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The United States Pacific Fleet seems to be having a run of bad luck. Or is it?
There have been five major accidents in the last 12 months.
- August 18, 2016: The USS Louisiana (SSBN 743, Ohio Class Nuclear Submarine) collided with a USN support ship, the Eagleview (T-AGSE-3) in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the waterway between Washington State and British Columbia.
- January 31: USS Antietam (CG-54, Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser) ran aground in Tokyo Bay.
- May 9: USS Lake Champlain (CG-57) collided with a South Korean fishing vessel.
- June 17: USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62, Arleigh Burke-class destroyer) collided with the Philippine freighter ACX Crystal.
- August 21: USS John S. McCain (DDG-56) collided with the oil tanker Alnic MC.
How does the world’s most technologically advanced navy keep hitting things? The answer may be found in the question itself. Two separate Navy officials told CNN that the McCain experienced a sudden loss of steering control right before the accident, only for it to reappear just as suddenly afterwards.
The McClatchy news service reports that on June 22 in the eastern Black Sea someone highjacked the GPS capabilities of some 20 vessels. Their navigation systems, all of which were operating fine, suddenly placed them 20 miles inland near an airport. This is the first reported instance of widespread “GPS spoofing.”
The Navy acknowledges that they may have been hacked. Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. John Richardson said there are no indications of a cyber intrusion in any of these instances at the present time but the Navy remains open to the possibility. It’s not a new thought, either. In 2006 the Academy at Annapolis ceased teaching celestial navigation but the sextant was returned to the hands of the Middies in 2016 although the Navy denied at the time that they were worried about hacks.
As Google and vehicle manufactures begin a serious push for autonomous cars and trucks think of the chaos and destruction a terrorist or foreign government could inflict in one day if enough driverless vehicles were on the road at any given time. Somebody needs to be in control. Right now, it’s not clear that is us.Published in