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USS Simon Lake (AS 33).

USS Simon Lake (AS 33).
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Class: SIMON LAKE (AS 33)
Design: SCB Project Nos. 238 and 714.65
Displacement (tons): 13,797 light, 20,088 full
Dimensions (feet): 644' oa, 620' wl x 85' e/wl x 27' max nav
Armament: 2-3"/50T; (1983) 4-40mmS
Accommodations: 64 officers, 1133 enlisted
Speed (kts.): 18
Propulsion (HP): 20,000
Machinery: Steam turbines, 2 boilers (650psi), 1 screw

Construction:
ASNameOrdBuilderKeelLaunchComm
33SIMON LAKE8 Aug 1962NSY Puget Sound7 Jan 19638 Feb 19647 Nov 1964
34CANOPUS19 Sep 1963Ingalls SB2 Mar 196412 Feb 19654 Nov 1965
35unnamed--(GD Quincy)------

Disposition:
ASNameTDecommStrikeDisposalFateMA Sale
33SIMON LAKE31 Jul 199925 Apr 20061 Apr 2016MA/T6 Dec 2018
34CANOPUS30 Nov 19943 May 19951 May 1999MA/T25 Jul 2003
35unnamed----3 Dec 1964Canc--

Class Notes:
Despite only limited operating experience with the converted PROTEUS (AS 19) and prior to the delivery of the first new design SSBN tender (AS 31), new characteristics and a completely new design were adopted for the FY 1963 tender (AS 33). Preliminary SCB discussions on the ship began in early July 1961. New requirements developed were:
  • 1. Increase in storerooms (about 15%).
  • 2. Increased accommodations
  • 3. Substitution of standard vice troop accommodations for relief crews (partially offset by a reduction from three to two relief crews).
  • 4. Greater reentry body stowage requirements.
  • 5. Improved stores handling.
  • 6. Large helicopter platform.
  • 7. More generating capacity.
  • 8. Steam plant in lieu of diesel, moved from amidships to aft.
  • 9. Increased missile handling loads.
In response to requests from Adm. Raborn (Special Projects), missile stowages were sized for the POLARIS A3a developmental missile, which was larger than the A3 then entering production. Missile handling cranes were upped to 80,000 pound capacity and two cranes in lieu of one were supplied. The original BUSHIPS design division plans to install a diesel propulsion plant were reversed by the SCB so that a steam plant to "facilitate training" was incorporated. This involved some increases in volume and cost.

Approved characteristics for a new construction Submarine Tender (AS), SCB Project No. 238, were promulgated on 5 January 1962 and updated as SCB Project No. 714.65 (AS-FBM) on 4 May 1964 with a final change to SCB 238 on 13 May 1964. According to the initial approved characteristics for SCB 238 of 5 January 1962, each tender was to be capable of providing logistic support to nine SSBNs and was to be capable of furnishing simultaneously complete services to three SSBNs and, in addition, electric power only to three SSNs. Facilities were required for tender repair of nuclear power plants in addition to the usual types of support provided by tenders to all ships. It was to have vertical stowage for 20 FBMs in their inner liners with facilities to permit a complete checkout of each missile while stowed. At least two of the stowages were to be constructed to permit the assembly or disassembly of missile stages. Handling equipment for moving assembled missiles between the tender stowage positions and submarines, FBM resupply ships, piers, and alongside barges was to be provided, and provision was to be made for the future addition of a tender to cruiser transfer capability. (At this time the fitting of Polaris on cruisers was under consideration.) A lifting capacity of approximately 80,000 pounds with a fine measure of control was required. (The twenty vertical SLBM storage tubes were ultimately located in the break in the superstructure amidships and were served by two large cranes. This break was absent in the similar SSN tenders of the AS 36 class, which had only a single large crane with a longer reach.) Stowage was to be provided for 6 Mk 1 and 36 Mk 2 FBM re-entry bodies in containers. Stowage for 210 torpedo tube weapons plus 126 conventional and 84 warheads was also to be provided (40% Mk 37 or similar torpedoes, 20% Mk 16 or similar, 25% SUBROC, and 15% ASTOR. Facilities for replacing warheads on stowed missiles were to be provided. The ship's own armament was to consist of 3"/50 guns (four barrels) arranged for standard coverage and two Mk 63 Mod 26 gun fire control systems. The steam propulsion plant was to provide a sustained speed of 18 knots at full load displacement and the fuel endurance was to be 10,000 miles at 12 knots plus 30 days tending three submarines alongside. Accommodations were to be provided for 1,420 men including 272 in relief crews.

When HUNLEY (AS 31) ran trials in early 1962 it was found that a submarine moored alongside aft lay too far under the ship's side because the tender had a rather fine waterline aft and overhanging sides. The AS 33 hull, probably designed before HUNLEY's trials, was considerably more slab-sided than that of AS 31. It was vertical and parallel to the ship's centerline for a distance of 186 feet amidships while the vertical side in AS 31 was only 57 feet long. These complaints about the hull form of AS 31 were considered during the design of the destroyer tenders of the AD 37 class and it was concluded that the design of AS 33, also used in AD 37, had solved the problem.

On 23 June 1965 SECNAV Nitze reminded SECDEF that the decision to construct a sixth POLARIS submarine tender (AS 35) had been deferred pending a review of SSBN support requirements. He reported that the Navy had now implemented an employment schedule for SSBNs which could be supported by five tenders. This change produced a loss in flexibility of deployment options and also involved some risk, i.e. possible disruptions of patrol schedules in the event a tender was disabled while one of the five was in overhaul. Should this occur, it would be necessary to double up at one or more sites until the disabled tender was restored to duty. This risk was considered acceptable. In view of this SECNAV reported that he had decided to cancel plans for a sixth POLARIS submarine tender.

Approved characteristics for a POSEIDON conversion for AS 33-34, SCB Project No. 733.68, were promulgated on 12 Feb 1969. AS 33 and 34 were decommissioned in 1999 and 1994 after the Navy abandoned the use of forward deployable tenders to support operating forces.

Ship Notes:
ASNameMANotes
33SIMON LAKEFY 1963. Poseidon overhaul, SCB Project 733.69, ord. 1 Jul 1968 at NSY Puget Sound, begun 7 Jul 1970, completed 9 Mar 1971. To reserve at Philadelphia 1999, moved to Portsmouth, Va., 2008. To MA custody 3 Dec 2015. Departed MA custody 5 Feb 2019 under sales contract with HRP Brownville.
34CANOPUSFY 1964. Poseidon overhaul, SCB Project 733.68, ord. 27 Aug 1967 at NSY Puget Sound, begun 3 Jun 1969, completed 3 Feb 1970. To MA custody in JRRF 29 Jan 1997. Towed out of the James River reserve fleet on 16 October 2003 to Able UK in Hartlepool, Teeside, UK and arrived 27 Nov 2003, but local protests delayed BU of the four "Ghost Ships of Hartlepool" until Able UK secured waste management licensing in August 2008. (The others were CALOOSAHATCHEE (AO 98), CANISTEO (AO 99), and COMPASS ISLAND (AG 153).) CANOPUS was removed from the MA inventory on 29 Sep 2010 indicating that BU was complete.
35unnamedFY 1965. Designated SCB Project 714.65 and planned for General Dynamics, Quincy along with AS 36. AS 35 was cancelled when the requirement for a fifth FBM submarine tender was dropped.

Page Notes:
Compiled: 31 Jul 2021
© Stephen S. Roberts, 2021
Special sources: NARA: RG 19 Entry P 26 Box 24 (ASD); RG 19 Entry P 62 Box 73 (AS, SCB 194), RG 19 Entry P 26 Box 1 (AD, SCB 244)