Sunday, January 01, 2006

Secret Japanese submarine unveiled


March 18, 2005

We are getting our first look at a high-tech sub - that the U.S. kept under wraps.

A Japanese war weapon so sophisticated - the military decided to sink it after World War II.

Now - almost 60 years later, UH researchers gave us a tour - and it's a story you'll see only on KGMB9.

"We are right up next to what appears to be anti aircraft gun turrets."

The researchers on board the undersea explorer are rediscovering history.

"It is a one, that's definitely a one."

The Japanese war sub known as i-401 now sits on the sandy ocean floor. It's one of three, 4-hundred foot subs.

Once, they were the best of their kind. Known for their abilities above and below the ocean surface.

"These were amazing subs they were the largest built at the time," UH professor John Wiltshire said. "They were designed to launch aerial strikes from a sub."

"So these are aircraft carrying submarines."

The subs were supposed to have launched planes to attack the Panama Canal. Instead, the war ended. They were turned over to the U.S. military. Which studied them.

And then destroyed them. So other countries couldn't learn their secrets.

"After the U.S. navy found as much as they could about these submarines the three of them were sunk in target practice off Barbers Point and alas, for the Russians accidentally, they were sunk."

"Nothing to share."

Now, six decades later, UH researchers are using a new navigation system."Check that out that's a huge gun."New technology. Bringing to light, the technology of old.

"The main part of the hull is in beautiful shape," Wiltshire said. "The coning tower is very clear."

"It's an amazing submarine sitting upright on the bottom."

Now that the U.H. knows its new navigation system works, it's on to new discoveries.

The research team is headed to the South Pacific for a five-month study of underwater volcanoes.



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