Date: 8/19/00 2:13:59 PM Pacific Daylight Time
To: (Kent Stedman)

Dear Kent.

I read the article relating the possibility that KURSK reactors were not shut down. Here is my theory which I wrote for my site. Use it if you find it of interest.


Today it was announced in Russia that Kursk crew is probably dead.

Chances for their rescue were diminished at the outset of the event itself because the Russians, for three days, refused all offered help, which they finaly accepted from Great Britain and Norway.

Offer from US was declined although they have the best equipment for the job, a Deep Sea Rescue Vehicle (DSRV), possibly to protect technology of Kursk from the opposition.
If the Cold War were still on, it would be perfectly reasonable for Russians to cower up the incident and for the US to keep silent also. Russians kept total silence first day and US did not believe in the propagation of the news too much.
These two points can be significant.

Russian spokesmen said that Kursk sunk suddenly, as the stone. US Navy stated that two distinct explosions were heard.
Norway specialists think that Kursk, built in 1995, sunk because its two fore high-pressure air tanks, storing air for blowing the water from ballast tanks, on surfacing blew up. As this two tanks are positioned between the outer and inner hull, their explosion has damaged the wall of the fore ballast tanks which are mounted on the outer hull. As stern tanks remained undamaged, Kursk plunged head on and struck the bottom with its front. This could have caused the explosion of the torpedo/ torpedoes, the flooding of the fore chambers and consequent listing of the sub.
Increasing inclination, which finally reached over 60 deg., caused the shut down, probably automatic, of the two ship's reactors, because they could not operate at that tilt and/ or the their cooling water intakes could become clogged by mug. This assumption is reinforced by the statement of the US sub Captain (ret.), Edward L. Beach, given on the 08-16-2000 Coast to Coast AM show, that the mayor inclination which was attained in US Navy, during the tests performed for the new reactor design, was 47 degrees. With reactors down only batteries remained as a power source, and the air was limited to the auxiliary oxygen bottles. There are rumors that air-cleaning filters were not on board, in order to lower the exploitation costs (with reactors in function water to air processing plant makes such devices obsolete). Enforcing the minimal energy and oxygen policy, ship was condemned to cold darkness and crew to the minimal movements.
As the sub lays in the, essentially, shallow waters (only 108 m) and it's length is considerable, only attempt at rescuing could have been done by crew itself by lifting the sub's stern, blowing their aft tanks with the all remaining high pressure air, to reach the lesser depth. This was done once in US Navy. It is believed that this was not attempted because of the fear for the hull integrity.

Images shown on Russian television depict debris aside the ship hull corroborating US Navy explosion perception. Apart that, they show that fore escape hatch, situated at the front of the command tower, is damaged also. As this means that the ship's command center is flooded, it is clear why the captain or other officials could not launch the signals buoy.

Now remains only to understand what caused the front high-pressure air tanks explosion. As Kursk was only 5 years old it is hardly believable that it could have been caused by improper tank maintenance.

Real cause of the sinking could have been the collision with the undeclared American sub following Kursk while it performed Crazy Ivan maneuver.
This maneuver, for decades used by Russian, consists of the sharp turn enabling the sub to scan its silence cone, the space behind the props in which sonar does not operate, for pursuers. In such occasions the pursuer stops it's drive to remain as silent as possible and therefore invisible to the opponent's sonar. Only problem is that the momentum of the pursuer's sub causes continuation of its movement towards the opponent's sub now sitting in its path.
If the distance between two vessels is to small or if they are too persistent, than the characteristic frontal damage, including that of the command tower, occurs.

Being of strategic nature, announcement of this kind of incident shall be avoided from the both sides if possible.
Especially at the time in which Russia is in the process of rebuilding its superpower stature, which is in opposition to the US wishes.