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Lessons of the Cheonan Sinking

May 20, 2010

North Korea has an estimated 60 submarines, like this Russian Romeo class.

I keep wondering how long the US Navy will continue to think it can send a few very large, overly-expensive and very visible warships up against an enemy coastline, all in defiance of the “distant blockade” rule of 100 years ago. This was put in effect by battleship navies, notably the British Royal Navy, around 1911 in recognition of then new shallow water threats, such as naval mines and torpedoes, especially those which could be launched from the then-new submarine boat. This was also before the still-revolutionary warcraft carried long range cruise missiles, and super-cavitating torpedoes. Read the following story from Human Events by James Zumwalt on what might have sunk the South Korean corvette Cheonan:

As to the type of torpedo, there are two possibilities—a “heavy torpedo,” with which all North Korean submarines are known to be armed, or a “supercavitation torpedo,” a devastatingly effective weapon known to be possessed by countries with interests adverse to the U.S. South Korean sonar men are better trained to identify the acoustics signature of an incoming heavy torpedo, which is easier to detect, than a supercavitation torpedo, which requires special adjustments to the sonar system to do so.
But both torpedoes are deadly—the supercavitating even more so as its design incorporates a law of physics loophole that makes detection and escape by a targeted ship virtually impossible. And, as of today, no defense exists against it.

So if the smaller warships especially geared to seek out and destroy small elusive craft in shallow waters are at risk, what chance does our larger ships have? For about 70 years the United States have been building the world’s greatest constabulary fleet, with the intent to keep land powers so occupied that they cannot build a navy to rival us. Though Russia bankrupted herself attempting  just that, it was never clear what she would actually do her awe-inspiring fleet, now mostly rusting in harbor. Twenty years after the demise of this threat, America is still set on its goal for a high tech littoral navy, but no clear sign of what it will do against someone contesting her seapower, such as a submarine fleet.

The submarine is a sea-denier, while the fleets of America, Britain, and Canada are historically sea-enablers. These ABC countries depend on the Freedom of the Seas to transport troops to world hotspots in defense of allies and treaties. Their very livelihood is built on unimpeded maritime trade, and the defense of merchant shipping is crucial, though nearly a lost art. The continued success of Somalia pirates on commercial shipping in the Gulf points to long-neglected training in sea control techniques.

If you have read the recent CSBA report on Air/Sea Battle, you get the idea that the admirals and generals will have to work hard to be able to utilize its unmatched superiority in naval airpower and amphibious forces in the future. The Navy thinks technology will solve the problems of the submarine and other sea-deniers, and there are some promising advances in this area. UAVs almost certainly will lead the fight as will satellites, which we are told, can track enemy submarines as they sail from port. Most likely, the most essential ASW fighters will not be so new, such as other submarines, and old fashioned escort ships–cheap, off the shelf, and lots of them.

*****

HMAS Swan

43 Comments leave one →
  1. Jerry Terhaar III permalink
    October 29, 2010 10:52 pm

    Mr. Anonymous: Sir, I usually don’t get ivolved in responding to these blogs, but your comments got me boiling. Let me say that I am a retired Air Force Reservist with 7 years active duty, and 26 years reserves. You speak of our inability to solve problems as the area superpower. Then you speak of your country, and the entire NATO alliance being led into war by the Evil United States. Who the hell do you think you are talking to? I seem to remmber my country following yours into two World Wars in 1914, and 1941. In both instances, it was a case of European powers refusing to deal with the crises they had created through cynical, and INEPT political manouvering, and an alliance system structured to insure that all of Europe would be dragged into any conflict! In the first case, your country, and the French intended that there be no American Armies, and that American Boys be drafted into the conflict, being incorperated into British, and French Divisional Formations in Trench Warfare. American GIs at the Mercy of British, and French trench warfare concepts, Under British and French Generals. What a thought! In the second case, you needed American industrial capacity, and Russian manpower to defeat Hitler. He wouldn’t have gotten as far as he did if your country, and the rest of Europe hadn’t been comatose to the realities of his threat. If you include the Cold War, My country has been involved in THREE World Wars fought to save Europe from its own STUPIDITY! And together,we won ’em all! If we hadn’t, you would be speaking German, or maybe even Russian. I’m still not convinced that Churchill didn’t know a hell of a lot more about The Pearl Harbor attack than he let on. Your all pissed off because you were obligated to support the US inAfghanistan? Maybe the next time your country’s inept political manouvering gets it, and maybe the rest of Europe in the SHIT, we Americans, and Canadians for the matter should just stay HOME, and let you Europeans fry in your own vat of grease!

  2. D. E. Reddick permalink
    May 25, 2010 1:25 pm

    Chuck,

    I’m glad that you answered Azra, as I couldn’t quite decide the intent of his (her) message and how to respond to it.

    BTW, there are a lot of NorK apologists making their appearances around the blogosphere with claims that it was a friendly fire mistake or intentional exercise by the ROKN and/or the USN which sank the Cheonan. One such conspiracy proponent has even gone so far as to claim that it was a South Korean DM2 A4-AUV torpedo rather than a NorK CHT-02D torpedo which sank the Cheonan. The torpedo remains found by the South Koreans do match sales brochure schematics for the NorK CHT-02D as offered to potential buyers. But that particular conspiracist offers up photos of the SK torpedo’s propellers as evidence that they match the torpedo remains found by the South Koreans. It’s just too bad for him that he can’t count. The SK DM2 A4-AUV has seven-bladed contra-rotating props, while the NorK CHT-02D has five-bladed contra-rotating props. Of course, sadly – that won’t prove a thing to the NorK stooge conspiracy theorists…

  3. Chuck Hill permalink
    May 25, 2010 11:01 am

    Azra, Actually the results are typical for a torpedo. Take a look at these sinkings of ships larger than the Korean Corvette.

    Sinking a 2750 ton Aussy frigate: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7vaImLvZbPw&feature=related
    An 8,000 ton US Navy destroyer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GVRxvOTB0pA&feature=related
    USS FIFE DD991 8,000 tons http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mNdSdNHANxg&feature=related
    And from a torpedo boat: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rdLHkqrwb7g&feature=related

  4. May 25, 2010 8:15 am

    Dear jus try to kill the bird in the bush,,, if US started killing the pregnant mothers with the fear that the baby they bear will attack US after grown up then US will definitely be under risk.

    This looks a ridiculous torpedo which first reached halfway of ship and then burst,may be torpedo was trying to become crew member by peeping through in,nothing but a remote controlled device can do this.

    If there is any research underway in defence sector it is only to survive from mad US.

  5. D. E. Reddick permalink
    May 23, 2010 12:50 pm

    I just placed the following in ‘Breaking News’ and then realized that I should have placed it here, in this thread concerning the consequences of the Cheonan sinking.

    The recent course of development of the South Korean Navy as a growing blue water presence may be modified following the sinking of ROKS Cheonan. This may involve program modification of the FFX (large corvette / small frigate) warship acquisition to reflect the needs of naval littoral warfare along the coasts of the Korean peninsula.

    JoongAng Daily: Navy to get new course after loss of Cheonan

    http://joongangdaily.joins.com/article/view.asp?aid=2920854

    Interesting phrasing and word choices appear regarding the North Korean naval forces: “…including underwater destroyers, guided-missile destroyers and torpedo boats.” I don’t know what an ‘underwater destroyer’ might be and no one has noticed the North Koreans being in possession of any DDGs.

    Also, in regards to upgrading the SK Navy’s new FFX program for ASW operations there is mention of the Blue Shark ASW torpedo: “…which travels at a supersonic speed underwater.” No, it doesn’t – it’s stated underwater speed is given as 45+ knots.

    Otherwise, this report seems likely to be mostly correct. Anyhow, here are quickly read items regarding the FFX program and its possible ASW weaponry.

    FFX: Future Frigate eXperimental

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

    Hong Sang Eo (Red Shark) torpedo (K-ASROC launched via K-VLS)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hong_Sang_Eo_(Red_Shark)_torpedo

    Chung Sang Eo (Blue Shark) torpedo

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chung_Sang_Eo_(Blue_Shark)_torpedo

  6. D. E. Reddick permalink
    May 21, 2010 9:23 pm

    For additional imagery of the torpedo parts used in the sinking of the ROKS Cheonan here’s a thread over at MP.net with further informative material. While it starts with imagery of the Cheonan itself, then it switches over to those recovered parts of that NorK torpedo. Just scroll down to posting # 13 for the twenty pictures:

    http://www.militaryphotos.net/forums/showthread.php?179838-Friday-s-FIX-of-PIX!!!-May-21st-2010

  7. Scott B. permalink
    May 21, 2010 4:36 pm

    Mike Burleson said : “Scott-time to bring back the snorkel!”

    1) AIP submarines DO snorkel. Just check the reference list of Gabler, which is a major snorkel supplier for German-made submarines.

    2) Having to snorkel means that :

    a) you increase your radar signature, since, no matter what (RAM, shaping,…), a snorkel projecting from water remains detectable by radar.

    b) you increase your acoustic signature, because of the radiated noise from the working diesels.

    c) you increase your heat signature, again because of the working diesels.

    d) you increase the likelihood of being detected by Magnetic Anomaly Detectors.

    e) and finally, you increase your visual signature (telltale wake, phosphorescent marine life close to the surface, etc…)

    Bottom line : AIP (whatever the technology) is fine when you’re on station (and don’t have too big of an area to patrol), but it doesn’t solve the problem of how you’re gonna get there, which is a MAJOR concern for a global Navy meant to deploy transoceanically.

  8. Hudson permalink
    May 21, 2010 4:08 pm

    Anonymous,

    I’m not the enemy; I’m only trying to answer your concerns, as an individual myself. Yes, the Taliban are back–and there are smart and decent people, good military men, who believe we should pull out of Afghanistan. What would happen if NATO et al did pull out?

    My guess is that the Taliban would slowly but surely defeat the Afghan National Army, retake Kabul and behead the hapless Hamid Karzai, reinstate their reign of terror and provide safe haven to the Pakistani Taliban, who will grind away at the Pakastani Army until the more ruthless and relentless side wins. If that’s the Taliban, they will find the nukes, find someone who can operate them, and bring them to the West.

    And if they blow the heart out of New York or London? Do we carpet bomb Waziristan with germs, chemicals, nuclear weapons? Pick a target valley and say, give us bin Laden or prepare to die?

    I hear what you’re saying, man. I smelled the sickly sweet stench of burning flesh in Lower Manhattan deep into December while the fires still burned.

    I don’t have the answers. I think if the Taliban retakes the one country where they have ruled, there will be serious consequences for the West. I salute your troops and our troops over there.

  9. Anonymous permalink
    May 21, 2010 2:56 pm

    Hudson,
    You say I don’t leave a solution to the whole sorry affair,may I suggest that the western worl is paying out millions of dollars (pounds) to diplomats who’s job it is to deal with these sort of international debacles. I am a mere member of the public who is lied to every day by these same people.
    Your assertation that the USA reacted to 9/11 swiftly by going into Afghanistan is obviously your idea of humour, it is now nine years after this attack on you country and all you have managed to do is involve most of your allies in this affair.
    The UK is the one country that has followed you blindly into this misbegotten country due to our socialist leaders and our our so called ‘special relationship’ with you which as you must full well appreciate means we do what you tell us.
    The rest of NATO trudges along behind us like a schoolboy on his way to school, not wanting to get their but frightened of what happens if he doesn’t.
    Canada is the only country who has put forward more than it’s fair share of troops and even they are pulling out, and may I say that they have been their own worst enemy by not publicising what they have done in this war.
    I leave until last your remark of having ‘chased the Taliban out of Afghanistan’.
    Do you actually read the casualty lists for your forces,if the Taliban have been chased out then who the hell is killing them.
    Was the recent attack on Bagram Airbase a figment of imagination of the people in the firing line.
    Come to Wooton Basset each week and tell the people gathered their that the coffins of the young men and women they pay homage to are of people who were fighting an enemy who has been chased out.
    The only reason your public are not protesting as they did over Vietnam is that they have had a taste of war at home and they don’t like it,and your media and government is playing ont that same thing.
    Even a country as powerfull as yours is feeling the pinch so how do you think we are doing,we are being bled dry by this pointless war and if we win we will be the first foriegners for a couple of centuries to do so in this barren waste.

  10. Hudson permalink
    May 21, 2010 1:31 pm

    Anonymous,

    North Norea is a nightmare state, as you say, and America’s policy toward it has been a failure in all senses other than that there has not been a second Korean War. They do “play us like a fiddle,” as you say. We offer them carrots and they build big sticks.

    I notice you don’t suggest a solution. And there’s the rub: what realistically to do? We help enforce a world wide UN blockage of their shipments of war materials. If I am not mistaken, there is a video of an Australian FB-111 bombing a N. Korean freighter in open waters on YouTube.

    China does $2 billion trade with NK annually, but 100 times that with S. Korea. So, China certainly doesn’t want to see SK destroyed by Nork. It does not want to see Nork collapse with thousands of starving refugees pouring across its borders. I don’t know what Nork reps were doing recently in China, possibly seeking some sign of support if S. Korea strikes back for the sinking of its ship.

    America certainly reacted swiftly to the 9/ll attacks by chasing the Taliban out of Afghanistan. There is a semi-permanent radar station off Hawaii beaches to track incoming missiles, and Arleigh Burke class destroyers are parked off the Pacific Coast armed with SAM-3 missiles to shoot down any Nork missiles headed our way, although the effectiveness of the SAM-3s has been questioned in recent days.

    A regime that can play us like a fiddle shows a great deal of skill in its manuverings, and may or may not be on the verge of going bonkers. The question is: What does it want this time?

  11. Anonymous permalink
    May 21, 2010 12:38 pm

    At the end of the day this is the continuing saga of North Korea playing the western powers like a fiddle.
    After almost sixty years the nightmare of Korea is still not anywhere near being solved, thousands of American British and UN forces died in the then fight against Communism and we are still dancing to the tune of ‘The dear Leader’.
    We have tried everything from threats to actually rewarding the North Koreans for their militaristic stance.
    At the moment they are the biggest threat to world peace and still we enter into discussions with them at their behest.
    If the major power in the area had got to grips with this problem years ago then we would not now be talking to a nuclear power who seems to be able to threaten us with impunity.
    Yes I am talking of the USA, take a look at what you have let happen.
    A massive military force has been built by the NK’s whilst you have been conducting ‘peace talks’ for the last five decades with outright rabid communists who are laughing at you.
    Once again they have got themselves headlines by the ‘alleged’ sinking of the ‘Cheonam’ and what is the west doing about it,well as usuall absolutely nothing.
    I do not wish to appear rude but what will the American people do when they are attacked on their own soil.
    The actions of a few people on 9/11 brought home to Americans that they are no longer immune to attacks on their homeland,and we have seen the response to this in Afhganistan.
    What then if the deranged military clique in Pyongyang decided the would launch an attack against the USA with a ballistic missile armed with a nuclear warhead.
    Of course you could wipe NK off of the world map but then risking a response from an ever powerfull China.
    This is not about one South Korean naval vessell being sunk,it is about the aspirations of a rogue state and it’s backers?
    Why was Kim Jon Il visiting Beijing recently and why have the Chinese not condemned the actions of the North Korean military.

  12. Mike Burleson permalink*
    May 21, 2010 12:35 pm

    Jason asked “If supercavitating torpedoes are so awesome, how come the U.S. doesn’t have one?”

    Because aircraft carriers don’t have torpedo tubes! LOL

    Thanks everyone for making the new numbers possible.

    Scott-time to bring back the snorkel!

  13. Hudson permalink
    May 21, 2010 11:46 am

    Yes, cograts, Mike, on building your 800,000th corvette!

  14. Hudson permalink
    May 21, 2010 11:35 am

    Why can’t the Navy reinvent the Sturgeon class SSN as a less expensive alernative to the much larger Virginia class boat? Is bigger always better in nuclear spy/attack subs?

  15. Scott B. permalink
    May 21, 2010 9:04 am

    Reddick said : “New Wars will reach 800,000 hits this evening or early tomorrow.”

    New Wars hit the 800K mark earlier this morning (around 5:30 a.m. EST).

    Congrats for Mike B. on this new milestone !!! :-))

  16. Scott B. permalink
    May 21, 2010 5:48 am

    Charley said : “If the USN were to develop a class of conventional subs, notionally AIP’s, would they not require forward basing?”

    Forward basing would be required, unless you want to waste time in excessively long transit times (meaning long response times, no so fresh crews, etc…) and spend most of your time surfaced (i.e. a situation in which a submarine is pretty much a sitting duck).

    OTOH, forward-basing for submarines is horribly expensive, especially with AIP-equipped SSKs.

    Bottom line, SSK is NOT the way to go for the US Navy.

  17. Scott B. permalink
    May 21, 2010 5:44 am

    Mike Burleson said : “No more than any other US ship. The German Type 214 for example has a range of 12,000 miles.”

    The range of 12,000 NM is achieved SURFACED, at a speed of 10-12 knots. Which means that, in the absence of a forward-basing scheme, you’ll have to leave with both excessively long transit times and the inherent vulnerability of a surfaced submarine.

    Less responsive, more vulnerable : sounds like a good recipe for a disaster.

  18. Jacob permalink
    May 21, 2010 5:12 am

    If supercavitating torpedoes are so awesome, how come the U.S. doesn’t have one?

  19. Mike Burleson permalink*
    May 21, 2010 4:59 am

    Charley asked “would they not require forward basing”

    No more than any other US ship. The German Type 214 for example has a range of 12,000 miles. Modern AIPs are about the size of WW2 subs which roamed the expanses of the Pacific in “lone wolf” patrols.

  20. Chris Stefan permalink
    May 20, 2010 8:32 pm

    Chuck,
    It is kind of sad that along with mine warfare, ASW seems to be yet another job the USN isn’t really all that interested in anymore.

  21. Chuck Hill permalink
    May 20, 2010 8:11 pm

    The advantage surface ships have is that they can work in teams of ships and aircraft. Subs are still pretty much lone wolf hunters that get in trouble when they communicate.

    Trouble is we have dismantled our teams and don’t practice as much as we used to. Plus in the USN the ASW specialists are disappearing.

  22. Charley permalink
    May 20, 2010 7:42 pm

    If the USN were to develop a class of conventional subs, notionally AIP’s, would they not require forward basing? Where would these bases be?

  23. B.Smitty permalink
    May 20, 2010 7:34 pm

    SSKs may be quieter, when operating at 4-8kts on AIP, but their combat systems are MUCH smaller. SSNs carry more capable sensor suites, more munitions, countermeasures, and so on.

    A Virginia or Seawolf can sweep, quietly, at 20kts. So the amount of ocean volume they can search is many times that of an SSK in the same period.

  24. Mike Burleson permalink*
    May 20, 2010 5:38 pm

    Chuck, concerning HMAS Swan, just a little nostalgia there! But in its day it was one of the hunters.

    Moose wrote “You need to be faster, better armed, and have better sensor than the mine to kill it before it kills you. SSNs are the sweepers, they clean the sea.”

    Sadly I think we may see a time in which the large nuke boats will have to be escorted by the conventional subs. Silence is the great equalizer and we see on many occasion even ancient and poorly maintained subs besting the more capable SSNs in wargames, especially the Australian subs, which is on record.

    But like Scott, I wish we had more, if we could afford them. The primary reason I think the USN needs SSKs is because you will never see 100 SSNs again, EVER, but we still need them. The ocean hasn’t shrunk. SSKs aren’t nearly as capable, but they may be capable enough.

    The problem with Cheonan is the set pattern of its patrol which for any submariner is a gift. We knew you didn’t sail set patrols in the world wars, and the S Koreans knew they were in a crisis zone. The enemies of freedom have a war mindset. We are far from it and this more than anything puts our sailors at risk.

  25. MatR permalink
    May 20, 2010 5:36 pm

    Re: SSNs vs SSKs

    I thought only one submarine had ever sunk another one whilst they were submerged? (HMS venturer sinking U-864 towards the end of WWII). Many more subs were sunk, and deterred, by destroyers.

    As to SSNs sweeping the seas of SSKs – well, the SSK is quieter, if it’s got AIP propulsion. (Not the kind of clanky, old tech that the Chinese use, but modern AIP in subs built/being built for the Swedes, Germans, French, Pakistanis, etc.) Pretty much, the SSNs can’t find the modern AIP SSKs.

    I wouldn’t put money on the noisier, larger platform to find all the smaller, quieter, more numerous platforms. Not when they both use similar sensors, decoys, countermeasures and torpedos. It’s not wolf vs rabbit.

    The destroyer takes a different tack, including more active sonar, probing, and dashing about. In a way, if it’s noisy, it deters. Because it’s cheap, if you’re a sub commander you don’t want to risk sinking it – you get more stuffed down your throat if you do. At least, if we built cheap destroyers ;o) So that’ll never happen, then. Let’s use the SSNs ;o)

  26. D. E. Reddick permalink
    May 20, 2010 4:42 pm

    Scott,

    OT moment… New Wars will reach 800,000 hits this evening or early tomorrow. At present, the count is 798,494 hits.

  27. Scott B. permalink
    May 20, 2010 4:31 pm

    Moose said : “SSNs are the sweepers, they clean the sea. This isn’t machismo or pride, it’s fact.”

    Check the new CSBA report on Air Sea Battle, go to page #36, and count the number of times you can see these acronyms : SSN, SSGN.

    Just sayin’…

  28. Chuck Hill permalink
    May 20, 2010 4:00 pm

    Mike is HMAS Swan (the second picture) your “old fashioned escort ships–cheap, off the shelf, and lots of them.”

  29. Scott B. permalink
    May 20, 2010 3:32 pm

    Moose said : “SSNs are the sweepers, they clean the sea. This isn’t machismo or pride, it’s fact.”

    + 1.

    The US Navy needs MORE SSNs, not less.

    This is something the current UnderSECNAV should take special note of, rather than injecting scarce funding into a useless fleet of HSVs…

  30. MatR permalink
    May 20, 2010 2:41 pm

    We finally get a situation where the Royal Navy can use its high-end Type 45 to defend an ally (you know, atomic war) and they can’t make it work yet. Typical.

    Mike, I think that, like Somalia, this is a living, breathing study in whether naval power can be effective in a crisis (or – the kind of naval power we have now). Maybe we should note in the coming weeks if the US and allies rush in reinforcements by sea vs air – everything from missile defense to jet fighters and infantry. Which gets more there, faster? And are they too scared to send in naval reinforcements, given that the Cheonan was, on paper, a competent sub-hunter? Do they dare beef up a naval blockade?

    It’s scary but fascinating.

  31. D. E. Reddick permalink
    May 20, 2010 2:32 pm

    Jed,

    If you look in ‘Breaking News’ you’ll see a Korean webpage I linked there. In it is an excellent picture of the torpedo remains immediately following their recovery. The contra-rotating propellers are clearly visible:

    http://bemil.chosun.com/nbrd/gallery/view.html?b_bbs_id=10044&pn=1&num=135691

    Also, here are some pictures of the torpedo remains after they were cleaned up (and, unfortunately – its parts have oxidized). The first three pictures in this slide show of eight pictures are those which are meaningful (the second picture clearly shows the contra-rotating props):

    http://news.163.com/photonew/00AO0001/9300.html

  32. Moose permalink
    May 20, 2010 2:28 pm

    Sorry about the typo in the second paragraph. Dyslexia, it’s a (grammar) Killer.

  33. Moose permalink
    May 20, 2010 2:26 pm

    James Zumwalt is doing nothing but trying to drum up fake panic. He acknowledges later in his own article that all evidence points to a conventional 533mm torpedo. Not the least of which being the PICTURES which the South has published of the screws:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/world/asia_pacific/10131683.stm

    But hey, don’t let facts get in the way. On that note, the Shkval is far from “hard to detect.” It certainly doesn’t sound like a conventional torpedo, but it also certainly makes plenty of noise.

    Yes, the small SSK is a sea-denier. I’ve been calling them manned mobile mines for years. But to hijack your point this is precisely why our acquisition of a small SSK fleet makes no sense. The South has 13 SSKs, including a growing number of the much-hyped Type 214, but they were apparently nowhere to be found in this incident which happened in this incident which happened in their own back yard. You don’t counter one mine with another, you counter it with a minesweeper. You need to be faster, better armed, and have better sensor than the mine to kill it before it kills you. SSNs are the sweepers, they clean the sea. This isn’t machismo or pride, it’s fact.

  34. Scott B. permalink
    May 20, 2010 2:21 pm

    Mike Burleson said : “Read the following story from Human Events by James Zumwalt on what might have sunk the South Korean corvette Cheonan:”

    It sounds like James Zumwalt got his *infos* straight from the Iranian Propaganda Text book. See for instance this kind of statements :

    “This missile evades sonar technology under the water and, even if the enemy sonar system could detect its movement under the water, no warship could escape from it because of its high velocity,” Revolutionary Guards Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi said.

    Now here is a scoop for James Zumwalt : the Iranian 10-foot giant doesn’t exist !!! ;-)

  35. Jed permalink
    May 20, 2010 1:48 pm

    Also from the report linked by Mr Reddick:

    “The torpedo parts recovered at the site of the explosion by a dredging ship on
    May 15th, which include the 5×5 bladed contra-rotating propellers, propulsion motor
    and a steering section, perfectly match the schematics of the CHT-02D torpedo…..”

    So no scare mongering rubbish about super-cavitators being used in the report on the sinking !

  36. Jed permalink
    May 20, 2010 1:44 pm

    Ref: “But both torpedoes are deadly—the supercavitating even more so as its design incorporates a law of physics loophole that makes detection and escape by a targeted ship virtually impossible”

    Really ? what loophole in the law of physics is that then ? The super-cavitating torpedo is a 21st century analog of the first ‘straight running’ torps, which is why the Soviets / Russians planned to fit them with nuclear warheads !

    If anyone is expert and knows different – please enlighten us ???

  37. Charley permalink
    May 20, 2010 1:16 pm

    Makes the case for more attack subs: probably have to be nukes due to the distances to presently hostile shores.

  38. Aaron permalink
    May 20, 2010 1:15 pm

    a supercavitating torpedo is silent? I would have thought an underwater rocket torpedo would be the loudest thing in the ocean.

  39. D. E. Reddick permalink
    May 20, 2010 12:31 pm

    Perhaps there was a failure to act upon available intelligence…

    “We confirmed that a few small submarines and a mother ship supporting
    them left a North Korean naval base in the West Sea 2-3 days prior to the attack and
    returned to port 2-3 days after the attack.”

    That is from page 5 of the PDF version of the report by ‘The Joint Civilian-Military Investigation Group’ as provided by the BBC.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/nol/shared/bsp/hi/pdfs/20_05_10jigreport.pdf

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