Skip to comments.Judge Limits Navy Sonar Experiments
Posted on 08/27/2003 6:18:10 AM PDT by hchutch
A federal judge in San Francisco on Tuesday prohibited the Navy from testing a powerful sonar system in most parts of the world's oceans, ruling that the booming sounds to detect enemy submarines could "irreparably harm" whales, dolphins and fish.
U.S. District Judge Elizabeth D. Laporte ruled that the Navy and the National Marine Fisheries Service failed to consider alternatives that could shield whales and other marine life from these loud sounds, which some acousticians compare to standing next to the space shuttle at takeoff.
She ordered military and federal regulators to meet with environmental lawyers and their scientific experts to outline areas of the Pacific Ocean where the Navy can safely test the system. She recommended that the Navy give wide berth to coastal waters with abundant sea life as well as steer clear of corridors used by migrating whales and areas where they congregate.
(Excerpt) Read more at latimes.com ...
We're gonna lose lives on this one. Mark my words.
Because she is a judge, and therefore honored, nobility in manner of speaking. Being honored places her above the Constitution or the military.
That's the beauty of her ruling. She gets the great publicity that goes with her liberal slant. She's seen as a 'save the whales' environazi AND the Navy gets to test it's sonar anyway.
See, the DoD has lawyers already working on a way around her ruling. The President declares the testing essential for national security, the Navy conducts the test and the judge makes friends with the granola-eaters. Everybody wins.
Yeah, the taxpayers do seem to always get the big srewola.
I guess now a sub skipper is going to have to "float the buoy" to ask "pretty please, may I turn my active sonar on?"
From this thread http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/938185/posts
I just got this ping, thanks Hutch. Unfortunately, you MAY not like my opinions on the topic.
First, my bona fides: I have ten years-and-counting as a sonar operator (what we call an Acoustic AW) on board P-3 ORION ASW aircraft, and something like 2,500 hors in type. I've tracked numerous friendly AND unfriendly submarines, nuclear and diesel, using both passive AND active SONAR systems, and have, on occaision, used cuing from SURTASS ships. Oh, and I also like whales...they're pretty nice people, really. I have whiled many hours onstation away listening to their calls when the subs failed to turn up.
Okay, that out of the way, I have to say that I have a pretty low overall opinion of SURTASS, indeed, of most large-scale active systems. In an entire North Atlantic deployment, SURTASS was never able to put us onto a target with ANY degree of accuracy. We could have gotten the same results using tried-and-true passive searches, possibly even better.
Dear Leader's boats? The ChiComs? Please. They are well known to be like underwater freight trains when operating. No exotic systems are needed to find THEM, trust me, just good operators and a few (relatively inexpensive) sonobouys.
My own opinion of why these large-scale active systems were developed (and ALL of them are still "in development", that is, not perfected) to counter what was expected to be the next generation of stealthy Soviet submarines, which were feared to be too quiet for passive sensors to detect, and CERTAINLY too silent for us Enlisted puke operators to deal with.
Rubbish. Not only was that false, as a properly-trained and experienced operator can be, along with his similarly-trained crew, perfectly capable of finding anything worth finding in the Deep Blue, but the Soviet Union collapsed, and with it all plans for any "Red Octobers" there might have been (and that IS how old some of these systems are, BTW.). The systems were kept in development because a LOT of senior officers were enamored with them. I assure you, the operators were not.
Bottom line? In my professional opinion, for the current threat(diesel-electric submarines operated by third-world navies in littoral environments), LFA-type systems simply do not provide the accuracy and certainty that older, more proven passive systems(SOSUS, anyone? Hello?), like (ahem) Marittime Patrol Aviation do, and cost a whole LOT of money which would be better spent on maintaining aircraft and training operators. Therefore, considering the fact that some whale species ARE endangered, and the fact that the deaths that result are brutally painful to the point of cruelty, the LFA systems simply aren't worth it.
I'm Certainly no PETA pansy, but I have watched whales through observation windows for hours, and heard them over vast distances. I cannot in good conscience support dragging them into our conflicts, especially when the benefits are so weak.
SONAR operators and crews can do this, and we DON'T kill some of the most magnificent species on Earth to do it. The ONLY people I want to kill are the Bad Guys. Give US the money being spent on LFA, let us use it to train our people well, and let us have at it. Between us and the bubbleheads, your sub threat will cease to exist in short order. Of THAT, at least, I can assure you.
30 posted on 07/01/2003 5:04 PM PDT by Long Cut (Any time now...)
I went to see that movie when it was first out in the theaters. I got up and walked out about 1/2 way through. Terribly inacurate protrayal of the Navy in general and the submarine service in particular. The whole movie was a steaming pile of dung.
Too true. However, the Admirals at the top (very few submariners among them) have bought into this "we need super sonar" line and are all too used to receiving bennies from the contractors for supporting the programs that line the pockets of Electric Boat, General Dynamics, and the like.
As for tracking the Korean or Chinese boats, anybody with a soup can to press up against the hull will hear these boats coming before they even leave the pier.
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