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The Not-Much-of-a-Threat Below

May 12th, 2014 - 2:16 pm

Whoops:

In the Persian Gulf there are rumors that one of Iran’s Ghadir mini-subs sank while practicing tactics for attacking an American Nimitz class carrier. It was believed that a recently built two-thirds replica of an American Nimitz class aircraft carrier would be towed out so the Ghadir could get some experience in how to approach such a large ship and launch torpedoes at it. The rumored loss of a Ghadir was accompanied by talk of some new stealth technology on the Ghadir. That is probably just rumor as the small size of the Ghadir already confers a substantial amount of stealthiness. This purported stealth technology is supposed to explain why Iranian salvage ships are not out looking for the sunken Ghadir as that activity would tell foreigners where, approximately, the sub went down.

Stories like that — hopefully true! — keep me more-or-less sanguine most days about the prospect of an Iranian nuke.

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All Comments   (10)
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RE: "Stories like that — hopefully true! — keep me more-or-less sanguine most days about the prospect of an Iranian nuke."
I wouldn't get too comfortable. The simplest delivery system is a cargo ship. The best case scenario is if they can detect the bomb during an inspect a couple of miles out, forcing the terrorist to use it there. (I'd shield well, inside a container, to prevent detection.) That will still do a lot of damage and will shake people up. Must containers are inspected at port. If it gets to port, a lot of people in Haifa may have a very bad day.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
With AIS, it's quite a lot harder to mask the origin and identity of a ship than it used to be. At least, with out the complicity of a host nation that is aching to find itself in a nuclear war with us.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
If my bomb is in a container bound for country X and transferred on the docks to country Y and then transferred again to country Z and then ....

Masking the origin of a ship may be extremely difficult. Masking the origin of an individual container may be non-trivial. Masking the origin of 1-2% of a container's contents can't be that difficult. Smugglers do it all the time.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
It's a wee bit more difficult when 1-2% of a container's contents is responsible for 50% of its weight, and has an awfully specific radiation signature that quite a lot of things are designed to detect.

If container bombs were that easy, we'd have seen quite a few of the conventional sort by now.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
KH satellites can see something the size of a skateboard from orbit, and those are the ones we know about.

Pulse Doppler radar can see something the size of a pizza dozens of miles away, from something moving at 500+ mph, with an antenna the size of the target-- and those are the capabilities we know about.

I have a hard time buying the idea that the Navy can't find a 100 foot long collection of trash can lids and duct tape with a crush depth on par with a set of water wings.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
A possible threat above: #BBCtrending: The women in Iran taking off the hijab http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-trending-27373368
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
I remember when one of these little subs was able to pop up right in the middle of a carrier group. I always figured that their ultimate goal was to use one to deliver a nuke to one of our aircraft carriers. I certainly hope our countermeasures are in order ...
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
I served aboard aboard an O H Perry class frigate about twenty years ago and that meant working with ASW types. Part of our time was helping the Pakistani navy track Indian submarines; they were diesel-electric, which at the time made the harder to track than nuke powered subs. I imagine our current ASW types are having as much non-fun tracking Ghadir subs.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
I was one of those ASW types on the same class. We had the same kind of non-fun trying to find a South African diesel boat in rough seas. Ugh.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
Heh. Shoulda read "The Threat Below" posted earlier.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
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