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Self Destruct?

Discussion in 'Strategy & Tactics' started by PeterCrisp, May 1, 2017.

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  1. PeterCrisp

    PeterCrisp New Member

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    I know this is maybe stupid but I'm watching Alien again and I'm at the end where Ripley activates the ships self destruct and it got me thinking.
    It seem's to be a recurring theme in Sci-fi films that huge spaceships have a self destruct function which when you think about it is pretty stupid as surely it could go wrong and just blow up at any time which would be annoying.

    So my obvious question is has any real military vessel ever had a self destruct capacity as surely blowing up something like an aircraft carrier would take quite a large explosion which would take up quite a large space for something that's only going to be used once for a split second.

    Again sorry if this is a silly question but as it's in so many fictional stories I thought I'd ask.

    I'm re-watching the Alien series in preperation for the new film.
     
  2. t68

    t68 Active Member

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    Not self destruct as in a sy-fi movie but I do recall early German submarines planting explosive on disabled submarines for scuttling purposes, don't now if it still happens or not.
     
  3. John Newman

    John Newman Active Member

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    The idea that a carrier or any other large warship would have a self destruct system seems very much like fiction to me.

    The nearest thing to self destruct, if a ship was crippled and needed to be scuttled, would be to set some timed charges in a weapons magazine or more realistically being scuttled by weapons fired from accompanying ships.

    A more realistic question might be, where did the Sci-Fi writers (Star Trek, Alien, etc), get the idea for a self destruct system? Possibly from real life.

    We've all seen film of rocket launches gone wrong where the rocket goes out of control and is self destructed so it doesn't cause damage to populated area, etc.

    Self destruct system in a ship? No, can't see it. In a rocket or a missile? Yes.
     
  4. PeterCrisp

    PeterCrisp New Member

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    On the plus side self destruct does also come with the super tense countdown and the inevitable last second cancellation of the sequence.
     
  5. gf0012-aust

    gf0012-aust Grumpy Old Man Staff Member Verified Defense Pro

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    there's a scaled list of priorities to deal with if the ship/boat has been compromised

    cyber/cipher in the broom closets and black curtain rooms gets high priority

    depending on the system, then determines whether the relevant cipher systems has internal tools, or whether it comes under the euphemism of an "assisted" event

    assisted events are where thermobarics, fuel, portable EOD is chucked into the box/room/space to accelerate the process

    a further example of an assisted shot is where a visiting VIP gets trotted out to a gunnery range where a new weapon system is used to kill a notional target (eg APC/tank)

    weapon goes off, hits target and there is a huuuge explosion way beyond what would normally be expected. thats because the team has added accelerant, expired EOD etc to the insides of the poor vehicle and thus "assisted" the shot

    a similar thing is in place for black curtained rooms, but without the motivation of a VIP, but done out of necessity to make sure that nothing of use can be recovered in the event of an unsuccessful evacuation from the asset

    - but there's no magic huge single switch of failure on large ships, I would imagine though that on a ship like a carrier, there are multiple bunkerages of oppportunity to go to if someone was intending to assist. aviation fuel, armouries with unsecured doors etc are all effects maximisers when lit up


    etc etc etc....
     
  6. t68

    t68 Active Member

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    That reminds a little about the USN EP-3E incident and hainan island incident, wonder how much usable equipment fell into Chinese hands?
     
  7. gf0012-aust

    gf0012-aust Grumpy Old Man Staff Member Verified Defense Pro

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    from the time that they lost control of where they were heading they should have been turning on the shredders, breaking out the fire axes and activating onboard electric magnets

    CB90 would be better placed to answer - but there won't be much in the public domain anyway
     
  8. hauritz

    hauritz Member

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    The chances of unmanned systems falling into enemy hands are far greater than manned systems. In fact it has happened a few times already.

    Simply blowing something up won't necessarily prevent valuable technology and information falling into the wrong hands.
     
  9. Blackshoe

    Blackshoe Defense Professional Verified Defense Pro

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    Jumping in late on this and necroing, but why not?

    To answer the original discussion:

    And as noted by t68, submarines of the WW2 vintage definitely did. So did other German capital ships (see the Bismarck or Graf Spee as examples). For larger ships, it was less "blow them up completely" and more "initiate a very difficult to stop process of sinking" (or speed up what battle damage already had done). Charges would be supplemented by

    Rockets also had self-destruct features; these were usually more for safety purposes (prevent pieces from falling into areas you don't want them to, which of course would also apply for security concerns).

    As gf0012 noted, the emphasis now should be noted as more on "preventing your enemy from capturing valuable technology" as much as anything else. Sinking a ship isn't enough in that case, it becomes a focus on destroying gear and documents.

    Could a crew sink a ship if they wanted to? Sure, it's a matter of cutting away enough sea chests/seawater piping and opening up valves. But it should be noted that's not a quick process, and I suspect the emphasis would be towing ship to a safer area to let it sink.