“Compelling and visionary. DiMercurio’s characters run as deep as his submarines themselves!”
--Joe Buff, author of Crush Depth and Thunder in the Deep

"DiMercurio really knows his subs...his characters step right off the sub deck and onto his pages."
--Larry Bond

"A Master Rivaling Tom Clancy."
--Publishers Weekly

--San Francisco Examiner

--Associated Press

"Superb storytelling."
--Virginia-Pilot/Ledger Star


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Fairwater -- -- Refers to horizontal planes mounted on the sail, which have given way to bowplanes. Term is derived from potential flow in fluid mechanics, which states that a few meters above the hull the flow field will be unaffected by the fluid boundary layer caused by friction at the hull, and hence this area is “fair water.”

Fast Attack -- -- Navy term to describe the Albacore hull surface-of-revolution nuclear submarines, as opposed to the old fashioned Skate class or the Nautilus-type boats that looked like Guppy diesel submarines but had nuclear reactors shoehorned into them. Fast attack submarines can travel at or above battlegroup transit speeds and can thus intercept a fast-transiting surface force, which in the days of the Cold War was a major issue. However, the moniker is shortened – the actual title should be “Fast Attack Never Come Back” based on the crazy operational tempo in which SSNs go out and stay out on their missions, thereby pissing off dozens of Navy wives.

Fast Neutrons -- -- Neutrons with high energy born from uranium fission. Also called prompt neutrons, because they exist immediately after a fission of a uranium nucleus which results in two lower mass nuclei and several fast neutrons. Usually fast neutrons will just leak out of the core unless they are slowed by a moderator.

Fathom -- -- Unit of depth equal to six feet.

Fathometer -- -- Bottom sounding sonar that directs and active sonar pulse down to the ocean bottom and measures the time for the pulse to reflect back and hence the distance to the bottom. The pulse is a high frequency short duration pulse that is considered secure because it attenuates quickly and is hard to detect.

Fin -- -- British term for the sail on a sub.

Final Bearing and Shoot -- -- Order by the captain to shoot a torpedo after he takes one last periscope observation of a surface target.

Firecontrol Party -- -- A team of people whose task is to connect a weapon and a target. Includes sonar operators, the captain, XO, OOD, JOOD, Pos One, Pos Two, Pos Three, Weapon Control Panel operator and manual plotters (geographic, time-bearing and time-frequency).

Firecontrol System -- -- A computer system that accepts input from the periscope, sonar and radar (radar input only comes when the ship is on the surface) to determine the firecontrol solution. The system also programs, fires, steers and monitors torpedoes and cruise missiles. Synonymous with “Battlecontrol System.”

Firecontrol Target Solution -- -- A contact’s range, bearing, course and speed, which is a great mystery when using passive sonar. Determining the solution requires maneuvering own ship and doing calculations on the target’s bearing rate. Can be obtained manually or by using the computer.

Firing Point Procedures -- -- An order by the captain to the firecontrol party to tell them to prepare to fire the weapon, done during a deliberate approach when the solution is refined, as opposed to a snapshot. The solution is locked into the weapon and the ship is put into a firing attitude.

Fix -- -- A ship’s position. Determined by visual triangulation or radar when close to land on the surface (“piloting”) or by GPS NavSat or bottom contour sonar or gravitational measurement when submerged.

Flank Speed -- -- Maximum speed of a U.S. submarine. Requires fast speed reactor main coolant pumps and running 100% reactor power.

Flash -- -- The highest priority of a radio message. Receipt required within minutes or seconds.

Forced Circulation -- -- Forced flow of water coolant through a reactor using pumps, as opposed to natural circulation.

Forward -- -- The front of a submarine; further forward than.

Michael DiMercurio
Princeton, New Jersey

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