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Sea of Shadows


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Доступ к книге ограничен фрагменом по требованию правообладателя.

“A timeless warrior epic. Jeff Edwards spins a stunning and irresistibly-believable tale of savage modern naval combat.”

— JOE BUFF, Bestselling author of ‘SEAS OF CRISIS,’ and ‘CRUSH DEPTH

“Unfamiliar and exciting territory — a magnificent yarn!”

— GREG BEAR, New York Times bestselling author of ‘MARIPOSA,’ and ‘DARWIN’S RADIO

“… as close as you can get to naval surface combat without being shot at.

Jeff Edwards has penned a fast, no-holds-barred thriller that never lets up.

Highly recommended.”

— JACK DuBRUL, Bestselling author of ‘ THE SILENT SEA,’ and ‘HAVOC

“A nerve-wracking battle of ruse, counter-ruse, and explosive ambush …

Edwards keeps the pacing brisk and the action taut … an engrossing tale of cutting-edge naval warfare.”

— KIRKUS DISCOVERIES

“Here is a writer at the top of his game. The result is a brilliant techno-thriller, the kind a young Clancy would be proud to call his own.”

— HOMER HICKAM, Bestselling author of ‘OCTOBER SKY,’ and ‘THE FAR REACHES

“Edwards wields politics and naval combat tactics with a skill equal to the acknowledged masters of military fiction.”

— THE MILITARY PRESS

“The best naval action novel I have ever read.”

— W. H. MCDONALD, President of the Military Writers Society of America

“Smart and involving, with an action through-line that shoots ahead …

fast and lethal. I read it in one sitting.”

— PAUL L. SANDBERG, Producer of ‘THE BOURNE SUPREMACY,’ and ‘THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM’

To Josh


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I would like to thank the following people for their assistance in bringing this book to life:

Bill Keppler of the State Department Office of Protocol; Michael A.

Petrillo, Arabic linguist and Middle Eastern cultural specialist; Cathy Monaghan of the British Embassy in Washington, DC; the staff of the Los Angeles office of the British Consulate-General; the Chinese Studies Program at the University of California, San Diego; TM1(SW) Gary D.

Johnson; TM1(SW) Charles Copes; Peter H. Zindler, marine engineer; and several others, some of whom asked not to be named, and others whose names have slipped my leaky brain. The information I received from these fine people was superb. Any errors that have crept into this work are mine, not theirs.

I also owe a debt of gratitude to Master Modeler Richard Melillo of The Modeler’s Art (TheModelersArt.com) for building me an extraordinary model of the DMA-37 torpedo, and to Maria Edwards for her continual support, her excellent research, and for jealously guarding my writing time so that I could stop talking about this book and actually write it.

Last, but certainly not least, I would like to thank my editor and close friend, Don Gerrard, for believing when I had forgotten to, and for making me go back and do the hard parts until they were right.

Missiles are fast. They’re dangerous. They’re sexy. So when we think about warfare at sea, it’s natural that missiles are the first things we think about. But we can shoot down missiles. We can decoy them with chaff — jam them — hide from them with infrared suppression systems and minimized radar cross-sections.

Our Kingfisher sonars can detect mines, and we can destroy them or maneuver to avoid them.

Our ships are hardened against chemical and biological weapons.

But how do you stop a torpedo? Thirty years of R-and-D, and we still don’t have a viable system for intercepting torpedoes. We can’t shoot them down; we can’t jam them; we can’t hide from them. And, even third-world torpedoes can do upward of fifty knots, so we sure as hell can’t outrun them.

We do have decoy systems that have shown some effectiveness, and a couple of tricky torpedo evasion maneuvers that work pretty well. But, they depend on split-second timing and perfect execution. Activate your decoys ten seconds too soon (or five seconds too late) and an enemy torpedo will eat your lunch. Hold an evasion turn a little too long, or not long enough, and it’s game over.

We build the toughest warships on the planet, but the best engineers in the business agree that nearly every class of torpedo currently being deployed has the capacity to sink one of our ships with a single shot. To make matters worse, none of our potential adversaries believe in shooting torpedoes one-at-a-time. Typically, they shoot salvos of two or three.

It’s inevitable. One day soon, maybe next year — hell, maybe next week, maybe an hour from now — one of our ships is going to end up on the wrong end of a spread of hostile torpedoes. And, when that happens, we’re going to discover that we are the poor bastards who brought a knife to a gunfight.

— Excerpted from the Chief of Naval Operations’ comments to the graduating class at Annapolis.

Roll on, thou deep and dark blue ocean-roll!

Ten thousand fleets sweep over thee in vain;

Man marks the earth with ruin-his control

Stops with the shore;-upon the watery plain

The wrecks are all thy deed, nor doth remain

A shadow of man's ravage, save his own,

When for a moment, like a drop of rain,

He sinks into thy depths with bubbling groan,

Without a grave, unknell'd, uncoffin'd, and unknown.

— Lord Byron, The Dark, Blue Sea

PROLOGUE

In the language of its builders, the weapon’s name was Ozeankriegs-fuhrungtechnologien Deutsches Exportmodell DMA37-R5092—Ocean Warfare Technologies German Export Model DMA37 (Serial Number R5092). On the munitions inventory, its name was shortened to R-92. But the weapon did not know either of these names. It had no name for itself.

It was not even aware of its own existence. It waited in its shipping canister, cradled as snugly in the cylindrical steel container as a high-powered bullet in the chamber of a rifle. Cold. Sightless. Unfeeling. Not sleeping, merely unawakened.

R-92 was a state-of-the-art acoustic homing torpedo. It was a cybernetic predator: an electro-mechanical killing machine. Fast. Smart.

Unbelievably lethal. Every component, from the shark-like hydrodynamic form of its fuselage — to its multi-spectrum acoustic sensors — to the axial-flow turbine that formed its engine, was optimized for the undersea environment. Its brain was a fifth-generation digital computer, hardwired for destruction with a machine-driven relentlessness that no living predator could match. R-92 and its brethren had been honed for the chase and the kill by two and a half centuries of technological evolution.

But R-92 knew none of these things. It simply waited.

CHAPTER 1

USS TOWERS (DDG-103)
NORTHERN ARABIAN GULF
SATURDAY, 05 MAY
1114 hours (11:14 AM)
TIME ZONE +3 ‘CHARLIE’

Bowie timed it carefully, lifting each foot at just the right second as he ducked through the hatch combing of the open blast door and ran out onto the forecastle of his ship. Twenty-one laps around the deck today and his breaths were still coming evenly, but the air was hot and so humid that it felt like breathing soup. Sweat plastered his short black hair to his forehead, and his sleeveless U.S. Naval Academy T-shirt stuck to his skin, the faded goat mascot logo blending into the perspiration-darkened fabric.

It wasn’t even noon yet, and the sun was already fierce enough to blur the visual horizon with rapidly evaporating water. At least the seas were calm at the moment — not exactly a given in the Arabian Gulf this time of year.

His crew called him Captain Jim Bowie, which was a technical misnomer on two counts. In fact, his name was Samuel Harlan Bowie, and his actual rank was commander. The title of Captain was honorary; by ancient nautical tradition, the commanding officer of a naval warship is always referred to as “Captain,” no matter what actual rank he carries.

The Jim part had been following him around since childhood, a nearly inevitable consequence of having grown up in San Antonio, Texas, with the last name of Bowie. He’d long since given up the battle and accepted his nickname. It beat the hell out of what his buddies had called him at the Academy, anyway.

Bowie curved to his left, cutting between the ankle-high platform of the forward missile launcher and the low wedge of the 5-inch gun mount.

From a visual perspective, the gun was the most arresting feature on the forecastle. Its strange geometric shape and steeply angled sides gave it little resemblance to any of the generations of naval artillery that had preceded it, but the long steel barrel that protruded from the forward slope of the wedge left no doubt as to its purpose.

Situated aft of the gun, the forward missile launcher was not nearly as visually impressive. To the untrained eye, the launcher looked like a grid of square hatches set flush into an ankle-high steel platform. The innocuous-looking hatches were armored with Kevlar-reinforced steel, and every hatch concealed a vertical missile silo, known as a “cell.” Loaded in those cells, and their twins in the aft launcher, were the missiles that comprised the ship’s real destructive force.

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