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BS: Canadian Submarines

GUEST,Guest Shanghaiceltic 19 May 05 - 01:25 AM
robomatic 18 May 05 - 09:55 PM
Rapparee 09 May 05 - 06:43 PM
Shanghaiceltic 09 May 05 - 06:16 PM
Keith A of Hertford 09 May 05 - 09:23 AM
GUEST,brucie 08 May 05 - 11:24 AM
GUEST,brucie 08 May 05 - 11:11 AM
GUEST,Shanghaiceltic 08 May 05 - 03:08 AM
GUEST,Shangahaiceltic 07 May 05 - 10:23 PM
GUEST 07 May 05 - 10:22 PM
robomatic 07 May 05 - 06:57 PM
Shanghaiceltic 07 May 05 - 06:15 PM
Peace 07 May 05 - 02:36 PM
robomatic 06 May 05 - 09:28 PM
Shanghaiceltic 06 May 05 - 07:43 PM
Raedwulf 06 May 05 - 12:54 PM
GUEST,robomatic 06 May 05 - 08:55 AM
gnu 06 May 05 - 07:01 AM
Peace 05 May 05 - 10:46 PM
Shanghaiceltic 05 May 05 - 09:42 PM
Peace 05 May 05 - 08:14 PM
Shanghaiceltic 05 May 05 - 08:10 PM
robomatic 05 May 05 - 02:22 PM
Dave (the ancient mariner) 05 May 05 - 02:06 PM
gnu 05 May 05 - 12:36 PM
GUEST,brucie 05 May 05 - 11:00 AM
GUEST 05 May 05 - 09:35 AM
Dave (the ancient mariner) 05 May 05 - 07:59 AM
dianavan 13 Apr 05 - 11:58 PM
Peace 13 Apr 05 - 02:03 AM
GUEST,Obie 12 Apr 05 - 09:20 PM
Peace 12 Apr 05 - 06:34 PM
Dave (the ancient mariner) 12 Apr 05 - 04:07 PM
Peace 11 Apr 05 - 07:36 PM
gnu 31 Dec 04 - 05:57 AM
Shanghaiceltic 30 Dec 04 - 10:39 PM
Peace 21 Dec 04 - 12:53 PM
Rapparee 21 Dec 04 - 12:44 PM
Peace 21 Dec 04 - 10:59 AM
Shanghaiceltic 30 Oct 04 - 09:28 PM
dianavan 30 Oct 04 - 02:03 PM
dianavan 30 Oct 04 - 01:53 PM
GUEST 30 Oct 04 - 06:45 AM
dianavan 30 Oct 04 - 12:29 AM
dianavan 30 Oct 04 - 12:22 AM
TS 29 Oct 04 - 07:41 PM
Metchosin 29 Oct 04 - 01:48 AM
Peace 29 Oct 04 - 01:20 AM
Rapparee 28 Oct 04 - 06:55 PM
Peace 28 Oct 04 - 02:07 PM

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Subject: RE: BS: Canadian Submarines
From: GUEST,Guest Shanghaiceltic
Date: 19 May 05 - 01:25 AM

Thanks for that link Robomatic. This was certainly one boat that had luck on its side after hitting the seamount. The front end damage took out the fwd main ballast tanks. Luckily the collision shock did not cause the reactor rods to drop in at the same time. That could have made things worse.

Certainly seems a cock up with the charts which led to this happening.

We did one stint of operating in the Pacific and that was the only time I have ever been on a boat with active sonar being used regularly to try and spot uncharted sea mounts. The article is correct in stating that some of these areas have only ever been charted by Cook and his contempoaries.

Today we can use satellites to pinpoint things as small as 1 metre on the Earth surface, track weather systems, but we know so little still about the real terrain of the sea bed under the oceans of the world.

Sadly there was still a loss of a life and my sympathies to the young Petty Officers family. The Captain will also have this with him for the rest of his life.


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Subject: RE: BS: Canadian Submarines
From: robomatic
Date: 18 May 05 - 09:55 PM

Not related to the Canadian aspect of the thread but I didn't think it rated starting a new thread.

Shortly after the Indian Ocean Tsunami an American sub ran full-tilt into an underwater mountain or ridge which was not on the chart they had used for navigation. 98 out of 137 crew were injured, one man died.

The sub was underway at high speed following a course laid out for them and sent to them. Of course, the Captain of the ship is responsible for everything that happens, and as it happens there were other, unused, charts available, at least one of which showed some kind of obstruction or danger in the neighborhood of the mountain. Apparently they took a sounding and found the sea was 6000 feet deep which was what they expected. But it wasn't enough to keep them from a major accident and almost losing the ship.

The story turned up in today's (Wednesday's) New York Times and the Captain was interviewed on Sixty Minutes II this evening.

Here is a link to the NYT article.

Adrift 500 Feet Under the Sea, a Minute Was an Eternity


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Subject: RE: BS: Canadian Submarines
From: Rapparee
Date: 09 May 05 - 06:43 PM

If you're in Chicago, visit the Museum of Science and Industry. You can tour the U-505, the last vessel captured by the US Navy by a boarding party (in the Caribbean, in 1945).

If you're in Groton, Connecticut, you can (or rather, could -- I suppose you can still) visit the US Navy's flagship submarine training center. You can also visit USN Nautilus, the first atomic-powered boat (and the first under the North Pole). There are also surface ships to visit there, including a sail-powered whaler. When I was there the Dutch "tall ship" used for training was in port and we got to visit her, too.


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Subject: RE: BS: Canadian Submarines
From: Shanghaiceltic
Date: 09 May 05 - 06:16 PM

Without going into too much detail our boats were regular 'visitors' This fact has been recorded in a number of publications. The USN were also committed to testing the Russian Navy defences and capabilities.

There has been a move by the Submarine Association to get a medal struck for those people who were on active duty in the Cold War on those submarine patrols. So far it has come to nought.

I preferred the submarine escape tower to the firefighting training.

The tower is 100 feet tall and about 20 feet across. Initially you do what are called compartment escapes where the whole compartment is flooded in a controled manner while you are breathing off the air that is left inside the compartment. There is always a bubble in the top of the hull even after the pressures equalise outside and inside after the flooding.

One deep breath, duck under the escape tower cowling and away to the surfcae breathing all the way out on the way up. Divers in the water are there to stop you if you are not breathing out. The last breath you took was at pressure so the air would expand in the lungs as you ascend, hence the risk of a burst lung. Another problem is that too long at depth and the last men out stand the risk of getting a bend as they have been at depth too long.

The final escape is an assisted one. You wear a rubber suit with a hood filled with air. You climb into the double hatched escape chamber, shut the lower lid and plug a pipe running down the arm of the suit into a connection inside the chamber, this inflates the hood and allows you to breath normally. No risk of a bend as the air is at normal pressure. The chamber with two men inside is then flooded until the pressures equalise and the top lid can be opened.

It only takes about 15-20 seconds to make the ascent, and you come out like a cork out of a bottle when you hit the surface.

The escape trainers practice deep escapes every year from a live boat. The deepest escape recorded for training was from 700 feet in the Med'.

SBS (Special Boat Squadroon) were regular trainees as they used this method of leaving a boat to get ashore to be inserted into hostile territory.

As for sanity, submariners are absolute pro's when at sea, even though RN boats were wet (carried alchohol) we rarely drank if at all. However once tied up in a friendly port our behaviour often left something to be desired. The skimmers would only ever see drunken submariners enjoying the benefits of the extra submarine pay. They never thought about the weeks we were confined on patrol, often not knowing where we were (with the exception of the Wardroom, the Coxswain and navigators mate)or pretending we didi not know where we were because we felt more comfortable in pretended ignorance.

There were lighter moments. The last night of the patrol was traditionally called Channel Night, and restrictions on making too much noise were lifted. On my last boat one of the officers was a good mando player and along with a good whistle player a live concert would be broadcast throughout the boat.

Once we even had a guy who could play bagpipes, a dour engine room rating. One night while coming back off patrol the sound room picked up some strange frequencies on the passive sonar. The captain was called, course was changed to clear our stern and see if the following sound would change bearing. It did not. The skipper called for forward checks, no sources found for self generated noise. Then a smile came across his face. He asked the sound room to broadcast the sound not just check the frequencies. A rather muffled version of 'Flowers of the Forest' was heard.

The source was identified to young Buck Taylor sitting right at the back of the motor room in the sterm practicing a set ready for his stint as a pipe on the casing as we entered harbour the next day. His drones were touching the inside of the hull and that was the source of the mysterious contact.

Buck would pipe us into harbour in full kit. The hem of his kilt had been thoughtfully lined and filled with lead shot by his wife to prevent it blowing up in the breeze and giving the Flag Officer Third Submarine Squadron move of an expose than he should have got.

I had 12 years in boats and I enjoyed every minute of them. But on average submariners were not the type of people you would introduce to mother.


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Subject: RE: BS: Canadian Submarines
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 09 May 05 - 09:23 AM

Shanghai
Should you be admitting that
. In the 70's and 80's the Russians did not use them in their arctic circle bases so we had better opportunities to penetrate some of the fjords leading up to their bases.    ??

Re the museum. The site is the old HMS Dolphin as in Cyril Tawney's song Diesel And Shale, "The big man at dolphin he sent for me"
Be sure to take the guided tour of the sub. A grizzled old submariner takes you around and has a story to go with each section.
You will see a big tower which is where the submariners have to practice escaping, exhaling all the way up just as in your story Robomatic, or their lungs would indeed burst.

At Portsmouth, take a harbour tour boat. The museum is one of the stops and you can use your ticket to get on another boat later.

There's a smell in the air...
Keith.


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Subject: RE: BS: Canadian Submarines
From: GUEST,brucie
Date: 08 May 05 - 11:24 AM

"willingly get into a big box that has air in it"

should read

"willingly get into a big box that has a finite amount of air in it"


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Subject: RE: BS: Canadian Submarines
From: GUEST,brucie
Date: 08 May 05 - 11:11 AM

Shanghaiceltic,

I love reading/hearing experts talk about their experiences, so please don't apologize for posting. I do have one issue to take up with you, however.

Firefighting isn't scary. It has a few dangers, but those risks can usually be managed.

But, I think the people who willingly get into a big box that has air in it and then sink beneath the surface of the sea are crazy as hell to begin with. I have never been a confined-space fan, and a submarine has to be the ultimate in confined space.

I have met two submariners in my life. They appeared normal, and I think they simulated sanity very well. In my heart, though, I know their wiring was quite different. Just thought I'd mention that to you.

Bruce


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Subject: RE: BS: Canadian Submarines
From: GUEST,Shanghaiceltic
Date: 08 May 05 - 03:08 AM

Thanks for the headsup on the report Brucie, it made some interesting reading and looks to be a fair report.

There are good recommendations for further training on both the submarines themselves and more realistic firefighting training.

Like aircraft pilots, submariners spend a lot of time on simulators. These could be attack training simulators, also simulators for running the diving and trim systems, propulsion simulators too. On these the crew under training can be thrown various exercises which would not be able to be practiced on board a real boat as the potential for something to go wrong would be very bad indeed.

Most naval personel in all navies attend firefighting training. Cant say I enjoyed mine as I found it dead scary. HMS Pheonix in Portsmouth is the RN firefighting school. There they had a firefighting tank where fires can be lit in compartments and the crews trained in donning and using breathing aparatus in confined conditions as well as fighting the fires. Crawling into a hot compartment which is smoke filled and all you can see is the glow of the fire is not a bundle of laughs, but it is essential.

We had no firefighting simulators for boats, all of ours were based on surface ship designs. I wonder if a special will be built for the Canadian Navy?

Training at sea consists of many drills involving HP hydraulic and airmain bursts, how to isolate them and still keep the boat operational. Simulated fires are often fought.

For the planesmen and control room crew they will carry out high speed underwater manouvering, we called them 'angles and dangles'. The point being to drive the boat to the limit of its manouveability, not only so that an underwater collison might be avoided but also to learn how to crash dive and to try to avoid an incoming torpedo by diving through the bathythermic layers. Layers of sea water which have different temperatures and salinity. The layers affect the ability of sonar to operate and the refraction of the sound beam being sent out from a homing torpedo, so it is possible to have a fighting chance to avoid them. Angles and dangles when you are on a boat carrying them out give no indication of speed but the boats do take on some alarming anlges, bit like a blind roller coaster but without anyone screaming or shoving their hands in the air.

The old Oberon class do need replacing. Grand old dames, reliable like a maiden aunt but long in the tooth. They are over 30 years old and have restricted diving depths. As a hull ages max diving depths become more restricted.

There was a comment on a website that Canada has sufficient aircraft, helicopters and surface ships to operate against a foreign navies boats. True but with many restrictions.

In the RN boats we regularly avoided anti-submarine aircraft fitted with magnetic anomoly detectors. Both our own and the Russians.

Surface ships when fitted with sonar have to slow down to lower their hull outfits and use sonar as the self generated water noise over the sonar farings at speed prevents effective listening or pinging.

Helicopters were more of a problem they could use dunking sonar, sonar sets on a cable, to triangulate a boats position. A weapon could then be dropped. We did not like choppers!

They could also move quickly from one spot to another, we could never work out where they would go next. In the 70's and 80's the Russians did not use them in their arctic circle bases so we had better opportunities to penetrate some of the fjords leading up to their bases.

Submarines rely on sonar, either in the passive mode using them as big ears and much more rarely actively. I can only recall us using active sonar on a handfull of occassions and none of them when we were where we should not have been.

Submarine sonar operators are heads above surface ship sonar operators as they use them 24/7. They can detect ships very early and even what type of ship. A submarine has only periscopes for a visual look and even that is very restricted.

Submarines are an essential part of a modern navy. They can go and do things that a surface ship just cannot do. Most submarines are involved 80% of their time tracking surface units and other submarines and gathering operational intelligence.

Yes there are SOSUS systems around the world which consist on sonar arrays on the seabed which can detect submarines coming into ones territorial water, but they too can be fooled. A submarine in an ultra quiet state can penetrate these. The Russians have been doing it for years globally equally the navies of the west have been penetrating theirs.

Sorry to be posting yet again.


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Subject: RE: BS: Canadian Submarines
From: GUEST,Shangahaiceltic
Date: 07 May 05 - 10:23 PM

Sorry I was not logged in above.


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Subject: RE: BS: Canadian Submarines
From: GUEST
Date: 07 May 05 - 10:22 PM

The RN Submarine Museum is next door to HMS Dolphin in Gosport, Hants.

An excellent museum. The are a number of submarines on display which include HMSm Alliance, which you can walk through, an X-craft, a mini submarine of the type used against the Tirpitz in Norway and a Holland class submarine, a petrol-electric boat recovered from the Channel and of the first commercialy built ones used by the RN.

Inside the museum are many displays including exhibits from my last boat HMSm Conqueror.

If you ever get down there you can spend a day visiting HMS Victory, the Mary Rose (Henry VIII period ship) and HMS Warrior a lone surviving ironbuilt navy ship from the Vistorian period.

The book on K-19 covers not just the K-19 incident but others as well of the Russian K class which were a design disaster.

Sorry for high-jacking (shanghaiing even? this thread)


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Subject: RE: BS: Canadian Submarines
From: robomatic
Date: 07 May 05 - 06:57 PM

I understand that the RN has a pretty good museum but I don't know if it's near London or Portsmouth. I became a fan of the Aubrey - Maturin series by Patrick O'Brian, of course, no submarines there but it was a world with technical demands all its own.

During the Kursk disaster I recall walking during the light we have at lunchtime, and looking at a point up a hill reckoning that if I were on the Kursk, that point would be where the water's surface lay. When I was a kid I read some adventure book where the hero and his buddies are trapped under several hundred feet of water, and he tells them to escape they must let the water in, understand they would be taking in pressurized air, so they must start exhaling as they leave the overturned ship, and exhale all the way up or they will explode. It seemed to make sense, but it was juvenile fiction.

The way their own officials and politicos handled the case was a national shame. Remember how a concerned relative was drugged into unconsciousness right at the press conference?

I saw K-19. Medium movie about men placed in a terrible situation. Similar to what happened at Chernobyl where men stepped up to do tasks that would lead them to the grave.

Most designers have an identity they forge with whatever they construct. There have been some very good shows analyzing what brought the Twin Towers down on 9/11. In one of them they interviewed the architect, and you couldn't help but want to give the guy a hug. His office looked out at what had been a design triumph (although frankly, I remember thinking they looked ugly and utilitarian from the outside, I didn't understand their structure until these programs). You could see how deeply responsible he felt, not that he did anything wrong, quite the contrary, but in retrospective analysis it can always be shown how something different might have been done. In fact, he and the design team had done an excellent job. He deserved no more blame than Boeing for the 757 and 767 that hit the Towers.


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Subject: RE: BS: Canadian Submarines
From: Shanghaiceltic
Date: 07 May 05 - 06:15 PM

I have a copy of Das Boot on DVD, probably one of the best films of it's genre.

I read Lother Gunter Blochiems book many years ago. I would liketo get hold of a copy for my library.

I also have in storage a book of his photo's which were discovered in an attic in Berlin about 20 odd years ago and republished. Some quite incredible photography. Those photos were never published in the book Das Boot.

A couple of years ago the film K-19 came out. A poor film but the book is worth getting hold of. Written by Peter Huchthausen a former USN Captain.

That book along with 'A Time to Die' by Peter Moore about the Kursk disaster give an insight into Russian submarine operations and how poor and unsafe design led to the loss of many Russian submariners lives.

The Kursk was a horrible distaster and from what I have read of it can be put down to lack of training as the 23 crew members in the aft section could have escaped. No one in the fwd sections would have survived the blast from the ignition of the torpedoes that were fueled by high test peroxide which leaked and cause a self sustaining fire on two dissimilar metals. HTP was the propellant.

In St Petersburg in Russia in the Admiraltskaya area next to the Neva River is an incredible navy museum dedicated to the Russian Navy with a particularly poignient section devoted to Russian submariners.

Since leaving the RN and working overseas I have met up with submariners of many navies and had a chance to talk with them about their experiences and there is a common brotherhood amongst submariners which I have not seen in other walks of lives, even though we were often on different sides of the line.


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Subject: RE: BS: Canadian Submarines
From: Peace
Date: 07 May 05 - 02:36 PM

Incidental note: When the Indianapolis sunk, the men in the water were savaged by sharks. Due to radio silence, no one knew where they were. Hundreds died as a result.


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Subject: RE: BS: Canadian Submarines
From: robomatic
Date: 06 May 05 - 09:28 PM

Shanghaiceltic:

Once again thanks for the informative and explanatary post which I really enjoyed reading. I read "Blind Man's Bluff" last summer, it turned out one of my neighbors had friends or relatives in the service and he leant it to me. I also really enjoyed reading and watching "Das Boot" and when I was last in Anchorage I came upon the memoirs of a U-Boat Captain who wrote a very interesting book about his service there, almost entirely against the Brits, which he was lucky to survive. I'm afraid I can't recall the title right now.

Thank you for tolerating my golly gee whiz initial post to this thread, and I will look for "We Come Unseen".

I've not seen actual sub batteries, but I've done some work with industrial UPS systems and I have an idea of what they're about if I scale up the size of the cells. The American WWII sub I was reading about had 2 banks of 126 cells at 1500 lbs a cell. That's about 200 tons of batteries and likely several tons of copper for the cables. Electric drives of proportionate size would be something to see as well. The on-line history mentioned something I believe to be true, that while the Germans tried and failed to starve England, the Americans tried and succeeded in starving the Japanese military via submarine warfare, and in comparison to the aircraft carrier wars, gets almost no mention in the public history of the Pacific Theater. Supposedly the Japanese had some sizable submarines of their own and achieved some successes, notably the Indianapolis on her return after delivering Atomic weapons to the American assembly point.

And of course you are familiar with the submariners who define ships into two groups: Submarines and Targets.


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Subject: RE: BS: Canadian Submarines
From: Shanghaiceltic
Date: 06 May 05 - 07:43 PM

Two of the Upholder class were built by Cammel Lairds in Birkenhead. They were the last boats to be built there.

Once water gets into a control room there are only small drains which lead down to the bilges to take the water away.

500 gallons/2000 liters does not sound much but is would come pouring down the hatches which are anly about a meter in diameter as a solid bore of water. It also equates to 2000 kgs of mass added to the boat, as the electrical power was knocked out they could not run the bilge and trim pumps to remove the water. Boats on the surface are in a fine state of trim.

The main battery on a boat does not have high voltages as was pointed out above, but it does have a high current.

All boats have a battery even nuclear powered ones. Should the reactor scram (shut down)the boat can then run on electric propulsion until the reactor is brought critical and self sustaining again. If the problem is going to be a long one and operational circumstances permit then the boat will come to periscope depth and snort deisal. If the boat is on a patrol in a sensative area then the captain will delay running deisals until the last possible moment. The snort induction mast poked above the surface would possibly give the boats position away even though they are covered with radar absorbany material. The exhaust mast is kept below the surface when dived at periscope depth.

Sometimes when in sensative areas a boat would reduce reactor power to a minimum, shut down nearly all of the air con' and domestic electrical services and proceed on battey power so that the boat was in an ultra quiet state. Use of the heads was also restricted and we used good old elsan chemical loos so that pumping of slop, drain and sewage tanks was reduce to a minimum

The batteries on a boat are huge. Over a meter tall and about half a meter wide and a third of a meter deep. The batteries on a boat like the Upholder class would be arranged in several groups that would allow them to be operated in series for short high speed operations or in parralell for more sustained but slower underwater speeds.

Snort deisaling would occur every few days to recharge the cells.

The Upholder class were designed in the 70's and built in the 80's. They were to replace the older (but excellent) Porpoise and Oberon class boats. I served on a coupl of P&O's as we called them as well as a marine engineer on nuclear powered boats. I never quite understood why we got rid of the conventional boats as they were much quieter than a nuclear boat at that time, plus they were of a shallower draft which permitted close in coastal operations.

The nuclear boats tended to be used for what were called 'sneakies', AKA intelligence gathering, particularly so during the Cold War through out the 70's and 80's.

Two good books on the cold war operations are;

'Blind Man's Buff' by Sherry Sontag and Christopher Drew. This covers US cold war work and while it is obvious it was not written by someone who served on boats it is still an excellent read and reveals some quite stunning operational patrols against the USSR.

'We Come Unseen' by Jim Ring. This covers the careers of 5 RN submarine captains from their time as Middy's to their Perishers course and command. One of my old skippers, Chris Wreford-Brown, features heavily. It is an excellent book and gives a good view of submarine operations and the personalities of the skippers but is a little more reserved in what it reveals.

'We Come Unseen' was the moto of the RN Submarine service. Those nasty buggers on surface ships changed it to 'We Come Unclean'.....can't think why ;-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Canadian Submarines
From: Raedwulf
Date: 06 May 05 - 12:54 PM

I'll second Robo's thank you to the more technically knowledgeable mermen here present! I'm assuming from the comments already passed that, regardless of any cynicism about the poltico's, we're accepting this as an accurate & objective inquiry on what happened?

A quick search for more info on the Upholder class produces this, which appears to be official Canadian Navy spiel.

This is rather less complimentary, but appears to be generally anti- military procurement, rather than "Don't buy Upholders, they're inherently crap" which was an early suggestion in this thread.

Here we have more what I was looking for in response to Robo's admission of ignorance (mea culpa, me too!), the relevant para being:

The UK's Upholder (Type 2400) class submarines were built by Vickers Shipbuilding and launched in the late 1980s and early 1990s. They were withdrawn from service in the British Royal Navy in 1994, following a defence review by the UK government. Canada purchased the submarines and a suite of trainers in 1998 and BAE Systems (formerly Vickers Shipbuilding) at Barrow in UK were contracted to refit the submarines. The submarines are being transferred to Halifax in Canada for commissioning.

which suggests that the actual design & technology originates from the early 80's.

My sympathies still lie with Lt Saunders, but it does now look like it was something that amounts more to an 'industrial accident', than to anything blamable on anyone. To put it another way, we can (& have!) rowed endlessly about whether the Iraq war was justified, but some of those who have died were victims of traffic accidents. They might have been victims of traffic accidents without Iraq, & it looks like Lt Saunders was, if you see what I mean.

Sometimes bad luck just happens. :(


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Subject: RE: BS: Canadian Submarines
From: GUEST,robomatic
Date: 06 May 05 - 08:55 AM

Thanks for the enlightenment, particularly Rapaire's history lesson and Shanhaiceltic's technical talk. I'm just talking out loud here, and due to my ignorance I'm not understanding all of what happened, though it seems clear if they had a nasty fire they sure could have lost the ship and are probably fortunate that, tragic as it was, they suffered no more than one fatality.

I'm wondering what 'era' these subs are from. They can't be too old, or they wouldn't be worth having. Military technology lags behind civilian in that it has to be proofed for wartime use, hence several times as rugged as what one would see in civilian life.

From the above referenced article:

During that repair work a rogue wave washed over the submarine, sending 2,000 litres of sea water cascading through the open hatchways into the control room, where it soaked high-voltage wires, causing the fire.

The fire knocked out power in the boat, leaving it adrift in heavy seas.



Most subs are powered by battery banks, as an example the American WWII sub I was mentioning above had two banks of 126 cells each, putting the service DC voltage at roughly 400 V. In order to power 1000 horsepower motors, you end up with currents in the 2000 Amp range, which is huge, and calls for big honkin' cables. The voltage, however, is not 'high' by electrical terms, and (in civilian life) doesn't require thick insulation. The technical side probably comes around the terminations, sealing them off, and in the case mentioned in the report, of control panels. Where electricity is concerned you've got to be sealed off 100% and that is hard to do against seawater and pressure. Over time all insulation degrades due to mechanical strains, plastic decomposition (very slow, though), and, depending on the voltage, electrical stress.

Since the 70's there might have been changes in design for utility and efficiency involving putting the DC through an invertor and generating AC onboard, in which case there could be all sorts of voltages, which electrically call for more elaborate insulating measures. This would be anything over 600 V. In theory it can still be insulated, but above 4000 V it gets to be much thicker, more expensive, and lifetime limited. The big saving, however, is that you can transmit power over much smaller cables, and with AC you have a lot more sophisticated control possibilities.

There should always be a sophisticated electrical circuitry protection system which 'trips' shorted cables. In each system there may be cables which are sacrosanct, such as fire protection power systems, which are not worth having if they can trip off, but in those cases those systems are heavily overbuilt.

The news article linked above, if I read it correctly, mentioned 2000 litres of seawater coming down the hatches, which amounts to about 500 US gallons, which is a few 'bathtubs' worth of water. It should go through drains in the floor to some sort of sump. In other words, 2000 litres doesn't sound like much.

Thank you for tolerating my words, written from lack of knowledge. I enjoy reading the more experienced posts to this thread.


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Subject: RE: BS: Canadian Submarines
From: gnu
Date: 06 May 05 - 07:01 AM

Thanks for the info.


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Subject: RE: BS: Canadian Submarines
From: Peace
Date: 05 May 05 - 10:46 PM

www.parl.gc.ca/infocomdoc/Documents/38/ 1/parlbus/commbus/house/reports/nddnrp01/nddnrp01-e.pdf

This is a Parliamentary Report dealing with procurement, etc. There is a section dealing with the accident, but it is not the 700-page report mentioned in the news article. I will keep an eye out for that and give a link/notify you if and when, Shanghaiceltic.

Bruce


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Subject: RE: BS: Canadian Submarines
From: Shanghaiceltic
Date: 05 May 05 - 09:42 PM

Thanks for that Brucie.

For those of you who have not been on board a boat you cannot imagine the runs of piping and cables that run through the whole submarine, interspersed with valves of all kinds, connection boxes, emergancy breathing systems etc etc. plus all the control panels used to steer, operate the blowing and diving systems, and main propulsion.

High power cables carrying power from the main battery to the electric motor-generators, twin HP hydraulic mains that are used to operate the rudders, fore and afterplanes as well as the masts (persicopes, radar, snort induction and exhaust)and hull valves. HP Air mains that provide blowing power. It is a complex and crowded weapon of war and when things go wrong they go wrong quickly. Fires generate massive amounts of smoke and poisonous fumes, inside a boat it is hard to clear the fumes quickly as all you have is the ventilation system to aid clearing it. Imagine having a fire in a basement and only having one small window to clear the fumes through, but you cannot get out yourself.

The freak wave which allowed water into the control room would have penetrated almost any control panel causing a chain reaction. I doubt splash guards would have prevented this happening.

I am glad the captain was cleared, he and his men showed incredible courage and fortitude in preventing even further loss of life and keeping the boat from sinking with all hands.

All these guys would have passed or be ready to pass what we called the Part III exam which is a written exam and a walk through the boat where you are expected to know and demonstrate knowledge of the systems and how to isolate them in emergancy sitations. Once that has been passed you are awarded the coveted 'Dolphins'

Such knowledge is what saved the crews lives.

It would be interesting to get a look at the entire report.


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Subject: RE: BS: Canadian Submarines
From: Peace
Date: 05 May 05 - 08:14 PM

Here, Shanghaiceltic


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Subject: RE: BS: Canadian Submarines
From: Shanghaiceltic
Date: 05 May 05 - 08:10 PM

Dave is correct there are two watertight hatches in the fin (in the RN it is always called a fin not a conning tower). If the weather was really rough then one of the hatches would be shut. The snort ventilation system could then be lined up to provide ventilation and air into the pressure hull as well as to run diesals.

Shutting one of the fin hatches was a decision to be made by the skipper. If the boat had to perform a crash dive then it would take time (valuable seconds) to open the hatch, drop through and secure it.

If a freak wave did poop the fin then the deluge down below would be such that no splashguards would fully protect the panels in the control room below.

One of our Superb class boats was knocked sideways by a freak wave whilst on the surface in the Atlantic in the late 70's, one crewman was lost and the boat nearly did not right itself. By all accounts it was a terrifying experience.

An added danger would be if sea water had reached the main battery compartment. The sea water pouring over the battery would cause an electolytic reaction generating chlorine. Thankfully this did not happen or else the entire crew could have been gassed.

There are also other hatches on the Upholder class. Two forward, the torpedo loading hatch and fwd escape tower, also a main access hatch, aft there would be the aft escape hatch. Once the boat leaves harbour these would be shut and clipped as the casing would be awash most of the time. Up until the casing is secured for sea the surface speed would be kept down to prevent the casing being overwashed.

Any links to the enquiry results?

While I was in boats I knew people who were serving on the Upholder class and they often spoke of design problems.


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Subject: RE: BS: Canadian Submarines
From: robomatic
Date: 05 May 05 - 02:22 PM

I was just reviewing submarine information on the web, being interested in subs all my life. Seems back in WWII the Germans and Americans both had advanced subs but many design differences based on size of the oceans they inhabited and long term mission. The Germans apparently had smaller boats with twin diesel drives linked to the screws mechanically. The Americans needed bigger boats to get across the Pacific so copied the design of diesel train engines and only used electric motors, 2 to a screw. They often had as many as four diesel drives which were used to turn generators. They thus had generators which the Germans didn't need because the German drive motors doubled as generators, but the Americans didn't have to utilize 4 big clutches to sort out what powered what.

Where I'm going with this is - aren't submarines cool? Getting on with it, if you ever watched Das Boot you'll see that in the confines of the subs everything attracted condensed water. The American boats of the time had more electronics, hence they had air conditioning to keep 'em dry.

The accident to the Canadian sub was tragic, but hopefully you got good equipment and a few splash guards or changed procedures will see you out.


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Subject: RE: BS: Canadian Submarines
From: Dave (the ancient mariner)
Date: 05 May 05 - 02:06 PM

The conning tower is the highest point of a submarine. The hatches through the tower(there are more than one) were left open, this allows fresh air to circulate below which is refreshing for the crew. A rogue wave is a wave higher than the average waves experienced during any given sea condition; water ingress down the tower inside the submarine caused an intense electrical fire in an exposed electrical panel.

The open hatches at sea are not unusual on a diesel submarine, but in rough weather it is policy to have one watertight tower hatch closed. Since these investigations are highly self critical, and very detailed, you can be assured that the sub was not expecting abnormal sea conditions. The root cause of the fire leaves us guessing at the possibility of a design error, some water will always find its way through the tower. Perhaps inexperience was a factor, because they had no time for extensive sea trials before bringing the sub home.

Design is an issue because one should always expect some water to ingress through the tower. An exposed electrical panel should not be so placed, and definately should be protected. Inexperience may also be a factor due to limited sea trials prior to the voyage. Perhaps it is another example of how we progress in time and technology, but with little wisdom. Any way you view this, the officers and crew are not to blame for the wave. Having been identified as a problem, It is unlikely this will happen again.

Yours, Aye. Dave


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Subject: RE: BS: Canadian Submarines
From: gnu
Date: 05 May 05 - 12:36 PM

Frome the report, paraphrased, a lot: A rogue wave washed over the tower and entered two open hatches. The following events led to the death. No one at fault. Sub was safe.

A rogue wave and open hatches? I ain't no tar so I just don't get the concept of open hatches. Anyone?


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Subject: RE: BS: Canadian Submarines
From: GUEST,brucie
Date: 05 May 05 - 11:00 AM

About time. Want to bet it's couched in vague terms?


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Subject: RE: BS: Canadian Submarines
From: GUEST
Date: 05 May 05 - 09:35 AM

For a completely unbiased media report on the findings be sure to watch CBC news eh!


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Subject: RE: BS: Canadian Submarines
From: Dave (the ancient mariner)
Date: 05 May 05 - 07:59 AM

The results of the investigation will be made public today.

Yours, Aye. Dave


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Subject: RE: BS: Canadian Submarines
From: dianavan
Date: 13 Apr 05 - 11:58 PM

brucie - I think they are too busy trying to cover their asses to deal with a plebe.


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Subject: RE: BS: Canadian Submarines
From: Peace
Date: 13 Apr 05 - 02:03 AM

Too bloody true.


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Subject: RE: BS: Canadian Submarines
From: GUEST,Obie
Date: 12 Apr 05 - 09:20 PM

Them bastards only pretend to give a shit when they want your vote!
       Obie


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Subject: RE: BS: Canadian Submarines
From: Peace
Date: 12 Apr 05 - 06:34 PM

Gotcha. But I haven't even received a PFO letter from Ottawa. Dopesn't surprise me, tell ya the truth. But thanks for that, Dave.

BM


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Subject: RE: BS: Canadian Submarines
From: Dave (the ancient mariner)
Date: 12 Apr 05 - 04:07 PM

There are still some aspects of the incident under review at a meeting in Scotland, and until they are concluded there will be no public statement issued. The wheels of government roll slowly in such matters.


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Subject: RE: BS: Canadian Submarines
From: Peace
Date: 11 Apr 05 - 07:36 PM

In case anyone has been holding his or her breath, I haven't yet heard from either the Prime Minister or my Member of Parliament.


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Subject: RE: BS: Canadian Submarines
From: gnu
Date: 31 Dec 04 - 05:57 AM

What do you need to open a .ram file ? (Haven't read this thread yet, but I would like to see Jean and his merry band embark on a round-the-world tour involving the subs, choppers, APC's, jeeps.... and PAY we give to our military.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Canadian Submarines
From: Shanghaiceltic
Date: 30 Dec 04 - 10:39 PM

BBC Radio 4 have just run a programme on HMCS Chicoutimi. It is available on archive for about a week. Go to this link and click on 'It's my story'

It's my Story-HMCS Chicoutimi


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Subject: RE: BS: Canadian Submarines
From: Peace
Date: 21 Dec 04 - 12:53 PM

Ain't that the truth.


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Subject: RE: BS: Canadian Submarines
From: Rapparee
Date: 21 Dec 04 - 12:44 PM

See? I gave you pretty much the same answer over a month ago, only I only did it in English.


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Subject: RE: BS: Canadian Submarines
From: Peace
Date: 21 Dec 04 - 10:59 AM

And you think governments aren't responsive to their citizens.

December 20, 2004

I sent you an e-mail in early October. This is a copy of the second
sending. That makes this the third time I have sent this e-mail and I
have yet to hear back from your office.

Below is the e-original e-mail and
then below that is the answer I received today, December 21, 2004.

ORIGINAL E-MAIL

The Right Honourable Paul Martin,
Prime Minister of Canada

Sir:

The death of Lt (N) Chris Saunders, 32 years old, is the result of
negligence on the part of the Canadian people and its elected
representatives in the Cabinet and the House of Commons. As you are
aware, he died as a result of smoke inhalation from a fire aboard the HMCS
Chicoutimi. Now, Lt Saunders will never see his wife or sons again, nor
they him. His children are two-year-old Ben and seven-week-old Luke.
Gwen will face the responsibility of raising these children by herself.

Our continued under funding of the military has led to a senseless death
aboard a Canadian submarine, and collectively, we are to blame. What
kind of country outfits its military men and women with second-hand equipment
and second-rate materiel? Is it not enough that our military goes in
harm's way on our behalf without them having to do so with little else
but their courage and sense of duty?

Recall when you were Finance Minister in the Chretien government that we
had an embarrassing and potentially-lethal set of circumstances
presented to our military personnel when one of two Sea King helicopters that was
to participate in the August 4, 2000 assault of an American-owned ship
(captained and crewed by Russians, and carrying millions of dollars
worth of tanks and peace-keeping materiel being returned from Kosovo) was
unable to lift off due to mechanical problems. The damned helicopters were
untrustworthy then. We still have them in use today. This is just
another in a list of debacles that make me so angry I can't even find the words
to explain myself. Add to that the lack of uniforms for the kids going into
Afghanistan, and the lack of transport to get them there--does this
present an ugly picture to you?

We have turned our backs on the military, and we are now killing our own
children because of our irresponsible behaviour to do with proper
funding.

I have NEVER before been ashamed to say I am Canadian. I am ashamed
today, and I am of the personal opinion that you and your Cabinet should feel
the same. I hope you do, but I think maybe you won't. How many more of our
children will pay this price for the rest of us? And why?

Bruce Murdoch

PS This was sent on October 9, 2004. I haven't heard anything back. BM


THE ANSWER

Please know that your e-mail message has been received in the Prime
Minister's Office and that your comments have been noted. Our office
always welcomes hearing from correspondents and being made aware of
their views.

Thank you for writing.

Sachez que le Cabinet du Premier ministre a bien reçu votre courriel et que nous avons pris bonne note de vos commentaires. Nous aimons être bien informés de l'opinion des correspondants.

Je vous remercie d'avoir écrit au Premier ministre.


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Subject: RE: BS: Canadian Submarines
From: Shanghaiceltic
Date: 30 Oct 04 - 09:28 PM

Thanks for posting that Dianavan. The diary on that link relating to a trip on the HMCS Windsor is an intersting one as it does talk about continous problems during the trip. Hydraulic leaks, water seal leaks.


I just hope that the enquiry is not whitewash.

With regards the insulation problem it would be very difficult to upgrade the insulation. Cable insulation is an integral part of the cable. The solution would have been to re-cable. But that is almost impossible to do in a completed submarine. Normally the cable goes in as they build the boat, then followed by the heavy equipment it will be used to power. The cables would run through watertight bulkhead glands. These boats were built in sectional rings and there are miles of cable inside a boat. I am not making excuses but just pointing out how difficult it is to re-wire.

As I said in an ealrier post when these boats were first commissioned into the RN we were hearing of problems with them.


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Subject: RE: BS: Canadian Submarines
From: dianavan
Date: 30 Oct 04 - 02:03 PM

Well, well, well,

Check this out:

http://www.cbc.ca/story/canada/national/2004/10/28/sub_purchase041028.html

and this from the Globe and Mail:

More than a decade ago, the British navy knew of insulation problems on the main power lines in submarines subsequently bought by Canada. But it didn't upgrade the insulation on all four submarines, only partly documented the repairs and never explicitly told the Canadian navy, The Globe and Mail has learned.

Eventually both navies independently devised more durable and watertight upgrades for one water-prone location, but neither regarded it as important to use the upgraded insulation on connections where the high-voltage lines pass through a bulkhead underneath the captain's cabin.

That location is where arcing caused a catastrophic electrical fire earlier this month aboard HMCS Chicoutimi, leaving the newly refurbished submarine crippled and without power, and an officer dying of smoke inhalation.

d


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Subject: RE: BS: Canadian Submarines
From: dianavan
Date: 30 Oct 04 - 01:53 PM

From the Ottawa citizen: Navy wanted to buy subs by forgiving Britain's war debt. The navy proposed using hundreds of millions of dollars that Britain still owed Canada from the Second World War as a means to partly finance the submarine deal, according to a Defence Department report.

...and yes, I do speak German, bitte.

d


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Subject: RE: BS: Canadian Submarines
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Oct 04 - 06:45 AM

dianavan. What debt? you dont speak German do you?


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Subject: RE: BS: Canadian Submarines
From: dianavan
Date: 30 Oct 04 - 12:29 AM

I should have said inquiry, not investigation.

Oh well - I just heard that the subs were partially paid for with Britains debt to Canada.

Nice way to repay an old friend.
(Hey, maybe they're not our friends, after all!)

d


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Subject: RE: BS: Canadian Submarines
From: dianavan
Date: 30 Oct 04 - 12:22 AM

brucie - Do not despair! I'm not sure if Ottawa will ever reply but when I wrote the mayor protesting the possible closure of our little, street front library; he wrote back and assured me that it would not be closing. Its still open!

I'm delighted.

As to the submarines (or the state of the military)- Since they are investigating, they probably can't respond. I'm sure your letter was one of many that set the ball in motion. Lets hope the media doesn't let this die.

d


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Subject: RE: BS: Canadian Submarines
From: TS
Date: 29 Oct 04 - 07:41 PM

wow Rapaire..well done...you got what it takes...I'd vote for you any day!...Slainte!


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Subject: RE: BS: Canadian Submarines
From: Metchosin
Date: 29 Oct 04 - 01:48 AM

Oddly enough brucie, I got a response from Chrétien's office a while back, when I wrote about my concern regarding the possibility of Canada joining the US "coalition of the willing". To be sure, it was a form letter, but I did appreciate the acknowledgemnet of my opinion.


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Subject: RE: BS: Canadian Submarines
From: Peace
Date: 29 Oct 04 - 01:20 AM

Glad to take a breath at last. Thanks, Rapaire.


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Subject: RE: BS: Canadian Submarines
From: Rapparee
Date: 28 Oct 04 - 06:55 PM

I'll respond, brucie. No problem, even though I'm in the US. The formula is universal.

Dear Sir,

We're so sorry that it took so long to answer your letter/email (choose one), but as you can imagine we are quite busy this time of year.

The Prime Minister/President/Dictator/Emperor/Overlord (choose one) appreciates your concern regarding ________________________. Please be assured the she or he is actively investigating the situation and will do everything possible.

Thank you for your concern.

Sincerely yours,
(sign name here)


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Subject: RE: BS: Canadian Submarines
From: Peace
Date: 28 Oct 04 - 02:07 PM

LOL

Will I get an answer if I send the letter to the Public Affairs branch?


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