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USS Hammerhead (SSN-663)
USS Hammerhead
USS Hammerhead (SSN-663)
Name: USS Hammerhead (SSN-663)
Namesake: The hammerhead shark
Ordered: 28 May 1964
Builder: Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company, Newport News, Virginia
Laid down: 29 November 1965
Launched: 14 April 1967
Sponsored by: Mrs. O. Clark Fisher
Commissioned: 28 June 1968
Decommissioned: 5 April 1995
Struck: 5 April 1995
Honors and
Marjorie Sterrett Battleship Fund Award for U.S. Atlantic Fleet 1981
Fate: Scrapping via Ship and Submarine Recycling Program completed 22 November 1995
General characteristics
Class & type: Sturgeon-class attack submarine
Displacement: 3,860 long tons (3,922 t) light
4,268 long tons (4,336 t) full
408 long tons (415 t) dead
Length: 292 ft 3 in (89.08 m)
Beam: 31 ft 8 in (9.65 m)
Draft: 28 ft 8 in (8.74 m)
Installed power: 15,000 shaft horsepower (11 megawatts)
Propulsion: One S5W nuclear reactor, two steam turbines, one screw
Speed: 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph) surfaced
25 knots (46 km/h; 29 mph) submerged
Test depth: 1,300 ft (396 m)
Sensors and
processing systems:
BPS-14/15 surface search radar
BQQ-5 multi-function bow mounted sonar
BQR-7 passive in submarines with BQQ-2 sonar
BQS-12 active 7 sonar
TB-16 or TB-23 towed array sonar
Electronic warfare
& decoys:
Armament: 4 × 21-inch (533 mm) torpedo tubes
Mark 48 torpedoes
UUM-44A SUBROC missiles
UGM-84A/C Harpoon missiles
• Mark 57 deep-water mines
• Mark 60 CAPTOR mines
Tomahawk Land Attack Missile

USS Hammerhead (SSN-663), a Sturgeon-class submarine, was the second ship of the United States Navy to be named for the hammerhead shark, a voracious fish found in warm seas, with a curious hammerlike head.

Construction and commissioning

The contract to build Hammerhead was awarded to Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company at Newport News, Virginia, on 28 May 1964 and her keel was laid down there on 29 November 1965. She was launched on 14 April 1967, sponsored by Mrs. O. Clark Fisher, and commissioned on 28 June 1968 with Commander E. Frederick Murphy, Jr., in command.

Service history

In 1981, she won the Marjorie Sterrett Battleship Fund Award for the Atlantic Fleet. Tom Clancy, author of the 1984 novel The Hunt for Red October, was given a brief ride into port aboard Hammerhead in the late 1980s prior to the filming of the 1990 film adaptation of the novel, also entitled The Hunt for Red October. After spotting a mounted roll of toilet paper in Hammerhead's sonar room used for wiping grease pencil markings off the screens in the rooms, he proclaimed his intention to write the contrasting image of the low-technology toilet paper mount among all of the complicated electronics and other equipment aboard Hammerhead into the film. True to his word, he did.

Decommissioning and disposal

Hammerhead, under the command of Commander Forest Novachek, was decommissioned on 5 April 1995 and stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on the same day. Her scrapping via the Nuclear-Powered Ship and Submarine Recycling Program at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, Washington, was completed on 22 November 1995.


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