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USS Triton

Two submarines of the United States Navy have borne the name USS Triton.

USS Triton (SS 201) was lost with all hands (74 men) on March 15, 1943.


USS Triton (SSRN 586) was designed in 1954 and 1955 as a radar picket submarine able to operate at high speed, on the surface, ahead of a task force, providing intelligence information, electronic surveillance, and to control fighter aircraft interception. Triton would then submerge to avoid attack and operate as a fully operational submarine. To achieve this high speed, Triton was designed with two reactor propulsion plants (the only United States nuclear submarine ever to have been thus built), a knife-like bow, and a high reserve buoyancy. She attained a speed of over 30 knots on the surface. She was the last submarine to have a conning tower (a water-tight compartment built into the sail). She was also the last American submarine to have twin screws or stern torpedo room.

Tritons keel was laid on May 29, 1956, she was launched on August 19, 1958, and she was commissioned on November 10, 1959. In 1960, Triton became the first ship to circumnavigate the globe while submerged.

Until the commissioning of the Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines, Triton was the longest submarine ever built by the U.S. Navy. Her length presented Electric Boat with many problems during her construction. She was so long that her bow obstructed the slipways railway facility used for transporting material around the yard, so the lower half of her bow was cut away and re-attached just days prior to her launch. Similarly, the last 50 feet of her stern had to be built on an adjoining slipway and added before she was launched. Her sail was found to be too high to go under the scaffolding, so the first 12 feet of the sail were cut away and re-attached later.

In 1961 Triton was re-designated as an attack submarine (SSN) and her crew complement was reduced from 172 men to 159. The Navy had no plans to use her radar picket capability, but she still carried her BPS-2 search radar and could have fulfilled this role. She was overhauled and refueling at Groton, Connecticut, from September 1962 to January 1964. Upon returning to the fleet, she was designated the flagship of the Atlantic submarine force, a role she retained until June 1967.

She was decommissioned on May 3, 1969 and disposed of through the submarine recycling program on April 30, 1986.

General characteristics

  • Overall Length: 448 feet
  • Maximum Beam 37 feet
  • Draft 23.5 feet
  • Displacement: 5963 tons surfaced, 7773 tons submerged
  • Speed: 30+ knots surfaced, 27+ knots submerged
  • Armament:
    • Bow tubes: 4 21-inch torpedo tubes (manual reload capabilities only)
    • Stern tubes: 2 21-inch torpedo tubes (manual reload capabilities only)
  • Diving Depth: 700 feet test depth,
  • Power plant: 2 S4G reactors[?]
  • Propellers: 2, 11-foot diameter, 5-bladed

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