Was the K-129 Raised Successfully? Howard Hughes Mining Barge.
Posted 03 May 2012 - 01:56 AM
aviationintel | Where strategy, technology and opinon meet at the speed of sound…
Good read, anyhoo.
Posted 03 May 2012 - 02:10 AM
Posted 03 May 2012 - 02:20 AM
Wars are rarely fought in black and white, but in infinite shades of grey
(Poppy is occasionaly correct, or so I hear)
Posted 03 May 2012 - 03:23 AM
I personally find it hard to believe the HGE would leave and the CIA would scrap the operation after only recovering the bow section with its nuclear torpedoes. The K-129 was far outside its standard patrol area, and was lost in mysterious circumstances. Unless the USN had information about why the submarine was within missile range of Pearl Harbor (and apparently surfaced when it sank), it would have been necessary to raise the conning tower and recover the documents inside to find out for sure. Extra crewmen were on board -- last minute placements with no clear reason for being there. Several are rumored to have been KGB operatives. Ignoring this, a plethora of code books and other intelligence equipment that would have been on the submarine. This was the first time that US could completely recover an intact Soviet submarine. The missiles were also a prime target. Despite being out of date (the missiles were not cutting-edge technology at the time), these missiles had never been examined intact by the US before, and were currently the main threat offered by the Chinese missile arm. China was a rising power in Asia. Putting the missile itself aside, they also had nuclear warheads attached. The US would have wanted to examine the warheads, as ones of that class had never been examined before.
The USS Halibut was on-station for several weeks, and apparently extensively photographed the wreck. However, I personally doubt that it would have been able to penetrate the wreck and catalog its contents, not to mention provide the necessary detail for a throughout examination.
Additionally, I doubt that the recovery would have been scrapped after the temporary setback of losing part of the wreck. If the claw broke, what stopped the project from obtaining a replacement or shipping the current damaged claw back for repair? The HGE and its affiliated components was a multimillion dollar custom design, so would the project have been halted after a partial recovery due to the failure of one component? I don't think so. The HGE was on-site for over a month. In this one month period, only one section was successfully raised, and the mission was called off and closed in complete failure?
Among the items recovered was the ship's bell. If I recall correctly, the ship's bell was located in or near the control room on Soviet submarines, not in the bow section. If only the bow was recovered, why would the ship's bell have been salvaged? Its also been said that numerous documents were retrieved. Once again, the major of these (especially the intelligence ones) would have been near the center of the submarine.
I'm doing this all from memory, so there might be some errors here, but you get the point. I personally think the entire wreck was raised and stripped of all useful components following a detailed examination. After the salvage, the submarine would have been cut up and scrapped.
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