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Thread: Post your SINKEX pictures!

  1. #1
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    Post your SINKEX pictures!

    Navy sinks retired destroyers Comte de Grasse and StumpNORFOLK - The Navy sank two of its retired Spruance-class destroyers in a day of surface and air warfare training about 275 miles off the North Carolina coast, sending the largest destroyers ever built to the dark ocean floor 12,000 feet below.

    The guided missile destroyers Comte de Grasse and Stump, both 28 years old and once based in Norfolk, were felled June 7, the Navy acknowledged this week.

    Part of the death knell for the Comte de Grasse was brought by another near-relic: a flight of the last remaining F-14 Tomcat fighter jets, due to retire in September. Navy S-3 Vikings dropped ordnance as well.

    An Air Force B-52 Stratofortress, flying at 6,000 feet and B-1B Lancer at a loftier 21,000 feet, took a crack at the Stump.

    Plans to fire Harpoon cruise missiles and Maverick anti-ship missiles were halted when the ships sank too quickly.

    The exercise was a chance for the military to hone its ship-sinking skills in an era when it hasn't had much experience with enemy navies. It also is a fairly economic way of getting rid of an old hulk without breaking it apart ashore.

    Called "Sink-Ex," participating ships were the destroyers Mason, Arleigh Burke, and Ramage, and the cruiser Cape St. George, all based in Norfolk.

    "We had a lot of high-tech, coordinated weapons, but the ships were sunk by basic naval gunnery, probably the least technically advanced weapon out there," said Lt. Cmdr. Mike Weeldreyer, operations officer for Destroyer Squadron 28, which led the exercise from the Mason.

    "That was somewhat of a surprise to us," said Capt. Mike Franken, the squadron's commodore. "We shot 45 5-inch rounds in the Stump, targeting the waterline, and it went down in short order."
    In about 90 minutes, its stern fell below the surface, leaving the bow of the 563-foot, 7,800-ton warship pointed skyward.

    "We left the area to let the Air Force at it and by the time we came back, it looked like a phoenix, sticking straight up," Franken said. "It was an eerie feeling, looking into a somewhat hazy sun in the west and seeing this sharp, very defined bow sticking maybe 200 feet out of the water."

    Huge bubbles gurgled around the Stump as successive airtight bulkheads gave way under the pressure of the water, he said. In graduated pulsations, it slipped farther and farther beneath the water's surface, ending up on what the officers said was a desert floor, more than two miles deep, void of most marine life.

    The Comte de Grass was targeted initially by .50-caliber machine guns to demonstrate disabling fire, then 40 ?mm grenade launchers and 5-inch guns.

    The Mason, using a 20 mm cannon for close-in protection, demonstrated how it could disable a ship without sinking it.

    "Part of the test was to see how good it was for taking off various parts of the ship, say the rudder post," Franken said.

    "We do it to slow the ships," Weeldreyer said. "It was extremely accurate."

    These were the first sinking exercises for the Navy in about two years. Plans call for another previously Norfolk-based destroyer, the Thorn, which was decommissioned in 2004 , to be sunk in a similar exercise next month.

    A former ammunition ship, the Butte, also is scheduled to be scuttled by a submarine.

    The Navy is offering a dozen other decommissioned ships as potential fishing reefs. They include the aircraft carriers Forrestal, Independence and Constellation, plus a handful of cruisers, destroyers and amphibious ships. Their sinkings probably will be closer to shore, to allow sport anglers to reach them.

    The farther site for the Stump and Comte de Grasse was picked because of its absence of marine mammals, as well as game fish, that could have been harmed by the firing, the Navy officers said.

    Franken said patrol planes dropped sonar buoys to listen for whales and other protected sea life in the area.

    "It is a desert out there, deep water, not a lot of eddies of the type to draw a lot of animal life, no right whales," Franken said.

    The sight of a sinking Navy ship brought some sadness, Franken said. He had been aboard both ships as a junior officer.

    "It's troubling to think about sinking a ship you served on, especially on an impressionable 23-year-old who went from being, in my case, a farm kid, to a naval officer.
    What I wouldn't give to see some video footage of this.
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    Distant Deeps or Skies Senior Contributor HistoricalDavid's Avatar
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    I would have liked to have seen the feasibility of AMRAAM attacks on them.

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    Tomcat's helped sink these two? I thought they were just laying around right now, waiting to be retired in September. Or are they still flying?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tophatter
    The Comte de Grass was targeted initially by .50-caliber machine guns to demonstrate disabling fire, then 40 ?mm grenade launchers and 5-inch guns.

    The Mason, using a 20 mm cannon for close-in protection, demonstrated how it could disable a ship without sinking it.

    "Part of the test was to see how good it was for taking off various parts of the ship, say the rudder post," Franken said.
    Interesting to see the use of smaller calibre weapons at close ranges. I assume the 20 mm was the Phalanx. They really are taking the small boat threat seriously...

    The other interesting (slightly worrying thing) was the speed at which the ships sank when targeted at the waterline by naval gunfire... Would they have sunk so quickly if there had been a crew onboard?

    It would be interesting to have seen the effect of a Maverick launched at the waterline...

    Mind you - what a perfect job... sinking old ships...
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    Quote Originally Posted by PubFather
    Interesting to see the use of smaller calibre weapons at close ranges. I assume the 20 mm was the Phalanx. They really are taking the small boat threat seriously...
    Sure seems that way, especially with the phrase "close-in protection".

    Either that or it was a typo and they were referring to the 25mm chain gun.

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    Patron Sea Toby's Avatar
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    Doesn't America have older ships still in mothballs? Why aren't we sinking these older ships off first? A few years ago the RAN posted on its website a short video of one of their River class frigates being sunk by one submarine torpedo. The explosion broke her back, and tossed off her radar gear with the first blow.

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    No offence but
    That was somewhat of a surprise to us," said Capt. Mike Franken, the squadron's commodore. "We shot 45 5-inch rounds in the Stump, targeting the waterline, and it went down in short order."
    of course it went down in short order, when was the last time he saw a colander float?

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    Senior Contributor 2DREZQ's Avatar
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    how thick is the hull steel at the waterline?
    USS North Dakota

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2DREZQ
    how thick is the hull steel at the waterline?
    Umm...good question. Pretty thin I believe. Less than an inch?

    Rickusn?

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    Been a long time, but I believe it was like 5/8" to 3/4". They used to always cut access holes in the hull in the engineering spaces so they could take out machinery during overhaul. Most of the ones on the West Coast that I worked on are now reefs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RAL's_pal?
    Been a long time, but I believe it was like 5/8" to 3/4". They used to always cut access holes in the hull in the engineering spaces so they could take out machinery during overhaul.
    Hey, I was pretty close

    Quote Originally Posted by RAL's_pal?
    Most of the ones on the West Coast that I worked on are now reefs.
    Yeah, just about all of 'em

    USS Hayler's SINKEX from a couple years ago:
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    Last edited by TopHatter; 25 Jun 06, at 19:41.

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    Just because I "remembered" it, doesn't make it accurate. The last one I worked on was the USS Merrill and it's gone. They cut the access near the waste heat boilers because they'd take the waste heat boilers apart and take them off the ship for rebuild. This would normally be done while the ship was in dry dock and I really can't remember the accesses being open when the ship was refloated and pulled to the pier like the steam driven ships. Getting old, memory fading. BTW, anyone hear from Dickie Landcrab?

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    Excellent pics TH but I cant wait to see what it will take to sink Des Moines (CA134) if she goes. The CIWS wont even scratch the paint off her. With a 6" belt, The 5" guns may put a few dents in her but definately going to take a torp or missle (missles) or bombs to send her under. Should be interesting to see those pics. And to think what better a target for an Iowa at max range of 23n miles lets say test for accuracy at maximum range. Now that would be quite a test. But who knows we may even get a peek at the "new" toyz and what better a target then an armored cruiser
    Last edited by Dreadnought; 20 Jun 06, at 16:05.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by RAL's_pal?
    Just because I "remembered" it, doesn't make it accurate.
    *shrug* Close enough for our purposes.
    Quote Originally Posted by RAL's_pal?
    BTW, anyone hear from Dickie Landcrab?
    He posts pretty regularly. Just today or yesterday in fact.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dreadnought
    Excellent pics TH
    Thanks
    Maybe I'll make this a general SINKEX thread

    USS Guam:
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    USS Oriskany at the end of the line May, 2006.
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    Last edited by Dreadnought; 20 Jun 06, at 18:34.

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