Air Defense For Ships Is Poor According To GAO Staff Study
(Baltimore Sun, 5 April 1972)
After spending hundreds of millions of dollars over nearly a decade on development, the U. S. Navy still does not have a missile that can effectively defend its ships from hostile aircraft, according to a report by the staff of the General Accounting Office, the Congressional watchdog agency.
The unreleased staff study deals with a $1-billion modernization of the fire-control systems of 20 Terrier missile ships, and the development of a replacement for the Terrier, called the Standard missile. Both missiles have been developed and are produced by General Dynamics.
“Data on missile firings from frigates modernized to date indicate a high percentage of failures. Most of the identified failures were attributed to the missile itself,” the report said of the Terrier. It also said the Standard, which has recently been deployed in the Fleet, had become less effective due to technical complications. “The Standard has experienced a decrease in effectiveness over the last year against aircraft. The rate of successful firings has dropped considerably below that achieved the previous year,” it said.
U. S.-Micronesia Begin Talks On Future Political Status
(The New York Times, 4 April 1972)
United States and Micronesian negotiators began full-scale talks in Koror, Palau Islands, on the future political status of the U. S. Trust Territory of the Pacific.[*]
The meeting, the fourth in a series that began in 1969, was opened with ceremonies, on Koror, the capital of the Palau group, in the western Caroline Islands.
The Trust Territory, comprising the Marshalls, Carolines, and Marianas, has a population of 100,000 scattered over a vast Pacific area. It has been administered by the U. S. Department of the Interior under a trusteeship granted by the United Nations in 1947.
The negotiations have reached a crucial stage. At the last round, held in Hawaii last October, the Americans made it clear they wished to keep control of the islands for long-term strategic reasons.
The islanders have not yet reached a unified position on their objectives. The Marianas group wants to become a full-fledged U. S. possession, while, at the other end of the spectrum about one-third of the members of the Congress of Micronesia want complete independence.
Navy Seabees Build And Teach For A Better Micronesian Life
(Commander in Chief, U. S. Pacific Fleet News Release, 31 March 1972)
Micronesia—three million square miles of Pacific Ocean surrounding more than 2,000 islands. Roughly seven square miles of land for each 300,000 of ocean. Isolated is a frequent description. But there is a new American image in this secluded Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands.
On any given day, he may sport a scruffy beard and a face too red from a near-equatorial sun. He will wear cutoff green shorts and combat boots and may speak Ponapean, Kusaiean, or Trukese with a Midwest accent. The cuts and bruises and mud on his hands match the hands of his Micronesian friend. He is a Seabee, part of five Navy Civic Action Teams (CAT) now operating in the Trust Territory at the request of the Micronesian people.
The civic action program began in June 1969 with two teams. Today, there are seven civic action groups working in the six territorial districts, two of them Army and Air Force.
There have been as many as six Navy teams operating at one time, but at the moment, there are no plans to increase the number, primarily because of the cost. The estimated expense of maintaining the CAT program is better than $2 million annually, and Admiral Zumwalt has expressed a personal interest in civic action in Micronesia, and it is expected to continue for the next several years.
“Actually,” says Captain A. J. Kodis, U. S. Navy, Commander, Naval Forces, Marianas Special Assistant for Trust Territory matters, “we’re trying to work ourselves out of a job.” According to Kodis, this is the objective of the training programs for local islanders. Each 13-man Seabee team has a six-month period of instruction and practical application to teach trainees plumbing, water distribution, carpentry, heavy equipment operation, engine mechanics, and a working knowledge of electricity. “By developing these skills,” points out Kodis, “we hope to have trainees form their own companies eventually and bid for construction jobs that civic action teams are doing now.”
Trainees for Civic Action Teams are usually chosen by local island officials with the CAT officer in charge on a basis of previous experience and personal interview.
In addition to the training of selected islanders, the civic action groups are concerned with providing technical assistance and actual physical aid for more complicated construction projects. These teams have built and helped build everything from seawalls to schools, and a hand-painted sign on the wall of one Seabee’s locker reads, “Building For A Better Paradise.”
Civic Action Team 0416 recently returned from the island of Kusaie, 176 square miles of jungle and freshwater streams at the eastern end of the Micronesian chain, where they spent eight months. When the team arrived, none of them could speak the language, the local Public Works people were reluctant to have anything to do with them, and the children would shy away. By the time 0416 packed up to leave Kusaie, the change was obvious.
Shortly after the team’s arrival in 1971, Kusaie’s only high school caught fire and was partially destroyed. In less than two months, CAT Kusaie had rebuilt the burned portions of the school, and classes opened just one month late. Team members and the trainees finished a dispensary in the village of Tefunsak, constructed a 250-foot seawall to support a new dispensary at Utwa, built a new concrete slab bridge on the main road, and, with Navy Community Relations Funds, constructed the island’s first concrete basketball/volleyball court in the village of Lelu. CAT heavy equipment helped finish the last mile-and-a-half of road connecting the two ends of the island.
In Ponape, like most of the Micronesian islands, a road is being built; for, first of all, a road is needed to connect the villages and the port, and then other roads will be built to the interior for the copra gatherers and farmers.
Ponape, like many of the inhabited islands, has a concentrated population around the shoreline. In the tangle of jungle stretching up the mountains to the interior there are very few settlements, often just narrow paths leading through banana trees and coconut palms.
The Trust Territory is rapidly expanding, with tourism becoming the main attraction. Air Micronesia/Continental Airways has opened up flights from Hawaii to Truk via 727 jet. The runway is coral, just a little short for comfort, and airport facilities are a few thatched houses, but the island of Moen is now a regular stop.
As one team member concluded:
I’d like to come back someday and see it again. Maybe what we did seems like very little, but I’d like to think we helped. I just wish we could have done more.
John Warner Succeeds Chafee As The Secretary Of The Navy
(Baltimore Sun, 9 April 1972)
President Nixon chose John W. Warner, a Navy and Marine Corps veteran, to be Secretary of the Navy, succeeding John H. Chafee, who resigned to run for the U. S. Senate.
Warner, 46, has been the Undersecretary of the Navy since February 1969. The President nominated Frank F. Sanders to move into Warner’s job.
Warner has filled a number of assignments at the Department of Defense. He headed the U. S. delegation to Moscow last 12 October to discuss incidents at sea between United States and Soviet naval units.
Navy League National Director Named As An Assistant SecNav
(The Evening Star, Washington, D.C., 14 April 1972)
President Nixon has announced that he will nominate Robert D. Nesen, a California automobile dealer, to be Assistant Secretary of the Navy for financial management.
Nesen, 54, and a native of St. Louis, would move up to succeed Frank Sanders, who has been named Undersecretary of the Navy. He is currently national director of the Navy League of the United States.
Last U. S. Navy Base Given To South Vietnamese Navy
(U. S. Naval Forces, Vietnam News Release, 15 April 1972)
The last U. S. Navy base in the Republic of Vietnam was turned over to the Vietnamese Navy on 15 April at DaNang.
Logistic Support Base (LSB) DaNang, about 100 miles south of the Demilitarized Zone, was the last of 33 bases transferred under the accelerated turnover of U. S. Navy assets to the Vietnamese (AcTov) Program. The ceremony also included the disestablishment of the Naval Support Facility, DaNang. LSB DaNang was the third U. S. Navy base to be transferred in April. LSB Nha Be was turned over on 4 April and LSB Binh Thuy was transferred on 11 April.
LSB DaNang has major overhaul capabilities, is a major supply stock point, and provides logistic, maintenance, and transportation services to other bases in Military Region I.
“Black Ponies” Leave Vietnam; Last Navy Shore Combat Unit
(U. S. Naval Forces, Vietnam. News Release, 1 April 1972)
The U. S. Navy’s combat role in Vietnam has been left completely to offshore forces with the standdown on 1 April of the last in-country Navy combat unit, Light Attack Squadron Four (VAL-4).[†] The standdown leaves the U. S. Seventh Fleet forces offshore as the only remaining Navy commands involved in combat and combat support operations.
The 200 personnel of the air squadron are returning to the United States. Their OV-10 “Bronco” aircraft will be transferred to other U. S. units outside Vietnam.
VAL-4’s primary mission was that of providing close air support for the Riverine Forces operating in the Mekong Delta and for the South Vietnamese Army and Regional Forces in Military Regions III and IV. The squadron also flew surveillance patrols for interdiction of Viet Cong river traffic, coastal visual reconnaissance, naval gunfire spotting missions, and provided continuous overhead air coverage for special operations.
VAL-4 was commissioned in January 1969 at Naval Air Station, North Island, San Diego, California, as the Navy’s only squadron of OV-10 “Bronco” aircraft. They began operations in the Republic of Vietnam in April of that year.
Upon arrival in country, the Black Ponies were split into a detachment at Binh Thuy and another at Vung Tau. In the spring of 1970, the detachments were consolidated at Binh Thuy.
The squadron was the only propeller-driven attack squadron in the U. S. Navy and was in Navy’s only fixed-wing squadron stationed in Vietnam.
Nicknamed the “Black Ponies,” the squadron was created to fill an immediate need for close air support for the Navy’s riverine operations in the Mekong Delta. A gap existed between the capabilities of helicopter gunships and high performance jet aircraft. The Bronco filled the gap.
Chinese Building Naval Base At Dar es Salaam In Tanzania
(International Defense Digest, February 1972)
President Nyerere of Tanzania has allowed the Chinese to build a large naval base within the confines of Dar es Salaam harbor. This is thought to be connected partly with the important Chinese military and economic presence in Tanzania, but more specifically with the future Chinese ICBM test program, since the splashdown area for the tests is in the Indian Ocean close to the East African mainland.
Soviet Y-Class Submarines Patrol Off U. S. East Coast
(International Defense Digest, February 1972)
It has been estimated by U. S. intelligence that the Soviets are maintaining at least four of their latest Y-class ballistic missile submarines on permanent station off the U. S. East Coast. It is also estimated that 39 of the nuclear-powered vessels are now either operational or afloat pending completion in the near future, with more at a less advanced stage of construction. It is thus apparent that the U.S.S.R. intends to deploy a greater number of ballistic missile submarines than the United States, which has had a fixed number of 41 SSBNs since 1967, and which is, at present, building no more, although the ULMS submarines may start building in the next two to three years.
The Soviet Y-class boats displace 7,300 tons on the surface, 8,300 tons submerged, can achieve 36 knots underwater and are, at present, armed with 16 launch tubes for SS-N-6 Sawfly missiles. The Sawfly has an estimated maximum range of about 2,000 statute miles, and is thought to be capable of carrying MIRV warheads.
Early Purchase Of COD Version Of S-3A Viking Is Under Study
(Aviation Week & Space Technology, 21 Feburary [sic] 1972)
Navy requirement for additional carrier-onboard-delivery (COD) aircraft may prompt purchase earlier than anticipated of a derivative version of Lockheed’s S-3A antisubmarine warfare aircraft for that purpose.
The Navy currently is operating older Grumman C-2 turboprop and C-1 piston-powered aircraft in the COD mission, but has lost several of the larger C-2 aircraft in accidents of unknown cause during the past year. Grumman manufactured only 17 of the C-2s for the Navy, with most of these delivered in 1966 and 1967. The aircraft are used to deliver priority cargo and passengers to deployed aircraft carriers.
Both Lockheed and the Navy previously have acknowledged the possibility of adopting derivatives of the S-3A Viking for carrier-onboard-delivery, tanker, and airborne early warning applications.
The Navy has included a small sum in its 1973 budget request for studies of a follow-on COD aircraft. But the loss of the several C-2s in the past year has generated a more immediate need for replacements—at least on an interim basis, until a long-term replacement program is initiated.
The Navy will use some of its FY-1972 funds, possibly within the next few months, to issue study contracts leading to proposals for replacement aircraft. In the meantime, Lockheed has intensified its design efforts on the COD version of the S-3A using its own money. A proposal has already been submitted to the Navy. The proposed aircraft would have basically the same wings and tail as the S-3A, but the forward fuselage would be lengthened slightly and most of the fuselage would be widened to meet the COD requirement to carry replacement aircraft engines. An integral rear ramp, now in use on the C-2, also would be incorporated to facilitate cargo loading. There are indications that the COD version of the S-3A would use a different engine than the General Electric TF34 that powers the S-3A.
Another alternative being proposed to the Navy by Grumman is the reopening of the C-2 production line at Grumman to manufacture modified, turbine-powered versions rather than the original Allison T57-A-8 turboprop model. One version being considered is a four-engine series using the 5,000-pound thrust Garrett ATF-3 turbofan engine. A single pod, holding two engines, would be mounted under each wing.
The Navy requirement for long-range COD aircraft is expected to grow as it pulls out of many of its overseas bases in the next few years. The present C-2 has a range of about 1,650 miles, but newer versions would probably have greater range.
Interim requirement for replacement COD aircraft is estimated at 20 to 30.
Navy Studies Follow-on Series Of Nuclear Attack Submarines
(Marine Engineering/Log, April 1972)
Even though the keel for the first of a series of $150-million submarines, the SSN-688 class was just laid two months ago, the Navy is talking up a follow-on class of submarines. Presumably to be called the SSN-700, she will be a huge nuclear attack submarine that some planners at the Pentagon say will be the capital ship of the 1980s and beyond, supplanting the aircraft carrier as the dominant weapon in the U. S. Fleet. She will carry “tactical missiles” that are specially designed for taking care of floating and shoreside targets at varying ranges without giving away the submarine’s position.
Study of the cruise-missile submarine began within the Navy in the late 1960s and now is in the conceptual-design stage. $25 million is being expended this year for work on the propulsion plant and hull design, and part of these funds are to be used for the development of the missile.
When the project really gets going around 1975, the Navy expects that these submarines will cost about $300 million each.
The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) announces the opening of the annual competition for the best historical manuscript dealing with the science, technology, and/or impact of aeronautics and astronautics on society. Purpose of the AIAA History Manuscript Contest is to provide professional recognition to the author making a significant and original contribution to the history of aeronautics and astronautics. AIAA History Manuscript Contest carries a cash prize of $500 and the opportunity for publication in the AIAA Historical Monograph Series. Each manuscript should be accompanied by a formal letter of submission giving the author’s name, title of manuscript in full, and a declaration that the manuscript will not be published prior to the Award Committee report. The competition ends on 5 September 1972, and manuscripts must be submitted by that date. Manuscripts should be substantial historical studies of book length, but no longer than approximately 75,000 words; must be typewritten, double spaced, and on one side of the paper. Manuscripts and inquiries should be addressed to Professor I. B. Holley, Jr., Department of History, Duke University, Durham, N.C.