USS DOLPHIN (AGSS-555)
dp. 800 tons (surf.), 950 tons (subm.); l. 152'; b. 19' 3";
s. 7.5k (surf.), 10k (subm.); td. 1500'+; a. None;
cpl. 4 officers - 30 enlisted men; 5 scientists; cl. "DOLPHIN"
Keel laid down by Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Kittery, ME, 19DEC64;
Launched: 6AUG68; Sponsored by Mrs. Daniel K. Inouye;
Commissioned: 17AUG68; LCdr J.R. McDonnell in command.
USS DOLPHIN (AGSS-555) is the Navy's deep diving submarine designed to test advanced submarine structures, sensors, weapons, communications, and machinery systems. DOLPHIN serves as a scientific platform capable of operations at unprecedented depths greatly exceeding that of any known operational submarine. In November 1968, she set a depth record for operating submarines that still stands. In August 1969, she launched a torpedo from the deepest depth that one has ever been fired.
Utilizing a large payload (over 12 metric tons) and a highly versatile instrumentation suit, civilian and Naval activities employ DOLPHIN for testing a multitude of technologically advanced and complex equipment. Presently configured to conduct extensive deep water acoustic research, oceanic survey work, sensor trials, and engineering evaluations, DOLPHIN operates as a unit of the U.S. Naval Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, under Commander, Submarine Development Group One.
In over twenty years of operation, DOLPHIN has proven most successful in
assessing "the overall Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) significance of deep diving
submarines" and exploiting "the limits of present technology in designing
for deep depths." Her operations have been broad-based and far-reaching,
including development of operational concepts and testing of advanced engineering design
features, weapons, launcher and fire control systems, along with deep-ocean acoustics.
Much of this work is necessarily classified, but examples of DOLPHIN's specific
achievements are listed in the following list. Additional data on DOLPHIN:
Some of DOLPHIN's unique accomplishments:
Some of the areas where DOLPHIN's unique characteristics played an important part:
The single most significant technical achievement in the development of the DOLPHIN is the pressure hull itself. It is a constant-diameter cylinder, closed at both ends with hemispherical heads, and utilizes deep frames instead of bulkheads. The entire design of the pressure hull has been kept as simple as possible to facilitate its use in structural experiments and trials. Hull openings have been minimized for structural strength and minimum hull weight, in addition to eliminating possible sources for flooding casualties.
DOLPHIN's unique capabilities allow her to conduct independent deep-ocean research missions. She is a unique blend of the lessons learned from the past and the most advanced technology of thepresent. DOLPHIN's continuing contributions to research and development will significantly influence the design of 21st century submarine sonar, weapons, communications, and engineering systems.