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Professional Notes 97
Attack Submarine Development—Recent Trends and Projected Needs 97 by Robert M. Chapman Up and Down the Organization 103 By Commander Victor S. Gulliver, U. S. Navy Sea Creatures and the Problem of Equipment Damage 105 By C. Scott Johnson
Attack Submarine Development—Recent Trends and Projected Needs
By Robert M. Chapman,
The Garrett Corporation
The 15 March 1978 issue of The Washington Post carried an article titled "’76 Pentagon Study Warned Navy on Sub Program.” The article alluded to a position paper I prepared while a staff member in the Office of the Director of Defense Research and Engineering.
Although the paper was classified, The Washington Post was able to obtain a declassified version under the Freedom of Information Act. I requested and obtained a copy of the paper by the same means.
The material that follows is an abbreviated version of the position paper, updated to reflect current budgetary and planning figures. Classified matter has naturally been omitted. This had minor effect on the first part of the paper—the portion that dealt with the problem of achieving and maintaining the force level of attack submarines desired by the Navy. That portion is presented essentially as it was in the original paper.
The latter portion of the original paper discussed the relationship between shaft horsepower, speed, displacement, and power density, and suggested avenues for fruitful research and development that should materially improve attack submarine
characteristics. Because that portion was heavily censored, a coherent treatment was not practical and it therefore has been omitted.
Since 1968, the U. S. Navy has experienced a severe reduction in total force level. In the ten-year period ending in fiscal year 1978, over 400 ships were stricken from the active and reserve lists—nearly a 50% force reduction. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, several major shipbuilding programs were initiated including LHA, DD-963, FFG-7, and DLGN (now CGN) as first steps of an overall longterm objective to reverse this trend. The downward trend has been slowed, but, unfortunately, every major shipbuilding program has experienced staggering cost escalation and considerable delay in ship delivery. It is becoming increasingly apparent that we can no longer hope for any significant increase in total force levels in view of rising costs.
The attack submarine, which is considered a general-purpose combatant, is a special problem in this situation. If we include aircraft carriers and destroyers in this classification, we have a combined total force of slightly less than 300 ships, of which about one-quarter are attack submarines. The Navy’s long-range shipbuilding plans are aimed at increasing the surface combatant strength by roughly 10%. The submarine building program, however, in responding to demands from the fleet, is pointing toward a 40% increase in the number of nuclear attack submarines. Unfortunately, the cost and delay problems that have plagued surface ship programs are also present with submarines. One is forced to ask the obvious question: if an optimistic goal for the overall Navy is a 10% force increase, how do we achieve a 40% increase in the nuclear attack submarine force without undue strain?
In deliberating the future requirements for submarines from the cost, performance, and technology viewpoint, the submarine must be judged in terms of its position as a service within a service. Each service must face the problem of enhancing its own capabilities, while adjusting to the expressed needs of the larger Navy community. Typically, this process results in the imposition of a force ceiling which tends to discourage any thought of a force mix, either in terms of the “high-low” concept or unit spe-
YEAR FIRST SHIP OF A CLASS COMMISSIONED
Figure 1 U. S. Nuclear-Powered Attack Submarine Development
cialization. The contemporary U. S. attack submarine is a classic product of this process. Its attributes reflect multi-function requirements with performance characteristics selected to cover the full spectrum of potential engagements.
In the late 1960s, maximum submerged speed became an issue. The U.S.S.R. had built and was operating faster submarines than the United States. The requirement to upgrade the speed of our U. S. nuclear attack submarines was pressed as a matter of considerable urgency. It was generally believed that increased speed would provide the attack submarine with greater tactical freedom and, in addition, permit it to operate better in direct support of the surface fleet.
The Los Angeles (SSN-688)-class submarine which emerged from this process is suited to perform three clear submarine options: i.e., the ASW killer submarine, the independent forward area submarine, and the defender of the surface fleet.
The research and development community appeared not to be prepared for the impact of the requirement for higher speed. The decision to react quickly to the speed issue, without the redirecton of development efforts, resulted in a number of operational compromises. In the Los Angeles-class design, the problem arising from the design process are generally classified. However, a highly visible problem has been the difficulty of building—measured by the high costs and schedule delays—each submarine.
Additionally, there undoubtedly remains a significant number of material compromises which will surface as the new Los Angeles class evolves. One must question whether the research and development community has yet fully adjusted to the challenge of the submarine’s new speed requirement. Clearly, new initiatives are called for if further speed increases are to be realized.
The task of selecting future submarine capabilities, roles, and missions is a service matter that is being formally pursued under the SSNX program. The issues today are not only clouded by continuing force ceiling constraints, but a severe budgetary constraint as well.
It is also necessary to understand clearly the national policy with respect to attack submarines.
With regard to submarine type, the Congress has indicated its desire that all future U. S. submarines be nuclear powered through enactment of Title VIII of the 1975 DoD Appropriation Act. “This new Title requires the Navy to procure only nuclear-powered ships for its strike force (defined as submarines, carriers, and the surface combatants which accompany carriers) unless the President advises the Congress that construction of nuclear- powered ships for that purpose is not in the national interest.” Former Secretary of Defense James R. Schlesinger noted that “in the case of submarines, nuclear propulsion is clearly worth the extra cost.” This has since been reaffirmed with the qualification that the utility of nuclear power is clear, given the generally understood alternate form of non-nuclear propulsion for
submarines: the diesel/lead-acid bat-
The position of the Office of the Secretary of Defense with respect to number of submarines was also clearly spelled out by Secretary Schlesinger: “Given other priorities, we believe that a force of about 90 nuclear attack submarines, together with other ASW forces, should be sufficient to support these essential requirements." This statement leaves the implication that a 90-sub force is a compromise position; that is, although we might desire a larger force, we cannot afford it. The Congress has already authorized submarine construction which should permit achievement of the 90-ship force level. Since the U.S. Navy has 67 nuclear attack submarines today, building to the 90-ship force represents a 40% increase, as noted earlier.
This country has never before had a fleet of 90 nuclear attack submarines. A brief examination of the cost implications of such a force is, therefore, in order. Given a 90-ship force with ship life of 25 years, new construction of 3.6 ships-per-year is required to sustain that force, assuming production rate is uniform.
Today’s attack submarine production model is the SSN-688 class, with a unit acquisition cost of roughly $430 million in fiscal year 1978. The annual cost to sustain a 90-ship force of this type submarine would be about $1.5 billion just in new construction to replace the 3.6 vessels that are retired each year, not including amortized development cost.
Given the current general-purpose philosophy for submarines and the fact that each subsequent class has been larger and more costly than its predecessor (in real dollars adjusted for inflation), the $1.5 billion price tag for ship replacement is a base; it could actually be much higher.
When a ship is built, she incorporates certain performance characteristics, such as operating depth and speed, that cannot reasonably be improved over the ship’s life. Because threats and missions change, maintaining ship combat effectiveness over its life therefore requires continual improvement of the combat subsystems and weapons. Based on expenditures of the recent past, the development and procurement of improved submarine combat subsystems and weapons can be expected to be in excess of $300 million per year.
Adding these costs leads to a total annual expenditure for new hardware of roughly $1.8 billion (fiscal year 1978 dollars) as a bottom line estimate to support a 90-ship force. This
figure represents about one-third of the average annual funding over the fiscal years 1977-1978 for the entire naval forces acquisition and modernization program, adjusted to fiscal year 1978 dollars.
Once a ship is operating, she must be properly maintained. This is even more critical to the submarine than the surface ship, in that failure of any one of many submarine components could result in loss of the ship. In the recent past, nuclear-powered ships have been consuming roughly half of the Navy’s total ship maintenance budget. A 40% increase in attack submarine strength will have a substantial impact in this area.
A force of 90 nuclear-powered attack submarines, assuming each ship requires two major overhauls and nuclear refuelings in its life and has several yard availability periods for other maintenance and modification work, would consume roughly $800 million in fiscal year 1978 dollars in the overhaul/maintenance budget. This is roughly a factor of two over the needs of the current SSN fleet.
Each year more than two billion dollars would have to be spent in government facilities and private industry to maintain the 90-ship force. This cost figure relates to the hardware only. It does not address the manpower, training, facilities, and indirect costs associated with operating such a fleet.
Dollar values alone do not adequately convey the full implications of building to this force level. Several other factors come into play.
The Navy’s long-range plans for building up the fleet are having a tough struggle. Considerable congressional concern has been expressed over the percentage of ship construction budgets devoted to covering cost escalations of prior year programs. In recent years it has been as high as 25%.
On another front, the shipbuilding community has become increasingly vocal over government delays in settling claims. A compromise is currently being attempted, but, like most compromises, the ultimate result will probably be to everyone’s mutual dissatisfaction. The Navy shipbuilding budget will increase, but not much
significant increase in shipbuilding productivity will be necessary if that goal is to be reached and maintained.
Figure 2 shows the ship authorization history for nuclear submarines to date. For the 20-year period ending in fiscal year 1974, 90 attack submarines were authorized—at a 4.5 ship-per- year average rate. This authorization rate was not uniform, however, but came in three distinct groups. The first group is primarily the Skipjack (SSN-585)- and Thresher (SSN-593)-class submarines, the second, the Sturgeon (SSN-637)-class, and the third, the Los
50 55 60 65 70 75 80 85
Note: Authorized SSBNs are added to SSN totals in any given year.
more than that required to cover already definable cost escalation in existing programs. Therefore, a significant expansion of the submarine fleet probably will not occur.
Cost considerations set the stage for formulating the basic premise of this paper. That is, this country does not appear to have the resources, either in terms of dollars or skilled manpower, to sustain a 90 nuclear attack submarine force, given the characteristics of the current production model. In fact, even though a 90-ship force has been authorized, it now appears that a
Figure 2 SSN/SSBN Authorization History
20- O 18-
E 14H =)
X 10-| CO
Secretary Brown’s projection for the post-fiscal year 1979 period is an average of three ships every two years.3 That rate has been projected beyond 1980, based on the premise that, given the available candidates, we quite likely will not be able to afford to increase the production rate. Clearly, whether we use the 4.5 ships-per-year over a past 20-year period as a reference, or the uniform average production rate for a 90-ship force of 3.6 ships per year, at some future date there will be a shortfall if we produce 1.5 ships per year or less.
Our nuclear attack submarine force level is continuing to increase as new ships are added to the fleet, and we have not yet started to retire SSNs. In the near future SSNs will begin reaching retirement age. Authorization date, however, is generally a poor reference for estimating ship retirement.
As shown by Figure 3, the distribution of submarine commissioning dates is not a replica of authorization dates with a simple time scale shift for a fixed construction period. Things happen that alter the expected distribution. In this case, the loss of the Thresher and the priority given to the strategic submarine building program in the early 1960s slowed attack submarine construction programs considerably. Similar influences could reoccur.
Figure 4 projects the submarine force level for the next 30 years. These data are based on commissioning dates of existing SSNs. A 25-year ship life is assumed. The lowest curve represents the envelope of all pre-Loj Angeles-class SSNs. As shown, they will all be retired by the year 2000. Two different total force curves have been projected. Curve A is what might have been had the SSN-688 ships been commissioned in the fourth fiscal year after authorization. The 90-ship force level would have been achieved by 1980 and sustained until about 1985. But, Curve A is now fiction.
Curve B, which assumes delivery in the sixth fiscal year following authorization, appears to be much closer to reality. It matches Secretary Brown’s delivery projection at least through 1981.
On Curve B, it appears that the 90 level will be achieved momentarily in 1980. However, the effect of the 5.5-month Electric Boat shipyard strike on delivery of 688 submarines is not included in curve B. Nor does the curve include any contingency for submarine losses, construction delays due to further contract disputes, shipyard accidents, or rework based on evaluations of the first of the class. Another important consideration omitted from this projection is the potential effect of early retirement of existing vessels. The Nautilus, a 24-year old nuclear submarine and recently overhauled at great expense, is scheduled for retirement next year. Based on this experience, it is likely that a few of the early submarines may be retired sooner than the projected 25 years because overhaul late in a ship’s life would not prove to be cost effective.
Discounting the above influences, the real problem becomes apparent after 1990—when the 637-class attack submarines will be retired at a very high rate. These 37 submarines, over one-half our present SSN force, were delivered between 1967 and 1971. To hold the force near 90 ships after 1990 will therefore require ship production for at least five years of between 5.5 and 6 ships per year—or nearly four times what is currently being projected.
Since ships delivered to the fleet in 1991 must be authorized by about fiscal year 1985, 1991 is closer than it might seem. In all likelihood, to achieve significant change in cost, there must be a totally new ship design. That implies at least a year of design work prior to ship construction, so that a ship characteristics decision is now pushed back to fiscal years 1983 or 1984. The design process alone, however, cannot offer significant changes in ship cost. Assuming that the Navy of the 1990s will demand ship performance equal to or better than today’s, but at lower real cost, it seems inevitable that technological changes are necessary. Whatever innovations are incorporated into the new submarine, the technology must be well in hand by fiscal years 1983 or 1984.
The force level problem is not, however, solely one of costs. Attack and strategic submarine construction programs must share a common pool of material, facilities, and manpower. This raises the obvious question of producibility with respect to force levels.
Figure 5 projects shipyard output assuming that a fleet of 90 nuclear attack submarine and 656 submarine- launched ballistic missile launchers is a national objective. The overall implication of these data is that, to achieve the objective, shipyard tonnage delivered in the last two decades of this century must be about 40% greater than that delivered over the previous two decades; while, at the same time, the number of participating shipyards is markedly reduced.
Although impressive steps have been taken to increase submarine productivity on the building ways (e.g., Electric Boat Land Level Facility), this must be matched by a similar increase
in productivity in the fitting-out (wet dock) phase. Traditionally, it has been during this latter period that the most serious schedule slips have occurred.
While adequate facilities are essential to producibility, the critical element in this question is the availability of qualified manpower. The attack submarine construction program must share the available manpower with strategic submarine construction. Also, to a large extent, this same manpower pool supports the overhaul and maintenance of all submarines as well as new construction and overhaul of both commercial and naval surface ships. Since shipbuilding is a laborintensive industry, the tonnage shown in Figure 5 for the 1980s, combined with the influence of other ship programs, indicates that the availability of trained manpower may be a problem.
To compound the problem, shipbuilding productivity gains in recent years have been very disappointing in comparison to the manufacturing sector as a whole. The cost of warships will, therefore, continue to increase at a rate faster than the general inflation index, even if we continue to produce ships with no changes in characteristics or performance capability.
A submarine technology program intended to solve the force level problem must therefore take into account both unit cost and producibility issues. Proper focus on the former can, to a great extent, alleviate the latter problem as well.
The submarine force building program has reached a critical point. The resources expected to be available in the future are inconsistent with stated force level goals—unless a significant change can be achieved in cost/ performance relationships of the submarine itself. Without such a change, either or both of the following situations become inevitable: (1) The performance capability and therefore the unit effectiveness of future submarines in certain missions will be diminished vis a vis the Soviet submarine force; (2) The size and therefore the cost of attack submarines will continue to grow, and, as a consequence, the force size required to accomplish our essential missions will not be maintained.
In the case of the first situation, it may be necessary, as a partial solution to the force level problem in the near term, to accept less capability for some elements of the force. This approach requires abandonment of the current philosophy that all attack submarines must do all things well. A general-purpose philosophy combined with an expansion of roles and missions for attack submarines has contributed greatly to the growth of their size and cost. Certainly, there must be a significant number of missions that could be covered adequately by a somewhat smaller SSN. Such a vessel could ease both cost and producibility problems.
To avoid the second situation, a comprehensive technology program directed toward substantially decreasing ship size and cost for a given level of performance is needed. There are two critical elements to such a program. The first is that the program must address the ship as a total entity. Functional interrelationships must be examined to assess the potential of technological alternatives in terms of overall ship effects. Independent technology programs dealing with individual ship subsystems will not provide the kind of ship of ship-size/cost- improvement necessary.
The second critical element of the overall program is that it must include a substantial demonstration phase. Radical departures from existing submarine practice will have to be proof- tested before a commitment can be made for combatant submarine application. A land-based prototype is therefore indicated.
Although machinery power density was singled out as a critical parameter in the size and economics of attack submarines, a broad-based research and development program aimed at substantial weight and volume reductions should be pursued. The resulting new technology base involves both technical and financial risk. The assessment of risk is usually tied to an expected return on investment or reward. In this case, the reward would be a more effective, more affordable submarine force.
‘Schlesinger, J., “Annual Defense Department Report—FY 1976 and FY 1977," February 1975.
2Rumsfeld, D., "Annual Defense Department Report—FY 1977," January 1976.
3Brown, H., "Annual Defense Department Report—FY 1979," January 1978.
► Is there a significant difference between the terms Navy Department and Department of the Navy?
► When conducting combatant operations at sea, is the CNO in your chain of command to the President?
► Why does the Navy maintain both operational and administrative chains of command to the operating forces?
► Which operating forces have a dual chain of command?
These simple questions pertaining to the organization of the Navy were asked of a small sampling of officers in OpNav. None was able to achieve a perfect score. In fact, the average response equated to one correct and three incorrect answers. If the answers to these questions were readily apparent to you, then you may consider yourself well versed in Navy organizational matters. The answers to questions 1 and 2 are quite simple—yes and no, respectively. The answers to questions 3 and 4 are also simple, but will require some explanation, as will the reasons for the answers to questions 1 and 2.
There is some concern within OpNav that the organization of the Navy, beyond the realm of individual duty assignments, is not widely understood by its own personnel. Some aspects of the Navy organizational structure have been criticized by the General Accounting Office (GAO) and other agencies, possibly because the rationale supporting the organization could not adequately be explained.
Due to an apparent lack of familiarity with the Navy organization, a new Naval Warfare Publication (NWP-2) has been published for use as a basic reference manual. NWP-2, Organization of the U.S. Navy, briefly traces the Navy’s organizational history and shows the organizational relationships of the current major Navy commands, staffs and activities, as well as providing the mission statements of the higher echelon organizations.
Many people use the terms Navy Department and Department of the Navy as though they are synonomous, but they are not. Those familiar with Navy Regulations will recognize that the Department of the Navy is composed of three units: the Navy Department, the shore establishment, and the operating forces of the Navy. (The original organization of the Navy was titled the Navy Department and had executive department status. The National Security Act of 1947, as amended in 1949, removed the Navy Department’s previous status, placed it under the Department of Defense, and changed the name to Department of the Navy.)
The Navy Department is the Department of the Navy’s central executive authority and is located at the seat of government. The Navy Department consists of the Secretary of the Navy, his civilian executive assistants, the Chief of Naval Operations and his staff (OpNav), the Commandant of the Marine Corps and his headquarters, the Commandant of the Coast Guard and his headquarters when the Coast Guard is operating as a service in the Navy pursuant to law, the Chief of Naval Material and his headquarters, the Chief of Naval Personnel and his bureau, and the Chief, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery and his bureau.
The shore establishment consists of the field activities of the bureaus and offices of the Navy Department, and includes all shore activities not a part of the operating forces. Shore establishment activities generally function to supply, maintain, or otherwise support the operating forces. The chain of command for all shore establishment activities eventually leads to one or more of the principals of the
The operating forces of the Navy consist of the fleets, sea-going forces, fleet marine forces, the Military Sealift Command, and such shore activities of the Navy as may be assigned by the President or the Secretary of the Navy. The operating forces are responsible
for naval operations necessary to carry out the Department of the Navy’s role in upholding and advancing the national policies and interests of the United States.
Title 10, U.S. Code, Section 124 authorizes the President to establish unified and specified combatant commands to perform military missions. As established today, unified commands are made up of forces of more than one service and are geographically oriented. Specified commands are uniservice in nature and are functionally oriented. The same U.S. code directs the military departments to assign forces to the unified and specified commands. The forces so assigned are then under the operational command of the commander of the unified or specified command. These commanders are responsible to the President and the Secretary of Defense for the military missions assigned. However, each military department retains responsibility for the administration of its own forces assigned to those commands.
In unified and specified commands, parallel chains of command exist to provide the individual military departments with administrative control
CINCPAC CINCLANT USCINCEUR, ET AL
SEVENTHFLT and the commanders of the forces with operational command. The only Navy forces subject to these dual lines of authority are the forces that have been assigned to a unified or specified command. All other Navy forces utilize a single chain of command to the CNO.
As indicated in Figure 1, the operational chain of command for the Navy’s operating forces begins with the President and the Secretary of Defense and continues through the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the commanders of unified and specified commands, the Navy component commanders (Fleet CinC’s), the numbered fleet commanders, and the commanders of task forces, groups, units, and elements. The operational chain of command is used for the direction of combatant functions by operational activities.
As shown in Figure 2, the administrative chain of command for the Navy’s operating forces also begins with the President and the Secretary of Defense, but then continues through the Secretary of the Navy, the Chief of Naval Operations or the Commandant of the Marine Corps, the fleet commanders in chief, the type commanders, group commanders and ship squadron or air wing commanders to the unit commanding officers.
Thus, in operational matters, the chiefs of the individual services have no direct combat-related operational authority over the forces of their services that are assigned to a unified or specified command. A service chief’s voice in combat-related matters is a function of his role as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Each military department has a responsibility to organize, train, and equip forces for the service’s combat role. The service chiefs exercise these responsibilities through their administrative chains of command.
Confusion sometimes exists concerning which chain of command has responsibility for a particular function. In general, the unified chain of command should be concerned with combat operations and combat support; the actual training and improvement of readiness of combatant forces is the responsibility of the administrative chain of command and, ultimately,
the CNO. Additionally, the administrative chain of command is concerned with the myriad other aspects of the support of combatant forces, such as the personnel-related and logistic responsibilities.
The authority for the assignment of combatant forces to the unified and specified commands has been delegated by the Secretary of Defense to the Joint Chiefs of Staff. By JCS correspondence, all Navy combatant surface, submarine, and air forces, certain sea-going logistic forces, the numbered fleet commanders and supporting operational staffs have been assigned to three unified commanders, CinCPac, CinCLant and USCinCEur. In turn, these forces are assigned for operational control to the Navy component commanders, CinCPacFlt, CinCLanTFlt and CinCUSNavEur, respectively. The Third and Seventh Fleets are assigned to CinCPacFlt; the Second Fleet is assigned to CinCLantFlt; and the Sixth Fleet is assigned to CinCUSNavEur, although the majority of Sixth Fleet forces are under the administrative control of CinCLantFlt.
Combatant commands of the operating forces, below the numbered fleet echelon, are dual hatted in both the operational and administrative chains of command. These uniservice Navy commands in the administrative chain are manned so' as to permit dual assignment as task force, group, unit, or element commands in the operational chain. But not all of the Navy's operating forces are assigned to the unified commanders. There is often some confusion between the terms operating forces and combatant forces. The Navy’s combatant forces are just one element of the operating forces. In addition to the combatant surface, submarine and air forces, and their supporting staffs and logistic forces, the operating forces also include noncombatant forces, such as the Military Sealift Command, the surface, submarine, air, training, and fleet marine type commands, and the operating bases.
In other words, the combatant Navy forces are assigned operationally to a unified commander, and administratively to a Navy commander. The forces that are not assigned to a unified commander have no need for a dual chain of command since those forces are always controlled by the Navy uniservice chain of command.
Although combatant forces are controlled operationally by the unified commander by means of the operational chain of command, the CNO and Navy command echelons can exercise operational as well as administrative control of forces—hence, the dual chain of command and the dual command structures involved: unified and uniservice. The lines of authority to the unified commands might be better termed combatant chains of command rather than operational chains of command.
By definition of “operations,” the uniservice Navy command echelons may also exercise operational control of forces. The DoD definition of operations includes the carrying out of strategic, tactical, service, training, or administrative military missions, in addition to its combat connotation. Thus, within the uniservice Navy command structure, it is proper that commanders within the operating
forces should exercise operational control of forces, exclusive of combatant operations, particularly with regard to training operations.
Therefore, a dual chain of command indicates a dual command structure,
and not solely, two types of control, operational and administrative.
This discussion has only touched the tip of the organizational iceberg. The Navy is a complex body whose organizational characteristics must be responsive to national objectives and compatible with the executive branch of governnment. Hopefully, NWP-2 will keep Navy personnel abreast of the ongoing modifications and realignments of the Navy organization.
Sea Creatures and the Problem of Equipment Damage
ByC. Scott Johnson, staff scientist for biophysics in the Bioscience Department of the Naval Ocean Systems Center
Sharks, other fish, and squid do damage to deep sea lines as well as other equipment. Photo 1 shows the marks of a shark bite on a towed array. This bite caused an oil leak that might have resulted in damage to the array had it not been discovered in time. Because of the potential of shark bite damage, some towed arrays have been specially designed to prevent bites from causing failures.
While some damage is easily determined to be of biological origin, in other cases this is not obvious. There have been instances of damaging cuts discovered on boots of AN/BQR-19 hydrophone arrays. Photo 2 shows the type of damage sustained by the BQR- 19, which is located on a retractable mast in the sail of some U. S. submarines. Only Pacific-based submarines sustained this type of damage.
Raytheon, the prime contractor for the BQR-19, was in charge of investigating such damage. While none of the arrays ever actually failed due to the cuts, they were categorized as failures and replaced as a precautionary measure when cuts were discovered. At first, it was concluded that the cause of the damage could not be due to biologies because the patterns of the cuts could not be attributed to any animal. The search turned to mechanical stresses and other possible causes. In the end, Skip Gray, who was in charge of Raytheon’s investigation, found the clue to the true cause of the problem while discussing it with scientists at the Naval Ocean Systems Center (NOSC). There is a small species of shark known as Isistius brasiliensis that makes its living by biting chunks ("plugs”) out of whales, large fish, and other marine animals. This shark (photos 3 & 4), commonly known as the “cigar shark” from its shape and color pattern, or “cookie-cutter” from the wounds it makes, lives in the deep tropical oceans. Once the cause of the damage was definitely established, a fiberglass protector was quickly designed and installed by Raytheon to prevent further damage. Although we are not sure why sharks bit the neoprene boots, no other part of the submarine is soft enough for them to damage.
While no failures actually occurred as a result of these bites, on some occasions penetration came within as little as two mm. of doing so. Had actual failures occurred, the operational capability of Pacific-based submarines having AN/BQR-19 systems installed would have been seriously hampered.
F. G. Wood, also of NOSC, has discovered a case of apparent biological damage, but the animal responsible is still unidentified. Photo 5 shows part of the damaged NOFOUL* rubber coating taken from the SQS-26 sonar dome of the USS Stein (FF-1065). Approximately 8% of the dome area was damaged in this way resulting in increased sonar noise. Nearly all of the cuts contained remnants of what appear to be teeth or claws. From examining these “claws,” scientists have presently concurred that the most likely culprit is a large species of squid. A number of kinds of squid have claws on the rims
0 INCHES 2 3 4 5 6
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of their suction cups, and in a few species, sharp, curved claws replace some of the suckers. But in none of these are the claws more than a fraction of the size of the fragments recovered from the NOFOUL. If a squid was indeed responsible for the damage (and there seems to be no other likely explanation), then it must have been extremely large and of a species still unknown to science.
The fact that there still exist large unknown species of animals in the deep oceans was very forcibly brought to the attention of some NOSC personnel on 15 November 1976. On that day a large shark became entangled in a cargo parachute being used as a sea anchor to stabilize oceanographic gear. Nicknamed “Megamouth” (photo 6), the fish was 4.4 meters (14.5 feet) long and weighed 750 kilograms (1,650 pounds). As far as is known, Megamouth represents not just a new species but a completely new family of shark. Like many of the great whales and the two largest species of shark, Megamouth is a filter feeder. It has specially developed gills that allow it to strain the small fish and crustaceans it lives on from the water. It also appears to have have luminescent organs inside its mouth which may serve to attract the small prey it eats. (Incidentally, this large shark shows scars from wounds that could have been caused by the little cookie-cutter shark.)
Since we have only one specimen, we don’t know whether the Megamouth we have is a large or small one, nor do we know how many Megamouths exist. We do know that it appears to be a mature male, and was not caught before, most probably, because it is a filter feeder and would not bite a baited hook. Why it became entangled in the parachute is unknown. Since it had part of the chute in its mouth, we can only assume that either it blundered into the chute while feeding with its mouth wide open or it was trying to eat it.
Sharks like Megamouth do not present a biting hazard, but they can cause problems because of their size and power. A fish this size is potentially capable of exerting large pulling forces. In landing Megamouth, the crew of the torpedo recovery boat had to use the full capacity of the anchor winch to make way against the fish. Fortunately, the shark suffocated in a few minutes because the parachute prevented water from circulating through its gills and the crew only had to lift its weight to the surface.
Damage caused by sea animals will, of course, continue. In the interest of identifying the sources of damage it is important that new cases be reported at once to NOSC so that prevenlive measures can be devised.
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*NOFOUL is a rubber-like coating used to cover sonar domes to reduce the growth of fouling organisms.
 For footnotes, please turn to page 102.