Historic port call

Two warships docked at a Vietnamese naval base, in the first such port call since the conflict that Americans call the Viet Nam War, and the Vietnamese call the American War.

Submarine tender USS Frank Cable and guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain entered a deep water base in Cam Ranh Bay in Khanh Hoa province on Sunday, the US Navy said in a statement on Tuesday.

Before entering the Cam Ranh Bay, USS John S. McCain also made a port call in nearby Da Nang City, according to the statement.

The coastal city, perched strategically on the South China Sea, is where US combat forces first arrived in Viet Nam in 1965.

Keen Sword 2010

US Navy researching new fuel source–seawater

The U.S. Navy has developed a new process for generating jet fuel out of ordinary seawater — thanks to technology that could be widely deployed in as little as a decade.

Described as a “game-changer” by officials, the new process extracts carbon dioxide and produces hydrogen gas from seawater, and transforms it into a liquid hydrocarbon fuel that’s already been successfully tested in an unmodified two-stroke internal combustion engine.

That means none of the ships making up the Navy’s full fleet will need to be retrofitted or updated to use the fuel.

The Naval Research Laboratory says that the process could be viable in seven to ten years, with a per gallon cost of $3-6. The quote above mentions jet fuel, but the article goes on to mention ships as well, and that this would obviate the need for tanker ships.

What it doesn’t mention is the source of energy used to fuel the process. Nuclear powered ships could do it, but non-nuclear ships would have to carry a pretty heavy power source to generate hydrogen from seawater, much less the rest of the process.

This may be viable for producing jet fuel for nuclear powered flat-tops, but unless our President has repealed (by executive order) the Laws of Thermodynamics, I don’t see how we can use the process to fuel steam boiler type vessels.


It’s not phasers and photon torpedoes, but we are getting there

An Israeli arms company has revealed details of a laser defense system with ‘Star Wars’ style technology which can shoot missiles from the sky with a pulse of energy.
State-owned Rafael Advanced Defense Systems said the futuristic military hardware called Iron Beam was almost ready for deployment.

It works by firing a focused laser at targets which are heated so rapidly they disintegrate in an instant.

The US Navy will deploy the first ship with a laser weapon, the USS Ponce, this summer.

LaWS is a system based on a design developed by the Navy Research Lab and engineers at the Naval Sea Systems Command and Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren. Its purpose is not to vaporize enemy ships but to provide a low-cost way for the Navy to defend against drones, small boats, light aircraft, and missiles at ranges of about a mile.

Higher energy lasers are in the pipeline.