2004 USS Louisville

Domzh

Active Member
I start this thread to collect all the information we can find about the USS Louisville.

Particularly its training, ordnance and mission in general but especially during the Nimitz encounter.

I am convinced this submarine is the key to the tic tac mistery.

We have heard from pilots and sailors of the carriers but not a single word from the submarine crew.

Afaik the submarine do their secret training alone without the rest of the strike group.

The disturbance in the water, looking like a cross or a plane sure could fit the description of a submarine.

Theres the argument "they wouldnt shoot or release stuff in the air and endanger the pilots!", but be aware that the pilots shouldnt have been in this vector anyway. They were send their spontaneously by Kevin Day out of personal interest.

I can remember that Alex Dietrich said she asked the navy command if the USS Louisville shoot something in the air that could explain their encounter and iirc the answer was something like "they don't used anything that fit the description".

Now what if they described the tic tac as an craft the size of an F18 when in reality Fravor did had a parallax illusion and the tic tac was only half or a third of the reported size?

Did anyone found any testimony or comments from the USS Louisville staff online?
 

Attachments

  • 55C20074-7261-46E4-A95A-01DC287CDF24.jpeg
    55C20074-7261-46E4-A95A-01DC287CDF24.jpeg
    98.7 KB · Views: 411

Domzh

Active Member
The 2009 AATIP Report stated the USS Louisville was in the parameter of the tic tac encounter conducting live fire drills

Airborne targets, released by the submarine are not uncommon

Also, if they were nearby, how does this fit Fravors description of good sight and a big blue calm sea.

This again supports the idea of the disturbance being caused by the submarine itself
 

Attachments

  • EF33C82F-7933-41F9-959D-4188216EC02B.jpeg
    EF33C82F-7933-41F9-959D-4188216EC02B.jpeg
    394.6 KB · Views: 108

jackfrostvc

Senior Member
I briefly chatted with the US Louisville commander of 2004. But he stopped responding when I mentioned the Tic Tac event

He now works for a company that has ties to DARPA and expertise in Unmanned Underwater Vehicles UUV and also UAV's

Also tried asking a USS Louisville group if anyone was on board that day, no response
 

Tim Printy

Member
As an ex-submariner, I once tried to contact a fellow nuc about the event. I was the senior enlisted supervisor (E-8/SCPO) for the nuclear engineering department aboard USS Honolulu (SSN 718) and I found the guy who had the same position as I did on Louisville when this happened. Nuc's usually joke about "pushing the cone around" (half the sub is a nuclear reactor and engineroom, the other half is "the cone") and we are not always aware of all the small details. However, nothing is ever "secret" on board the sub and you usually have a fair idea about what was happening. If you fire anything into the water, everybody knows. It does not matter if it is torpedo tube, signal ejector, or VLS. All make a lot of noise and there is a lot of activity involved. The chiefs quarters is also a place where the senior enlisted often chat about everything. Firing something unique would have been talked about even if it was highly classified. I figured he would know and was counting that our common bond would allow me to learn about what happened. I mentioned who I was and what I was interested in finding out. I never got a response. Either he chose not to respond or never got the message. I did not pursue the matter any further. I figured that they were all sworn to secrecy not to mention it OR they were not involved at all. I want to think it is the latter. It is hard to put a cork in that bottle after so long. If you read "Blind Man's bluff", you would know what I am talking about.
 

Tim Printy

Member
Just to explain, a 688 submarine of Louisville's class has only three methods of launching something from inside the sub. There is the signal ejector, which can eject noise makers, flares, or other small devices. It is basically a small torpedo tube. If memory serves (I have been retired for 22 years), the tubes were only about 12-18 inches in diameter and 1-3 feet long. The next method is the Torpedo tube. These are much bigger and can launch Torpedoes or missiles (Tomahawk/Harpoon/SUBROC/Etc...). Both the signal ejector and torpedo tube use a ram system and high pressure air to launch their projectiles (although I recall them working on a method for Torpedoes being able to "swim" on their own out the tube). Basically, the air pushes the ram, which pushes the slug of water into the tube and displaces the projectile out the tube. The ship often shot water out an empty tube for maintenance and training. This was referred to as shooting a water slug. The running joke went something like, I just killed a water slug. The last method was the VLS (Vertical launch system) on 688 subs with hull numbers of 719 and higher (I also served on SSN 719). From what I remember, these used a "gas generator" at the bottom of the tube and worked a lot like the missile tubes on a ballistic missile sub. The missile would be in a tube that was flooded with water. The gas generator was like a small rocket motor that would instantly vaporize the water and the resultant steam bubble would eject the missile out the tube.
My memories on this are a bit old and I may not be getting the exact details correct but I think it summarizes the operations of these devices. Remember, I was a nuclear operator and not a weapons guy so I was no "expert" on these systems. I just had a rudimentary understanding of the systems. Unfortunately, it is a case of "If you don't use it, you lose it". It is easy to forget after 22 years.
 

markus

Active Member
I mentioned who I was and what I was interested in finding out. I never got a response. Either he chose not to respond or never got the message.
So we're now two for two for people who were reportedly asked about this, and immediately clammed up.

A question: would launching a balloon be considered "something unique"?
 

Domzh

Active Member
@Tim Printy finally we have someone around who knows what he is talking about when it comes to subs. its rather difficult to find reliable information in this regard.

thank you for contributing

would it be likely for the uss louisville to launch air practice targets or electronic warfare stuff?
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
would it be likely for the uss louisville to launch air practice targets or electronic warfare stuff?
I thought it was mentioned on Metabunk before that the submarine was involved in the exercise and launched something, though the Navy denied it had launched that particular UAP. (They'd not want to do e.g. a cruise missile launch with aircraft in the vicinity, that'd be dangerous.)

I think that's also why @Tim Printy 's inquiry would've been bound to go nowhere, because the fellow engineer would've needed to remember the exact time of the launch.
 

Tim Printy

Member
So we're now two for two for people who were reportedly asked about this, and immediately clammed up.

A question: would launching a balloon be considered "something unique"?
I have never seen a balloon launched by a sub. I am not even sure how that could be done unless the sub was surfaced.
 

Tim Printy

Member
@Tim Printy finally we have someone around who knows what he is talking about when it comes to subs. its rather difficult to find reliable information in this regard.

thank you for contributing

would it be likely for the uss louisville to launch air practice targets or electronic warfare stuff?
As a nuc, my knowledge of the ships "cone" was limited even though I was senior enlisted and attended a lot of department meetings concerning ships operations. Once I had my "to do" list from the CO/ENG, I usually spent the rest of the meeting trying to figure out how I was going to accomplish all of the tasks and prioritizing everything. It seems like my list was always full and I never got ahead. So, when the weapons and operations department heads spoke, I was only paying partial attention.
As for knowledge, you learned how the all the ship's systems basically worked during submarine qualifications. I recently watched a video of a guy describing how a torpedo was launched and all of those details came "flooding" back ("Oh yeah, now I remember"). As I always say, "If you don't use it, you lose it" when it comes to memory on certain things. I used to be an expert on starting up a reactor and engineroom. While I could fudge my way through it if you put me in a sub now, I would have to refer to the procedures a lot. If you asked me how to do it without even being on a sub, I would be only able to give you a general overview and I am sure I would get a lot wrong. I went to the decommissioning of the USS Providence (SSN719) last fall and I had some discussions with a few of my reactor operators. Not one of us could remember the predicted life of the core in Effective Full Power Hours (it came up because we were wondering if the core was ever replaced - it wasn't, as I expected). This was a basic question in qualification and I could not even remember it.
Sorry to ramble on but I just want people to know that I don't know everything about submarine operations on the forward end of the submarine (the cone). I would not consider myself an expert but I would consider myself "knowledgeable".
To answer your question, I don't know of any air targets ever launched. I suppose it could be done but why would you have a sub launch a target when a surface ship could do it? Now, it would be possible that a sub could launch a missile that was some form of prototype design. If the Louisville was involved, that would be something I think would have happened. On the other hand, this was only four years after I retired and I don't recall any talk about missiles of the type described. That does not mean there wasn't one. I was just not aware of any. Again, the fact that 18 years later, such a design has not been revealed makes me wonder if there ever was a prototype.
Active electronic warfare is not something submarines do. Like sonar, the instant you go active, everybody knows where you are. I vaguely recall having a mast for ECM but I don't recall ever seeing it used. It may have been passive (detecting electronic signals such as radar) but not an active transmitter. All the missions we went on, we wanted to remain undetected. Even sticking up a periscope could result in counter-detection by a good sub hunter with good radar. I remember a British Nimrod using radar on our periscope during one exercise. They did detect us before we could drop the scope and dive to get out of the area. The failed to detect us after we dropped the scope and went deep.
 

Domzh

Active Member
thank you for your detailed answers and openness.

i remember reading something how submarines are (were?) used by the navy to deploy radar reflectors and EW to confuse the enemies radar.

maybe i can find the relevant sources again.

your argument makes a lot of sense however that you question why they wouldnt utilize the already visible ships for that matter. maybe it would be too obvious or the wind would be not there or going in the wrong direction for the EW balloons and drones working as intended?

btw some of us assume that there is a high probability that the tic tac was misperceived to some extend.

this means a hypothetical missile or air target or drone wouldnt need to be the size of an F18 as described or have the flying characteristics attributed to it.

we look for something white and airborne or semi airborne (tethered), with or without a propulsion system, that could have had something to do with the submarine.

its extremely vague but this way we ensure that we dont rule anything out from the beginning, that could explain the incident due to human error or (un)lucky chain of events / circumstances.
 

Tim Printy

Member
I thought it was mentioned on Metabunk before that the submarine was involved in the exercise and launched something, though the Navy denied it had launched that particular UAP. (They'd not want to do e.g. a cruise missile launch with aircraft in the vicinity, that'd be dangerous.)

I think that's also why @Tim Printy 's inquiry would've been bound to go nowhere, because the fellow engineer would've needed to remember the exact time of the launch.
I recall reading that there was some sort of firing exercise by Louisville. I am not sure what that could have been. I suspect a tomahawk would have been what they launched. That was the only missiles we carried during that time period (Harpoon had been phased out) and was what was in most, if not all, sub VLS tubes. Firing a torpedo does not make sense. Those were usually done in a controlled area where the torpedo could be recovered. The only other thing the could launch would be from a signal ejector and I don't think much could come out of that. The object described seemed to be too large. This brings us back to a prototype design of some kind or something so classified nobody has talked about it since. I doubt that something highly classified would be launched under these conditions. It would be too easy for information about it to be eventually leaked out.
Anybody interested in learning about submarine activities during the cold war should read "Blind Man's Bluff". Some very highly classified missions were revealed by crew members to the authors and the authors mention this in their writings. This was many years after the event but they did talk about it. Most of these stories were already circulating in the submarine community for many years. I remember when I was in nuclear training hearing one of the instructors telling us a tale about his submarine colliding with a Russian submarine and they heard the Russian sink. This was 1979. It closely resembled the story of a US Sub colliding with an Echo sub back in 1970. In that story, the US thought the Russian sub did sink but, it turns out, the sub was only damaged and returned to port. My point of this story is that stories involving classified events were often talked about in the submarine community. I still have yet to hear any stories from people on the Louisville or people who knew individuals on the Louisville about launching something truly unique.
 

Tim Printy

Member
thank you for your detailed answers and openness.

i remember reading something how submarines are (were?) used by the navy to deploy radar reflectors and EW to confuse the enemies radar.

maybe i can find the relevant sources again.

your argument makes a lot of sense however that you question why they wouldnt utilize the already visible ships for that matter. maybe it would be too obvious or the wind would be not there or going in the wrong direction for the EW balloons and drones working as intended?

btw some of us assume that there is a high probability that the tic tac was misperceived to some extend.

this means a hypothetical missile or air target or drone wouldnt need to be the size of an F18 as described or have the flying characteristics attributed to it.

we look for something white and airborne or semi airborne (tethered), with or without a propulsion system, that could have had something to do with the submarine.

its extremely vague but this way we ensure that we dont rule anything out from the beginning, that could explain the incident due to human error or (un)lucky chain of events / circumstances.
I agree that the pilot's perception of what they saw may not be exactly what they saw. 70 years of UFO reports have taught me that most UFO reports involve the witness seeing something that happened but what they report they saw can often be different from what they actually saw.
 

Domzh

Active Member
@Tim Printy would you be open to approach some other guys of the uss louisville? i guess someone like you most likely would have had the biggest chance to get a reaction.

maybe invite them to join our discussion?

@jackfrostvc has some contact details if im not mistaken that he might be open to share with you via DM?
 

Domzh

Active Member
I recall reading that there was some sort of firing exercise by Louisville. I am not sure what that could have been. I suspect a tomahawk would have been what they launched.
yeah we have thought about a tomahawk as well.

it would fit the description and shows no signs of propulsion after 10 or 12 seconds after the launch. parallax could explain the weird maneuvers and that it "zipped away" within a second and vanished (remember Fravor believed it was 40 feet of size).

the other pilots that were with Fravor said they thought about a missile launch initially.

they also said they could not see anything at the merge plot they have been vectored to but then found the white water 5nm away from it.

so this would explain the argument that they would never have been vectored into a life fire test. the radar operator also said that the air was pretty crowded and the situation quite chaotic.

theres a possibility that the experienced tic tac had nothing to do with the radar tracks at all or only partially.

it wouldnt sound plausible that the louisville would launch a tomahawk inside the strike groups CAP point.

this suggests that the reappeared "tic tac" radar track at CAP was no missile.

i honestly believe the command was involved in a radar spoofing / testing exercise without the crews knowledge and fucked with them when they shifted the track to cap point after the intercept.

imo the experienced tic tac was not part of it and they indeed flew right into a launched tomahawk.

maybe thats why they stay completely silent because it would bring some people into a lot of trouble.

but thats pure speculation.

we need more data obviously. i guess the best bet would be testimony of the uss louisville crew.

@Tim Printy from your experience, do you know if:

1) tomahawk could have been launched to an altitude of 10k feet before it descended to 1k feet for its final approach?

2) is a tomahawk part of the data link?

3) what is typically launched from the mentioned "signal ejector"?
 
Last edited:

markus

Active Member
I have never seen a balloon launched by a sub. I am not even sure how that could be done unless the sub was surfaced.
Ok, so certainly unusual. I am aware of at least one incident where this happened, Project Palladium ( https://www.cia.gov/readingroom/docs/stealth_ count.pdf ),

When the Soviets moved into Cuba with their missiles and associated air defense radars, many of which were installed near the coast, it presented a golden opportunity to measure the system sensitivity of the SA-2 missile radar. One particularly memorable operation, conducted during the Cuban missile crisis, had the PALLADIUM system mounted on a destroyer out of Key West. The destroyer lay well off the Cuban coast, just out of sight of the Soviet radars near Havana, but with our PALLADIUM transmitting antenna just breaking the horizon. The false aircraft was made to appear to be a US fighter plane out of Key West about to overfly Cuba. A Navy submarine slipped in close to Havana Bay, and it was to surface just long enough to release a timed series of balloon-borne metalized spheres of different sizes. The idea was for the early warning radar to track our electronic aircraft and then for the submarine to surface and release the "calibrated" spheres up into the path of the oncoming false aircraft. It took a bit of coordination and timing to keep the destroyer, submarine, and false aircraft all in line between the Havana radar and Key West.

We hoped that the Soviets would track and report the intruding aircraft and then turn on their SA-2 target tracking radar in preparation for firing their missiles--and would report seeing the other strange targets, or spheres, as well. The smallest of the metallic spheres reported seen by the SA-2 radar operators would correspond to the size, or smallest radar cross section, aircraft that could be detected and tracked.
Content from External Source
I don't think the documents give any more detail about how the balloons were launched, or even which sub was involved in the operation. At any rate, this event has many things in common with the 2004 tic tac incident -- radar targets doing possibly weird things, objects gently drifting at plausible wind speeds at altitude, the water disturbance described by Fravor, and the tic tac itself.
 
Last edited:

Tim Printy

Member
@Tim Printy would you be open to approach some other guys of the uss louisville? i guess someone like you most likely would have had the biggest chance to get a reaction.

maybe invite them to join our discussion?

@jackfrostvc has some contact details if im not mistaken that he might be open to share with you via DM?
I am not sure if anybody would talk to me if they haven't talked to others. Sure, you can pass along contact information and I can give it a go. However, the last time I tried it, I got silence.
 

Tim Printy

Member
yeah we have thought about a tomahawk as well.

it would fit the description and shows no signs of propulsion after 10 or 12 seconds after the launch. parallax could explain the weird maneuvers and that it "zipped away" within a second and vanished (remember Fravor believed it was 40 feet of size).

the other pilots that were with Fravor said they thought about a missile launch initially.

they also said they could not see anything at the merge plot they have been vectored to but then found the white water 5nm away from it.

so this would explain the argument that they would never have been vectored into a life fire test. the radar operator also said that the air was pretty crowded and the situation quite chaotic.

theres a possibility that the experienced tic tac had nothing to do with the radar tracks at all or only partially.

it wouldnt sound plausible that the louisville would launch a tomahawk inside the strike groups CAP point.

this suggests that the reappeared "tic tac" radar track at CAP was no missile.

i honestly believe the command was involved in a radar spoofing / testing exercise without the crews knowledge and fucked with them when they shifted the track to cap point after the intercept.

imo the experienced tic tac was not part of it and they indeed flew right into a launched tomahawk.

maybe thats why they stay completely silent because it would bring some people into a lot of trouble.

but thats pure speculation.

we need more data obviously. i guess the best bet would be testimony of the uss louisville crew.

@Tim Printy from your experience, do you know if:

1) tomahawk could have been launched to an altitude of 10k feet before it descended to 1k feet for its final approach?

2) is a tomahawk part of the data link?

3) what is typically launched from the mentioned "signal ejector"?
1) I am not familiar with the Tomahawk's flight characteristics but from what I remember, it can be programmed to a specific trajectory. Again, I am a Nuc and not a weapons guy.
2) Sorry, I am not familiar with that.
3) A signal ejector normally sends out flares or noise makers. I don't remember much else. There might have a been a thermograph of some kind that would give a temperature profile of the water but I am not sure. The flares would just surface and mark the sub's location. It was usually used in exercises and was a way to taunt a carrier that our submarine was close enough to score a hit with a torpedo.
 

Tim Printy

Member
Ok, so certainly unusual. I am aware of at least one incident where this happened, Project Palladium ( https://www.cia.gov/readingroom/docs/stealth_ count.pdf ),

When the Soviets moved into Cuba with their missiles and associated air defense radars, many of which were installed near the coast, it presented a golden opportunity to measure the system sensitivity of the SA-2 missile radar. One particularly memorable operation, conducted during the Cuban missile crisis, had the PALLADIUM system mounted on a destroyer out of Key West. The destroyer lay well off the Cuban coast, just out of sight of the Soviet radars near Havana, but with our PALLADIUM transmitting antenna just breaking the horizon. The false aircraft was made to appear to be a US fighter plane out of Key West about to overfly Cuba. A Navy submarine slipped in close to Havana Bay, and it was to surface just long enough to release a timed series of balloon-borne metalized spheres of different sizes. The idea was for the early warning radar to track our electronic aircraft and then for the submarine to surface and release the "calibrated" spheres up into the path of the oncoming false aircraft. It took a bit of coordination and timing to keep the destroyer, submarine, and false aircraft all in line between the Havana radar and Key West.

We hoped that the Soviets would track and report the intruding aircraft and then turn on their SA-2 target tracking radar in preparation for firing their missiles--and would report seeing the other strange targets, or spheres, as well. The smallest of the metallic spheres reported seen by the SA-2 radar operators would correspond to the size, or smallest radar cross section, aircraft that could be detected and tracked.
Content from External Source
I don't think the documents give any more detail about how the balloons were launched, or even which sub was involved in the operation. At any rate, this event has many things in common with the 2004 tic tac incident -- radar targets doing possibly weird things, objects gently drifting at plausible wind speeds at altitude, the water disturbance described by Fravor, and the tic tac itself.
What is important is that the submarine had to surface to launch the balloon. I suspect that the sub involved may have been a diesel. This was the early 60s and the Navy still had quite a few of those running about. It would be less of a risk to send a diesel IMO but this is just a guess.
In my comment, I was talking about submerged. I would suspect that whatever Fravor saw, if it was sub launched, it would have been launched submerged since he made no comment about seeing the sail of the submarine. The surface disturbance does indicate that a submarine could be involved but, as I said, I am not sure what it could have been based on his description.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
I would suspect that whatever Fravor saw, if it was sub launched, it would have been launched submerged since he made no comment about seeing the sail of the submarine. The surface disturbance does indicate that a submarine could be involved but, as I said, I am not sure what it could have been based on his description.
I thought he might have caught the water churning from it diving off the surface.
I only now realize that the USS Louisville is a submarine
it is 110m long overall
according to wikipedia, this is 40% longer than the body (or the wingspan) of the largest passenger jets

downed airliner much larger than a submarine.png
 

Domzh

Active Member
@Mendel

"resembles an airplane"

"much larger than a submarine"

so if the louisville is longer than the biggest passenger airplane but fravor thought a submarine was smaller than an airplane...

then this could check out....?

is there a chance that he as a pilot wouldnt have had any experience with the lousiville?
 

jackfrostvc

Senior Member
Not sure if it's been said yet, but in Jim Slaight's TV interview that I saw, he said his first impression was that it was a missile fired from a sub.

But TBH, there are a few competing theories, including them miss id'ing Douglas Kurth's jet,

But to to follow on from the Sub theory, one of the popular theories other than a missile, was that it launched a drone. I remember someone had dug up papers that showed the Navy were testing this , and I'm probably wrong on the name, but vaguely it was something like project hammer
 

Tim Printy

Member
A submarine from the air, when surfaced is usually not hard to see. It is black on top (for obvious reasons), stands out, and should be easily identifiable. Nuclear submarines take a long time to submerge. The old diesel boats could crash dive in less than a minute but the size of nuclear submarines means there is a lot of air to vent to start going down. It is measured in minutes (my memory is was at least 5-10 minutes but it could have been longer). Unless he saw the submarine at the tale end of its submergence, then I don't think the sub was ever surfaced (again, this assumes the sub was involved). Even if the submarine broached (the top half of the submarine popping out of periscope depth to a semi-surfaced condition), it still takes a lot to get the submarine to get down. Usually, they ring up an increase in speed (at PD we usually were operating at a very slow speed) and flood water into auxiliary tanks to get the submarine heavy and go down fast. That "might" produce the effect mentioned since the sudden increase in speed would churn up the water and the action of the submarine going back down would caused the water to become disturbed (once again, I am a nuc and I am not sure what a broach looks like from above the water, I just know it was not a good thing when it happened). If one thinks they might have broached on purpose, launched a balloon, and then submerged again, I seriously doubt that is possible. The sub would have to open the hatch to launch the balloon and then close the hatch and submerge. I am not even sure if that kind of maneuver would be allowed in peacetime for safety reasons. In wartime, all the gloves are off but that would be the skipper's call and he would have to weigh the safety hazard against the potential gain.
 

Domzh

Active Member
if you fire a missile, do you have to stand still or can you launch them while moving?

thank you for your insights, they are highly valuable because this pretty much rules out a launched balloon
 

markus

Active Member
if you fire a missile, do you have to stand still or can you launch them while moving?

thank you for your insights, they are highly valuable because this pretty much rules out a launched balloon
A balloon would have to be several thousand feet up in the air at the beginning of the encounter to match Fravor's description with parallax. The typical ascent rate of a balloon is around 1000 ft/min, so it does seem to roughly match the 5-10 minute time to submerge, if that's accurate.

Also worth noting that while the US no longer operates diesel-electric submarines, at least not publicly, other nations do. But that would mean we're all barking up the wrong tree asking questions about the Louisville.
 

jarlrmai

Senior Member
When a sub is surfacing/surfaced not all of it is above water, generally you'd see just the main "deck"


1648366351929.png

This is generally from the air a black region, often surrounded by white water if moving or just surfacing, which be much brighter and more noticeable. The rear fin would be less noticeable again.

1648366484228.png
 

Domzh

Active Member
@jackfrostvc thanks for this chart. it suggests that Fravor really doesnt seem to have much experience with submarines.

they all are larger or at least the same size as a 747. so when he says "it was way larger than a submarine, more like the size of a 747" this shows that he estimates a regular submarine way smaller than they really are.

would you agree?

edit: Fravor compared it to a 737
 
Last edited:

Mendel

Senior Member.
they all are larger or at least the same size as a 747. so when he says "it was way larger than a submarine, more like the size of a 747" this shows that he estimates a regular submarine way smaller than they really are.
You're using quotation marks. Did he say it that way? and if so, where?
 

jarlrmai

Senior Member
We'd also need to know the sizes of submarines used by the Navy, if they are all larger than 747s, or the most common ones are then he's made an assumption error, that 747s are larger than Navy subs, if most subs are smaller then maybe he was right that it was bigger than most subs, but incorrectly ruled out subs because he made the assumption they were all that size.
 

jarlrmai

Senior Member
Mostly though it comes back to the original point made by Mick, that judging the size of things in relatively featureless oceans is highly prone to error.
 

Domzh

Active Member
You're using quotation marks. Did he say it that way? and if so, where?
nicap report which i believe uses the actual pilot reports (link on black vault for the pilot reports is broken):
http://www.nicap.org/reports2/2004_Navy event document 2004 Nov 14.pdf

"FAST EAGLES (110/100) COULD NOT FIND UNID AIRBORNE CONTACT AT LOCATION GIVEN BY PRINCETON. WHILE SEARCHING FOR UNID AIR CONTACT, FAST EAGLES SPOTTED LARGE UNID OBJECT IN WATER AT 1430L. PILOTS SAW STEAM/ SMOKE/CHURNING AROUND OBJECT. PILOT DESCRIBES OBJECT INITIALLY AS RESEMBLING A DOWNED AIRLINER, ALSO STATED THAT IT WAS MUCH LARGER THAN A SUBMARINE."
im pretty sure i heard the same sentence in a podcast interview but it was not friedman or jre (at least no while he describes the event the first time).

btw he said 737 not 747. (i edited my post)
a 737 actually is even smaller.

(source both jre and fridman interview during initial description segment of the encounter)
 
Last edited:

Domzh

Active Member
Mostly though it comes back to the original point made by Mick, that judging the size of things in relatively featureless oceans is highly prone to error.
well fravor and graves say themselves its hard to judge size in sky.

but in this case we talk about something supposedly on or apparently slightly below water surface. they know their altitude and i would assume they should be fairly able to estimate the white water / submerged object size because they have a point of reference (altitude, distance to the object in question).
 

Tim Printy

Member
if you fire a missile, do you have to stand still or can you launch them while moving?

thank you for your insights, they are highly valuable because this pretty much rules out a launched balloon
We never fired one while I was aboard so I can't say for sure but I believe you can be moving but there probably was a speed limit of a few knots.
 

Tim Printy

Member
A balloon would have to be several thousand feet up in the air at the beginning of the encounter to match Fravor's description with parallax. The typical ascent rate of a balloon is around 1000 ft/min, so it does seem to roughly match the 5-10 minute time to submerge, if that's accurate.

Also worth noting that while the US no longer operates diesel-electric submarines, at least not publicly, other nations do. But that would mean we're all barking up the wrong tree asking questions about the Louisville.
Yeah. They retired the last diesel after the Bonefish fire in 1988. I remember they had one in Japan in the late 80s. One of the electrician chiefs reported aboard Providence after it was decommissioned. He showed up in 1992 or so.
 

Tim Printy

Member
When a sub is surfacing/surfaced not all of it is above water, generally you'd see just the main "deck"


1648366351929.png

This is generally from the air a black region, often surrounded by white water if moving or just surfacing, which be much brighter and more noticeable. The rear fin would be less noticeable again.

1648366484228.png
The picture on the bottom is a fully surfaced sub operating at high speed on the surface. A broached sub (or one just surfacing) has the sail pop out of the water. BTW, the "rear fin" is called a rudder.
 

Tim Printy

Member
@jackfrostvc thanks for this chart. it suggests that Fravor really doesnt seem to have much experience with submarines.

they all are larger or at least the same size as a 747. so when he says "it was way larger than a submarine, more like the size of a 747" this shows that he estimates a regular submarine way smaller than they really are.

would you agree?

edit: Fravor compared it to a 737
Yes. But a submarine on the surface appears smaller from above when it is transiting because the bow is below the surface until the sub is either stopped or slows down. See the photo of a surfaced sub moving fast on the surface in the above post.
 
Top