Friday, March 26, 2010

Korean naval skirmish - ROK Navy ship sunk


First reports are ...well ... first reports. I'll watch
this during the day and update as needed.

My first thoughts - damage control training and abandon ship drills - though DC won't do you much good on a ship this size on the receiving end of a heavy weight torpedo.
A South Korean naval vessel with more than 100 aboard was sinking on Friday in waters near North Korea and Seoul was investigating whether it was hit in a torpedo attack by the North, South Korean media said.

Broadcaster SBS said many South Korean sailors on the stricken vessel were feared dead.

South Korea's YTN TV network said the government was investigating whether the sinking was due to a torpedo attack by the North, and Yonhap news agency said the Seoul government had convened an emergency meeting of security-related ministers.

Yonhap also reported a South Korean navy ship firing toward an unidentified vessel to the north.

North Korea in recent weeks has said it was bolstering its defenses in response to joint South Korean-U.S. military drills that were held this month.
...
The ship — reported to have 104 crew on board — began sinking off the coast of South Korean-controlled Baengnyeong Island close to North Korea around 10:45 p.m. (1345 GMT, 9:45 a.m. EDT), an official at the Joint Chiefs of Staff said, speaking on condition of anonymity in line with department policy.

He said the exact cause was not immediately clear. South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported an explosion in the rear of the 1,200-ton ship, but the official said he could not confirm the report.
As I was typing this - reports are now that it has sunk.
There are no details on the cause of the explosion but South Korean officials are not ruling out a possible torpedo attack from North Korea, the reports said. Another South Korean Navy vessel that was patrolling nearby fired at unidentified ships to the north of the area, according to an online report from the Korean Broadcasting System. So far, 54 of the 104 crew on the 1,200-ton Cheonan have been rescued, the reports said. South Korean security officials have convened an emergency meeting to discuss the developments.
The CHEONAN is a POHANG class corvette.
- Displacement: 1,350 tons
- Armament: 2 OTO Mellara(76mm)/62 compact, 2 Breda 40mm/70, 4 RGM-84D Harpoon SSM, 2 MM-38 Exocet, MK-46 mod 2
- Sonar : Signall PHS-32 Hull mounter sonar
- Speed: 32 knots
- Range: 5,000 at 15 knots
Usually has ~95 personnel on board.

Could be a torpedo - I guess. They do this.




Bubblehead is tracking too. Wonder his thoughts on the Soviet era torps the NORKs have?
UPDATE: Where do we stand now? Well, as most things involving the Hermit Kingdom and their brothers to the south - details are slow coming.

This update helps - what do I think?

Well - let's look to Ockham's Razor. Torp? Maybe. Mine? Probably. Internal explosion? Maybe .... but would the South Koreans admit to that if it was? Well....

97 comments:

Byron said...

Sounds like a wake homer.

sid said...

Now see!

If the LCS were there, it could have used its superior speed and visibility to evade the threat!

Because its transformational...

Heck, the NORKs would've thought twice about firing on it  because it just looks so. cool!

(not sure how it would hear a torpedo without onboard sonar though...'specially one that wouldn't get quenched at 40+ knots)

YNSN said...

shit...  Glad I chose not to take my R&R to S. Korea.

doc75 said...

It is interesting that CNN.com has not bothered to put this as one of their top stories.  Only in "Latest News".  If the NORKs did torpedo this ship, it is a heck of a lot more important than a Mississippi prom.

Mark W said...

I'll bet that a weapons locker blew. If it was a torp, would there have been any survivors in a ship that small? The frigate in the video is much bigger and it still broke her back on impact.

sid said...

They are hung over from all the nauseating glee they've openly shown since the passage of the health care bill.

Also, sure is ironic that the news broke right after the Great O's announcement of the new nuke agreement with Russia.

The guy is beginning to exhibit some troubling wannabe Messiah traits, looks to me.

Funny how anytime there is a khumbyah mentality afloat, somebody comes along and pops the bubble...

Hopefully a little reality check is underway at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave....

sid said...

As the good CDR said...First reports are first reports.

Don't fall into the currently all too popular trap believing that any hit must be a catastrophically lethal one...

Oh, and if this were an LCS...scratch not only one corvette... but also a main MIW asset in the bargain....

sid said...

Mark would caution against the currently all too popular notion that any hit on a ship must be a catastrophically lethal one...

Ships in that size range have survived torpedo hits before...

Story here...

YNSN said...

Even an old torp would rip a 1,200t ship to pieces wouldn't?  As in there would be almost no survivors?

DeltaBravo said...

When I saw him and Mzzz Hillary grinning I muted it.  Any agreement between them and Russia (Putin) means we got hosed.  We'll cut our weapons by 1/3.  They won't.  Or something like that. 

CV60 said...

Initial reports are that it hit in the aft part of the ship, which would be consistent with a wake homer

Spade said...

Also, who knows what kind of condition the NK torps would be in.

Mark W said...

Sid - point taken. Who knows, they might have struck a mine from 1951...(and yes, I am kidding). I seem to remember reading something a zillion years ago that wake homers wouldn't cause catastrophic damage, so it might fit this scenario quite well given the size of the ship.

sid said...

presuming it was a torpedo and not a mine...

Mac said...

According to Wikipedia(yes that is the caveat) the Norks sank a PT coat back in June 2002. Yes, 170 vessel with unknown but small causualties is less "significant " than a 1200-1350 ton corvette but if they didn't spin up on that......Also, I think Rumsfeld pulled our troops back 100km from the lines many years ago. That, to my unschooled mind, lessens the risk of this going full blown as we won't immediately get dragged in. One question to you surface types; there's two types of Pohangs, one with a sonar suite and one without. IF it had sonar, wouldn't they get out comms indicating the attack? Yeah, I am vaguely familiar with the Gulf of Tonkin. Still, seems like the odds of the word getting out seems decent.

Tom M said...

Davy Jones take care of their souls.

Sacto said...

Can you stop whinning about Obama for one f-ing thread?

Bitch bitch bitch.

Tom M said...

Initial report sounds like a wake homer, but these things always take awhile to get the bubble on.

rj said...

"SEOUL - A South Korean naval ship sank Friday night after an explosion tore a hole in the hull, but officials played down earlier suggestions that it may have been the result of an attack by the North.
<span></span>U.S. officials told NBC News there was no indication that the boat was attacked, or that the North was involved in any way.
<span></span>"It is not clear whether North Korea was involved," Presidential Blue House spokeswoman Kim Eun-hye told Reuters. "

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/36052055/ns/world_news-asiapacific/

If the case, I guess that means a mine maybe???

Byron said...

Contact mine (first part of ship it hits, usually the bow

Influence (magnetic, goes off when the needle starts to drop)

Sound (engine noises, same as Roberts)

Byron said...

But there's so much to whine about, and so little time.

DeltaBravo said...

Hey, Sack'o...  if you haven't noticed, he's busy screwing all aspects of our country.  I go to the pharmacy, there he is.  I go to the bank, there he is handing my tax dollars to the people who bought bigger houses than me and then cry because they can't afford them anymore.  I go to my tv screen, there he is...  

I"m curious... you and your ilk were horrified at Pres. Bush's (gasp!) $485 billion deficit in 2008.  Why so silent that Obama's spending garbage is going to give us a $10 TRILLION deficit in 10 years?

Maybe you should join the complaining. 

Spade said...

A mine from 1951 could still be dangerous.

Matthew Scott said...

How is it possible to get so fired up over a president? No president has ever really affected my life. They arent even that different from each other. Im tired of seeing political bs in every single thread regardless of topic.

Matthew Scott said...

How is possible to get so fired up over politics? No president regardless of party has ever affected my life. Im tired of seeing these whiners from either party on every single thread no matter the topic. Both of your political parties are wrong and neither have the solution.

cdrsalamander said...

Who is Sacko?

sid said...

He's pretending he's related to Vanzetti....

DeltaBravo said...

Oh, gee, Phib, did I spell his name wrong?  ;)

Sacto has been here under the names Andre, Whycome and Andre from Moonbat Land (or something.)  At least according to his history.

Who is he indeed?  He doesn't seem to have a firm answer to that himself.

DeltaBravo said...

Well, congratulations, Scott.  Do you live in a cave?  Because I've seen many presidential actions affect my life.  I'm curious how you've managed to dodge that bullet.  Do tell!

theguest said...

NK has no fear of Obama. If Israel did something like this, Obama would threaten to nuke Tel Aviv.

ewok40k said...

Ehhh... Basically no open source info on soviet torps... Soviets kept everything secret as usual, and US didnt tell what they know (or what they didn't know) in order to not expose HUMINT sources. And only real sub-made kills were Pakistani one in 1971  and RN one in the Falklands.

Byron said...

Google is your friend. My guess is the 533mm, they're common as dirt.

Byron said...

OOPS...linkage:

http://warfare.ru/?lang=&catid=330&cattitle=torpedoes

Byron said...

He's got the Huffpo Salamander monitoring duty today. Must be driving him nuts. They must have to pay their monitors a lot of money to sit here all day and get the snot beat out of them.

Mark W said...

True, but the odds of an aft strike are really, really long. Of course, to a reporter, "the rear" of the ship might be anything behind the pointy part.

Tom Mowry said...

The we hit was a MK 08 North Korean mine supplied to Iran, 1908 vintage. Still made a big boom and a big hole. FFG 58.

CV60 said...

Agree-Although a detonation in the aft part of the ship is consistent with a wake homer, it is also consistent with other possibilites (rear magazine detonation,  strait running torp simply hitting the rear part of a ship, mines, etc). 

Retired Now said...

Was South Korean ship mostly or all Steel ?

Or was it Aluminum by any chance ?

Perhaps a torpedo or mine vs a small corvette would destroy steel & al equally fast ?

LCS-2 just departed Mobile, Alabama bound for Norfolk this morning.   Sure looked enormous !    Wonder how an all aluminum ship would do vs a mine or torp ?

Sacto said...

Trust me, you are not that important.

UltimRatioRegis said...

Sacto, already with the troll stuff? 

Are you friends with BGen Balltickle McSoulpatch

Old NFO said...

With the NORK's rattling their nuke saber I wonder if we'll start "negotiating" again.  With the "Beloved Leader" apparently in poor health this could turn out very badly.  On the other hand, if we promised him an endless supply of blond hookers, maybe this could be settled peacefully.

C-dore 14 said...

Too bad he can't spell it correctly.

C-dore 14 said...

In "Bizarro World" the DPRK would be one of the superpowers.  I always start to worry about them when ever there's an announcement that they want to improve relations (as I think happened recently).  

C-dore 14 said...

In 95-96, when NATO was operating in the Adriatic, we would occasionally come across a mine left over from one of the two World Wars.  Let's just say that we took them all seriously. 

sid said...

Btchyah you had no trouble with all the bitching about Dubyah for eight years straight did you sackto...

Tom Mowry said...

Your forgetting the Russian sub on sub kill, Pacific sometime in the 70's

Tom Mowry said...

then why reply

Tom Mowry said...

it depends if they saw it first Byron...we were trying to back out of the mine field when we impacted...this happened in the evening though didn't it? I would say that spotting a mine at that point would be a different problem. Though we do have a good moon (nearly full) right now.

Tom Mowry said...

My first thought was a wake homer. But I believe that is a 65 CM weapon not a 53 CM weapon. Nork navy is Ming Class (Romeo clone), Whiskey class, or midget. So probably is a 53 CM if a torp. A stern hit could have been the result of getting caught in a spread. If they were trying to comb the track of one that could have made them more vulnerable to a second. Maybe the guys who used to go to see in sewer pipes can give us more context on that.  We also can't rule out a surface launched torpedo, the Norks frigate class is basically a Kola and the Soviets and their clients still believed in the surface launched torp. It made it very dangerous to get in close to one of those little buggers. SUCAP was always handy to have around for that threat.

Tom Mowry said...

they why reply

MR T's Haircut said...

hmmm so now what?

Andrewdb said...

You all did read that "Naval War of 2015" article? First thing is deny you did it.

thomas said...

the youtube video was NOT a Torpedo hitting a ship

Eric Palmer said...

Holly Littoral Combat Ship Batman ! ... look at all the guns on that ROK boat. 

Eric Palmer said...

I know ammo is a bit "safer" these days... would an ammo mishap be possible?

UltimRatioRegis said...

That little corvette could kick the hell out of a flotilla of LCS.  Glad someone else noticed.  Definite cannon envy.

ewok40k said...

yep, definitely beats the hell outta single 57mm... plus has harpoons

SCOTTtheBADGER said...

Armed like ship of her size should be armed!  Switch out the 3" for 5"/38's, and you would have a BUTLER, or RUDDEROW.  Korea is still paying attention to how warships are really armed.

ewok40k said...

I dont need to know Russian marketing materials about "our best torps in the world". I'd like to see range, speed, payload and most of all hit probability...

ewok40k said...

Our navy is regularly detonating mines from both world wars in the Baltic. Russians were mining approaches to (then) Leningrad extensively, and Finns did similar in their waters. Mines have sunk even things like pre-dreadnought battleships in their time, nothing to take lightly.

SCOTTtheBADGER said...

Wasn't KEARNY hit by a contact fused torpedo, rather than an under the keel magneteic influence detonated one?  LIVERMOREs were tough buggers, there is no doubt about that.  It has always impressed me, the amount of damage a WWII DD could absorb, and still come home.

Tom Mowry said...

Here is the latest from YTN, they are saying mine http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2010-03/27/c_13227086.htm, been there, done that and I actually do have the t-shirt

Tom Mowry said...

Here is a decent story from Fox

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2010/03/26/south-korean-navy-ship-sinking-near-border-n-korea/

 this is pretty objective except for the comments at the bottom about striking a rock. Exploding rocks, I don't know. Maybe it was a shark with a laser beam on it's head. But no really I guess if you could punch a big enough hole that woould provide a sudden and large influx of cold sea water hitting the hot engines you might get an explosion. Sounds like a good sea story though.

Tom Mowry said...

Looks like a nasty little sucker in a knfe fight. Anyone else notice the crew size for a 1200 ton ship. No minimal manning there.

CV60 said...

So the ROK is saying it wasn't the DRPK?  This should be relatively easy to solve-Are the hull plates caved in (external source of explosion) or out (internal explosion).

Anonymous said...

“There is no possibility whatsoever that the ship sank due to an internal explosion or a collision with a reef. I guarantee that,” a navy lieutenant was quoted as saying by participants in a briefing session organized by the Navy’s Second Fleet Command in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province -- the home port of the ill-fated ship.

http://www.koreaherald.co.kr/NEWKHSITE/data/html_dir/2010/03/27/201003270064.asp

Byron said...

You probably got nailed by an acoustic mine, which listens for machinery noises. Noisiest place on a FFG is the MER. It's designed to go off just as noise signature starts to drop.

Byron said...

Standard lay out is aft steering, a ballast tank/fuel tank, looks like the 76mm next. If they find the gun laying aways off from the hull, that would indicate the 76 mag detonated(magazine is a drum directly below the gun). I'm still holding onto the wake homer.

C-dore 14 said...

I visited one of the ships of this class during RIMPAC 98 for a tour and lunch.  They are impressive platforms in terms of the weapons systems mounted and the ROKN personnel are tough and professional.

Doubt that the general public will know the circumstances of this sinking.  The ROKs may want to rachet down the rhetoric and, in any case, they'll be reluctant to admit error.  Uncertainty will serve the purposes of the DPRK.  

Like the CDR says, "first reports..."  

fluffytuna said...

Think for a moment of the rate of fire of those 76's. Sort of like a large machine gun almost. 5/38's could fire fast but I'd take the weight of metal from OTO Melars'

Byron said...

Don't know about the ROKs OTO, but the one on the Figs is commonly known as the "bang-bang-bang-JAM" gun. Then there was the Fig that put three through the stack...

UltimaRatioRegis said...

wow.  "bang-bang-bang-JAM"?   That's two more rounds than the M60E3 machine gun...

mark said...

Hmmn there is a fairly realistic game called Harpoon, which pretty much spells out the details.   Try that. 

Byron said...

Absolutely, Ewok. The Harpoon databases all have pretty good info on Soviet torps. All open source, of course. I'll say this: if it was a wake homer of the 533mm size, there won't be a stern on that ship. And FAS.org has been used by Harpooners for a lot of years for decent info.

Tom Mowry said...

Nope it was a contact MK O8 looked just like these. Same serial number sequence. There some on the surface that was how spotted them. We were at all stop for approximately 45 minutes and drifting ever so slightly. We tried to back out in our wake when boom. We used to hunt for these guys laying them at night.

Tom Mowry said...

First witness report that I could find
A survivor, Staff Sgt. Shin Eun-chong, 24, told relatives Saturday that he was on night duty when he heard a huge boom behind him that split apart the ship. The vessel started tilting, and his glasses fell off his face as he hit the deck, relatives told The Associated Press.

Whole link here http://www.newstimes.com/news/article/Angry-families-visit-site-of-sunken-SKorean-ship-424947.php#page-1

Tom Mowry said...

I was thinking wake homer only had one flavor 65 CM...there are reports that the chineese are exporting a version of the Shikval (spelling ?) a rocket assisted 53 CM torpedo. Iran has supposedly tested their own version of the weapon. The other question I have with the torp theory is  water depth, Cheong was only in 15 to 30 meters of water. I don't know what the bottom looks like but that is pretty shallow water for a submarine to be working in. Of course the sub could have been off shore in deeper water and shooting toward the shore. First witness report that I have read seem more consistent with an internal explosion or a mine.

sid said...

We are living in an age of glass-jawed war(/)ships....

How many can You "afford" to lose...?

Byron said...

Google (and a knowledge of Warsaw Pact weapons from the Harpoon days) is your friend:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Type_65_torpedo

CV60 said...

From the NYT story, there is no indication by the survivor that the ship was involved in either combat action, or firefighting.  As the story is written, it appears the ship simply exploded.  In the case of an accidental explosion, I would expect there to be initial reports of a fire, the ship going to GQ, followed by an explosion.  In short, based on the incomplete data we have, it is sounding like some type of attack.  However, ships can simply explode without any warning (see USS MAINE).

Tom Mowry said...

Interesting, so they do come in the smaller size. I may have been thinking of the N tipped version. That would change things. Ming class (Romeo Clone) has a draft on 5.3 meter so that would be consistent with the operating environment. It was a moonlit night, providing a good silhoute,

Tom Mowry said...

maybe that is the thinking behind the LCS, smaller crew fewer losses when it sinks. Let me clarify and say that I don't believe that anyone is actually that callous to use it as a selling point, but I have to believe that it came up around the table at some point when the whole thing was being discussed. The unintended consequence always comes up at some point.

El Jefe said...

15-20 meters of water, hole in the hull, Torps in the water would have made noise, deniability...this has 'moored contact mine' written all over it.

Byron said...

Nope...mine is either going to get the bow (moored contact mine) or the main engine room (either acoustic or magnetic mine). Hitting the stern is the trademark of the 533mm wake homing torpedo.

Byron said...

Actually, someone came right here and tried to use that thinking as justification. Said LCS was designed to stay afloat long enough to save the crew...right along an enemy coast line where it was guaranteed they would be tortured and killed in show trials. As you can guess, yours truly and others threw the bullshit flag.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't rule out a mine just because the stern was hit.  The Samuel B. Roberts was hit in the rear.

Byron said...

Au Contraire...Look.Up.The.Pictures. The mine exploded directly under the engine room...which in all probablity makes it an acoustic mine.

El Jefe said...

Pressure sensors would also explain a hit in the stern. 

Casey Tompkins said...

Agreed, DB. I don't understand how someone can be so clueless.

It is precisely because Barry is turning this country into a nanny-state that we complain.

Tom Mowry said...

agree with Byron, the confusion for us is because we were backing down

Tom Mowry said...

I guess people shouldn't surprise me anymore but they do...

Tom Mowry said...

yeah my thinking also, there where reports the other day of lots of "shooting". That was from a long term resident on the island. They also said that it sounded differant from other shooting they had heard in the past. That would be consistent with secondary explosions, or perhaps a cookoff from the aft magazine.

ewok40k said...

650mm is fearsome weapon, think Jap long lance but bigger and homing. But Russians AFAIK limited it to SS(B/G)Ns, and didnt export.
533mm is standard size of torps worldwide, and it is more than enough to sink such corvette almost instantly. Note that big enough mine would do similar thing.
Accidental ammo cookoff seems most unprobable of all given it would need a fire to occur which would result in alarms immediately.
Do you think it could be torpedo - covered up so not to stir more trouble?

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