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Subject: USS Iowa and the USS Wisconsin bite the dust
Heorot    12/29/2005 3:43:24 PM
A sad day but apparently a boost to the DD(X). http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/12/20/AR2005122001445.html
 
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Arbalest    RE:Missile warheads   1/1/2006 1:30:36 AM
gf - I was analyzing things from a different perspective. I may be unable to respond to your points. My point "torpedoes are a more efficient kill mechanism" was that it seems to be true that it takes fewer torpedo hits to sink a ship than hits from a suitable gun (i.e., battleship main guns for a battleship, cruiser main guns for a cruiser, etc.). I think that Fitz made this point before me. It is true that, until the end of WW2, using torpedoes generally implied being well within gun (6" and up) range, but not the other way. This may be an unfair or even pointless comparison, but it is accurate. However, using torpedoes required either stealth/surprise or facing gunfire for a while. My other point was that gunfire was adequate to sink ships, or, more importantly, to render capital ships ineffective. Coronel and the Falklands are examples of ships being shot to pieces and sinking. The WW2 examples are of battleships simply being shot to pieces. The Battle Cruiser action is an example of a main gun round penetrating the armor, causing a magazine detonation and immediately destroying the ship, and more than once. My statement "It seems that the Russians intend the Sunburn to function like an APHE round, and that any fuel left over is an added bonus." from a previous post on this thread, suggests this model (certainly "shot to pieces", maybe even "magazine detonation"). As few ships these days are armored (at least as far as I know), the Harpoon, Exocet, etc., also seem to fit. The USS Stark seems to have survived this sort of kill model. Perhaps I should expand my speculation about the Sunburn. If the 320kg warhead is constructed like a 12" naval APHE round, then it essentially is identical to a 12" naval APHE round, but with the 10,000 yard kinetic energy available at all ranges (since it is powered). This will penetrate a lot of armor. In the original discussion, the question was, could this sink an Iowa-class battleship. My belief is "no", because the Iowa class armor is too thick for the Sunburn to penetrate. A hit would not be a trivial thing though. This is a very lethal weapon, particularly since it is guided. About 4% of the rounds fired at Jutland hit an enemy ship. Given the Sunburn's speed and a lock on a particular target, at a particular range it could simply do some calculations and course adjustments, then shut down and "go ballistic". Decoys, jamming, etc., would then be useless. If there is any fuel left, it is an added bonus. No other ships seem to be sufficiently armored. My guess is that several navies have some homework to do. I can't comment on the Mk 48 or the Shipwreck. I simply do not know.
 
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fitz    Re: Arbalest   1/1/2006 12:01:49 PM
First off - stop getting your major information from the internet. The recent exchange about Operation Praying Mantis is a good indicator of how far THAT will get you. For example, my information on the Stark attack comes from a detailed analysis (with diagrams) published in USNI proceedings. Wikipedia is the LAST PLACE I would go for that kind of detail information. OK then, back to business. How can I say this again more clearly... The fuel carried by the missile IS the incendiary (helped by consumables onboard the target). In practice, this mechanism has proven to offer greater lethality than the direct effect of the detonation of the warhead. The warhead is merely a means of opening up compartments to spread the burning fuel that didn't get used on the trip to the target. I'm going to just post some random, useful information. From "Naval Surface Weapons" by Dr D G Keily, part of the Brassey's Sea Power series: Controlled warhead tests (with Penguin) within naval targets have shown that the warhead blast effect will cause very serious damage to almost total destruction with a radius of some meters. Thermal and fragmentation effects will be instrumental in damaging equipment and installations, and in causing secondary firs outside of the primary blast area." Same source, describing Exocet: "A 700 to 800 kg missile which penetrates the ship at over Mach 0.9 (1,100 kph) and whose 160 kg warhead, in addition to its direct effect, acts on the ships components like a huge detonator, will cause considerable damage: a breached hull, internal explosions; fires and toxic vapours,; short circuits and, naturally, fragile electronics will be put out of action. Such effects, which occurred in the Falkland's conflict, make arguments as to whether a warhead actually exploded or not purely academic." Concerning the size of the hole produced, think about this; From "Surface Warships", Brassey's Sea Power Series by Dr P J Gates; "The kinetic energy of the missile or shell, however, is significant. Missile bodies, following their penetration warheads through the entry hole, represent a considerable amount of energy because they are heavy and may be travelling at very high velocities. In trials with inert warheads (concrete) a great deal of damage has been produced by the missile bodies which, having penetrated the hull, tend to tumble and brake up. This produces devestation in the shape of a truncated cone with its apex at the entry hole and its axes aligned aproximately with the missiles incoming path of flight. For example, the energy of 76 MJ can produce a truncated cone of three meters minimum and nine meters maximum diameter, extending across the whole width of the 11-meter beam of a frigate. "Fire is usually an associated effect of internal explosions. The heat of the explosion, combined with the flammable oil and fuel spilt from ruptured tanks and fuel lines, can readily result in a fire producing large quantities of (toxic) smoke. Unburnt propulsive fuel from the missile can add to the problem. Containment of fire and smoke may be difficult because the shock of the explosion can carry away or buckle doors..." Continuing..." From "Navies in the Nuclear Age" by Norman Friedman "But missiles are much less lethal: because they are unlikely to actually sink their targets. For example, HMS Sheffield sank, not from the direct effects of an Exocet hit, but by flooding in a storm (through holes well above the waterline) after she had been abandoned and after she had lost most of her stability because her oil fuel had burned out and fire-fighting water was sloshing about her upper deck. Similarly, USS Stark almost sank not because of two such hits but because she could not shed firefighting water, which was making her very unstable." So no, I don't just make this stuff up. The resulting list on USS Stark was clearly evident. Above-water hits don't let in water on their own. "Harpoon hits on fairly small Libyan and Iranian ships tended to disable them (often to burn them out), but not to sink them." From "Battle for the Falklands" by Max Hastings "Fired from point-blank range, around 6 miles, it (the AM.39 Exocet) impacted 8 feet above the waterline on Deck 2, in the vicinity of the forward engine room, causing a split in the hull some 10 by 4 feet. The blast effect tore watertight doors from bulkheads, and blew forward and aft up to the bridge. Ladders were torn from their mountings, equipment wrecked, and almost immediately thick black acrid smoke began to fill the lower decks." "It was immediately clear the lower decks must be evacuated to save men from the smoke." "Damage control teams at once began to try to establish smoke boundaries to stem the spread of the fire raging around the area o fimpact, but many of the watertight doors would no longer close. It was impossible to move between the forward and aft areas of the ship below decks.
 
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Arbalest    RE:Re: Arbalest   1/1/2006 4:22:44 PM
F ? You are, then, aware of the difference between simply getting information from the Internet, and using the Internet to provide easily accessible links to correct information. I too prefer books, but they do not post well to the Internet. I'm not a defender of Wikipedia, but they do seem to be about as accurate as the EB, except when maliciously abused. Their photographs seem to be as accurate as anyone else's. As for being literal/selective, I prefer to read provided material as it is written, with as much context as I can get, and then analyze it. For example, your first 2 paragraph quotes from "Naval Surface Weapons" are, to my mind, correct. This is the typical result of a naval APHE projectile exploding behind armor, as per Coronel, Jutland, etc., and my previous posts are in general agreement with your quotes. Same with your next two quotes from "Surface Warships". Pay particular to the sentence "Unburnt propulsive fuel from the missile can add to the problem". The information you should derive from your quote is that missiles fired near their maximum range will have very little fuel left. Igniting the fuel remaining in an almost empty fuel system (due to max range) should be clearly different from the effects of a strike at, say, mid-range, where, implicitly about half of the missiles fuel is still present and unburned. The comparison might be 5 gallons vs. 100+ gallons. The large warhead is the one thing that can be counted on, as it wil still be there on impact. Causing "a breached hull, internal explosions" fires, etc. (which is what explosives do) seems to be the point. Given that modern warships are essentially unarmored, assuming damage from the missile impact is reasonable. Back to the Iowa discussion briefly, this not a reasonable assumption against an armored WW2 era cruiser or larger ship. Do the sources need to explicitly state these inferences? Your "... warhead is merely a means ..." sentence (the whole sentence) is an unfounded assumption. The meaning of the "Unburnt propulsive fuel ..." quote is confirmation. Your source states that concrete warheads are used, and there is a link here on Strategy Page, about the usefulness of concrete JDAMs in taking down houses in Iraq. A concrete block performs like an AP projectile, likewise a turbojet body, at least for a deck or two. A glassfiber/aluminum/sheet steel/etc. missile body is much less dense and less structurally resistant to crumpling than a concrete block. It is necessary to exercise care in making assumptions and drawing conclusions about the degree of damage from an airframe. Getting the warhead inside the ship and the causing it to explode is the primary goal, and everything else is gravy. Your quotes of Dr. D. G. Keily, as I read and understand them, state and mean this. Attempting to pull out the relevant excerpts from your Max Hastings reference concerning the Sheffield, I note "... impacted ... causing a split in the hull some 10 by 4 feet ...", and "... to stem the spread of the fire raging around the area of impact, but many of the watertight doors would no longer close.". Incidentally, this sounds sort of like the events on the Stark. This damage (hull split, doors not closing) is, then, due to impact, and all pre-fire. My opinion and conclusions are that had the Exocet warhead detonated, events on the Sheffield would have ended very much sooner. Given that it did not explode, had the watertight doors still closed, the fire would have been contained very much sooner, with much less damage. But things happened the way they happened. As for the Styx carrying a shaped charge warhead behind the fuel tank with the intent to punch a hole in a ship, then fill it with burning liquid, I note that most diagrams and mockups of other AShMs do not follow this layout. I suspect that the reasons are 1) in most cases, the fuel tank will be almost empty, 2) detonating the shaped charge will indeed ignite any remaining fuel, but it will remain outside of the hole, as the detonation of the shaped charge will tend to dissipate everything not in the direct line of the carrot, 3) armoring the fuel tank to penetrate 15mm of steel and still maintain the structural integrity of the fuel tank/warhead assembly is not easy, and will cause balance problems for the airframe designers, and 4) some combination of 1,2,and 3. The "In theory ..." phrase in the text is a warning to exercise caution in drawing conclusions based on the associated material. I do indeed concede the point that sinking ships requires letting water in, as steel ships float because they displace water. We seem to agree on the effectiveness of torpedoes. My purpose in the torpedo/gun comparison was to show that delivering them (excluding subs) required facing gunfire. Gunfire always gets through, torpedoes might not (Midway). Gunfire will directly degrade fighting ability by destroying/disabling w
 
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fitz    RE:Re: Arbalest   1/2/2006 9:00:41 AM
"The information you should derive from your quote is that missiles fired near their maximum range will have very little fuel left. Igniting the fuel remaining in an almost empty fuel system (due to max range) should be clearly different from the effects of a strike at, say, mid-range, where, implicitly about half of the missiles fuel is still present and unburned. The comparison might be 5 gallons vs. 100+ gallons." This isn't normally a problem. Beyond horizon range, missile accuracy tends to drop like a rock in the ocean (that's why TASM died and the Russian long-range birds travel at Mach 3). At the ranges missiles are normally fired at in real combat, there's still plenty of fuel on board. And of course there are plenty of things on any ship that can be made to burn. By no means does it all have to come from the weapon. HMS Sheffield burned for 3 days and the warhead didn't even go off. Yes I know the Captain and most of the crew swear it did, but the lack of blast damage says otherwise. "Getting the warhead inside the ship and the causing it to explode is the primary goal, and everything else is gravy." Nope, that's not what I said or my reference said. Let's try again. "A 700 to 800 kg missile which penetrates the ship at over Mach 0.9 (1,100 kph) and whose 160 kg warhead, in addition to its direct effect, acts on the ships components like a huge detonator, will cause considerable damage: a breached hull, internal explosions; fires and toxic vapours,; short circuits and, naturally, fragile electronics will be put out of action. SUCH EFFECTS, WHICH OCCURRED IN THE FALKLAND'S CONFLICT, MAKE ARGUMENTS AS TO WHETHER A WARHEAD ACTUALLY EXPLODED OR NOT PURELY ACADEMIC."(emphasis added) On an Exocet/Harpoon sized weapon in particular the secondary effects will almost always far outwiegh the effect of the initial blast of the warhead. Again I refer you to the experience of HMS Sheffield where the professional concensus is that the AM.39's warhead did not explode, yet the ship was almost completely burned out and had to be abandoned. Having the warhead go off (which has been a problem for Exocet) is nice, but far from essential. I'm not sure how you conclude that things would have gone better on Sheffield had the warhead actually detonated. Your argument seems to hinge on the hope that critical bulkheads and doors would have remained in tact with the warhead going off, that were in fact breached when it didn't?!?!?!? I find that a bit illogical since blast/shock damage would have been greater, not less, with a warhead detonation. BTW - Exocet is solid fueled. The fuel contains its own oxidizer. The crew literally has seconds to put out such a fire at the source, otherwise it will rage on until there's nothing left to burn. Containing the fire in short order is simply not going to happen. Your right about some missiles not following the P-15/P-20 layout. Do they have shaped charge warheads? Are they designed to deal with the same target sets and have the same attack profile? Thre is more than one way to design a missile. The point I was making with P-15/20 is taht the designers understood - in the late 1950's - the incendiary effect of the unused fuel. I don't we we really figured that out in the west until the early 1980's.
 
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Arbalest    RE:Re: Arbalest   1/2/2006 3:42:44 PM
Does your statement "Beyond horizon range, missile accuracy tends to drop ..." apply to guided missiles, ones with seeker heads that are designed to lock on to a ship? Most navies are counting on decoys, jamming, chaff, etc., to avoid getting hit, with a last resort to CIWS or equivalent I note that AShMs with ranges in excess of 100km are being deployed, and I suspect that they are quite capable of hitting a ship from beyond horizon range. The designs indicate that they seem to be relying primarily on the blast from the warhead, shaped-charge or not, and it is in the nose, ahead of the fuel. What is the range at which missiles are normally fired at in real combat? The various incidents with the Iranians in the Persian Gulf, while at close range, are also not against a declared enemy. A simple detection of an Iranian vessel or aircraft is currently not sufficient cause to engage. The Sheffield and Stark incidents started with launches closer to the Exocet's maximum range. Given the various detection platforms and defensive weapons of modern navies, I predict that, in future engagements, launches from near maximum range will be the norm. The use of the word "sooner" does not equal "better", and my statement context is clear and does not make such an implication. A reprint of my statement "My opinion and conclusions are that had the Exocet warhead detonated, events on the Sheffield would have ended very much sooner. Given that it did not explode, had the watertight doors still closed, the fire would have been contained very much sooner, with much less damage." seems to be needed to clarify. Given the damage done to the Sheffield (hull damage in particular, with no explosion), it seems likely that an explosion would have ended events sooner, i.e., more hull damage, probable quick sinking. For the British, this would have been sooner, but not better. Given the damage done to the Sheffield with no explosion, had the doors been closable/sealable (they weren't), the fire might have been contained much sooner (the crew were trying to do this, after all), resulting in less, potentially much less, fire damage. This seems to be the opinion of the various authorities. This is an example of ending events, possibly sooner, but probably in a way much more favorable to the British. I suspect that methods for ensuring doors close and seal, even when the ship has been twisted or wracked, have been successfully developed, analyzed and deployed over the past 20 years, as a direct result of the Sheffield. Your quote: "... whose 160 kg warhead, in addition to its direct effect, acts on the ships components like a huge detonator, will cause considerable damage: ..." (examples of damage), is an explicit statement by the author that the warhead detonation, inside the ship, is the primary goal and the key to additional damage. This is self-evident, and it seems the author's first and second points (initial blast and detonator for other things). That a missile penetrating a modern ship would cause additional fires from cutting cables, venting fuel and fluids, and maybe igniting them, etc., is also highly probable. The quote that you emphasized relies upon the Falklands experience. As shown, the British were unable to contain the fire. If the fire is contained, and the Stark seems to be a counter-example, although perhaps only by a small margin, then the emphasized statement seems to be incorrect. Dr. Keily may be making an assumption and assuming that the reader understands and is aware of the conditions needed. Your later quote of Dr. Gates in your previous post: "Unburnt propulsive fuel from the missile can add to the problem. Containment of fire and smoke may be difficult because the shock of the explosion can carry away or buckle doors..." seems to also point to the warhead detonation being the assumed primary kill mechanism.
 
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fitz    RE:Re: Arbalest   1/2/2006 7:38:47 PM
Nearly all anti-ship missiles - with the notable exception of small helicopter-delivered weapons like Sea Skua or AGM-65 - have ranges well beyond the horizon. Don't confuse maximum range with effective range though. Those are two different things. Combat experience, from the Falkland's to the Gulf to the test range has confirmed over and over again that the greater the distance travelled, the lower the chance the missile will find its target and score a hit. Ships move, target data is less precise with range, missiles have small disposable (cheap) seekers with limited range and field of view and at greater distances countermeasures become more effective. Various assmed ranges for the launch against Sheffield have been given - I have seen as as high as 40km given but it was probably closer to about 10km. Much farther away and the pair of Etendards would have had to stay at higher altitude longer to get a target fix and would have been more readily detected. AM.39 is generally credited with a range of 50-70km depending on the speed and altitude of the launch platform. Peter Smiths "Ship Strike" reports that Stark didn't broadcast her first radio warning to the Iraqi Falcon 50 until it had closed to just 21km firing his weapons at probably around 17-19km. Hardly long range for AM.39 and the Iraqi aircraft most certainly had an excellent fix on his target which did nothing to deter the attack. Note that 3 of the 5 AM.39 attacks in the Falkland's failed due to firing at extended range -closer to 50km. Even the hit on Atlantic Conveyor was lucky - she was most likely not the intended target. If I may quote from USNI Guide to World Naval Weapon Systems 1997-98 again in the entry for Exocet; "The OR was to disable the target, the designer aruing that to guarantee sinking they would have to provide so heavy a weapon as to preclude carrying it on board anything but a large ship. They also argued that even a relatively small (7-800kg) missile penetrating a ship at Mach 0.9 or more while carrying a 160kg warhead would ahve a devestating effect on a large ship. Some have compared this misile to a 13.5-inch semi-armor piercing (i.e. battleship) shell. In practice, when Exocets have failed to explode after impact, their unexpended sold fuel, which contains its own oxidizer, has started major fires. This incendiary effect seems to have been entirely unexpected. A substantial number of duds were reported during both the Falkland's War (for example, the Sheffield succubmed to the effects of the rocket fuel fire, the warhead never exploding) and the Gulf War..." Note the "unexpected" part, which is critical. Most of the references I quoted from are a good 15 years old, before a lot of information about the actual effects of missile hits in combat was well known. Like this one... "Unburnt propulsive fuel from the missile can add to the problem. Containment of fire and smoke may be difficult because the shock of the explosion can carry away or buckle doors..." Yes that assumes warhead detonation (in a textbook sort of way) but that just goes back to what I said earlier. The value of the warhead is to help spread the fire. The fire, not the explosion is what does the most serious damage. Note too that, as we both agree, the warhead of the missile that hit Sheffield did not explode, yet doors were buckled or torn from thier bulkheads, equipment was wrecked, the unified fire main was disabled etc - all without any help from the warhead. So yes, to make your point, the warhead is ASSUMED to be a contributor to the party. That is why it is there, after all. However, to make my point, the party can be just as exciting without it, as actual combat experience has shown. Of the two Exocet which hit USS Stark, one went all the way through the ship and out the other side, venting multiple compartments to the flames. The other exploded in the first compartment it entered. Which one did more structural damage? You can claim that a warhead explosion would have sunk Sheffield, but you have no proof and the weapons own designers will be the first to say that's not so. Why didn't Stark sink, she took 2 hits and one definately exploded? We have the reports of experts who have told us that the damage done by the missile on its own without the warhead can make the detonation of it almost redundant. So what more do you need to be able to accept the fact You see, I spend most of my time on other boards with guys who get paid to think about this stuff for a living. Not like here where there are no experts on naval issues at all. I've been having this conversation elsewhere regularly for 8-9 years with guys who either help design the ships, design the weapons or fight the damage they cause. When I speak it is with the accumulation of that 8-9 years of discussion and debate. The references I can quote from books or reputable periodicals can't even hope to cover the entire scope
 
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Yimmy    RE:Re: Arbalest   1/2/2006 8:52:52 PM
"Various assmed ranges for the launch against Sheffield have been given - I have seen as as high as 40km given but it was probably closer to about 10km. Much farther away and the pair of Etendards would have had to stay at higher altitude longer to get a target fix and would have been more readily detected" I believe the distance will have been more like 40km's myself. Much less and the Eternard would not have been over the horizon from the ship board sensors. The accounts I have read from the attack, were along the lines of the Eternard finding the ships through a pop-up attack, fireing the missile, and then ducking back down, out of sensor range (ie over the horizon). If the aircraft closed to 10km's to fire its missile, it would have been located well in advane of its missile launch, and its pop-up radar look would have placed it right in Sea Darts kill zone - when no such SAM was fired. I know the sat phone in use prevented HMS Sheffield from using some systems (ECM being one), but I dont believe the air search radar was effected.
 
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Yimmy    RE:Re: Arbalest   1/2/2006 8:56:14 PM
Just to add to my previous post. I do not believe you have enough evidence accumulated to say outright that longer ranges result in less missile hits, especially given that the terminal guidance of the missile is the same at any range (or perhaps you are assuming the power supply to the missile sensor runs out?). Also, it does not take long to gain a target fix. I believe the radar of the Super Eternard would be capable of automatically processing a speed and heading of the target within a split second (unlike older radars). With this information known all the pilot need to is fire on the correct bearing.
 
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Galrahn    RE:Re: Arbalest   1/2/2006 11:06:06 PM
There is a doctrine issue too. Keep in mind it was doctrine that Soviet subs would not fire torpedos in war outside of 14000 yards. This included the heavy 650mm torps. While you can expect a poorly trained military to fire at max range (like Argentina), it is unlikely a lesser trained military force would be able to fix a target at max range. I seriously doubt the Soviets would have deviated much from doctrine during the cold war period, it seems highly unlikely, particularly on a modern ship, sub, or bomber launching a missile. Oscar II trained under a similar doctrine, they were not to release their shipwreck missiles outside of 15-20nm. It was suspected that at 15-20nm an Oscar II should be able to sink an entire US CVBG at the time, which was about 7 ships on average including the carrier. Not a single US Navy member of the panal disputed the materials during the testimony phase, so I assume that means they assumed the data was considered valid. Assuming an Oscar II got close enough to fire its shipwrecks, a US CVBG would likely lose the entire task force, due to the speed of the missiles it would give escorts fewer than 90 seconds to shoot down all 24 of the missiles with only 15-20nm to work with. The resulting fires would be nearly impossible to get under control after multiple hits, even on a ship the size of a carrier. There is no link for this info, it comes from declassified KGB materials obtained in 1993 and presented as supplimental matierals in Congressional testimony, although I would not be surprised if it is also available somewhere online.
 
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gf0012-aust    RE:Re: Arbalest   1/2/2006 11:51:58 PM
"There is no link for this info, it comes from declassified KGB materials obtained in 1993 and presented as supplimental matierals in Congressional testimony, although I would not be surprised if it is also available somewhere online." there's also the issue that the one Foxtrot that got away during the Cuban Crisis had a single nuke onboard. He had total autonomy to fire (as did the other 4) and was at one stage within 10km of an ASW carrier task force (Hanc0ck class??) that was a first hand acct given by the boats captain in "red tide rising" - it's an interesting book as it details how hard the conditions were that the Sovs played under - and from their perspective. The Capt was pretty sure that his nuke could have cemolished the bulk of the ASW Strike Force, thankfully he didn't want to go into history as the bloke who started WW3 and decided that he wasn't going to launch even though Kruschev and Gorshkov had given priors. scarey thought at what could have ensued. Intersting to note that his 4 other compatriots (also nuke armed with one N-tip each) were all picked up the moment that they left their homeports and that the USN was also cleared to drop them if they took an offensive position.
 
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