USS Triton SSN-586, first submerged circumnavigation
Toward the end of war in the Pacific, American surface forces needed as much advanced warning of the approach of enemy aircraft as possible, the radar picket destroyer was itself vulnerable to attack so a submarine seemed an attractive alternative. The first , and only, nuclear radar picket was Triton, at 447 feet and 5,450 tons the US Navy`s largest submarine at that time. As the US Navy`s only twin-reactor boat Triton proved the type, but her mission was overtaken by the development of more effective early warning aircraft, operating from, and moving, with the carriers.
Triton was deemed too large for conversion to an attack submarine, and in 1960 became the first nuclear boat to be put in reserve. She will always be remembered fore being the first submerged circumnavigation of the globe. Under the commanding officer Edward L. Beach, Triton followed the rout taken by Magellan`s five ships in 1519 when they began the first around the world voyage.
USS Triton, SSN-586 put to sea on her shakedown cruise on February 15, 1960 bound for the South Atlantic. She arrived in the middle Atlantic off St. Peter and St. Paul Rocks on February 24 to commence a history-making voyage. Having remained submerged since her departure from the east coast, Triton continued on south towards Cape Horn, rounded the tip of South America, and headed west across the Pacific. After transiting the Philippine and Indonesian archipelagoes and crossing the Indian Ocean, she rounded the Cape of Good Hope and arrived off the St. Peter and Paul Rocks on April 10, 60 days and 21 hours after departing the mid-ocean landmark. Only once did her sail break the surface of the sea, when she transferred a sick sailor to USS Macon, CA-132 off Montevideo, Uruguay, on March 5. She arrived back at Groton on May 10, having completed the first submerged circumnavigation of the earth.
For the first half of 1961, Triton conducted operational patrols and training exercises with the Atlantic Fleet. During this period, the rising threat posed by Russian submarine forces increased the Navy`s demands for nuclear-powered attack submarines with antisubmarine warfare (ASW) capability. Accordingly, upon the demise of the Navy`s radar picket submarine program, Triton was redesignated SSN-586 on March 1, 1961 and entered the Portsmouth (NH) Naval Shipyard in June 1962 for conversion to an attack submarine.
In March 1964, upon completion of this overhaul, Triton`s home port was changed from New London, Connecticut to Norfolk, Virginia. On April 13, 1964 Triton became the flagship for the Submarine Force, Atlantic Fleet, and served in that role until relieved by USS Ray, SSN-653 on June 1, 1967.
Because of cutbacks in defense spending, Triton`s scheduled 1967 overhaul was cancelled indefinitely, and the boat was scheduled for deactivation. From October 1968 through May of 1969, the submarine underwent preservation and inactivation processes and was decommissioned on May 3, 1969-departed New London under tow and proceeded to Norfolk where she was placed in the inactive fleet.
Specifications, USS Triton SSN-586:
A unique one of a class, double hull construction, twin-reactor submarine. Keel laid down by Electric Boat Div., General Dynamics Corp., Groton, CT on May 29, 1956; launched August 19, 1958 and commissioned November 10, 1959.
Displacement (srf/sub tons): 5,963/7,773
Dimensions (L*B*D feet): 447`5*36`9*23`5
Propulsion: 2*22,450hp Westinghouse S4G Pressurized Water Reactor (PWR), geared steam turbine, twin screw
Speed (srf/sub knots): 30/27
Range (srf/sub miles@knots): not relevant
Diving depth (feet): 700
Complement: 16 officers 164 enlisted
Torpedo: 4*21" (533 mm) bow torpedo tubes,2*21" stern torpedo tubes
||Antigua & Barbuda
||USS Triton SSN-586, 1960 first underwater circumnavigation. Overprint "Barbuda Mail"
||Antigua & Barbuda
||USS Triton SSN-586, 1960 first underwater global circumnavigation
||1960 Edward Beach, USS Triton SSN-586, first underwater circumnavigation