NOW IT’S A SUBMARINE AND AN UNDERSEA MOUNTAIN
OK... I've been meaning to talk about this story, but decided to wait a bit and see what sort of explanation the US Navy coughed up. As many readers here are probably already aware, some days ago a US Navy attack submarine, the USS Connecticut collided with a something during operations in the South China Sea. Here's RT's reportage of the event - and "explanation" - shared by D.P. (with our thanks):
As the title indicates, the Navy is claiming the submarine crashed into an uncharted "undersea mountain":
After nearly a month of investigating an incident involving a fast-attack submarine in the Pacific, the US Navy has reportedly concluded that the vessel ran aground on the seabed after colliding with an uncharted mountain.
The USS 'Connecticut' hit the “seamount” on October 2 while operating in the international waters of the South China Sea, USNI News reported on Monday, citing a spokesperson for the US 7th Fleet. The results of the investigation have been submitted to Vice Admiral Karl Thomas, the 7th Fleet commander, who will determine whether “follow-on actions, including accountability, are appropriate.”
Now, you're probably thinking the same thing I am, and that this sounds like two other incidents in the Pacific basin involving collisions of US warships with civilian shipping, the USS John Fitzgerald in Japanese waters, and the USS John McCain in the crowded waters around Singapore. And the folks at RT are thinking the same thing:
The incident marked the first known underwater collision involving a US submarine since 2005, when the USS 'San Francisco' nuclear attack submarine plowed into an undersea mountain at full speed near Guam. One sailor was killed in that crash, and most of the other 136 crew members were injured.
The US Navy’s surface-level ships have had a bad run of crashes in the Asia-Pacific region in recent years, including an August 2017 collision between the USS 'John S. McCain' destroyer and an oil tanker off the coast of Singapore that left 10 American sailors dead. About two months earlier, another destroyer, the USS 'Fitzgerald' struck a container ship while on a secret mission off the coast of Japan, killing seven crew members.
That same year, the USS 'Antietam' guided-missile cruiser ran aground in Japan, spilling oil into Tokyo Bay; and another cruiser, the USS 'Lake Champlain', collided with a South Korean fishing vessel.
As noted, the collision of the USS Connecticut isn't the first US submarine to hit a mountain.
Like with the USS Fitzgerald and USS John McCain incidents, I have my suspicions, and am simply not buying this latest explanation. For one thing, the South China Sea is (relatively) shallow. While I can certainly accept that the ocean depths are not completely charted, the term "mountain" usually connotes something 1000 to 2000 feet above the mean surrounding area (at least, on land). Surprisingly when I tried to find out what qualifies for an undersea mountain, I did not find much help. But in any case, a "mountain" in the South China Sea would - on those definitions - probably tend to be an island. And I have my doubts about anything in the relative shallowness of the South China sea being uncharted. Possible? Certainly. Likely? I have doubts.
I know I'm quibbling, but to a purpose (I hope), because the article implies something is going on with the response of Vice Admiral Thomas, "who will determine whether 'follow-on actions, including accountability, are appropriate." That seems to imply that (1) either the "mountain" was charted and the submarine recklessly ran into it, or (2) the submarine ran into something else(we'll get back to that), or (3) there was nothing else there and there was an internal incident which is being covered up by the undersea mountain explanation, or -and this one is my inclination at present- (4) there was an uncharted mountain, but the submarine had technologies that would have disclosed its presence, but nonetheless evasive action was not taken.
In other words, the admiral's response suggests that operations were not normal on the submarine.
Then, of course, there's another explanation other than the proffered uncharted mountain and un-used technologies scenario: poor training standards among the officer class.
Or to put it bluntly, this is no longer the navy of Admirals Nimitz, King, or Halsey...
... and of course, there is one penultimate possibility: the submarine hit an unidentified submerged object.
... and of course, there's another possibility, and that's a back door into the submarine's computer systems. But that would also require a ground-based VLF or ULF antenna, and that limits the possible players considerably...
See you on the flip side...
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