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U.S.S. Albacore: Forerunner of the Future


: $15.00
Publisher / Author: Portsmouth Marine Society
ISBN: 1915819252

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This book is the biography of U.S.S Albacore, the first wholly streamlines submarine. She twice claimed the record for the fastest submarine in the world. Built at the Portsmouth Navy Yard in 1952-53, she made 27 knots at a time when no other submarine could do much better than 18 knots submerged. Modified in the 1960’s, Albacore could make speeds submerged similar to the top speeds of destroyers – around 35 knots – better than any contemporary nuclear submarine. She contributed not only her hull form and speed to most of the US nuclear submarine fleet, beginning with the skipjack class if 1958 (which temporarily took away Albacore’s speed record) but many other essential elements of her technology as well.

As a ship memorial in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Albacore is unusual in that she is preserved on dry land, mounted on huge concrete cradles in an excavated, permanent “dry dock”. There, her enormous whale-shaped hull is completely and dramatically visible. Her smoothly curved black hull, with its impressive fins, evokes the image of some great sea creature, rather than a ship. And most appropriately so, for as a cloak of invisibility, but as her primary medium of operation. From Albacore came the ability of today’s submarines to maneuver like aircraft in a three-dimensional medium, a water envelope much more dangerous and less well-known even today than that of the air.

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