November 20, 2017

Argentine Navy/Government Needs Proof for Relatives & Other Reasons

As Submarine Matters indicated 3 days ago (November 18, 2017) ARA San Juan has tragically and "Likely Sunk With All Hands" due to collision "fire, explosion, flood or escape of poison gas...due to malfunctioning of a sub's lead-acid batteries or torpedo propellant or warheads". 

As indicated yesterday (November 19, 2017) San Juan's alleged messages may have come from a ship or fishing boat and "may not be related to the fate of San Juan". Now the Argentine Navy has said "there was no “clear evidence” that the calls had come from the submarine."

The Argentine Navy understandably will see its task as establishing proof of San Juan's fate:

-  Proof is required to prevent the spread of strange rumours that raise the hopes of the San
   Juan relatives and ordinary Argentinians that San Juan is somehow still "alive". 
-  Proof is required for the morale of the Navy and to indicate to TKMS, the German builder
   of the submarine, that the design is sound.
-  Proof also needs to be communicated by the Argentine Navy/Government in a way that
   protects the political reputation of the Argentine Navy and Government.

An Inquiry will follow any eventual  discovery of San Juan. The Inquiry will look at Argentine submarine safety training methods, maintenance of the submarines and why authorities decided to still use such an old submarine as San Juan - which dates back to 1983

For proof the Argentine Navy most likely needs the help of small manned, or more likely unmanned, deep submerging probes that Submarine Matters pointed to yesterday. These have been flown to Argentina by a US Airforce/US Navy joint effort. These probes are at A and B below:

These probes will be able to photograph San Juan on the sea floor. 

Some probes can listen for any signs of life in San Juan. Probes can be lowered that can rescue crew (though crew still being alive is highly unlikely). Eventually probes may be able to cut into San Juan and perhaps raise itAll this depends on how deep on the sea floor San Juan has descended.

A - a remotely operated, deep diving, pressurized rescue module (PRM) (Photo courtesy US Navy via USNI)
and B - it is also likely the US Navy has flown Bluefin-21 or similar autonomous underwater vehicle(AUVs)AUVs can “see” submarines on the seafloor using side-scan sonar and other sensors. (Image courtesy General Dynamics Marine Systems).



Unknown said...

There still may be a chance:

"Argentina's navy on Monday picked up noises that could be a distress signal from the
crew of a missing submarine and said the sub's captain reported a "failure" in the
vessel's battery system before it disappeared.

The sonar systems of two ships detected noises sounding like tools being banged against
the hull of a submarine, according to a senior US Navy official familiar with the Navy's
assistance in the search for the Argentinian vessel."


Peter Coates said...

Hi "Unknown"

See Submarine Matters next article, at

From the Argentine Navy via The Guardian, November 21, 2017, reported:

"...Argentina’s navy has said sounds detected from the bottom of the ocean are not from the
submarine which has been missing in rough seas for five days with 44 crew on board.

Spokesman Enrique Balbi said “a biological source” [eg. a whale] was behind the noises which were picked up by two Argentinian navy ships searching for ARA San Juan and by sonar buoys dropped by a US P8 surveillance plane."