posted on Sep, 24 2008 @ 02:24 PM
I would like to offer a few observations after reviewing the postings here. I worked at Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics for 19.5 years.
They build nuclear subs there.I spent several years in the trades and when I finished my engineering degree (nights) the remaining time in
engineering. The Thresher theory about failed pipe joints was for silver brazing, not welded pipe joints. Back in those days they used brazed joints
in sea water systems and they did not perform UTs on completed brazed joints to ensure 100% bond intregrity of the completed joint. Subesequent to
the Thresher incident, brazed joints were no longer used in sea water service and SUBSAFE was established which did many things including improving
silver brazing with the use of silver consumable insert rings for better joint adhesion. Anyhow, the threory was that as they (Thresher) were
progressing down below 400 ft., as is the practice following overhaul or initial sea trials to dive the ship in increments and validate hull
intregrity all the way down to test depth. As they progressed, a sil-brazed joint let go in the engine room and sprayed the main electrical buses
shorting them out and causing a reactor scram. Flooding casualty protocall is to power the ship to the surface, but with no power due to the reactor
scram, the only alternative was to blow main ballast tanks. The problem back then was the dew point of the compressed air in the high pressure
bottles was not controlled like today (typically -25 to -40 deg.F) This resulted in the high pressure lines freezing and stopping the emergency blow
of the main ballast tanks to surface the boat. That was the last thing the ship could do with no power and no emergency ballast blow system
available. The result was, she sunk. I believe this was the case, because of the changes that the SUBSAFE program instituted, like spray proof
cabinets, material certs for all hull connected valves and materials (chemicals and physicals) and the extensive NDT on all welds and brazed joints in
critcal systems. It all adds up to the Thresher incident.
I've read the SCORPION DOWN, Ed Offley's account of the loss of the Scorpion and I'm still out on the jury. I do think the navy knows more than
they are letting on and with all the photo + SOSUS evidence available that a conclusive determination can be made and maybe Offley is on to somthing.
I'm just not totally convinced.
Regarding TIGER TEAMS - these are nothing more than a cross section of trades men sent to work on a tight schedule SHIPALT or PSA or overhaul with the
idea being the better tradesmen doing everything, will get the job done sooner. No special forces stuff here I'm afraid.