American nuclear submarine USS Connecticut (SSN 22) of the “Sea Wolf” class collided with an “unknown object” while diving in the waters of the Asia-Pacific region, as a result of which 11 sailors were injured. Now this news is considered mainstream and is widely discussed by the expert community.
The press service of the US Pacific Fleet issued an official press release on the incident, according to which “Sea Wolf” during a dive in the afternoon of October 2 in the international waters of the Indo-Pacific region hit hard against an unidentified object.
“Crew safety remains a top priority for the Navy. There are no life-threatening injuries. The submarine remains in a safe and stable condition. The nuclear propulsion system and premises of the American ship Connecticut have not been damaged and remain fully functional. The damage to the rest of the submarine is estimated. The US Navy did not ask for help. The incident will be investigated, “- sparingly informs the Office of Public Relations of the US Navy TF.
US officials also said that there is currently no evidence to indicate that the “object” that the Sea Wolf collided with was another submarine, as has been much talked about and written by various media outlets. Like, don’t give in to speculation, it’s best to wait for the results of the investigation. Nevertheless, this option is not refuted by the top military ranks of the American navy.
“The officer, who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak into a dictaphone, said the topography of the area did not indicate that there was a stretch of land in front of the boat,” the Military Times reported.
Apparently, the Yankees are in shock, first of all, from ignorance of what really happened. Alexander Neill, a Singaporean defense and security expert, told the BBC that the number of injuries sustained in the collision suggests that the submarine was likely “hitting something big” and “moving very fast.” The incident, he said, was “unusual” and showed how the area is riddled with military activity. “The South China Sea is becoming more and more crowded with naval vessels from a number of different countries. Although there were many demonstrations of force on the surface ships, we have not seen a high level of activity below the surface before, ”the expert emphasized.
In comments published by the Chinese state newspaper Global Times, a foreign ministry spokesman said China was “seriously concerned” about the incident and called on the US for more details, including the purpose of the mission. In fact, we are talking about a standard procedure. So, if the Chinese had deliberately rammed the Sea Wolf, they would have made exactly the same statement.
Due to the fact that the public details of the incident are extremely sparse and, it seems, will be classified, the American media are forced to turn to their trusted sources, allegedly familiar with the details of the collision. In particular, the publication Business Insider, positioning itself as a world know-it-all, referring to its insider, writes that the “Sea Wolf” acted close to the bottom, possibly carrying out a surveillance mission. Meanwhile, the South China Sea has a very difficult underwater topography and is largely shallow, especially when compared to the waters of the nearby Pacific Ocean.
“They usually hide near the seabed when you’re just trying to observe Chinese submarine operations, or trying to put something on the seabed or lift something that could be an autonomous sensor,” explained a retired submarine officer who named by BI former Special Assistant to the Chief of Naval Operations of the United States Navy.
According to a Business Insider source, a potential point of interest for USS Connecticut (SSN 22) was most likely the Chinese Yulin Naval Base on Hainan Island, where the PRC’s submarines are based. This means that the “Sea Wolf” lay at the bottom, waiting for a hostile submarine to enter the sea in order to start pursuing it.
Another American Internet resource Associated Press called the mission of the American submarine SSN 22 “normal” for the region. Say, the Yankees are traditionally on duty at the Chinese and Russian submarine bases in order to prevent their inconspicuous exit to the sea. Given that the seabed near Hainan Island is very difficult, the “Sea Wolf”, for sure, was engaged in terrain mapping in an attempt to understand through which hollows the PRC submarines slip out of the Yulin base.
In this regard Brian Clarke, a senior researcher at the Hudson Institute, explained: “You can intelligently work very close to the seabed because you have good maps and you have depth sensors that measure the distance between you and the seabed, and effective sonars … but if a large unknown object appears, for example, a massive cargo container, which, moreover, is butt-faced, the submarine may not see (or rather not hear) it until it is directly above it. ” In this case, it will not be possible to brake quickly at speed and a blow will be inevitable.
Further, it is assumed that the Connecticut submarine flew into a specially flooded object that could pose a threat to the submarine. For example, a ship or container that the Yankees did not know about. Perhaps the Chinese discovered the route of the Sea Wolf and deliberately set up an obstacle that the Americans ran into.
The use of sea drones is also possible, as the overseas media write about with quiet horror. If earlier submariners avoided rams, realizing what mortal danger they are, then with the help of an unmanned platform, you can safely hit the annoying submarines of competing countries, thereby creating unbearable conditions for spearfishing.
The fact is that the South China Sea is an important strategic waterway, along which bulk carriers and tankers with trillions of dollars of goods pass annually. It is here that non-combat military incidents between the United States and the PRC most often occur. As you know, the Yankees near China behave like the masters of the sea, arousing the justified indignation of the Celestial Empire’s military, who by all possible means are trying to scare them away from their waters.
Thank God, it didn’t come to firing, but, for example, in the fall of 2018, the Chinese ship Luyang approached the American destroyer at a distance of 16 meters, after which the USS Decatur was forced to obey “to prevent a collision.” Then the “last Chinese warning” gave a special piquancy to the situation. “You are on a dangerous course,” said Captain Luyang. “If you don’t change course, your ship will suffer the consequences.”
At the same time, the underwater space, hidden from view, provides completely different opportunities for opposition. It is not necessary to sink Stars and Stripes submarines to disaccustom them to conduct reconnaissance near strategic naval bases. Moreover, according to US Navy officials, the Connecticut (SSN 22) submarine is now facing a very expensive and long-term repair.
According to the press service of the US Navy TF, one can understand that “there are no spare parts and there are no donor hulls that could serve as ready-made sources of spare parts, or even complete structural sections.” As they say in the famous Russian joke: “Wow, I went for some bread!” – said the head, rolling out from under the tram …
If, in the future, Yankee submariners will fly into unknown objects, which “should not have been here,” they will be forced to abandon reconnaissance near Chinese military bases. What is not an example to follow for our anti-submarine men. Another question is whether the Russian submarine fleet will be able to play such a delicate game with American submarines?