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NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive


Patch on right contributed by John J. Cook, Decal in middle by unlimiteddetails.com , patch on left contributed by Mike Smolinski

Thresher (SSN-593)
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Thresher Class Attack Submarine: Laid down, 28 May 1958, at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Kettery, ME; Launched, 9 July 1960; Commissioned, USS Thresher (SSN-593), 3 August 1961; Final Disposition, sunk. 10 April 1963, as a result of a casualty during diving tests, in 1,400 fathoms of water, approximately 220 miles east of Boston, MA; Struck from the Naval Register, 10 April 1963.

Specifications: Displacement, Surfaced: 3,540 t., Submerged: 4,200 t.; Length 278' 6"; Beam 31' 8"; Speed, Surfaced 15 kts, Submerged 30 kts; Test Depth 1300'; Complement 143; Armament, four 21" torpedo tubes, UUM-44A SUBROC, UGM-84A/C Harpoon, MK57 deep water mines, MK60 CAPTOR mines, Sensors, BQQ-5 bow-mounted sonar, TB-16 Towed Sonar Array; Propulsion System, one S5W nuclear reactor, two steam turbines, single propeller, 15,000 shp.
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Barbel 369k Barbel (SS-580) lies stern first towards the camera, 19 July 1958 at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. I believe the ways to the left of her was where the Thresher (SSN-593) was being built on 28 May 1958. U.S. Navy Photograph courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com
Thresher50kPlatform plan of Thresher (SSN-593) class submarines. PDF courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Submarine Silhouettes 1960179kSubmarine Silhouettes of 1960:
Nautilus (SSN-571), Seawolf (SSN-575), Skate (SSN-578), Skipjack (SS-585), Triton (SSRN-586), Halibut (SSGN-587), Thresher (SSN-593), Tullibee (SSN-597), George Washington (SSBN-598), & Ethan Allen (SSBN-608) classes.
U.S. Navy Photograph submitted by Ron Titus, courtesy of Ingersoll-Rand. Corp.
Nuclear Submarine Profiles187kNuclear Submarine Profiles 1960:
Nautilus (SSN-571),
Seawolf (SSN-575),
Triton (SSRN-586),
Skate (SSN-578) & Skipjack (SS-585) classes,
Halibut (SSGN-587) & Tullibee (SSN-597) classes,
George Washington (SSBN-598) &
Thresher (SSN-593) classes.
US Navy photo courtesy of Ron Titus courtesy of Ingersoll-Rand. Corp.
Photo i.d. courtesy of Dave Johnston.
Thresher59k Artwork by Hultberg, circa 1960, depicting the submarine's anticipated appearance when completed. It shows two torpedoes being fired from Thresher's (SSN-593) midships torpedo tubes. Official U.S. Navy Photograph # NH 97543, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center.
Thresher143k Bow view of the Thresher (SSN-593) on the greased building ways, as workmen prepare for her launching at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Kittery, Maine, 9 July 1960. Official U.S. Navy Photograph # NH 97553, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center.
Thresher92kMrs. Frederick B. Warder christens the Thresher (SSN-593), during launching ceremonies at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Kittery, Maine, 9 July 1960. Others present are (from left to right): Mrs. C. Pattisen, Lieutenant Dale E. Deverspicke (Chaplains' Corps), and Captain Henry P. Rumble. Note that the christening took place at Thresher's stern. Official U.S. Navy Photograph # NH 97554, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center.
Thresher438kComdr. Dean W. Axene of the Thresher (SSN-593) and her crew salute the colors as she noses into the water for the first time, during launching ceremonies at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Kittery, Maine, 9 July 1960. Her sponsor, Mrs. Frederick B. Warder, is standing by Comdr. Axene's left side. U.S. Navy Photograph courtesy of Ed Martin, LCDR, USN(Ret.)
Thresher434kLaunching of the Thresher (SSN-593) at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard on 9 July 1960. US Navy photo courtesy of the Vallejo Naval and Historical Museum via Darryl L. Baker.
Photo added 01/08/13.
Thresher380k Thresher (SSN-593) entering the water for the first time, during launching ceremonies at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Kittery, Maine, 9 July 1960. U.S. Navy Photograph courtesy of Ed Martin, LCDR,USN(Ret.)
Thresher315kThresher (SSN-593) at her berth at Portsmonth Naval Shipyard after her launching on 9 July 1960. US Navy photo courtesy of the Vallejo Naval and Historical Museum via Darryl L. Baker.
Photo added 01/08/13.
Thresher212kFamily photo of LCDR John W. Harvey [Last Commanding Officer of Thresher (SSN-593)], sons John and Bruce and Mrs. Irene Harvey at Portsmonth Naval Shipyard after her launching on 9 July 1960.
Mrs Harvey would be the sponsor of the Flying Fish (SSN-673) on 17 May 1969.
US Navy photo courtesy of the Vallejo Naval and Historical Museum via Darryl L. Baker.
Photo added 01/08/13.
Thresher69kCommemorative post mark on the occasion of Thresher's (SSN-593) launch, 9 July 1960.Courtesy of Jim Richardson.
Thresher61kLaunching script of the Thresher (SSN-593), 9 July 1960, prepared by Bob Rawlins, former XO. U.S. Navy Photograph courtesy of Ed Martin, LCDR, USN(Ret.)
Thresher131kInsignia: Thresher (SSN-593). Emblem adopted in 1960 and received in October of that year.It was accompanied with this description: "The fish depicted in the subject insignia is a Thresher shark, which is characterized by a tail that is approximately one-half of its total length. The Threshershark reportedly attacks its prey by flailing the long tail. The horizontal lines signify the deep diving capability of Thresher . The circles represent her sonar capability. The motto, 'Vis Tacita', describes the overall characteristics of the ship, 'Silent strength'." Official U.S. Navy Photograph # NH 91424-KN, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center.
Thresher40kLaunching pamphlet of the Thresher (SSN-593).Courtesy of John J. Cook.
Barbel 136kSome of Thresher's (SSN-593) officers on her sail. I believe the officer closest to the sail is Commander Dean L. Axene, her first CO. Photograph courtesy of Ron Reeves.
Thresher99kThresher (SSN-593), port bow aerial view, taken while the submarine was underway on 30 April 1961. Photographed by J.L. Snell. Official U.S. Navy Photograph # NH 97547, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center.
Thresher92kThresher (SSN-593), starboard broadside view, taken while the submarine was underway on 30 April 1961. Photographed by J.L. Snell.Official U.S. Navy Photograph # NH 97548, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center.
Thresher101kThresher (SSN-593), port broadside view, taken while the submarine was underway on 30 April 1961. Photographed by J.L. Snell.Official U.S. Navy Photograph # NH 97549, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center.
Thresher102kThresher (SSN-593), starboard quarter view, taken while the submarine was underway on 30 April 1961. Photographed by J.L. Snell.Official U.S. Navy Photograph # NH 97551, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center.
Thresher274kThresher (SSN-593) dock side, 1961.US Navy photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
Thresher160kThresher (SSN-593) at sea, 1961.US Navy photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
Thresher87kThresher (SSN-593), bow-on view, taken at sea on 24 July 1961.Official U.S. Navy Photograph # NH 97545, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center.
Thresher100kThresher (SSN-593), starboard bow view, taken at sea on 24 July 1961.Official U.S. Navy Photograph # NH 97544, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center.
Thresher97k Stern-on view of the Thresher (SSN-593), taken at sea on 24 July 1961. Note upper rudder in the foreground, with draft markings painted on its side and navigation light at its top.Official U.S. Navy Photograph # NH 97546, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center.
Thresher953kEight page PDF Commissioning pamphlet of the Thresher (SSN-593).US Navy photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
Thresher121kOrder of events for the commissioning for the Thresher (SSN-593), 3 August 1961, prepared by Bob Rawlins, former XO.U.S. Navy Photograph courtesy of Ed Martin, LCDR, USN(Ret.)
Thresher410kDock yard workers and other officials setting up the commissioning platform for the Thresher (SSN-593), shortly before she was officially entered into the USN on 3 August 1961. U.S. Navy Photograph courtesy of Ed Martin, LCDR,USN(Ret.)
Thresher293k Officers & crew salute the colors onboard the Thresher (SSN-593), 3 August 1961, outside building # 5 at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Kettery, ME. U.S. Navy Photograph courtesy of Ed Martin, LCDR,USN(Ret.)
Thresher154kThresher (SSN-593), underway on the surface, circa 1961-63.Official U.S. Navy Photograph # NH 82320, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center.
Thresher115kThresher (SSN-593) as seen from the Bushnell (AS-15) on June 1962. Photograph Don Oke, courtesy of John Hummel, USN(Ret.)
Thresher40kOil on canvas by the artist C.G. Evers entitled "USS Thresher".Courtesy of usni.org
Thresher121kCut out of the Thresher (SSN-593) class, showing the offending periscope in the after part of the sail. Masts, fore to aft, are: snorkel/air induction; SS-2A radar; VLF loop; UHF/IFF & MHF antenna; ECM; and periscope.
The emergency diesel generator was in the lowest level compartment of the bottle-nose, directly under the snorkel, with a sonar equipment room forward of it. Crew's quarters were above it. The sonar room was on the upper level near the ship's control center and attack center.
Photo & text courtesy of U.S. Submarines Since 1945, An Illustrated Design History by Norman Friedman & James L. Christley.Naval Institute Press.
Thresher157k Thresher (SSN-593) was designed around her sonar. This is the passive side of the sonar control room, with consoles for (left to right) BQG-1 (PUFFS), BQR-7, & BQQ-3.
BQG-1 correlated the outputs of a pair of sub-arrays, hence the two small displays and the big screen to match them. BQR-7 had two beams, one steered manually (using the hand wheel, with a bearing indicator above it) and one continuously scanned (feeding a bearing-time recorder, whose paper output showed in the rectangle above).
BQQ-3 was a Lofargram recorder; the pen moved across the paper along the bar visible in the middle of the paper.
Photo courtesy of Raytheon Corp & text courtesy of U.S. Submarines Since 1945, An Illustrated Design History by Norman Friedman & James L. Christley. Naval Institute Press.
Thresher62k Thresher (SSN-593) sonar arrangement, showing the bow sphere, the staves of BQR-7, and the equipment space control room (which was not in the control or attack center).Photo & text courtesy of U.S. Submarines Since 1945, An Illustrated Design History by Norman Friedman & James L. Christley.Naval Institute Press.
Thresher161k Thresher's (SSN-593) BQS-6/BQA-3 sonar room: passive BQS-6 console, active BQS-6 active console, and a BQA-3 graphic indicator, which measured target Doppler. As in BQR-7, there were two passive beams, one steered for tracking (using the hand wheel, with bearing indicated on the dial above) and one continuously scanning (feeding the bearing-time paper recorder above the hand wheel).
Raw video, its beams formed by an amplifier-scanner, went to the passive console. A sonar receiver processed video to extract echoes for the active console and for BQA-3. The active console could also receive pings extracted by a separate receiver-scanner. The triangular indicator (SSI, sector-scan indicator) alongside the PPI allowed comparison of right and left hand beams for finer measurement; it also could be used to measure depression/elevation angle.
Above the main PPI of the active console are direction and depression/elevation indicators for the single-ping pencil-beam active mode.
Retrofit III sonars (BQS-11 -13) had a new active sonar receiver in place of the earlier receiver-scanner. Signals passed via the active console to the BQA-3 (BQS-11-12) or via a new data computer and processor to an auxiliary active console. In Retrofit III sonars (BQS-11-13), the up/down & left/right indicators were moved to the lower panel; their place was taken by a small diameter CRT for active operation and the lower displays were replaced by a larger diameter CRT for an A-scan.
These sonars also lack the SSI, because they auto-track. Only in BQS-13, the BQA-3 electronic cabinet and display were replaced by a data computer and processor (fed by the active receiver) feeding an auxiliary active console with a single rectangular window. BQS-12 (but not BQS-13) had a modified passive console without a hand wheel.
Shown here is First Class Sonarman Robert Edwin Steinel, who was on board Thresher on her final dive.
Photo courtesy of Raytheon Corp & text courtesy of U.S. Submarines Since 1945, An Illustrated Design History by Norman Friedman & James L. Christley.Naval Institute Press.
Thresher158kThe BQQ-2 operating concept included a secure underwater communications system (SESCO, BQA-2). Its console is shown on board Thresher (SSN-593) across a passageway from the BQS-6 passive console). SESCO died, mainly of multipath. That turned out to be fortunate because space for additional sonar equipment was soon needed.Photo courtesy of Raytheon Corp & text courtesy of U.S. Submarines Since 1945, An Illustrated Design History by Norman Friedman & James L. Christley. Naval Institute Press.
Thresher271kFour page PDF COC pamphlet of the Thresher (SSN-593), 18 January 1963.US Navy photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
Thresher122k John Wesley Harvey, Lieutenant Commander (Commanding Officer) of the Thresher (SSN-593) at the time of her loss is shown here (3rd from the left, near the door) in a photo aboard the Nautilus (SSN-571) as she was heading for the surface at a sharp angle, her crew is thrown off balance in their mess like men in an amusement park crazy house, May 1956.
When the Thresher was flooding from her stern, the scene aboard her was undoubtedly worse as the boats' angle probably rose until the implosion. Imagine trying to work in an environment uphill, probably without power and in the realization that everyone's life is in the balance with time running out. Undoubtedly their training kept the men busy trying to save the boat and they were at their posts doing what they had been taught to do until the last moment.
The acoustic bubble-pulse data indicate the Thresher pressure hull and all internal compartments were completely destroyed in less than one-tenth of a second (100 milliseconds), significantly less than the minimum time required for human perception of any event: 50 milliseconds for retina integration plus 100 milliseconds for cognitive integration.
Lieutenant Commander Harvey appears here in an official navy photo.
Photographer: Hank Walker, courtesy of Life.
USN photo courtesy of oneternalpatrol.com.

View the Thresher(SSN-593)
DANFS history entry located on the Haze Gray & Underway Web Site.
Crew Contact And Reunion Information
U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation
Fleet Reserve Association

Additional Resources and Web Sites of Interest
ussthresher.com
On Eternal Patrol
Talk:USS Thresher (SSN-593) by Al Bonnyman
SSN-594 Permit Class - FAS web site
Looking back on the USS Thresher
USS Thresher Memorial Ceremony
50th Annual USS Thresher Memorial Service
USS Thresher, Going Quietly
HISTORIC SUBMARINE DOCUMENTARY AND TRAINING FILMS
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