Ice Station Nautilus
Many thanks are due to those who helped me write and publish this novel:
First and foremost, to my editor, Keith Kahla, for his exceptional insight and recommendations to make
To those who helped me get the details in
To U.S. Navy public affairs officers Lieutenant Matthew Stroup, Lieutenant Ryan de Vera, Colleen O’Rourke, Brie Lang, Olivia Logan, and Stan Weakley, who arranged the meetings with the above organizations and assisted getting those sections of
To Director Larry Estrada and ice pilot Howard Reese at the Arctic Submarine Laboratory, for walking me through Arctic ice camp operations and the unique differences in submarine operations while in the Marginal Ice Zone and under the polar ice cap.
To Lieutenant Commander Stephen and Nicole Hunt, for helping translate legacy submarine operations into how Virginia class submarines operate, as well as explaining the hardware differences between Virginia class and older submarines.
And finally, to the men and women who have served in our armed services. My heart and thoughts will always be with you.
I hope you enjoy
CHRISTINE O’CONNOR, national security advisor
STEVE BRACKMAN (Captain), senior military aide
PAUL TOLBERT (Commander), Commanding Officer
MURRAY WILSON (Captain), Commanding Officer
JOHN MCNEIL (Commander), SEAL team commander
JAKE HARRISON (Lieutenant), SEAL platoon officer-in-charge
NED STEEL (Commander), Commanding Officer
PETER TARBOTTOM, lead contractor for Phoenix International
VANCE VERBECK, technical director
PAUL LEONE, ice pilot
YURI KALININ, president
BORIS CHERNOV, minister of defense
GEORGIY IVANOV (Fleet Admiral), Commander-in-Chief, Russian Navy
OLEG LIPOVSKY (Admiral), Commander, Northern Fleet
NICHOLAI STEPANOV (Captain First Rank), Commanding Officer
MATVEY BACZEWSKI (Captain Second Rank), Commanding Officer
JOSEF BUFFANOV (Captain Second Rank), Commanding Officer
JULIUS RAILA, Chief of Search and Rescue Services
JOSEF KLOKOV (Captain First Rank), Commanding Officer
GLEB LEONOV (Captain Second Rank), Executive Officer
“Torpedo in the water, bearing two-five-zero!”
Captain Murray Wilson acknowledged Sonar’s report, then examined the geographic display on the nearest combat control console. A red bearing line appeared, radiating from Sierra eight-five, forty degrees off the port bow. He needed to turn away.
“Helm, ahead flank. Right full rudder, steady course three-four-zero. Launch countermeasure.”
The Helm rang up ahead flank and twisted his yoke to right full, and the Officer of the Deck launched one of
Wilson stepped from the Conn and stopped beside his Executive Officer, examining all three consoles. With the frequent maneuvering by both submarines, the target solutions were all over the place, failing to converge on a similar course, speed, and range. As Wilson evaluated his options, he was interrupted by another announcement by the Sonar Supervisor.
“Torpedo in the water, bearing two-four-five!”
A purple bearing line appeared on the geographic display. Their adversary had launched a second torpedo. Wilson responded immediately.
“Check fire. Quick Reaction Firing, Sierra eight-five, tube One.”
Wilson canceled their normal torpedo firing process, implementing a more urgent version that forced his Executive Officer to send his best solution to the torpedo immediately.
Lieutenant Commander Sparks shifted his gaze between the three consoles, then tapped one of the fire control technicians on the shoulder. “Promote to Master.”
Sparks announced, “Solution ready.”
The Weapons Officer followed up, “Weapon ready.”
“Ship ready,” the Officer of the Deck reported.
“Shoot on generated bearings,” Wilson ordered.
Wilson listened to the whirr of the submarine’s ejection pump impulsing the torpedo from the tube. Inside the sonar shack, the sonar techs monitored the status of their outgoing weapon.
“Own ship’s unit is in the water, running normally.”
“Fuel crossover achieved.”
“Turning to preset gyro course.”
Wilson examined the red and purple lines on the geographic display, with new lines appearing every ten seconds. The red torpedo bearings were marching slowly forward, which eased Wilson’s concern until he evaluated the purple lines. The bearing to the second torpedo remained constant. The Russian captain had fired a torpedo salvo, with a
“Helm, right standard rudder, steady course zero-seven-zero. Launch countermeasure.”
TWELVE DAYS EARLIER
Andy Wheeler, seated at his desk inside the Atlantic Submarine Fleet’s headquarters, worked his way down the inbox on his computer display. He took a sip of his morning coffee as he clicked through the emails, stopping to review the daily Naval intelligence report. In addition to the standard information, it contained something unexpected. Russia’s new Borei class ballistic missile submarine was preparing for its first patrol.
He placed the coffee mug on his desk and opened the attachment of time-lapsed satellite photographs. A moment later, he called Commander Joe Ruscigno, seated at his desk at the back of the room.
“Look at these photos,” Wheeler said as Ruscigno stopped behind him.
He cycled through the satellite images. Russia’s first Borei class ballistic missile submarine,
“It’s about time,” Ruscigno said. “She’s been delayed for years.”
“We’ll need to assign someone to shadow
“No, she just got relieved by