US nuclear sub headed for SA


The improved Los Angeles-class nuclear attack submarine, USS San Juan is expected to make an extended visit to Simon’s Town in late October.

The USS San Juan will be the Cape Peninsula`s third nuclear visitor in less than a year, following in the wake of visits by US nuclear aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt and the Russian nuclear battle cruiser Pyotr Velikiy (Peter the Great).   

The SA Navy has applied to the National Nuclear Regulator for permission for the US nuclear boat to visit Simon’s Town October 25 to November 15.

Objections must be made to the regulator before September 6.

The Wikipedia notes that SSN-751is the third US Navy ship to be named for San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Her keel was laid down on August 9, 1985, she was launched on December 6, 1986 and commissioned on August 6, 1988.

The San Juan was the first Los Angeles class boat to receive a number of significant improvements to the basic design, creating the 688I (for “improved 688”).

San Juan and all following submarines in her class are quieter, incorporate an advanced AN/BSY-1 combat control system/sonar suite, and have dedicated tubes for vertical launch of the Tomahawk cruise missile.

The externally visible changes are also significant, as San Juan had her forward diving planes moved from the sail to the bow and made retractable.

Together, the retractable bow planes, strengthening of the sail, and installation of additional depth control and support systems make it possible for San Juan to break through polar and near-polar ice as a part of ‘normal’ ship operations.