US nuclear submarine to dock in Simon’s Town tomorrow


A Los Angeles-class nuclear powered attack submarine (SSN), the USS San Juan (SSN-751), will dock in Simon’s Town tomorrow.

A South African Navy (SAN) spokesman says visit forms part of the Navy’s objective of maintaining and enhancing international contact with United States Navy (USN). 

The USS San Juan is the 40th Los Angeles-class attack submarine and an improvement over her predecessors. The US Navy operates 46 Los Angeles class submarines as well as three Seawolf and four Virginia class

USS San Juan and all following submarines in the class are quieter; incorporate an advanced BSY-1 sonar suite combat system and the ability to lay mines from their torpedo tubes.

They are configured for under-ice operations in that their forward diving planes have been moved from the sail structure to the bow and the sail has been strengthened for breaking through ice. The USS San Juan was commissioned in 1988, is 110 metres long and 10m wide, and has a crew of 110. 

The SAN, on behalf of the USN, applied to the National Nuclear Regulator for permission for the boat to visit the Simon’s Town base in August this year.

The submarine will be conducting exercises with the SAN while in SA waters. 

This will be the third visit by a nuclear-powered naval vessel to South Africa in a year.

In October last year, the nuclear-powered US aircraft carrier, the USS Theodore Roosevelt, visited Cape Town, while in January this year, the Russian nuclear battlecruiser Pyotr Veliky (Peter the Great) docked in Cape Town for a few days. 

USS San Juan is the third ship of the United States Navy to be named for San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The submarine’s homeport is Apra Harbour on the island of Guam.