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USNS Zeus (ARC 7) ca. 1984.
Click on this photograph for links to larger images of this class.

Class: ZEUS (ARC 7)
Design: Top level requirements of 12 October 1978
Displacement (tons): 9,446 light, 16,015 full
Dimensions (feet): 513.6' oa, 464'wl x 73' e/wl x 24' max nav
Armament: none
Accommodations: 21 officers, 65 enlisted
Speed (kts.): 15
Propulsion (HP): 12,500
Machinery: Diesel electric, 2 screws

Construction:
ARCNameOrd/AcqBuilderKeelLaunchDeliv
7ZEUS17 Aug 1979National Steel San Diego1 Jun 198130 Oct 198219 Mar 1984

Disposition:
ARCNameTDecomm/CustStrikeDisposalFateMA Sale/Depart
7ZEUSTIn service 2021--------

Class Notes:
Top Level Requirements for T-ARC, Project No. 746.79, were promulgated on 12 October 1978. ZEUS was designed by NAVSEA and built in a commercial yard. She became part of the MSC special mission force on 1 Oct 1984. Her completion allowed the retirement of the 40-year old AEOLUS (ARC 3, ex AKA 47). A second ship was planned, probably to replace one or both of the ARC 2 class, but it was never ordered. Since the retirement of ALBERT J MYER (ARC 6) in 1994, ZEUS has been the navy's only dedicated cable layer.

ZEUS's primary mission upon entering service was to support the Sound Surveillance System (SOSUS), renamed in 1985 to the Integrated Undersea Surveillance System (IUSS). As such her functions included transporting, deploying, retrieving and repairing submarine cables and testing underwater sound devices, with a secondary mission of conducting acoustic, hydrographic, and bathymetric (deepsea) surveys.

As of 2021 ZEUS was fitted with a wide array of cable handling equipment including five [originally four?] cable tanks, cable transporters, cable tension machines, self-fleeting cable drums, overboarding sheaves and a dynamometer cable fairleader. She could lay up to 1,000 miles of cable in depths of up to 9,000 feet without resupply for repair operations on existing cables. ZEUS was also equipped with both single-beam and multi-beam sonars for bottom profiling and can deploy towed sidescan sonars and camera sleds. Current, temperature and density systems, deployed acoustic measurement buoys and environmental measurement buoys also provided data measurement of the ocean environment. Structures at the stern (some added after completion) formed a Heavy Overboarding System including a 72,000-pound A-frame and capable of deploying heavy equipment including free swimming heavy Cable Repair Systems, a 250 hp Sea Tractor for cable burial and deployment from either ship or a beach, and a 31,000-pound Sea Plow for cable burial.

Five 3,600 brake horsepower General Motors diesels each driving a General Electric 2,500 kVA, 60 Hz, 600 volt alternator provided the ship's power. Fourteen rectifiers supplied 750 volt direct current for the two General Electric 5,000 brake horsepower propulsion motors. All engines could be on line providing maximum propulsion power for transit speeds while some engines might be shut down for lower speed work with cables.

Several contracts were awarded in 2021 to study the replacement of the now 40-year old ship with a new T-ARC(X), which would have essentially the same missions and functions.

Ship Notes:
ARCNameMANotes
7ZEUSFY 1979. Name assigned 12 Mar 1981. Still in service with MSC as a Special Mission Ship 2021.

Page Notes:
Compiled: 26 Oct 2021
© Stephen S. Roberts, 2021