USS Bluefish (SSN-675)
USS Bluefish (SSN-675) off Puerto Rico on 1 February 1991.
|Ordered:||15 July 1966|
|Builder:||General Dynamics Electric Boat, Groton, Connecticut|
|Laid down:||13 March 1968|
|Launched:||10 January 1970|
|Sponsored by:||Mrs. David Packard|
|Commissioned:||8 January 1971|
|Decommissioned:||31 May 1996|
|Struck:||31 May 1996|
|Motto:||Blue Thunder from Down Under!|
|Fate:||Scrapping via Ship and Submarine Recycling Program completed 1 November 2003|
|Class & type:||Sturgeon-class attack submarine|
|Length:||292 ft 3 in (89.08 m)|
|Beam:||31 ft 8 in (9.65 m)|
|Draft:||28 ft 8 in (8.74 m)|
|Installed power:||15,000 shaft horsepower (11.2 megawatts)|
|Propulsion:||One S5W nuclear reactor, two steam turbines, one screw|
|Test depth:||1,300 feet (396 meters)|
|Complement:||109 (14 officers, 95 enlisted men)|
Construction and commissioning
The contract to build Bluefish was awarded to the Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics Corporation in Groton, Connecticut, on 15 July 1966 and her keel was laid down there on 13 March 1968. She was launched on 10 January 1970, sponsored by Mrs. David Packard, and commissioned on 8 January 1971 with Commander Richard A. Peterson in command.
The USS Bluefish was propelled by one S5W Nuclear reactor. S5W stands for S = Submarine Platform, 5 = Fifth Generation Core and W = Westinghouse as the contracted designer. The S5W is a high speed submarine reactor with the average power of 78 MWth (MegaWatt thermal) or 15,000 SHP (Shaft Horse Power). From the time the submarine was laid to its scrapping, the S5W core lifetime would last 5,500 hours at full power for older model S5Ws to 10,000 hours at full power for newer core models. This reactor is preferred by the United States Navy due its over simplification that creates damage control and maintenance easier to handle in case of an emergency. The way nuclear power works is through the use of the core heating up water to extreme temperatures and makes the water from saturated steam to superheated steam. Superheated steam is pressurized and it is directed to go through the twin turbines on the USS Bluefish. As the steam goes through the turbine, it creates momentum, turning a shaft. Each steam turbine has a shaft and it goes through a connection of pinions to connect to the main drive shaft of the submarine which in turn is connected to the propeller. The nuclear core that is used creates a massive amount of heat radiation that must be contained for the safety of the crew. Thus nuclear plants are usually covered in high density segment, steel and water. The coolant for core can not risk being leaked, due to how close it gets to the nuclear radiation.
The USS Bluefish had a wide variety of weapons systems available for its use. The armament included 4 x 21-inch (533 mm) torpedo Tubes, Mark 48 torpedoes; UUM-44 SUBROC anti-submarine missiles; UGM-84A/C Harpoon missiles (anti-ship), Mark 57 deep-water mines (anti-ship/submarine), and Mark 60 CAPTOR mines (anti-submarine)
The Mark 48 torpedo has been in the U.S. Navy since 1972. Each torpedo has a Piston engine and pump jet used to propel all 19 feet and 3,434 pound (1545 kg) of itself at 28+ knots (32 MPH). The official range is greater than 5 mile (Kilometers) and can be fired at up to 3,000 feet (914 meters) underwater. The torpedo is guided by passive/aggressive accusative homing or wire guidance to deliver its 650-pound (292 kg) warhead to the target. Each unit costs an average of 2.5 million dollars to produce.
The UUM-44A SUBROC missile is an anti-submarine missile. Unlike your average anti-submarine missile, the UUM-44A is designed to be fired out of the submarine into the air where it calculates its targets position and flies 55 kilometers to impact point. This weapon is so powerful it doesn't have to have a direct impact to cause significant damage to its target with its 39-inch, 460 pound W-55 thermonuclear warhead. This missile is propelled by Thiokol TE-260G solid-fuel and has the capabilities to go supersonic. The weight of each unit is 4000 pounds (1800 kg).
The UGM-84A/C Harpoon missiles are the dedicated anti-ship missiles used in the US Navy. Each unit is propelled by a Teledyne/CAE J402-CA-400 turbojet and has the range of approximately 220 km. The traveling speed of this anti-ship missile is mach 0.85. Its warhead weights 488 pounds (221 kg) and is officially called a WDU-18/B penetrating blast-fragmentation warhead The Mark 57 deep-water mines were deployed beginning in 1966. The detection system to cause the fatal explosion was a total field magnetic exploder. The warhead was a HBX-3 warhead that weighed 340 pounds. The whole mine weighed 2000 pounds (909 kg) and could be layer at up to 1000 feet (305 meters).
Mark 60 CAPTOR mines begin being deployed in 1979. It is powered by a two-speed, reciprocating external combustion engine, and has a range of 8,000 yards at 28 knots. The mine weighs 2056 pounds (935 kg) with a 98-pound PBXN-103 high explosive bulk charge warhead. Its detection system is reliable acoustic path (RAP) sound propagation with a snake or circle search pattern in launch mode.
As a member on a submarine crew, the possibility of radiation poisoning is always prevalent. Even though radiation levels in submarines are nonexistent in lethal doses, member of submarine crews are still subjected to them. Radiation levels in humans are measured in units of REM or Roentgen equivalent man. REM shows the biological affects of ionizing radiation. Before 1960, the Federal radiation exposure limit used in the U.S. was 15 rem per year. In 1994 an annual of 5 REM was implicated to all submariners. Even though the danger or radiation is still alive, it hasn't been a major problem with submariners in the Navy.
|This section requires expansion with: history for 1971-1975. (January 2010)|
Bluefish surfaced at the North Pole on 4 May 1975.
|This section requires expansion with: history for 1975-1996. (January 2010)|
USS BLUEFISH is reported to be the only Sturgeon class submarine to circumnavigate the globe during extended patrol in the Indian Ocean in 1982.
Decommissioning and disposal
Bluefish was decommissioned with Commander Richard C. West in command on 31 May 1996 and stricken from the Naval Vessel Register the same day. Her scrapping via the Nuclear-Powered Ship and Submarine Recycling Program at Puget Sound Navy Yard in Bremerton, Washington, was completed on 1 November 2003.
- This article includes information collected from the Naval Vessel Register, which, as a U.S. government publication, is in the public domain. The entry can be found here.
- NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive Bluefish (SSN-675)