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A new generation of reckless submarine drivers?

tbloxhamtbloxham Registered User regular
edited March 2009 in Debate and/or Discourse
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7955185.stm

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/7892294.stm

It would seem that in this modern age that it's impossible to go anywhere under the sea without crashing into a nuclear submarine. Is this just a regular occurrence, these things bouncing off each other all the time, and I haven't noticed before, a strange coincidence, or evidence of something more substantial? Are modern subs so stealthy that they simply cannot be seen on radar? Have navies increased patrol speeds to reckless levels? Honestly, it would seem if you are at the helm of a nuclear sub filled to the brim with missiles and sailors you would naturally be a careful driver!

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  • GrimReaperGrimReaper Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    tbloxham wrote: »
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7955185.stm

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/7892294.stm

    It would seem that in this modern age that it's impossible to go anywhere under the sea without crashing into a nuclear submarine. Is this just a regular occurrence, these things bouncing off each other all the time, and I haven't noticed before, a strange coincidence, or evidence of something more substantial? Are modern subs so stealthy that they simply cannot be seen on radar? Have navies increased patrol speeds to reckless levels? Honestly, it would seem if you are at the helm of a nuclear sub filled to the brim with missiles and sailors you would naturally be a careful driver!

    The thing about submarines is that they're quiet..

    First of all this is a bit silly, this happened pretty often during the cold war.. this isn't anything new, it's more a case that is actually reported about now. Also, submarines when on active service will very rarely use active sonar (subs do have radar masts but again.. it's used rarely)

    Thing about radar is that it's used on the surface as water is really good at absorbing radiation like that emitted by radar.. this is why if you go diving in the water it gets dark pretty quickly the further down you go as the water is ridiculously good at absorbing the light. Also, it's an active system, meaning it can be detected and your position triangulated. Same kind of thing with active sonar, which uses sound. If you make sound you can be found. Therefore active sonar is rarely used by submarines.

    Passive sonar on western subs is ridiculously good, but the thing is that western subs are also ridiculously quiet as well.

    The way submarines work is that they'll be given an area to patrol, nobody else will know that route unless it's a pre-planned one. Also, they work alone as it decreases their chances of being detected.

    This simply isn't a case of bad sub drivers or anything like that, it's most likely the US has more than a few submarines close to Iranian waters doing penetration testing, mapping the area if they haven't already, that kind of thing. (and friendly submarines do not know the positions of each and neither do the friendly surface ships)

    The USA has the largest submarine fleet at last check I think that was 80. Whilst the Royal Navy has for example 12. The Russians used to have a submarine fleet in the hundreds but since the end of the cold war the actual number of active submarines is believed to be less than 30 although it's probably questionable as to whether they are actually battle ready. They supposedly have roughly 50 submarines in port although they are more than likely in various states of decay due to lack of investment in maintenance etc.

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  • japanjapan Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    tbloxham wrote: »
    Are modern subs so stealthy that they simply cannot be seen on radar?

    Radar doesn't work underwater because radio waves don't propagate.

    Subs have sonar, but it's a double edged sword because it can't be used without giving away the position of the submarine using it. Since Nuclear subs are meant to be undetectable (and their usefulness as a deterrent depends on it), they don't use active sonar. Instead, they depend on "Passive Sonar", which basically amounts to listening to the noise other vessels make and using that to locate them relative to the submarine. Since nuclear subs are stealthy, they're very difficult to locate in this way.

    Nuclear subs are essentially blind to each other, this is what they were designed for.

    Some countries (the US and the UK, for example) have agreements that their subs will stay within certain (moving) areas of sea that don't overlap. The problem is that it's very difficult to tell if anyone is actually sticking to such agreements.

  • SkannerJATSkannerJAT Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    The incident with the US also took place close to a shipping lane within a strait. Fairly confined space in an area with that degree of traffic just raises the probability of these things happening. Must be a hell of an experience hitting anything in a submarine D:

  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    tbloxham wrote: »
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7955185.stm

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/7892294.stm

    It would seem that in this modern age that it's impossible to go anywhere under the sea without crashing into a nuclear submarine. Is this just a regular occurrence, these things bouncing off each other all the time, and I haven't noticed before, a strange coincidence, or evidence of something more substantial? Are modern subs so stealthy that they simply cannot be seen on radar? Have navies increased patrol speeds to reckless levels? Honestly, it would seem if you are at the helm of a nuclear sub filled to the brim with missiles and sailors you would naturally be a careful driver!
    Patrol speeds are, like, 3mph. You realize two the two subs that collided were ridiculously heavy, right? They're carrying nuclear missiles, which are very large. And they came out of it with a couple of dents, and a damaged sonar cone (which is really fragile, anyhow). It was a one in a million chance.

    And in the strait of Hormuz, someone just fucked up. There are a lot of boats in a very tight area. It's going to happen.

  • tbloxhamtbloxham Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    japan wrote: »
    tbloxham wrote: »
    Are modern subs so stealthy that they simply cannot be seen on radar?

    Radar doesn't work underwater because radio waves don't propagate.

    Subs have sonar, but it's a double edged sword because it can't be used without giving away the position of the submarine using it. Since Nuclear subs are meant to be undetectable (and their usefulness as a deterrent depends on it), they don't use active sonar. Instead, they depend on "Passive Sonar", which basically amounts to listening to the noise other vessels make and using that to locate them relative to the submarine. Since nuclear subs are stealthy, they're very difficult to locate in this way.

    Nuclear subs are essentially blind to each other, this is what they were designed for.

    Some countries (the US and the UK, for example) have agreements that their subs will stay within certain (moving) areas of sea that don't overlap. The problem is that it's very difficult to tell if anyone is actually sticking to such agreements.

    I meant Sonar :)

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  • tbloxhamtbloxham Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Thanatos wrote: »
    tbloxham wrote: »
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7955185.stm

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/7892294.stm

    It would seem that in this modern age that it's impossible to go anywhere under the sea without crashing into a nuclear submarine. Is this just a regular occurrence, these things bouncing off each other all the time, and I haven't noticed before, a strange coincidence, or evidence of something more substantial? Are modern subs so stealthy that they simply cannot be seen on radar? Have navies increased patrol speeds to reckless levels? Honestly, it would seem if you are at the helm of a nuclear sub filled to the brim with missiles and sailors you would naturally be a careful driver!
    Patrol speeds are, like, 3mph. You realize two the two subs that collided were ridiculously heavy, right? They're carrying nuclear missiles, which are very large. And they came out of it with a couple of dents, and a damaged sonar cone (which is really fragile, anyhow). It was a one in a million chance.

    And in the strait of Hormuz, someone just fucked up. There are a lot of boats in a very tight area. It's going to happen.

    I just couldn't believe it had happened twice in as many months and that I'd never heard of it happening before. I suppose in random events a cluster is no proof of a pattern.

    Your puny weapons are useless against me
  • ViolentChemistryViolentChemistry __BANNED USERS
    edited March 2009
    tbloxham wrote: »
    japan wrote: »
    tbloxham wrote: »
    Are modern subs so stealthy that they simply cannot be seen on radar?

    Radar doesn't work underwater because radio waves don't propagate.

    Subs have sonar, but it's a double edged sword because it can't be used without giving away the position of the submarine using it. Since Nuclear subs are meant to be undetectable (and their usefulness as a deterrent depends on it), they don't use active sonar. Instead, they depend on "Passive Sonar", which basically amounts to listening to the noise other vessels make and using that to locate them relative to the submarine. Since nuclear subs are stealthy, they're very difficult to locate in this way.

    Nuclear subs are essentially blind to each other, this is what they were designed for.

    Some countries (the US and the UK, for example) have agreements that their subs will stay within certain (moving) areas of sea that don't overlap. The problem is that it's very difficult to tell if anyone is actually sticking to such agreements.

    I meant Sonar :)

    When you flip on your active sonar you're basically broadcasting to everyone in the world where your sub is hiding.

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  • DashuiDashui Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    This thread makes me want to go play Silent Hunter III or IV.

    Chances of crashing into each other probably isn't very big, but why aren't submarines of the same nation allowed to know the patrol patterns of the others? Is there some kind of risk of that knowledge?

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  • japanjapan Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Thanatos wrote: »
    And they came out of it with a couple of dents, and a damaged sonar cone (which is really fragile, anyhow).

    Sonar cones are generally made of some kind of plastic, because the priority in their design is acoustic transparency. They're not even structural parts. Think of it like the plastic bumper on a car.

  • GlaealGlaeal Registered User
    edited March 2009
    If this is the US sub/ship crash (I can't check BBC News at work), they were in the same battlegroup. They both should have been tracking each other on sonar, and they would have coordinated the transit to make sure this didn't happen.

    A bunch of people had to fuck up for these two to hit each other.

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  • dlinfinitidlinfiniti Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    its like no one here has heard of bumper subs before
    sometimes its not always better where its wetter
    sometimes its just ridiculously boring

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  • DaedalusDaedalus Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Dashui wrote: »
    This thread makes me want to go play Silent Hunter III or IV.

    Chances of crashing into each other probably isn't very big, but why aren't submarines of the same nation allowed to know the patrol patterns of the others? Is there some kind of risk of that knowledge?

    The odds of a secret being leaked go up exponentially with the number of people who know it?

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  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Dashui wrote: »
    This thread makes me want to go play Silent Hunter III or IV.

    Chances of crashing into each other probably isn't very big, but why aren't submarines of the same nation allowed to know the patrol patterns of the others? Is there some kind of risk of that knowledge?
    Need-to-know. If you've got a spy on one submarine, and that submarine knows where all of your submarines are...

    But yeah, the two U.S. ships that crashed was just someone fucking up big-time. The French/English subs was just a one-in-a-million chance.

  • DashuiDashui Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Daedalus wrote: »
    Dashui wrote: »
    This thread makes me want to go play Silent Hunter III or IV.

    Chances of crashing into each other probably isn't very big, but why aren't submarines of the same nation allowed to know the patrol patterns of the others? Is there some kind of risk of that knowledge?

    The odds of a secret being leaked go up exponentially with the number of people who know it?

    Well, er... yes, I suppose that's true. Damn my sleepiness. Submarines are the sneaky sneaky, after all. I guess the people handing out the missions must, at the very least, know or have an idea of the other submarines so they can minimize risk of collision.

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  • FyreWulffFyreWulff Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited March 2009
    Daedalus wrote: »
    Dashui wrote: »
    This thread makes me want to go play Silent Hunter III or IV.

    Chances of crashing into each other probably isn't very big, but why aren't submarines of the same nation allowed to know the patrol patterns of the others? Is there some kind of risk of that knowledge?

    The odds of a secret being leaked go up exponentially with the number of people who know it?

    Yep. One sub being compromised doesn't compromise the rest of the fleet..

  • Dunadan019Dunadan019 Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    they should install windshields on submarines so that they don't hit each other underwater.

  • MetroidZoidMetroidZoid Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    The mental image of a bunch of whales and sea creatures and shit, watching these two subs cruising ever so slowly towards immenant collision, is an entertaining image to say the least. Eating sea-popcorn and such. And then when they collide with a pleasant CLUNK, the animals cheer, and move on with their lives.

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  • FyreWulffFyreWulff Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited March 2009
    This would have all been avoided if they had installed their Marcoic Polonic generator/recievers.

  • deowolfdeowolf Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Would that effect the screen doors at all?

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  • Greg USNGreg USN Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    If anyone was at fault it was the sub. the Surface navy will only know that a sub is in the area, meaning an area about the size of Washington state.

    Navigating a sub in one of the worlds most trafficked strait (much of it is off limits because it is territorial waters) is hard. I've been through the strait and its no fucking joke.
    A bunch of people had to fuck up for these two to hit each other.
    You really could not be more wrong.

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  • DuffelDuffel Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    I would imagine that the chances of most subs hitting each other is for the most part pretty low. We're talking about the ocean here.

  • CantidoCantido Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Duffel wrote: »
    I would imagine that the chances of most subs hitting each other is for the most part pretty low. We're talking about the ocean here.

    In the deepest, heaviest most brutal parts.

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  • MalaysianShrewMalaysianShrew Registered User
    edited March 2009
    While the ocean is large, I've heard that there are parts near the currents with odd sonar deflecting properties because of the sudden change in temperature that any smart sub commander would use. So pretty much every sub commander in the world uses the same super secret hiding spots.

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  • GrimReaperGrimReaper Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    While the ocean is large, I've heard that there are parts near the currents with odd sonar deflecting properties because of the sudden change in temperature that any smart sub commander would use. So pretty much every sub commander in the world uses the same super secret hiding spots.

    This is in all parts of the ocean and it's called the thermocline.

    Also, whilst the ocean is large there will be areas where there is likely to be lots of submarine activity. For example i'd harbour a guess there are plenty of subs in the persian gulf area, there is likely to be a fair few around korea and the china sea.

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  • ascannerlightlyascannerlightly Registered User
    edited March 2009
    Cantido wrote: »
    Duffel wrote: »
    I would imagine that the chances of most subs hitting each other is for the most part pretty low. We're talking about the ocean here.

    In the deepest, heaviest most brutal parts.
    what is this buttons? i thinks i hit it!

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