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Chinese sub surfaces undetected behind USS Kitty Hawk

This is a discussion on Chinese sub surfaces undetected behind USS Kitty Hawk within the Navy forums, part of the China Defense & Military category; Originally Posted by Seacraft Few subs can "keep up" with a transitting CBG. Those few are probably Seawolf and Virgina, ...

  1. #16
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    Re: Chinese sub surfaces undetected behind USS Kitty Hawk

    Quote Originally Posted by Seacraft View Post
    Few subs can "keep up" with a transitting CBG. Those few are probably Seawolf and Virgina, and maybe Russia's latest nuke attack boat. All others will make noise. If the CBG is really moving, they'll all make noise. A diesel Song simply cannot keep up. on diesel or (for long) on batteries. It is unlikely that the Song "shadowed" the carrier.

    What is more likely is that a Song somehow, using an external intellignece source, managed to manovoure itself in the path of the CBG and let screen ships waltz right in

    None of this sounds like a blue water operation but cases where we have always assumed PRC might a achieve best case advantage when compared to US Navy (assuming article is true)
    I agree 100% with this analysis. A Song is a capable diesel/electric...newer ones supposely with AIP capability.

    But they are not fast enough to keep up with a carrier in transit and shadow it as it moves at cruising speed If they tried, they would make far too much noise and not be able to do it anyway.

    I expect in these conditions, with the US announceing where the KH and others are, that some of these diesel electrics will be able to station themselves in advance of USN carriers and come close to them...in war time situations where the carrier is in a buttoned up state, is aggresively looking for enemies, and is taking highly evasive actions...I believe it would be extremely rare for this type of thing to happen. Now, a good nuc is a different matter...but USN defenses are better suited for discovering them too.

    Given time, those defenses are going to get very good at finding the DEs too.

    Just my oppinion.

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    Re: Chinese sub surfaces undetected behind USS Kitty Hawk

    I expect in these conditions, with the US announceing where the KH and others are, that some of these diesel electrics will be able to station themselves in advance of USN carriers and come close to them...in war time situations where the carrier is in a buttoned up state, is aggresively looking for enemies,
    Amen..One of the things that the USN does is announce where the Kitty Hawk is on navy.mil..all the time. I think they need to cut back on that sort of thing.

    When any USN ship in in certian EMCOM conditions or not operating certain electronic systems those ships will be very difficult to find. Very hard.
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    Re: Chinese sub surfaces undetected behind USS Kitty Hawk

    I always love these oxymoron headlines. If the SONG was undetected, why is it known that it trailed the US CSG. If such thing occured, it should be a top military secret and not be published. Why give the USN time to reassessed their defence and fixed this "vulnerability".

    A SSK, even the top of the line ones, got nothing against SSNs.

    (1) A state of the art SSK has a maximum endurance of about 400km at about 4 knots on its batteries. You don't get anywhere at 4 knots and you certainly are not going to be very successful chasing your quarry at that speed. You also do not typically run your batteries 95% flat before a recharge. Rather you tend to do it at conventient times when you don't think there is anyone around to find and kill you. When you surface to run your diesels you have very little stealthy on your side. You are noisy and at periscope depth. In fact, every other thing aside, running fast and near the surface is doubly bad acoustically because your screw cavitate like hell near the surface whereas at depth the water pressures migates the formation of vaccum pockets on the trailing edged of your screw reducing or eliminating cavitation. Radars can find your snorkel, SSNs and ASW ships can hear your from a long way off and aircrafts can literally see you at that depth. You are basically exposing yourself!

    (2) There is always the option of AIPs. The problem is that firstly AIPs, probably with exception of the Fuel Cell, is not as silent as motors on batteries. The sterling is a reciprocating piston engine running of separately heated working gas. The Close cycle diesel is exactly that a diesel engine running on diesel fuel, oxygen and part of its recycled exhaust. The MESMA is a steam turbine running on the products of alcohol-oxygen combustion. They all make more noise than a battery does and they all have exhausts to get rid of. The worst thing howeveris that power density is in usually horrible enough that cruise speed on AIP is no better than 5-6 knots and there is every little power left over to recharge the batteries in a timely manner. The Fuel Cell which is the quietest AIP setup also happens to have the worst energy density by a long shot... large PEM stacks, large LOX tanks and huge LH2 tanks, all for less energy yield than the combustion type AIPs. In the end what it means is that AIP boats usually transit or maneuver tactically by running their diesels and running on the surface or at snorkel depth to get close to their quary. In a real war with a massive navy like the USN, a lot of them will be picked off while doing this by ASW aircraft and a forward screen of SSNs.

    (3) The other fallacy is that batteries and electric motor equals total silence. This is nonsense. In fact, it is frequently not flow noise and propeller noise which shows up most prominently on a sonar system when an SSK is picked up. It is frequently the inverter buzz from the switching inverters which the SSK uses to convert its DC battery power to AC current to run its motors with. Just about all high power motors are AC induction motors.

    (4) The last thing when cosidering using diesels against a major surface action group is that all the silencing advantage is useless against active sonar which is routinely employed on ASW helos and once they catch a glimpse of you, an SSK has neither the speed on the endurance to slip away. Once found you are usually dead meat.

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    Re: Chinese sub surfaces undetected behind USS Kitty Hawk

    Quote Originally Posted by FuManChu View Post
    Isn't there the issue that the USN wouldn't be on "full ASW alert" and moving more slowly, given that it's peace-time at the moment? What happened in this case wouldn't be the same sort of challenge if the US was at war/on a war footing. I think Mercury touched upon the second point.
    if the carrier is conducting air operations it is moving at least 20knots with it's escorts alternating sprinting and drifting for close in ASW while aircraft drop dipping sonars and sonar bouys. They would also have some sort of surface search radar on and the sub would be spotted as soon as anypart of it raise dabove the waves.

    Eiter the USN let the sub in for a red scare or the CBG was not conducting ops for some reason. in which case the Song didn't really prove itself vs the American A game.

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    Re: Chinese sub surfaces undetected behind USS Kitty Hawk

    The key is this.

    The Kitty Hawk and several other warships were deployed in ocean waters near Okinawa at the time, as part of a routine fall deployment program.
    This is the USN's ANNUALEX that occur in this region every year at the same time. So it's quite likely that the PLAN simply tasked a Song SSK there before the exercise began. Try doing this stuff in wartime. Plus I highly doubt they were "shadowing" anything for any number of days. Songs and other diesels are only acoustically quiet at low speeds only. I'm talking 4 knots or less. Above that they emit a highewr radiated noise and drain their batteries much quicker.

    And this is also telling.

    The surfaced submarine was spotted by a routine surveillance flight by one of the carrier group's planes.
    It's telling because they knew when and where to look for it on the surface. It's my guess, that they may have conducted acoustic searches and knew where it was before this occured. Sounds too coincidental to me. But of course the Pentagon will never release details of this as they don't want the Chinese or anyone else being able to assess our abilities in tracking these subs. And also the USN certainly wouldn't respond in a hostile manner as we are not at war with China at the moment. This was in international waters. So it's not really a big issue.
    Last edited by bd popeye; 10-13-2012 at 07:45 AM.

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    Re: Chinese sub surfaces undetected behind USS Kitty Hawk

    If the SONG was undetected, why is it known that it trailed the US CSG.
    According to the defense officials, the Chinese Song-class diesel-powered attack submarine shadowed the Kitty Hawk undetected and surfaced within five miles of the carrier Oct. 26.
    The surfaced submarine was spotted by a routine surveillance flight by one of the carrier group's planes.
    Since no mechanical problems were sighted by the US Navy, to which I'm sure would've been noted in the article if there were, the Song must've surfaced intentionally to be spotted.

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    Re: Chinese sub surfaces undetected behind USS Kitty Hawk

    Quote Originally Posted by AssassinsMace View Post
    Since no mechanical problems were sighted by the US Navy, to which I'm sure would've been noted in the article if there were, the Song must've surfaced intentionally to be spotted.
    I don't think the insinuation is that the Song had any malfunction. I believe they surfaced intentionally with no problems on their part. I'm just curious as to why. And also I believe they may have been actually tracked, due to the fact that the aircraft knew exactly when and where to find it. Too coincidental. Especially when talking about low intensity naval operations in international waters.

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    Re: Chinese sub surfaces undetected behind USS Kitty Hawk

    Quote Originally Posted by Sea Dog View Post
    I don't think the insinuation is that the Song had any malfunction. I believe they surfaced intentionally with no problems on their part. I'm just curious as to why. And also I believe they may have been actually tracked, due to the fact that the aircraft knew exactly when and where to find it. Too coincidental. Especially when talking about low intensity naval operations in international waters.
    Well the article said the Song was spotted by routine patrol after it surfaced. Personally I believe if the PLAN wanted to let the US Navy know they can silently trail their fleets, they weren't giving away their most advanced capabilities and tactics because certainly the US Navy would work to counter. So maybe the PLAN was testing out something else and used the Song as bait to make it look like a "lesser" sub had that capability while something else was a work. If so whatever it is had to be something coordinated in a network to time it correctly.

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    Re: Chinese sub surfaces undetected behind USS Kitty Hawk

    Quote Originally Posted by AssassinsMace View Post
    Well the article said the Song was spotted by routine patrol after it surfaced. Personally I believe if the PLAN wanted to let the US Navy know they can silently trail their fleets, they weren't giving away their most advanced capabilities and tactics because certainly the US Navy would work to counter. So maybe the PLAN was testing out something else and used the Song as bait to make it look like a "lesser" sub had that capability while something else was a work. If so whatever it is had to be something coordinated in a network to time it correctly.
    The Song did not trail the carrier during normal opertions. It does not have the speed to do so. If it tried it would be far too noisy. I believe the Song knew where the carrier would be and quietly waited for it. That's possible in the current threat conditions and scenarios where the USN is announcing where its carriers will be. Just my opinion.

    However your point, that something else may have been there is certainly worth considering. Perhaps a 93 was in the area too.

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    Re: Chinese sub surfaces undetected behind USS Kitty Hawk

    Quote Originally Posted by AssassinsMace View Post
    Song as bait to make it look like a "lesser" sub had that capability while something else was a work. If so whatever it is had to be something coordinated in a network to time it correctly.
    No network is needed or used. The USN conducts ANNUALEX here at the same time and the same place every year. I think more importantly, the Pentagon and US leaders can see this as "Well, so much for Sino-U.S. relations." I don't find it amazing that the PLAN could put a sub where it's known that the USN conducts ops at every year at the same time. The USN will never say whether they detected it beforehand or not. But I'm guessing they did, due to the reaction and displacement of aircraft in this type of exercise. For certain, I am not. All I know is that this headline and story will not tell 1/10th of the story.

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    Re: Chinese sub surfaces undetected behind USS Kitty Hawk

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr_C View Post
    If this is true, the Song must be capable submarine with a capable crew. And the Americans who detected them were just as capable. Anyway i am sure this type of thing happens often. And to the military person... its not that suprising. Only suprising to some politician and people who want to make a big deal about it.
    From memory, the Song carries anti ship missles with a range of more than 100km. If this true do u think the captain of the Song will risk getting so close to the CVBG in real combat. What do u think?
    The sub crew may be capable but if I were the PLAN, I would roast the captain's ass for this sort of displays.

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    Re: Chinese sub surfaces undetected behind USS Kitty Hawk

    Quote Originally Posted by crobato View Post
    The sub crew may be capable but if I were the PLAN, I would roast the captain's ass for this sort of displays.
    Then again, the PRC would want to send a statement to the USN: Your not invincible. We got one of our subs into firing position on your carrier. Watch your back next time, if you decide to cross us.

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    Re: Chinese sub surfaces undetected behind USS Kitty Hawk

    Quote Originally Posted by Pointblank View Post
    Then again, the PRC would want to send a statement to the USN: Your not invincible. We got one of our subs into firing position on your carrier. Watch your back next time, if you decide to cross us.
    Right on! No matter how you look at it, the seas around China from Korea to the Gulf of Tonkin are confined between the mainland, peninsulas, shallows, reefs and islands, with numerous straits. It won't surprise me a bit if there is a submarine cable with acustic sensors crisscrossing the bottom in all directions, or at least in the most likely spots were CSG may transit/operate. Maybe their escort SSNs are quiet, but other surface ships aren't, plus we all know how noisy helos, catapults and fighters are!

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    Re: Chinese sub surfaces undetected behind USS Kitty Hawk

    Dear Sirs:

    This incident and the tactics the submarine commander utilized remind me of World War II submarine operations against enemy warships, essentially it consisted of and elaborate ambush, that is, predict the future course of the enemy, place yourself there, wait and hope you were right!

    To quote a famous submariner "yee gods! A flat top!"

    It must be recalled that half the carriers lost in that war were lost to enemy submarine action, so history suggest that with enough subs available one can do considerable damage to major elements of the opponent's fleet.

    Both the Soviet Union before and the PLAN now are aware of this and probably rate subs as their best naval weapon. I would look to see a greater expansion of China's submarine fleet.

    By the way someone mentioned that the Song had a seven-blade propeller, however I do believe that only the lead sub - which was rated unsatisfactory and had to undergo extensive modification before being accepted - had this.

    All the new build subs in fact have a much smaller (and hence faster-turning) brass propeller - its quite prominent in many pictures of the new Song's. I have always wondered as to why the PLAN decided on this apparently retrogressive step, as the smaller, faster propeller should be noisier and less efficient.

    Anyone care to comment?

    Best Regards,

    Dusky Lim

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    Re: Chinese sub surfaces undetected behind USS Kitty Hawk

    not exactly the same issue, but I guess this incident might have coincided with this latest statement
    Nov. 13 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. is concerned about China's
    recent acquisition of warships with a ``blue water'' capacity,
    the admiral in charge of the U.S. Pacific Fleet said in Beijing.
    ``Clearly the growth and capacity of China's navy, its
    ability to go into the blue water is very, very clear,'' Admiral
    Gary Roughead, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, said in a
    briefing at the U.S. Embassy in the Chinese capital today.
    Roughead is in China to help oversee a joint U.S.-China naval sea
    rescue exercise off the south China coast beginning Nov. 19.
    Since 2004, China has spent more than $2 billion building or
    acquiring from Russia more than a dozen 6,000 or 7,000 ton battle
    ships, mostly destroyers, and a dozen kilo-class submarines,
    enabling it to ``project power far into the western Pacific,''
    said Andrew Yang, a Taipei-based military analyst.
    ``This gives China the ability to conduct maritime patrols
    beyond its coast, beyond Taiwan and all the way deep into the
    Western Pacific,'' Yang, who is also secretary general of the
    Chinese Council of Advanced Policy Studies, said in a phone
    interview today. ``If the building and acquisitions continue at
    the current pace, by 2025 China will have a full fledged blue
    water capacity and can pressure the U.S. in Asia.''
    Roughead said he will be meeting with People's Liberation
    Army naval commanders to ``discuss what their vision is and what
    their operating doctrine is.'' Specifically, the admiral said he
    hoped to learn more about China's naval capability and whether it
    has ``intent to do harm.''

    Avoiding Confrontation

    The best way to avoid confrontation between the U.S. and
    China is to regularly hold joint exercises so officers on both
    sides can communicate and build relationships, he said.
    ``I think more than even our leaders coming together, that
    it's more important our younger leaders come together,'' said
    Roughead, who refused to comment on a report in the Washington
    Times today that a Chinese submarine ``stalked'' a U.S. aircraft
    carrier in the Pacific last month.
    ``I believe there are great values in those relationships,
    so that 10 or 15 years from now, our forces can work together, or
    perhaps if there is a misunderstanding, that our forces can pick
    up the phone and avoid a conflict,'' he said.
    The USS Juneau, a forward deployed amphibious transport dock,
    and the USS Fitzgerald, a destroyer, and their combined crew of
    nearly 700 sailors and officers will participate in the joint
    exercises, said Roughead, who wouldn't disclose which Chinese
    warships are participating.
    The two navies held similar exercises off the coasts of
    Hawaii and San Diego in September, the first since the U.S. and
    China broke off military contact in 2001 after a U.S. spy plane
    and a Chinese jet fighter collided over the South China Sea.

    Rumsfeld Visit

    Roughead's visit follows the Sept. 26 talks between U.S.
    Deputy Undersecretary of Defense Christopher Henry and People's
    Liberation Army Deputy Chief of Staff General Ge Zhenfeng. The
    two militaries resumed talks after then U.S. Defense Secretary
    Donald Rumsfeld visited Beijing in October 2005.
    General Guo Boxiong, vice chairman of China's Central
    Military Commission, visited the U.S. in July at the invitation
    of Rumsfeld, state-run Xinhua News Agency reported at the time.
    U.S. and China held their first-ever offshore search and rescue
    exercises on Sept. 9 off the coast of California, with two
    Chinese naval vessels involved, Xinhua reported.



    On the issue itself, the incident is reported by Bill Gertz. I honestly take stuff that he reports with little credence. I remember the media reported several incidences where a Chinese sub supposedly went undetected and surfaced outside its usual operating circle. But then gf0021-aust from DT said that it was pretty much tracked the entire way. So, for me, it's a little hard to believe something by a China threat guy like Bill Gertz. Besides, what the heck is this sub doing trying to show up a carrier?

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