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Black-and-white photo of submarine being slid into water during launching. Dozens of people are standing on top of it.

Launching of USS Tunny (SSN-682)

Named after the lead boat, the Sturgeon class of nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSN) served with the United States Navy from the late 1960s to the mid-2000s. With a submerged displacement of 4,780 tons, it was replaced by the 6,920-ton Los Angeles class in 1976.[1][2] The Sturgeon class was designed with digital combat systems and more quieting features than its predecessor, the Thresher/Permit class.[3] As SSNs, Sturgeon-class submarines were designed to primarily perform anti-submarine warfare operations. Seven different primary contractors constructed the 37 boats of the class, making it the second-most numerous nuclear-powered warship class in the world after the 62-boat Los Angeles class.[1]

In the late 1950s, the U.S. Navy identified the need to reengineer the Thresher/Permit class, the boats of which were then being constructed. In pursuit of high-speed operations, many design aspects were sacrificed.[4] To address such deficiences, the Sturgeon class was created. This class differed from its predecessor by having enlarged and relocated sails to accommodate additional external sensors besides the single periscope.[4] Its hull was lengthened from about 278 ft (85 m) to about 292 ft (89 m); this, coupled with the larger sail, restricted the class's speed by 2 knots (2.3 mph; 3.7 km/h) compared to the Thresher/Permit class.[5] Internally, the class's layout was rearranged to improve habitability and to admit more weapons as compared to its predecessor.[4] Among the range of armaments used by the class are the Mark 48 torpedo, the Harpoon anti-ship missile, and the Tomahawk cruise missile.[1][6]

Starting with USS Archerfish (SSN-678), the hull was lengthened by 10 ft (3 m) to allow a larger living and working space compared to previous boats of the class. Nine boats incorporated such extensions.[6] Other modifications included the addition of Dry Deck Shelter—a submersible module attached to the submarine—to six boats to enable covert insertion and extraction of U.S. Navy SEALs.[6]

Boats[]

Black submarine running on surface carrying a cylindrical module on its back.

USS William H. Bates (SSN-680) carrying a Dry Deck Shelter

In October 1961, General Dynamics Electric Boat was awarded the contract to construct the lead boat of the class, USS Sturgeon (SSN-637). Laid down in August 1963, the boat was launched in February 1966 before being commissioned in March 1966.[7] Electric Boat would be the largest builder of the class, responsible for twelve boats in total. It was followed by Newport News Shipbuilding (with nine boats), Ingalls Shipbuilding (seven boats), San Francisco Naval Shipyard/Mare Island Naval Shipyard (five boats), General Dynamics Quincy Shipbuilding Division and Portsmouth Naval Shipyard (two boats each).[6] The final boat of the class, USS Richard B. Russell (SSN-687), was commissioned in August 1975.[8]

Originally designed for 20-year operational lives, boats of the Sturgeon class had this lengthened to 30 years, with a further planned three-year extension. However, many boats were retired prior to the limit to avoid costly nuclear refueling.[6] The first to be decommissioned, in August 1994, was USS Sturgeon; the last, USS Parche (SSN-683), was decommissioned in July 2005.[9] By then, the Los Angeles-, Seawolf-, and Virginia-class SSNs have entered service.

Keys
Length Boat Hull number Ordered Laid down Launched Delivered Commissioned Decommissioned Period of service Fate Ref.
292 ft (89 m) Sturgeon dagger SSN-637 30 November 1961 10 August 1963 26 February 1966 3 March 1967 3 March 1967 1 August 1994 27.4 Disposed of by recycling; sail transferred to museum [7]
Whale Section-sign SSN-638 30 November 1961 27 May 1964 14 October 1966 26 October 1968 12 October 1968 25 June 1996 27.7 Disposed of by recycling [10]
Tautog double-dagger SSN-639 30 November 1961 27 January 1964 15 April 1967 30 August 1968 17 August 1968 31 March 1997 28.6 Disposed of by recycling [11]
Grayling Up-arrow SSN-646 5 September 1962 12 May 1964 22 June 1967 10 December 1969 11 October 1969 18 July 1997 27.8 Disposed of by recycling [12]
Pogy double-dagger SSN-647 23 March 1963 5 May 1964 3 June 1967 15 May 1971 15 May 1971 11 June 1999 28.1 Disposed of by recycling [13]
Aspro double-dagger SSN-648 26 March 1963 23 November 1964 29 November 1967 20 February 1969 20 February 1969 31 March 1995 26.1 Disposed of by recycling [14]
Sunfish Section-sign SSN-649 26 March 1963 15 January 1965 14 October 1966 15 March 1969 15 March 1969 31 March 1997 28.0 Disposed of by recycling [15]
Pargo dagger SSN-650 26 March 1963 3 June 1964 17 September 1966 23 December 1967 5 January 1968 14 April 1995 27.3 Disposed of by recycling [16]
Queenfish Hash-tag SSN-651 26 March 1963 11 May 1964 25 February 1966 6 December 1966 6 December 1966 14 April 1992 25.4 Disposed of by recycling [17]
Puffer double-dagger SSN-652 26 March 1963 8 February 1965 30 March 1968 31 July 1969 9 August 1969 12 July 1996 26.9 Disposed of by recycling [18]
Ray Hash-tag SSN-653 26 March 1963 4 January 1965 21 June 1966 19 April 1967 12 April 1967 16 March 1993 25.9 Disposed of by recycling [19]
Sand Lance Up-arrow SSN-660 24 October 1963 15 January 1965 11 November 1969 1 October 1971 25 September 1971 7 August 1998 26.9 Disposed of by recycling [20]
Lapon Hash-tag SSN-661 24 October 1963 26 July 1965 16 December 1966 14 December 1967 14 December 1967 8 August 1992 24.7 Disposed of by recycling [21]
Gurnard down-arrow SSN-662 24 October 1963 22 December 1964 20 May 1967 8 December 1968 6 December 1968 28 April 1995 26.4 Disposed of by recycling [22]
Hammerhead Hash-tag SSN-663 28 May 1964 29 November 1965 14 April 1967 28 June 1968 28 June 1968 5 April 1995 26.8 Disposed of by recycling [23]
Sea Devil Hash-tag SSN-664 28 May 1964 12 April 1966 5 October 1967 30 January 1969 16 October 1991 22.7 Disposed of by recycling [24]
Guitarro down-arrow SSN-665 18 December 1964 9 December 1965 27 July 1968 9 September 1972 29 May 1992 19.7 Disposed of by recycling [25]
Hawkbill SSN-666 18 December 1964 12 September 1966 12 April 1969 1 March 1971 4 February 1971 15 March 2000 29.1 Disposed of by recycling [26]
Bergall dagger SSN-667 9 March 1965 16 April 1966 17 February 1968 9 June 1969 13 June 1969 6 June 1996 27.0 Disposed of by recycling [27]
Spadefish Hash-tag SSN-668 9 March 1965 21 December 1966 15 May 1968 14 August 1969 14 August 1969 11 April 1997 27.7 Disposed of by recycling [28]
Seahorse dagger SSN-669 9 March 1965 13 August 1966 15 June 1968 24 September 1969 19 September 1969 17 August 1995 25.9 Disposed of by recycling [29]
Finback Hash-tag SSN-670 9 March 1965 26 June 1967 7 December 1968 1 February 1970 4 February 1970 28 March 1997 27.1 Disposed of by recycling [30]
Pintado down-arrow SSN-672 29 December 1965 27 October 1967 16 August 1969 1 September 1971 11 September 1971 26 February 1998 26.5 Disposed of by recycling [31]
Flying Fish dagger SSN-673 15 July 1966 30 June 1967 17 May 1969 1 April 1970 29 April 1970 16 May 1996 26.0 Disposed of by recycling [32]
Trepang dagger SSN-674 15 July 1966 28 October 1967 27 September 1969 1 August 1970 14 August 1970 1 June 1999 28.8 Disposed of by recycling [33]
Bluefish dagger SSN-675 15 July 1966 13 March 1968 10 January 1970 1 January 1971 8 January 1971 31 May 1996 25.4 Disposed of by recycling [34]
Billfish dagger SSN-676 15 July 1966 20 September 1968 1 May 1970 1 March 1971 12 March 1971 1 July 1999 28.3 Disposed of by recycling [35]
Drum down-arrow SSN-677 15 March 1967 20 August 1968 23 May 1970 1 April 1972 15 April 1972 30 October 1995 23.5 Stricken, to be disposed of by recycling [36]
302 ft (92 m) Archerfish dagger SSN-678 25 June 1968 19 June 1969 16 January 1971 1 December 1971 17 December 1971 31 March 1998 26.3 Disposed of by recycling [37]
Silversides dagger SSN-679 25 June 1968 13 October 1969 4 June 1971 5 May 1972 21 July 1994 22.2 Disposed of by recycling [38]
William H. Bates (ex Redfish) double-dagger SSN-680 25 June 1968 4 August 1969 11 December 1971 1 May 1973 5 May 1973 11 February 2000 26.8 Disposed of by recycling [39]
Batfish dagger SSN-681 25 June 1968 9 February 1970 9 October 1971 1 September 1972 1 September 1972 17 March 1999 26.5 Disposed of by recycling [40]
Tunny double-dagger SSN-682 25 June 1968 22 May 1970 10 June 1972 1 January 1974 26 January 1974 13 March 1998 24.1 Disposed of by recycling [41]
Parche double-dagger SSN-683 25 June 1968 10 December 1970 13 January 1973 1 August 1974 17 August 1974 18 July 2005 30.9 Disposed of by recycling [9]
Cavalla double-dagger SSN-684 24 July 1968 4 June 1970 19 February 1972 1 April 1973 9 February 1973 30 March 1998 25.1 Disposed of by recycling [42]
L. Mendel Rivers Hash-tag SSN-686 1 July 1969 26 June 1971 2 June 1973 1 December 1974 1 February 1975 10 May 2001 26.3 Disposed of by recycling [43]
Richard B. Russell Hash-tag SSN-687 25 July 1969 19 October 1971 12 January 1974 12 August 1975 16 August 1975 24 June 1994 18.9 Disposed of by recycling [8]

References[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Chant 2005, pp. 72–73, 76.
  2. "USS Los Angeles (SSN 688)". Naval Vessel Register. Navy.mil. 4 January 2012. http://www.nvr.navy.mil/nvrships/details/SSN688.htm. Retrieved 19 February 2012. 
  3. Chant 2005, p. 72.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Friedman 1994, p. 145.
  5. Friedman 1994, p. 146.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 "SSN-637 Sturgeon class". Federation of American Scientists. Fas.org. http://www.fas.org/programs/ssp/man/uswpns/navy/submarines/ssn637sturgeon.html. Retrieved 19 February 2012. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 "USS Sturgeon (SSN 637)". Naval Vessel Register. Navy.mil. 16 July 2009. http://www.nvr.navy.mil/nvrships/details/SSN637.htm. Retrieved 19 February 2012. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 "USS Richard B. Russell (SSN 687)". Naval Vessel Register. Navy.mil. 16 February 2011. http://www.nvr.navy.mil/nvrships/details/SSN687.htm. Retrieved 19 February 2012. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 "USS Parche (SSN 683)". Naval Vessel Register. Navy.mil. 5 November 2007. http://www.nvr.navy.mil/nvrships/details/SSN683.htm. Retrieved 19 February 2012. 
  10. "USS Whale (SSN 638)". Naval Vessel Register. Navy.mil. 16 March 1998. http://www.nvr.navy.mil/nvrships/details/SSN638.htm. Retrieved 19 February 2012. 
  11. "USS Tautog (SSN 639)". Naval Vessel Register. Navy.mil. 24 February 2005. http://www.nvr.navy.mil/nvrships/details/SSN639.htm. Retrieved 19 February 2012. 
  12. "USS Grayling (SSN 646)". Naval Vessel Register. Navy.mil. 3 April 1998. http://www.nvr.navy.mil/nvrships/details/SSN646.htm. Retrieved 19 February 2012. 
  13. "USS Pogy (SSN 647)". Naval Vessel Register. Navy.mil. 24 May 2000. http://www.nvr.navy.mil/nvrships/details/SSN647.htm. Retrieved 19 February 2012. 
  14. "USS Aspro (SSN 648)". Naval Vessel Register. Navy.mil. 30 August 2001. http://www.nvr.navy.mil/nvrships/details/SSN648.htm. Retrieved 19 February 2012. 
  15. "USS Sunfish (SSN 649)". Naval Vessel Register. Navy.mil. 13 November 1997. http://www.nvr.navy.mil/nvrships/details/SSN649.htm. Retrieved 19 February 2012. 
  16. "USS Pargo (SSN 650)". Naval Vessel Register. Navy.mil. 1 March 1999. http://www.nvr.navy.mil/nvrships/details/SSN650.htm. Retrieved 19 February 2012. 
  17. "USS Queenfish (SSN 651)". Naval Vessel Register. Navy.mil. 11 June 2002. http://www.nvr.navy.mil/nvrships/details/SSN651.htm. Retrieved 19 February 2012. 
  18. "USS Puffer (SSN 652)". Naval Vessel Register. Navy.mil. 8 July 1997. http://www.nvr.navy.mil/nvrships/details/SSN652.htm. Retrieved 19 February 2012. 
  19. "USS Ray (SSN 653)". Naval Vessel Register. Navy.mil. 24 February 2005. http://www.nvr.navy.mil/nvrships/details/SSN653.htm. Retrieved 19 February 2012. 
  20. "USS Sand Lance (SSN 660)". Naval Vessel Register. Navy.mil. 24 February 2005. http://www.nvr.navy.mil/nvrships/details/SSN660.htm. Retrieved 19 February 2012. 
  21. "USS Lapon (SSN 661)". Naval Vessel Register. Navy.mil. 24 February 2005. http://www.nvr.navy.mil/nvrships/details/SSN661.htm. Retrieved 19 February 2012. 
  22. "USS Gurnard (SSN 662)". Naval Vessel Register. Navy.mil. 1 March 1999. http://www.nvr.navy.mil/nvrships/details/SSN662.htm. Retrieved 19 February 2012. 
  23. "USS Hammerhead (SSN 663)". Naval Vessel Register. Navy.mil. 11 August 1999. http://www.nvr.navy.mil/nvrships/details/SSN663.htm. Retrieved 19 February 2012. 
  24. "USS Sea Devil (SSN 664)". Naval Vessel Register. Navy.mil. 17 September 1999. http://www.nvr.navy.mil/nvrships/details/SSN664.htm. Retrieved 19 February 2012. 
  25. "USS Guitarro (SSN 665)". Naval Vessel Register. Navy.mil. 1 March 1999. http://www.nvr.navy.mil/nvrships/details/SSN665.htm. Retrieved 19 February 2012. 
  26. "USS Hawkbill (SSN 666)". Naval Vessel Register. Navy.mil. 11 June 2002. http://www.nvr.navy.mil/nvrships/details/SSN666.htm. Retrieved 19 February 2012. 
  27. "USS Bergall (SSN 667)". Naval Vessel Register. Navy.mil. 7 April 2005. http://www.nvr.navy.mil/nvrships/details/SSN667.htm. Retrieved 19 February 2012. 
  28. "USS Spadefish (SSN 668)". Naval Vessel Register. Navy.mil. 29 October 1997. http://www.nvr.navy.mil/nvrships/details/SSN668.htm. Retrieved 19 February 2012. 
  29. "USS Seahorse (SSN 669)". Naval Vessel Register. Navy.mil. 1 March 1999. http://www.nvr.navy.mil/nvrships/details/SSN669.htm. Retrieved 19 February 2012. 
  30. "USS Finback (SSN 670)". Naval Vessel Register. Navy.mil. 6 November 1997. http://www.nvr.navy.mil/nvrships/details/SSN670.htm. Retrieved 19 February 2012. 
  31. "USS Pintado (SSN 672)". Naval Vessel Register. Navy.mil. 9 November 1998. http://www.nvr.navy.mil/nvrships/details/SSN672.htm. Retrieved 19 February 2012. 
  32. "USS Flying Fish (SSN 673)". Naval Vessel Register. Navy.mil. 1 March 1999. http://www.nvr.navy.mil/nvrships/details/SSN673.htm. Retrieved 19 February 2012. 
  33. "USS Trepang (SSN 674)". Naval Vessel Register. Navy.mil. 24 May 2000. http://www.nvr.navy.mil/nvrships/details/SSN674.htm. Retrieved 19 February 2012. 
  34. "USS Bluefish (SSN 675)". Naval Vessel Register. Navy.mil. 24 February 2005. http://www.nvr.navy.mil/nvrships/details/SSN675.htm. Retrieved 19 February 2012. 
  35. "USS Billfish (SSN 676)". Naval Vessel Register. Navy.mil. 27 June 2008. http://www.nvr.navy.mil/nvrships/details/SSN676.htm. Retrieved 19 February 2012. 
  36. "USS Drum (SSN 677)". Naval Vessel Register. Navy.mil. 1 March 1999. http://www.nvr.navy.mil/nvrships/details/SSN677.htm. Retrieved 19 February 2012. 
  37. "USS Archerfish (SSN 678)". Naval Vessel Register. Navy.mil. 16 November 1998. http://www.nvr.navy.mil/nvrships/details/SSN678.htm. Retrieved 19 February 2012. 
  38. "USS Silversides (SSN 679)". Naval Vessel Register. Navy.mil. 6 November 2001. http://www.nvr.navy.mil/nvrships/details/SSN679.htm. Retrieved 19 February 2012. 
  39. "USS William H. Bates (SSN 680)". Naval Vessel Register. Navy.mil. 16 February 2011. http://www.nvr.navy.mil/nvrships/details/SSN680.htm. Retrieved 19 February 2012. 
  40. "USS Batfish (SSN 681)". Naval Vessel Register. Navy.mil. 3 January 2003. http://www.nvr.navy.mil/nvrships/details/SSN681.htm. Retrieved 19 February 2012. 
  41. "USS Tunny (SSN 682)". Naval Vessel Register. Navy.mil. 7 August 1999. http://www.nvr.navy.mil/nvrships/details/SSN682.htm. Retrieved 19 February 2012. 
  42. "USS Cavalla (SSN 684)". Naval Vessel Register. Navy.mil. 21 September 2001. http://www.nvr.navy.mil/nvrships/details/SSN684.htm. Retrieved 19 February 2012. 
  43. "USS L. Mendel Rivers (SSN 686)". Naval Vessel Register. Navy.mil. 16 February 2011. http://www.nvr.navy.mil/nvrships/details/SSN686.htm. Retrieved 19 February 2012. 

Bibliography[]

  • Chant, Chris (2005). Submarine Warfare Today. Leicester, United Kingdom: Silverdale Books. ISBN 1-84509-158-2. OCLC 156749009. 
  • Friedman, Norman (1994). U.S. submarines since 1945: an illustrated design history. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-260-9. OCLC 29477981. 


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