Microsoft Live Search Reveals U.S. Submarine SecretsMicrosoft Live Search Reveals U.S. Submarine Secrets
U.S. Navy officials are less than pleased that an image available through Microsoft's Virtual Earth tool clearly shows the propeller on an Ohio class submarine.
September 4, 2007
Thanks to Microsoft, one of our submarines isn't missing. In fact, it's on full public display on the Internet.
U.S. Navy officials are less than pleased that an image available through the Virtual Earth tool on the software maker's Live Search Web site clearly shows the propeller on an Ohio class submarine. The picture reveals the seven-bladed prop in remarkable detail. The image was apparently captured while the boomer was in dry dock at the Navy's base in Bangor, Wash. The photo was first posted on a blog called MonsterMaritime.com. Submarine propulsion systems are made to be as silent as possible and as a result their design is one of the Navy's most closely guarded secrets. The cloak and dagger aspect of such systems was dramatized in the movie The Hunt For Red October, in which U.S. forces attempt to hunt down a Soviet submarine equipped with completely silent hydrojets. Navy insiders say the department is struggling with the emergence of Web sites like Microsoft Virtual Earth and Google Earth, which map out virtually every corner of the globe through satellite and aerial photography. The Navy is now taking steps to minimize the chances that top secret technology will again be revealed by such mapping Web sites, according to one source. It's not just a problem for the U.S. armed forces. Earlier this year, pictures on Google Earth clearly showed a classified Chinese ballistic missile submarine. Some privacy groups have also complained that mapping sites violate citizens' privacy by placing detailed pictures of their houses and surroundings on the Internet without their authorization. In 2006, Google Earth infamously captured a picture of a Dutch woman sunbathing topless in her backyard.
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