USS Bluefish (SSN-675) was a Cold War-era (1947-1991) nuclear-powered attack submarine serving the United States Navy (USN) as part of the critical Sturgeon-class group of boats. The Sturgeon-class entered service in the 1960s and maintained an active status into the early 2000s such was their value during a time when the enemy-of-the-day was the Soviet Union and its vaunted submarine fleet. Thirty-seven total boats were completed to the Sturgeon standard and these were an evolution of the earlier Thresher-/Permit-class.
USS Bluefish (SSN-675) was ordered on July 15th, 1966 and saw her keel laid down by General Dynamics Electric Boat Corporation of Groton, Connecticut on March 13th, 1968. Launched on January 10th, 1970, the boat was formally commissioned for service into the ranks of the USN on January 8th, 1971. She was given the motto "Blue Thunder from Down Under!" for her time at sea.
SSN-675 became just the second USN vessel to carry the name "Bluefish". The earlier incarnation was a veteran of the World War 2 (1939-1945) period (and is detailed elsewhere on this site).
Bluefish was completed with a full displacement of 4,340 tons and had a length of 292.2 feet, a beam of 31.7 feet, and a draught down to 28.7 feet. Power was from a single S5W series water-cooled nuclear reactor which provided fuel for the twin steam turbines, these generating 15,000 shaft horsepower to 1 x Screw astern. All told, the boat could make headway at 15 knots when surfaced and up to 25 knots when submerged. The hull was tested to depths of 1,300 feet.
Aboard was a crew complement of 109 officers and enlisted personnel. Armament centered on 4 x 21" (533mm) torpedo tubes installed amidships just aft of the bow section. These supported the Mark 48 torpedo series and there was eventual support for the UUM-44A SUBROC (thermonuclear, anti-submarine) and UGM-84A/C "Harpoon" (anti-ship) missile families. In addition to this, the vessel was cleared to use Mark 57 deep-water mines and Mark 60 CAPTOR naval mines as needed.
Because of her armament capabilities as well as stealthy acoustics and performance, USS Bluefish became an integral part of American Navy actions during the Cold War decades. The boat had the capability to tackle enemy subs and surface combatants thanks to her broad armament support. Her onboard systems allowed for a great deal of surveillance capabilities as well - which proved priceless in an era where each side attempted to outdo the other.
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