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USS Robert E. Lee (SSBN-601)

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Postby 87-1046108477 » Fri Mar 28, 2003 6:48 pm

What class baot was the USS Robert E. Lee (SSBN-601)? I have read in two different sites, two different classes. One said Skipjack and another said Goerge Washington class. AAAAHHHH.!!!!!! I am so confused! :O
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Postby 65-1048892380 » Fri Mar 28, 2003 7:05 pm

The Robert E. Lee is a member of the George Washington Class Ballastic Missile Subs, not sure what site said it was a Skipjack, but thats completely wrong.

For a Reference I used FAS

The Direct Link is Here: GW Class

These guys have a great reference on all the US navy ships, and even some foreign ones.

You Planning on building one?

John
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Postby Tim Morris » Fri Mar 28, 2003 9:25 pm

my understanding is that the george washington class shared some construction history with the skipjacks and thats why they are discussed together.
but of course when you see "ssbn" you know its a boomer and not a fast attack.
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Postby JWLaRue » Fri Mar 28, 2003 10:11 pm

Part of the confusion is likely due to the USS George Washington being built from a Skipjack-class sub that was already under construction. I believe that it was the Skipjack-class sub that was originally to have been named the Scorpion.

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Postby Crazy Ivan » Sat Mar 29, 2003 2:46 am

Jeff is quite right. In order to speed development of the Polaris submarine program, rather than start with a clean sheet design, it was decided to cut an existing Skipjack class boat then under construction (designated Scorpion) in half, and insert a 130 ft. missile section. The resulting boat was The George Washington, SSBN 598. In certain parts of the GW, the name Scorpion could still be seen engraved into the hull.

A second Skipjack class boat was completed as the Patrick Henry. Three additional boats were completed to this design. The Robert E.Lee was one of these and therefore is in the George Washington class.

A quirk of the Skipjack lineage of the GW class is that the missile insert was some 18 inches or so larger in diameter than the original halves of the boat. This necessitated some fancy fairing in of the hull. Oddly enough, the designers chose to align the insert along the keel rather than along the central axis of the hull. Thus, most of the fairing in is done on top, beneath the turtleback deck which houses the muzzles of the missile tubes.

The follow-up Ethan Allan (608) class was the first ground-up SSBN design. The turtleback is faired cleanly into the bow cap on these boats. On the GW class, it terminates rather abruptly just forward of the sail, giving it that aftermarket add-on look. End of history lesson. :)
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Postby Britt Boyette » Sun Mar 30, 2003 4:13 am

Quote;
A quirk of the Skipjack lineage of the GW class is that the missile insert was some 18 inches or so larger in diameter than the original halves of the boat. This necessitated some fancy fairing in of the hull. Oddly enough, the designers chose to align the insert along the keel rather than along the central axis of the hull. Thus, most of the fairing in is done on top, beneath the turtleback deck which houses the muzzles of the missile tubes.
----------------------------------------------------------

George, where did you find this info? I have seen pictures of the hull without the missle deck and it looks like an even taper hull to me.I also haven't seen this in any drawings either.
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Postby Crazy Ivan » Sun Mar 30, 2003 11:32 pm

Britt,

Of course, sites such as SubNet which give boat specs will show the discrepancy between the hull diameters of the Skipjacks and the 598's. For years I wondered about how this could be. It is confirmed in Friedman's "US Submarine since 1945" that there was some tricky fairing in due to this. But the bit about the alignment.. ah, this is obscure knowledge indeed!

I learned of this in a BBS post some years ago. I had thought it was in this forum, but a search of the archives turned up nothing. The old memory is like swiss cheese these days. Then I remembered the running file I have kept over the years on sub data which contains, among other things, any tibbits of George Washington info I could dig up. And there it was, the entire posting. Unfortunately, I did not record the name of author.

Thinking on it, I am now reasonably sure it was a post by none other than Jim Christley on the Ron Martini Submarine BBS (I couldn't see any way to check his archives). So where did Jim get the info? Don't know, but he sure seems extremely knowledgable in all things submarine, so I tend to trust the validity. I will reproduce here the relevant part of the post:

...Some confusion may have arisen in the fleet about the use of Skipjack hulls for boomers because of the difference in hull
diameters between the missile compartment and the fore and aft sections in all Geo. Washington boats. The missile house was 33 feet in diameter and the max diameter of the other sections was 31.5 feet. The difference was carried through all ships of the class because the same planset was used for all major hull items. This was done for speed in construction and economics. The centers of the cylindrical sections were not aligned along a common axis, instead, the keel (bottom centerline) was held and the upper portions of the cylindrical hull section faired under the missile deck and superstructure. Thus the disparity in diameters is all but invisible in existing photos.



Hope this helps. :)
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Postby Desert Boat » Mon Mar 31, 2003 1:14 am

Good evening gentlemen! Someone earlier indicated that SSBN-601 USS Robert E. Lee was completed from the started USS Scorpion. Actually, I found while doing research on R.E.L., that her keel was actually laid as SSN-591 USS Shark. There is a website for her - www.ssbn601.com
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Postby Britt Boyette » Mon Mar 31, 2003 3:01 am

I have seen things in books that I knew were no quite true so I tend to view them with a little distrust. For example, I think it was in that book you mentioned, Submarines since 1945. In it, they where taking about the USS Sailfish (SSR-572) and USS Salmon (SSR-573) and incorrectly guessed the amount of torpedo tubes they had. I'm not saying that book is all wrong or anything of the sort. I'm only saying that mistakes do get made. I've seen a few pictures of the 598 class with out the missle decks and there doesn't appear to be any 18 inch ramp style bumps where the hull sections meet. I'm not saying it's not possible either, but it sure seems like the hard way of mating different size tube sections together.

The first Scorpion became the USS George Washington (SSBN-589). That's what was said in an earier post too.
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Postby Feet Wet » Mon Mar 31, 2003 9:16 am

:D Morning George and Britt and All,
I think I can shed some lite on this issue.First , Let me say that Britt and George hit the nail on the head.If you go to the site listed, you'll find a photo of the Theodore Roosevelt SSBN 600,about to launch without her turtle deck yet installed.The taper of the hull sections can clearly be seen just forward of the forward most "tubes".The taper appears to be made up of two sections of steel with a weld line in the middle.Hope this helps to illuminate the excellent work by others.
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Postby Crazy Ivan » Mon Mar 31, 2003 1:03 pm

Jonathan, thanks for pointing us to those photos. While a bit on the dark side, the shot of the stern of boat on the ways sans turtleback does, at least to me, appear to show a substantial step in the hull. If you look just aft of the tubes and between them there seems to be a plank laid down to form a ramp between the two levels. Britt, are any of the other such photos you have seen out on the web? I'm always interested in collecting the odd details of the 598 class.

I do agree that the books we all rely on for reference often do contain obvious errors, and that this method of joining does not seem the easiest way to go. For what it's worth, I do recall a brief discussion which ensued following the original post I cited. A former crew member commented that the step in the hull was not particularly noticable from inside, as the joint was made at a bulkhead. Anybody out there who served on the 598's or worked at EB care to chime in?

Hopefully the plans for these boats will not remain classified indefinately and we can all be enlightened one day soon. :;):
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Postby Feet Wet » Mon Mar 31, 2003 5:11 pm

Hi George,
With reference to plans being made available some time soon.During my search for plans of Nautilus SSN 571 I contacted the Navy ,National Archives suggested that I try them,and I was told the following:because the plans for nukesshowed the reactor spaces and its particulars,and because the basic design had not changed significantly over the years,the Navy,DOD, and other powers that be ,did not see the declassification and or release of such plans in the nears future,(read millenium).Oh well, the design remains secure.
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