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USS Safeguard (ARS 50) photographed by her builder in 1985.

USS Safeguard (ARS 50) photographed by her builder in 1985.
Click on this photograph for links to larger images of this class.

Design: Top level requirements of 19 January 1981
Displacement (tons): 2,482 light, 3,181 full
Dimensions (feet): 255' oa, 240' wl x 51' e, 50' wl x 17' max nav
Armament: Planned in 1983 with 1-20mmS but completed with only machine guns.
Accommodations: 7 officers and 92 enlisted (USN)
Speed (kts.): 13.5
Propulsion (HP): 4,200
Machinery: Geared diesels, 2 controllable reversible pitch propellers within Kort nozzles and a bow thruster.

50SAFEGUARD28 Aug 1981Peterson Bldrs.8 Nov 198212 Nov 198317 Aug 1985
51GRASP11 Feb 1982Peterson Bldrs.2 May 198321 Apr 198414 Dec 1985
52SALVOR11 Feb 1982Peterson Bldrs.16 Sep 198328 Jul 198414 Jun 1986
53GRAPPLE29 Oct 1982Peterson Bldrs.25 Apr 19848 Dec 198415 Nov 1986

ARSNameTOOSStrikeDisposalFateMA Sale
50SAFEGUARDTr1 Oct 2016--------
51GRASPTrIn service 2021--------
52SALVORTrIn service 2021--------
53GRAPPLETr1 Oct 2016--------

Class Notes:
Top Level Requirements for the ARS 46 class salvage ship were promulgated on 8 January 1980. These were cancelled and superseded by top level requirements for the ARS 50 class salvage ship which were promulgated on 19 January 1981 applicable to the ARS 50 in FY 1981 and follow year programs with a single change on 1 July 1981. The change was probably required because the numbers ARS 46-49 had already been used for four ships cancelled on 12 August 1945; it is not known if the ARS 46 requirements differed from the ARS 50 requirements or if only nomenclature was changed. The objective of the program was to acquire and deliver to the Fleet the initial programmed replacements for the aged ARS 38 class salvage ships, which were projected for retirement commencing in FY 1983. ARS 50-51 were named on 21 February 1983 (the name of ARS 25 being simultaneously cancelled) and ARS 52-53 were named on 26 March 1984.

The primary mission of the ARS 50 class salvage ship was to support the projection of forces ashore through post-assault salvage operations in close proximity to the shore. It was designed to perform combat salvage, lifting, emergency repair, and rescue towing of combatant or support ships which were damaged, stranded, scuttled, distressed, or abandoned at sea to repair yards or save havens. Capabilities were to include lifting submerged objects up to 150 deadweight tons and air diving operations to a depth of 190 feet with a recompression facility. The ship was to carry two single, soft mounted 50 caliber machine guns for limited self defense against minor air threats and also against light onshore weaponry or light weaponry onboard marauding small craft. The propulsion plant was to be diesel engines driving two shafts, each with a controllable, reversible pitch (CRP) propeller in a Kort nozzle via reduction gears. She would also have a 500 HP bow thruster to assist in positioning.

All four ships were transferred from the regular Navy to MSC in 2006-2007. Two were laid up in 2016, the other two remained in service with MSC in 2022. As of 2022 this class and the POWHATAN (ATF 166) class fleet tugs were to be replaced by the new NAVAJO (T-ATS-6) class rescue and salvage ships.

Ship Notes:
50SAFEGUARDFY 1981. Name assigned and name of old SAFEGUARD (ARS 25) cancelled 21 Feb 1983. Decomm and to MSC 26 Sep 2007. To reserve from MSC [1] Oct 2016 at Pearl Harbor. In inactive status 2022.
51GRASPFY 1982. Name assigned 21 Feb 1983. Decomm and to MSC 19 Jan 2006. In service 2022.
52SALVORFY 1982. Name assigned 26 Mar 1984. Decomm and to MSC 12 Jan 2007. In service 2022.
53GRAPPLEFY 1983. Name assigned 26 Mar 1984. Decomm and to MSC 13 Jul 2006. To reserve from MSC [1] Oct 2016 at Philadelphia. In inactive status 2022.

Page Notes:
Compiled: 27 Nov 2021
© Stephen S. Roberts, 2021