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USS Aeolus (ARC 3).

USS Aeolus (ARC 3) soon after conversion.
Click on this photograph for links to larger images of this class.

Class: AEOLUS (ARC 3, S4-SE2-BE1)
Design: SCB Project No. 138, conversion of MC S4-SE2-BE1
Displacement (tons): 4,087 light, 7,080 lim.
Dimensions (feet): 426.0' oa, 400.0' pp x 58.0' e x 16.0' lim.
Armament: none; (1968-69) 4-20mmT
Accommodations: 9 officers, 196 enlisted (1964)
Speed (kts.): 16.9
Propulsion (HP): 6,000
Machinery: Westinghouse turbo-electric, 2 screws

Construction:
ARCNameReacqBuilderKeelLaunchComm
3AEOLUS4 Nov 1954Walsh-Kaiser29 Mar 194520 May 194514 May 1955
4THOR14 Apr 1955Walsh-Kaiser18 Apr 19458 Jun 19453 Jan 1956

Disposition:
ARCNameTInactStrikeDisposalFateMA Sale
3AEOLUSTr198528 Feb 19857 May 1985MA/T--
4THORTrApr 197420 Dec 197722 Sep 1977MA/S--
Fates: MA/S (Title to MA and ship sold by MA); MA/T (Title to MA, ship sold later)

Class Notes:
The history through 1946 of these two ships is given with the rest of the ARTEMIS (AKA 21) class in the World War II section of this site. Thirty-two ships of this class were delivered between August 1944 and August 1945 and, except for these two and two converted to surveying ships (AGS 15-16), all were permanently out of service by the end of 1947.

Approved characteristics for the conversion of "MA S4BE" design hulls to cable repairing ships (ARC), SCB Project No. 138, were promulgated on 15 November 1954 with a single change on 4 October 1955. These ships, like NEPTUNE (ARC 2) before them, were converted for use in Project Caesar, the installation and support phase for the Sound Surveillance System (SOSUS). They had three 34 ft diameter cable tanks or wells, each with a capacity of about 20 nautical miles of five inch armored cable or 250 nautical miles of coaxial cable. The cable being laid was constantly being tested by civilian experts in the ship's cable measuring and testing room under the bridge. The ships had cable sheaves in the bow with the cable handling machinery behind them on the forecastle. The lack of similar cable handling gear aft meant that the ships sometimes had to be towed astern to lay some long runs of cable. Large cable buoys stored in the forward hold were deployed using buoy sleds on the sides abreast the foremast.

Both ships were decommissioned and transferred to MSC in 1973 for further operation. By 1978 the Navy was operating three cable ships, the two NEPTUNE class ships (T-ARC 2 and 6) and AEOLUS (T-ARC 3). The NEPTUNE class ships were being modernized to extend their service life 10-15 years, but the Navy felt that spending more money on AEOLUS was a poor investment because her shallow draft (16 feet), large sail area, and absence of thrusters made position keeping during cable repair operations difficult, and because the ship had no capability for over-the-stern operations such as cable laying, repairs, and plowing. The Navy instead requested a new cable ship in Fiscal Year 1979 to replace AEOLUS. ZEUS (T-ARC 7, q.v.) entered service in March 1984.

Ship Notes:
ARCNameMCNotes
3AEOLUS1908FY 1956. Ex TURANDOT (AKA 47), comm. 18 Jun 1945, to MC and NDRF 25 Jun 1946. Reacq. 4 Nov 1954 from MA and designated ARC-3, renamed AEOLUS 17 Mar 1955, converted by Bethlehem Key Highway, Baltimore, and delivered 15 May 1955. Decomm and to MSC 1 Oct 1973. To NDRF May 1985. Delivered by MA to North Carolina for use as a fish reef 24 Dec 1987.
4THOR1910FY 1956. Ex VANADIS (AKA 49), comm. 9 Jul 1945, to MC and NDRF 2 Jul 1946. Reacq. 14 Apr 1955 from MA and designated ARC-4, renamed THOR 14 Nov 1955, converted by Bethlehem, Baltimore, and delivered 31 Dec 1955. To MSC from USN 2 Jul 1973. To NDRF 31 Jul 1975. To buyer 13 Oct 1977.

Page Notes:
Compiled: 7 Aug 2023
© Stephen S. Roberts, 2023
Special sources: K. R. Haigh, Cableships and Submarine Cables (United States Undersea Cable Corp., 1968).