USS Darter (SS-576)

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For other ships of the same name, see USS Darter.
USS Darter
USS Darter
Career
Name: USS Darter
Awarded: 30 June 1954
Builder: General Dynamics Electric Boat, Groton, Connecticut
Laid down: 10 November 1954
Launched: 28 May 1956
Commissioned: 20 October 1956
Decommissioned: 12 December 1989
Struck: 17 January 1990
Fate: Sunk as a target, 7 January 1992
General characteristics
Class & type: Submarine
Displacement: 1,620 long tons (1,650 t) surfaced
2,372 long tons (2,410 t) submerged
Length: 283 ft 3 in (86.33 m) o/a
Beam: 27 ft (8.2 m) overall
25 ft (7.6 m) waterline
Draft: 19 ft (5.8 m)
Propulsion: Diesel-electric
Speed: 15.5 kn (17.8 mph; 28.7 km/h) surfaced
16 kn (18 mph; 30 km/h) submerged
Test depth: 700 ft (210 m)
Complement: 10 officers, 75 men
Armament: 8 × 21 in (530 mm) torpedo tubes, (six forward, two aft)

USS Darter (SS-576), a unique submarine based on the Tang-class, but incorporating many improvements, was the second ship of the United States Navy to be named for the darter (fish), a type of small American fresh-water fish closely related to the perch.

The contract to build Darter was awarded to the Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics Corporation in Groton, Connecticut on 30 June 1954 and her keel was laid down on 10 November 1954. She was launched on 28 May 1956 sponsored by Mrs. G.L. Russell, and commissioned on 20 October 1956, with Lieutenant Commander Ralph R. Blaine in command.

Darter was used to experiment with numerous innovations including a three-man helmsman-planesman station using aircraft-style stick controls.

Service history[edit]

Darter operated on various training exercises in the Atlantic, both locally from her home ports of Newport, Rhode Island, and Charleston, South Carolina, and to Canada and Northern Europe on NATO maneuvers. In the 1970s she moved to San Diego and made several WestPac cruises. While on one of these in 1978, the head valve failed to close while snorkeling, and the ship had to emergency surface among U.S. surface units participating in an antisubmarine warfare exercise. In 1979, Darter changed homeport again to Sasebo, Japan, where she operated as a forward-deployed submarine.

In September 1985, Darter was involved in a collision with the merchant ship Kansas Getty which disabled her.

Darter was decommissioned on 1 December 1989 after serving over 30 years in the US Navy. Her career was one of the longest for a US Navy submarine.

She was struck from the Naval Vessel Register on 17 January 1990. On 7 January 1992, ex-Darter was sunk as a target by Tautog off Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

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