Navy submarines to be equipped with reflective belts to avoid future collisions
This has to work.
By Jordan Hemlock
NAVAL BASE KITSAP, Wash. – After a month-long investigation into the collision of the USS Connecticut with an undersea mountain, an independent safety board has recommended that all Navy submarines be equipped with reflective belts.
“Obviously the Navy’s safety protocols were falling short, so we had to put a little Army in it,” said Army Col. Tom Maynard, head of the safety board. Maynard was given the lead role in the naval investigation as part of a pilot program to increase force diversity and innovation through joint operations.
The recommendation was met with immediate pushback from Navy personnel.
“The USS Connecticut ran into a goddamn mountain. How is a reflective belt going to fix that?” asked Navy Seaman Martin May, who was aboard the submarine during the collision. “Now I’m dry docked while some air-breather fits my boat with a giant glowing cock ring.”
Fifth-grader Theresa Johnson asked, “The Army knows that it’s like, dark down there, right?” Johnson is the daughter of a naval nuclear engineer and did her elementary school science fair project on what types of fish need sunlight.
All concerns were dismissed as trivial following the Navy’s announcement of a 7-year, $221 million project to update the entire submarine fleet. The Navy contracted long-time reflective belt supplier Semitech Technology Limited to complete the project. Semitech has struggled to stay profitable since the Army determined that reflective belts were unnecessary during daytime in 2019, but this new contract is expected to prevent the company from declaring bankruptcy.
“We are very thankful to the U.S. Navy for trusting us to complete this project and ensure the safety of their submarines during future trips into the South China Sea,” Semitech CEO Xu Ziyang told Duffel Blog from the company’s headquarters in Shenzhen, China.
Having successfully demonstrated the usefulness of reflective belts during the war on terror, Maynard said he is hopeful that the newly equipped submarines will be ready before the war on China.
“Reflective belts are a proven concept,” said Maynard. “If a car can see you, it won’t hit you. I don’t see why the same shouldn’t apply to an underwater mountain. Or China.”
Jordan Hemlock is a Duffel Blog diversity hire, sharing the unsought opinions of a second lieutenant.