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MattR

ping

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One ping only

Great movie (yes Skip, I'm sure that's what he meant), though I have watched it too many times.

 

But there is one thing about that scene that I've never quite understood. The Soviet first officer (played by Sam Neill) seems a little surprised/confused when the captain (Sean Connery) asks for "one ping only", and VERY surprised/confused when he asks for it the second time (if I am recalling this correctly; at the very least I know for certain that he has a strong reaction the second time.) I have never understood why he is surprised and confused. (Spoiler alert for anyone who's never seen it.) The first officer is obviously in on the plan to turn the sub over to the Americans and defect. He knows the American sub is there. He knows there is going to be some communication with the Americans. And yet when the communication occurs, he seems surprised and doesn't seem to understand what is happening. He's the number 2 guy in the whole plan and is suddenly clueless about the whole thing. Isn't that strange? Or is it me who is missing something?

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Great movie (yes Skip, I'm sure that's what he meant), though I have watched it too many times.

 

But there is one thing about that scene that I've never quite understood. The Soviet first officer (played by Sam Neill) seems a little surprised/confused when the captain (Sean Connery) asks for "one ping only", and VERY surprised/confused when he asks for it the second time (if I am recalling this correctly; at the very least I know for certain that he has a strong reaction the second time.) I have never understood why he is surprised and confused. (Spoiler alert for anyone who's never seen it.) The first officer is obviously in on the plan to turn the sub over to the Americans and defect. He knows the American sub is there. He knows there is going to be some communication with the Americans. And yet when the communication occurs, he seems surprised and doesn't seem to understand what is happening. He's the number 2 guy in the whole plan and is suddenly clueless about the whole thing. Isn't that strange? Or is it me who is missing something?

 

I can probably explain, one my house mates from when I was at university is the captain of a submarine in the Royal Navy. Obviously he can't tell me much about what his boat does but I do remember him saying that the use of "active" sonar (the ping) is extraordinarily rare, the vast majority of the time they use "passive" sonar which isn't actually sonar at all, it's sensors that are listening for vibrations in the water. That's because while active sonar is extremely accurate it immediately gives away your position. Once used you may as well advertise on the TV news where your boat is. So I'm guessing the first officer has to act confused because any use of active sonar is unusual and in the pressence of a potentially hostile other boat probably suicidal....

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