Hawaii's Pearl Harbor To Become Hub For New Nuclear Subs

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Hawaii's Pearl Harbor To Become Hub For New Nuclear Subs

Post by USS ALASKA » Tue Jan 13, 2009 2:57 pm

Honolulu Advertiser
January 9, 2009

Hawaii's Pearl Harbor To Become Hub For New Nuclear Subs

Virginia-class vessels likely to mean hiring hundreds more workers

By William Cole, Advertiser Military Writer
Two-thirds of the Navy's new Virginia-class submarines initially will be based at Pearl Harbor, making Hawai'i the main hub for the advanced attack submarines, Navy officials said yesterday.
The Navy plans to build 30 of the nuclear submarines, which cost up to $2.5 billion apiece, carry torpedoes and missiles, and can drop off commandos close to shore.
The Navy isn't releasing the exact number or arrival schedule for subs coming to Pearl Harbor beyond the USS Hawaii, expected in late June, and the USS Texas, scheduled to arrive in late October or early November.
U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, D-Hawai'i, previously has said the USS North Carolina also will be homeported here.
The Navy revealed the Virginia-class submarine distribution information yesterday at an annual military update for the Hawai'i business community.
Capt. W. Scott Gureck, a spokesman for the U.S. Pacific Fleet, said Virginia-class submarines initially will be homeported in Groton, Conn., and at Pearl Harbor. At least four that are in active service have operated temporarily out of the East Coast.
The 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review, a 20-year planning roadmap for the military, called for 60 percent of attack submarines to be based in the Pacific and 40 percent in the Atlantic.
"The initial (Virginia-class) homeporting will indeed be at Groton and Pearl Harbor, but eventually they will be everywhere we currently have Los Angeles-class (subs)," Gureck said. "It's just from a parts standpoint and maintenance standpoint, you don't want to put a couple Virginias in all the locations. You want to put them where you have critical mass."
The overall number of attack submarines at Pearl Harbor — about 15 — will not change, Gureck said. The new Virginia class will replace existing Los Angeles-class submarines as the older class reaches the end of its lifespan, he said.
The Virginia-class arrival is good news for Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard, the state's largest industrial employer, with 4,200 civilian workers.
About 90 percent of the yard's work has been on the aging Los Angeles-class attack submarines, including maintenance as well as nuclear reactor refueling and defuelings.
More Shipyard jobs
Capt. Gregory Thomas, who commands the shipyard, yesterday said the switch to Virginia-class work "keeps us focused on what's been our principal product here for the past 10 years — which is submarines."
"It's a very smooth transition," Thomas said, adding that the workload should mean an increase to about 4,400 shipyard workers by 2013. The bulk of the work was non-reactor servicing, and that will continue with the Virginia subs, he said.
Northrop Grumman is producing the Virginia-class submarines in a teaming arrangement with General Dynamics Electric Boat. The Virginia class is ultimately expected to total 30 vessels.
Ten of the vessels have been delivered or were already under contract before a December award of a $14 billion contract for eight more of the submarines, according to Bloomberg News.
The contract calls for construction of one submarine in each of the years 2009 and 2010, and two per year from 2011 to 2013.
The submarines are 377 feet long and have a beam of 34 feet. They can operate at underwater speeds of more than 25 knots, dive more than 800 feet and stay submerged for up to three months at a time.
The submarines also are equipped with a lock-out chamber large enough for nine commandos, more than triple the capacity of older submarines.
Military and economy
About 270 business people attended yesterday's military update at the Hilton Hawaiian Village by all five of the U.S. armed forces, a larger turnout than usual for the annual meeting.
The event is hosted by the Chamber of Commerce of Hawai'i. Charlie Ota, the chamber's vice president for military affairs, said the big turnout may be tied to business looking even more to the military for contracts in tough economic times.
The military "is a relatively stable source of revenue to the economy," Ota said.
The military, the No. 2 contributor to the state's economy behind tourism, has been in expansion mode in Hawai'i in recent years.
Lt. Gen. Benjamin R. Mixon, commander of U.S. Army Pacific at Fort Shafter, said 10,500 soldiers and civilian workers have been added in Hawai'i.
Col. Wayne Shanks, a spokesman at the command, said that change has taken place since the late 1990s. Shanks said Schofield Barracks has about 20,000 soldiers and Fort Shafter has about 3,000.
Adm. Robert Willard, the four-star commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet and the keynote speaker at the chamber's luncheon following the military update, said Asia and the Pacific will remain central to U.S. interests.
He said he doesn't expect the commitment of operating forces to diminish, even with the current economy.
U.S. Pacific Command, headquartered at Camp Smith, covers half the globe and monitors five of the biggest militaries in the world: those of the People's Republic of China, India, Russia, North Korea and South Korea.
"There are certainly concerns that the budgets in the military will be affected by the current economic environment that we find ourselves in," Willard said.
But he added that he believes "the readiness monies that are invested in maintaining the fleet — and the forces that exist out here — will remain."

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RF
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Re: Hawaii's Pearl Harbor To Become Hub For New Nuclear Subs

Post by RF » Sat Jan 17, 2009 10:50 am

Given the geography of the Pearl Harbor base and the fact that it has been successfully attacked in the past is this really the right place to base these submarines?
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Re: Hawaii's Pearl Harbor To Become Hub For New Nuclear Subs

Post by Bgile » Sat Jan 17, 2009 6:10 pm

RF wrote:Given the geography of the Pearl Harbor base and the fact that it has been successfully attacked in the past is this really the right place to base these submarines?
The geography of the base makes it an excellent anchorage. Major fleet units were based there before and after the Pearl Harbol attack. There are excellent submarine, logistic and other facilities there, and it's been a submarine base pretty much as long as modern submarines have existed. There is family housing, and it's a nice place to live.

You are suggesting that because the Japanese attacked PH successfully once in WWII that we can't use it for a base anymore. Every base we have can be attacked, but PH is one of the most easily defended, because there are thousands of miles of empty ocean in all directions. PH has a unique strategic location. Exactly where do you suggest the USN base it's Pacific Fleet submarines?

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Re: Hawaii's Pearl Harbor To Become Hub For New Nuclear Subs

Post by minoru genda » Sat Jan 17, 2009 6:30 pm

Bgile wrote:Exactly where do you suggest the USN base it's Pacific Fleet submarines?
Maybe Midway? :D
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Re: Hawaii's Pearl Harbor To Become Hub For New Nuclear Subs

Post by RF » Mon Jan 19, 2009 2:36 pm

Midway does not have major harbours or dock facilities.

PH is easily defensible when the defenders are on the alert, the weakness is with surprise attacks. However what I was thinking with PH was the description of the anchorage as a ''mouse trap'' and that the entrance channels could easily be blocked by vessels sinking there - as was the risk with the USS Nevada during the latter stages of the Japanese attack. Another concern would be that raised by General Short, the risk of possible sabotage from the cover of a large civilian population lying around the base.

Alternative bases - I would look to Alaska. Subs have much greater endurance at sea nowadays compared to WW2 and I would expect the US Pacific sub fleet to spend most of its time at sea, so the extra transit time shouldn't be a great issue.
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Re: Hawaii's Pearl Harbor To Become Hub For New Nuclear Subs

Post by Bgile » Mon Jan 19, 2009 4:49 pm

I know you have never served on a submarine, but I can tell you it isn't practical for any naval vessel to spend most of it's time at sea. It's a human factors thing. If there is a war and the crew knows the nation is fighting for its existence, it might be possible for a few years. Ultimately the navy would fall apart. You seem to think people are not involved and these ships are all run by robots who have no families or personal lives.

Alaska? Are you serious? Where are the major harbor and dock facilites you rejected Midway for? Alaska gets cold in the winter. It isn't most people's choice for the place to raise a family.

You want to move the PH submarine base to Alaska in a time of economic disaster? Forgetting for a moment what a bad place that would be for a sub base, do you have any idea what that would cost? Whoever even suggested that idea would be laughed out of his job.

I can tell you transit time to operational areas is important. Submarines only make two month patrols. PH is a major naval base because of it's strategic location.

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Re: Hawaii's Pearl Harbor To Become Hub For New Nuclear Subs

Post by minoru genda » Mon Jan 19, 2009 5:49 pm

Up until now what was the major hub for nuclear submarines?
What is so new about Pearl Harbor? There was a submarine base there since the days of WWII.
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Re: Hawaii's Pearl Harbor To Become Hub For New Nuclear Subs

Post by Bgile » Mon Jan 19, 2009 6:35 pm

minoru genda wrote:Up until now what was the major hub for nuclear submarines?
What is so new about Pearl Harbor? There was a submarine base there since the days of WWII.
Up until now PH has been the major hub for Pacific SSNs.

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Re: Hawaii's Pearl Harbor To Become Hub For New Nuclear Subs

Post by RF » Tue Jan 20, 2009 3:09 pm

Bgile wrote:I know you have never served on a submarine, but I can tell you it isn't practical for any naval vessel to spend most of it's time at sea. It's a human factors thing. If there is a war and the crew knows the nation is fighting for its existence, it might be possible for a few years. Ultimately the navy would fall apart. You seem to think people are not involved and these ships are all run by robots who have no families or personal lives.

Alaska? Are you serious? Where are the major harbor and dock facilites you rejected Midway for? Alaska gets cold in the winter. It isn't most people's choice for the place to raise a family.

You want to move the PH submarine base to Alaska in a time of economic disaster? Forgetting for a moment what a bad place that would be for a sub base, do you have any idea what that would cost? Whoever even suggested that idea would be laughed out of his job.

I can tell you transit time to operational areas is important. Submarines only make two month patrols. PH is a major naval base because of it's strategic location.
I am not unaware of the human factors involved, or of cost. If it is impractical then it is by definition a non-starter.
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Re: Hawaii's Pearl Harbor To Become Hub For New Nuclear Subs

Post by tnemelckram » Sun Jan 25, 2009 11:08 pm

I's say Guam is a little too exposed to China and the North Koreans (within range of their missiles and planes and easy cruising range of their ships and subs), but not Pearl.

Pearl is a 2,500 mile head start off the Pacific coast. That kind of brings it within equal distance to the Arabian Sea as from the Atlantic Coast bases. It adds a lot of operational flexibility.

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Re: Hawaii's Pearl Harbor To Become Hub For New Nuclear Subs

Post by Legend » Sun Jan 25, 2009 11:12 pm

I agree, Hawaii has always been a great strategic location and shall be for some time. It's in the very center of the Pacific Plate (literally) and is a good defensive location. To move it anwwhere lese would be a silly and expensive idea.
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Re: Hawaii's Pearl Harbor To Become Hub For New Nuclear Subs

Post by Bgile » Mon Jan 26, 2009 12:47 am

tnemelckram wrote:I's say Guam is a little too exposed to China and the North Koreans (within range of their missiles and planes and easy cruising range of their ships and subs), but not Pearl.

Pearl is a 2,500 mile head start off the Pacific coast. That kind of brings it within equal distance to the Arabian Sea as from the Atlantic Coast bases. It adds a lot of operational flexibility.
There IS a submarine base at Guam unless they have decommissioned it since I was in. But as far as I know there are no submarines home ported there. It's pretty isolated.

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New Attack Submarine En Route To Its New Home At PH

Post by USS ALASKA » Tue Sep 22, 2009 1:20 pm

Honolulu Star-Bulletin
September 20, 2009


New Attack Submarine En Route To Its New Home At Pearl Harbor

By Gregg K. Kakesako

The 377-foot USS Texas -- the second in the Virginia class of attack submarines -- left the East Coast last week bound for its new home port at Pearl Harbor.

The Pacific Fleet's Submarine Force will not say exactly when the $2.7 billion Texas will join its sister ship the USS Hawaii, which arrived at Pearl Harbor on July 23 to kick off the state's 50th anniversary of statehood. The Navy cited its policy of not disclosing information on warship movements.

The 7,800-ton Texas is the fourth ship in the Navy to be named after the state. It left New London Naval Submarine Base at Groton, Conn., on Wednesday for Hawaii, a Pacific Fleet Submarine Force spokesman said.

Besides the Hawaii and the Texas, the Navy plans to station the Virginia-class USS North Carolina at Pearl Harbor. It was commissioned in May 2008.

During the ceremonies welcoming the USS Hawaii to Pearl Harbor, Rear Adm. Douglas McAneny, commander of the Pacific Fleet Submarine Force, hinted that a fourth Virginia-class sub, the USS California, which has been under construction since 2006, might join the Pacific Fleet after it is delivered to the Navy in 2013.

The contract to build the Texas was awarded to Northrop Grumman Newport News shipyard in Virginia in 1998. Its keel was laid on 2002, and the sub was christened in 2004 by then-first lady Laura Bush in Galveston, Texas. It joined the Atlantic Fleet in 2006.

The sub and its crew of 134 sailors is led by Cmdr. Robert Roncska.

In July, Gov. Linda Lingle noted that home-porting just one Virginia-class submarine at Pearl Harbor meant an economic windfall of $17 million annually by keeping the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard busy.

The Navy has said that by the end of 2009, 31 of the U.S. Navy's 53 fast attack submarines will be in the Pacific, with 18 home-ported in Pearl Harbor, two more than currently assigned.

Sixteen Los Angeles-class submarines -- the predecessor of the Virginia-class boats -- are berthed at Pearl Harbor. Plans call for 20 Virginia-class submarines to be built to replace the aging Los Angeles-class subs, which were pressed into service three decades ago. Earlier this month the Navy announced that production problems will delay the commissioning of the New Mexico and Missouri attack submarines, also Virginia class, until next year.

The first ship of the class, USS Virginia, was delivered in 2004.

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