'SS Jimma: The American Mystery Sub

R.A. Hettinga rah at shipwright.com
Wed Feb 16 12:56:05 PST 2005

Code-named "Killer Rabbit"...




February 16, 2005

SUBMARINES: The American Mystery Sub

January 14, 2005: The USS Jimmy Carter (SSN 23),  a modified Seawolf-class
submarine, is used for missions the navy does not like to talk about. The
Carter displaces 12,151 tons submerged, is 100 feet longer than a baseline
Seawolf (453 feet compared to 353 feet). She is also slightly slower than a
baseline Seawolf (61.1 kilometers per hour compared to 64.8 for the
baseline Seawolf), and carries the same armament (eight 30-inch torpedo
tubes with fifty weapons).

 The Jimmy Carter, though, was not designed  for combat patrols. She is
officially a testbed, much like the Los Angeles-class submarine USS
Memphis. However, her real role is to eventually replace the Sturgeon-class
submarine USS Parche, which was taken out of service in October, 2004. The
USS Parche also has a 100-foot long extension - although that was installed
during a refit that lasted from 1987-1991. The Navy is very reluctant to
give out details about the Jimmy Carter, and she is often placed in a
covered drydock (to keep her away from prying eyes in space as well as on
the ground). This is not surprising. The methods and sources of
intelligence are protected very closely by the intelligence community, and
the Jimmy Carter is going to be one of the prime sources of intelligence.

 The Jimmy Carter is capable of carrying 50 special operations personnel,
but her primary mission will be intelligence gathering. The Navy doesn't
talk much about the intelligence-gathering missions it has carried out in
the past, or currently. One of the missions Parche carried out was the
maintenance of taps on undersea phone lines between the Russian naval bases
of Petropavalosk and Vladivostok (the famous "Ivy Bells" mission). Other
missions involved electronic intelligence. Submarines are ideal for this
mission - they can often supplement coverage by aircraft and satellites.
This supplementary coverage it vital. Aircraft can be detected and have
limited range and satellites have predictable orbits. Dummy transmissions
can be used to throw them off. Submarines, on the other hand, are
unpredictable things - particularly nuclear-powered submarines. There is no
way to know a submarine is there
 unless it either chooses to reveal its
presence (usually through the creation of a flaming datum) or something
goes wrong (a collision - like which happened with the USS Tautog).
Submarines often get data on new naval units - often shadowing them and
collecting "hull shots" (pictures of the hull of a ship or submarine) and a
very good idea of the ship's acoustic signature (for future identification).

 In time of war, the Jimmy Carter will provide support for various
missions, like raids by SEALs and other special operations units. Often,
these groups will split up for missions, which could run the gamut of raids
or advising partisans, or a single large mission could be carried out.
Often, their delivery will be by the Advanced SEAL Delivery System,
supported in a Dry Dock Shelter. She will also have additional command and
control facilities, and storage for additional munitions and fuel.

 You will not hear much about what the Jimmy Carter does if the United
States Navy has its way. The submarines are called the Silent Service. This
is doubly true for those submarines like Jimmy Carter and Parche - which
engage in intelligence gathering. Their successes remain secret - failures
will probably make the press. 

 Jimmy Carter

Length (feet)

Displ. (tons)

Speed (km/h)

 50 SF 179+

Torpedo tubes
8 30"
8 30"
4 21"



 Comparison of special operations subs Jimmy Carter and Parche. Seawolf 
 included for comparison to Carter.- Harold C. Hutchison
(hchutch at ix.netcom.com)

R. A. Hettinga <mailto: rah at ibuc.com>
The Internet Bearer Underwriting Corporation <http://www.ibuc.com/>
44 Farquhar Street, Boston, MA 02131 USA
"... however it may deserve respect for its usefulness and antiquity,
[predicting the end of the world] has not been found agreeable to
experience." -- Edward Gibbon, 'Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire'

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