Nov 112013

AIP Technology Creates a New Undersea Threat

Inhanced performance of small, defensive submarines, a serious new underwater threat is developing in littoral waters. Increasingly, smaller nations unwilling or unable to accept the high cost of nuclear power to achieve greater underwater endurance and longer range are turning to lower-priced and less ambitious alternatives that still offer significant operational advantages over conventional diesel-electric submarines.

The Russian KILO, can remain submerged on battery at slow speed for periods on the order of three to five days. But now, several AIP schemes in development or already in operation can increase slow-speed range considerably. As interest mounts in “Air-Independent Propulsion” (AIP) for enhancing the low-speed endurance to as much as three weeks or a month. While still dwarfed by the potential of nuclear power, AIP offers diesel submarines a remarkable increase in capability

The Russian submarine manufacturing company, Rubin, is developing an air-independent propulsion (AIP) system [which will be available as a retrofit to the conventional diesel-powered KILO class submarines].

Closed-cycle Diesel Engines
Typically, a closed-cycle diesel (CCD) instal ation incorporates a standard diesel engine that can be operated in its conventional mode on the surface or while snorkeling. Underwater, however, it runs on an artificial atmosphere synthesized from stored oxygen, an inert gas (generally argon), and recycled exhaust products. The engine exhaust – largely carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and water vapor – is cooled, scrubbed, and separated into its constituents, with the argon recycled back to the intake manifold. The remaining exhaust gas is mixed with seawater and discharged overboard. Generally, the required oxygen is stored in liquid form – LOX – in cryogenic tanks.

China has two Type 636 submarines, the second of which joined the Chinese fleet in January 1999.

In September 2007, it was announced that Indonesia had placed an order for two Kilo Type 636 submarines, plus options to purchase up to eight more.

In November 2007, Venezuela signed a memorandum of understanding for three Type 636 submarines to be delivered from 2012 to 2013.

Type 636 is designed for anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and anti-surface-ship warfare (ASuW) and also for general reconnaissance and patrol missions. The Type 636 submarine is considered to be to be one of the quietest diesel submarines in the world. It is said to be capable of detecting an enemy submarine at a range three to four times greater than it can be detected itself.

The submarine has a launcher for eight Strela-3 or Igla surface-to-air missiles. These missiles are manufactured by the Fakel Design Bureau, Kaliningrad. Strela-3 (NATO Designation SA-N-8 Gremlin) has a cooled infrared seeker and 2kg warhead. Maximum range is 6km.

The vessels can be fitted with the Novator Club-S (SS-N-27) cruise missile system which fires the 3M-54E1 anti-ship missile. Range is 220km with 450kg high-explosive warhead.


The submarine is equipped with six 533mm forward torpedo tubes situated in the nose of the submarine and carries 18 torpedoes with six in the torpedo tubes and 12 stored on the racks. Alternatively the torpedo tubes can deploy 24 mines.

Two torpedo tubes are designed for firing remote-controlled torpedoes with a very high accuracy. The computer-controlled torpedo system is provided with a quick-loading device. The first salvo is fired within two minutes and the second within five minutes.

As near as I can tell, at this point most of the above listed submarines are conventional diesel. Not that that is much of a handicap, since these subs are used primarily for littoral defense, not long range blue-water offense.

Since the USS Nautilus, nuclear subs have always held the public’s attention. However, it was two Russian Foxtrot class diesel subs which came frighteningly close to setting off nuclear devices during the Cuban Missile Crisis. The first link below is about the Cuban incident. The second link has details about the Foxtrot class and, incredibly the third link invites you to visit a Foxtrot as a tourist attraction in the U.S.!

Dec 042012

There is an understandable assumption that the Internet is via satellite. Not so. The vast majority of what has been called the “Information Highway” is basically just that; or perhaps more accurately an Internet “Subway”. Five hundred thousand miles of fiber optic threads lace up the Seven league Boots of communication as it bestrides the world in milliseconds.

The particular view shown here centers on the South China Sea. The far left shows the route emerging fron the Red Sea via the Mediterranean and the Suez Canal, and above it the Persian Gulf via  the Oman Peninsula on its way to Mumbai. In the center, the Strait of Malacca with Singapore at its lower tip. To the right,  at a center of that web is Guam with Hawaii just on the far horizon. Then of course Japan, Korea, China and Taiwan. Those of you interested in the Spratly and Paracel Islands in the South China Sea will note the main lines branch and pass through those shallow areas. No surprise that while several nations claim those areas, China has penciled in as its “core interest”.

                The green area in this next image is what China has stated to be of “Core Interest”, basically all of the Yellow Sea to the Korean Peninsula, the East China Sea and the South China Sea. It runs along what China is calling its “First Island Chain”.

The red line is the “Second Island Chain”. It is an area China regards as being of special interest. It goes right out to the shores of Guam, sweeping over all of Japan’s southern islands, including Okinawa.

A look back at the map of fiber optic cables is rather thought provoking.

The first image mapping the cables is from: , a remarkable site for visualizing the global fiber optic network. Be sure to visit it. A Mr. Greg Mahlknech has done a herculean job of cross referencing data sources to make a real eye-popping compendium of the world’s fiber optic communication companies and their present and proposed cable networks. This illustration is just a simplified version.

The second “Core Interest” image by the author.

Dec 042012

To do business in Iran, you need an Iranian partner, which often means Khatam al-Anbiya (its full name is Gharargah Sazandegi-ye Khatam al-Anbiya, or Ghorb) — perhaps Iran’s biggest company. Ghorb is the parent of 812 affiliate companies which, according to estimates by the U.S. Treasury Department and Western intelligence services cited by Time Magazine, collectively employ around 40,000 people and have won approximately 1,700 government contracts, including billions of dollars in energy-related contracts awarded without a competitive bidding process…

The Dangers Of Doing Business With Iran’s Revolutionary Guards « The Energy Source –

Nov 162013



Arms Race: a thing of the past? Perhaps if one drives a Volvo with a fading peace-symbol or is a federal budget planner very much under the gun.

Certainly many, this writer included, are not surprised to learn that China is rapidly advancing in the world of technology. After all, read the fine print under this or any other electronic device and you will no doubt find it arrived on a Slow Boat FROM China. What is surprising is the admission that our nation lacks the intelligence, not the bright people, to assess and meet the challenges of China’s growing military clout. The following brief excerpts from Aviation Week, the Wall Street Journal, and the Economist, raises considerable concerns. One glance at these comments and you may agree, America does indeed have a race problem, an Arms Race problem.

“With the surprise rollout and high-speed taxi tests of China’s newest J-20 fighter, a stealth prototype, theU.S. Navy’s top intelligence official admits that the Pentagon has erred in its estimates of the speed with which Beijing is introducing new military technology  The aircraft’s existence was not a surprise to the intelligence community; but “one of the things that is. . . true is that we have been pretty consistent in underestimating the delivery and initial operational capability of Chinese technology weapons systems,” says Vice  Admiral David J. Dorsctt, deputy chief of naval operations for information dominance and director of naval intelligence. Two recent examples of misanalysis have been the J-20 fighter and the TF-21D anti-ship ballistic missile (AIV&ST Jan. 3, p. 18). Moreover, there is evidence that China’s advances include high-performance engines and missiles that display a new level of technical maturity and performance.” (Aviation Week online)

BEIJING—China conducted the first test flight of its stealth fighter just hours before U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates sat down with President Hu Jintao here to mend frayed relations, undermining the meeting and prompting questions over whether China’s civilian leadership is fully in control of the increasingly powerful armed forces.

SYDNEY—U.K. Secretary for Defense Liam Fox emphasized Tuesday the importance of the next generation U.S. F-35 Joint Strike Fighter to counter China’s development of its own stealth jet, after Britain and Australia agreed to strengthen defense cooperation in Asia during talks in Sydney.

Tom Burbage, general manager of the F-35 program for Lockheed Martin Corp., said Beijing’s progress in developing the J-20 has created a “stronger sense of urgency” throughout the Asian-Pacific region about air-force modernization. He said Japan, South Korea and Singapore are now engaged in bilateral discussions with U.S. government officials over the F-35.

China insists that its growing military and diplomatic clout pose no threat. The rest of the world is not so sure.

But perhaps Shakespeare said it best:  “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your intelligence reports!”

Dec 042012

China appears to be placing more and more military pieces on that great national-conflicts  chess board. the PACIFIC. Paraphrasing Bette Davis’ character, Margo Channing warned: Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy ride!

Below are exerpts  and link from WSJ, 6-29-10:

In response to the sinking of the Cheonan in March, in which 46 sailors died, the U.S. is planning joint naval exercises with South Korea designed to signal strong support for its ally. China…has condemned the exercises as destabilizing to the region.

Cmdr. Jeff A. Davis said the drills weren’t meant to intimidate China or destabilize the region, but “are designed to ensure we have the ability to maintain peace and defeat aggression on the Korean peninsula.”

Some defense experts suggest the U.S.-South Korea exercises are partly intended to reassert the U.S. military’s presence in the Pacific even as its forces appear heavily committed in Afghanistan and Iraq.

China has announced it will conduct its own drills in the East China Sea beginning Wednesday.

China froze military relations with the U.S. earlier this year.

Beijing Rebuffs Obama on North Korea –

Dec 042012

That very question, so directly stated above by one of my readers, basically hits one of the keys to the plot as I continue to write the SOUTH CHINA LAKE. I keep getting stunned into inactivity. Every time I “invent” a new twist to the story and do some research into the actions and locations in my mind, I find the ‘real’ bad guys in the ‘real’ world got there first!
A case in point:
Just today, I used Google Earth to ‘fly’ along the deserted Somalian coast line, looking for a sheltered area where ‘my’ characters could act out ‘my’ story line, linking Somalian piracy with…well, that would be telling, wouldn’t it?
Here is what I so naively thought was an ‘original’ find:

First, I found a sheltered cove just around the Horn of Africa which…

…Upon close inspection revealed a remote fishing village, Hordio, which…

…To my surprise, when Googled, revealed a pirated Turkish ship, which…

In the morning of July 10, 2009 at 08:29 the Horizon-1 was … in the Gulf of Aden and hijacked by five armed pirates. She was carrying 33,000 tons of dry sulfur from Saudi Arabia to Jordan. As reported by the Turkish Navy, the vessel was brought first to the Somali port of Hordio

While the ship’s owner gave permission to the Turkish Navy for freeing the vessel and her crew by forced intervention, the Turkish government rejected this option due to lack of procedures in case of getting hold of the pirates. The Turkish officials rather preferred to contact Kenyan authorities for legal assistance, who have more experience in handling pirates from Somalia.

The vessel was released with its crew on October 5, 2009 at 17:30 local time against a ransom of US$2,750,000 paid by a British mediator.


Dec 042012

You know, it appears more and more that fiction is just a novel approach to assembling factual data points into a coherent and hopefully entertaining narrative. This “Milky Seas” is a case in point. Note the ‘glow’ at the bottom right, off the coast of Somalia. It is about the size of the distance from Monterey, to Santa barabara, California. A special thanks to MISSION BLUE and GOOGLE EARTH.

“Milky seas are unusual phenomena which have been noticed by mariners for centuries, but which remain unexplained by scientists. These events are when the surface of the ocean, often from horizon to horizon, glows with a continuous uniform milky light. Although the origins of this light are not well investigated, the most plausible explanation is that it is caused by blooms of bioluminescent bacteria…”

Be sure to go to the link below. It includes Jules Vern’s description of this phenomenon in his “20,000 Leagues Under The Sea”.

A personal note: silly me, I always thought the title referred to depth, rather than distance.

and also:

BL Web: Milky Seas.

Dec 042012

Better get your maps of the SOUTH CHINA SEA out. Things are brewing, and I wouldn’t miss it for all the TEA IN CHINA.

Raise a TEA PARTY cup in salute to the Obama administration. It continues to make very firm statements  regards the SOUTH CHINA SEA and the Sino threat. The growing number of declarative statements coming out of Washington is helping to bolster the free world’s confidence in America as a strong and reliable allie. It should also be acknowledged that the administration has continued and expanded our covert ops and drone missile strikes in other regions of the world.

My own interest in SCS (South China Sea) began some years ago as I was looking for an exotic location for my book of fiction. Now truth keeps getting out ahead of fiction, my own and it would seem, the liberals’ Kumbaya approach to belligerent nations.

Last year, and not coincidental to a new presidential inauguration, China withdrew from inter-military exchanges with the U.S. and declared the South China Sea a core interest. Basically, China proclaimed the region to be an exclusive playground and themselves the big bully. Thus the other kids on the block such as Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Borneo are threatened that they would have to give their lunch-thermos of oil (the Spratly and Paracel islands) and potentially turn over more of their allowance at the schoolyard gate of Singapore.

Yes, it is true that presidents in trouble domestically have often turned to foreign policy for cover. So far, many friendly nations are beginning to feel we again have them covered  as America renews its commitment to peace with actions as well as with nice words.

As can be seen in the following clips, our current foreign policies are having a positive effect, and none too soon.

Inserted below are excerpts and a map from recent WSJ articles plus the links:

“The U.S. and its Asian allies are starting to push back at China’s growing assertiveness in the region, strengthening security ties and taking more robust positions in territorial disputes in the East and South China seas. Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong told The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday he plans to tell Mr. Obama [at a meeting with the ASEAN members in NY] that the U.S. needs to maintain an activist presence in Asia to show it is “here to stay” as a power in the Pacific.”

“China said it hasn’t limited export of rare-earth elements to Japan, denying a report that it had halted exports of the materials to its neighbor as retaliation in a territorial dispute.”

And just as you were beginning to feel smug about your awareness of the SOUTH CHINA SEA, there is this:

“China suspended high-level government exchanges with Japan, significantly escalating the two countries’ worst dispute in five years, after Japanese authorities extended the detention of the captain of a Chinese fishing boat detained near disputed islands in the East China Sea.”

and this:

Authorities in eastern China plan to fine the auto-finance unit of Toyota Motor Corp. for “commercial bribery,” a move that comes in the midst of a heated row between Beijing and Tokyo over an incident near disputed islands in the East China Sea.

[Ed. note: in China, taking steps against “commercial bribery” most likely means some provincial functionary did not get cut in on the deal. Corruption may yet preserve global peace. See blog “Carp and Corruption”]

Dec 042012

The 2011 Report to Congress regarding China’s capabilities seemed to present a Din Sum of unpalatable threats from which we alone must choose. Personally I have lost my appetite for being the host nation expected to pick up the tab for much of the free-world’s defense while others have grown flabby around the ammunition belt.

Operation Unified Protector, NATO’s Libyan military action, illustrated the weaknesses of nations grown militarily lax after generations of being tied to America’s apron strings and open purse. In a June 10th speech in Brussels, then Defense Secretary Gates warned that if European defense capabilities continued to decline, American leaders in the future, for whom the cold war was not a formative experience, may not consider NATO worth the investment. Perhaps we would do well to push our chair back from the table as a growing global family reaches physically and digitally across each other’s plate. A case in point is China.

Situated in a circle around the South China Sea are Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam, and very much at the head of the table, China. They are all reaching across each other’s maritime-law Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) claims to shipping on the surface, fish in the sea and oil under the sea floor. With increasing regularity, China appears to be slapping those other grasping hands as it attempts to impose what it believes to be its historical, “core” interest over the whole region. With multiple naval incursions dating back to 1974 when Vietnam was forced off the Paracel islands, other nations such as the Philippines and Japan have quite literally bumped into China’s growing naval might. To those nations feeling under immediate threat, the protection afforded by America must look farther and farther away over the Pacific horizon.

China has been quite public of late about its increasing sophistication both in physical military equipment and cyber warfare. Many question its effectiveness and desirability, such as the new aircraft carrier or the J-20 Stealth Fighter. Indeed, such boasting may be working against China’s own best interest. Her neighboring nations now appear to be in a rapidly growing arms race to counter the perceived threat, with such things as sophisticated submarines for Vietnam and long range airplane tankers for Singapore. Such growth of defensive strength by these and other nations gives the United States a Dim Sum of options for balancing China’s growing ambitions. It may well be that the economic diet our nation must go on will make other nations become more fit to participate in the keeping of freedom around the globe.

Charles Dusenbury


Dec 042012

It would seem that not only are Iranian UAVs of a sophisticated design, they could well pose the threat of a cruise-missile like weapons delivery system.

Below are excerpts and link.

The commander highlighted the growing applications of UAVs in Iran’s armed forces, and announced that the Air Force command headquarters plans to form a command-and-control center for UAVs.

The two hi-tech drones named ‘Ra’d’ (Thunder) and ‘Nazir’ (Harbinger) are capable of conducting long-range reconnaissance, patrolling, assault and bombing missions with high precision.

Fars News Agency :: Iranian Air Force to Deploy UAVs along Borders.