USNS Zeus (T-ARC-7)

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Name: USNS Zeus
Builder: National Steel and Shipbuilding, San Diego, California
Laid down: 1 June 1981
Launched: 30 October 1982
In service: 19 March 1984
Status: In service as of 2015
General characteristics
Type: Cable Repair Ship (ARC)
Displacement: 14,394 long tons (14,625 t)
Length: 513 ft 6 in (156.51 m)
Beam: 73 ft 4 in (22.35 m)
Draft: 26 ft (7.9 m)
  • 2 × diesel-electric, two shafts; 10,200 bhp (7,600 kW)
  • Fore and aft tunnel thrusters
Speed: 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph)
Complement: 51 civilian mariners, 6 Navy, 32 scientists
Armament: None

USNS Zeus (T-ARC-7) was the first cable ship specifically built for the United States Navy,[1] and was planned to be the first of two ships of her class, however the second ship was not built, leaving Zeus as the only ship of her class. She is capable of laying 1,000 miles (1,600 km) of cable at depths of up to 9,000 feet (2,700 m).

Function and Equipment[edit]

One of twenty-six ships in the Military Sealift Command's Special Mission Ships Program,[2] Zeus's primary missions are to transport, deploy, retrieve and repair submarine cables and test underwater sound devices, with a secondary mission of conducting acoustic, hydrographic, and bathymetric surveys.[3]

Zeus is equipped with a SIMRAD EM 121 sonar, and can also operate towed sidescan sonars and deploy data buoys to assist in oceanographic surveys.[3] She is fitted with an extensive suite of equipment for the handling and deploying of undersea cable, including five cable tanks, tension machines, and other devices.[3] She can also be fitted with the Heavy Overboarding System (HOS), a 72,000-pound (33 t) A-frame capable of deploying remotely operated vehicles (ROVs).[4]


USNS Zeus is operated by the Military Sealift Command, part of the U.S. Transportation Command and the operator of the majority of the U.S. Navy's replenishment, transport and auxiliary ships. Assigned to the MSC Atlantic Special Mission Support Force, she is operated by a majority civilian crew, and is assigned no permanent homeport.[3]

Zeus underwent an overhaul period at Norfolk, Virginia in 2008.[5] In 2012, Zeus was assigned on a mission to lay an underwater fiber optic cable from the U.S. Naval station in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to South Florida as part of a larger effort to upgrade the naval facility.[citation needed]


  1. ^ NAVSO P-3002, p. III-37.
  2. ^ "MSC Ship Inventory: USNS Zeus". Military Sealift Command. Accessed 2010-05-16.
  3. ^ a b c d "MSC Fact Sheet: Cable Repair Ship - T-ARC", Military Sealift Command. Accessed 2010-05-16.
  4. ^ "Cable Repair Ship - T-ARC", Accessed 2010-05-16.
  5. ^ "USNS Zeus (T-ARC-7)", NavSource Online: Service Ship Photo Archive. Accessed 2010-05-16.
  • NAVSO P-3002. Navy Fact File, ninth edition. United States Navy office of Information, 1989.

External links[edit]