Study Shows Rising Importance Of Missile-Firing Submarines
(The New York Times, 30 March 1971)
Missiles launched from submarines are becoming increasingly important in the arsenals of the two superpowers as their land-based missiles become more obsolete, according to the latest issue of Strategic Survey. The journal, published annually by the Institute for Strategic Studies, asserts that defense systems for the land-based missiles of the Soviet Union and the United States are likely to be unacceptable in the future for Economic and strategic reasons.
Other points made by the survey Include these:
The United Arab Republic now has the most powerful air defense system outside the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the Warsaw Pact, with 75 to 85 advanced SAM-3 missiles manned by Soviet crews.
The Soviet Union has 200 pilots, 12,000 to 15,000 missile crew members and 4,000 other military personnel stationed in Egypt, the largest presence it has ever maintained outside the Warsaw Pact countries with the exception of Cuba in 1962.
Japan, with future plans for an “autonomous” defense, has the ability to develop nuclear weapons. Despite its role as one of the world’s major economic powers, Japan’s armed forces are still proportionately smaller than those of Communist China, Taiwan, North Korea, and South Korea.
Japan plans to increase its defense spending under the 1972 to 1976 five-year plan to $4-billion, an increase of 148% over the previous five-year period.
In its discussion on missile submarines, the Strategic Survey said that both the Soviet Union and the United States were spending vast sums for antisubmarine warfare. But despite improvements in the field, “. . . the opportunities for concealment will increase as submarines themselves become capable of operating at faster speeds, at greater depths, and with less noise,” it said.
The publication said that in the last year the Soviet Union continued to build up its force of modern missile submarines, placing many of them on patrol near the coast of the United States. But this number, the study said, was still only about a quarter of the number of U. S. missile-carrying submarines on patrol at any one time.
The Survey found that Communist China’s successful launching of a satellite last year increased the importance of China as a factor in the strategic nuclear equation. In the long run, it said, Chinese attitudes may be the most important factor shaping Japanese defense policies.
The Institute is an independent organization established in 1958 to study the problems of defense, world security and disarmament.
Carrier Building Postponed To Hold Down Defense Budget
(The New York Times, 28 April 1971)
The Pentagon postponed indefinitely its proposal to build a giant nuclear-powered aircraft carrier that was estimated to be the highest-priced warship in history.
Deputy Secretary of Defense David Packard notified Senate and House committee chairmen that: “In order to keep the budget within reasonable limits, the Department of Defense had concluded that other items had a higher priority.” Therefore, he said, “On balance, it was considered desirable at this time to postpone the construction of an additional nuclear carrier.”
The proposed 95,000-ton vessel, which was intended to be the Navy’s fourth nuclear-powered carrier, has been priced at $640-million.
Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt, Jr., U. S. Navy, Chief of Naval Operations, told the Congress that another year’s delay in starting construction of the carrier, designated the CVAN-70, would add $125-million to the price.
There was no indication whether the Pentagon’s civilian leadership would postpone the project more than a year. Secretary of Defense Melvin R. Laird has agreed with the Navy’s judgment that four such carriers are required for the 1980s.
Two “Firsts” Are Established By Admiral’s Selection Board
(The New York Times, 29 April 1971)
The Navy has announced the selection of Captain Alan B. Shepard, Jr., U. S. Navy, America’s first man in space, as the first astronaut to become an admiral. At the same time, it said that Captain Samuel L. Gravely, Jr., U. S. Navy, commander of a guided missile frigate, would become its first black admiral.
Captains Shepard and Gravely were among 49 men named for promotion to rear admiral from a list of 2,000 Navy captains. The board that picked them had been told to choose young men, iconoclasts, and Vietnam veterans, in addition to senior men on the eligibility list.
He also said that this was the largest group ever selected for promotion to rear admiral in the Navy’s 196-year history. All 49 men are Navy line officers.
Captain Shepard, 47, is the second member of America’s astronaut corps chosen for star rank. The first, several months ago, was Colonel James A. McDivitt of the Air Force. A veteran of the Gemini and Apollo space flights, Colonel McDivitt now heads the Apollo space-craft program office.
In addition to Captains Shepard and Gravely, these are the Navy captains who have been selected for promotion to admiral:
William J. Kotsch, Robert C. Mills, Eugene H. Farrell, James O. Mayo, Rowland C. Freeman, III, Davis A. Webster, Rupert S. Miller, Raymond W. Burk, Carl J. Seiberlich, Lloyd W. Moffit, Joseph E. Snyder, Jr., Samuel M. Cooley, Jr., Forrest S. Petersen, Merton D. Van Orden, Bernard B. Forbes, Jr., Wayne S. Nelson, Doniphan B. Shelton, Dewitt L. Freeman, Henry S. Morgan, Jr., Arthur W. Price, Jr., Edward W. Cooke, Charles H. Griffiths, Denis J. J. Downey, Charles D. Grojean, Chester G. Phillips, John M. Tierney, Alfred J. Whittle, Jr., Isham W. Linder, James H. Doyle, Jr., Charles P. Tesh, Harry E. Gerhard, Jr., William Thompson, James B. Wilson, Frank D. McMullen, Jr., Donald B. Whitmire, Leonard A. Snead, William H. Rogers, Tyler F. Dedman, Wesley L. McDonald, Earl F. Rectanus, Charles F. Rauch, Jr., William F. Clifford, Jr., Stanley T. Counts, Edward C. Walker, III, Harry D. Train, James D. Watkins, and William A. Myers.
VNN Sailors Fish for Families For Operation Helping Hand
(Mike Goodrich in the Hai Quan, NSA Saigon, 5 April 1971)
If you give a man a fish
He will have a single meal.
If you teach him to fish
He will eat all his life.
Nearly every morning, early before the sun rises, nine Vietnamese fishermen are hard at work, steering their two Yabuta junks into the deep offshore waters of the South China Sea, southeast of Saigon. They are Vietnamese sailors whose job is to catch fish for other Vietnamese Navymen and their families at Cat Lo as part of the Operation Helping Hand fishing project.
Operation Helping Hand, the American and Vietnamese Navy welfare program designed to help improve the living conditions of Vietnamese sailors is modeled after the philosophy expressed in Kuan-Tzu’s poem. If the Vietnamese sailors are given the means and the training, they can become economically self-sufficient. The fishing project at Cat Lo aims at accomplishing this by providing fish to supplement the protein- deficient diets of these sailors and their families. It supplies fish at a fraction of the inflated civilian market prices which are beyond the meager salaries of most Navymen here.
The work on the Yabuta junks is hard. The sea is an abundant provider, but she demands a man’s muscle before she will share her resources. There are no powered machines on the fishing boats. Everything is done with human energy. The heavy net is placed in the water manually and must be hauled in with a hand-powered crank. All maintenance on the junks is also done by hand. Yet once the net is raised, after three hours of trailing between the two boats, the fishermen are rewarded with a catch that usually ranges between 500 and 1,000 pounds.
If the catch has been extraordinarily good, they will drop the net for another run. Usually, the junks return to Cat Lo naval base in the afternoon where they are met by a senior petty officer who examines and weighs the fish. It is then loaded onto trucks and driven to the distribution point.
The catch is sold exclusively to Vietnamese Navymen and their families. A fish ration card must be shown in order to make a purchase. The amount of fish that may be bought is determined by the size of the purchaser’s family. This guarantees that there will be a share for everyone.
In addition to fish, the sailors sometimes bring in exotic catches, such as turtles, squid, mussels, and lobsters.
Profits are very small from the sales. The money that is made is reinvested in nets, other fishing gear and maintenance on the junks. But the real profits are in the money that is saved. Because the sailors are able to provide fish for their families at prices far below those charged in civilian markets, they are able to use their salaries to fulfill other needs.
The Cat Lo project, now over seven months old, is one of 12 Operation Helping Hand fishing projects. It is one of the smaller programs, yet there is hope that it will be able to expand soon. By adding a refrigeration unit, extra fish could be caught and preserved for distribution to other Vietnamese Navy bases which do not have fishing projects.
The fishing program at Cat Lo is an example of the success of Vietnamization. There are no American advisors assigned to oversee it. Given the means, the Vietnamese Navymen at Cat Lo are improving their lives while continuing to defend their freedom.
Navy Seeks Sub-Killing Mine; Could Affect Seabed Pact
(George C. Wilson in The Washington Post, 30 March 1971)
The Navy, in a move with far-reaching implications, has decided to speed up its effort to develop a mine that could destroy enemy submarines in wartime. If the weapon fulfills the hopes of its backers, the Navy’s antisubmarine warfare program is likely to be restructured later in the 1970s.
If comparatively inexpensive mines can stop enemy submarines at narrow points—such as straits on the way in and out of ports—there would be less need for costly submarines to kill other submarines.
Another impact would be on the international effort to demilitarize the ocean bottom. While the conventional explosive mines would not constitute a nuclear weapon banned by the seabed treaty, some lawmakers worry that the project may break the spirit of the agreement.
The seabed treaty, signed February 1971 with the United States and the Soviet Union among its signatories, states that “. . . this treaty constitutes a step towards the exclusion of the sea-bed, the ocean floor, and the subsoil thereof from the arms race.[”]
The Soviets originally proposed that the seabed be demilitarized completely. But the United States opposed this, presumably so underwater devices to detect submarines and defensive mines could be employed there.
The Pentagon itself lifted the veil of secrecy on the mine project when its research director, John S. Foster, Jr., told the Congress on 18 March 1971 that “. . . our efforts . . .” on “. . . a mine called Captor are being expanded.” He did not mention that the expansion this coming fiscal year will be about twentyfold—to some $20 million.
Captor would work like a torpedo tied to the ocean bottom and would cover a much wider area than a standard mine.
It would home in on the noise of an enemy’s submarine propellers. A string of such mines theoretically could protect straits now monitored by other submarines.
Sixth Fleet To Be Augmented By Two Helicopter Carriers
(Ray Moseley in the Philadelphia Bulletin, 13 April 1971)
The United States will send two helicopter carriers into the Mediterranean in May to beef up the U. S. Sixth Fleet in anticipation of a possible new Middle East crisis, official sources said.
The U. S. helicopter carriers that will go into the Mediterranean, sources said, are of a type that could be used to put troops ashore quickly.
As some officials see it, the value of the helicopter carriers is largely psychological. A battalion of Marines is on duty with the Sixth Fleet, but officials said the United States could not move large numbers of men into the Middle East area very quickly during a crisis.
“Our hints of intervention last fall may have impressed the Arabs, but I doubt very much that they fooled the Russians,” one source said. “It’s just a good thing we never had to deliver.”
The Soviets now have a three-phase air defense system in Egypt, consisting of SA-2 missiles for high-flying aircraft, SA-3S for low-flying planes and ZS4-23-4 conventional four-cannon weapon for very low-level fighter bombers.
This is a formidable screen. But U. S. experts do not regard it as impenetrable. They said Israel would undoubtedly suffer heavier air losses in trying to get past it, but no amount of missiles could stop an attack if the Israelis chose to send in large waves of aircraft.
Since last summer, Israeli planes have been equipped with Shrike air-to-ground missiles for use against the Egyptian SAM sites and with new electronic gear designed to confuse the aim of missiles fired against the planes.
Israel has 74 U. S. F-4 Phantoms, plus a number of A-4 Skyhawks.