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Sailfish-class submarine
USS Sailfish (SSR-572)
USS Sailfish (SSR-572)
Class overview
Builders: Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Kittery, Maine
Operators:  United States Navy
Built: 1953–1956
In commission: 1956–1978
Planned: 2
Completed: 2
Retired: 2
General characteristics
Type: Radar picket submarine
Displacement: 2,030 long tons (2,063 t) light
2,334 long tons (2,371 t) surfaced
3,168 long tons (3,219 t) submerged
Length: 350 ft (110 m)
Beam: 29 ft 1 in (8.86 m)
Draft: 16 ft 4 in (5 m)
Propulsion: 4 Fairbanks-Morse Diesel engines, 2 Elliott electric motors
Speed: 20.5 knots (38.0 km/h; 23.6 mph) surfaced
15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph) submerged
Complement: 95 officers and men
Armament: 6 × 21 in (533 mm) torpedo tubes (bow)

The Sailfish-class submarines of the United States Navy were the first to be built expressly for radar picket service and, at the time, were the largest conventionally powered submarines in the United States Navy. Only the USS Argonaut (SM-1) and Narwhal-class submarines from the 1920s were larger. The Sailfishes were initially equipped with large BP2-2 and BPS-3 radars in and aft of the sail. They were designed for a high surface speed; however, their speed achieved was not significantly faster than converted World War II radar picket submarines. Commissioned in 1956, they served in the radar picket role until early 1961, when the submarine radar picket mission ended fleetwide. Airborne radar had superseded it with the full deployment of the Grumman WF-2 Tracer. Modernized under the Fleet Rehabilitation and Modernization (FRAM) program, with Salmon temporarily receiving Regulus missile guidance equipment, both submarines served until decommissioning in the late 1970s.

Both vessels of this class were commissioned in 1956, and served until the late 1970s.



  • Gardiner, Robert. "Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1947-1995." London: Conway Maritime Press, Ltd, 1995 Pg. 614.

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