Integrated Undersea Surveillance System (IUSS) Site Awards History

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Integrated Undersea Surveillance System (IUSS) History 1950 - 2010

Introduction: Welcome to IUSS History 101. The study of history is only of value to us if we use it as a foundation of learning in which to look forward and build towards a better future. The course objective is to give you some highlights from the last 40 plus years of undersea surveillance and previously classified views into the establishment of one of the most critical intelligence collection systems of the Cold War.

The 50's and 60's witnessed the birth, early childhood development and growth of undersea surveillance; originally the Sound Surveillance System (SOSUS). With the 70's came technology upgrades both in shore and underwater systems; planning for new cable ships, super NAVFACs and the follow on to the Towed Array Sensor System (TASS), the Surveillance Towed Array Sensor System (SURTASS). The 80's realized consolidation of shore assets due to technology advances in underwater systems, arrival of the first SURTASS ships, delivery of the cable ship USNS Zeus, and the end of the Cold War; this last one to have repercussions that most of us did not anticipate. The 90's where we are today.

Here are some events of note:

As a result of its experience during the recent hostilities the navy has announced its intention to exploit passive sonar in its Anti- Submarine Warfare (ASW) effort. The year is 1949.

As a result of this renewed interest in underwater acoustic research the Navy established Project Hartwell under MIT leadership. It was initiated to structure a long range program for submarine defense. The committee concluded that detection of low frequency sound was the answer to the snorkeling diesel submarine problem. The Hartwell Project was named in honor of Dr. G.P. Hartwell, Deputy Chairman of the Committee for Undersea Warfare and professor at the University of Pennsylvania.

1950

The Hartwell Committee recommended approximately $10 million of R&D funding per year to be applied to the development of an effective long range acoustic detection sensor system using bottomed arrays. The evolution of undersea surveillance had begun.

1951

A 6-element test array is installed at Eleuthera and Ensign Joe Kelly is assigned as BUSHIPS Code 849 to oversee this high priority project; named Project Jezebel.

1952

CNO Directs BUSHIPS to procure six sets of LOFAR station components for deployment in the North Atlantic basin in a Top Secret letter.

1953

Part of Project Jezebel was the study of short range, high frequency, upward looking sets of bottomed, active sources located in a strait as a complement to SOSUS; this was known as Project Colossus.

1954

Ten additional CAESAR stations (3 Atlantic, 6 Pacific and 1 in Hawaii) are authorized.

1955

NAVFACs established in Bermuda, Shelburne Nova Scotia, Nantucket MA, and Cape May NJ.

1956

NAVFACs Cape Hatteras NC, Antigua, and data Evaluation Centers in New York and Norfolk VA become operational.

1957

NAVFACs Eleuthera Bahamas and Barbados in the Atlantic, and San Nicolas Island in the Pacific are established

1958

Commander, Oceanographic System Atlantic established. Oceanographic units in New York, San Juan, Puerto Rico and Norfolk VA. disestablished.

1958-1960

Project supports installation of Atlantic and Pacific Missile Impact Location System.

1959

NAVFAC Argentia, Newfoundland established

1960

Shallow Water system installed and terminated at Navfac Argentia: Ten 8-element arrays on two 40-pair cables: counter against Hudson Bay submarine patrols by Soviets

1961

SOSUS tracks USS George Washington from continential US to United Kingdom

1962

1963

1964

1966

NAVFAC Keflavik Iceland established exactly one year after decision made to deploy SOSUS to the Norwegian Sea.

1968

March, Soviet Golf SSB (K-129) sinks NW of Hawaii; May, USS SCORPION (SSN 589) sinks SW of Azores. SOSUS supports Air Force AFTAC system in localizing both vessels.

1970

First USN women assigned to operational billets at NAVFAC Eleuthera (Norah Taylor-Brown)

CNO designates COMOCEANSYSLANT & COMOCEANSYSPAC as "Major Commands".

1971

First Naval Aviator to command an Oceanographic System, CAPT Richard A. Hoffman, USN becomes COSP. He assumed title of Commodore (not heretofor used in the Pacific System) in order to emphasize real-time operational role of SOSUS.

1972

1973

CAPT Joe Kelly, "Father Of SOSUS" retires.

COSP is audited by GAO. GAO recognizes SOSUS  role as a "FORCE - MULTIPLIER" and recommends that SOSUS manning and budget be increased.

1974

MID-1970s

CAPT Dempster Jackson becomes PMW 124 and the rest is history.

1976

1977

First woman Commanding Officer of a NAVFAC as LCDR Peggy Frederick takes command of NAVFAC Lewes

1979

1980

NOPF Dam Neck VA. established-WESTLANT consolidation

1981

NOPF Ford Island HI. established

1982

NAVFAC Cape Hatteras, NC disestablished.

1983

Service ratings OTA (Analyst) and OTM (Equipment Maintainer) established.

1984

USNS STALWART (T-AGOS 1), first of 18 monohull SURTASS ships, arrives at Little Creek.

1985

Readiness Training Facility established at Dam Neck.

1986

NAVELEX (PME-124) becomes SPAWAR (PMW 180)

1987

NAVFAC Whidbey Island WA established

1988

CAPT Joe Kelly passes away at Bethesda Naval Hospital

1989

PMW 180 renamed PD 80

1990

Authorization for IUSS officers to wear IUSS Warfare Specialty breast insignia

1991

System mission is declassified after 41 years of secrecy. COMOCEANSYSLANT/PAC (COSL/COSP) changed to COMUNDERSEASURVLANT/PAC (CUSL/CUSP).

1992

NAVFAC Centerville Beach survives three earthquakes: 6.9,7.0,7.1 on Richter scale.

1993

First woman Commodore as Commander Undersea Surveillance Pacific: CAPT Marnee Finch

1994

Commander Undersea Surveillance Atlantic and Pacific consolidate into one command located in Norfolk, VA: Commander Undersea Surveillance and staff relocate to Dam Neck VA. Unfortunately, the downsizing of undersea surveillance is in full swing.

1995

PD 80 becomes PD 18 and designated ISR

1996

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

And "The Hunt" continues…