Sturgeon Class

Overview

Sturgeon Class

Nationality: United States

The Sturgeon Class is essentially and an enlarged and improved Thresher/Permit Class boat with additional noise dampening features. This class of large nuclear powered attack submarines were built between 1965 and 1974. Like the earlier design these boats had two tubes firing diagonally outwards on each side of the hull; they were located amidships rather than in the bow and stern. This arrangement allowed for a larger torpedo handling room and facilitated reloading tubes.

The last nine boats of this class were lengthened to allow more electronic equipment to be fitted. Some of these vessels were involved in intelligence gathering off the coasts of the Soviet Union and China. The programme was known as Holy Stone and was run by the National Security Agency.

A programme of upgrade took place and the boats were retro-fitted with Mk 117 FCS and BQQ-5 sonar.

22 boats, including five converted for Holy Stone work, operated with the Atlantic Fleet. 15 boats were based with the Pacific Fleet, including four Holy Stone vessels.

Sturgeon Class submarines were able to operate throughout their cruise submerged. They often used ‘loiter’ speed as this allowed their sonar to detect submarines and they often followed the Soviet boats under the Arctic ice.

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