Was the Kursk submarine sunk by NATO submarines?
September 6, 2000 9:54 AM   Subscribe

Was the Kursk submarine sunk by NATO submarines? Was it a collision that triggered the torpedo to explode?
posted by kristin (14 comments total)
This is very interesting, considering that the US docked the Faslane nuclear submarine in Scotland for repairwork after this incident. Conspiracy theorists? Where are you?
posted by kristin at 9:55 AM on September 6, 2000

Hm. I've never seen a "railing" on a conning tower (sail) of a US submarine. Haven't seen too many UK models.

Could also be a coincidence: there were many unreported submarine collisions in the 80's and early 90's between US and russian boats. Could be a left-over part.

Moreover, "repair work" is any time the sub is not at sea. It doesn't neccessarily mean the boat is "damaged". Maybe they're fixing leaky valves and stuff.

Now, if a boat sneaks into port in the middle of the night with no lights on, and immediately has a tarp thrown over the sail, that could be suspicious. :)
posted by flestrin at 10:11 AM on September 6, 2000

That could also explain why Russia was so slow in accepting "help" from Britain and the US - and the fact that they never did contact the US supports the idea that the Faslane might've been involved. Any details on the repairs done in Scotland?
posted by mildew at 10:11 AM on September 6, 2000

"Faslane" is the name of the *base*.

But in any case, this won't remain a secret any longer than it takes for any such submarine to hit port. It just won't. It's not a classification issue; we *admitted* being there.

I categorically refuse to believe you could keep that big a secret, even amongst submariners. Red October notwithstanding. ;-)
posted by baylink at 1:19 PM on September 6, 2000

There was no damned collision.

It was badly maintained equipment due to inadequately trained crew and insufficient funding and incompetent officers -- who are now trying desperately to cover their asses by looking for something, anything, else to blame for the unbelievable screwup for which they are responsible.

The Russian military has what has become known as "the vertical stroke" which means that when something really bad happens, every officer in the command chain all the way to the top gets sacked. This gives them great incentive to either cover it up (obviously impossible in this case) or figure out some reason why it isn't really their fault.

posted by Steven Den Beste at 1:23 PM on September 6, 2000

Indeed. It's pretty well-known that the US sub headed to the Faslane base because it's carrying VERY detailed sonar tapes of the Russian fleet maneuvers. Including the Kursk.

And no major-country submarine since WWII has had railings. They ruin your sonar profile (ie., if you have things like railings, you get killed more easily).

The Kursk sank for the same fundamental reason that the Komsomolets got in trouble -- zero spending on military maintenance. Hell, Russian sub crews regularly drink methylated spirits used in valve maintenance. Really. I couldn't believe it either, but they do.
posted by aramaic at 2:31 PM on September 6, 2000

I haven't heard anything more about the claim that the Moscow TV tower fire was started by a collision with a foreign TV tower.

posted by kmiller at 6:41 PM on September 6, 2000

Railings on a sub would also cause considerable turbulence, which would not only slow the sub down but would also cause noise which could be picked up by passive sonar.

"Railings", indeed.

I just consulted my copy of "Jane's Warship Recognition Guide" and neither the Los Angeles class, the Sturgeon class nor the Ohio class have railings. And that's all there is for the US; we ain't got no more. (But we got a lot of those three.)

As to the UK, neither the Swiftsure, Trafalgar nor Vanguard classes have railings either. And that's all they got.

For that matter, there are four classes of subs listed as belonging to Sweden, and none of them have railings.

It's all bunk. Someone found some discarded pipe on the bottom of the ocean.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 7:41 PM on September 6, 2000

"The mystery object could not be raised from the seabed and so the area was being guarded by Russian battleships"
More likely someones *planting* some discarded pipe on the bottom of the ocean. Stick that in your conspiracy theory pipe and smoke it.

posted by Markb at 1:28 AM on September 7, 2000

We've still got Sturgeons active?
posted by baylink at 7:40 AM on September 7, 2000

According to Jane's, we've still got eight Sturgeons:
SSN 647 Pogy
SSN 666 Hawkbill
SSN 674 Trepang
SSN 676 Billfish
SSN 680 William H Bates (ex Redfish)
SSN 681 Batfish
SSN 683 Parche
SSN 686 L Mendel Rivers

posted by Steven Den Beste at 8:17 AM on September 7, 2000

Meanwhile, we are listed as having 53 LA class and 18 Ohio class. Seawolf hasn't come online yet.

My copy of Jane's is dated 1999.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 8:23 AM on September 7, 2000

I think by "railing" they may just mean the skirt around the top of the conning tower. That is, it doesn't have to be an open railing. Even so, I'm highly skeptical, given the US reaction.
posted by dhartung at 10:08 AM on September 7, 2000

You forgot USS Kamehameha (SSN 642). They're an old S5W missile boat, converted to carry seals and do other "special projects". I think they're the only boat in their class anymore.

And nope, no railings. :)
posted by flestrin at 1:44 AM on September 8, 2000

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