Monday, March 29, 2010

Sub Hunting

(fm the BC thread "The Birds")

Subotai Bahadur,
No ASROC on board, no Harpoons on board

Good work, it is strange to me that an ASW ship would have no ASROC or helicopter. The onboard Mk-46 tubes, like the depth charges on the fantail, are only useful for close in work and that is not how you want to fight a submarine. The reason may be that the Pohang corvettes are designed to deal with NorK minisubs, which are really suicide weapons, in a coastal or harbor defense role. The US Navy has not even carried depth charges for decades.

For a Carrier Battle Group ASW is conducted in layers. Ideally the engagement takes place at a distance with the weapons delivered by an aircraft. These can be fixed wing like the P-3 for large area patrols, in WW-II we used blimps, or helicopters with a tactical range greater than that of the submarines torpedoes or anti-ship cruise missiles. For a threat closer than half a dozen miles response time is critical and the best thing to have is an ASROC. If the enemy is detected within the destroyer screen or closer than a few thousand yards then the best thing to do is dump a torpedo in the water and pray. Getting out of Dodge may not be an option.

The only remaining question is could the RoKs have run over their own mine? Either they court martial their own Commanding Officer or they charge the NorKs with either deliberately attacking them or with the war crime of using floating mines. As I read this there is no other choice.

From the AP
SKorea: Mine from NKorea may have sunk naval ship
Published: 20 minutes ago

BAENGNYEONG ISLAND, South Korea (AP) - South Korea's defense minister says North Korea may have intentionally floated a mine to damage a naval ship that exploded and sank this week.

Forty-six crew members are missing and believed trapped within the wreckage of the ship, which went down Friday. Fifty-eight were rescued

While the cause of the explosion is unknown, Defense Minister Kim Tae-young told lawmakers in Seoul on Monday that rival North Korea may have floated a mine toward the ship. He also said the explosion could have been caused by a mine placed during the Korean War.

South Korean officials had earlier said they did not believe the North was behind the explosion.

The two nations remain at war because their 1950-53 conflict ended in a truce, not a peace treaty.



For the AP this is a decent piece of reporting.

The speculation that a mine from 60 years ago could have broken lose is a new twist. Like in space it is a big ocean and things can turn up after a long time out of sight. The following original AP story makes clear that no one is alive but the public does not want to hear that message.

Subotai Bahadur,
(who laid out the limitations on ASROC and small combatants)
When I owned Deck Division on a cruiser and had to clean around the thing the ASROC always struck me as a Rube Goldberg ASW contraption. It was a model of lethal efficiency compared to the world's worst AAW system, the BPDMS (pronounced beep-a-deemus) that I owned on an amphib.

(who asked about evidence of what caused the explosion)
Yes, if it was a mine the questions of whose? and how old was it? will be answered by the glamorous only on TV forensic team. Assuming the NorKs did it what will the response be? My prediction is, nothing if the Americans get to decide.

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