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Russian Sub hit Towed Array 2020

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Russian Sub hit Towed Array 2020

Old 6th Jan 2022, 18:52
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Russian Sub hit Towed Array 2020

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/r...onar-dctz96xj5

Russian submarine collides with British warship’s sonar

A Russian submarine collided with a British warship’s sonar during a cat-and-mouse game in the North Atlantic, forcing the Royal Navy to abort its mission.

Television footage captures the moment crew onboard HMS Northumberland sound the alarm, shouting “what the hell was that”, “shit”, “what the f*** have I just hit” as the boat crashes into its towed array sonar.

Towed array sonar uses hundreds of microphones attached to a cable, trailing behind a submarine, or in this particular case, a Type 23 frigate. The technology is designed to detect and track quiet submarines and is positioned hundreds of metres away from the ship.

HMS Northumberland was on a 48-hour hunt to find the Russian submarine in late 2020 amid concerns it could try and tap into undersea cables essential for communication and the internet.

It is believed to be the first time such an incident has been documented and made public.

Channel 5 documented the mission for its series Warship: Life At Sea, during which the crew launched a Merlin helicopter to try and find the submarine.

The footage shows the moment they spot what is believed to be a Russian submarine appearing above the surface of the water, an extremely rare event. Its periscope and a communication mast can be seen above the water level.

At one point during the mission Commander Thom Hobbs, the warship’s captain, says: “We are very close to the submarine — we are probably parallel. If they were on the surface we would definitely see faces.”

Shortly afterwards the Russian submarine appears to turn sharply in what is described by those onboard as an “aggressive move” and collides with the towed array sonar, which is the diameter of a fist.

At the time, it is believed the Russian submarine knew that HMS Northumberland was there.

Navy sources told The Times that finding the towed array sonar in the sea would have been like finding a “needle in a haystack” and said the collision must have been an accident.

The sonar, which was recovered in its entirety, was damaged to such an extent that the ship had to return to port and the sonar had to be replaced. The towed array sonar is believed to cost about 20million.

Navy sources believe the Russian submarine would also have likely been damaged in the incident.

Commander Ryan Ramsey, a former naval officer who was captain of hunter killer submarine HMS Turbulent, said that the collision was almost certainly accidental.

He said the interaction “shows the complexity and risk involved with the art of anti-submarine warfare”. He added: “What can start as in control can rapidly escalate, particularly against a capable adversary such as the Russian submarine force.”

Ramsey added that the Russian submarine would have probably been a Sierra, Akula or Yasen attack submarine, as these operate at the same depth as the frigate’s towed array.

Tom Sharpe, a former Royal Navy Commander who drove anti-submarine warfare frigate HMS St Albans, said: “The Russian threat to our undersea communications is real, on our doorstep and ever increasing. It’s hard to overstate the effect a major disruption of it would cause. Detecting and deterring Russian submarines that are doing this is a team effort that involves allies, aircraft, ships, submarines and sensors.”

He added: “Ship and submarine detection is not the exact science depicted in the movies. In other words, this could have been an accident — a close pass gone wrong. It could also have been deliberate.”

Ministry of Defence spokesman confirmed the incident, saying: “In late 2020 a Russian submarine being tracked by HMS Northumberland came into contact with her towed array sonar. The Royal Navy regularly tracks foreign ships and submarines in order to ensure the defence of the United Kingdom.”

Warship: Life At Sea continues Monday at 9pm on Channel 5.
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Old 6th Jan 2022, 21:37
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Could it have been an attempt to grab the array?
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Old 6th Jan 2022, 21:40
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Thats the only time a type 23 will ever get a CERTSUB
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Old 7th Jan 2022, 05:58
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Just got to hope the sonar equipment has some quick auto mute or the tech manning it likely had his/her eardrums meet in the middle!
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Old 7th Jan 2022, 08:30
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"Could it have been an attempt to grab the array?"

Doubt it - they stole one a few years back in a Spanish or Portuguese harbour IIRC
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Old 7th Jan 2022, 10:55
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they stole one a few years back in a Spanish or Portuguese harbour IIRC
I was not aware of that. Any details?
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Old 7th Jan 2022, 13:34
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Didn't HMS Conqueror steal a Russian towed array many years ago, after the Falklands War?
I seem to remember reading that a few years ago.
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Old 7th Jan 2022, 13:45
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Originally Posted by bobward View Post
Didn't HMS Conqueror steal a Russian towed array many years ago, after the Falklands War?
I seem to remember reading that a few years ago.
https://www.popularmechanics.com/mil...-sonar-device/
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Old 7th Jan 2022, 13:56
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The technology is designed to detect and track quiet submarines
what the hell was that”, “shit”, “what the f*** have I just hit” as the boat crashes into its towed array sonar.


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Old 7th Jan 2022, 14:44
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When I was in Coastal Command I remember a big Naval exercise in the North Sea when a new type of Sonar Buoy was dropped by a Shackleton and picked up by a Russian submarine not long after the buoy entered the water.
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Old 7th Jan 2022, 15:17
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Old 7th Jan 2022, 15:36
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Another report indicates that the Type 23's helo had spotted the sub's periscope shortly before impact. Seems odd the Type 23 would allow the sub to collide with the towed array as the Type 23 has a considerable speed and maneuverability advantage over a sub at periscope depth.
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Old 7th Jan 2022, 15:38
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Was told the the Norwegians put a destructive charge in their sonobuoys, thus if one was recovered' by a certain state, they went "pop".
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Old 7th Jan 2022, 19:21
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Originally Posted by BFSGrad View Post
Another report indicates that the Type 23's helo had spotted the sub's periscope shortly before impact. Seems odd the Type 23 would allow the sub to collide with the towed array as the Type 23 has a considerable speed and maneuverability advantage over a sub at periscope depth.
I believe the towed array takes away a lot of that advantage as for it to work you have to go at relatively slow speed and stay on a steady course. It's also quite a way behind the ship so any alteration of course would probably be too late to have an affect. Speeding up might work but might just damage the array.
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Old 8th Jan 2022, 03:14
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So can we assume then that their towed array isn’t particularly effective in the mode for which it was designed however does work in a non conventional way when it actually comes into physical contact with a submarine.

perhaps they need to do away with sonar part and deploy a series of lines behind them with touch sensors instead.
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Old 8th Jan 2022, 07:41
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Originally Posted by Bing View Post
Originally Posted by BFSGrad View Post
Another report indicates that the Type 23's helo had spotted the sub's periscope shortly before impact. Seems odd the Type 23 would allow the sub to collide with the towed array as the Type 23 has a considerable speed and maneuverability advantage over a sub at periscope depth.
I believe the towed array takes away a lot of that advantage as for it to work you have to go at relatively slow speed and stay on a steady course. It's also quite a way behind the ship so any alteration of course would probably be too late to have an affect. Speeding up might work but might just damage the array.
The array is hundreds of metres long, hanging on an even longer tow cable, so not really something you can easily manouevre out of the way of an imminent collision.

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Old 8th Jan 2022, 08:22
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You’ve obviously not heard of the tactic of laying a line of balloons with magnets attached. When the sub gets close the magnets are drawn to the sub and you simply follow the balloons.
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Old 8th Jan 2022, 09:46
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So the array was deployed but did not 'see' the sub ? Did the Sub not detect the ship either ? Both seem unlikely

I wonder if Russians, fed up with being tracked around the Atlantic, decided to do a bit of vandalism to see what it takes to send an anti sub vessel home. Not a lot it seems
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Old 8th Jan 2022, 11:26
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Originally Posted by Jetstream67 View Post
So the array was deployed but did not 'see' the sub ? Did the Sub not detect the ship either ? Both seem unlikely

I wonder if Russians, fed up with being tracked around the Atlantic, decided to do a bit of vandalism to see what it takes to send an anti sub vessel home. Not a lot it seems
In all likelihood the sub would be well aware of the ship but may not have known about the silent towed array when it elected to pass astern of the Northumberland. From my brief brush with these things, the stern arc is an area of weakness for passive sonar on both ships and submarines on account of the spinning bits, hence the need to clear stern arcs from time to time to make sure you are not being followed . Perhaps the submarine was trying to move into the trail?
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Old 8th Jan 2022, 13:13
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I can't find a link t the Russian steal - IIRC the RN had parked up for the night and the next morning discovered the kit had disappeared overnight - and a Russian freighter had left about dawn

Vodka and medals all round I'd guess...................
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