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Ship's History

This site is dedicated to the men who served on the Triton and to the ship itself, until her decommissioning in 1969. If there are any former crew members who wish to have photographs or anecdotes added to this web-site, then please e-mail me and I will add them as quickly as I can.

I welcome any suggestions concerning information about this page and, if anyone feels I have made an error in any way, please let me know.

Design preparations for the Triton began in 1954-55. Triton was originally conceived as a radar picket submarine able to operate on the surface at high speed, but well ahead of a task force, to provide information concerning enemy air attack, electronic surveillance and to control fighter interception.  Triton could then submerge to avoid attack and operate as a fully operational submarine.

To be able to achieve this high speed, Triton was designed with a two reactor propulsion plant (the only United States nuclear submarine ever to have been thus built), a very sharp knife-like bow and given a high reserve buoyancy. When originally designed, Triton's reactors' output was rated at 34,000 horse power, however she achieved 45,000 horse power on sea trials, and attained  a speed of over 30 knots on the surface.

Triton's keel was laid on May 29, 1956. She was launched on August 19, 1958 and commissioned on November 10, 1959.

Triton presented Electric Boat with many problems during her construction. She was so long that her bow obstructed the slipways railway facility used for transporting material around the yard. The lower half of her bow was cut a way and re-attached just days prior to her launch. Likewise, the last 50 feet of her stern had to be built on an adjoining slipway and added before she was launched. Her sail was found to be too high to go under the scaffolding, so the first 12 feet of the sail were cut a way and re-attached at a later date.

Triton was the last submarine to have a conning tower, that is, a small water-tight compartment built into the sail. She was also the last submarine to have any significant deck superstructure, or casing, twin screws and stern torpedo room.

On her maiden voyage Triton was given the task of completing the first submerged cruise around the world under the command of Captain Edward L. Beach. On the morning of February 16, 1960 Triton finished loading supplies and personnel. That afternoon Triton moved away from her berth and proceeded to sea. She was not to re-surface again fully for 84 days. Triton's cruise, lasting from February 16 to May 10, covered 41,500 miles, mostly at a steady 21 knots.

After Triton's around the world cruise she joined the second Fleet in August of 1960 and was sent to European waters to participate in NATO exercises. Her operational patrols continued and she trained with the Atlantic Fleet in 1961.

In 1961 Triton was re-designated as an attack submarine. The Navy decided that Triton would not be used as a radar picket submarine, however, she did still carry a BPS-2 search radar and this allowed her to be used in this role until the end of her career. When Triton lost her radar picket role her complement was reduced from 172 men to 159.

Captain George Morin took over command from Captain Beach  and carried out this duty until September 1964.

Triton's first major overhaul, which included the refuelling of her reactors, took place at the Electric Boat Division, General Dynamics, in Groton, Connecticut, from September 1962 to January 1964.

In April 1964 she was designated flag ship of the Atlantic submarine force, a role she retained until June 1967.

In September 1964 Captain Robert Rawlins became her third commanding officer and served in this capacity until November 1966.

Captain Frank Wadsworth then took over command and was her commanding officer until she was de-commissioned on May 3, 1969.

Triton is now awaiting disposal through the submarine recycling program.


Characteristics of Triton

Pressure Hull Plate 3,200 tons
Welding Wire 450,000pounds
Piping 88,000 feet
Cable 553,195 feet
Auxiliary Machinery Plant
Distillers 16,000 gallons per day
Air Conditioning 500 tons
Ships Store Refrigerator 2 tons
Electric Plant
Turbo Generators (4) Total KW rating 6,000
Each Generator 1500KW, 3 phase,60cycle,450volts
Motor Generators(2) Total KW rating 600AC
Each 300KW, AC/DC, DC/AC
Emergency Generator (1) 400KW Diesel generator
Batteries Exide MAY51A calcium grid 5500 Amphours 126 Cells
Crew Approx 180
Length Of Ship 447.5 feet
Maximum Beam 37 feet
Draught 23.5 feet
Ballast Tanks 12 ( holding approx 2,000 tons of water )
Displacement: Surfaced 5,963 tons
Submerged 7,773 tons
Speed: Surfaced 30+ knots
Submerged 27+ knots
Sonars: Active BQS 4
Passive BQR 2
Torpedo Armourment:  Bow 4  21 inch (Manual reload capabilities only )
Stern 2  21 inch (Manual reload capabilities only )
Fire Control System MK 101
Diving Depth: 700feet operational, 1050feet crush depth
Reactors (2) S4G   22,500hp each
Propellers (2) 11 feet diameter   5 bladed

The Electric Boat Company built the Triton using material supplied by 739 different companies in the time of 26 months on the slipway. However, Triton was still over a year from being completed and it was not until the 10th of November 1959 that she was formally commissioned into the United States Navy.

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