So What’s New? USS North Carolina SSN 777

For those who think about submarines, there’s a perception of life aboard that usually derives from those great WWII movies. Diesel fumes, body odor, humidity and stifling air, and the dank gray insides festooned with gears. valves, handles and switches too numerous to comprehend. That was submarine life in the analog age.

Welcome to the 21st century IT Submarine. Rather than reinvent the news, I encourage you to visit and read this article by Daniel Terdiman at CNET News.

GROTON, Conn.–In 2007, at the Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding yard in Newport News, Va.–where the first of the next-generation aircraft carrier class, the Gerald R. Ford, is currently under construction–the U.S. Navy rolled out the North Carolina, the fourth of the Virginia class of fast attack nuclear submarines.

Today, the North Carolina (SSN 777) is stationed at the New London Submarine Base here, commanded by Wes Schlauder. The Virginia is the first class of submarines to have true 21st century on-board communications, including a fiber optic Intranet, large digital screens placed throughout the ship that show what is being viewed through the periscope, and even a server room.

Absolutely amazing technology.  Make sure you see the slide show of images. It’s definitely not your father’s submarine force.

CDR Schlauder in North Carolina's control room. Photo by Daniel Terdiman/CNET


13 Responses to “So What’s New? USS North Carolina SSN 777”

  1. 2 virgil xenophon
    July 20, 2010 at 19:34

    They’re OBVIOUSLY defective, Tim–no women! But all that’s about to change for the better, right?

  2. 3 Scott "Scooter Pie" Cochran, AW1 Retired
    July 20, 2010 at 21:35

    Wow…really nice! Sure would like to get a tour of this baby. Would be fun to be back on the P-3C and do a ASW exercise with this one. With all the whistles and bells, I do hope they did not forget to have a manual backup operation (and training) for everything in case their computers go dead. I have heard too many war stories where soldiers did not have a manual backup system or if they did have one, no one knew how to do things manually and the result was souls lost that should not have been lost. I like bells and whistles but would not trade them lock stock and barrel in place of the old analog. It is best to have both together.

    • July 20, 2010 at 22:02

      Scott, That’s my concern as well. What happens if the server(s) crash?

      She’s a true wonder, all right. But as Kipling noted regarding the costs of war, Britain could easily lose a thousand pounds sterling worth of Sandhurst education to a Rupee’s worth of lead.

      The real danger of building such machines is that they become too expensive to risk, because you can only build a few of them. The monkey model submarine can be cranked out by the dozens or even hundreds and flood the battle space, changing the war to one of attrition. Stalin noted that “Quantity has a quality all it’s own, and he was correct.

      Our enemies are gambling that they have more bodies than we have bullets.

      • 5 ewok40k
        July 20, 2010 at 23:09

        and there are dumb old contact mines… and fishing nests to get tangled into…
        still, it probably can handle entire navies by itself – 20 well aimed mk48s can decimate most navies in the world.

  3. 6 John
    July 20, 2010 at 23:30

    What’s with the goofy camouflage uniform?

    Anyone know if EMP has the capability to effect submarines when submerged?

    • July 21, 2010 at 02:11


      It’s very unlikely that any submarine would be impacted by an EMP burst as long as it was submerged. Particularly if they are below the thermocline. Anything on the surface, however, unless hardened against it would be in trouble. Back in the day, all ships and aircraft were hardened against an EMP strike, but over the years, a lot of that was discarded in order to save money. Those are the sorts of decisions which will cost lives and come back to haunt those who ordered such things.

      As to the uniforms, that’s the US Navy’s new NWU “Navy Work Uniform that replaced the old dungarees. There are fold that like it, but many more who don’t. It’s difficult to maintain and expensive to procure. The Navy insists that all it’s sailors buy it, and is allegedly reimbursing them through an increase in the clothing maintenance allowance.

      The problem is that it is expensive, and the Navy wants the men to buy them up front, which will take the better part of a paycheck when all the new gear is considered.

    July 21, 2010 at 07:52

    Pity that they won’t let the crew dress like US Navy sailors, but rather insist that they look like members of a 3rd World military. Wash Khakis for the officers, and dungarees and chambary shirts were the uniform of the United States Navy that stomped on the Nihon Kaigun, and went were it wanted, when it wanted, with no chance of anyone resisting it.

    Now they are A Global Force for Good, rather than a means of bringing death to our Nation’s enemies. You can’t make an enemy, potential or otherwise, hesitate, and think twice with a Global Force for Good. During WWII, (when we were at war with Japan, all you college students who might read this ), Admiral Halsey had a series of billboards set up above Tulagi harbor, that were illuminated at night, and had KILL JAPS KILL JAPS KILL MORE JAPS in 20 foot letters. A clearly defined mission statement, if ever there was one.

    As to all the computers on board, does anyone else remember when YORKTOWN shut herself off, and had to be towed in?

  5. 9 Kid
    July 28, 2010 at 02:10

    I’d say some lucky folks are going to be aboard the 777. I wonder when the first females show up.

  6. 10 chris
    September 12, 2010 at 06:03

    @ aw1 ret trust me on this i am a plank owner on the USS North Carolina and it is an amazing boat and there is a never ending supply of manuals and backups to the systems. just think of all the manuals but not digital and hard back…

  7. 11 Stephanie Gregory
    October 29, 2010 at 03:17

    My son is a Nuke currently aboard the USS North Carolina as it is headed toward it’s new homeport in Hawaii. Thanks for your blog–I’m very glad I found it.

    Stephanie from Wisconsin

  8. 12 jessica
    November 13, 2010 at 01:38

    This is the boat my xhusband was assigned to after sub school. it’s pretty awesome inside. The food sucks but the men are cute and know how to have fun. However, my ex found himself in the brig for misbehaving and never got to enjoy the beauty of such technology. I was pretty excited when i heard we were going to pearl harbor… but thats not happening now.. 😦

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: