USS John S McCain collides with merchant ship

bob231

War Hero
It's almost - almost - like designing a warship for the steady-state running it does 99% of the time and neglecting the 1% of genuinely risky manouevring is a bad idea.

Didn't we go round this buoy with the Torrey Canyon?
 

mcphee1948

War Hero
I fully agree with bob231 and endure. Especially about trying to drive a car using touch-screen controls.

The introduction of touch-screen probably resulted from a desire to be modern.

BTW, as a non-military person, I always wondered why the captain of a ship has to give his orders kind of indirectly.
By ordering for example, "Engines back two-thirds" to another officer, who then goes over to a speaking -tube, or pulls the the handle on a circular telegraph device, which relays the order down to the engine-room.

This must causes delay in the execution of the captain's order. Couldn't the captain have the throttle control in his own hand?
 

bob231

War Hero
He could. That then means he needs to divide his attention between directing the Ship and the actual process of driving it. For engine orders - especially with modern throttles linked to the Bridge - this is acceptable, but holding the Ship's head steady against conflicting efforts of wind and tide is something that requires concentration. This is why pointing the Ship is normally delegated to the Officer of the Watch and actually making the course adjustments is delegated further (to the rating at the wheel).

This only gets worse when the Captain is also attempting to fight the Ship!

In the past*, engine orders had to be passed to the engine room because remote control of the machinery used to propel the Ship wasn't possible. This isn't so much the case these days.

Also, although there is an analogue to driving a car, consider the ships move much more slowly and in less congested spaces. Closest Point of Advance - i.e. the nearest you will get to another ship - is still measured by us in cables, increments of 200 yards at a time.

*Note that the past includes Type 23s, to make them cheaper
 

mcphee1948

War Hero
Yes, bob,I see what you mean, particularly on your point about the captain also having to fight the ship.

I seem to remember some designs of French tanks, in the early years of tanks, where the commander of the tank was supposed to not just steer the tank, but also load and aim the gun. Bit of a work overload!
 

Ravers

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
I saw the McCain in dry dock just after this whack.

Quite messy.
 
I fully agree with bob231 and endure. Especially about trying to drive a car using touch-screen controls.

The introduction of touch-screen probably resulted from a desire to be modern.

BTW, as a non-military person, I always wondered why the captain of a ship has to give his orders kind of indirectly.
By ordering for example, "Engines back two-thirds" to another officer, who then goes over to a speaking -tube, or pulls the the handle on a circular telegraph device, which relays the order down to the engine-room.


This must causes delay in the execution of the captain's order. Couldn't the captain have the throttle control in his own hand?
Pointless having a man and doing it yourself. :cool:
 
This, to me, is a very strong indicator of a solution looking for a problem. The advantages of changing the ship-driver's* controls from a physical handwheel and throttle(s) are absolutely minimal; the drawback in terms of retraining, comparative unreliability and simple lack of intuitive behaviour are massive.

What on earth moved them to this sort of daft decision?

*Translated from the Navy
Star Trek.

Full speed ahead. Engage.
 
He could. That then means he needs to divide his attention between directing the Ship and the actual process of driving it. For engine orders - especially with modern throttles linked to the Bridge - this is acceptable, but holding the Ship's head steady against conflicting efforts of wind and tide is something that requires concentration. This is why pointing the Ship is normally delegated to the Officer of the Watch and actually making the course adjustments is delegated further (to the rating at the wheel).

This only gets worse when the Captain is also attempting to fight the Ship!

In the past*, engine orders had to be passed to the engine room because remote control of the machinery used to propel the Ship wasn't possible. This isn't so much the case these days.

Also, although there is an analogue to driving a car, consider the ships move much more slowly and in less congested spaces. Closest Point of Advance - i.e. the nearest you will get to another ship - is still measured by us in cables, increments of 200 yards at a time.

*Note that the past includes Type 23s, to make them cheaper
Also means that there is an in built double check on orders given, or a repeater if needed. Other than the commander.

As an added bonus when properly fighting the ship the captain disappears into the bowels of the boat.
 
This, to me, is a very strong indicator of a solution looking for a problem.
Geeks. In short geeks need to continue to re-invent the wheel. Otherwise they are out of a job.

In the same way that politicians and mandarins have to keep inventing (and enforcing) new legislation. As soon as they stop doing that their "raison d'etre" ceases.
 
I sail quite a lot and wonder how something that can turn on a sixpence in the hands of personal that have a fair education and a whole lot of training can bugger it up. Accidents happen either through people not on the ball or freezing in a tricky spot.
I always ensure when maneuvering near other vessels I have right of way or look as imitating as feck.
 

mcphee1948

War Hero
As an added bonus when properly fighting the ship the captain disappears into the bowels of the boat.
Like "Old Yellowstain Queeg" in the Caine Mutiny? A disquieting comparison with modern RN captains, and quite unwarranted, I'm sure.
 
Geeks. In short geeks need to continue to re-invent the wheel. Otherwise they are out of a job.
Geeks will give you the correct solution, even if it is not the technology filled one you expected.

Marketing want to sell you the latest updated wheel with extra buzz-words and yet to be released or even tested.
 

mcphee1948

War Hero
Geeks will give you the correct solution, even if it is not the technology filled one you expected.

Marketing want to sell you the latest updated wheel with extra buzz-words and yet to be released or even tested.
Is that why Microsoft keep bringing out new editions of Windows?

But this constant innovation doesn't seem to apply so much to military equipment.

I mean how many genuinely new military planes, or tanks, or ships, have been introduced in the last, say, 10 years?
 

NSP

LE
So they have touch screens instead of wheels and telegraphs? A recipe for disaster if ever there was one.

Just imagine trying to drive your car with a touch screen instead of a steering wheel and accelerator.
Especially when the system crashes and needs to reboot. Or just dies full stop. What about total loss of electrical power...?
 

NSP

LE
I fully agree with bob231 and endure. Especially about trying to drive a car using touch-screen controls.

The introduction of touch-screen probably resulted from a desire to be modern.

BTW, as a non-military person, I always wondered why the captain of a ship has to give his orders kind of indirectly.
By ordering for example, "Engines back two-thirds" to another officer, who then goes over to a speaking -tube, or pulls the the handle on a circular telegraph device, which relays the order down to the engine-room.

This must causes delay in the execution of the captain's order. Couldn't the captain have the throttle control in his own hand?
Warship captains were/are dynamic - they'd be crossing from one side of the bridge, which was generally open-air, to the other during combat to keep the situational picture fresh in their head in the days before modern radar and sonar systems. Plus the ship wasn't driven from the bridge; it was driven from the wheelhouse down below, usually in an armoured compartment to protect the steering. Also they didn't have direct-throttle engines. These days of internal-combustion and gas-turbine engines mean that the controls can be and are on the bridge. However, at action stations, the old man is usually found in the CIC* on US ships (is there an equivelent on RN ships or does the old man and his PWO still work from the bridge?), directing the vessel in the battle space. The drivers and officer of the watch are upstairs on the bridge.

Under normal steaming when the old man is on the bridge he's not "driving" - that's what the OoW is there for. The old man is more of a manager.

Combat Information Centre - where all the screens and monitors and sensor displays are. And the magic buttons that make stuff far away suddenly go 'bang' and catch fire.
 
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The CO fights the ship from the Ops Room, which dependent on class of ship is either quite high up, or quite low down, in the ship.
 

mcphee1948

War Hero
The CO fights the ship from the Ops Room, which dependent on class of ship is either quite high up, or quite low down, in the ship.
Do you mean that the captain of a modern naval surface ship isn't necessarily up on the bridge, where he/she can see what's actually happening with his/her own eyes?

But I suppose, thinking about it, that the commander of a submarine is in somewhat the same situation.

That leads me, as a civilian, to pose this perhaps stupid question.

Who, on a submarine, gets to look through the periscope - is it only the sub's captain, or can another officer take a look?
 

endure

GCM

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