Monday, December 10, 2018

To Distributed Lethality & Battlemindedness, We Need Robustness

One of the topics we raised in yesterday's Midrats with CAPT Mark Vandroff, USN, was the importance of a clear and unflinching eye towards survivability in a warship.

Each time a modern warship is hit with an ASCM, mine, or even the odd merchant ship - we need to make sure our engineers make a thorough review of what did or did not help keep that ship afloat. That way, when the green-eyeshade people want to skimp here and there on "expensive" robustness, or a construction standard waved - those focused on survivability have the data they need to push back with facts.

As the Norwegians begin to look at the loss of their NANSEN Class frigate KNM Helge Ingstad following her collision with the Maltese registered tanker Sola TS in Hjeltefjorden, this little bit caught my eye;
The AIBN has found safety critical issues relating to the vessel's watertight compartments.

This must be assumed to also apply to the other four Nansen-class frigates. It cannot be excluded that the same applies to vessels of a similar design delivered by Navantia, or that the design concept continues to be used for similar vessel models. The AIBN assumes that its findings are not in conformity with the required damage stability standard for the Nansenclass frigates.

To start with, flooding occurred in three watertight compartments on board 'KNM Helge Ingstad': the aft generator room, the orlob deck's crew quarters and the stores room. There was some uncertainty as to whether the steering engine room, the aftmost compartment, was also filling up with water. Based on this damage, the crew, supported by the vessel's stability documents, assessed the vessel as having 'poor stability' status, but that it could be kept afloat. If more compartments were flooded, the status would be assessed as 'vessel lost' on account of further loss of stability.

Next, the crew found that water from the aft generator room was running into the gear room via the hollow propeller shafts and that the gear room was filling up fast. From the gear room, the water then ran into and was flooding the aft and fore engine rooms via the stuffing boxes in the bulkheads. This meant that the flooding became substantially more extensive than indicated by the original damage. Based on the flooding of the gear room, it was decided to prepare for evacuation.
Read the AIBN’s preliminary report and safety recommendations at the bottom of the page at this link.

I don't think it can be understated that in long periods of peace, the hard lessons of what it takes to keep a ship afloat when damaged can easily be forgotten or at best placed on the unfunded priorities list. It is one of the most important fights a peacetime navy has when designing it ships.

Over and over again we see where the skimpers win - and the results feed more fire, flooding, death, and sinkings. For someone who has a record of being a fan of the NANSEN, if it comes out that from a damage control point of view this is a flawed design - then let's bring out the details in public, gibbeted for all to see. 

At least with the HELGE INSTAD, if this bears out, then these lessons will only be learned with the loss of a ship, and not the death of Sailors. I would also place a bet that somewhere there is a Norwegian marine engineer saying, "I told you so!"

Saturday, December 08, 2018

The USN's Labs, Research Facilities, and Ranges with Mark Vandroff - on Midrats

With budget fights chasing money and arguments about hulls in the water, which part of our Navy makes sure what comes out the other end is more than just a fleet in being? A Navy that can get underway, get over there, fight, get back, get repaired, get upgraded, and deploy again - second to none?

We are going to dive deep in to the commands, men and women who make that happen, NSWC Carderock and other NAVSEA warfare centers that form the core of the labs, research facilities, and ranges that makes the sexy possible.

Our guest for the full hour this summer from 5-6pm Eastern Sunday returning to the show will be Captain Mark Vandroff, USN, Commanding Officer Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division.

Join us live if you can, but if you miss the show you can always listen to the archive at blogtalkradio or Stitcher

If you use iTunes, you can add Midrats to your podcast list simply by clicking the iTunes button at the main showpage - or you can just click here.

Friday, December 07, 2018

USS OKLAHOMA's Final Story

This is always a handy pic of the USS OKLAHOMA (BB-37) in '44 next to USS WISCONSIN (BB-64) just to see how much battleship construction changed in 30 years.

Thursday, December 06, 2018

Japan Does Exactly What We Told You it Would Do

What did we say here about 5-yrs ago?
...let's work on some proper fixed wing assets for 'ya ... and you need a half-dozen more.
...and here we are.
There is also a proposal to retrofit its Izumo helicopter carrier into what would in effect be a full-fledged aircraft carrier -- a type of ship the country has not had since World War II. The idea is to have it carry F-35B stealth fighters, which require only a short takeoff and can land vertically. Japan wants to buy more F-35s, including F-35As already deployed domestically.
Good for Japan ... and good for our partnership.

Faster please.

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Brave New China

When will the world wake up to the future a growing China is preparing for everywhere they will hold power?

Where are the protests?

Where are the UN statements?

Where is … well … much of anything?

BZ to Reuters for putting this together – but for now it is the exception, not the rule.
Xinjiang is now one of the most heavily policed areas in the world, according to academics and human rights groups. This follows the launching of a “people’s war on terror” in 2014 after a series of violent attacks in Xinjiang and other parts of China that authorities blamed on religious extremists.

While China says the Uighur camps are vocational training centers, they are heavily guarded. Researchers have resorted to using satellite imagery to view and track the expansion of these facilities.

Reuters worked with Earthrise Media, a non-profit group that analyzes satellite imagery, to plot the construction and expansion of 39 of these camps, which were initially identified using publicly available documents such as construction tenders. The building-by-building review of these facilities revealed that the footprint of the built-up area almost tripled in size in the 17 months between April 2017 and August 2018. Collectively, the built-up parts in these 39 facilities now cover an area roughly the size of 140 soccer fields.
Uighurs have bristled at what they say are harsh restrictions on their culture and religion. They have faced periodic crackdowns, which intensified after riots in the regional capital in Urumqi in 2009 killed nearly 200 people.

Bombings in Xinjiang and attacks allegedly carried out by Uighur separatists, including a mass stabbing in the city of Kunming in China’s southwest in 2014 that killed 31 people, led to further restrictions. In recent years, under Chen Quanguo, the Communist Party secretary in Xinjiang and a loyalist of President Xi Jinping, measures against Uighurs have included a ban on “abnormal” beards for men and restrictions on religious pilgrimages to Mecca.

Chen has also overseen the installation of a pervasive, technology-enhanced surveillance apparatus across Xinjiang. Tens of thousands of security personnel have been recruited to staff police stations and checkpoints. Security screening, including scanners equipped with facial recognition cameras, has been installed in public places such as mosques, hotels and transportation hubs.
From early morning to night, the detainees said they were subjected to mind-numbing political indoctrination. This included reciting Chinese laws and Communist Party policies, as well as singing the national anthem and other traditional Red songs. Those who failed to correctly memorize the lines of Communist Party dictums were denied food, said one detainee. Detainees were forced to renounce their religion, engage in self-criticism sessions and report on fellow inmates, relatives and neighbors.

Of the eight former detainees interviewed by Reuters, four were Uighurs and four were ethnic Kazakhs. Some requested anonymity, in most cases because they said they feared repercussions for family members who remained in China.
... China, which for months denied their existence, now calls them vocational training centers.

“Through vocational training, most trainees have been able to reflect on their mistakes and see clearly the essence and harm of terrorism and religious extremism,” Shohrat Zakir, the Xinjiang governor, said in remarks to the state-run Xinhua news agency in October. “They have also been able to better tell right from wrong and resist the infiltration of extremist thought.”
At this stage of the article it came to mind that everyone needs to re-read their Hopkirk - all of it - but start with Setting the East Ablaze. This conflict is centuries old.
n Kashgar, the ancient Silk Road oasis town in Xinjiang’s southern Uighur heartland, locals say they live in fear. As security forces have blanketed the region and high-tech surveillance has become pervasive, there have been waves of mass detentions of Muslims in places like Kashgar.

The arrests peaked last year as police convoys with sirens blaring took people away, their heads covered in black hoods. In Kashgar, the locals say that many of those detained have not yet returned. On the streets, there are few young men to be seen.

“You can go to a Uighur and slap him in the face and he won’t dare retaliate,” said one Han Chinese local, who grew up with Uighurs in Kashgar and saw many of his friends taken away. “It’s going to be quiet for another one or two years, but then what? The greater the pressure, the fiercer the backlash.”
Of course, we know why the “international left” is not in an uproar over this – China is not Western. They are not for "the people" they are for control of the people.

Though some of the legitimate liberal West are starting to rightfully call out Chinese abuses, so much of the international left they are in a popular front with is obsessed with one thing, tearing down the established Western culture and order. “Hey, hey, ho, ho, Western Civ has got to go!” is not just a goofy chant; it is what drives so much of the official outrage among the usual suspects.

-Who actually is the source of most of the plastic garbage choking our oceans? China.
-Who is actually the source of most of the pollution and carbon emissions on the globe? China.
-Who is actually a growing colonial power? China.
-Who is actually creating an Orwellian order in plain sight? China.
-Who is actively trying to destroy and convert a Muslim nation? China.

…and yet, who is the subject of protests from the usual suspects in the leftist community? 

I know the answer – and I’ve known it since my early 20s when I saw the same people excuse everything by the Soviet Union and their clients. I just wish the liberals who really care about individual rights and freedom would see that the left is not their friend, but hey - that's just me.

Monday, December 03, 2018

How an Officer Acts When Captured by the Enemy

In the last few years we've seen examples from some, ahem, navies of how officers should not behave when captured by a hostile power and that power tries to use you for propaganda purposes.

What is a positive example? I give you Senior Lieutenant Roman Mokriak, Ukrainian Navy.
Ukrainian naval officer Lt. Roman Mokriak remained loyal to Kiev even as most of the crew of his submarine defected when Russia annexed Crimea in 2014.

Now one of 24 Ukrainian sailors Russia detained after it fired on and captured their ships, he has defied the Kremlin again, refusing to speak with security-service agents or record a video confession, his lawyer said.
He is a good officer, and a brave person. He flipped the security officers off. The Crimean occupation “court” arrested Roman,”
Note the shell hole towards the end of the video at the link above and the pic at start of the post.

This was more than just a shouldering of a tug.

Hat tip DBL.