September 25, 2020

Russia's Improved Kilo II Submarine (Project 636.3)

Russia's original (Project 877) Kilo subs have been operating since 1980.

But the newest sub-class is the Improved Kilo II, Project 636.3. The Improved Kilo II first entered service in 2013 and is being supplied to the Russian Navy only.

The indomitable "Jive Turkey" presents a clear, well-paced, Youtube description of Improved Kilo II Project 636.6 at and below

Highlights of this August 2019 Youtube (usefully seen in conjunction with this list) include:

1:43 - First of class, B-261, was laid down in 2010 in St Petersburg

4:42 - list of weapons carried

5:27 - Russians are clever in the way they load torpedoes from outside through 2 torpedo tubes in the

6:02 - uses an advanced (for Russia) Lama-EKM combat system

7:10 - Rubicon-M Sonar System with details (search for Rubicon-M in this very comprehensive article

8:15 - speed, test depth, noise "117 DB AT 1/YARD" ("Jive" doesn't reveal how decibels (DB) were
          determined from 1 yard of  B-261)

8:50 - first use of Kalibr land attack missiles (against Syria) from Improved Kilo II "B-237"

9:14 - Russia's Black Sea Fleet has received its 6 Improved Kilo IIs and then the Pacific Fleet
          (see table). 

September 22, 2020

"Jive" on Acoustic Vulnerabilities of Borei SSBNs

 A close friend has referred  me to "Jive Turkey's" Youtube "Project "Northwind" 955 Borei" SSBN at and below:

"Jive" uploaded it on May 5, 2019. "Jive's" rapidly rising and articulate "Sub Brief" presence is proving an eye-opener for submarine aficionados as well as for sonar-people on other platforms (eg. skimmers and aircraft). I haven't seen sonar analysis details discussed in this depth in "Jives" many Youtubes anywhere/any time.

Bits I find most interesting include:

- 0 to 60 seconds where "Jive" describes what he did in the USN and in what era, security clearance etc.

- 14:45 "Acoustic Vulnerability" of the Borei as determined on sonar spectrum display, including
   vulnerabilities correlated with:

   = Continuous running seamless hydraulic pump

   = High demand transient

   = Missile tube preparation

   = Motor generator harmonics

   = Swarths

   = Station keeping


   = Hull pop.

All very interesting. Another "Jive" youtube later this week.

September 18, 2020

Thai Army Fought In Vietnam - Creation of SEATO & FPDA

Comments and facts about Southeast Asian history are infrequent on Submarine Matters.

This is why Shawn C’s comments on September 16 and 17, 2020 are so interesting. Here they are with hyperlinks added, expansion of acronyms and occasional comments in brackets [...] from Pete.

The [US created and dominated]  the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO) a defence bloc that existed from 1954 to 1977, which Thailand and the Phillipines were members of, while at that time many current SEA countries were still French or British colonies.

Yes, the UK had plenty of other issues to deal with in the 1960s, with the end of de-colonialization leading to bushfire wars occurring all across the globe, while Indonesia [under President] Sukarno in the early 1960s was aligning with the Communist Bloc for weapons and quite busy stirring up South East Asia, from the Western New Guinea issue with the Dutch, to Confrontation with Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei. It was only when Sukarno was replaced in 1967 that Indonesian expansionist policies stopped, with the exception of East Timor [which was invaded by Indonesia in 1975].

The Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA) (1971 on) was formed right after the decolonisation of the British Empire by five Commonwealth countries – see The Diplomat (paysite) entry. FPDA was essentially created to defend Malaysia and Singapore, as a counter to expansionist Indonesian policies from the 1960s and the threat of the 'Communist Domino effect' coming down from Vietnam, which was eventually halted by the Thai's robust actions on their border.

FPDA always stuck Shawn as a Commonwealth 'boys club' with the UK, Australia and New Zealand taking over defence of three former colonies [Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei] until they could defend themselves, which for Singapore was around 1989, and Brunei finally became an independent country in 1984.

As to why there is no American involvement in FPDA is very simple [the US was already operating within the part overlapping SEATO context.]

[see this Wikipedia entry and this one. The latter Wiki entry includes: 

“Thailand was the third-largest provider of ground forces to South Vietnam, following the Americans and South Koreans [in 1967 – 1972].” ]

[Pete comment - Such was my ignorance I was unaware that Thais fought in Vietnam!].

[Later, Wikipedia indicates on Vietnam’s invasion of Cambodia in 1978-79: 

"The [China supported] Khmer Rouge leadership, with much of its political and military structures shattered by the Vietnamese invasion, was forced to take refuge in Thailand. The Thai government under Kriangsak Chamanan accommodated the Khmer Rouge refugees, in exchange for a promise by [China's] Deng Xiaoping to end material support to Thailand's insurgent communists. Despite the overwhelming economic challenges brought by the Khmer Rouge and the accompanying refugees, the Thai Government sheltered and protected the Khmer Rouge at Khao Larn camp in Trat Province." ]

Singapore's Decline in Use of UK Weapons

 On September 16, 2020 Shawn C  commented :

Over the decades, UK military equipment purchases have been reduced, simply as they couldn't offer winning bids. [Pete comment - And also with the withdrawal of UK military forces in 1971 from Singapore much UK equipment left and the colonial-political tradition that promoted UK weapons gradually left.] 

[Still] Singapore did purchase many of its initial military equipment from the UK in the early 1970s, including Hawker Hunters, Strikemasters, Bloodhound and Rapier missiles. The Land Rovers were part of an initial batch that includes Bedford lorries and Ford M151 jeeps.

The first Singapore army rifles were SLRs [Pete comment - SLRs at 7.62mm calibre were more suited to long range NATO flat or rolling hill country, heavy, long to swing around in the jungle, heavy bullets hence fewer carried, less suited to in close quarter fighting, not fully auto, so unsuited to Singapore jungle warfare], but quickly changed to M-16s [suitable but could/can jam on jungle mud/dust] on the advice of Israeli military advisors. 

That kicked off the whole Chartered Industry of Singapore saga when an entire M-16 factory was bought from Colt turn-key, then after finishing the Singapore Army production run Colt refused to let Singapore export to countries in the region, which lead Singapore developing the SAR-80/88, an AR-18 derivative design from Sterling Arms in the UK.

 The last major attempt from the UK was the BAe led Eurofighter Typhoon [and Rafale] bids in 2005 that lost to the F-15SG

After Rapier SAMs were replaced with [the Israeli] SPYDERs in 2011, Shawn doesn't think the Singapore Air Force has any major equipment sourced from the UK.

September 17, 2020

Trump Ahead By 1% Says Very Significant Pollster

Good news is that collective polls indicate Biden is 6.9% ahead.


Bad news is that Rusmussen Reports (a very accurate pollster in 2016) now indicates:

"Trump Takes First Lead Wednesday, September 16, 2020

President Trump has now edged to a one-point lead over Democratic nominee Joe Biden in the latest Rasmussen Reports’ weekly White House Watch survey. While statistically insignificant, it’s the first time Trump has been ahead.

The new national telephone and online survey finds the president with a 47% to 46% lead over Biden among Likely U.S. Voters. Three percent (3%) prefer some other candidate, while four percent (4%) remain undecided..."


"Undecided" is always a critical, but unpredicatable, element in polling.

I'd say, after early optimism (that Trump would lose) Trump Winning is now a 50/50 proposition.

Penetrating US ICBM Silo Anti-Personnel Defenses: Terrorist DIY Guide

Only in America would the US government reveal precise details of its ICBM silo anti-personnel security hatches, combination locks, timers and defensive firearms

via David Hambling, writing for Forbes, September 16, 2020 at

"...The U.S. Air Force is improving the protection of its nuclear missile silos from against attacks by terrorists or other ground forces, with a  $21 million contract to Northrop Grumman NOC +1.6% for a device known as a Fast Rising B-Plug. This unusual item is literally the last line of defense between the bad guys and a missile with a live 400-kiloton nuclear warhead..."

One ton outer access hatch (above) and 7 ton B-Plug "hatch" below. (Photos and details courtesy US Air Force via Forbes.) 

see WHOLE FORBES article