Russian Admiral Guesses What It Was US Sub in South China Sea May Have Collided With

© Wikipedia / Thiep NguyenThe Seawolf-class fast-attack submarine USS Connecticut (SSN 22) departs Puget Sound Naval Shipyard for sea trials following a maintenance availability
The Seawolf-class fast-attack submarine USS Connecticut (SSN 22) departs Puget Sound Naval Shipyard for sea trials following a maintenance availability - Sputnik International, 1920, 08.10.2021
On Thursday, the US Navy’s Pacific Fleet announced that one of its nuclear attack subs had struck an unknown object while operating in international waters in the South China Sea. The incident injured 11 sailors, and forced the vessel to limp back to Guam.
Retired Russian Admiral Vladimir Valuyev, former commander of the Russian Baltic Fleet, thinks he has a pretty good idea as to what it was that the USS Connecticut struck during its recent ill-fated patrol in the South China Sea.
“A collision with another submarine is possible, but in that case, given the injuries sustained by the crew members, the two subs would have had to surface to inspect the damage. However, this did not take place. Moreover, it can hardly be imagined that a modern submarine of the Seawolf class would not notice the approach of another sub,” Valuyev told Sputnik.
The onboard navigation systems of modern subs make a collision with an underwater reef or rock formation just as unlikely, according to the career submariner.

Valuyev believes that the most likely explanation is that the sub crashed “into a recently built or still under construction oil-drilling installation, information about which has not yet been brought to the attention of the command of the American fleet."

On Thursday, the US Pacific Fleet’s public affairs office announced that the USS Connecticut Seawolf-class submarine suffered damage after colliding with an unknown object during maneuvers in the South China Sea on 2 October. 11 sailors were said to have received injuries in the incident, none of them life-threatening. The sub’s propulsion system was not damaged, and the sub was said to have set course for the US naval base in Guam.
At a briefing Friday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian expressed China’s deep concern over the incident, and urged the United States and any other countries involved to provide relevant details, “including the exact location of the incident, the purpose of this trip, and details of what the submarine encountered.”
The Seawolf-class attack submarine USS Connecticut (SSN 22)  - Sputnik International, 1920, 08.10.2021
China Urges US to Reveal Details About Incident With Nuclear Sub in Int'l Indo-Pacific Waters
The South China Sea is among the most sensitive bodies of water on the planet, with multiple countries, including the People’s Republic, Brunei, Taiwan, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam laying claim to parts of the body of water. The South China Sea is also a strategic artery for global shipping and is rich in fishing and energy resources.
The United States does not have a claim to the sea’s waters, but does regularly send so-called ‘freedom of navigation’ patrols through it, occasionally at the request of regional allies, and independently at other times. Beijing abhors the patrols, given that they occasionally stray into Chinese-claimed waters. Washington does not recognize these claims.
Seawolf-class attack subs are the most advanced, but also the most expensive submarines in the US Navy’s arsenal. The USS Connecticut is one of just three Seawolf-class subs to be commissioned, with 26 boats canceled in the 1990s after the end of the Cold War due to the programme being deemed too expensive. The super-quiet attack subs feature a nuclear propulsion system, meaning their range and endurance are effectively limited only by onboard supplies and the resolve of their crews. The subs’ armament consists of Mark 48 torpedoes, Harpoon anti-ship missiles and land-attack cruise missiles.
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