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Posted: 10/24/2004 4:54:54 AM EST
Looks like the Silent Service has finally caught up to the digital video age.


www.clickondetroit.com/technology/3844865/detail.html

Newest Fast-Attack Subs Have No Periscopes

Submarines Use Digital Cameras Instead

POSTED: 3:42 PM EDT October 23, 2004
UPDATED: 10:51 PM EDT October 23, 2004

NORFOLK, Va. -- With bells ringing and horns blaring, the Navy on Saturday commissioned the lead ship of its latest class of fast-attack submarines specifically designed for post-Cold War security threats.

The $2.2 billion, nuclear-powered USS Virginia differs from other submarines because it can not only roam the deep blue ocean but also get close to shore in shallow water, which Navy officials say is important in fighting terrorism.

Lynda Robb Johnson, daughter of President Lyndon Johnson and wife of former Sen. Charles Robb, D-Va., gave the traditional order to "man our ship and bring her to life" in ceremonies at Norfolk Naval Station, the world's largest Navy base.

"Aye, aye, ma'am," the crew of about 130 responded. They then raced up both ends of the sub and lined up on deck as a Navy band played "Anchors Aweigh."

The 377-foot-long sub is the first to be built without a periscope, using a high-resolution digital camera instead. That meant the control room, which always had to be directly below the periscope, could be moved to a larger space in the sub's lower deck.

The Virginia also can launch unmanned undersea vehicles. Other improvements include a new computerized autopilot designed to reduce stress on the crew and a reconfigurable torpedo room that can hold extra beds for special operations forces.

In his keynote address, Sen. John Warner, R-Va., said the Virginia will help lead the fight against terrorism.

"We cannot ever blink. We cannot ever flinch. We cannot yield," said Warner, a former Navy secretary. "This ship will very definitely play a role in that war on terror."

The sub is the first of 10 Virginia-class submarines scheduled to be built through a partnership between Northrop Grumman Newport News and General Dynamics Electric Boat. The class is projected to have 30 subs.

First lady Laura Bush christened the USS Texas, the second sub in the class, at the Newport News shipyard in July.

Ralph Folger, 81, of Troy, N.Y., was among more than 4,000 invited guests at the ceremonies Saturday. He served on three subs during World War II.

"It's the newest and latest thing out and completely different from anything I've ever served on," Folger said. "It's spectacular."

Crew members were excited about the commissioning.

"It really means that we are joining the ranks of the rest of the warships," said Lt. Cmdr. Luis Molina, 34, of Jacksonville, N.C., who will serve aboard the Virginia. "You're going from a big hunk of steel that was built by the shipyard to a ship of the line."
Link Posted: 10/24/2004 4:56:20 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/24/2004 4:57:27 AM EST by Zaphod]
Does anyone see a repetition of the "Our planes don't need guns anymore..." scenario?

Simplicty has it's virtues, you know.....
Link Posted: 10/24/2004 4:58:17 AM EST

Originally Posted By Zaphod:
Does anyone see a repetition of the "Our planes don't need guns anymore..." scenario?




Tell that to Kodak.

Sgtar15
Link Posted: 10/24/2004 5:05:16 AM EST
Link Posted: 10/24/2004 5:07:13 AM EST
I hate to question the .gov, but do we really need mutli billion dollar killer subs anymore? There's not much of a Russian nuke sub force to hunt these days. I love how they mention the new sub can be used in the fight against terrorism, but I suspect our existing subs can do that too.
Link Posted: 10/24/2004 5:10:18 AM EST
What fun is there in being a sub captain if you can't say "up scope"?????

GunLvr
Link Posted: 10/24/2004 5:13:33 AM EST

Originally Posted By Phil_A_Steen:
I hate to question the .gov, but do we really need mutli billion dollar killer subs anymore? There's not much of a Russian nuke sub force to hunt these days. I love how they mention the new sub can be used in the fight against terrorism, but I suspect our existing subs can do that too.




Dont forget about the Chinese. They will be a force to deal with in the future as they will have to expand to take care of their population needs.
Link Posted: 10/24/2004 5:13:40 AM EST
Link Posted: 10/24/2004 5:18:18 AM EST

Originally Posted By Phil_A_Steen:
I hate to question the .gov, but do we really need mutli billion dollar killer subs anymore? There's not much of a Russian nuke sub force to hunt these days. I love how they mention the new sub can be used in the fight against terrorism, but I suspect our existing subs can do that too.



The sub my son is on, the USS Cheyenne, fired the first shots of Operation Iraqi Freedom by letting go of all 24 Tomahawks they had on board. These subs also get SEAL teams in close, perform a bunch of intelligence gathering tasks and a lot of stuff we will never know about.
Link Posted: 10/24/2004 5:21:19 AM EST

Originally Posted By Phil_A_Steen:
I hate to question the .gov, but do we really need mutli billion dollar killer subs anymore? There's not much of a Russian nuke sub force to hunt these days. I love how they mention the new sub can be used in the fight against terrorism, but I suspect our existing subs can do that too.



The US Submarine force is responsible for a ridiculous amount of Intelligence-Survelliance-Recon (ISR). You can't sneak up on people's coast lines with surface ships. Submarines do MUCH more than just hunt other submarines.
Link Posted: 10/24/2004 5:22:22 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/24/2004 5:23:16 AM EST by chrome1]

Originally Posted By Phil_A_Steen:
I hate to question the .gov, but do we really need mutli billion dollar killer subs anymore? There's not much of a Russian nuke sub force to hunt these days. I love how they mention the new sub can be used in the fight against terrorism, but I suspect our existing subs can do that too.



Well ................

Look at it this way . It's less then half the price of a Seawolf class .
Link Posted: 10/24/2004 5:27:40 AM EST
While I can see the idea of no scope being similar to no gun in an aircraft, there's a lot to be said for the idea.

Not having to have a big assed penetration in the hull for starters. The ability to have much higher resoultions and multispectral input. Mutiple redundancy would be a no-brainer as well.

You think the idea of no scope on a sub is "different"? We're going to be seeing no windows on aircraft flight decks in a few years. The synthetic vision studies that NASA has been conducting have shown that you can generate more than enough information via multiple sensor sources to allow full control of aircraft from pushback to wheels chocked without ever looking out a window.

Most likely to be used on new aerospace craft and next generation SST's first as the weight penalty for having glass that can stand up to very high speed flight is excessive (as in THOUSANDS of pounds) plus the aerodynamic benefit of making the nose of the craft much more streamlined.
Link Posted: 10/24/2004 5:30:15 AM EST

Originally Posted By DoubleFeed:

Originally Posted By Zaphod:
Does anyone see a repetition of the "Our planes don't need guns anymore..." scenario?

Simplicty has it's virtues, you know.....

Exactly what I was thinking.



What do you think is more simple, a complex periscope assembly with lenses, mirrors and a sealing system or a remote station that requires none of that? This is a GOOD change.
Link Posted: 10/24/2004 5:31:03 AM EST
That is kind of misleading. It DOES have a periscope, but it is digital instead of using optical lenses. Welcome to the 21 century.

The control room on 688's was packed into the upper deck, and sonar/weapons were packed in around it. THis allows a bit of flexibility in layout.

Link Posted: 10/24/2004 5:32:37 AM EST

Originally Posted By DoubleFeed:

Originally Posted By Zaphod:
Does anyone see a repetition of the "Our planes don't need guns anymore..." scenario?

Simplicty has it's virtues, you know.....

Exactly what I was thinking.





Semi-auto AR15 rifles are more complicated then Mauser bolt actions.

SGatr15
Link Posted: 10/24/2004 5:32:42 AM EST

Originally Posted By DoubleFeed:

Originally Posted By Zaphod:
Does anyone see a repetition of the "Our planes don't need guns anymore..." scenario?

Simplicty has it's virtues, you know.....

Exactly what I was thinking.



I would have to disagree. The hull setup is actually MORE complicated with a physical periscope, and the bridge is far more vulnerable. This setup is better IMHO.
Link Posted: 10/24/2004 6:27:30 AM EST
Wow, looks like people didn't actually read the article. There is a periscope; it's just digital. The way I've been told submariners practice they use a camera anyway. They do a quick sweep with periscope, which already has a camera on it, and then play back the tape. Looks like they are just eliminating the hull penetrations and trying to simplify things.
Link Posted: 10/24/2004 7:24:56 AM EST
Well that shoots down my hopes of being for sub captain and being able to sink a ship through my scope....guess I'll just have to watch WWII movies like "Run silent, run deep."
Link Posted: 10/24/2004 7:41:12 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/24/2004 7:53:07 AM EST by Zaphod]
Call me a gruff old traditionalist, but I want to be able to see outside my boat when the reactor SCRAMS and the power spike fries the electronics to the whiz-bang camera.

I'm not advocating ditching the camera, but I don't like being 100% dependent upon an electronic solution.

ETA: One thing: I've not seen the reliability data on the camera system. Knowing how anal NAVSEA is about ship designs, I would venture to guess that it's pretty damned reliable if they have allowed it to replace a standard scope.

However, in the absence of that data, I will remain skeptical.

You have to admit, though, that Gene Rodenberry was right again. "On Screen" is going to replace "Up scope."

Bummer, in a way....
Link Posted: 10/24/2004 8:23:10 AM EST
For those who are curious, naval scientists are working on non-penetrating periscopes.

NTM
Link Posted: 10/24/2004 10:16:54 AM EST

Originally Posted By Phil_A_Steen:
I hate to question the .gov, but do we really need mutli billion dollar killer subs anymore? There's not much of a Russian nuke sub force to hunt these days. I love how they mention the new sub can be used in the fight against terrorism, but I suspect our existing subs can do that too.



One phrase: PRC
Link Posted: 10/24/2004 10:22:48 AM EST
BUIS ? Or, in this case, BUPS
Link Posted: 10/24/2004 11:57:20 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/24/2004 11:58:34 AM EST by Skibane]

Originally Posted By SJSAMPLE:

What do you think is more simple, a complex periscope assembly with lenses, mirrors and a sealing system or a remote station that requires none of that? This is a GOOD change.



I'm assuming that recent optical periscopes also included some sort of image-stabilization schme - That alone had to add considerable complexity. Plus, video cameras and other optical sensors can be miniaturized to the point where several redundant backups could be packaged in the same space as one optical periscope.

Considering what they can do with digital image processing these days, this sounds like a long-overdue change.
Link Posted: 10/24/2004 12:30:42 PM EST
Why does it still have a conning tower?

Wouldn't not tower sub be quicker and stealthier?
Link Posted: 10/24/2004 12:35:01 PM EST

Originally Posted By OLY-M4gery:
Why does it still have a conning tower?

Wouldn't not tower sub be quicker and stealthier?



Sails not only put the crew in a higher position with which to navigate the sub while surfaced, they also provide roll resistance.

That said, I don't know how small of a sail would be required to provide stability. Interesting question.

Been a loooooooong time since I looked at my NARC books....
Link Posted: 10/24/2004 12:39:06 PM EST

Originally Posted By Zaphod:

Originally Posted By OLY-M4gery:
Why does it still have a conning tower?

Wouldn't not tower sub be quicker and stealthier?



Sails not only put the crew in a higher position with which to navigate the sub while surfaced, they also provide roll resistance.

That said, I don't know how small of a sail would be required to provide stability. Interesting question.

Been a loooooooong time since I looked at my NARC books....



Yeah, I was thinking a very short tower might still be a good thing. I also thought some stability was because the bottom of the boat is weighted.

With a digital persicope, couldn't they crank that up on the surface, and have "all eyes" on the display in the command center, watching and navigating off those? Esp. if there are multiple digital cameras coverinh 360 degrees?

Link Posted: 10/24/2004 12:45:02 PM EST
Thinking outside the box a little may not be bad.

Seattle just built a $165 million library. The last Library was a homeless shelter. This one will be the same. Nobody lives downtown, our kids all have the internet everywhere, a library may not be needed for research and homework, pleasure readers can pay their own bill.


This may not be totally bad, I guess I would ask some sub guys what do they need from the old periscope that they cant get from the new one, and what risk does a periscope have that is now gone???

Link Posted: 10/24/2004 1:03:11 PM EST
Not bad. But I'm still waiting for them to put SAMs on a sub. Yeah, I suppose nobody's likely to be running antisub aircraft against us, but it would still be really cool.
Link Posted: 10/24/2004 7:52:16 PM EST
The latest Soviet SSNs had pretty squat sails, but they were pretty long.

Link Posted: 10/24/2004 8:04:52 PM EST
anyone know where I can find a list of active duty submarines and what they are doing (not in detail of course) My Dad helped build a submarine years ago at the defense plant he worked at. (now that plant is shut down thanx to bill clinton )

The sub was designated the USS Ashville and was christened and first set sail at newport news VA.
Link Posted: 10/24/2004 8:19:19 PM EST

Originally Posted By mace:
Not bad. But I'm still waiting for them to put SAMs on a sub. Yeah, I suppose nobody's likely to be running antisub aircraft against us, but it would still be really cool.



Not a subguy, but me thinks the best way to get out of a situation with a subhunter is to evade, not shoot it down. They normally aren't alone.
Link Posted: 10/24/2004 8:28:06 PM EST

Originally Posted By Fly-Navy:

Originally Posted By mace:
Not bad. But I'm still waiting for them to put SAMs on a sub. Yeah, I suppose nobody's likely to be running antisub aircraft against us, but it would still be really cool.hr


Not a subguy, but me thinks the best way to get out of a situation with a subhunter is to evade, not shoot it down. They normally aren't alone.


That reminds me of a book I read about an American fighter pilot in WW2, North African theater. He was flying along when he spotted a lone Me-109. He was about to turn in on the attack, when he remembered some advice a departing British vet told him: "Chap, where there is one, there is usually two." Remembering this, he aborted the attack and continued to observe the enemy plane. Shortly thereafter, a second Me-109 came into view above and behind the first one. He would have put himself in a perfect position to get killed if he would have carried out his initial attack.
Link Posted: 10/24/2004 8:31:12 PM EST

Originally Posted By Zaphod:
Does anyone see a repetition of the "Our planes don't need guns anymore..." scenario?

Simplicty has it's virtues, you know.....



They have an electronic scope on a mast, in place of the optical periscope
Link Posted: 10/24/2004 8:34:31 PM EST

Originally Posted By Phil_A_Steen:
I hate to question the .gov, but do we really need mutli billion dollar killer subs anymore? There's not much of a Russian nuke sub force to hunt these days. I love how they mention the new sub can be used in the fight against terrorism, but I suspect our existing subs can do that too.



This is a 'modular' killer sub that can be configured to sneak SEAL teams in close one day, and be on patrol off the Chinese coast a few months later...

In one configuration, they are specially designed for the deployment of covert ops teams, for example...
Link Posted: 10/24/2004 8:37:11 PM EST

Originally Posted By mace:
Not bad. But I'm still waiting for them to put SAMs on a sub. Yeah, I suppose nobody's likely to be running antisub aircraft against us, but it would still be really cool.



It's POINTLESS

SAMs require guidance, which requires exposing the sub to detection...

Remember: anything that sticks up out of the water can be detected... The radar cross section of a missile pod would be huge. And a VLS-type radar guided missile requires running a radar, which is a huge 'KICK ME HARD' sign as far as subs go...

The Brits tried putting 'Blowpipe' wire-guided AA missiles on one of their subs, guided thru the periscope, I think...

Don't know if they ever used them...
Link Posted: 10/24/2004 9:10:02 PM EST
Some of the Russian boats have mast-mounted SAMs. Whilst a helicopter probably won't be alone, if you're in the middle of the water and a long-range subhunter like a P-3 or Alizee comes along, shooting it down may give you enough 'breathing room' to get out of the immediate datum and give you a much greater chance of evading everyone else that comes along.

NTM
Link Posted: 10/25/2004 2:37:03 AM EST

Originally Posted By Zaphod:
Does anyone see a repetition of the "Our planes don't need guns anymore..." scenario?

Simplicty has it's virtues, you know.....



Aircraft gunsights aren't exactly optical anymore either. Good move I think. USN culture is not innovative enough. Was this sub designed by one of the defense conglomerates that formerly specialized in aircraft design?
Link Posted: 10/25/2004 3:38:09 AM EST
on of the other nice things about a non-optical periscope is that it frees up some real estate for other sensors and antennas.
Link Posted: 10/25/2004 7:14:16 AM EST

Originally Posted By Fly-Navy:

Originally Posted By mace:
Not bad. But I'm still waiting for them to put SAMs on a sub. Yeah, I suppose nobody's likely to be running antisub aircraft against us, but it would still be really cool.



Not a subguy, but me thinks the best way to get out of a situation with a subhunter is to evade, not shoot it down. They normally aren't alone.



I was thinking of an overall strategy where if you're being chased by aircraft, you could pop up, fire off a quick missile or two, then duck back down and run. You wouldn't be making a serious effort to shoot down all the chasing aircraft, just letting them know that they can't operate with total impunity against you.

Of course, they would have to be heat-seeking. You obviously can't have a radar source operating on the sub for them to track onto, and the missiles would probably be huge if you put active radar on them.
Link Posted: 10/25/2004 7:46:28 AM EST

Originally Posted By mace:

Of course, they would have to be heat-seeking. You obviously can't have a radar source operating on the sub for them to track onto, and the missiles would probably be huge if you put active radar on them.



AMRAAM? Seems to me an AIM-120 could be (maybe has been) reconfigured to the SAM role. Fire-and-forget and decent range ought to equal some survivability for the dolphins...
Link Posted: 10/25/2004 7:58:29 AM EST
Tell me they haven't gotten rid of the screendoor! Blasphemers...
Link Posted: 10/25/2004 9:09:53 AM EST
You guys are missing the point. You don't put a sail up to provide roll stability. You add a series of humps for that. If nothing else, we scare the bejeezers out of the enemy when they think Nessie is attacking............

SRM
Link Posted: 10/25/2004 9:19:33 AM EST

Originally Posted By goalie35:

Originally Posted By mace:

Of course, they would have to be heat-seeking. You obviously can't have a radar source operating on the sub for them to track onto, and the missiles would probably be huge if you put active radar on them.



AMRAAM? Seems to me an AIM-120 could be (maybe has been) reconfigured to the SAM role. Fire-and-forget and decent range ought to equal some survivability for the dolphins...



AMRAAM requires datalink guidance from a host radar up untill it reaches the 'terminal phase' of it's flight...

And heat-seeking SAMs have a short enough range that if the sub can get one off, the P-3 or whatever can get a torpedo off too...
Link Posted: 10/25/2004 3:16:35 PM EST
Not that I think putting an AIM-120 on a sub is either a good or doable idea, but....

The AIM-120 does not need need offboard guidance. It can Maddog off the rails. Dangerous. Fraught with peril, but a feature nontheless.


Originally Posted By Dave_A:

Originally Posted By goalie35:

Originally Posted By mace:

Of course, they would have to be heat-seeking. You obviously can't have a radar source operating on the sub for them to track onto, and the missiles would probably be huge if you put active radar on them.



AMRAAM? Seems to me an AIM-120 could be (maybe has been) reconfigured to the SAM role. Fire-and-forget and decent range ought to equal some survivability for the dolphins...



AMRAAM requires datalink guidance from a host radar up untill it reaches the 'terminal phase' of it's flight...

And heat-seeking SAMs have a short enough range that if the sub can get one off, the P-3 or whatever can get a torpedo off too...

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