NATO Multilateral Force (MLF) Polaris ships and submarines

Triton

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In the early 1960s, the Eisenhower and Kennedy administrations offered the European NATO partners participation in a Multilateral Force (MLF) of Polaris-armed warships that would include surface ships, including disguised merchant vesels, and submarines. The proposal was inspired by the complaints of NATO countries that the nuclear defense of Europe was beholden to the Americans, who held the bulk of nuclear capability. The result would be a fleet of warships manned and operated by NATO command, instead of an assortment of independent forces ultimately under their own domestic banners. In this way, other NATO powers were theoretically ensured an active role in European defense. Because the US Navy was unwilling to transfer nuclear propulsion technology, the submarines had to be diesel-powered.

According to U.S. Submarines Since 1945: An Illustrated Design History by Norman Friedman, US Naval Institute, 1994, concerning the Polaris SSB:

Their design was relatively straightforward, with one interesting exception. The missiles had to be adjacent to the control room. In previous diesel submarines, intake and exhaust pipes were taken up through the substructure to the sail; if the missiles were aft (as in SSBNs), however, the hot exhaust would have run between the missile tubes, a totally unacceptable arrangement. The solution was to reverse the SSBN configuration and place the missiles forward of the sail. In the end the MLF concept collapsed and no such SSBs were built.

During its reconstruction in 1957-1961, the Italian cruiser Giuseppe Garibaldi had installed in it four launchers for Polaris missiles. However, despite successful tests held in 1961-1962, most of the missiles were never shipped to Italy, mostly for political reasons.

Has anyone seen design drawings of the MLF Polaris ships or submarines, with the exception of Giuseppe Garibaldi?
 

Michel Van

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here some info and Italian replacement Project ALFA
http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,2808.0.html
index.php

so I was right again, this IS a Polaris-1A launch from the Giuseppe Garibaldi !
 

uk 75

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The NATO navies did practise multi-nation manning on a
USN Adams class destroyer in this period. US warships of
the later 50s, notably the Long Beach class were considered as
Polaris carriers.

The only other large ship non-nuclear navy was the Dutch Navy.
I have never seen any drawings showing the De Ruyter or Zeven
Provinzien cruisers with Polaris, but they would have been possible
like the Garibaldi.

France and the UK had no interest in duplicating their SSBN programmes
with other platforms.

Other NATO navies, notably Germany, would only have been providers of
personnel if NATO ships had been deployed like the E3 AWACs aircraft.
As far as I know this never got anywhere as noone really wanted it.

Curiously the Alfa missile was an Italian Swiss co-production.

UK 75
 

Michel Van

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Curiously the Alfa missile was an Italian Swiss co-production.

WAT ?!
i know that Swiss buy Mirage Bomber for Swiss Nukes
but that they wandet ALFA that new to me

you got a Source UK 75?
 

RyanC

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Triton said:
Has anyone seen design drawings of the MLF Polaris ships or submarines, with the exception of Giuseppe Garibaldi?

Check my site.

Link

Scroll down to the bottom, and you'll find:

Mk 3 MLF Polaris
MLF Capsule General Arrangements
MLF Study Cover Page
MLF Warship Art (bad Scan)
MLF Warship Plan (bad Scan)
Polaris MLF Capsules (bad Scan)
Polaris MLF Launch Capsule Stuff
Polaris MLF Missile Loading Sketch

They have a near complete set of documents on the proposed disguised merchant MLF ship at Archives II which is where I found this stuff.
 

Michel Van

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Wat for a cool webpage B)

Intresting
the Warships with MLF Polaris looks like ordinary Cargoship
that nice camouflage had drive the KGB crazy
 

Grey Havoc

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Would be tricker to fake things like acoustic signature though.
 

RyanC

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How so? They had a lot of correspondence and brochures from merchant ship diesel engine manfuacturers for these ships in the files at Archives II. Basically, it would have been exactly like a merchie, only with better crew accomodations, and hidden modular Polaris Pallets in the cargo hold.
 

Skybolt

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Missile launchers ship acting as cargos are a very subtle and dangerous way of delivering SLBM. Just an aside: North Korean Nodong-A and Nodong-B are based respectively on the SS-N-5 and SS-N-6,
 

Grey Havoc

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RyanCrierie said:
How so? They had a lot of correspondence and brochures from merchant ship diesel engine manfuacturers for these ships in the files at Archives II. Basically, it would have been exactly like a merchie, only with better crew accomodations, and hidden modular Polaris Pallets in the cargo hold.

For one thing, engine noise isn't the only thing that makes up a ships acoustic signature. There are other elements such as flow noise and propeller cavitation. An acoustic signature is usually unique to a ship, although even without the whole signature, good sonar equipment and operators can narrow down the identification to a particular class or even a particular construction batch within that class.

So if the Soviets were able to learn when those ships were in port, through agents and other means, they could have their subs and spyships in place outside those ports ready to gather information to assist in later identification and tracking, including their acoustic signatures. And altering their visual signatures, and to a lesser extent, their electronic emission signatures, would have probably being much easier than would be the case with their acoustic signatures. Not to say that it couldn't be done. Just difficult.
 

RLBH

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Sure, but remember that merchant ships have noisy engines, and don't make much effort to quiet them. Flow noise will probably be almost impossible to hear over the engine noise. Propeller characteristics will still be noticeable, which can probably be worked around by specifying a similar size and power to common cargo liners, then using similar propellers.
 

uk 75

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Michel

Herewith the info on the development of Alfa

http://www.astronautix.com/lvs/alfa.htm

Great stuff!

UK 75
 

PMN1

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Would there have been a limit on the sea conditions that Polaris could have been launched in?
 

Madurai

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I think there is also a thread around here on Project Scorpion, the Soviet equivalent plan for putting SLBMs on disguised merchant ships.
 

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