Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
September 16, 2021

To Protect Itself From U.S. Hostility Australia Decides To Buy U.S. Submarines

Yesterday the U.S., the UK and Australia announced that the later one will buy nuclear powered submarines to do the U.S.' bidding against China:

Australia's next submarine fleet will be nuclear-powered under an audacious plan that will see a controversial $90 billion program to build up to 12 French-designed submarines scrapped.

The ABC understands Australia will use American and British technology to configure its next submarine fleet in a bid to replace its existing Collins class subs with a boat more suitable to the deteriorating strategic environment.

This is a huge but short term win for the U.S. with an also-ran booby price for Britain and a strategic loss of sovereignty and budget control for Australia.

It is another U.S. slap into the face of France and the European Union. The deal will piss off New Zealand, Indonesia and of course China. It will upset the international nuclear non proliferation regime and may lead to the further military nuclearization of South Korea and Japan.

Australia currently has 6 Collins class submarines. These are diesel driven boats based on Swedish designs but partially build in Australia. These boats are relatively slow and have a medium range and endurance. They were built between 1990 and 2003 and are mostly for defensive use. There were lots of trouble during the building of the boats as Australia lacks the technical capabilities and industrial depth to make such complicate products. The operational history of boats is also rather mixed with several scandals following each other. The boats are supposed to be upgraded to be in use for another decade.

In the 2010s Australia began to look for a new generation of submarines. After a long discussion it decided to stick to conventionally powered boats. The new subs were again to be build in Australia after a foreign design.

Germany, Japan and France were asked for proposals. The French state owned ship builder Naval Group (DCNS) won the race for 12 new boats and the €50 billion contract. Ironically the French conventionally driven Shortfin Barracuda design France offered is based on its own nuclear driven Barracuda class design. For Australia France had therefore to design a conventional power plant for a submarine that was originally designed, as all French subs are, to run on a nuclear reactor with low enriched uranium (LEU). It was quite obvious that this unusual conversion would run into difficulties and time delays.

Back in June Peter Lee, aka Chinahand, wrote about the delayed program:

The program is officially “troubled” and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison held a confab with French president Macron to try to get the project back on track.

Although the contract was signed in 2016, construction hasn’t begun yet, and the first submarine under the program won’t be launched for another decade. At least.

This does not fit well with the Australian navy’s declared ambition to fling its armed might against a PRC invasion of Taiwan that might happen in the next few years, so there’s all sorts of flailing go on, including talk of spending a few billion dollars to upgrade the current Collins class fleet of submarines as a stopgap, or even rush-procuring some German subs.

There’s also some talk of canceling, threatening to cancel, and/or modifying the attack submarine contract to do better. And maybe steer the project toward Germany or back to America’s choice, Japan.

Well - it turns out that 'America's choice' builder for Australia's submarines was not Japan but the U.S. itself.

We now learn that talks about ditching the contract with French in favor of U.S. build nuclear driven boats already started in April 2020 and were finalized during a U.S., Australian, British summit in early June 2021. This was before Prime Minister Scott Morrison met with the French President Macron to get the French-Australian project back on track!

What the PM didn't tell Macron over that long dinner in Paris — and perhaps why the French President might be particularly miffed — is that Morrison had, just a day or so before, already reached an informal agreement with United States President Joe Biden and British PM Boris Johnson for an extension of a nuclear technology sharing agreement.

This revelation brings a new complexion to the tripartite meeting in Carbis Bay in Cornwall on June 12 between the two PMs and the US President.
The ABC understands the federal government began exploring the nuclear-powered submarine option about 18 months ago when Linda Reynolds was still defence minister.

Moreover on August 30 the French and Australian Foreign and Defense Ministers had met and issued a common declaration on bilateral cooperation in a number of policy fields. This included defense cooperation:

Both sides committed to deepen defence industry cooperation and enhance their capability edge in the region. Ministers underlined the importance of the Future Submarine program. They agreed to strengthen military scientific research cooperation through a strategic partnership between the Defence Science and Technology Group and the Directorate General for Armaments.

Just sixteen days later France learned that it lost a huge defense contract due a 180 degree turn around by its Australian 'partner'. It is no wonder than that the French are fuming:

The French government has hit out Australia's decision to tear up a submarine deal with France worth more than €50 billion to instead acquire American-made nuclear-powered submarines.

"It's a stab in the back. We had established a trusting relationship with Australia, and this trust was betrayed," French Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said in a Franceinfo interview Thursday morning. Le Drian added he was "angry and very bitter about this break up," adding that he had spoken to his Australian counterpart days ago and received no serious indication of the move.

Under a deal announced Wednesday by U.S. President Joe Biden, Australia, the U.K. and the U.S. will form a new alliance to be known as AUKUS, which will see the three countries share advanced technologies with one another. As part of the new pact, Canberra will abandon its submarine deal with France.

The French, correctly, blame the U.S. for this decision:

In a statement released before the interview, Le Drian and Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly said: “This decision is contrary to the letter and spirit of the cooperation that prevailed between France and Australia."

The statement continued: "The American choice to push aside an ally and European partner like France from a structuring partnership with Australia, at a time when we are facing unprecedented challenges in the Indo-Pacific region ... shows a lack of consistency France can only note and regret."

The French ambassador to the U.S. was a bit more subtle with this zinger:

Philippe Etienne @Ph_Etienne - 2:43 UTC · Sep 16, 2021

Interestingly, exactly 240 years ago the French Navy defeated the British Navy in Chesapeake Bay, paving the way for the victory at Yorktown and the independence of the United States.

There are some military reasons to prefer nuclear submarines over diesel driven ones if one plans to lay siege on a foreign coast far away from ones own one. Nuclear submarines (SSN) are faster and can stay on station much longer than diesel driven boats (SSK).


But there are also many negative issues with nuclear boats. They are larger and more expensive than conventional ones. The cost nearly 50% more. They also require dedicated infrastructure and very specialized nuclear training for the crews. Australia has neither nor can it supply the necessary fuel for the nuclear reactors.

The price for the new submarines Australia will have to pay will be much higher that for the French ones. Some $3 billion have already been sunk into the French contract. France will rightfully demand additional compensation for cancelling it. The new contract with the U.S. or UK will cost more than the French one but will only include 8 instead of 12 boats. As three boats are needed to keep one at sea (while the other two are training or in refit), the actual patrolling capacity for Australia's navy will sink from 4 to 2-3 concurrent submarines at sea.

The much higher price of the fewer more complicate boats will upset Australia's defense budget for decades to come.

If going to nuclear propulsion were Australia's sole reason for changing the horse it could have stuck to the original French Barracuda design. This has the advantage of using low enriched uranium which is commercially available. There would be no Australian dependency on France for new fuel supplies. The British and U.S. boats use nuclear reactors with highly enriched uranium (HEU >60%). As Australia now decided to buy those boats it will forever be dependent on those suppliers.

The non-proliferation crowd and the IAEA will be up in arms over the deal. How much supervision will there be over the HEU? Who will have access to it?

Nuclear driven submarines are also perceived as offensive weapons, not as reasonable defensive ones. There are more countries on this map than just China.


That Australia, with just 25 million inhabitants, is buying nuclear driven attack subs will not be welcome by its ten times larger northern neighbor Indonesia. Other neighboring countries, like New Zealand, reject any use of nuclear fuel and will not allow ships or boats using it into their harbors.

The new contract will also upset the Australian plans for manufacturing the boats on its own soil. While the French design was ready to start the actual building phase at the beginning of next year the whole submarine project will now go into a new 18 month long definition phase after which actual contracts will have to be negotiated and signed. Meanwhile the hundreds of Australian engineers who moved to France to help with the design and specialists who were hired by Naval Group in Australia will have to be cared for. Australia does not have many people with such knowledge. What are they going to do until the new project actually starts?

The UK will offer Australia to buy British made Astute class submarines while the U.S. is likely to offer the smaller version of its Virginia class submarines. As both countries have active production lines for these it will not make any economic sense to build more than some small parts for these in Australia itself. The U.S. will use all pressure that is necessary to make sure that its offer will win the race. A hint of that is that Australia also announced that it will acquire long-range US Tomahawk missiles to be used with the subs.

The first of the French boats for Australia was expected to be ready in the early 2030s. There will now be a long delay of perhaps a decade for Australia to get new boats.

Its current Collins class will require more than an ordinary refit to be sustained that long. That is going to be expensive. The Germans may want to jump into that gap by offering their Type 214 submarines with hydrogen driven propulsion. While these boats are much smaller they offer a long endurance, can be supplied reasonably fast and come for a much cheaper price than the nuclear driven ones.

Altogether I do not see any advantage for Australia in this move.

What then is the reason to take that step?

It is called blackmail.

China is by far Australia's largest trading partner. U.S. and Australian 'strategist' claim that the submarines are need to protect Australia's maritime trade routes with its largest trading partner ... from China. That makes, as this sketch provides, zero sense.

The only reason Australia has turned politically and militarily against China is U.S. blackmail. Two years ago the U.S. 'realist' political scientist John Mearsheimer came to Australia to explained to Australians (vid see at 33min) how that works.

As Caitlin Johnstone summarizes:

“Now some people say there’s an alternative: you can go with China,” said Mearsheimer. “Right you have a choice here: you can go with China rather the United States. There’s two things I’ll say about that. Number one, if you go with China you want to understand you are our enemy. You are then deciding to become an enemy of the United States. Because again, we’re talking about an intense security competition.”

“You’re either with us or against us,” he continued. “And if you’re trading extensively with China, and you’re friendly with China, you’re undermining the United States in this security competition. You’re feeding the beast, from our perspective. And that is not going to make us happy. And when we are not happy you do not want to underestimate how nasty we can be. Just ask Fidel Castro.”

Nervous laughter from the Australian think tank audience punctuated Mearsheimer’s more incendiary observations. The CIA is known to have made numerous attempts to assassinate Castro.

So there you have it. Australia is not aligned with the US to protect itself from China. Australia is aligned with the US to protect itself from the US.

Joe Biden may have forgotten the name of the Australian Prime Minister. But Scott Morrison knows who he is expected to work for. In 1975 the U.S. and the UK launched a coup against the Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam who was moving his country towards independence. Few in the U.S. will remember that but Australian politicians do. Their country has since always done as it was told to do.

And that is what all the above is about.

Posted by b on September 16, 2021 at 17:27 UTC | Permalink

« previous page

Australia is surely setting itself up as US patsy, its 20 million population will become a first strike country for China, what the hell are Australians thinking, Morrison is turning Australia's number one export country into an arch enemy for the benefit of the USA.

Posted by: Republicofscotland | Sep 17 2021 18:46 utc | 201

karlof1 | Sep 17 2021 17:52 utc | 195
Thanks your link to Chinese Remember Sep 18th

Immed brought to mind the Japan takeover by 1905 of Korea and their attempt to subjugate giant China using biowarfare beginning abt 1939 re Unit Battalion 731...that failed after horrific acts.


Posted by: chu teh | Sep 17 2021 19:11 utc | 202

Lysias | Sep 17 2021 18:22 utc | 200

re using slide-rule... Great observation that thoroughly resonates. be reliant on using it routinely, one rather "automatically" knows the magnitudes or ballpark answers as one progresses thru the steps to final one knows where to put the decimal point...indeed this is a marvelous observation v. the process of using calculators wherein the answer has no built-in error tracking.

IMO that is a real part of explaining of the apparent dumbing-down of the learning process.

Posted by: chu teh | Sep 17 2021 19:32 utc | 203

Australia has extreme difficulty keeping even one conventional sub at sea due to crew shortages and persistent equipment issues.

This can only get worse when nuclear-trained crews are required.

Posted by: Jezza | Sep 17 2021 19:32 utc | 204


That appears to be a very long essay on why our currently known in the west boundaries cannot be moved or bypassed. I am sure American engineers could have written many book length essays on why it was technicaly impossible to build the closed cycle rocket engine.
Russia has made many technical break throughs with its current crop of weapons along with, I suspect, moving physics boundaries as mentioned by the deputy defense minister and confirmed several years later by Putin.. That toy laser system on a trailer with many wheels in a country who's atmosphere all too often is filled with ice and water particles.. and Russia only deploys stuff that operates in all conditions.
Martyanov uses different language to what I hear and from western military types - Sensor fusion/data fusion, target solution, salvo. Using missiles with some type of seeker head , that target solution could be a relatively large circle.
Because of the nature of strategic military research, there will be many areas where boundaries are moved that we in the west will not know about for many years.
I have a lot of respect for and interest in the various sciences. Many of its practitioners...?
My respect for those that push the boundaries in various fields is matched only by my contempt for those that believe what they know is the be all and end all of everything.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Sep 17 2021 19:48 utc | 205

Peter, I'm all for technical breakthroughs and moving boundaries.

As I have said before, I know next to nothing about laser tech. I didn't even know that the purpose of the Peresvet laser was to blind [temporarily] US spysats passing overhead of Russian mobile ICBM brigades.

Does Peresvet penetrate clouds? I don't know. But it wouldn't need to anyway, since cloud cover would also render the spysat useless.

Posted by: Gordog | Sep 17 2021 21:11 utc | 206

Peter AU1 @205--

... moving physics boundaries ...

That's related to the capability I hinted at. Aside from the steam generated by a sub's nuclear reactor, what else does it produce, and what sort of signal does that generate that cannot be hidden? Hint, What does the Earth's core generate? How do we know? How about this acronym, EMAD. Think about the amazing advances in ground penetrating radar and its ability to map Greenland and Antarctica's buried far under ice topography. There's no paper I can link to that deals with EMAD for what ought to be easy to understand reasons. Putin can easily show off air defense advances, including lasers; but to unveil a technology that reveals Boomers and all other subs would be a huge strategic mistake. If the Outlaw US Empire was able to develop a similar tech, do you think it would reveal it, even as a taunt? Putin even gave the game away when he said "we know where everything is; nothing, nobody can hide from us." IMO, there's a very good reason why both Putin and Xi are so confidant in their confrontations with the Outlaw US Empire. They've amassed at minimal a generational lead in tech while spending next to nothing, and they have the expertise to extend that lead. And it's that last item that will ultimately doom the Outlaw US Empire since its so totally fucked-up its educational system along with it's societal incentives--and it's obviously in no hurry to fix either.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 17 2021 21:33 utc | 207

Gordog | Sep 17 2021 21:11 utc | 206 et al

Dyee ;asers and Arthur gets i'viewed. This is beyond my dim level, but u might be able to profitably digest it. Makes me kantrowitzy n sleepy. Goodnight.

Posted by: chu teh | Sep 17 2021 21:36 utc | 208

Karlof, ground penetrating radar doesn't work when there is SALT in the soil.

That's also why the ice-penetrating radars on Nasa aircraft were able to map Greenland's sub-ice terrain: because it is freshwater.

Salt is the fly in the ointment when it comes to penetrating ocean water with radar.

Putin's comment about 'knowing' where 'everything' is could be referring to any number of things. I talked at length about the undersea SONAR system in the Arctic ocean seabed. That's unprecedented anti-sub technology. Why would they be building that if they had something better?

You will also hear people say the US has 'secret' UFO technology. Is that credible?

Btw, I have no idea what EMAD stands for. Can you give the actual name, and I will look into it?

Posted by: Gordog | Sep 17 2021 22:01 utc | 209


The Peresvet is an interesting thing. Very much out of the lime light when it comes to the new systems. The capabilities of most of those published as they are used as a deterrent. Many doubt those capabilities but the US military which has monitored their testing understands. Not so the Peresvet. We have had to analyse is use based on our understanding of physics and photos of what it looks like on the outside. Who knows perhaps it is just a simple piddly little laser with an accurate aiming device. All weapons systems unveiled incorporated various technological breakthroughs. Somewhere in the mix is not just a technical breakthrough such as the closed cycle engine but a physics breakthrough.
That Peresvet is an interesting thing. Very heavy. climate control for what appears to be the control module. No visible cooling or exhaust vents for what is likely the power source in the main compartment and mounted over the many axels....
When it is introduced alongside the other advanced generation weapon systems, I wouldn't be quite so sure it is just a toy laser with a whizbang aiming device.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Sep 17 2021 22:01 utc | 210

karlof1 EMAD

I have never heard of it before. Magnetic fields. MAD is detecting changes or anomalies in earths magnetic field. A metal detector creates its own magnetic field and beeps when a piece of metal causes a disturbance in that field. I would guess a nuclear reactor would generate its own electro magnetic field.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Sep 17 2021 22:37 utc | 211

Gordog, this Peresvet ... for blinding satellites to stop them detecting Russian road mobile ICBMs and tossing up the pros and cons raises a few questions... When do they switch them on? There would be howls of anguish if all US sats were blinded from the time they were deployed. But to be of any use, the American sats would have to be blinded before US launched any missiles. Can those heavy carrier launchers travel sufficient distance after a launch warning and before the incoming missiles strike? I assume they would launch first then do their best to survive. Under those circumstance, a laser to simply blind satellites would not serve much purpose.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Sep 17 2021 23:10 utc | 212

Gordog @209--

Sorry to confuse you. The reference to the great advances in ground penetrating radar is just that, a reference to tech/science advancements. The answer to the riddle is electricity, which generates an electromagnetic field that can potentially be detected since it differs from that generated by the planet. Recently it became possible to detect local anomalies caused by certain geologic formations/strata particularly those containing hydrocarbons. My hypothesis is the electro-magnetic field generated by a submarine can be localized from the planetary electromagnetic field and can always be tracked since the submarine can never be turned off. In other words, submarines are incapable of becoming 100% silent since they're constantly emitting something detectable. EMAD--Electromagnetic Anomaly Detector.

Placing passive sonar on the ocean floor to detect subs is rather old but mostly reliable tech. An EMAD device could be completely portable. Divulging its existence might be effective, but then the enemy could produce numerous decoys and thus make it ineffective.

Subs are weapons platforms, and as such will likely become unmanned, stationed on the ocean floor and awakened when the time comes for them to be serviced or activated for combat. That way they truly become undetectable and much cheaper to manufacture since they won't need to support humans.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 17 2021 23:11 utc | 213

Posted by: Lysias | Sep 17 2021 17:57 utc | 196

I wonder what Rudd thinks of this new alliance.

Posted by: Menz | Sep 17 2021 23:14 utc | 214

Karlof, there has never been anything like the Arctic floor sonar network the Russians are building.

It is ACTIVE sonar that works exactly like radar. I already talked about the difference between this and simple hydrophones which were used in the now defunct SOSUS system, which doesn't require a power soyrce

Posted by: Gordog | Sep 17 2021 23:32 utc | 215

Continued... hit post button by mistake.

Sonar can also run passively, where it is only listening. Again this is analogous to a radar warning receiver on an aircraft.

But in passive mode, you cannot track the object, its location, speed, bearing etc, which requires the doppler effect, same as radar.

So the Russian undersea network powered by the 'Shelf' miniature nuclear turbogenerators cannot be compared with previous passive hydrophone systems.

Magnetic anomaly detection only works to very shallow depths. It was used in WW2, using a simple fluxgate device, and even today with more sophisticated instruments, but typically in combination with other sub-hunting equipment like sonobuoys.

Submarines also carry countermeasures against both. It's known the Russian subs have sonar jamming equipment.

Btw, nuclear subs don't necessarily have to have pumps for cooling. They can harness convection effects to circulate coolant. That's one way to reduce sound emissions.

Posted by: Gordog | Sep 17 2021 23:52 utc | 216

@201 -- Republicofscotland | Sep 17 2021 18:46

"... what the hell are Australians thinking, Morrison is turning ..."

Hold it, stop right there.

Australians are discouraged from thinking. You're possibly confusing it with 'drinking'.

When you still have the British Union Jack as your national flag (with some night sky star motifs for contextual colonial background) then not only is political agency at near zero, but cognitive dissonance inhibits the void between the ears.

This is just another F-111 programme to drain the bank. All they ever did was 'train' and occasionally crash. I saw one in a museum in Hawaii in 2019. Good contract for General Dynamics shareholders. Not much else. These subs, if they ever materialize, will achieve the same strategic goal -- drain the Australian Treasury of dangerous $cash residues that might lead to independent economic empowerment.

Posted by: imo | Sep 17 2021 23:55 utc | 217

Just to clarify my comment @ Jackrabbit @Sep17 15:31 #182

I wrote ":ducks:" not because I thought Gordog would be angry at me or my question but because I expect that his anger at the politicians messing with science would be even greater than his anger at the media.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 17 2021 23:57 utc | 218

Peter, about your questions re the mobile ICBMs.

I don't have any inside information, but we can use logic here.

First the issue of spysats. I talked about those polar orbits already, and the fact that a number of days goes by before any given sat is over any given geographic area.

They will have multiple sats, but even gaps on the order of hours would be the best you could do. That means it is basically useless for first-strike targeting.

The mobile transporter-erector-launchers would logically be rotating on patrol maneuvers continuously. That guarantees that even in a bolt-from-the-blue first strike, some units would be away from the base and able to launch.

The Russian early warning system is quite capable and consists of a number of over-the-horizon radars, plus sats. An ICBM or SLBM flight would take about 30 minutes. Even those TELs caught at base would have some time to get away.

There is also 'maskirovka' which has always been a big part of Russian doctrine. They have inflatable versions of all kinds of TELs, radars, etc. The real hardware would be very effectively camouflaged somewhere far away from those decoys.

Btw, the Serbs used this tactic to perfection. The 78 days of Nato bombing destroyed practically no equipment. It was mostly decoys.

I think the mobile ICBMs are very survivable.

Btw, the Russian silo-based ICBMs also have interesting defense schemes. The system is layered, as is Russian practice with air defense. The close-in layer throws up a volley of steel balls, literally hundreds of them, like a shotgun blast.

They tested this system with real incoming warheads [unarmed], starting in the sixties, and have been perfecting it ever since.

Posted by: Gordog | Sep 18 2021 1:03 utc | 219

FRA need to get out of NATO

Posted by: IronForge | Sep 18 2021 2:10 utc | 220

Another offer from big bro that Oz cant
refuse ?
kinda like a mob shakedown.

same old same old.
Why complain, say Oz
We'r one family.

'Our government would deny that they twist arms to force weapons sales which have now become the #1 industrial export product of the US.

When weapons are your #1 industrial export product - what is your global marketing strategy?

I remember when George Herbert Walker Bush (daddy Bush) was president. He went to South Korea and was at a fancy dinner. He got sick and threw up at the table. But the real scandal was that he had a note in his hand which told the South Korean government how many fighter planes they were expected to purchase from US aerospace corporations. It's like a mob shakedown.'

FUKUS = UK, US, the F should be self explanatory, its the key word in fact.
[courtesy of deb here]

Its very versatile,
iN South Asia, its FUKUSI [UK, US, INDIA]


When France is also involved then
FUKUSA become France, UK , US , AUSTRALIA

Posted by: denk | Sep 18 2021 3:27 utc | 221

Oh PeterAU, look up Quantum communication hacking. Some degenerate Swede basically destroyed non-direct satellite quantum communication years ago. I guess you don't need a team of 10,000 graduates from Fudan University.

Like I always tell people, China may be physically manufacturing your graphic card, but the plans come from somewhere else. Though I do wish China would make a domestic graphic card on par with NVIDIA and ATI, using API for Windows and Linux. I honestly think they can gobble up the market like Intel with performance chips if they put their minds to it instead of waste money on things CIA deemed ineffective 40 years ago.

Posted by: whydoibother | Sep 18 2021 3:37 utc | 222

france like much of Europe is compromised.Including weapons.Not worth buying weapons that have no technological advantage.Good move.In any event whoever rules space rules the earth.Space based weapons trump all.

Posted by: mcohen | Sep 18 2021 3:39 utc | 223

@Gordog #90

Excellent comment, but there is one incorrect paragraph. You wrote:

The most promising technique for locating subs is by means of ocean-floor sonar detection networks, like the US SOSUS, which is no longer in operation, but consisted of undersea cables with passive sensors that bridged the so-called GIUK gap, for Greenland-Iceland-UK.

SOSUS is still in operation and is deployed not only in the GIUK gap, but also along the east coast of the U.S. and Canada, the west coast of the U.S., and around several islands in the Pacific Ocean. Thanks to advances in undersea cable technology, the 20 NAVFACs (Naval Facilities) it had in the mid-1970s were gradually consolidated into just 2 NOPFs (Naval Ocean Processing Facilities) by 2010. In 1985, as its fixed arrays were augmented by SURTASS (Surveillance Towed Array Sensor System) ships, the overall system was named IUSS (Integrated Undersea Surveillance System).¹

In 2016, General Dynamics was awarded a contract to develop a new system of fixed arrays called DRAPES (Deep Reliable Acoustic Path Exploitation System).² It is unclear whether DRAPES will augment SOSUS or completely replace it.

Also, it is important to note that, in addition to the 5 SURTASS ships operated by the U.S. Navy, there are 3 SURTASS ships operated by JMSDF (Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force): JS Hibiki (since 1991), JS Harima (since 1992), and JS Aki (since 2021). JMSDF “has no access to the heart of the… technology”,³ SURTASS is operated by U.S. “civilian” technicians, and the data is fed into IUSS via DSCS (Defense Satellite Communications System),⁴ so it’s as if the U.S. has 8 SURTASS ships. No other foreign country operates SURTASS ships.⁵ This unique arrangement between the U.S. and Japan raises the question of whether there are also secret SOSUS systems installed around Ryukyu Islands and Nanpō Islands arcs.

¹ The Cold War: History of the SOund SUrveillance System (SOSUS) (Discovery of Sound in the Sea)

² US Navy Upgrading Undersea Sub-Detecting Sensor Network (The Diplomat, Steven Stashwick, November 4, 2016)

³ Japan builds first surveillance ship in 30 years to find Chinese subs (The Asahi Shimbun, Yasuyuki Sasaki, March 11, 2020 — archived at

⁴ Hibiki-class ocean surveillance ship (Wikipedia)

⁵ US Navy Begins Design Evaluation for New Sub-Tracking Ships (The Diplomat, Steven Stashwick, July 30, 2020)

Posted by: S | Sep 18 2021 14:28 utc | 224

@Gordog #216:

But in passive mode, you cannot track the object, its location, speed, bearing etc, which requires the doppler effect, same as radar.

You can if you have an array of hydrophones (a.k.a. “passive sonars”). Then there are “vector sensors”.

Posted by: S | Sep 18 2021 14:39 utc | 225

Look 'S', you have a habit of in-your-face statements of people being 'wrong,' when you actually don't know anything about the subject.

My statements about SOSUS are not 'incorrect.' It is your gibberish that is WRONG.

That is why I don't, as a rule respond to your petulant nonsense, and I would suggest you comment to others NOT TO ME. Anyone can look up SOSUS operational and find info, and I'm not going to waste time on this claptrap of yours.

Posted by: Gordog | Sep 18 2021 16:10 utc | 226

Quantum physics is an interesting beast. Few who are well-trained in classical physics are comfortable with it. They often try to understand it as some kind of natural outgrowth of more familiar physics but that sets them up for incomprehension. At more sophisticated levels you have the physicists thinking "The math says this is what is supposed to happen but I don't see it. The particle is supposed to be both a wave and a particle. The electron is supposed to be in many places at once. The cat is supposed to be both dead and alive at the same time." This is what gets quantum physics labeled as "spooky physics".

Consider the ancient classical physics of Aristotle, Euclid, and Archimedes. This was relatively direct and linear thinking. Then along comes Newton, Leibnitz, and Seki to add a dynamic aspect to physics with their various versions of calculus. This required a paradigm shift to effectively understand and exploit. That isn't to say that Aristotle couldn't comprehend things like rates of change, but that he couldn't formalize it. Of course, people of his era didn't really need physical models that encompassed such things, so it is no surprise and certainly no criticism of the ancient proto-physicists.

Then along comes Einstein with his relativity. Again physics thinking must do a paradigm shift to keep up.

If we can think if these paradigm shifts as turning our attention 90 degrees perpendicular to what we previously understood about the world, then we have gone from linear thinking with the ancient philosophers, to two dimensional thinking with Newton & Co., to three dimensional thinking about physics with Einstein. So what happens when the next paradigm shift comes along? Which dimension is perpendicular to the three physical ones we are all so familiar with? How can we conceptually model this paradigm shift?

And that is an oversimplification of the problem with understanding quantum physics. The cognitive step into that realm is bigger than any of the preceding paradigm shifts that have been required to date to stay at the bleeding edge of human cognition. While there are plenty of people who can properly arrange the mathematical symbols and turn the computational crank to get solutions to quantum physics problems, most who are deeply rooted in classical physics are left intensely troubled by the implications of that mathematical modelling when applied to the natural world around them. Such efforts leave the ground not seeming so solid as we are accustomed to thinking and the "now" more ephemeral than we would like it to be. Classical physicists had to give up their gods to truly embrace their field of study, but that is a trivial sacrifice compared with what is required to really fully grasp quantum physics. To acknowledge that one's physical self, the very anchor point of one's ego and identity, is nought but a probabilistic wave function, albeit an exquisitely complex one (wink, wink), is a bit much for most people.

That is all a lead-in to some points relevant to the topic of this thread that I would like to make. First is that you need to master a great deal of very difficult math to even get to the starting point of grasping quantum physics (lysergic acid can be a shortcut, but just try and hold onto that understanding as you return from your trip. Good luck with that!) I am not talking that one needs to know how to punch a formula into a calculator, but rather one must fully understand how those formulae model some aspects of the natural world. The quantum nature of the world is not intuitive or readily visible. One cannot learn about it through "hands on experience" or classroom manipulatives for small-forebrain students.

So which culture in the world truly prizes math competence these days? Certainly not the US or EU, so keep guessing if either of those were your first choice. It would be more accurate to say that the US and EU have become radically antipathetic to math over the last several decades. Math is simply incompatible with social equity.

Next you need an academic environment that is ready, if not eager, to step beyond hidebound orthodoxy. One may mistakenly assume that western university campuses, with their deliberate efforts to dismantle their imaginary demons of "white male supremacy", would be the ideal environments for doctrine to be challenged. Unfortunately, their crusade against something that only exists in their own imaginations has necessitated making over the university environments into intellectual "safe spaces" where their heartfelt dogmas cannot be disputed. Western universities have thus transformed themselves into factories for hidebound orthodoxy. They will not be producing groundbreaking thinkers.

China, on the other hand, with hundreds of new universities staffed with enthusiastic young faculties charged up with excitement for the possibilities of science and immersed in a society where math skills are held in high esteem... well, you can guess where that is going.

China is innovating, even as we discuss right now, things that even technically competent individuals such as Gordog believe to be impossible. Naturally, once the poster sees how the impossible was accomplished he will no longer assert that it was impossible, but that is how innovation often proceeds.

Consider detecting submerged submarines using lasers. Impossible, right? The water will disperse the beam, rendering it incoherent. Any of the emitted photons that somehow find their way back to a detector after bouncing off the hull of a submarine will have the information of that collision buried by numerous subsequent collisions with water molecules, atmosphere molecules, fish, and perhaps mermaids.

But the Chinese are not considering using traditional LIDAR to search for submarines, but rather detectors employing quantum entangled photons. These "spooky physics" devices never have to see any of the photons they emit again in order for them to detect something those photons interacted with. Like magic? Maybe... depends upon the limits of one's understanding of physics how magical it seems.

"But such a detector would have to be able to produce a massive stream of quantum entangled photons! That's impossible!"

There you go again. Just because you cannot imagine something, like propulsive reentry of SpaceX' Starship spacecraft, doesn't mean it cannot be done.

Oh, and about the CIA and quantum encryption, do keep in mind that the CIA is staffed with Harvard frat bois who majored in humanities or business because they had neither the patience nor intellect for math. Don't put much stock in the opinions of a bunch of clowns who cannot even pin down where their own anxiety comes from ("generalized anxiety disorder"? Really? How much more weak-minded can someone be?) and who have "impostor syndrome" from getting participation trophies for all they do.

In any case, before Australia has their nuke subs, China will have their quantum entangled LIDAR satellites in orbit.

Posted by: William Gruff | Sep 18 2021 17:46 utc | 227

@ Posted by: whydoibother | Sep 18 2021 3:37 utc | 222

The Americans thought they could keep ruling the world with that, until 2008 happened and they discovered being a country of corrupt and individualist white collar do-nothings ("middlemen", middle class) is not gonna fix your bridge or plant your food.

Posted by: vk | Sep 18 2021 17:48 utc | 228

Well, that is a fairly coherent comment by Gruff @ 227.

The following comment is meant in the spirit of discussion rather than confrontation.

It's true that quantum physics is difficult to understand. I had a great friend years ago who was a theoretical physicist and professor emeritus at a renowned east coast university. He would sometimes resort to the mild arrogance of theoretical physicists, which profession is rightfully placed at the top of the pecking order of hard sciences.

A typical remark would be along the lines of , 'well, as an engineer, you don't need to understand concepts like uncertainty.'

Fair enough. But I still say, even with my limited understanding of 'modern' physics, that it has contributed almost nothing of any real value. Mostly quantum science is applied to further our understanding of cosmology, at which I think they are doing a TERRIBLE job. They have explained next to nothing, as far as I am concerned, and the story is constantly shifting.

This quantum physics introductory excerpt from Serway's Physics for Scientists and Engineers is helpful in setting a baseline:

In Chapter 39, we discussed that Newtonian mechanics must be replaced by Einstein’s special theory of relativity when dealing with particle speeds comparable to the speed of light.

As the 20th century progressed, many experimental and theoretical problems were resolved by the special theory of relativity. For many other problems, however, neither relativity nor classical physics could provide a theoretical answer.

Attempts to apply the laws of classical physics to explain the behavior of matter on the atomic scale were consistently
unsuccessful. For example, the emission of discrete wavelengths of light from atoms in a high-temperature gas could not be explained within the framework of classical physics.

As physicists sought new ways to solve these puzzles, another revolution took place in physics between 1900 and 1930. A new theory called quantum mechanics was highly successful in explaining the behavior of particles of microscopic size.

Like the special theory of relativity, the quantum theory requires a modification of our ideas concerning the physical world.

Notice that special relativity is only important when dealing with high particle speeds. This includes even orbital speeds, which are actually a tiny fraction of the speed of light...but still enough to disrupt things when ACCURACY is important.

I had mentioned the satnav systems [GPS, Glonass, Beidou etc], which carry atomic clocks that are essential to navigation calculations.

[Btw, timekeeping has long been crucial to navigation. The advent of the marine chronometer revolutionized ocean navigation in the mid-eighteenth century. A fascinating story of the self-taught clockmaker, John Harrison, who developed the first such workable instrument, as a response to the Longitude Prize established by Parliament. Latitude could be quite acurately determined in this era by means of celestial navigation, but Longitude could only be calculated by knowing the TIME of day at the prime meridian, which passed through Greenwich. An excellent TV movie of this story is available on youtube.]

Anyway, back to the atomic clocks on board sats. The speed of the sat in its ~20,000 km high orbit is high enough that the clock onboard will tick 7 microseconds slower per day. This is due to special relativity.

At the same time its distance from the earth's gravity mass will speed up the clock by 45 microseconds. This is due to general relativity. Thus, the clocks need to be slowed by 38 microseconds per day, otherwise a position error of over 10 km will result at the end of the day!

That is the only significant real-world engineering application I can think of where modern physics is essential.

Now back to Serway. Let's remember that 'quantum' is a reference to the fact that an atom is comprised of smaller particles or 'quanta.'

In Chapter 41, we introduced some basic concepts and techniques used in quantum mechanics along with their applications to various one-dimensional systems. In this chapter, we apply quantum mechanics to atomic systems.

A large portion of the chapter is focused on the application of quantum mechanics to the study of the hydrogen atom. Understanding
the hydrogen atom, the simplest atomic system, is important for several reasons:

• The hydrogen atom is the only atomic system that can be solved exactly.

• Much of what was learned in the 20th century about the hydrogen atom, with its single electron, can be extended to such single-electron ions as He1 and Li21.

• The hydrogen atom is an ideal system for performing precise tests of theory against experiment and for improving our overall understanding of atomic structure.

So there you have it. Only the simplest atom can be solved EXACTLY using the quantum math.

• The quantum numbers that are used to characterize the allowed states of hydrogen can also be used to investigate more complex atoms, and such a description enables us to understand the periodic table of the elements. This understanding is one of the greatest triumphs of quantum mechanics.

In other words they are making educated guesses!

As for China 'harnessing' quantum entanglement to locate submarines with satellites...well, I will believe that when they first bring out a REAL quantum 'computer' for a start.

I never said it is impossible, like Gruff is ascribing incorrectly to my comments. I merely pointed out some of the obvious challenges, which are indeed HUGE, if not overwhelming.

For instance, even if this quantum entanglement scheme does work, you still have the massive challenge of SCANNING the absolutely HUGE area of the world ocean, or at least parts thereof. That problem does not go away, even if Gruff turns out to be correct about the quantum breakthrough.

I hope somebody does figure out how to put quantum physics to some use. But until they do, it shows that it is not a fully formed theory. Because the definition of a 'theory' in science is that its math can be used to predict behavior. Quantum does that precisely only in a very limited way, as I've already shown.

PS: as for 'reentry' of that 'starship' contraption, I will be writing about that in some detail. This is stuff that is not 'spooky' science, just well-known aerodynamics and thermodynamics.

Btw Gruff, since you are following the Musk clownshow, when can we expect that 'orbital' launch, lol? 😸

Posted by: Gordog | Sep 18 2021 19:39 utc | 229

@Gordog | Sep 18 2021 19:39 utc | 229

Great summary of quantum theories. My attitude to it is: Predict something new with it, test it in real life and show me the results :-)

I am looking forward to the 'starship' walk through! And since it is supposed to be launched into orbit, we have the perfect chance of testing it in real life (if it happens).

Posted by: Norwegian | Sep 18 2021 19:53 utc | 230

Norwegian, I'm not holding my breath about 'starship.' Thanks for your kind words! 👍

Posted by: Gordog | Sep 18 2021 20:13 utc | 231

Gordog @229: "...when can we expect that 'orbital' launch, lol? 😸"

In the next month or two, from what I have been told. SpaceX is waiting on the FAA at the moment. My guess is that the first couple tries will end up with some nice fireworks, though. Musk's approach has always been to test the million dollar prototypes to destruction rather than spending several hundred times that amount in extra engineering to try and guarantee that the first one works perfectly.

As for quantum physics, yes, it is hard. With that said, the features on many current bleeding edge microchips are at a scale now where quantum effects must be taken into consideration. Even when making chips with 7nm features quantum effects must be worked with. Perhaps Intel doesn't have any quantum physicists and that is why their efforts to go to the 7nm node are failing? I dunno.

More importantly, Chinese scientists have been moving rapidly on quantum entanglement applications and QE photon sources. It is interesting to note that the authors of most of the papers published in the field are Chinese. Very little is being accomplished in the West, which might be why you don't hear much about it.

As for impossible things, Chinese researchers have already produced QE LIDAR proof-of-concept devices. These devices have the ability to "see" through "noise". Seawater counts as "noise" in this case. I would guess that they are still a couple years away from fielding something fit for mass production, but that is based upon published papers. What if the Chinese military has been pursuing the same technology in secret? They could conceivably already have these detectors in trials.

As for scanning area it is useful to keep in mind that the importance of the laser beam itself is only in illuminating the target. The reflected photons themselves don't need to be captured or processed as all of the processing is done only to their entangled pairs that are maintained and monitored local to the device. As well, the significance of the laser beam being diffracted or reflected from hitting the water surface at an angle is greatly reduced. The satellite (or aircraft or drone) isn't restricted to scanning a narrow swath of water directly below itself because it isn't concerned with an optical quality reflection from the target. The target is detected at the moment entangled photons contact it, not later when those photons are retrieved from the environment.

This same technology, by the way, renders current stealth aircraft tech 100% obsolete. For this reason I would suspect that the state of military research on this matter to be somewhat better funded and more advanced than what has been publicly published so far by the Chinese.

Posted by: William Gruff | Sep 18 2021 20:43 utc | 232

Norwegian @230: "My attitude to it is: Predict something new with it, test it in real life and show me the results :-)"

Quantum tunneling. It is how your bits are set and cleared in the memory of your flash drive that uses floating gate transistors. Predicted and modeled by quantum physics and then put into mass production. You literally own one or more devices that operate, by design, on quantum mechanics principles.

Posted by: William Gruff | Sep 18 2021 20:55 utc | 233

Gruff, about quantum tunneling.

To understand the phenomenon, particles attempting to travel across a potential barrier can be compared to a ball trying to roll over a hill.

Quantum mechanics and classical mechanics differ in their treatment of this scenario. Classical mechanics predicts that particles that do not have enough energy to classically surmount a barrier cannot reach the other side.

Thus, a ball without sufficient energy to surmount the hill would roll back down. A ball that lacks the energy to penetrate a wall bounces back. Alternatively, the ball might become part of the wall (absorption).

In quantum mechanics, these particles can, with a small probability, tunnel to the other side, thus crossing the barrier.

The ball, in a sense, borrows energy from its surroundings to cross the wall. It then repays the energy by making the reflected electrons[clarification needed] more energetic than they otherwise would have been.[19]

The reason for this difference comes from treating matter as having properties of waves and particles.

Yes, quantum mechanics does explain well the wave-particle duality and that is important. Nobody is saying otherwise. That is a part of quantum theory that is quite good. Nobody ever said the whole thing is useless.

But wave-particle is only a PART of the whole ball of wax. Things like entanglement, superposition and such are far less thoroughly explained or even predicted by the math, except in the simplest atom of hydrogen.

Still, even in the applications where we are dealing with very tiny scales, like these electronic devices, it is not the case that the quantum tunneling math is indispensable.

After all, it can yield only approximate and probabilistic results. It is more of a case of empirical results that are arrived at by trial and error, which are used in industry.

Look, the same thing is true in things where classical physics dominate. In aerodynamics we cannot solve the Navier-Stokes equations, which deal with Newtonian fluids...except in one or two extremely simple examples that are merely illustrative.

So we resort to APPROXIMATIONS that are based on so-called numerical methods like finite element analysis. But in the end, the proof of the pudding is in the ACTUAL TESTING, both in wind tunnels and in real flight. Mostly the fancy approximation models are off by a good bit at the end of the day!

And before computers we didn't have FEA and computational fluid dynamics and such. Yet we still designed some incredible aircraft and spacecraft, eg Concorde and Tu144, using mostly slide rules and even mechanical adding machines to do the arithmetic, lol!

The same thing applies to these so-called 'applications' of quantum physics. They do explain SOME physical phenomena well, but are not crucial to actually engineering any products.

As for the Chinese 'demonstrations' of a practical application of quantum entanglement...well, I am not convinced, but I will leave it at that.

As for so-called 'stealth' I have already made some lengthy comments about that, and it's a nothingburger, as the Serbs proved in actual combat in 1999, by taking out two F117s.

It is simply a gimmick that is used to jack up the price of those aircraft, which btw have never proven themselves in any combat situation [other than getting shot down].

I have promised an in-depth article on stealth, btw, and a number of commenters have shown interest in such a discussion.

Posted by: Gordog | Sep 18 2021 21:35 utc | 234

Gordog @234

Cool, you're not convinced. Reality doesn't care. You can now commercially purchase chips that generate streams of entangled photon pairs. You're just being like people from a hundred years ago who were not convinced that powered flight was possible even as airplanes flew overhead.

Be sure to finish that article on how SpaceX' Starship is impossible so we can laugh at you when it is in orbit and ridicule you with links to your own words. I really enjoyed doing that on the NASASpaceFlight forums with the old Boeing diehards blowhards who said Falcon 9 was impossible. Do be sure to write that article with the intention of later moving the goalposts in mind, though. You know as well as I do that you will be hustling those goalposts towards the horizon soon enough so it is good to be prepared.

Posted by: William Gruff | Sep 19 2021 0:51 utc | 235

Well, I see Gruff has reverted to form, after a rare episode of sobriety.

I recall last time he attacked me, he ended up getting decisively refuted by the actual MATH of the rocket equation, lol! 😖

Posted by: Gordog | Sep 19 2021 1:56 utc | 236

It is a real tragedy that the engineers that SpaceX hired, who have designed and built actual rocket ships that fly into orbit, have never played Kerbal Space Program like Gordog has. They'd have learned about the rocket equation if that had done that before trying to build spaceships. I'm not sure what they intend to do with all of the cargo they have already put into orbit once they realize that their designs don't work.

Posted by: William Gruff | Sep 19 2021 2:29 utc | 237

Posted by: William Gruff | Sep 18 2021 20:43 utc | 232

The upcoming SpaceX starship rocket actually bears striking similarities with Soviet N1 Rocket. Both made of multiple engines monstrosity, both markedly never been tested (because it apparently can't due to their complexity) with some of it's engines actually never even test fired with clean white nozzles without burn marks (again a striking parallel with N1).

Posted by: Lucci | Sep 19 2021 3:09 utc | 238

Gruff, I guess after downing the contents of that bottle in one heroic guzzle, things may be a bit fuzzy.

For instance, 'starship' has never been to orbit, much less carried any cargo. A very small part of it has reached passenger jet altitude on three engines, and a top speed just shy of 200 mph, lol!

Those unhatched chicks of yours must look pretty good after a little liquid 'enhancement'? 🥴

Posted by: Gordog | Sep 19 2021 3:41 utc | 239

As Gorgog explained, detecting submarines is hard, although methods exist that require large investments.
I would like to add something to that true statement.

They are hard to find until they launch. Similarly in WWII a sub that fired a torpedo on an armed foe had to face the reality of a sustained counter attack.
National Submarine Memorial

Merchant shipping was the preferred target to strangle the economy of your enemy.

In today's terms, launching missiles will put you on the enemies list very quickly. I have read that if a boomer launches the counter attack will be another nuclear missile dropped into the vicinity of the boomer. The bigger the better to ensure a kill.

A boomer may be able to get all its missiles off but things could get ugly very quickly. I would guess the best way of keeping track is get inside the communications and patrol plans.
I am sure we wisely have that stored on a server somewhere in the DOD.

Posted by: circumspect | Sep 19 2021 3:42 utc | 240

Gordog @Sep18 21:35 #234L

The same thing applies to these so-called 'applications' of quantum physics. They do explain SOME physical phenomena well, but are not crucial to actually engineering any products.

Lasers are based on quantum principles and a new type of laser was engineered that uses quantum principles in clever way for greater efficiency and expanded applications: Quantum Cascade Laser
[A single electron causes]... the emission of multiple photons as it traverses through the QCL structure ... [making] a quantum efficiency of greater than unity possible which leads to higher output powers than semiconductor laser diodes.

QCLs may also allow laser operation in materials traditionally considered to have poor optical properties.

Fabry-Perot (FP) quantum cascade lasers were first commercialized in 1998, distributed feedback (DFB) devices were first commercialized in 2004, and broadly-tunable external cavity quantum cascade lasers first commercialized in 2006. The high optical power output, tuning range and room temperature operation make QCLs useful for spectroscopic applications such as remote sensing of environmental gases and pollutants in the atmosphere and security.

The multitude of applications includes non-invasive blood glucose monitoring.

= = =

Also, the Pauli Exclusion Principle is the basis for superfluidity and superconductivity. Superconductivity is not engineered into products on earth because very low temperatures are required but it could be used in space where temperatures are very low.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 19 2021 5:42 utc | 241

I am just a piano player "add value" lurker and don't have a side in this way OT dust up

HEFEI, Sept. 18 (Xinhua) -- With a height of about one meter and weight of less than 100 kg, a miniaturized quantum satellite ground station caught the eyes of audiences at the 2021 Quantum Industry Conference held Saturday in Hefei, capital of east China's Anhui Province.

"Such ground station is light and portable, and can be installed within 12 hours, allowing users in remote areas to use quantum communication conveniently," said Zhou Lei, project director of quantum in QuantumCTek Co., Ltd., a leading quantum company based in Anhui.

The company also displayed a piece of quantum key distribution equipment about the same size as a laptop, which can greatly reduce the cost of quantum network building and maintenance.

In recent years, China has achieved a series of breakthroughs in quantum technology, including the world's first quantum satellite, a 2,000-km quantum communication line between Beijing and Shanghai, and the world's first optical quantum computing machine prototype.

"With the active participation of leading enterprises and the guidance of the government, an industrial chain that covers the equipment, network, safety and standards of quantum communication has been basically formed in China," said Pan Jianwei, a renowned quantum scientist from the University of Science and Technology of China, at the conference.

Hefei, a hub for China's quantum technology, is home to over 20 quantum technology enterprises and achieved an output value of some 430 million yuan (about 66.5 million U.S. dollars) in 2020.

"The quantum information technology is to be further integrated, convenient and low-cost, allowing more people to have access to it," said Zhou of QuantumCTek.

China Telecom Quantum Technology Co., Ltd. has tried out the quantum encryption calls in 15 provinces since June and has garnered some 10,000 users, said Wang Jian, manager of the research and development department of the company.

"The users can have secure calls and messages encrypted with quantum keys after inserting a SIM card and installing a related app, which can ensure information security," said Wang.

Besides quantum communication, quantum precision measurement and quantum computation have also seen great breakthroughs in industrial applications.

Produced by CIQTEK Co., Ltd., a quantum precision measurement instrument called quantum diamond atomic force microscope can achieve nanoscale high spatial resolution and single spin ultra-high detection sensitivity, which has been applied to study the magnetic and superconducting materials.

"Our products have been used in fields including oil exploration, life sciences and power grids. Since the founding of our company five years ago, the output value has almost doubled every year and the revenue was over 100 million yuan last year," said He Yu, president of CIQTEK, a manufacturer and provider of quantum precision measurement products.

Origin Quantum, a startup focusing on quantum computers and related technologies, launched OriginQ Cloud, a full stack quantum computing service platform on the conference, which can provide quantum computing, simulation training, quantum application development and other services for quantum computing developers and enthusiasts.

"Many of our works are original research, and we are exploring the future commercial model to combine quantum computation with industries including finance, biological medicine and space," said Zhang Hui, general manager of Origin Quantum.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Sep 19 2021 6:18 utc | 242

@Norwegian | Sep 18 2021 19:53 utc | 230

Great summary of quantum theories. My attitude to it is: Predict something new with it, test it in real life and show me the results :-)

Well, your computer has something like a billion transistors, and they all rely on quantum tunnelling in order to work.

So one result of quantum mechanics is that you are posting on the Internet. Is that a plus or minus? I am not so sure. :)

Posted by: Cyril | Sep 19 2021 8:36 utc | 243

Lucci @238: " apparently can't due to their complexity..."

Aw gee! Why do you have to be like that? Joining the "It will never work!" chorus puts you in a bad position. SpaceX will be doing many tests over the next few years and while I will be enjoying each and every one of them whether they result in spectacular explosions or astonishing successes, you will now only be able to watch in dread praying "Oh please blow up or that Gruff guy will needle me mercilessly!"

It will never work! (PBS short)


Instead of saying silly things that you will regret later just chill and enjoy the show.

Posted by: William Gruff | Sep 19 2021 11:18 utc | 244

@Cyril | Sep 19 2021 8:36 utc | 243

Well, your computer has something like a billion transistors, and they all rely on quantum tunnelling in order to work.

I said predict something new. I've used computers for 40 years. You mean to say we have mastered quantum tunneling all this time? The challenge is to demonstrate something with your hypothesis that isn't explained by other means.

So one result of quantum mechanics is that you are posting on the Internet. Is that a plus or minus? I am not so sure. :)
Heisenberg had the same problem.

Posted by: Norwegian | Sep 19 2021 11:53 utc | 245

Posted by: William Gruff | Sep 19 2021 11:18 utc | 244

I never said it'll never work. I just mentioned the similarities with the Soviet N1 launch vehicles of which both already similar in where the observer put the blame for the N1 spectacular failure that earned it the infamy as biggest non nuclear explosion. It's too complex and untested.

Apparently the sheer complexity of it's construct and sizes made the test to be almost just as expensive as the launch itself because the risk of total lost of the rocket. If history can be used as reference in this case chances are they won't be testing the rocket which is already seems to be the case based on the video footage where they're transported into launch site showing a couple of engines with white unburned inner nozzles.

Anyway as much as I'm a skeptical I would be very impressed if they pull it off.

Posted by: Lucci | Sep 19 2021 11:57 utc | 246

@ Gordog | Sep 18 2021 20:13 utc | 231

Norwegian, I'm not holding my breath about 'starship.' Thanks for your kind words! 👍

I'm not holding my breath either. Here's an entertaining and very recent video where it is claimed that orbital flight will happen in 2021.

How Starship's Orbital Flight Could Change Spaceflight Forever

Posted by: Norwegian | Sep 19 2021 12:41 utc | 247

Lucci @246: "It's too complex [for you to understand] and untested."

And thus all of the testing. The next several launches will just be tests.

"If history can be used as reference in this case chances are they won't be testing the rocket..."

You're not too good with history are you then? If you actually referenced history then you'd know that there are lots of tests already done and lots more to go.

"Apparently the sheer complexity of it's construct and sizes made the test to be almost just as expensive as the launch itself..."

"Apparently..."? What would you know about what the "proper" amount of complexity is in a spaceship? Gordog plays "Kerbal Space Program" so he knows everything about rocket ships, but what is your experience? Anyway, as the prototypes get closer to the eventual production model, this is partially true. After all, one-off items tend to be more expensive than mass produced ones. They have lots of extra instrumentation to capture the failure that is fully expected to occur. And that last is a very important aspect of SpaceX' development process. The failure is expected. Instead of spending hundreds of $millions and many decades of engineering effort trying to foresee all possible ways the vehicle can fail like Boeing does, only to still be blindsided by a failure that was unforeseen (like Boeing does) in a high stakes flight, SpaceX development process is more like the redneck engineering approach: Build something quick and dirty, then sift through the pieces when it blows up to see why it failed and then fix that problem. Lather - rinse - repeat until you have fixed everything that breaks. It is the "1% inspiration and 99% perspiration" approach. So far that approach is working pretty good, as well as providing us with some really awesome explosion videos.

Relax and enjoy the show. There will be more exciting explosions and that is fully expected by SpaceX. Don't worry about the explosions and enjoy them instead because it's Musk's money paying for the fireworks.

Here is some cool footage of SpaceX explosions to enjoy: If at first you don't succeed, try again. (

Posted by: William Gruff | Sep 19 2021 13:33 utc | 248

A lot of laymen here chipping in with their 'take' on supposed quantum applications. All based on info they got from reading the LAYMAN media.

Posted by: Gordog | Sep 19 2021 14:12 utc | 249

@Norwegian | Sep 19 2021 11:53 utc | 245

I said predict something new. I've used computers for 40 years. You mean to say we have mastered quantum tunneling all this time? The challenge is to demonstrate something with your hypothesis that isn't explained by other means.

Why should we accept your definition of "new"? William Shockley's transistor arrived only 70 years ago; from China's perspective, that was yesterday. I think the perspective of 1.4 billion people overwhelms yours.

In any case, the transistor -- and therefore the personal computer -- clearly uses quantum tunnelling, meaning that quantum mechanics has revolutionized the world. You can't deny this fact.

Heisenberg had the same problem.

No, Heisenberg uncertainty makes the determination of some things impossible even in principle. I think it should be possible to determine whether you are benefiting the (quantum) Internet by posting here.

Posted by: Cyril | Sep 20 2021 0:33 utc | 250

This will just be a massive grift for the US MIC, pro-US think tanks and traitorous Aussie politicians at the end of the day. None of the purported subs they rave so hard about will actually be delivered.

Posted by: J W | Sep 20 2021 14:34 utc | 251

Okay, I have to jump in again because some people who obviously don't know anything about physics just won't let go of their layman misconceptions that are shaped by our very goofy an utterly worthless pop-sci media.

No, computers don't 'use' quantum tunneling, anymore than a toaster uses quantum physics---which in fact it does, because the full effect of the toaster, radiating both particles and waves is only explained by quantum physics. How Quantum Physics Starts With Your Toaster

Of course this article is really useless gibberish, written by a layman that doesn't actually know any science...even though the basic idea is correct: that James Clerk Maxwell's classical electromagnetic theory is incomplete in fully describing even a toaster, while quantum theory does.

It doesn't mean you have to USE quantum physics to build a toaster.

It's the exact same thing with semiconductors and quantum tunneling.

Look folks, you don't actually learn anything about science from the silly popular media, unless you already have a strong physics background. And then you see that it is mostly a lot of blather, with a tiny kernel of truth, at best.

I have quoted here some snippets from Serway's Physics for Scientists and Engineers. This is a dense text of over 1,600 pages. The section on Modern Physics, which covers quantum etc is 300 pages and six full chapters. And this is merely an introduction to the subject, so that the engineer and scientist can have a base understanding.

The previous 1,200 pages and 38 chapters deal thoroughly with classical physics, which you first have to understand BEFORE you can have a hope of jumping into the quantum physics section at the end of the book.

I was tempted this morning, looking over the stubborn comments here, to put together a long explanatory piece, with insightful excerpts from Serway that would be of help to many of you.

But I'm not going to bother, because I think it's a waste of time. I have already done a few such comments here, to absolutely no avail.

I have already talked also about how actual engineering works. Even in very complex things like aircraft and spacecraft, mostly it is done by trial and error. Even though we now have sophisticated math modeling tools, but they are APPROXIMATIONS.

Quantum physics is in large part fairly straightforward, in that it explains the subatomic nature of matter and the forces at work that hold the atom together. But it also has a far more ESOTERIC aspect, with things like uncertainty, being in two places at once etc. This is the interesting part where people are trying to come up with clever ways of making use of these weird phenomena.

This is where the guesswork comes in.

The quantum tunneling in a semiconductor for instance is based on a TINY probability of an electron passing through a hole that it shouldn't pass through, based on classical physics.

But this isn't SOLVED with quantum physics math. It is solved by taking account of this greater leakage, and ENGINEERING error-correction methods that are used anyway, since ALL semiconductors are somewhat unpredictable.

The quantum tunneling only becomes a factor at very tiny scales of something like 7 nanometers. And again, this is addressed by perfectly standard engineering.

We do not yet have a single device that relies HEAVILY on some of these esoteric quantum effects. Not a quantum computer, not a gamma-ray laser, both of which have been works in progress for decades. Nothing.

We have had quantum cryptogrpahy for quite a while, and yes this is a real application, albeit with some serious drawbacks. Which is why it is not in wide use.

In effect, the quantum part is used for the key distribution, not the actual encryption.

The main drawback of quantum key distribution is that it usually relies on having an authenticated classical channel of communications.

So you have to have the old tech anyway. Like having a horse pulling a sputtering, underpowered car. What's the point? And...

In theory, quantum cryptography seems to be a successful turning point in the information security sector.

However, no cryptographic method can ever be absolutely secure.[84] In practice, quantum cryptography is only conditionally secure, dependent on a key set of assumptions.[85]

Look folks, the fact is that popular magazines and such are in the business of generating clicks or selling copies. Serious scientists are of course working all the time on various kinds of whizbang projects. And naturally when they come up with something, they like to get the acclamation, the financial rewards etc.

Mostly this amounts to an endless merry-go-round that never actually changes anything.

For five thousand years the horse and the sail were the engines of human civilization. Even one hundred years ago, when quantum physics was already being formulated, you had lots of residential buildings in New York City that didn't even have electricity. Half the population was rural, where there was no electricity or indoor plumbing at all. And the horse and sail were still around.

Then we got internal combustion engines, refrigeration, airplanes, the jet and rocket engine, and the solid-state transistor. All of these things have been refined over the decades by ENGINEERING, not by quantum physics.

The transistor, now miniaturized, has made it possible to carry around very small computers in our phones, all connected by wireless and wired networks, and making it possible to quickly access all kinds of information.

Most of which is COMPLETELY USELESS. You still need good old books on physics to actually LEARN something REAL.

Posted by: Gordog | Sep 20 2021 16:50 utc | 252

Yes Gordog, technology (engineering) show what reality a "scientific" theory has.

Posted by: tucenz | Sep 20 2021 20:06 utc | 253

Gordog @Sep20 16:50 #252

Yes, we use classical engineering to construct devices, but when those devices are constructed to utilize quantum effects, then that is quantum engineering. Some devises like transistors have been greatly improved because of our quantum understanding. Other devises wouldn't be possible without our quantum understanding.

Gordog: We do not yet have a single device that relies HEAVILY on some of these esoteric quantum effects.

But we do (as I mentioned @Sep19 5:42 #241):

  1. Quantum Cascade Lasers (QCL)

    ... are engineered using Quantum principals. The structure has to be precisely manufactured to create quantum wells with the necessary quantum-determined characteristics. QCL have many applications and are wide usage.

  2. Superconductivity

    ... is a quantum-based technology used in superconducting magnets. Superconducting magnets are widely used in MRI machines, NMR equipment, mass spectrometers, magnetic separation processes, and particle accelerators. Superconductivity will probably get even more use in Space where ultra-low temperature allow for expanded usage.

And we are only at the early stages of our knowledge of the quantum world. Additional quantum technology is being developed (quantum computers, for example) and we are learning more about quantum physics every day with initiatives like this:

AI Designs Quantum Physics Experiments beyond What Any Human Has Conceived


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 20 2021 21:40 utc | 254

No, superconductivity is only EXPLAINED using quantum physics, same as the toaster.

Quantum cascade lasers are simply a type of semiconductor laser, only they don't use diodes, as in LEDs, but instead they use what's called a superlattice. Again, like the toaster.

I'm not going to respond to anymore laymen who want to argue, but don't actually know anything.

Posted by: Gordog | Sep 20 2021 22:06 utc | 255

"...probability of an electron passing through a hole..."


Oh well, as I said quantum physics is hard, just like visualizing the flat land under your feet being the surface of a giant oblate sphere. We shouldn't judge the poor soul too harshly.

Posted by: William Gruff | Sep 21 2021 0:27 utc | 256

To my naive mind it occurs that genuine random number generators are nice machines. Obviously they depend on nonpredictable effects, and thaese seems to me to ultimately stem from quantum effects.. Of course I agree with my friend Gordog. And I may be entirely incorrect in my view.

Posted by: Walter | Sep 21 2021 0:28 utc | 257


Unlike conventional lasers that emit light due to a band-gap, Quantum Cascade Lasers (QCL) emite light from quantum wells. To make this "toaster", semi-conductor superlattices are constructed with special parameters that create the quantum wells in just the right way.

These semi-conductor lattices weren't created by accident, semi-conductor lattices were theorized many years before the technology to build them was available (1970). QCL was invented at Bell Labs in 1994.

One of the inventors of QCL explains what was involved in creating his "toaster"/sarc (@1:27 in the video):

We grew the material based on a design that my group and myself came up with. There is a lot of knowledge of solid state physics and quantum mechanics that went into it. I would say this richness and interdisciplinary nature of the work was always in some sense the hallmark of Bell Labs. The fact is that the more we work on the Quantum Cascade Laser the more we realize that it's a truly radically new laser that differs in a dramatic way from past lasers.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 21 2021 0:44 utc | 258

Gordog @ 249

A lot of laymen here chipping in with their 'take' on supposed quantum applications. All based on info they got from reading the LAYMAN media

Well, it's like quantum commenting with the least quantum of evidence, but after all, this isn't a technical forum, but rather a watering hole, where mostly inarticulate opinions just slosh against the seawall before depleting into so much foam.

I don't comment much, but every time I do I'm reminded of b's little directive just below and to the right of Post a comment:

Please keep your comment short and to the point

Posted by: john | Sep 21 2021 10:27 utc | 259

Posted by: William Gruff | Sep 19 2021 13:33 utc | 248

The more I read about it the more ridiculous it is lol.
- 33 raptor engines.
- mid air catching of the vehicle

To give comparison N1 rocket use 30 engines. They couldn't test the first stage as a whole because they simplified they plumbing system.

And again I'd be glad to be wrong but they wouldn't be likely to test fire the entire first stage booster as they've even neglected to test fire some of the engines strapped into it.

Posted by: Lucci | Sep 21 2021 10:49 utc | 260

@Gordog #226:

…your gibberish…

That is why I don't, as a rule respond to your petulant nonsense, and I would suggest you comment to others NOT TO ME.

…I'm not going to waste time on this claptrap of yours.

Please point out one thing in my comment #224 that is incorrect. You can’t. So you give in to your narcissistic rage and throw insults.

By the way, when you speak of nonsense, do you mean the kind of nonsense like when you claimed that the concept of Starship/Super Heavy is “physically impossible”, then—after I respectfully pointed out multiple flaws in your reasoning—doubled down on your erroneous claim, “proving” it with a botched calculation that used incorrect distance from Texas to Hawaii, then rejected my correction of your botched calculation by claiming that objects in orbit can fly along parallels (they can’t)? That kind of nonsense?

My remarks are aimed not so much at you—clearly, you are incapable of admitting mistakes—as at other members of the bar who might believe your occasional incorrect statements because most of your comments are good and they trust you.

Posted by: S | Sep 21 2021 18:28 utc | 261

Lucci @260: "The more I read about it the more ridiculous it is lol."

I know! Delightfully audacious, isn't it? When SpaceX gets it working right that approach offers some very attractive advantages, though.

"...but they wouldn't be likely to test fire the entire first stage booster..."

You're 100% wrong there. The Super Heavy was only rolled out for a test stacking. The engines have all been removed and shipped to McGregor for stress testing. After that they will be reinstalled on the SH test article and then tested again. After that the entire vehicle will be stacked again and once again the first stage will be tested while clamped down on the pad.

Don't worry so much! There is still plenty of testing to go!

Posted by: William Gruff | Sep 22 2021 12:44 utc | 262

S @Sep21 18:28 #261: clearly, you are incapable of admitting mistakes

This is what we have come to expect from Gordog who seems to crave attention with bold statements and theories can't pass any real examination.

After shooting himself in the foot, he then stomps away (both on this thread and the "On the Breeding of Money" thread). This mars his otherwise worthwhile contributions. Hopefully, he will make an effort to change.

<> <> <> <> <>

Funny (not) that Max joined moa about the same time and also can't admit mistakes.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 22 2021 13:36 utc | 263

« previous page

The comments to this entry are closed.