Sunday, August 29, 2021


 29 August 2021: This is a sad video post we're doing this week; as a former destoryerman (Tincan sailor), I hate to see one of our own get used for target practice. In fact, one of the 3 destroyers on which I served was used for target practice after she was decommissioned, but not by other destroyers (I personally would have given alot to be able to shoot at a "live" target without having to be concerned with receiving incoming shots!) but by amphibs (LSTs LPHs and the like which rarely fire their own guns). It was sad to see, as are this video and still shots. But they are quite spectacular to those who have never seen the results of serious naval gunfire. So, from the on line mag, The Warzone:



The U.S. Navy has released a video montage from a recent Sinking Exercise, or SINKEX, off the coast of Hawaii. The footage includes clips showing the Navy, together with the Marine Corps, pummelling the ex-USS Ingraham, the last Oliver Hazard Perry class frigate ever built, with a variety of weapons, before a Mk 48 torpedo fired from the Los Angeles class nuclear attack submarine USS Chicago finally breaks the ship in two.

The SINKEX was one part of the unprecedently huge Large Scale Exercise (LSE) 2021, which began on Aug. 2 and ended on Aug. 16. LSE 2021 was centered, in large part, on helping the Navy and Marines explore and refine various new expeditionary and distributed concepts of operations. The SINKEX portion was focused on demonstrating various long-range maritime strike capabilities that both services have now or are in the process of fielding. The first half or so of the video, seen in full above, starts with a series of clips showing various weapon systems employed in the SINKEX. In order of appearance, they are Navy P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol planes and Marine F/A-18C/D Hornet fighter jets armed with AGM-84D Harpoon anti-ship missiles, a UGM-84D submarine-launched Harpoon onboard USS Chicago, the ground-based Navy-Marine Expeditionary Ship Interdiction System (NMESIS) unmanned launch system for the stealthy Naval Strike Missile (NSM) cruise missile, and Navy F/A-18E/F Super Hornets armed with AGM-154 Joint Stand-Off Weapon (JSOW) precision-guided glide bombs. 


As already noted, USS Chicago, which also happens to be the Navy's oldest Los Angeles class submarine presently in service, after the decommissioning of USS Olympia in February, also fired a Mk 48 torpedo during the SINKEX. Navy F-35C Joint Strike Fighters dropped Paveway-series laser-guided bombs, as well. The F-35Cs flew from the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, which is the first to carry those stealthy jets on an operational cruise.

The second portion of the video shows various weapons being fired at the ex-USS Ingraham, which was decommissioned in 2015 and was subsequently set aside to be used as a target, and then hitting the ship. The strike footage includes a clip where a smaller weapon, possibly a JSOW or Paveway, appears to strike the center of the ship, followed by a missile, which would be either a Harpoon or an NSM, hitting the stern. 

[Here's the promised video. Click below:]


This is followed by a view of the Mk 48 torpedo striking the side of the former Oliver Hazard Perry class frigate, causing the center of the ship's hull to buckle and likely break.  The Navy's new video ends with the sunken ship's bow seen still poking straight up above the waves.

Overall, it's an impressive display of maritime firepower and demonstrated various maritime strike capabilities that the Navy and Marine Corps see as essential components of their new concepts of operations. In the end, though, it also highlighted how torpedoes, such as the Mk 48, are still king when it comes to sinking warships.


On yet another personal note, I did have the opportunity to ride and observe on a US attack submarine during an exercise in the Pacific with a view toward learning how to combat their obvious advantage. It proved that there is little a surface ship can do to beat a determined sub skipper. The stealth, technology, and speed give them a huge advantage. 

So, on that uplifting (to all you surface warfare officers out there) note, we'll sign off until next week. Stay safe.

                                  Fair winds,  

                                            Old Salt 

Sunday, August 22, 2021


 22 August 2021: And so, we begin year 8 of Maritime Maunder with just over 126,000 readers worldwide and 447 posts to our credit. We here at MM are happily surprised at these stats and humbled at the same time with the realization that there are that many folks out there who find our maundering of interest. Thank you.

We have posted several times in the past regarding the Korean car carrier capsized and aground off St. Simons Island Georgia. At one point, I recall we predicted that leaking oil from the wreck would be a problem and here we are. What is surprising to us is that the U.S. seems not to have the technology to deal with the oil effectively. God bless the Welch! From the BBC:


 A Welsh firm's technology is being used to help prevent an "environmental catastrophe" in the United States.

Hydro Industries in Llangennech, Carmarthenshire, designs equipment which purifies contaminated water.

Its kit is being used to stop thousands of gallons of fuel onboard a wrecked cargo ship polluting the ocean off Georgia.

Chief executive Wayne Preece said: "We're one of the few companies in the world that can do it."

The South Korean ship Golden Ray was carrying about 4,200 vehicles when it capsized soon after leaving the Port of Brunswick in September 2019.

Around 1,000 of the vehicles have been recovered either by using a mechanical claw or by fishing them out of the water.

But the ship's 656ft (199m) hull remains, lying on its side.

The Golden Ray is too big to remove intact, so it is being carved up into eight massive chunks - each weighing 3,720 tonnes.

While much of its fuel has been siphoned off, the salvage operation has been complicated by the oil. Should this leak into the ocean it would cause an "environmental catastrophe", something everyone involved in the project is keen to avoid.

Hydro Industries has been tasked with helping prevent this scenario, while enabling the ship and its remaining cargo to be safely removed.

The firm operates around the world clearing up and purifying water that has been contaminated by industries including oil and gas, mining and marine salvage.

It has worked on shipwrecks in France, Germany, Australia and Japan but this is its largest project so far.

'Environmental catastrophe'

The latest stage of the demolition severed the ship's fuel line near the engine room and while some oily discharges were seen, no major leaks were reported.

"The impact to the environment as a whole has been less significant than we feared," said Doug Hayman, director of the coastal resources division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

As the salvage operation enters its next stage, Hydro Industries is moving its equipment 4,032from its site at a former Ministry of Defence base to the shipwreck.

"On that ship is contaminated oil mud. It's quite thick, quite nasty stuff," said Mr Preece.

"We've been tasked with treating about a million gallons [ed: not significant?] of it, getting it off the ship, treating it, safely discharging the sea-water back into the sea, and then collecting the oil."

The equipment has been loaded into shipping containers in Llangennech over the past two weeks.

The journey by sea would normally take five to six weeks to complete, but the US Coast Guard would speed up the process and lead it into port, Mr Preece said.

"It'll get to Atlanta in around three weeks and our team will be on a plane waiting for it, and we'll deploy immediately and it's probably about a month's work."


Caitlin Davies, an environmental engineer at the company, explained how the equipment - which looks like a giant bath - would work.


"It uses a system which allows the oil to be separated from the water," she said.

"By putting the aluminium charge onto the electrodes, it coagulates the smaller particles into bigger particles.

"It's a really clever but simple solution."


Let's hope it works as expected. We surely don't need more pollution! 

And those of our U.S. readers in the path of storm Henri, stay safe and good luck!

Until next time, 

                                          Fair winds,

                                              Old Salt


Saturday, August 14, 2021


 14 August 2021: With all that's going on in the world - most not so good - we will lay off the politics and editorial rhetoric to bring you a pretty neat concept - well, it's not just a concept - that the U.S. Naval Institute wrote about recently.



The Navy could use one of the world’s oldest technologies to defeat one of the newest by launching autonomous sailing drones to find and track enemy submarines. And map ocean floors.

Saildrone is marketing its unmanned — the company calls its vessels “uncrewed” — surface vessels, outfitted with a composite rigid wing sail, as a persistent reconnaissance platform capable of carrying sophisticated sonar equipment. The drones, which power their keel-mounted payloads with solar energy, can stay at sea for extended periods to perform an array of missions, according to Brian Connon, Saildrone’s vice president of ocean mapping.


“We use the wind to sail these around, primarily collecting ocean data, atmospheric and oceanographic observations, but we can also put a payload in the keel and do things like fisheries surveys or single-beam mapping,” Connon told USNI News at the Navy League’s annual Sea-Air-Space 2021 symposium at National Harbor, Maryland, where Saildrone was on display for the first time.

“From a defense perspective, we’re using these to look for seamounts that might be a hazard to submarine navigation,” he said. “It’s a very low-cost way to go out in an area where someone thought they might have seen something; we can go out and say whether it’s there and to stay away or it’s deep enough that a submarine can pass through safely.”

Any of the Saildrone models could carry passive acoustic sensors and transmit signals to a manned surface vessel, Connon said. Larger versions can tow a sonar array or other underwater sensor to hunt for enemy subs. It also can search the near-surface or surface of the water with hydrophone sensors or cameras to perform counter-drug missions, he said.

The company, headquartered in Alameda, Calif., has built 100 of the 23-foot Explorer drones. . Thirty of the vessels are actively plying the waves from the Arctic to the tropical Pacific Ocean, mapping the seafloor, measuring schools of fish, monitoring shark mating behavior and conducting other data-gathering missions, Connon said.

The all-electric uncrewed sailing vessel sports solar panels on its sail and deck that charge its batteries and power payloads. A small propeller is used primarily as an auxiliary power generator that spins as the boat sails, Connon said. Explorer has an endurance of up to a year at sea.

A remote operator defines a corridor inside which the drone can sail and plots waypoints. The onboard computers do the rest, including optimizing the point of sail and controlling its orientation to the waves.

“Generally, it’s a pre-set plan that they run and if they deviate then we will know,” he said.

The Coast Guard has already tested the feasibility of deploying the autonomous sailboats for persistent maritime domain awareness in remote areas of the ocean.

In 2020, six of the 23-foot versions of the Saildrone sailed from Hawaii for a month-long demonstration of their endurance. Several weeklong tests presented operational scenarios including general surface traffic monitoring; detecting illegal, unregulated, and unreported (IUU) fishing; search and patrol; and port security. The fleet of drones successfully provided Coast Guard units with information during the tests without incident.

With the success of Explorer, Saildrone decided to “take the next step and ask what else can we do with these,” Connon said. That brainstorming resulted in the 72-foot Surveyor, which has a 50-foot mast, an auxiliary diesel engine and “the same capability as a survey ship for ocean mapping,” he said.

Surveyor has a keel-mounted sonar that can reach down to 7,000 meters and a shallow-water multibeam echosounder that can collect very high resolution maps of littorals. The engine is required to augment solar to run the power-hungry sonar gear, Connon said. The engine can also be used for propulsion in calm winds but is primarily used to charge the onboard batteries.

Surveyor sailed from San Francisco to Hawaii in July and mapped the entire 28-day transit over previously uncharted ocean.

“Only 20 percent of our oceans are mapped,” Connon said. “We need a lot more of these vehicles that can go out and map those parts of the ocean that, I don’t want to say people don’t care about, but are not a priority.”

Saildrone recently launched a 33-foot prototype called Voyager that can do both shallow water bathymetry and maritime domain awareness. Like its larger cousin, Voyager will carry radar, an automatic identification system (AIS) transceiver and high resolution 360-degree cameras. Connon said the company in the past five years has captured 100 million images of the surface of the ocean and things floating on it. During a previous RIMPAC exercise, the drones were able to capture images, identify vessels and transmit that data via satellite, Connon said.

The idea is “being able to have another asset with eyes on the water to patrol certain areas, so that the ships can go do what the ships do better,” he said. “Same thing with ocean mapping … we’re not trying to replace the ships. Those ships are very expensive and to have them just slowly go back and forth, like mowing your lawn, to map the ocean, that’s a really expensive way to do that when we can do it this way.”


Pretty neat. No watches to stand, no crew to worry about and performs a possibly vital and dangerous mission. And proven workable; during WWII, the US Navy used "commandeered" private sailing vessels (manned, of course) for finding enemy submarines near our coast.

And by the way: this post completes seven (7) years of Maritime Maunder. Next week, we begin our 8th year! We have put up 447 posts and have  over 125,800 readers world wide! Thank you all so much for being loyal readers!

Until next time,

                                              Fair winds, 

                                                       Old Salt