Much like the sniper on the modern battlefield, the submarine operates on the principles of stealth and surprise. As Scout and several of the other combat arms veterans here can attest, a well trained sniper has the ability to influence the outcome of a battle by properly balancing stealth, camouflage, marksmanship and personal initiative. So too does the submarine. A well trained crew, a solid boat and an aggressive skipper can reek havoc up one’s enemies on the high seas.

The sea is a formidable and unforgiving environment. Ask any professional sailor or merchantman and I’m sure they’d be happy to to share just how non-permissive the sea can be. Given this fact, there are a number of measures that can be used to mitigate the threat of an enemy sub. I won’t go into and discuss most of them here. This is not the proper place for such a discussion. A gain, much akin to the sniper, sight and sound are two of the primary sensors used when hunting/searching for a submarine that most folks are familiar with. The Hunt for Red October provides several good examples of these sensors. In the case of the sniper, the report of the rifle can be used to obtain a fix on his hide. However, a visual is indisputable. The submarine is no different. Sound is used as one of the primary means to locate and track the sub, but a visual is absolute. So what, who cares? The technology to build and mill propellers for maritime use is owned by Toshiba, the electronics giant.

Back in 1987, through a series of business deals, Toshiba, sold the principles of 5 axis milling technology to the Soviet Union. You can read about it here. The end result of this “business” transaction is that Russian submarines became that much harder to hunt and track. As tensions rise between Russian and Ukraine, China and Taiwan, the importance of this event will become increasingly more important.