The submariners aboard the Los Angeles class, also known as the 688 class, nuclear fast attack submarine USS San Francisco SSN-711 got creative recently when it comes to showing the world what they do. In fact, they don’t even regularly get to see the view they served up recently after attaching an action camera to the hull of their boat and went about executing the San Francisco’s 1,000th dive and surface.
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The USS San Francisco is the 23rd Los Angeles class submarines built, out of 62 total and of 30 original “Flight 1” variants. “Flight II” variants, which included vertical launch tubes for BGM-109 Tomahawk cruise missiles and other refinements, was made up of just eight boats. The final configuration for the class is known as “688i,” for “improved,” which are easily recognizable by the deletion of their sail-mounted fore-planes. 23 688is were built in all.
The aging Los Angeles class continues to makeup the backbone of the US Navy’s fast attack submarine fleet,which being taxed harder than ever when it comes to commitments and operations tempo. But as more Virginia class boats get commissioned, Los Angeles class boats get decommissioned and dismantled. The 35 year old USS San Francisco is next in line to be put down, and will end its service in 2017.
The USS San Francesco is known to be somewhat of a “franken-boat” as the bow of the USS Honolulu SSN-718 was grafted onto it after the sub collided with an underwater seamount in the central Pacific in 2005. The collision occurred while the sub was at full speed and resulted 98 crewman injured, with one losing their life. The damage done to San Francisco was extreme, and it is testament to the design that it made it back to port in Guam at all.
Transiting the broken San Francisco back to Washington State for repairs and executing the bow swap was a fairly amazing feat that took years to complete, but allowed the boat to serve out the rest of its planned service life.
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