Military Review

Deadly batteries

Deadly batteriesWorld experience in the operation of submarines (PL) shows that accidents associated with various technical malfunctions and violations of the requirements for the operation of batteries (AB), resulting in fires and hydrogen explosions, are not extremely rare in the practice of submarine fleets. Over the past 70 years, they account for at least 3% of all accidents and disasters that occurred on the submarine.

Accidents and disasters with similar causes occurred in the 1949 – 1988 years on four diesel-electric submarines of the US Navy: Cochino (SS-345), Pomodon (SS-486), Grayback (SSG-574) and “ Bounfish (SS-582). Hydrogen explosions and fires in battery pits with victims among submariners took place on submarines of the fleets and other countries, including: the submarine of the Polish Navy “Cep” (of the type “Obzhel”) - in 1974; USSR Navy submarine M-258 (Project A-615) - in 1965; French submarine "Doris" (type "Daphne") - in 1968; submarine of the British Navy "Alliance" (type "Efion") - in 1971 year. It is likely that for this reason, the Argentine Navy submarine San Juan (type Santa Cruz) also died in November 2017.

In total, over the past 70 years, at least eight accidents involving a hydrogen explosion have occurred on diesel-electric submarines (diesel-electric submarines), of which two ended in disaster. So, 28 August 1949 of the year on the US Navigator “Kochino” diesel-electric submarines from a damaged battery leaked hydrogen, which led to an explosion and fire. Around 14 hours, the sailors fought for the survival of the submarine, but the second explosion forced them to leave the submarine and evacuate to the submarine "Task". The Kochino submarine sank at a depth of 250 m. More details on accidents and catastrophes of this kind are discussed in the table.

Experience in eliminating accidents associated with a hydrogen explosion at submarines in various fleets countries of the world shows that the very fact of an explosion, the subsequent fire and their consequences, however, rarely lead to a submarine disaster and the loss of the entire crew. In most cases, the submarine floats to the surface, the fire is localized by the crew, and the submarine moves to a safe place under its own power or with the help of a tug. At the same time, the submarine's crew at sea can be evacuated by specially deployed rescue forces or ships, civilian ships and even submarines that are close to the accident.

What happened to the San Juan diesel-electric submarine

15 November 2017 of the Argentina-based San Juan diesel-electric submarine departed from the port of Ushuaia with the aim of making the inter-base crossing to the permanent location in Mar del Plata. On board the diesel submarines were 44 submariner. At the beginning of the day on November 15, the commander of the San Juan diesel-electric submarines reported to the shore about the accident aboard the diesel-electric submarines and gave the coordinates of his location. It was the last report from a submarine when she was 240 miles from the coast. From that moment, communication with the submarine was lost.

According to representatives of the Argentine Navy, the cause of the explosion on board the missing Argentine submarine San Juan could be a high concentration of hydrogen. At the same time, the possibility of an explosion of ammunition (22 torpedoes) by the Argentine side was excluded due to the absence of torpedoes on board the submarine.

A number of Russian authoritative military experts agreed with this version and suggested that the explosion could occur due to violations of the operating conditions or malfunctioning of the battery itself. The root causes of the hydrogen explosion, according to the operating experience of the battery, can also include contact with seawater on current-carrying parts of the battery, which can cause a short circuit and an explosion in conditions of high hydrogen concentrations in the submarine compartments. This root cause of the accident on the submarine "San Juan" is considered as the most likely.

Subsequently, the Argentine Navy confirmed the root cause of the accident by making an official statement that during the last communication session, the commander of the Argentine submarine San Juan reported that water had entered the snorkel during battery charging, which led to a short circuit in the AB contact group. Snorkel is a submarine retractable device that provides diesel operation under water and is used to supply atmospheric air to the diesel compartment in the periscope position and remove diesel exhaust gases (in the domestic fleet it is called RDP).

The Argentinean military department is also considering another possible cause of the accident - a technical malfunction of the battery itself. Thus, the San Juan diesel-electric submarine in 2007 – 2014 underwent medium repair. In the process of repairing engines and batteries were replaced. The atypically long average repair period is explained by the lack of financial resources and the necessary number of qualified personnel. Moreover, according to Argentine media reports, it turned out that violations were discovered when purchasing batteries for the San Juan submarine. An inspection conducted by the Argentine Defense Ministry revealed that the established procedure for concluding contracts for the purchase of batteries for the San Juan submarine was violated. As a result, batteries with an expired warranty were purchased for the submarine. It is likely that these problems have affected the quality of repair of the electric power system, as well as the preparation of the San Juan diesel-electric submarines for release to sea.

In the case of the San Juan submarine, the hydrogen explosion caused another abnormal emergency - the loss of the hull tightness, the emergency flow of sea water into the compartments as a result of the hydrogen explosion. As a result, the submarine lost buoyancy and sank. Thus, a brief overview of the events at the San Juan submarine showed that in a short period at least three very dangerous accidents occurred on it. Two AB accidents associated with seawater contact through the RDP on AB contacts and the subsequent hydrogen explosion, accompanied by fire. And one accident associated with the depressurization of the submarine hull and the ingress of sea water into the submarine compartments as a result of the hydrogen mixture explosion. This whole chain of accidents led to the San Juan catastrophe.

Since the Sun Haun submarine has four compartments, and the buoyancy reserve is no more than 8 – 10%, flooding any of the compartments makes it impossible to ascend independently, even from small depths of several tens of meters. If the submarine failed for the maximum depth in the area of ​​the ocean depression and crushed it, there was no chance for the crew to rescue. But the question of what happened at San Juan can only be answered after finding the submarine and inspecting the outer and inner parts of the hull structure, as well as all the submarine equipment, studying material evidence of the causes of the accident, watch documents, technical control data, and so on. d.

Today, an international team involved in the search for the missing submarine has up to 30 ships and aircraft, as well as up to 4 thousands of people from 13 countries of the world. In addition to Russia, Germany, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Spain, the USA, France, Norway, Peru, the United Kingdom and Uruguay participate in the search operation.

Russia sent to Argentina specialists from the 328-th expeditionary search and rescue team with a remote-controlled underwater vehicle (TPA) "Panther Plus" (lowered to a depth of 1 thousand meters), as well as the oceanographic research vessel "Yantar", equipped with two deep-water devices, allowing to conduct surveys at depths up to 6 thousand meters. During their participation in prospecting work off the coast of Argentina, the specialists of the search and rescue service of the Russian Navy aboard the Argentine Navy tug "Islas alvinas "fired several tens dives TPA" Panther Plus "at a depth of up to 125 1050 m for the bottom of the survey. During this period, two sunken fishing trawlers and two concrete blocks were discovered and classified.

As the experience of search and rescue operations of emergency submarines in different countries shows, especially many problems arise when they are organized at the initial stage. At the same time, a lot of time is lost on assessing the situation, various consultations and coordination. And in this case, every submariner knows, every minute is dear. Extra time loss can result in loss of real opportunities to save the lives of submariners. In this regard, in order to increase the efficiency of rescue of emergency submarines without extra coordination and consultations, Russia proposed the creation of an international coordination center to assist emergency submarines. This was announced at the 54 International Submariners Congress, which was held in St. Petersburg in June 2017. All participating countries, including Argentina, supported the Russian initiative.

An important practical step to ensure this idea was the revival in Russia of the specialization of deep-sea divers. The research institute of rescue and underwater technologies together with the expeditionary rescue team of the Russian Navy began training rescue divers for diving to depths above 400. Practical diving of deep-sea divers will begin this summer.

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  1. Grandfather
    Grandfather 28 January 2018 05: 22 New
    At the beginning of the day on November 15, the commander of the San Juan diesel-electric submarine reported ashore about the accident aboard the diesel-electric submarine and handed over location coordinates.
    and the boat was never found ... what kind of "coordinates" did the cap transmit? what
    1. Vard
      Vard 28 January 2018 06: 04 New
      It seems like the Americans gave out information that the explosion force was several tons of TNT ... If so, then the boat was torn to pieces and it is very difficult to find it in this case ...
      1. svp67
        svp67 28 January 2018 06: 12 New
        Quote: Vard
        If so, then the boat was torn to pieces and finding it in this case is very difficult ...
        This could have happened if the explosion had occurred simultaneously in all the compartments where the batteries were, which seems to me unlikely
    2. svp67
      svp67 28 January 2018 06: 08 New
      Quote: Dead Day
      what kind of "coordinates" did the cap transmit

      The usual procedure during the trip. At a previously set time, the ship communicates with the base and reports its location. So that these coordinates are just the point from which to search ...
    3. siberalt
      siberalt 28 January 2018 06: 52 New
      What is the point of looking for this boat if the crew rested at the bottom of the sea?
      1. igordok
        igordok 28 January 2018 09: 44 New
        1. If possible, bury on earth.
        2. Find out the cause of the disaster, that would not happen again.
    4. Sergey39
      Sergey39 28 January 2018 10: 13 New
      The "dead" boat must be sought in Colombia or some other similar places
  2. bald
    bald 28 January 2018 07: 15 New
    The information is not complete, it is clear that something is being hidden. Was supposedly without torpedoes, made the transition, just skated? The debris will be reached - there will be conclusions. And the last coordinates do not mean anything, but of course to dance from them.
    1. Boa kaa
      Boa kaa 28 January 2018 14: 40 New
      Quote: bald
      The information is not complete, it is clear that something is being hidden.

      Do not break naval traditions!
      There was a woman on board ... And it is always not good even on a surface ship, not like on a submarine!
      1. bald
        bald 28 January 2018 14: 56 New
        They say there were no torpedoes, maybe a harem of women was transported? what
      2. Svarog51
        Svarog51 28 January 2018 21: 11 New
        Alexander, hi
        There was a woman on board ... And this is always not good, even on a surface ship

        It goes without saying. But the identity of the author of the article? Someone from the forum participants? request
        1. Boa kaa
          Boa kaa 28 January 2018 21: 18 New
          Quote: Svarog51
          by the personality of the author of the article? Someone from the forum participants?

          Not, Sergey, the author - Vladimir Sergeyevich Lodkin - is an independent military expert, as filed in NVO. Although, I am more than sure: “Lodkin” is the literary pseudonym of a thread of “Ivanopoli” (c). laughing
          1. Svarog51
            Svarog51 28 January 2018 22: 24 New
            Thank you! hi Sorry, there is no way to ask a couple of questions. recourse
            Threat. And why don’t you change your shoulder straps for naval ones? It’s so simple, but it’s more clear to others who they are talking to. repeat
  3. Monster_Fat
    Monster_Fat 28 January 2018 08: 53 New
    Yes, everything is muddy there with this "transition". The boat had a "special mission", as evidenced by the presence of special forces on board and some kind of "additional equipment". Moreover, the "task" was "extraordinary" to which, covenantly indicates that two people were written off the boat before leaving, supposedly for a "good reason." Relatives of the missing sailors suspect the same thing, who believe that something is being said to them by the command ....
  4. thinker
    thinker 28 January 2018 11: 03 New
    Today, the international team involved in the search for the missing submarine has up to 30 ships and aircraft, as well as up to 4 thousand people from 13 countries of the world.

    It seems "today" is outdated, it was at the beginning of the search
    Jan 26 - RIA News. "Tonight, Yantar will head for the port of Buenos Aires to replenish supplies of food and water, and then head to Montevideo, where it will refuel," the communiqué circulated by the Navy says ... Now search for the submarine, in addition to Amber, four more ships, including the "Malvinas Islands" of the Argentine Navy with the Russian-controlled Panther Plus submarine.
    _source =
  5. groks
    groks 28 January 2018 11: 29 New
    There is nothing on board the submarine that can crush the hull. Neither torpedoes will give such an effect, much less hydrogen. This is not a plane with a foil body.
  6. sd68
    sd68 28 January 2018 12: 13 New
    the boat was not found, and the author confidently writes about the causes and progress of the accident
    1. PlotnikoffDD
      PlotnikoffDD 28 January 2018 13: 41 New
      it does not interfere. for example, Thresher and Scorpio are found, but there is little sense.
  7. PlotnikoffDD
    PlotnikoffDD 28 January 2018 13: 42 New
    I especially liked about the two found concrete blocks. How did they get there?
    1. Technician72
      Technician72 28 January 2018 18: 10 New
      They drowned. (C)