From the December 2000 Idaho Observer:

Navy christens unmanned sub in Bayview

by Kevin Tighe

BAYVIEW, Idaho -- An unmanned LSV 2 (Large Scale Vehicle 2) class submarine was christened the “Cutthroat” at the U.S. Navy's Acoustic Research base here at the southern end of Lake Pend Oreille November 15, 2000. The public event was a standing-room-only affair that included nearly 200 students from nearby Athol Elementary.

The Cutthroat is arguably the most electronically sophisticated vessel in the world. The list of contributing contractors includes Lockheed, Allied Signal, GNB Technologies and the Naval Surface Warfare Center. The stated mission of this collaborative effort is to “ensure that the Navy maintains a powerful advantage in a dangerous world.”

The Cutthroat was built in two halves, the bow (front) by Newport News Shipbuilding in Virginia and the stern (rear) by Electric Boat in Connecticut. She weighs 205 tons, is 111 feet long and is the largest unmanned research submarine ever built. The two halves were assembled in Bayview following it's semi-truck, flatbed deliveries on September 1, 2000.

The Cutthroat was not launch ready at the time of the formal christening ceremony, but will be exploring the waters of Lake Pend Oreille soon. The sub's “crew” will be land based technicians operating the sub remotely from its command center in Bayview.

Several engineers, admirals and technicians involved in the sub's design, construction and operation spoke at the christening. Their general commentary was to justify the Cutthroat's existence. They said that the scale model of the Virginia Class submarine will allow Naval military planners to “affordably” test emerging technologies and to test physics-based experiments.

There was no mention made of how many $billions have been spent researching and developing the sub and its technological capabilities, nor was an approximation of costs associated with Cutthroat's construction offered.

The publicly stated purpose of the Cutthroat as a research submarine is to improve stealth, hydrodynamics, hydroacoustics and propulsion technologies.

There was no mention made of the Cutthroat being used to improve communications technologies though the navy has publicly justified the highly controversial existence of the High-frequency Active Auroral Research Project (HAARP) as critical to ground-to-submarine communications research.

Technological advances made from the Cutthroat's top secret adventures in Lake Pend Oreille will be inserted into new Virginia Class submarines and future submarines.

The children from Athol Elementary School were special guests at the christening. “The Cutthroat Kids,” as they were dubbed by the navy, played an important role in the development of this vessel -- they named her.

In 1997 the navy asked Athol Elementary Principal Connie McGee to have her students name the newest submarine to take up residence at Bayview. The name, of course, came from our local cutthroat trout. The name “Cutthroat” was once proposed for an active, manned submarine, but the name was rejected as being too violent sounding for a war vessel.

McGee was given the honor of breaking the bottle of champagne over the Cutthroat's bow.

It was hard to not feel a little uncomfortable with the childrens' involvement. It is unlikely they understood the purpose of the submarine in reality, which is to help the U.S. Navy be better and more efficient at warfare. Presumably, wars of the future that the students will be fighting.

Numerous speakers told the kids in one way or another that they were helping to keep America “free” by their involvement in the Cutthroat's development.

Some questions that aren't being asked:

What impact does this sub, and it's predecessor, the Kokanee, which is already in Lake Pend Oreille, have on the fisheries, migratory birds and other aquatic flora and fauna?

What kind of acoustic research? Does the high frequency and low frequency sound testing have any effect on human health and the health of all plants and animals which live in or near the lake?

Who exactly are the opponents of the future that this sub is designed to help battle? The Soviet threat that so energized the military for so long has devolved into a diverse terrorist threat from unaccounted for Soviet weaponry that subs can't combat; the Red Chinese are regular recipients of U.S. military technological secrets the last few years and; we are either on good terms with other militarily strong nations or they are our partners in NATO.

How much taxpayer money was given to the long list of contractors to build and run this submarine? Is it money well spent?

What is the connection between HAARP and Cutthroat?

So, while you are out there on Lake Pend Orielle next summer, look down, deep into the blue waters and wonder.....what are they doing down there?

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