April 1983 - Maritime Reporter and Engineering News

Development Of Polaris Sub Discussed At ASNE New England Meeting

"The Concept and Preliminary Design of the Polaris Submarine" was the subject of a presentation by Capt. Harry Jackson (USNret.) at a recent meeting of the Southern New England Section of the American Society of Naval Engineers.

Captain Jackson traced the influences on and the genesis of the sub's development from 1955 through 1957. The national will to produce the Polaris sub, he said, was galvanized when the first Sputnick was placed in orbit.

The target date was accelerated with the date to achieve an operational missile-firing sub set for 1960 — five years after the initial investigation began.

Captain Jackson described what could possibly be the fastest preliminary design in Navy history, taking under three weeks to modify the design of a Skipjack class submarine. He detailed some of the problems involved, stating that it was not as simple as cutting the ship in half and adding a midsection, but was a difficult design task to upgrade various systems for the increase in ships size. By July 1960, the USS George Washington had test fired its missile system, and went to sea on operation patrol in November of 1960.

Captain Jackson reminded the audience that the Polaris program was brought to completion in a large measure because the national priorities for accelerating strategic weapon systems was comparable to the Manhattan Project or the drive to land a man on the moon in the 1960s.

All three, he said, had national support and priority which ensured they would be successful.

Other stories from April 1983 issue


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