USS Skipjack SSN-585, combining nuclear power and "teardrop" hull

Skipjack Class
was the first `top to bottom` new attack submarine design using nuclear propulsion. In 1954 the USS Nautilus, the world`s first nuclear powered submarine, was launched. Nuclear power enabled this submarine to become the first true `submersible`, able to operate underwater for an indefinite period of time. In 1958 the USS Albacore entered service with a `teardrop` hull design to reduce underwater resistance and allow greater submerged speed and maneuverability.

The first submarine class to combine nuclear power with the new hull design was the USS Skipjack. Deep-diving and high speed capabilities were the result of HY-80 construction and a new reactor design, the S5W. This reactor became the US Navy’s standard until the Los Angeles class joined the fleet in the mid 1970s. USS Skipjack was also unique in that it was the first nuclear submarine with a single shaft. Placement of the bow planes on the sail greatly reduced flow noise at the bow-mounted sonar. Personnel serving on Nautilus, the first Seawolf, and the Skate class saw the breaking of submarine construction "rules" on the Skipjacks-single versus double hulls, one main propulsion shaft instead of two-as radical and even dangerous although the results of these dramatic changes made the platform far quieter.

USS Skipjack
was decommissioned and struck from the navy list on April 19, 1990. Her disposal through SRP was completed March 1996.

Specifications, USS Skipjack SSN-585:
The lead boat in a class of six single hull submarines. Keel laid down by Electric Boat Div., General Dynamics Corp., Groton, CT on May 29, 1956; launched May 26, 1958 and commissioned April 15, 1959.
Displacement (srf/sub tons): 3,075/3,515
Dimensions (L*B*D feet): 251`8*31`7*29`5
Propulsion: 1*Westinghouse S5W Pressurized Water Reactor (PWR) 15,000hp, geared steam turbine, single screw
Speed (srf/sub knots): 17/30
Range (srf/sub miles@knots): not relevant
Diving depth (feet): 700
Complement: 9 officers 76 enlisted
Missile: none
Torpedo: 6*21" (533 mm) bow torpedo tubes
Armament: none

USS Skipjack
was the lead boat in a class of six Skipjack class submarines constructed in four different shipyards. She was the proto-type which mated nuclear power with a `teardrop` design- Albacore single hull, single screw construction.

Back to History Index

Image Country Year Description
Antigua & Barbuda 2000 USS Skipjack SSN-585, nuclear attack submarine 3,500 ton
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