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Leaking Submarines: Trump Risks Nuclear Boats

J.J. Patrick photo
J.J. PatrickUnited States / North Korea / Phillipines
Leaking Submarines: Trump Risks Nuclear Boats
Trump leaked the deployments of two US nuclear submarines risking maritime operations and personnel.

On the 24th of May 2017, Reuters reported that U.S. President Donald Trump told his Philippine counterpart about Washington's deployment of two nuclear submarines to waters off the Korean peninsula.

An experienced naval source, with extensive experience of submarine operations, has exclusively provided a grim but colourful explanation of the risks Trump has exposed military personnel and operations to.   

According to the official transcript made during the call between Philippine President, Rodrigo Duterte, and Trump, the US President said the US Navy had "a lot of firepower over there...We have two submarines — the best in the world. We have two nuclear submarines, not that we want to use them at all."

In a show of force aimed at North Korea in the wake of continued missile tests, Trump sent the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier to the area, where it joined the advanced submarine the USS Michigan in waters off the Korean peninsula.

An experienced naval source, with extensive experience of submarine operations, has exclusively provided a grim explanation of the risks Trump has exposed military personnel and operations to. 

 After reading the story and being asked their initial reaction, the former, high-ranking naval officer told me "It's difficult to tell, with a character like Trump, but I don't recall Obama doing this." 

"One thing about Trump is that it is totally possible he's telling the truth, or is so stupid that he actually made a blunder."

"Personally," they said, "I think he's done it on purpose."

They added that, "a carrier group always has a minimum of one boat with it, but nuclear boats are top-top secret. This includes stationing and deployment."   

But is the Trump leak, without specific detail significant? 

The source is clear that it is, telling me: "as I said, a submarine deployment with a carrier group is normal, even two boats on station is (possibly) normal - though this would be for continuity and sheer firepower."

"If TLAM strikes are planned, then yes. It would make sense to be ready to saturate your objective with Hi-Ex cruise missiles rather than risk a miss," they continued. "Think continuity."

"What Trump is not saying is that there are probably two more boats hanging around, waiting to deliver more TLAM payloads when required." 

TLAM is the acronym for the Tomahawk missile system.

I found it curious. If submarine deployments are so secret, why was the world allowed to see the USS Michigan docked in Seoul? 

"Power projection," the source said, "we did it all the time: look at my nuclear submarine, it's  fucking awesome! A boat is a serious asset."

Though they dipped questions about the Michigan's nuclear capabilities, the source did add that it "carries some mega stealth and comms intercept kit."

"we did it all the time: Look at my nuclear submarine, it's fucking awesome! A boat is a serious asset."   

I pressed them on whether a leak as generic as Trump's could assist an enemy.

"Yes and no," they told me. "Yes because they could shape their maritime tactics." 

I though this was simply about restricting a dragnet search area, but the source told me it was that and more. 

"Your comms are no longer safe, local GSM networks are capable of being tapped. Emails may - or may not - be intercepted. You get the picture." Effectively, submarines are a naval boat doubling as a spy, they explained.

The response options for an enemy are almost limitless, they continued. 

"You could go for a full deployment of ASW [Anti Submarine Warfare] tactics, or no deployment at all. Deny the US any opportunity to run rings around your own maritime forces."

"Sometimes denial is better," they said. "It's  not just bluffing, you actually don't  sail from port, leaving all your mega-assets safely at home and blockading the waters around it, to stop the US or someone else snooping around your latest kit."

So, what tactics could these US boats Trump exposed find themselves facing? 

"US boats are seriously good, so you'd throw the kitchen sink at it," the source told me.

Specifically, I asked them what a likely Russian response would be and the reply was blunt.

"I can't speak for those sneaky bastards, but the best way to catch a submarine is with another submarine, so deploy your boats, with your surface and air forces, and dragnet."

"I can't speak for those sneaky bastards, but the best way to catch a submarine is with another submarine, so deploy your boats, with your surface and air forces, and dragnet."   

The objective of such an action surprised me too.

"If it's boat to boat, you're trying to get a firing solution on your opponent ASAP, constantly trying to turn inside each other to get the best angle. But there is no chance you would fire."

The end game is very different than I'd anticipated.

"All you are doing is forcing your opponent to surface, where you can embarrass the fucker or make them withdraw," the source told me.

"The enemy is trying to get a firing solution on your highest value asset, which is?" they asked me.

I guessed at nuclear warheads but was wrong.

"Two massive nuclear reactors. It causes massive political and military ridicule. Point scoring."

"All you are doing is forcing your opponent to surface, where you can embarrass the fucker or make them withdraw,"

Following the worldwide cyber attack, which targeted Windows, a number of articles had been reporting that Trident submarines run the system, raising questions as to whether they could be infected by the Wannacry Ransomware.

Clearly, the source wouldn't divulge operating systems, but told me a submarine could be "switched over to manual after shutting the systems down".

#Trump, #Submarine, #North Korea, #Phillipines, #Leak, #US Navy

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