Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Subs a top threat in PACOM – no kidding!!

In a painful-to-read puff piece in Stars and Stripes, Jennifer H. Svan gives Admiral Roughead a head-to-toe baby oil massage with a happy ending.

Under the heading Pacific Fleet commander: Sub threats top priority, this is written as if someone just discovered that the coastal regions of the NW Pacific are awash in small submarines, and by golly, they are hard buggers to find and kill. Lets watch the loving hands work.
Pacific Fleet Commander Adm. Gary Roughead said he’s made anti-submarine warfare, or ASW, his biggest priority since assuming command this summer.
So, it hasn’t been? What other threat is more likely to send a HVU to the bottom of the sea west of Guam, south of Alaska and north of the Philippines? When was ASW not a priority? Why was it not a priority? Who made that decision in the past, and who is going to be held accountable?
Improvements in underwater detection technology make the job easier but it still takes coordinated effort by the Navy’s ASW triad: helicopters and P-3 sub hunters in the air, ships on the surface and the Navy’s own submarine force.
Improvements since when? Your standard issue fleet P-3, SH-60 and surface ship have acoustic technology that date back to the 80s. Can anyone say AN/UYS-1? For Pete’s sake, the Canadians and British acoustic systems are two generation ahead of ours. We have some “neat” stuff out there, but not in any numbers to make a difference or that can be put in production after a war warning. Yep, our stuff is cool, but I don’t call two decade old technology improvements. Then again, you can put radial tires on a 57 Chevy and call that an improvement, so sure, it is an accurate statement. Don’t believe the PPT, go with what displaces water and makes shadows on the ramp.
.. he implemented “a cyclic approach” to training, using more frequent quarterly assessments. “We’re going to say, ‘OK, what all are we doing in ASW? What objectives did we have? Did we realize those and then what are we going to be doing in the next quarter?’”

The cycles include training exercises with other navies and integrating new technologies.

Among them is Composable Force Net, which integrates and displays multiple sources of information quickly for faster decision-making, Roughead said. It gives submarines an immediate view of something detected by a plane, for example.
CFN. Another acronym, buzz-worded PowerPoint improvement. No change in FUNDEMENTALS. Every Fleet LT just shook his head and laughed.
ASW even is cropping up in other types of training. During this summer’s Singapore phase of Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training — a general naval training exercise — Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light 45 pilots had the rare opportunity to hunt a real Singaporean navy submarine.

Helicopter pilots usually hunt subs solely in simulators, said pilot Lt. j.g. Amy Sadeghzadeh.
Rare only because we choose it to be rare. Amy spends more time a quarter spelling her name phonetically to others than learning how to kill a submarine. That is because her leadership chooses other priorities; priorities like spending over $400 million on a travel system that doesn’t work and duplicates existing COTS programs. If you want to get pissed read this and listen to this about DTS.
Roughead said that type of training opportunity, with more or larger-scale ASW-specific training, will help the U.S. Navy remain dominant. “Make no mistake, we are very good at anti-submarine warfare,” Roughead said. “But as we look at how capability is growing in the world, we can’t simply sit here” and be satisfied with that.
Why are we "sitting here?" Who made that decision, and, again, where is the accountability? When gross tonnage lies at the bottom of the sea of your choosing, who is going to stand in front of the Senate and make excuses?

Admiral, the only thing close to real ASW training to be found in the Pacific that will support an OPLAN is RIMPAC. The Japanese, South Korean and odd Aussie SS are a godsend. We need real targets, regular periods that don’t involve a sled, an augmented LA, a predictable course full of REGEN points, or a damn simulator. You cannot do anything more than basic procedure practice in a SIM. We believe our own BS if we think we satisfy real readiness in a SIM. It just isn’t true.

Here is heresy – we are proving that the nuke SSN mafia “all nuclear” line is full of holes. It is nice to have a Swedish sub tooling around, but where is our Submarine Squadron full of US SS? Key West will take them back. The old NB Charleston has room. Mayport is nice. You want to kill a SS, you had better practice, a lot, on the real thing.

And Admiral, tell them to shove it when they pull the “it takes forever to deploy a SS operationally” line of crap. We really need them for training; the OPS side is a nice benefit. They know you employ an SS/SSK like an SS/SSK – not an SSN. If we really didn’t need the capabilities of an SS, then why did we have to use a (now gone) Danish SS in OIF? .. and one of the last Brit O-boats in Gulf War 1 (with a cool paint job) doing things we can't talk about. Nuke subs are the crown jewel, but can't we afford a ruby or sapphire to go around it?

Keep the sub yards busy building a couple SS a year for us and a few select allies. Heck, save money and license build the German Type 212 or one of the Dutch subs. The Aussies worked out the kinks on the Collins – license build that. Japan is changing their laws all the time; use their latest design if they will sell it to us. We will have a pack of SS to play with, and use if we need to.

While we are at it, let's go secure and talk about hard kill……..

UPDATE: Well, all sorts of churn on this critter. I should read Bubblehead every day, he was on this a bit before me here, and has a good follow-on post here. PigBoatSailor is using the same hymnal as I am - mostly, here, and links to a great you-won't-read-this-in-Groton article here. Make sure and check out the comments for more give and take.

Oh, in case anyone is too binary about China and NORK, I do not believe they are the Red Banner Fleet full of perfect subs. You don't need that. Look again at the '71 Indo-Paki and Falklands conflict. It doesn't take much: you have to plan for that one good skipper in the shitty boat that can make things happen. Don't underestimate your enemy - especially one in a submarine. All David had was as sling and a stone - Goliath had nice armor, a sword, a shield, probably a lance. Wargame that.

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