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Thread: USS SCORPION a Skipjack Class SSN design flaws

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    USS SCORPION a Skipjack Class SSN design flaws

    I am asking the bubble heads out there their opinion 1st of the class thelmselves; what worked, what did'nt work well.

    Depending on the book that you read either a soviet torpedo took the Scorpion down; maintenace so poor that an earthquake after shock took her out at the stern.

    What the heck happened?

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    Quote Originally Posted by shadow01 View Post
    I am asking the bubble heads out there their opinion 1st of the class thelmselves; what worked, what did'nt work well.

    Depending on the book that you read either a soviet torpedo took the Scorpion down; maintenace so poor that an earthquake after shock took her out at the stern.

    What the heck happened?
    All of the reports I have read said the Scorpion was sunk by an internal explosion. Conspiracy Theorists blame the Russians. If the Kursk's own torpedos could bring it down then I stand behind the fact that maybe one of Scorpions own torpedos brought it down.


    http://www.terratol.com/sitebuilderc..._The_Myths.pdf
    Last edited by Tanker; 04 Jan 12, at 21:08.
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    On a short note being one of the new nuclear submarines of the 1960's there is little room for mistakes.

    However it may never have been a professional mistake as she had a very skilled crew.

    During the late winter and early spring of 1966, and again in the fall, she was deployed for special operations. Following the completion of those assignments, her commanding officer received the Navy Commendation Medal for outstanding leadership, foresight, and professional skill. Other SCORPION officers and men were cited for meritorious achievement.

    USS Scorpion (SSN 589)

    Considering she was found in over 10,000 feet of water, any mechanical problem could have doomed it. Or perhaps other. The Court of Inquiry could not place blame.

    Some claim the Soviets sunk it in retaliation for K-129. Some say one of her own torpedoes may have sunk her.

    Still a mystery.

    On design flaws.... One boat was lost out of six. If more then one maybe a design flaw but 5 survived to be disposed of properly at the end of their usefullness after 20 years of service, One even earned three battlestars for Vietnam service. IMO, No design flaws.

    Reanalysis years later deternined these findings:

    10 December 2010
    From: B. Rule, 3931 Brookfield Ave, Louisville, KY 40207-2001 To: VADM David J. Dorsett, Director of Naval Intelligence, Office of Naval Intelligence, 4251 Suitland Road, Washington, DC 20395-5720

    Subj: Why the Scorpion (SSN-589) Was Lost on 22 May 1968

    When the US nuclear submarine Scorpion was lost in the east central Atlantic on 22 May 1968, the event produced a series of acoustic signals detected by underwater sensors on both sides of the Atlantic.
    By comparing the detection times of these signals, the position of the Scorpion was determined. That position provided the basis for the search that identified the Scorpion wreckage.
    The first reanalysis of these acoustic signals in 40-years, in combination with conclusions drawn in 1970 by the Scorpion Structural Analysis Group (SAG), has provided the following new information:

    - The initiating events that caused the loss of Scorpion were two explosions with an energy yield of not more than 20-lbs of TNT each. These explosions, which occurred one-half second apart at 18:20:44 Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) on the 22 May 1968, were contained within the Scorpion pressure-hull,
    - Based on the examination and microscopic, spectrographic and X-ray diffraction analysis of a section of the Scorpion TLX-53-A main storage battery cover recovered by the U.S. submersible, Trieste-II, the SAG determined the battery exploded before flooding of the battery well occurred.
    - Collectively, the acoustic data and the physical evidence confirm Scorpion was lost because of two explosions that involved the ignition of hydrogen out gassed by the battery, i.e., these explosions were the initiating events responsible for the loss of Scorpion.
    - These explosive events prevented the crew from maintaining depth-control. The Scorpion pressure-hull and all internal compartments collapsed in 0.112-seconds at 18:42:34 GMT on 22 May 1968 at a depth of 1530-feet. The energy yield of that event was equal to the explosion of 13,200 lbs of TNT, the essentially instantaneous conversion of potential energy (680 psi sea pressure) to kinetic energy, the motion of the water-ram which entered the pressure-hull at supersonic velocity.
    - The more than 15 acoustic events that occurred during the 199-second period following pressure-hull collapse were produced by the collapse of more pressure-resistant structures, including the six torpedo tubes, within the wreckage.
    - Reanalysis of the acoustic data also confirmed:
    (1) Scorpion did not reverse course to deal with a torpedo conjectured to have become active in its launch tube;
    (2), there were no acoustic detections of either a torpedo or any other naval surface ship or submarine when Scorpion was lost,
    (3), there were no explosive events external to the Scorpion pressure-hull.

    In summary, Scorpion was lost because two battery-associated explosions created onboard problems the crew could not overcome. There was no Soviet involvement.

    This information has been provided to the Chief of Naval Operations, OPNAV N87, the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI), Commander Submarine Forces, and the Naval History and Heritage Command.
    Source: analysis of acoustic data that has been in the public domain for over 40-years.
    Analyst: B. Rule, for 42-years, the lead acoustic analyst at ONI, the national laboratory for passive acoustic analysis.

    Text courtesy of Chuck Haberlein.[Former Director of the Naval History and Heritage Command]


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    http://www.navsource.org/archives/08/08589a.htm
    Last edited by Dreadnought; 04 Jan 12, at 22:14.
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    I hadn't heard the earthquake angle before
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    Robert Ballard's deep six adventure....

    Quote Originally Posted by bigross86 View Post
    I hadn't heard the earthquake angle before
    I never heard of an earthquake sinking a submarine either.... "urban myth ?"

    The Discovery Channels video done by Robert Ballard efforts to examine the wreckage fo the Scopion cetainly didn't prove any "publicly published explanation" either. You have to keep it simple for us land lubbers to uinderstand nuclear submarines so the pictures help a lot...

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    Another opinion

    Attachment 27868
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    That's what I'm talking about....

    Nice example of a good picture Salty.

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    Quote Originally Posted by blidgepump View Post
    Nice example of a good picture Salty.
    My brother gave me the book a couple of years ago. He recommended it highly. I've just thumbed through it, but I'll get to it eventually.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ytlas View Post
    My brother gave me the book a couple of years ago. He recommended it highly. I've just thumbed through it, but I'll get to it eventually.
    A photograph from the book, showing the torpedo strike.

    John Pina Craven in his book, Silent War – The Cold War Battle Beneath the Sea, provides an interesting theory about the torpedeo.

    But before we went on what was possibly a wild-goose chase, we wanted to extract from the acoustic record everything we could that would help us precisely locate both submarines on the seafloor and get some insight as to the probable causes for the failures so that we could prepare our investigation tools. The Scorpion presented the first enigma. The relative position of each implosive sound from— we assumed—Scorpion suggested that she was heading in the wrong direction. The Naval Research Laboratory's Wilton Hardy and his
    colleagues disagreed. They believed that some of the signals were just multipath, i.e., echoes of one or two collapse events. The indica¬tion that the submarine was moving in the opposite direction, they maintained, was simply a product of the variations in the velocity of sound at different depths.
    Civilian scientist Gordon Hamilton and I put this hypothesis to the test. We sent a ship to the probable site of Scorpion's sinking and had it drop charges at different depths. To our surprise, the size of the charges we used was inadequate to create the signals recorded—at least not until we increased the explosive force to eight times higher than we had anticipated. This, in turn, also provided an important clue with regard to the Soviet submarine. The blip on the Soviet acoustic record was not that of a moderately substantial implosion. It was a good-sized burst—and if it was not an undersea implosion at all but an explosion that took place in the atmosphere when the sub was on the surface, then it was really a very good-sized burst indeed. Re¬member, the magnitude of the explosion, if it took place on the sur¬face, would not be truly reflected by the amount of sound that got into the water from the surface interface and then, in attenuated form, reached our electronic ears.
    We did tests to determine what happened to our sub and to con¬firm the hypothesis that Scorpion was traveling in the opposite direc¬tion—east—to the track it should have been taking, west, to home. This sudden and unexplained reversal of course—a reciprocal—is consistent with the classic method for deactivating what is known as a hot-running torpedo.
    In World War II, there were several instances in which torpedoes would miss their target, change direction, and come back and strike the launching submarine. To confirm this as a high-probability sce¬nario, we ran a computer simulation, with the former executive offi¬cer of Scorpion, Lieutenant Commander Robert Fountain, Jr., acting as skipper. Given no hint of our theory, Fountain was told only that he was heading home at eighteen knots at a depth left up to him. When he was well underway, we asked him to check his torpedoes and moments later sounded an alert with the cry, "Hot-running tor¬pedo!" With barely a blink of his eye, Fountain shouted, "Right full rudder!"—the command to initiate a 180 degree turn. When the simulated Scorpion had completely turned around, a simulated ex¬plosion took place in the torpedo room, and the skipper, made aware of rapid flooding, issued a series of commands aimed at rescuing the boat and bringing her to the surface. But instead she continued to plummet, reaching collapse depth and imploding in ninety sec¬onds—one second shy of the acoustic record of the actual event.
    Thus the hot-running torpedo scenario was now the highest pri¬ority but not the only priority. The designers of torpedoes are dedi¬cated and skilled engineers who spare no effort to anticipate and test every contingency, to avoid failure. There was an understandable re-luctance to accept the idea that one of the Scorpion's own torpedoes was the cause of the accident. Some twenty years after her loss, however, it was revealed that the torpedo batteries on the boat may have been defective and could have accounted for the loss. Tragically, the defect had been identified at the time and the batteries had been re¬called from the fleet but Scorpion was still on patrol and a decision was made to change her batteries on her return. In the face of the risks and demands of war and Cold War missions, who can fault a de¬cision to trade one risk for another in order to complete a mission?
    Craven, John Pina, The Silent War – The Cold War Battle Beneath the Sea, Touchstone, New York, 2002, PP209-11

    In addition, I haver a copy of the Mayfair Magazine, in whch an article says that it was lost due to a pipe distinergrating!
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    Last edited by junoth1001; 04 Jan 12, at 23:11.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bigross86 View Post
    I hadn't heard the earthquake angle before
    During on of the Trieste missions they found jagged rocks that were out of place along with bits of metal that didn't belong either. BUT there was never mention of an earthquake in any investigation. Again that comes down to the Conspricay Theory crowd. Several items that were up for grabs are; 1) The trash compactor was used at the wrong depth and it flooded the boat, 2) a hot torpedo was sitting in the tube (common for the Scorpion's missions) and the battery overheated, 3) a battery overheated on a racked torpedo and it caught fire, and 4) there was an unknown catastrophic explosion on the boat non-torpedo related. Now I have read articles about it when I was assigned as a Police Officer at NETC Newport amoung other places.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ytlas View Post
    Another opinion

    Attachment 27868
    According to the cover it says "The True Story"....and his Red Star Rogue another "Untold True Story".

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tanker View Post
    According to the cover it says "The True Story"....and his Red Star Rogue another "Untold True Story".
    The torpedo theory got me thinking then I remembered something....this;

    Name:  Scorpion.jpg
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Size:  73.5 KB

    This photo is where the "alleged" torpedo hit. Notice the window and sail are in the same direction as the one in the lower picture.

    Name:  scorpionhump.jpg
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Size:  13.1 KB

    Notice the hump that Scorpion has? It goes into and is part of the sail in the same spot and in the same shape as the "alleged" torpedo hole.


    I'm going to pass on the torpedo theory...

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    This is a better photo of the Sail,
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    In the news...

    Submarine vets call for USS Scorpion investigation

    The Navy has rejected an undersea expedition to site of the 1968 shipwreck.

    Story Highlights

    Sub carried 2 nuclear torpedoes and nuclear reactor
    Nuclear attack sub sank in 1968, killing 99 men
    The Navy denied a recent proposed undersea expedition

    8:05AM EST November 10. 2012 - The saga of the USS Scorpion continues as a submarine veterans group calls for a new investigation of the unexplained accident that sank the U.S. nuclear attack sub more than 40 years ago.

    The Scorpion went down May 22, 1968, killing 99 men and foundering 11,220 feet underwater in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. The sub carried two nuclear torpedoes and a nuclear reactor.

    A Navy Court of Inquiry found that year that "the cause of the loss cannot be definitively ascertained," leaving the sub's demise a matter of controversy for decades. Last month, the U.S. Navy denied a proposal by marine disaster experts to investigate the shipwreck, triggering the latest call for finally determining what sank the USS Scorpion.

    "One can hope that the Navy will listen to us," says Thomas Conlon of the U.S. Submarine Veterans, a 13,800-member organization of former submarine servicemembers dedicated to memorializing lost submariners. The organization sent a letter Nov. 5 to the secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus, with the "request that the United States Navy officially reopen the investigation of USS Scorpion (SSN 589)."

    In May, an expedition team led by former U.S. naval officer Paul Boyne proposed to the U.S. Navy Heritage and History Command in Washington that it would send an undersea robot to resolve unanswered questions about the tragedy. After a summer of contentious correspondence, the Navy office denied the permit citing the lack of an archaeological plan for the investigation.

    In a follow-up letter sent last week, U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Barry Bruner warned Boyne against undertaking any unauthorized dive of the wreck, citing the "Sunken Military Craft Act" law. "That law allows the Department of the Navy to make the determination on whether or not a requested dive might potentially disturb, remove or injure a sunken military craft," U.S. Navy Cmdr. Brenda Malone says.

    Boyne says he just wants to know "why did these men die?" He presented a new explanation for the loss of the sub at a marine forensics symposium in April. "We don't know why this ship went down, yet they are treating this like there is nothing to see here and we should just move along."

    Boyne says the expedition team still plans a "recreational" investigation of the wreck, which rests in international waters at a location the U.S. Navy considers "secret," according to Malone. "The absence of a permit for cultural preservation and archeological matters on lands of the U.S. does not affect this recreational dive in the middle of very international waters," Boyne replied to the Navy in a letter sent Thursday.

    (In response to USA TODAY inquiries made in June, Malone said the nuclear torpedoes and reactor that went down with the submarine are "monitored," but he could not discuss further details.) The Navy has tested the water around the submarine for radioactive releases, at least as recently as 1998.

    Theories about the Scorpion's demise range from a torpedo self-firing into the ship to a battery explosion. There is also Boyne's suggestion that rubber bearings holding its propeller shaft failed. He says that may have led to a catastrophic failure, spilling water through the propeller shaft opening into the sub too rapidly for the ship to be raised to the surface.

    In the denied proposal, the team planned to send a robot sub to the wreck to photograph the displaced shaft. The robot would have sent a small tethered camera into the ship's engine room to examine the damage to the coupling that held the shaft. Although sending robots to 11,800-feet depths was very difficult when the sub sank, recent decades have seen advances in deep-sea submersibles.

    The "recreational" expedition being considered would be led by Wreck Diving Magazine and the accident investigation firm Marine Forensic & Investigation Group (MFI Group) of Summerville, S.C. "A few details are still being worked out, but the expedition will go next year," MFI Vice President Charles George says.

    At least 11 family members of the crew who died on the sub have joined in the call for the expedition.
    Source: http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/s...-navy/1692343/

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    I was stationed onboard USS orion in 70/71. Heard ALL the rumors of why she went down. My father-in-law was with the US Navy yard in Charleston for 30+ years and was privy to information on the Scorpion and Thresher that was not available to the public back then. On the 10th anniversary of the loss of SSN-589 I asked what he knew about it...his reply:

    "Internal explosion, forward torpedo room. That is all I'm allowed to say....you should be able to figure out the rest."

    In 1971 we had an IC-1 reservist on board for his 2 week summer camp. He had 16 years active duty on pig boats (diesel/electric) and we wondered why you would pack it in that close to retirement. His story was he was in Rota with orders to Scorpion in April 1968. He was due to reenlist for his last 4 years and he told the Yeoman he would not ship over unless they changed his orders to a diesel boat because he KNEW that the crews nickname for Scorpion was 'USS Scrap Iron', that and he didn't want to ride a nuke. The Yeoman said something on the order of 'we got you by the balls, you aren't going anywhere.' Had he not said that the guy would have taken the orders and boarded Scorpion in Rota. He didn't, he flew home and processed out from Norfolk.

    Now, of course this sounded like the ultimate sea story to us...until he produced a copy of the orders.

    I have no doubt the Russians DID NOT attack her. The earthquake theory? Really? Read 'Blind Mans Bluff' by Sherrie Sontag. It tells what my father in law and I believe to be the facts of how she was lost.
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