USS James Madison

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USS James Madison (SSBN-627)
USS James Madison SSBN-627
USS James Madison (SSBN-627) at sea
United States
NameUSS James Madison
NamesakeJames Madison
Ordered20 July 1961
BuilderNewport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company
Laid down5 March 1962
Launched15 March 1963
Sponsored byMrs. A.S. "Mike" Monroney
Commissioned28 July 1964
Decommissioned20 November 1992
Stricken20 November 1992
FateScrapping via Ship-Submarine Recycling Program completed 24 October 1997
General characteristics
Class and typeJames Madison-class submarine fleet ballistic missile submarine (hull design SCB 216 Mod 3)[2][clarification needed]
  • 7,320 long tons (7,440 t) (submerged)[1]
  • 8,240 long tons (8,370 t) (submerged)
Length425 feet (130 m)
Beam33 feet (10 m)
Draught32 ft (9.8 m)[1]
Installed powerS5W reactor
  • 2 × geared steam turbines 15,000 shp (11,000 kW)
  • 1 shaft, one 7-bladed screw
SpeedOver 20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph)
Test depthOver 400 ft (120 m)
ComplementTwo crews (Blue and Gold) of 15 officers and 132 enlisted each[1]
Armament4 × 21 inches (530 mm) Mark 65[1] torpedo tubes (bow; Mark 48 torpedoes, 16 vertical launch missile tubes amidships, various small arms

USS James Madison (SSBN-627), the lead ship of her class of ballistic missile submarine, was the second ship of the United States Navy to be named for Founding Father James Madison (1751–1836), the fourth President of the United States (1809–1817).

Construction and commissioning[edit]

The contract to build James Madison was awarded to Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company in Newport News, Virginia on 20 July 1961 and her keel was laid down there on 5 March 1962. She was launched on 15 March 1963, sponsored by Mrs. Mary Ellen (Mellon) Monroney,[3] wife of Oklahoma Senator A.S. "Mike" Monroney, and commissioned on 28 July 1964. She was launched with sixteen Polaris A-3 ballistic missiles.[1][clarification needed]

Operational history[edit]

After post-shakedown repairs and modification in November and December 1964, James Madison departed on her first deterrent patrol on 17 January 1965. By the end of 1966, she had completed her 10th deterrent patrol, serving in the European area.

In November 1974 she was involved in a collision with a Soviet Victor-class submarine. The incident occurred when the James Madison was departing Holy Loch in Argyll, Scotland, to take up station and collided with a Soviet submarine waiting outside the port to trail it. Eric Graham, a marine historian from the University of Edinburgh, told BBC Scotland it could have been a diplomatic incident but because it was so deep into the UK home water it was an "embarrassment" that they wanted to keep quiet.[4][5][6]

During her first major overhaul, like the rest of her class, Madison was retrofitted with Poseidon C-3 missiles and their associated Mark 88 firecontrol system.[1] Poseidon was replaced by Trident C-4 missiles during a comprehensive overhaul that took place at the Newport News (VA) Shipyard in the early 1980s.[1]

Decommissioning and disposal[edit]

The inactivation of James Madison at Mare Island Naval Shipyard at Vallejo, California, began on 18 February 1992. She was decommissioned on 20 November 1992 and struck from the Naval Vessel Register the same day, and her inactivation at Mare Island was completed on 8 December 1992. Her scrapping via the Nuclear-Powered Ship and Submarine Recycling Program in Bremerton, Washington, was completed on 24 October 1997.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Adcock, Al. (1993), U.S. Ballistic Missile Submarines, Carrolltown, Texas: Squadron Signal, p. 30
  2. ^ Adcock, Al. (1993), U.S. Ballistic Missile Submarines, Carrolltown, Texas: Squadron Signal, pp. 30, (4 also credits mythical interwar Albacore and Trout classes, however)
  3. ^ "MONRONEY, ALMER STILLWELL (1902–1980)". The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture. Oklahoma Historical Society. Retrieved 8 November 2022.
  4. ^ "CIA memo confirms nuclear sub crash". BBC. 25 January 2017.
  5. ^ Weaver, Matthew (25 January 2017). "Scottish cold war nuclear submarine collision kept secret for 43 years". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 30 April 2017.
  6. ^ "Советские подводники раскрыли детали столкновения субмарин СССР и США у Шотландии (Translation: Soviet submariners revealed the details of the collision of submarines of the USSR and the USA near Scotland)". NTV.RU. 25 January 2017. Retrieved 10 November 2022. (atrticle excerpt; Google translation from Russian: However, today's sensation for Western journalists would not be so loud if they read the memoirs of Soviet submariners. They wrote about the collision in Holy Loch 13 years ago. True, for some reason our officers called the American submarine not "James Madison", but "Nathaniel Green". From our side there was a multi-purpose nuclear submarine K-306 , whose task was to wait for the "American" to leave the bay and record his so-called "noise portrait". To do this, our sailors dropped stun grenades into the water. After each explosion, the sonar screens of both boats were illuminated for several minutes. Thus, both submarines, which were on a collision course, turned out to be "blind".

External links[edit]