At the heart of the American undersea fleet during the Cold War period (1947-1991) was the Sturgeon-class nuclear-powered attack submarine. Thirty-seven of the boats were built from the span of 1963-1975 and the group served from 1967 until 2004 - all since having been retired. The class was succeeded in service by the potent Los Angeles-class submarines and the USN submarine fleet was further reinforced with the arrivals of the Virginia-class and the limited-quantity Seawolf-class boats in time.
The Sturgeon-class was essentially an enlarged and, ultimately, an improved form of the preceding Permit-class submarines. The Permit-class numbered fourteen boats in all and began appearing in the late-1950s, themselves an improvement of the earlier Skipjack-class of the mid-1950s. The main advantage of the newer Sturgeon-class was in the attention paid to noise reduction techniques and to improvements to the electrical systems - making for a more potent undersea vessel.
USS Sturgeon (SSN-637) became lead ship of the new class and the boat was ordered on November 30th, 1961, assigned to shipbuilder General Dynamics Electric Boat of Groton, Connecticut. Her keel was laid down on August 10th, 1963 and she was formally commissioned into service on March 3rd, 1967.
Externally, the boat held a traditional appearance as modern submarines go. The bow section was rounded to promote strong hydrodynamic qualities and the sail was positioned ahead of midships. At the stern there was a cruciform tailplane pattern with the propeller extended a short distance away. The hull was rounded in the usual way and the overall design a sleek and slim in appearance.
Sturgeon's shakedown cruise took place along the American East Coast and in Caribbean waters during the latter part of the 1960s. In service, the Sturgeon-class boats were designated primarily for intelligence-gathering against the Soviet Union where their speed and silence were put to good use. This also involved supporting national security endeavors and special forces missions as called upon. USS Sturgeon was involved in Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) exercises for the very early part of her ocean-going career and then assisted in trying to locate the missing submarine USS Scorpion (SSN-589) near the Azores. In 1969 she was awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation for her excellent service to date.
In 1971, the boat was given an overhaul to refresh her systems and other vital internal workings. More ASW exercises followed but the vessel ran aground near St. Croix in May of 1973 which damaged her bow and forced a return to the American East Coast for June of that year. From then on, she was part of the American Navy Atlantic force and managed training of future seamen afterwards before sailing to the Mediterranean. From there she partook in "ICEX 89" in Arctic waters and was refitted at Charleston, South Carolina later that year.
Note: The above text is EXCLUSIVE to the site www.MilitaryFactory.com. It is the product of many hours of research and work made possible with the help of contributors, veterans, insiders, and topic specialists. If you happen upon this text anywhere else on the internet or in print, please let us know at MilitaryFactory AT gmail DOT com so that we may take appropriate action against the offender / offending site and continue to protect this original work.
The "Military Factory" name and MilitaryFactory.com logo are registered ® U.S. trademarks protected by all applicable domestic and international intellectual property laws. All written content, illustrations, and photography are unique to this website (unless where indicated) and not for reuse/reproduction in any form. Material presented throughout this website is for historical and entertainment value only and should not to be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation. We do not sell any of the items showcased on this site. Please direct all other inquiries to militaryfactory AT gmail.com. No A.I. was used in the generation of this content; site is 100% curated by humans.