December 31, 2016

Happy New Year - Brought to you by PLA-N's Nuclear Submarine Service

1. Next year (tomorrow, 1 January 2017) Submarine Matters will introduce much more content and
comment concerning China's People's Liberation Army Navy (PLA-N) submarine service.

Much more needs to be written. Chinese censorship, major language differences and some Chinese, US and Taiwanese political exaggeration make Chinese submarines a particularly difficult information target.

2017 will be an interesting year in which new President Trump may attempt to roll back China's advances in:

-  the "South Sea" (China's term)
-  failing that the Western world already favour China by mislabelling "South China Sea"
-  "East Sea" (Vietnam's term) and
-  West Philippine Sea.

I suggest everyone call it the East Sea. What do you think?


2. Youtube

This Youtube is the Anthem of the Chinese Nuclear Submarine Service. The lyrics need work, so I've  further translated them into more memorable English:

We are the shield of peace, guarding our Nation. 
We are in every part of the ocean.
Ever loyal to the Motherland. 

We are a vessel of iron and steel.
Launching Thunder from the deep! 
Let the enemy be completely destroyed, by storm and fire! 

Chinese Navy nuclear submarine.
We serve in the deep sea. 
With our sacrifice, written in blood.
Our certain deaths will be remembered!

When I die in my steel coffin
That there is a bit of seafloor in the East Sea
That is for a moment China’s.

Here’s hoping none of the superpowers (China or the US) go to war. They can both generate wealth and care for their people, peacefully.

3. Video action in above Youtube.

-  0 to 40 seconds in - two of the active but totally obsolete Type 091 Han class SSNs
    (Numbers 404 and 405) feature. These are noisy, dangerously radioactive to their
    long-suffering crews, but not bad for a first attempt at building a class of SSN.

-  45 seconds in - what appears to be the test of a Chinese JL-1 SLBM. Launched from a
    submerged test stand or a Type 092 or Type 094 SSBN.

-  1 min 7 secs in - on the surface is the only Type 092 SSBN. It has a much longer fin/sail 
    than the 094s.

-  2:25 a warhead or two from an SLBM destroy a city (A bit violent even for nuclear war!)

-  3:37 This SSBN's number (406) indicates it is the Type 092.


4.  I think Auld Lang Syne is over-used and over-rated :) I reckon this is a better Happy New Year
       song from ABBA - introduced by blonde Agnetha Fältskog:

Happy New Year to you all.


December 22, 2016

Merry Christmas 2016. Have a Happy New Year 2017.

Christmas in Australia is in mid-summer. its really really hot. time for the beach and surfing.

 sometimes i miss the cold, snowy, christmases i had as a kid, bundled up, in west germany (in 1966-1967).

A famous French song. santa’s biggest present in 2016 went to dcns!
Only a return of Tony Abbott to the Prime Ministership in 2017 would return Australia to the Soryu.

Nothing like Canadian Diana Krall's sexy rendition of a good old carol!

Have A Warm Merry Christmas And Happy New Year


December 21, 2016

Needs of a future Chinese Conventional Submarine

What some considered a possible, future Chinese conventional submarine (SSK) in 2013 - when few knew the above was a Soryu cutaway. Most text above is in Chinese. Possible specifications: 3,400 t  (submerged), Length: 80 m, Beam: 10 m, Tubes: 6 x 533mm torpedo tubes, 21 heavyweight shots...AIP...Depth: 450 m, Duration: 60 days, Crew: 50. (Cutaway Image likely originated from a model builder or gamer network)

Research for my future (end 2017) book on Chinese submarines, so far indicates:

China has 15 Yuan class submarines that are active, with 4 or 5 to be built in 2017-2018.

A.  By 2017-2019 China will wish to launch a more advanced class of submarines to maintain its
      SSK numbers while replacing obsolete Ming class.

B.  Advanced class 2019 Chinese SSKs (lets call it SSK2019) may well have a higher surfaced
     displacement and larger dimensions for greater capability. This would follow the
     worldwide trend of steadily larger SSKs in each succeeding class.

Features deficient in the Yuan, tending to alter or make the weight of SSK2019 heavier, may include:

1.  old fashioned Lead-acid Batteries (desire to deploy Lithium-ion Batteries (LIBs) by 2025).
     AIP with its at least 200 tonnes weight might be deleted by 2025 if LIBs are successfully

2.  crew of only 38 are too few for long endurance or distant missions. More space for SEALs (for 
     Taiwan and Philippines operations) needed.

3.  longer ranges needed. More diesel for extended voyages to protect approaches to China's South
     China Sea, and for missions in Indian, Arctic and Western-Central Pacific Oceans. 

4.  only 6 torpedo tubes with probably only 18 heavyweight shots. Maybe more torpedo tubes or a
     Vertical Multi-Purpose Lock needed for quicker-easier deployment of UUVs, torpedos, missiles
     and mines.

5.  improved combat system with better sonars (adds weight for electronics and more operators).

6.  upgrade from MTU 386 diesels to more efficient, more powerful MTU 4000 diesels (built in
      Yulin, China). 

Would you agree a Chinese weight gain is likely or might LIBs-in with AIP-out make weight the same or less than a Yuan?


December 20, 2016

China's Aims in Theft of Militarally Crucial USN Glider UUV

The "unclassified" LBS-Glider System that China stole. Note that in the Glider's description is the classified "Optimize ocean feature characterization for tactical and operational products for ASW, [mine warfare] MIW, [anti-mine-warfare] AMW, and Special Ops." (Slide courtesy US Navy).

The US Defense Department said the Unmanned Underwater Vehicle (UUV) stolen by the Chinese Navy on 15 December 2016 is part of an "unclassified" Littoral Battlespace Sensing-Glider (LBS-G) system. "Unclassified" is not strictly correct. Teledyne Webb along with the USN Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command developed the LBS-G

In the 15 December case the Glider was apparently collecting oceanographic data (such as sea water salinity, water temperature, depth, other seafloor characteristics, sound speed and other factors) to assist the USN in ASW, [mine warfare] MIW, [anti-mine-warfare] AMW, and Special Ops. Put another way the Glider assists USN sensor platforms and databases to track foreign submarines (including Chinese) or mines and aids the discrete movement of US submarines to evade detection.

On 20 December 2016 (US time) is was reported that China has returned the Glider in question.

A glider used for monitoring salinity and ocean temperatures including propagation of heat.
- 3min, 45secs - instead of a propeller a buoyancy pump glides this UUV over extreme ranges.
                          Gliders are too slow to shadow SSKs but larger propeller driven UUVs can.
- 4min, 25secs into the youtube a trans-Atlantic crossing shows how far gliders can travel.

The Gliders can be used to study undersea internal wave behaviour which can then make it easier for US and allied submarines to hide under different undersea water temperature layers - called thermoclines.

The LBS-G is a long endurance UUV propelled by changes in buoyancy along with its wings and tail-fin steering. The 60 kg LBS-Gs can operate submerged up to 5 months using Lithium-ion Batteries (LIBs). LBS-Gs are deployed by USN and USNS ships (like United States Naval Ship (USNS) Bowditcharound the world. 



China's technical aim is to develop its own UUVs and sees theft of Western UUVs, followed by reverse engineering, as a way to lower research costs and shorten development times. So China would have pulled apart the Glider and conducted testing of the computer software and hardware as well as on the electrical contents.

China has also used the theft for the political aim of widening the wedge between the Philippines and the US. With Philippines President Duterte now siding with China (or its money) the theft might also be used as an excuse for the Philippines to direct a diplomatic protest at the innocent USA. This is because some Filipino politicians have chosen to view US testing of the Glider as a violation of the Philippines 200 mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

China has also decided to use the theft (50 nautical miles northwest of Subic Bay, Philippines) as an example of the US violating Chinese seaspace, even though the theft occurred outside China’s imaginary Nine-Dash-Line.


December 16, 2016

Payne Reliever Pyne will become the sole Defence Minister

Defence Industry Minister, Christopher Pyne (left) and Defence Minister, Marise Payne uneasily sharing the defence portfolio. Even their names Pyne-Payne are uneasily similar. 
(Photo courtesy The Australian).


Defence Industry Minister, Christopher Pyne who uneasily shares the defence portfolio with the actual Defence Minister, Marise Payne, will oust her by late February 2017.

Late December to early February is the most frequent period for Australian ministerial changes/shakeups.


Christopher Pyne is an outspoken threat to an increasingly desperate Prime Minister Turnbull. Turnbull is barely clinging to office with a slim majority.

Marise Payne, emerged from obscurity in September 2015. She was very much the appointment of Turnbull - when Turnbull's stocks were high. As Turnbull's stocks decline (weakened by the 2016 Federal Election) Marise Payne's legitimacy declines.

The very quiet Marise Payne has missed opportunities, that the defence portfolio offers, for essential political grandstanding. 

Christopher Pyne is ambitious, extraverted and very senior to Marise Payne in time served as a Minister and Cabinet Minister.

Christopher Pyne has been frustrated, since becoming Defence Industry Minister (since 19 July 2016)  about having to frequently share decisions and functions with Marise Payne.

Marise Payne has largely completed her best role, policy review (2016 White Paper, accampanying documents) and oversaw policy presentation for the selection of the DCNS submarine (Shortfin).

Marise Payne probably has already overseen substantial planning concerning the Offshore Patrol Vessel and Future Frigate selection processes. Further selection and implementation work could be done under just one Defence Minister. 

Marise Payne (a Senator from NSW) has insufficiently performed large parts of a defence minister's role, for example international defence policy sound bites (why hasn't she criticised China over the South China Sea?). 

Marise can be moved, with honour, sideways, into another ministerial job that is heavy on policy review (health, education, welfare?). This also maintains the numbers of NSW politicians in the overall Turnbull Ministry.

Marise Payne's health may be putting pressure on her position.


 “Defence Minister Marise Payne’s illness and surgery have increased speculation in Coalition ranks that there will be a ministerial reshuffle [six senior portfolios] just before Christmas or in the first quarter of next year...Yesterday Senator Payne issued a statement about her absence for the past 10 days, revealing the surgery as questions about her future intensified. She said she expected a “full recovery” but did not say when she would return to work...

Senator Payne’s illness — an abdominal infection requiring surgery last weekend...suggesting Senator Payne may have to be relieved of her job...But yesterday she released a statement that said she would not attend the Senate again this week and “underwent surgery over the weekend to address a severe abdominal infection for which she had been previously receiving treatment. 

Senator Payne will have missed the final two weeks of the Parliamentary sitting year.
Some Liberal MPs have been critical of her performance as Defence Minister since the Prime Minister appointed her as the first woman to the post when he took over from Mr Abbott last year.

Senator Payne’s Defence portfolio was split and responsibility for the massive defence projects over the next decades given to Christopher Pyne as Minister for Defence Industry, a move seen as a weakening of her position."


December 14, 2016

December's Special Report to Donors, ISRAEL’S SECOND STRIKE CHOICES

Haifa, Israel's submarine base. Where it all begins.

Hi Donors

I've just emailed December's Special Report to Donors, ISRAEL’S SECOND STRIKE CHOICES, out to you as a WORD attachment. Please check your spam bin if you don't see it in your IN box.

For other readers wishing to receive ISRAEL’S SECOND STRIKE CHOICES please donate A$50 using the Donate Button on the righthand Submarine Matters sidebar. Once I have received your Donation I will email this Report to you. Over the next 11 months I will then send you a Special DONOR Report on the second Wednesday of each month. 


Peter Coates

Submarine Matters International

December 13, 2016

Granit armed Oscar II class submarines confronting Western Carriers

Two huge Oscar II class submarines, with their 24 large Granit missiles (each) may be confronting two Western carrier groups. See the tiny human figures (bottom, right) for scale. See here for larger image.


Claims that Western forces are still hunting two Oscar II submarines in the small Mediterranean Sea would be incorrect. These subs would have been detected very quickly in the small sea environment. At 25 years old, the huge, 19,400 tons (submerged) are easily spotted with active sonars. Also each Oscar is propelled by two aging OK-650 naval reactors, developed in the 1970s, which are likely to be very noisy. 

Oscar II submarine comparative noise lever (Courtesy FAS). FAS also reports (upper diagram hereAkula II's have about the same noise level as Improved Los Angeles class (688i). Inconclusive. Which returns Oscar II to 1970s noise, returning to their 1970s reactor noise.

If these Oscars are confronting US and French carrier groups in the Mediterranean Sea the carrier escorts, ASW destroyers, frigates, corvettes, ASW MPAs and helicopters would all have played a part in detecting and tracking the Oscars.

Once detected just one Western ASW corvette per Oscar could tail the Oscar, using the corvette's active sonars, from one end of the Med to the other.

It may be the confronting nature of the Oscars that prompted the West to publicise the activities of these Oscars. Ordinarily activities of enemy subs are kept secret.

An Oscar firing some Granit missiles. The Granits are arranged and fired diagonally. This may be required for flight dynamics. Diagonal firing also has tactical benefits for the Oscar, ie. it can keep moving (perhaps ready to fire torpedos) rather than having to stop like an SSBN firing SLBMs. (Artwork courtesy Federation of American Scientists).


Kyle Mizokami writing for Popular Mechanics, December 12, 2016 (quoting The Aviationist)  reports:

"NATO is Hunting Russia's "Carrier Killer" Submarines'

The subs are thought to be stalking two NATO carrier battle groups operating nearby.

NATO's anti-submarine forces are currently hunting one, and possibly two, Russian submarines in the eastern Mediterranean. The submarines, Oscar-II class guided missile boats, was designed to take out aircraft carriers in wartime. Two NATO carriers are operating off the coast of Syria….USS Eisenhower and the French Charles De Gaulle …in the eastern Med…[operating against IS in Syria]….

The Oscar's firepower lies in its 24 [very large, supersonic]  P-700 Granit missiles…

A Granit being unloaded from the destroyed Oscar II submarine Kursk (Photo courtesy Air Power Australia). The P-700 Granit/3M45/SS-N-19 "Shipwreck" with its 7 tonne launch weight can fly 300 nautical miles, with an end-run of Mach 2.5. Granits are also deployed on Kirov class battlecruisers (only "Peter the Great" (in English) is active) and on the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov

Miniaturisation of modern electronics and of (nuclear and conventional) warheads is permitting the gradual phase-out of the large Granit concept in favour of the only(!) 3 tonne BrahMosP-800/Oniks/Yakhont/SS-N-26 "Strobile".


December 9, 2016

Russia's giant Kanyon nuclear "drone"/torpedo a discarded 1950s concept

In the 1950s Russia initially developed its November class submarines to carry one nuclear tipped giant T-15 (1550mm diameter) torpedo to destroy Western ports and naval bases. See giant torpedo tube in middle diagram above. However the standard armament of Novembers was quickly changed to eight 533mm torpedo tubes (which could still fire standard conventional warhead, or nuclear tipped (T5/T-5) torpedos (see lower diagram, above).

The giant nuclear tipped torpedo concept known as Kanyon ("Status-6") is again possible but unlikely as a viable weapon system. Note, at a reported 1600mm diameter, the Kanyon is only very slightly larger than the old T-15/T15 1550mm concept. This time one could fit into a converted and largely obsolete Russian Oscar submarine or a modern Borei/Borey submarine. See photos, artwork and descriptions in H I Sutton's Covert Shores website here and here


It is odd that a Russian scheme to bring back the concept of the Kanyon, large nuclear torpedo (or “drone” unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV)) has created such interest. Sheer novelty and rightwing Russian and Western propaganda may be at the heart of the matter. 

-  Note, at a reported 1600mm, the Kanyon it is only very slightly larger than the old 1950s T-15/T15 1550mm concept.

-  With an expected speed up to 56 knots the Kanyon would represent the world's slowest and most easily intercepted "ICBM with no MIRVs" due to its underwater limitations.

-  So the Kanyon encapsulates discarded technology in hardware and concept in a world that know relies on hard to shoot down SLBMs and ICBMs. 

-  Kanyon is easily detected by seabed (and other platform) SeaWeb sonar and other sensor  arrays.

-  Kanyon would be easily intercepted by US/Western deepsea UUVs or "bottom-rising" mines.

The Kanyon basically seems an unviable terror weapon which Putin can scare us with. The scare can then be exploited by media outlets here (Sept 8, 2015) and here (Dec 8, 2016).

Russian nuclear tipped torpedos

In the late 1940s and 1950s Russia (Soviets) developed an oversized 1550mm diameter nuclear tipped torpedo known as the T-15 (or T15). At 1550mm the torpedo weighed 40 tonnes. It required a one-mission specialised November class submarine to carry just one. The T-15 was intended to destroy naval bases and coastal towns by underwater explosion that resulted in massive tsunami waves.

The international trend of miniaturisation of H-bombs allowed the warhead to shrink to a 533mm warhead size. Also the Russian Navy was unhappy with a one weapon one-mission submarine so pressed for a standard sized 533mm nuclear torpedo that any Russian submarines (SSKs, SSNs or  SSBNs) could launch. The experimental 533mm torpedo was known as T-5/T5. In the late 1950s it became operational as the Type 53-58 torpedo.

From the early 1960s Russia developed an even more flexible solution in the ASB-30 533mm nuclear warhead which could replace conventional warheads on any Russian 533mm torpedo.

The Supercavitating torpedo VA-111 Shkval can be used to carry nuclear warheads. Being rocket powered the Shkval reveals the location of the launching submarine. Hence the Shkval is known as a “revenge weapon” where destruction of the Russian submarine is imminent.

US Nuclear tipped torpedo.

Not to be outdone the US deployed the Mark 45 ASTOR nuclear tipped torpedo from the late 1950s to mid 1970s. Instead of port/coastal destruction the Mark 45 was designed for use against high-speed, deep-diving, enemy submarines. It was a medium-lightweight 480mm torpedo fitted with a W34 nuclear warhead.


Kyle Mizokami writing for Popular Mechanics, December 8, 2016, reports :

"The Pentagon has confirmed that a new Russian nuclear delivery drone is real. The undersea drone, which carries an enormous nuclear warhead to destroy coastal cities and military bases, was tested late last month. The test was leaked by unnamed sources to The Washington Free Beacon.
Russia calls the system "Ocean Multipurpose System 'Status-6," and it is allegedly capable of traveling underwater to distances of to 6,200 miles. It can submerge to depths of 3,280 feet and travel at speeds of up to 56 knots.

The U.S. intelligence agencies estimate Status-6 will carry a multi-megaton thermonuclear bomb payload….” See WHOLE POPULAR MECHANICS ARTICLE


Possible 2009 photo of transport container or torpedo tube for "skif" (aka KANYON?) drawn  from article (in English) of April 21, 2016 . 


December 8, 2016

South Korea's future nuclear missile response to North Korea

As South Korea is contemplating nuclear weapons might Israel assist it by developing the solid-fuel rocketsuper or hypersonic, Popeye Turbo "cruise" missile for ROK horizontal torpedo tube submarine use?

With varying amounts of publicity South Korea-Republic of Korea (ROK) has been considering developing its own nuclear weapons capability since 1970. The main determinant appears to be ROK's confidence, or lack of confidence, that the US will continue to extend nuclear deterrence in ROK’s favour. An ROK capability may take one to three years to develop.

Events or trends driving current ROK thinking include:

-  North Korea’s (NK’s) continuing ballistic missile, SLBM and nuclear tests and threats to use 
   them against ROK
-  Since early 2016 Trump’s "abandon ROK" and "ROK develop its own nuclear capability"
-  Since October 2016 the possibility North Korea will exploit instability caused by the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye. ROK is now ruled by temporary President Hwang Kyo-ahn.
-  Will Hwang Kyo-ahn have different attitudes to nuclear options? 

Regarding Trump, playing on the minds of ROK’s leaders is the 1949 removal of US protection which quickly led to the NK invasion of 1949. If Trump becomes aware of history he may need to be told that the US very quickly and expensively needed to return to the Korean Peninsula in 1949 to defend ROK and indirectly Japan against NK as well as Chinese (and less acknowledged) Soviet Russian aggression.

Due to the grim strategic threats against ROK it is following hedging policies to reduce the chance of North Korean attack. Policies include:

-  Maintain a relatively high defence budget of 2.6% GDP - partly to signal ROK resolve to the US.
-  Deploying conventional military equipment (including land and sea based ABM/BMD systems).
   But note BMD systems are less effective against future NK SLBMs because the launch points and
   trajectories of SLBMs or even cruise missiles (SLCMs) are less known in a BMD database.
plans to develop and deploy nuclear weapons and much later nuclear propulsion.

This activity or potential is partly aimed at ensuring US conventional and nuclear extended deterrence against North Korea remains.

If ROK saw nuclear propelled submarines as a way of destroying NK or Chinese SSBNs ROK would need to spend a great amount of money over a long period.

Judging by Indian and French nuclear submarine programs nuclear propulsion may take, 10 to 15, years to develop. Also see Note 3 in a Wikipedia article.


If an ROK project is for an SSBN then extra years may be required to develop a vertical launch ballistic missile system. France, with experience in 2,000 to 5,000 tonne nuclear submarines may be the most likely source of reactor and submarine hull assistance.

Also France may be able to assist ROK in upgrading the Hyunmoo ballistic missile to SLBM status. This is noting France assisted Israel in developing the Jericho series of (very obviously) nuclear tipped missiles. 


Another option is for Israel to assist ROK by developing the solid-fuel rocket propelled, supersonic or hypersonic, Popeye Turbo "cruise" missile for ROK's horizontal torpedo tube submarine use? 

Germany's TKMS, designed the Type 209s and 214 conventional subs that ROK has been assembling. TKMS may then be a likely supplier of ROKs "indigenous" 3,000+ tonne KSS-III design. This design may be very similar to a stretched Dolphin 2 or future Dolphin 3 design. Dolphin submarines have the advantage of using 4 650mm torpedo tubes that are specifically designed for the above mentioned Popeye Turbo missiles.


December 7, 2016

Intelligence Vulnerabilities of Submariner Social Media Use

Social media activities of submariners and other employees who work at the SSBN Base at Kings Bay, Georgia, USA, need monitoring.

The telephone exchange closest to Kings Bay (on Base or at Jacksonville?) needs network, technical defences to thwart efforts by Chinese and Russian intelligence attempting to organise traffic analysis or even in-clear connections. Also see map.

Michael Glynn has written an interesting, long, article “Information Management In Next Generation Anti-Submarine Warfare” for Center for International Maritime Security (CIMSEC). Here I focus on a fragment below:

Under “Operations Analysis” Michael writes about WWII, Cold War and future use of operations analysis for ASW purposes. This includes:

"ASW forces of tomorrow will have to rediscover the value of operations analysis and apply these efforts at the operational and tactical levels. ASW task forces will be equipped with all-source intelligence fusion centers. Cueing information will flow from traditional means such as the Integrated Undersea Surveillance System, signals intelligence, and novel means assisted by big data analytics. Methods as unusual as monitoring the social media or Internet activity of adversary crew members and their families may provide indications that a submarine is getting underway." 


I've bolded "Methods as unusual as monitoring the social media or Internet activity of adversary crew members and their families may provide indications that a submarine is getting underway."

If I put my (ficticious) Chinese or Russian cyber-intelligence hat on I see rich pickings by tieing in my advanced software and big budget to fully exploit possibilities that Twitter, Google and Facebook use offers. 

For both China and Russia the ability to use much locally developed internet software/hardware and adapt "Silicon Valley" commercial software can increase the chances of exploitation. Cyber defenders may be a little nervous to what extent the basically Moscow headquartered Kaspersky Lab anti-virus multinational safeguards Western secrets against Russian intelligence exploitation. If I were in Russia's NSA equivalent I wouldn't hesitate to lean on Russia companies with access. 

-  in another direction the federal Australian and US Governments are hyper-sensitive about the perceived security risks of integrating software and hardware of China's massive Huawei computer-telecommunications equipement provider.

-  Chinese or Russian cyber-intelligence may utilise algorithms and databases alert them when known daughters or girlfriends of known US, UK, German or Australian submariners Tweet or update their Facebook account that "Dad or Fred is away at sea again".

-  Young submariners who already have an internationally identified Twitter or (especially) Facebook social media profile may reveal that they have a compromising lifestyle (cheating on a spouse?) that could be exploited by the "right" approach of Chinese or Russian intelligence agencies one day, even if years later.

-  current of former submariners (who might also be Chinese linguists) may need to steer clear of  Confucius Institutes (fronts?)

-  A more traditional signals intelligence approach to track SMS, mobile voice and landline voice would be to establish connections directly or indirectly through a phone company employee with the telephone exchange that it closest to a submarine base. Suitable targets may be an exchange closest to:

-  Kings Bay Georgia, US, SSBN Base, (see photo and map above) or

-  if a Russian, gain access to the exchange closest to Germany's major Eckernförde Naval Base where Germany's Type 212A 1st Submarine Squadron is based. Gaining a traffic analysis connection (no need to decrypt) to DHO38 might attract the odd Russian.

-  in Australia the naval facilities at the Port of Darwin may be vulnerable because a Chinese company now owns the port (for 99 years).

Good Western human and technical security to guard against rapidly developing social media and exchange vulnerabilities is an increasing need.


December 5, 2016

Russia's Kuznetsov aircraft carrier strike fighters crashing unsustainably

Admiral Kuznetsov's strike jets have been crashing into the sea so often over the last 3 weeks that pilots are seeking safety on land (at Russia's Syrian Air Base at Latakia - see map below). This Airbus/IHS photo is a satellite's view of Kuznetsov's 6 remaining Su-33 fighters (upper centre).

The Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov is now rarely launching and recovering its fighters - partly due to arrester wire failures which have contributed to an unsustainable strike jet crash rate over only 3 weeks.


Wikipedia records two loses of aircraft (out of 10 to 12) in only three weeks of operations:

-  “On 14 November a MiG-29K crashed into the sea after taking off from the carrier.

-  “On 3 December, a Su-33 crashed into the sea after attempting to land on the carrier.”

With only 6 to 8 Su-33 fighters  and 4 x MiG-29KR multi-role aircraft this represents an unsustainable attrition rate of between 15 and 20%. It appears Kuznetsov's jets are shifting between the carrier and the air base depending on whether the arrester wires are working that day. 

In addition to arrester wire problems frequent relocation of Kuznetsov’s strike fighter airwing to the land base may be due to:

-  Russia's first carrier jet operations in combat may always have been only intended as a temporary
   international-public relations opportunity by Putin

-  the jets can only carry relatively light, tactically insufficient, loads of fuel and weapons when 
   launched from Kuznetsov's ski-jump. 

   :  China and India's ski-jump carriers do (or will) suffer from the same fuel and weapon's load

-  appreciation of the standard increased danger of fighters operating from a carrier
   compared to longer, non-shifting runways on air bases

-  Russia's Khmeimim Latakia Air Base is closer to Russia's main current target (Aleppo - see map
   below) than Kuznetsov can get. 

-  attempts to move Kuznetsov too far north up the Syrian coast may cause political-legal-sea zone
   problems with Turkey. 

-  Turkish Type 209 and future (Piri Reis?) 214TNs? submarines are a remote but still significant
    threat to Kuznetsov 

-  the strategically and legally surer "permanent Russian" treaty status of Khmeimim Air Base
   (since October 2016) makes this air base option increasingly attractive compared to a carrier

-  carrier operations cause wear and tear on the landing gear, and increased salt rust and corrosion,
   for Su-33s and MiG-29Ks. These are downsides not present at a land air base.

-  Kuznetsov's well known ship propulsion problems may prevent this carrier from regularly
   attaining sufficient speed (20 knots?) over the bow, to guarantee safe ski-jump launch of jets and to
   assist in effective arrested landing of jets. Maybe "old smokey" Kuznetsov needs good windy days
   to be sure there is sufficient natural wind over the bow.


Arthur Dominic Villasanta on Chinese-American website China Topix December 3, 2016 reports “Russian Aircraft Carrier Admiral Kuznetsov no Longer Launching Air Strikes after Complete Failure of Landing System”.

Russia has called off naval air strikes against anti-Assad rebels in Syria launched from the dilapidated RFS Admiral Kuznetsov (063), apparently after a complete failure of the carrier's arrester landing system that couldn't be fixed.

Western intelligence sources reveal the Kuznetsov embarked at least eight Sukhoi Su-33s carrier based air superiority fighters and four of the new MiG-29KR [in English K can mean carrier, R can mean Russian (carrier) variant]  multirole fighters for its deployment to the Eastern Mediterranean.

On Nov. 14, one of the carrier's Cold War-era Mikoyan MiG-29KR naval multirole fighters crashed into the Mediterranean Sea shortly after take-off in the aging carrier's first bombing mission against anti-Assad rebels.

[see longer explanation in articleOn 3 December, one of its Su-33s also crashed into the sea]

The failure of Kuznetsov's arresting gear system has forced the Russian Navy to remove all its fighters from the carrier and station them at the [Russia's Khmeimim/Hmeimim/Humaymim) Air Base in Latakia province], Russia's largest air base in Syria a few days later.

Western reconnaissance photos show the carrier's Sukhoi and MiG jets parked alongside other jets belonging to the Russian Air Force. The carrier's jets have been launching air strikes from Humaymin for the past two weeks.

The Kuznetsov isn't a true aircraft carrier in the same category as U.S. Navy carriers but is classified by the Russian Navy as a heavy aircraft-carrying cruiser.

She's the largest ship ever built by Russia and is the flagship of the navy's Northern Fleet. She will be retired by the 2020s after being commissioned in the 1990s.

Western military analysts doubt her seaworthiness since this aircraft carrier's history has been marred by an unending series of engine failures and other technical mishaps. During her fourth deployment to the Mediterranean in 2011, she was shadowed by the United States Sixth Fleet that anticipated she would sink along the way given her poor condition.

The Admiral Kuznetsov caught fire during a previous deployment to the Mediterranean in 2009, an incident that killed one sailor. Her condition was so pitiful, Russian tugboats had to escort her in case her engines broke down.”

Russia's Khmeimim Air Base (aka Hmeimim or Latakia Air Base) is at Latakia, north coastal Syria (see map above). This Air Base is only accessible to Russian personnel. In October 2016 Russia ratified a treaty with Syria making Khmeimin Russia's permanent air base abroad.