KILLER WHALE

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Alexander Khramchikhin, Political and Military Analysis Institute Vremya MN, June 21, 2002, pp. 1-2

The Russian Navy is a hostage to old Soviet concepts. The Navy we have has been planned for objectives it will never have to handle. It is the US Navy that is multi-functional. The Russian Navy is completely inadequate, and funding shortages have nothing to do with that.

Ilya Klebanov’s statement that the Kursk was destroyed by its own torpedo confirms what everyone suspected from the very beginning. There have never been any other theories but the torpedo theory, and the Navy knew it all along. The most important questions, however, remain unanswered: where did the torpedo explode – why did it explode – and who is to blame?

Where did the torpedo explode?

Had the torpedo exploded in its tube, the consequences would not have been so devastating. Almost all of the blast’s energy would have gone into the water. At worst, the Kursk’s first compartment would have been flooded, but it would have prevented detonation of the rest of the torpedoes.

Why did it explode?

Looking again at the possibility of collision: the idea that a foreign submarine allegedly struck the torpedo apparatus. In this case, the other sub would have got the worst of the blast and its own Tomahawks would have detonated. It follows that this particular theory may be discounted.

In other words, the torpedo must have exploded inside the first compartment of the Kursk.

Hence the question: why did it explode? The answer is probably ridiculously simple: because it was defective.

There is another possible explanation here: mistakes made by the crew

This option is unlikely, because the Kursk had regularly sailed out and had even spent some time in the Mediterranean observing the NATO operation in Yugoslavia. The crew must have been experienced, in other words. The defective torpedo must therefore have come from the arsenals. Perhaps it had been stored improperly. The Kursk participated in the Northern Fleet maneuvers that were supposed to demonstrate “the reviving might” of the Armed Forces in general and the Navy in particular. The president himself had his attention focused on it. So everything was done in a hurry, so typical of Russia.

The submarine was destroyed by a flawed concept

In the Soviet Union, the Navy was supposed to be able to perform four major missions, one of which applied to the Armed Forces as such – a nuclear strike at the United States. Had this ever been accomplished, the three remaining missions would have become unnecessary, since civilization would have been destroyed. The three other tasks were as follows: fighting American aircraft-carriers, fighting American submarines, and cutting Europe off from America. Back in the 1960s and 1970s, Soviet Navy Commander Admiral Gorshkov assured the party and the government that the Navy was fully prepared to carry out all of these tasks, simultaneously. In fact, the Navy was not even 5% ready to do them, not even one at a time. Incompetence is not the reason. The problem is that our military-industrial complex did not supply the Navy with what the Navy needed. It supplied the Navy with what it could offer.

Projects 949 and 949A submarines were meant to fight aircraft-carriers and nothing else. Hence their Granit missiles, with a range of over 700 kilometers (24 missiles per submarine). Kit [Whale] torpedoes, the largest in the world (650-millimeter caliber, range 50 miles, possibly with nuclear warheads) were invented for the purpose. One of them exploded in the Kursk.

Project 949 submarines were produced in the late 1980s and early 1990s, when the global situation changed and American aircraft-carriers ceased to be such a threat. The Russian Navy is a hostage to old Soviet concepts. The Navy we have has been planned for objectives it will never have to handle. It is the US Navy that is multi-functional. The Russian Navy is completely inadequate, and funding shortages have nothing to do with that.

The Kursk should not have sailed out at all.

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