South China Sea: Damaged US Navy sub operating in one of world’s most difficult undersea environments

US protection officers on Thursday didn’t give particulars of the accident that befell the USS Connecticut, saying solely that a variety of sailors aboard had been injured when the sub struck an object whereas operating submerged in the South China Sea.

The service mentioned the accidents had been minor and the sub was making its solution to the US naval base on the island of Guam below its personal energy.

The Connecticut is one in every of three Seawolf-class submarines within the Navy fleet, with a price ticket of about $3 billion every. The 9,300-ton, 353-foot sub, commissioned in 1998, is powered by a single nuclear reactor and crewed by 140 sailors.

As it’s bigger than even the newest Virginia-class attack subs, the Connecticut can carry extra weaponry than different US assault submarines — together with as much as 50 torpedoes in addition to Tomahawk cruise missiles, based on a US Navy reality sheet.

And regardless of being greater than 20 years previous, it is also technologically superior with updates to its programs carried out throughout its service life.

The Navy says it’s “exceptionally quiet, quick, well-armed, and geared up with superior sensors.”

“These subs have a number of the most superior — actually probably the most superior — underwater capabilities within the enterprise,” mentioned Alessio Patalano, professor of struggle and technique at King’s Faculty in London.

How did it get into bother within the South China Sea?

Whereas the Navy hasn’t revealed what the Connecticut struck, analysts say situations within the South China Sea is usually a problem for the sub’s refined sensors.

“It may have been an object sufficiently small to be missed by sonars in a loud surroundings,” Patalano mentioned.

In line with the US Nationwide Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, naval vessels use what is known as “passive sonar” to detect objects within the water round them. In contrast to “energetic sonar,” which sends out pings after which registers how lengthy their echoes take to return to the vessel, passive sonar detects solely sound coming towards it.

This permits the submarine to remain quiet and hidden from adversaries, however it means subs should depend on different units or a number of passive sonars to triangulate the placement of an object in its path.

As a result of the South China Sea is without doubt one of the world’s busiest delivery lanes and fishing areas, all types of noises from vessels on the floor can masks what may pose a hazard to the submarine under, analysts mentioned.

“Relying on the place the incident occurred, noise interference of kinds (normally from site visitors above) might need affected sensors, or certainly operators’ use of them,” Patalano mentioned.

And it is not simply delivery that may pose issues for a submarine within the South China Sea, mentioned Carl Schuster, a former US Navy captain and previous director of operations on the US Pacific Command’s Joint Intelligence Middle.

“It’s an space with a really poor acoustic surroundings,” Schuster mentioned, with even the character of the waters themselves creating issues.

“Ambient noise from currents passing between the islands and inconsistent water situations have an effect on acoustic reception,” he added.

It is also attainable that one thing from under may have precipitated an issue, Schuster mentioned.

“These waters’ surroundings and the ocean backside are in a state of gradual however inexorable change,” Schuster mentioned. “It’s an space that requires fixed backside contour mapping. You’ll be able to hit an uncharted underwater mountain down there.

“That is why the international locations in that area, the US and China are consistently surveying and patrolling them.”

The accident was the second involving a submarine within the area this 12 months. In April, an Indonesian submarine sank within the Bali Strait, killing all 53 crew aboard.

Indonesian Navy officers mentioned the accident was attributable to “a pure/surroundings issue,” however didn’t give additional particulars.

Source link


News7h: Update the world's latest breaking news online of the day, breaking news, politics, society today, international mainstream news .Updated news 24/7: Entertainment, the World everyday world. Hot news, images, video clips that are updated quickly and reliably

Related Articles

Back to top button