it will not get such missiles anytime soon," Vadim Koval, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman for the Strategic Rocket Forces told reporters on Tuesday. 

Koval also mentioned Iran’s lack of industrial infrastructure necessary to produce these types of weapons
"Presently, Iran does not have actual technology or the industrial potential to develop or produce ballistic missiles – even in their test version."

Even if one assumes that Iran could produce full-scale medium- and long-range ballistic missile systems in the remote future, it would be wrong to consider them as actually adopted for combat duty and ready for immediate use, he added.

It is important to note in the context of Russia’s warnings that the United States is presently constructing a missile defense system in Eastern Europe, ostensibly to defend the continent from a missile attack from some 'rogue nation,' usually identified as Iran.

Despite an earlier promise of cooperation, the US and NATO now refuse to work alongside Russia on the project, or provide legal guarantees that the system will never be turned against Russia’s military assets in the future. Naturally, Moscow now views the missile defense system smoking on its doorstep as a potential threat to national security

Meanwhile, tensions continue to simmer in and around the Persian Gulf, where Israel and the United States are planning to hold large naval operations in the near future. "Austere Challenge 12" was announced after Iran threatened to block the narrow Strait of Hormuz, the choke point between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, through which some 30 per cent of the world’s oil supplies pass through daily.

Although military analysts doubt that Iran will actually attempt a naval blockade of the strategic strait, the mere suggestion caused oil prices to spike last week, while putting more than one defense minister on alert. 

­Nuclear fears overblown?

Although Russia said it learned about the start of uranium enrichment at an Iranian facility near Qom with “regret and concerns,” it also indicated that all of the work is being conducted under the control of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

"We have to acknowledge that Iran is continuing to ignore the international community's demands on dispelling concerns about its nuclear program, including through suspending the construction of an enrichment facility near the city of Qom, set out, in particular, in the IAEA Board of Governors resolution GOV/2009/82 and UN Security Council resolution 1929," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.

At the same time, the Foreign Ministry said it is important to point out that "Iran informed the IAEA of the beginning of the enrichment work at this facility beforehand and that all nuclear material there is under the agency's control."

Iranian nuclear engineers have only enriched their uranium to the 20 per cent level, far below the 90 per cent level necessary for building a nuclear bomb.

Thus, Russia is calling on all sides involved in the settlement of the Iran crisis to refrain from making any abrupt moves, the ministry said.

"We call on all sides involved in the settlement around Iran and its nuclear program to refrain from ill-considered and abrupt steps, which may undermine the forming conditions for the resumption of the Sextet-Iran dialog and further interaction between Iran and the IAEA with the goal of clarifying remaining questions," it said.

The Russian Foreign Ministry is urging Iran to “listen to our opinion.”

"Hopefully, Iran will listen to our opinion about the need for further close cooperation with the agency and the earliest start of serious negotiations on the Iranian nuclear program with the Sextet without preconditions," the ministry said.

Russia is calling on all the sides to return to the table and negotiate a way out of the impasse.
"We confirm that any problems related to the Iranian nuclear program must be resolved exclusively through negotiations and the mutually respectful dialog on the basis of gradual and reciprocal steps,” the ministry statement read. “We are prepared to continue further maximal assistance to this process, in particular, in the course of a plan of the restoration of confidence in the Iranian nuclear program suggested by Russia."

Clearly, the threat remains that emotions and frayed nerves will win out over cool-headed negotiations.

An Iranian nuclear scientist was killed by a bomb placed on his car by a motorcyclist in Tehran on Wednesday, as city officials blamed Israel for the attack.

Fars news agency identified the victim as Mostafa Ahmadi-Roshan, 32, who had supervised a department at Iran's Natanz uranium enrichment facility.

"The bomb was a magnetic one and the same as the ones previously used for the assassination of the scientists, and the work of the Zionists (Israelis)," Fars quoted Deputy Tehran Governor Safarali Baratloo as saying.

Witnesses told Iranian security officials they had seen two people on a motorbike attach the explosive device to the vehicle. As well as the person killed in the car, a pedestrian was also killed. A passenger in the car was gravely injured, they said.

Two bomb attacks on the same day in Tehran in November 2010 killed one nuclear scientist and wounded another.

Meanwhile, Iran sentenced an Iranian-American to death on Monday after finding him guilty of espionage while working for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

Iran’s Revolutionary Court convicted Amir Mirzaei-Hekmati, 28, for “cooperating with the hostile government [the US]…and accusing Iran of terrorism,” according to Iranian news reports.
Key Largo divers discover sub in Mediterranean, solve WWII mystery

A Key Largo-based not-for-profit ocean foundation has uncovered a British World War II submarine that sank 70 years ago in the Mediterranean Sea.

This is the side scan sonar image of the British submarine HMS Olympus (N-35) that a team from the Key Largo-based Aurora Trust discovered a year ago in waters off the coast of Malta. Aurora Trust
The Key Largo-based Aurora Trust, a not-for-profit ocean exploration and education foundation, has solved a World War II British mystery.

On May 8, 1942, under the cover of darkness, the British submarine HMS Olympus (N35) was attempting to leave the British Naval Base in the Grand Harbor of Malta, a tiny island nation just south of Sicily and north of Tripoli that was blockaded by the Germans and Italians.

But the Olympus didn’t get far before striking a mine and sinking.

For nearly 70 years, nobody knew exactly where the 283-foot sub’s final resting spot was in the Mediterranean Sea. Only nine of the 98 men aboard survived, swimming about seven miles in cold water and without lights to guide them due to the wartime blackout.

A year ago, the marine archaeology survey team from the Aurora Trust discovered the sub using side scan sonar. But at the time, they weren’t sure exactly what the image showed. The team, which operates from Malta, returned a few months later with deep-sea robotic vehicles to videotape the wreck — twice as deep as recreational divers can go.

“Sure enough, there was a submarine, sitting on the bottom, with the propeller intact and the hatch open,” said Ian Koblick, who co-founded the trust with fellow ocean explorer Craig Mullen in 2003. “We were pretty sure it was the Olympus because of the configuration of the [eight bow] torpedo tubes, the location and the fact that it was armed.”

The video shows cannons onboard, antennas for the radio, machine guns and a blowout at the bottom of the sub, where the mine struck, Koblick said.

The video also showed the distinctive feature of an Odin class sub: a 4-inch deck gun. It was found slightly elevated, looking ready for action.

Still, it took a few more months of further research before Malta’s Superintendent of Cultural Heritage was satisfied the submarine was indeed the Olympus.

In 2008, a team of technical divers from the United Kingdom and Malta claimed they had discovered the Olympus after identifying features that appeared consistent with the submarine’s layout. But their dive was brief with low visibility.

The technical divers said in a release three years ago they would return to positively identify the wreck, but they never did.

Monday, Malta authorities gave the Aurora Trust permission to announce the discovery. “It took time because they are very protective of their cultural resources,” Koblick said.

A trust executive notified the British Embassy in Washington about the submarine discovery on Tuesday. Plans are being made to show a British Navy Admiral the video footage and provide all information they have about the discovery.

The submarine likely is the resting place for at least a few of the military men who didn’t survive.
“It’s quite a sad story,” Koblick said. “These folks were on their way home via Gibraltar. Some had survived two other submarine sinkings.”

During the height of the Italian and German blockade of Malta, the British Navy battled to keep the island, which is south of Italy, supplied with fuel, food and war supplies. Submarines played a key role.

The Olympus was launched in 1927 and served the Royal Australian Navy in China before being deployed to the Mediterranean to support allied efforts.

The trust’s operation has discovered 24 ancient shipwreck sites, many not seen for 2,000 years or more. It also has uncovered other World War II shipwrecks, more than a dozen World War II airplanes and unexploded military mines.

Malta native Timmy Gambin, the trust’s archaeologist, said three months ago that the team was mapping “the underwater landscape of war.”

The Olympus is the best preserved World War II relic that the trust has found.

“It was like somebody took your toy submarine and put it on the bottom,” Koblick said. “There is hardly any growth.”
The trust is hoping to do a documentary about the discovery.

Electric Boat plans hundreds of new hires

Groton - Electric Boat President John P. Casey said Tuesday he expects to hire hundreds of employees this year and even more in the years ahead to work on a new class of submarines.

EB needs 300 more engineers, Casey said. The majority of the company's engineers and designers are working on a new ballistic-missile submarine to replace the Ohio-class submarines.

If that program and the Virginia-class submarine program stay on track, EB could have trouble finding enough people to fill all of the job openings in the 2020s, Casey said. About 2,000 people work in the trades in Groton, a figure that could double after construction begins on the ballistic-missile submarine in 2019.

Casey, who has led the company since 2003, said the employment outlook was the most positive of his tenure. The company's revenue topped $4 billion last year for the first time, a long sought goal.
But if there are significant cuts to the defense budget, Casey said, "all bets are off."

Legislators who attended EB's annual legislative breakfast meeting at the Mystic Marriott - many of whom were in the audience in previous years when layoffs were announced - said they came away from the meeting feeling cautiously optimistic.

U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, who fought to double the production rate of Virginia-class submarines, said the forecast reflected "all the hard work of the last four to five years."
"We're starting to see the payoff with job growth," Courtney, D-2nd District, said after the presentation.

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal cautioned that while the outlook was encouraging, there are challenges ahead.

The Pentagon is seeking to cut at least $450 billion in spending over 10 years. Another $500 billion in automatic cuts, known as sequestration, could be ordered beginning in January 2013 due to the breakdown of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, unless lawmakers reach some sort of agreement before then.

Blumenthal, D-Conn., said the congressional delegation has to remain vigilant and make sure the "across-the-board slashing" doesn't affect EB.

A new defense strategy, unveiled this month, sets the priorities that will guide decision-makers as they cut the budget. Casey said he was confident that EB's products meet the military's priorities.
The fiscal 2012 budget allocated more than $1 billion for research and development on the ballistic-missile submarine. Casey said he expects a similar amount in the 2013 budget, along with close to $6 billion for the Virginia-class program.

EB is working on the design of a missile compartment to be used in both the Ohio replacement and the United Kingdom's Successor ballistic-missile submarine. The Navy also awarded EB the design contract to modify two older submarines to serve as moored training ships

And, EB has finished the initial concept work and program plan for a module with missile tubes that could be added to the Virginia-class submarines to boost firepower, known as the Virginia Payload Module. Casey said EB could need even more engineers and designers if the Navy requests more detailed design work.

Kenneth DelaCruz, president of the Metal Trades Council, called the forecast "a breath of fresh air."
"The last few years, we have been under constant cutbacks and layoffs," DelaCruz said after the presentation.

EB notified about 40 trades workers on Monday that they will be laid off. The company employs about 11,000 people.

Many employees in the trades have kept their jobs this past year by traveling to work on projects at the naval shipyards, DelaCruz said, but that's "a tough way to live." The number of employees working on projects elsewhere peaked at 420 last year and now stands at 281.

About 150 employees in the trades at EB will be laid off this year, mainly due to a light workload for submarine maintenance and modernization work in the first half of the year, Casey said.
Later in the year, Casey said, the company could bring these employees back and potentially hire "a couple hundred" people to work on the 11th Virginia-class submarine and the submarines arriving at the shipyard for maintenance.

State Sen. Andrew Maynard said he couldn't be happier about the hiring.
"This is about as good of news as we have ever received," Maynard, D-Stonington, said. "I think we've got to start to piece back full employment, job by job. This is very good news as long as the sequestration doesn't occur, and I look forward to a steady increase in employment."
January 12th - On This Date - US Navy Submarine History

1903 - PCU ADDER (later A-2) (SS-3) commissioned USS ADDER at the Holland Company, New Suffolk, Long Island, NY; Ens. Frank L. Pinney commanding.

1944 - USS POMPANO (SS-181) struck from the Naval Vessel Register. Pompano earned seven battle stars for World War II service.

1945 - USS SWORDFISH (SS-193), under Cmdr. K.E. Montross, left Pearl Harbor on December 22, 1944, to conduct her thirteenth patrol in the vicinity of Nansei Shoto. She topped off with fuel at Midway on December 26th and left that day for her area. In addition to her regular patrol, SWORDFISH was to conduct photographic reconnaissance of Okinawa in preparation for the Okinawa Campaign.
On January 2nd, SWORDFISH was ordered to delay carrying out her assigned tasks in order to keep her clear of the Nansei Shoto area until completion of carrier based air strikes which were scheduled. She was directed to patrol the general vicinity until further orders were received. In the last communication received from SWORDFISH, she acknowledged receipt of these orders on January 3rd.
On January 9, 1945, SWORDFISH was directed to proceed to the vicinity of Okinawa to carry out her special mission. It was estimated that the task would not take more than seven days after arrival on station, which she should have reached on January 11th. Upon completion of her mission, SWORDFISH was to proceed to Saipan or to Midway if she was unable to transmit by radio. Since neither place had seen her by 15 February and repeated attempts to raise her by radio had failed, she was reported as presumed lost on that date.
In the report of her loss, mention was made that USS KETE (SS-369), which at the time was patrolling the vicinity of Okinawa, reported that on the morning of January 12th she contacted a submarine by radar. It was believed that contact was with SWORDFISH. Four hours later KETE heard heavy depth charging from this area, and it was believed that this attack might have been the cause of SWORDFISH’s loss.
Japanese information on antisubmarine attacks does not mention the attack heard by KETE on January 12 and records no attacks in which SWORDFISH is likely to have been the victim. However, it is now known that there were many mines planted around Okinawa, since the Japanese were expecting al Allied invasion of that Island. The majority of the mines were planted close in. It is considered about equally likely that SWORDFISH was sunk by depth charge attack before she reached Okinawa for her special mission or that she was lost to a mine at that place.
SWORDFISH, in the twelve patrols before her fatal thirteenth, sank twenty-one ships, amounting to 113,100 tons, and damaged an additional eight, totaling 45,800 tons.
USS SWORDFISH (SS-193) earned eight battle stars for World War II service.
Eighty-nine men were lost with SWORDFISH that day.
She was the forty-fifth U.S. submarine loss of World War II.

1963 - USS PLUNGER (SSN-595) was underway and passing Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard.

1963 - PCU JOHN ADAMS (SSBN-620) launched at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Kittery, ME; sponsored by Mrs. Abigail Adams Manny, great, great, great granddaughter of John Quincy Adams.

1963 - PCU NATHAN HALE (SSBN-623) launched at the Electric Boat Division, General Dynamics Corporation, Groton, CT; sponsored by Mrs. George W. Anderson, Jr.

1971 - Ex-POMFRET (SS-391) disposed of through the Security Assistance Program (SAP), sold to Turkey.

1974 - PCU RICHARD B. RUSSELL (SSN-687) launched at Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company, Newport News, VA; sponsored by Mrs. Herman E. Talmadge, wife of Senator Herman E. Talmadge.

1985 - PCU ALASKA (SSBN-732) launched at the Electric Boat Division, General Dynamics Corporation, Groton, CT; sponsored by Mrs. Catherine Ann Stevens.
January 12th - On This Date

1943 X7 Submarine HMS X7 completed
1909 C32 Submarine HMS C32 laid down
1935 Severn Submarine HMS Severn completed
1937 Trident Submarine HMS Trident laid down
1922 HMS Victory HMS Victory was taken out of service afloat, entering Number 2 Dock in Portsmouth, the world's oldest drydock
1942 HMS Unbeaten HMS Unbeaten torpedoes and sinks the German submarine U-374 south-west of Cape Spartivento, Calabria, Italy.
1943 Unshaken HMS Unshaken attacks the Italian merchant Campania north-west of Marettimo Island, Italy. All torpedoes missed.
1944 HMS Unruly HMS Unruly sinks a Greek sailing vessel with gunfire north of Syros Island, Greece.
1950 HMS Truculent HMS Truculent sank with the loss of 64 lives

On 12th January 1950 HMS Truculent sailed from Chatham to carry out trials, having just completed a refit; in addition to her normal compliment she was carrying an additional 18 dockyard workers. The trials complete she set a course for Sheerness, which would take her through the Thames Estuary hat night. At 7 o'clock a ship showing three lights appeared ahead in the channel. It was decided that the ship must be stationary and as Truculent could not pass to the starboard side without running aground, the order was given to turn to port. At once the situation became clear as the cargo ship Divina came out of the darkness: the extra light indicated that she was carrying explosives. A collision was unavoidable. The two vessels remained locked together for a few seconds before the submarine sank.
January 11th - On This Date - Australian Navy

1824                The following monthly rates of pay for naval officers were fixed by the Admiralty:- £61 7s 4d (1st rate ship); £23 0s 4d (sloop); First Lieutenant £11 10s 0d (1st rate ship); £9 4s 0d (sloop); Lieutenant £9 4s 0d (1st rate ship); £7 13s 4d (sloop); Master £ 13 0s 8d (1st rate ship); £7 13s 4d (sloop); Midshipman £2 8s 0d (all ships); Chaplain £12 5s 4d (all ships); Surgeon £12 5s 4d (all ships); Assistant Surgeon £9 4s 0d (all ships); Purser £7 0s 0d (all ships); Second Master £5 9s 4d (1st rate ship); £4 14s 0d (6th rate ship). 

1843                LEUT Charles B. Yule, RN, of HMS BRAMBLE, discovered and named Heron Island.

1872                The British Prime Minister, Mr Gladstone, proposed the use of HMVS VICTORIA, (survey vessel), for policing blackbirding in the South Seas. 

1930                The Australian Government agreed to the transfer of HMA Ships PARRAMATTA and SWAN, (torpedo boat destroyers), to the NSW Government for use as accommodation ships for civil prisoners. The vessels were never put to this use. The State Opposition Leader, Mr J. T. Lang, moved a successful recission vote in Parliament, claiming the convict system had been abolished in NSW in 1842. 

1945                Twenty German POWs escaped via a tunnel from the officers' POW camp at Dhuringle, VIC. One of the escapees was CAPT Theodore Detmers, who was the Commanding Officer of the raider KORMORAN. Detmers was recaptured on 20 January, some 32 km from the camp. He was sentenced to 28 days solitary confinement in the camp

1965                RADM T. K. Morrison, CBE, DSC, was appointed Flag Officer Commanding Her Majesty's Australian Fleet.

1969                The Attack class patrol boat, HMAS BUCCANEER, was commissioned. BUCCANEER was laid down in Evans Deakin Yard, QLD, in June 1968, and launched on 14 September 1968. BUCCANEER was decommissioned on 27 July 1984.

1991                HMAS PARRAMATTA, (destroyer escort), was decommissioned after nearly 30 years of service. During her career she had been the escort ship for the Royal Yacht BRITANNIA during Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II's visit in 1963, and had also conducted escort ship duties to Vietnam in 1968 and 1971.
January 11th - On This Date - USN Submarine Service

1901 - PCU SHARK (later A-7) (SS-8) keel laid as SHARK at Crescent Shipyard, Elizabethport, NJ.

1919 - PCU S-32 (SS-137) launched at Union Iron Works, San Francisco, CA; sponsored by Miss    Margaret Tynan.

1923 - PCU S-11 (SS-116) commissioned USS S-11 (SS-116) at Portsmouth Navy Yard, Kittery, ME; Lt. Wilder D. Baker commanding.

1934 - USS S-34 (SS-139) accidental signal cartridge explosion, one died.

1946 - while en route to Panama, USS ARGONAUT (SS-475) collided with USS Honolulu (CL-48) off the eastern coast between New York and Philadelphia during a heavy fog. Both ships sustained minor damage and ARGONAUT continued on to Panama.

1952 - PCU BONITA (ex-K3/SSK-3) (SS-552) commissioned USS K-3 (SSK-3) at Mare Island Naval Shipyard, Vallejo, CA; Lt. Comdr. Eric E. Hopley commanding. She reported to the Pacific Fleet.

1958 - the first Fleet Ballistic Missile flight test was conducted at Point Magu, CA.

1965 - USS BARB (SSN-596) collided with USS SARGO (SSN-583) while at 300 feet, 50 miles from Oahu.