Wednesday, June 08, 2005

It can't get any worse, right?

Babble on.

I'm knocking on wood right now, because it surely could get worse for our submariners: "hitting rock bottom" takes on a whole new literal meaning when you're talking about the 'silent service'.

Having said that, the situation with our retread British cast-offs continues to disappoint:

Maintenance problems have forced the submarine HMCS Windsor back to port after just a few days at sea.

A couple of "maintenance issues" were discovered that the captain was not comfortable with, according to navy public affairs. So the sub was brought back to the dockyard Monday afternoon.

The navy isn't specifying what is being looked at or the extent of the problem.

Windsor left Halifax last Thursday on its first trip to sea since last fall's fire aboard sister sub HMCS Chicoutimi.

Once again - and I feel like I'm stuck in a bad Groundhog Day remake - this isn't an isolated incident. The West-Coasters have had a rough time of it as well:

The Canadian navy is dealing with more questions and more controversy as one of its submarines was forced back to port less than a day after it went to sea.

"The ship's company noticed a little bit of unusual sparking in the motors," Capt. Chris Henderson of the Dept. of National Defence said Friday in Ottawa about HMCS Victoria.

I think a submarine force is a very cost-effective tool for a cash-strapped Navy like our own with thousands of miles of coastline to patrol, and international commitments coming out the wazoo. But the Upholder purchase is looking more and more like an unsalvageable fiasco.

Most bad decisions can be fixed with enough time and effort, and I'm sure this one can too. But at some point it may become evident that simply starting over again from scratch would be the more efficient option. Let's hope that if we reach that point, those empowered to make such decisions will have the courage to do what's best for our country and those who serve in uniform, instead of covering the political backsides of their elected bosses.

Babble off.


At 4:56 p.m., Blogger Greg said...

Did you see the sad documentary on the news the other night about the maneuvers in the Arctic. The thing that made me hit my forehead was the fact that our warships aren't equiped to operate in icy water. One hit from a berglet can take out our ships. We are an Artic nation for God's sake!

At 5:31 p.m., Blogger Babbling Brooks said...

Didn't see the documentary, but yeah, I'm aware. That's one of the reasons buying some of the U.S. nuclear subs (LA class) would have been a better option than the Upholders - the LA's can operate under the ice for longer than the crew can (food, etc), and can bust through it if necessary.

Ditto with surface ships. The Russians visit our northern waters in nuclear-powered ice-breakers on a semi-regular basis.

I commented a bit more about how much of a joke Arctic sovereignty is here.


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