Archive for the 'Submarines' Category

Sep 16

First Submarine Launch of Regulus II, 16 September 1958

Friday, September 16, 2011 12:01 AM

Commissioned on 7 March 1958, GRAYBACK (SSG 574) was the Navy’s first submarine to carry the Regulus II sea-to-surface missile. While operating out of Port Hueneme, Calif., on 16 September 1958 she carried out the first successful launch of a Regulus II from a submarine, which pointed the way to a revolutionary advance in the power of navies to attack land bases. GRAYBACK conducted her first deterrent missile strike mission from 21 September to 12 November 1959, patrolling secretly through Pacific waters with a full load of missiles ready for retaliation 1,000 miles inland in event of war.

Following modifications to the missile launching system and electrical circuits on 22 February 1960, GRAYBACK again took up deterrent missile strike missions. Overall she conducted nine patrols and spent more than 20 months at sea, logging well over 130,000 miles on deterrent missile strike missions. As more and more Polaris submarines became operational they assumed the deterrent functions previously assigned to GRAYBACK and her sister ships.

She decommissioned at Mare Island, Calif., on 25 May 1964.

 
Aug 11

USS Skate (SSN-578) Becomes the First Submarine to Surface at the North Pole

Thursday, August 11, 2011 12:01 AM

USS Skate (SSN-578) made submarine history on 11 August 1958 when it became the first submarine to surface at the North Pole.

USS Skate (SSN-578) hung below the Arctic ice like a matchstick suspended an inch from the ceiling of a large room. A knot of sailors in the control room stared intently at an instrument inscribing patterns of parallel lines on a rolling paper tape. The pattern looked like an upside down mountain range.

“Heavy ice, ten feet,” said one of the sailors.

Suddenly the lines converged into a single narrow bar. “Clear water!” the sailor called out.

Commander James Calvert, the skipper, studied the marks on the paper closely. He stopped the submarine, ordered “up periscope,” and peered into the eyepiece. The clarity of the water and the amount of light startled him. At this same depth in the Atlantic—180 feet—the water was black or dark green at best, but here in the Arctic, it was pale blue like the tropical waters off the Bahamas. The crew laughed nervously as Calvert reported seeing nothing but a jellyfish.

Calvert turned toward the man in charge of the ice-detecting instrument. “How does it look?” The sailor flashed him the okay sign.

“Bring her up slowly,” Calvert said. The three-thousand ton sub began drifting upward like a giant balloon. The diving officer called the depth as the Skate rose.

Otherwise the room was deathly quiet. A wrong move or a miscalculation would endanger the mission or even the ship. Calvert continued to peer through the eyepiece. When the top of the periscope came within sixty feet of the surface, he spotted heavy ice to the side. He flipped the prism to look straight up, but saw nothing except the same blurred aquamarine. Sweat appeared on his forehead as he felt all eyes in the control room bear down upon him. If the sub rose too slowly, it could drift away from the opening. If it rose too quickly and struck ice, the collision could tear open the pressure hull and send the sub and all ninety men on board to the bottom.

Calvert, one of the most decorated naval officers of World War II, had survived eight war patrols in the submarine Jack and later became the third naval officer selected by Admiral Hyman Rickover to command a nuclear powered submarine. It was one of the Navy’s most demanding jobs, for it required the intellect and the courage to operate the Navy’s most sophisticated and dangerous propulsion system. This success of this mission would help Navy planners determine whether submarines could navigate safely under Arctic ice, a question with grave implications for national security, given the emerging Soviet submarine threat.

Calvert ordered the ballast tanks blown. The roar of high pressure air seemed earsplitting after the tense silence of the last few minutes. Upon surfacing, Calvert ordered the hatch opened, then climbed up to the bridge. The sky was slightly overcast and the damp air felt like an unseasonably warm February day in New England, with the temperature hovering near freezing. The submarine’s black hull stood out in stark relief against the deep blue of the calm lake in which the ship now floated. Beyond the lake, stretching to the horizon in every direction, was the stark white of the permanent polar ice pack. The officer who had climbed to the bridge with Calvert called the skipper’s attention to the port side of the ship. There a full grown polar bear was climbing slowly out of the water and up onto the ice.

The date was 11 August 1958 and the Skate had just become the first submarine to surface at the North Pole.

 
May 10

USS Triton Circumnavigates the Globe

Tuesday, May 10, 2011 1:51 AM

May, 10th 1960



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Apr 11

Happy Birthday, U.S. Submarine Force

Monday, April 11, 2011 1:13 AM

April, 11th 1900
The US Navy accepts the design of it’s first official submarine the USS Holland, named after the engineer and designer John Philip Holland. Below are a couple of short articles from Proceedings professional notes section at the time of the Navy’s acceptance of the Holland.




From Proceedings 1898 #86
SUCCESSFUL TRIALS OF THE HOLLAND SUBMARINE BOAT.
The naval board appointed to inspect and report on the performance of the Holland submarine boat has reported that in the recent tests, held on November 6, in New York harbor, she fulfilled all the requirements laid down by the department.
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Feb 10

USS Sargo Surfaced at North Pole

Thursday, February 10, 2011 1:20 AM

February 10th, 1960 the USS Sargo became one of the first Subs, the 3rd, to surface at the North Pole.

 
Dec 31

Project Azorian on NavyTV

Friday, December 31, 2010 3:12 PM

Norman Polmar, Author of Project Azorian: The CIA and the Raising of the K-129, will discuss and sign his book followed by a Q&A at Navy Memorial on Tuesday, January 11th, beginning at 12PM. The event is free and open to the public. Click here for more information on the event and watch the trailer above to learn more about the untold story of Project Azorian.

 
Dec 11

Countdown for Polaris

Saturday, December 11, 2010 12:01 AM

This Cold War documentary follows the development of the Polaris submarine launched ballistic missile and contains footage of numerous test launches of Polaris as well as the launching and commissioning of USS George Washington (SSBN-598).

 

Source: Naval History and Heritage Command, Photographic Section, UM-23.

 
Nov 4

1st Seaplane Launch From Submarine

Thursday, November 4, 2010 7:37 AM

Following WW1, the Navy began experimenting with the possibility of submarine observation and scouting aircraft; S-1 became the experimental platform for this project, late in 1923. She was altered by having a steel capsule mounted aft the conning tower; a cylindrical pod which could house a small collapsible seaplane, the Martin MS-1. After surfacing, this plane could be rolled out, quickly assembled, and launched by ballasting the sub until the deck was awash. The first successful attempt was made on November 5th 1923.

Martin MS-1

Quick Assembly on Sub S-1

S-1 beginning to submerge

Success!

 
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