2nd Amendment to the Constitution of The United States of America

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

"I ask sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people except for a few politicians."
- George Mason (father of the Bill of Rights and The Virginia Declaration of Rights)

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Can you hear me now...good! SOSUS!!

Well, you never know who you choose a chair by sometimes until you start talking to them. This weekend I went to the graduation party for a friend's son and ended us sitting next to the boys' great uncle at a table. The gentleman's name was Walt and was approaching his 80th revolution around the sun. He lives in Florida and spends his time sailing with his wife, who was a lovely lady to say the least. After discussing Ohio weather vs. Florida weather and the like for a while I found out that before he retired he worked as an engineer. He worked on contracts for the US government and that one of this big ones was for the SOSUS system used by the US Navy. For those not in the know or too lazy to click on the link I just posted and read up on it, the SOSOS is a vast array of underwater microphones that is used by the government to track ships and submarines across the globe. The premise is simple, drop a microphone into the ocean and listen for sound. The execution of the array was much more than that. More than just listening for sounds and tracking them the system was able to actually "fingerprint" different submarines and vessels due to slight variations in the sound coming from their operation so we knew that the object 200 miles North of Hawaii was the Russian Akula Attack sub 541 and not the Oscar class missle sub 836.

Hey, that's Sergei's boat...I can tell by the farting noises being given off by the crew!!

That's pretty cool.

Even before the system was declassified in 1991 it was an open secret. It is a technology predominantly used in Tom Clancy's classic The Hunt For Red October. Even after the Russians figured out we just weren't that lucky enough to just happen upon their subs in the vast expanses of the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans by chance it didn't matter. The mere existence of the system made the Russians alter the way they deployed and operated during the Cold War. We knew they knew. And they knew that we knew that they knew. It just didn't matter. They were on notice that anything they did was being watched and it helped keep tensions low as we didn't have as many "uninvited guest" show up on our continental doorstep unannounced as we would otherwise.

He told me about how his entire crew on a 175 foot "research" vessel that laid cable was expendable as evacuating the ship was the last item of a checklist of what to do in case they were subject to capture....apparently they were to scuttle it before they abandoned it. He seemed to think them being an all civilian crew was bad because the wouldn't be covered under the Geneva Convention, I think otherwise. It seems to me in the global spotlight it would be worse to be seen holding American civilians versus American sailors and would be a chip to bargain on in getting them back. Luckily for Walt, our theories never had to be tested for him and his crew.

Since the end of the Cold War the SOSUS array has also been tasked with non-military type studies...like listening for the sounds whales make while having sex and stuff like that. Still, it stands as a silent sentinel always listening just in case the Ruskies feel frisky again...or maybe those sneaky Chinese.....

Remember comrades...Jonsey is always listening...always....

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