October 01, 2003

Sinking of the Kursk

On August 12, 2000, the Russian submarine Kursk suffered a catastrophic emergency during a training exercise which quickly caused the boat to sink with all hands lost.

According to the Russian Naval Museum, there were two distinct explosions heard aboard the Kursk. Some maintain that a third explosion was detected as well. These explosions were verified by two US submarines and a British submarine which were shadowing the Russian fleet. Further corroboration came from US and a Norwegian Intelligence gathering ships in the area, as well as units of the Russian fleet involved in the exercise.

there were many theories about what happened aboard the Kursk, some downright silly. Among the plausible ones put forth:

Collision with unknown surface or submersible ship.
Hitting a mine (modern or World War II times).
Foreign torpedo hit as a result of fatal error of foreign submarine.
Explosion during trial a "secret torpedo" or other newest Russian weapon.
Mass debilitation of crew by a decompression sickness at the moment of transition from "whale jump" to emergency diving. In result the submarine went out of control, was stuck against the seabed, there was weapons explosion later.
Hit by "secret, latest" weapon of NATO.

Some crew members survived the original explosions, but it's almost certain that they knew nothing of what had actually happened since they were trapped in the aft engineering spaces, far from the source of the explosions. These crewmen all died before the badly bungled rescue efforts could get underway.

It is now generally accepted that there was an accident with a new type of torpedo on board. This torpedo used a combination of liquid fuels for propulsion which were volatile and somewhat unstable. This same type of fuel had been tested and rejected by the Royal Navy as being too dangerous for use aboard submarines.

Many people fail to realize just how large these modern submarines are. Our first thought is often of old war movies and the U-boat. The Kursk was a new boat, being commissioned in 1995. Her crew had just recieved an award for performance and readiness. On her last cruise, she carried 118 men.

The extended entry contains a picture that will help you gauge her actual size.


Posted by Ted at October 1, 2003 05:52 AM
Category: Military

I remember so clearly how f'd up the rescue "effort" was. The Russians refused all the assistance that was offered, but seemed to have no farkin' ability of their own to rescue the survivors. What a shame.

Posted by: Tuning Spork at October 1, 2003 09:51 PM
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