Integrated Undersea Surveillance System (IUSS) Site Awards History
To view a listing of IUSS site citations and awards click here.
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
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.
29 October: Western Electric
and ONR reps meet to rough WECOs proposal into a contract.
A letter contract was issued 13 November.
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 was Bell Labs
effort and Project Michael was the Columbia University
CNO Directs BUSHIPS to procure six
sets of LOFAR station components for deployment in the North
Atlantic basin in a Top Secret letter.
Classified name SOSUS is
Unclassified name CAESAR
established to cover installation and production. An Unclassified Cover Story is established to explain the mission. Click Here
Number of stations planned is
increased to nine.
HMS Alert installs initial 40-element
operational array off Eleuthera
Bahamas (2-19 January) total cost for 50-day charter is $56,400
($840/day plus fuel).
Cable ships Neptune and Myer
assigned to Project CAESAR: the humble beginnings of the
"CAESAR Fleet" to later include: Thor, Aeolus,
Mizar, Huddell, Zeus and a cameo appearance by USNS
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.
Ten additional CAESAR stations (3
Atlantic, 6 Pacific and 1 in Hawaii) are authorized.
Sound Search Course 572 "Green Door" established at FSS, Key West, FL
September - First NAVFAC,
NAVFAC Ramey, Puerto Rico, commissioned followed by
NAVFAC Grand Turk in October and San Salvador in December.
NAVFACs established in Bermuda,
Shelburne Nova Scotia, Nantucket MA, and Cape May NJ.
NAVFACs Cape Hatteras NC, Antigua,
and data Evaluation Centers in New York and Norfolk VA become
NAVFACs Eleuthera Bahamas and
Barbados in the Atlantic, and San Nicolas Island in the Pacific
Commander, Oceanographic System
Atlantic established. Oceanographic units in New York, San Juan,
Puerto Rico and Norfolk VA. disestablished.
NAVFACs Point Sur, CA.,
Centerville Beach, CA., Pacific Beach, WA., Coos Head, OR.
Project supports installation of
Atlantic and Pacific Missile Impact Location System.
NAVFAC Argentia, Newfoundland
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
First and only curved array
terminated at Shelburne, Nova Scotia
SOSUS tracks USS George Washington
from continential US to United Kingdom
NAVFAC Adak established
NAVFAC Lewes DE established
after NAVFAC Cape May destroyed by "Ash Wednesday/Good
26 June, Cape Hatteras NC
makes first SOSUS detection of a Soviet Diesel submarine
6 July, NAVFAC Barbados makes
first detection of a Soviet Nuclear submarine as it
crossed over the Greenland-Iceland-United Kingdom (GIUK)
gap. Second Class Sonar Operator Bill Tilley is believed
to be the NAVFAC Barbados on-watch operator responsible for
the 6 July 1962 initial recognition/reporting of contact
#27103 - the first ever SOSUS detection of a Russian nuclear
26 October, first positive
correlation and sighting of a SOSUS contact (NAVFAC Grand
Turks) and VP contact on a Soviet Foxtrot Class submarine
during the Cuban Missile Crisis; designated Charlie-20.
First major shore processing
system upgrade installed at NAVFAC Lewes DE. 9" grams
(DSA) replace 4" grams; Roman Numeral time
calibration marks remain
First 2x20 array installed at
NAVFAC Argentia, Nfld.
April, The USS Thresher
sinks; SOSUS plays critical role in pinpointing location
Commander, Oceanographic System
Project CAESAR transferred
from BUSHIPS to Industrial Manager, Potomac River
Command; to Naval District Washington the following year.
OP-95, Director ASW Programs
established under VADM Charles B. Martell
NAVFAC Keflavik Iceland
established exactly one year after decision made to deploy SOSUS
to the Norwegian Sea.
Land-line Data Relay systems installed in OCEANSYSLANT and OCEANSYSPAC by Western Electric Co; UQM-4 analyzer/displays.
Project transferred to Naval
Electronics Systems Command, (CODE EPO-3) located at Main
Navy (now the site of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial)
First 3x16 array system
terminated at Keflavik
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.
NAVFAC Midway Island became operational
NAVFAC Argentia, Nfld Shallow Water Complex deactivated
NAVFAC Guam, Mariana Islands commissioned
COMOCEANSYSPAC relocated from Naval Station, Treasure Island, CA to Ford Island, HI
First detection of Victor and Charlie Class Soviet submarines by NAVFAC Keflavik
CNO designates COMOCEANSYSLANT &
COMOCEANSYSPAC as "Major Commands".
Ocean Systems Technician (OT) rating established; formerly SONAR Technicians (ST) and Electronics Technicians (ET)
NAVFAC Barbers Point, HI commissioned.
NAVFAC San Salvador is first
NAVFAC to be decommissioned
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.
COSP SeaBees begin upgrades to COSP
and NAVFAC enlisted quarters.
These efforts become model for a Navy-wide "Self-help"
PMW 124 established and the
modernization of SOSUS begins.
Joint Canadian Forces/US Navy operational manning commenced at NAVFAC Argentia, Nfld.
First USN women assigned to a SOSUS facility arrive at NAVFAC Eleuthera. Group of 11 consists of LT Susan Canfield and 10 OTs (E2-E5): Norah Brown, Iris Wirth, Barbara Yates, Mary Zenes, Yvette Shmitz, Debra Rupp, Dorothy Hardin, Kathy Hardy, Delta Carr, and Darla Sutherland
CAPT Joe Kelly, "Father Of
COSP is audited by GAO. GAO recognizes
SOSUS role as a "FORCE - MULTIPLIER" and
recommends that SOSUS manning and budget be increased.
NAVFAC Brawdy Wales established-
First "Super NAVFAC"
NAVFAC Keflavik makes first
detection on a Soviet Delta Class Nuclear submarine
NAVFAC Ramey, PR changed to NAVFAC Punta Borinquen, PR
CAPT Dempster Jackson becomes PMW
124 and the rest is history.
NAVFACs Punta Borinquen, PR and Nantucket, MA disestablished.
First woman Commanding Officer of
a NAVFAC as LCDR Peggy Frederick takes command of NAVFAC Lewes
CAPT Harry Cox relieves RADM
Dempster Jackson as PMW 124
Readiness Training Facility, Centerville established at NAVFAC Centerville Beach, CA
NAVFAC Barbados, TWI disestablished.
NOPF Dam Neck VA. established-WESTLANT
NAVFACs Eleuthera, Bahamas and Grand Turk, TWI disestablished.
NOPF Ford Island HI. established
NAVFAC Lewes, DE disestablished.
NAVFAC Midway disestablished; acoustic data remoted to NAVFAC Barbers Point, HI
NAVFAC Cape Hatteras, NC disestablished.
Service ratings OTA (Analyst) and OTM (Equipment Maintainer) established.
NAVFAC Midway Island acoustic data re-routed from NAVFAC Barbers Point, HI to NOPF Ford Island, HI.
USNS STALWART (T-AGOS 1), first of 18 monohull SURTASS ships, arrives at Little Creek.
USNS Zeus commissioned- first
navy cable ship built from the keel up
IUSS Operational Support
Center (IOSC) established at Little Creek; IOSC Detachment, Pacific established at Pearl Harbor, HI.
NAVFAC Antigua, TWI secured operations.
NAVFAC Point Sur, CA disestablished; acoustic data remoted to NAVFAC Centerville Beach, CA.
NAVFAC San Nicolas Island, CA disestablished.
Readiness Training Facility, Centerville Beach, CA disestablished.
Readiness Training Facility
established at Dam Neck.
Fixed Distributed System (FDS)
test array terminated at NAVFAC Brawdy.
USNS STALWART (T-AGOS 1) began first operational SURTASS patrol; New System Name - Integrated
Undersea Surveillance System (IUSS)
NAVFAC Barbers Point, HI disestablished; acoustic data remoted to NOPF Ford Island, HI.
NAVELEX (PME-124) becomes SPAWAR (PMW
NAVFAC Whidbey Island WA
NAVFAC Pacific Beach, WA disestablished; acoustic data remoted to NAVFAC Whidbey Island, WA
CAPT Joe Kelly passes away at
Bethesda Naval Hospital
PMW 180 renamed PD 80
Authorization for IUSS officers to
wear IUSS Qualification Specialty Breast Insignia
System mission is declassified
after 41 years of secrecy. COMOCEANSYSLANT/PAC (COSL/COSP) changed to COMUNDERSEASURVLANT/PAC (CUSL/CUSP).
NAVFAC Guam, Mariana Islands disestablished.
NAVFAC Centerville Beach survives
three earthquakes: 6.9,7.0,7.1 on Richter scale.
USNS Victorious, first SWATH
hull SURTASS accepted by the Navy
USNS STALWART (T-AGOS 1) and USNS WORTHY (T-AGOS 14) removed from operational service as IUSS platforms.
IUSS began reporting whale detections in response to CNO tasking.
SOSUS Work Stations (SWS) replaced paper gram displays at NOPF Dam Neck.
First woman Commodore as Commander
Undersea Surveillance Pacific: CAPT Marnee Finch
NAVFACs Centerville Beach, CA and Adak, AK decommissioned; acoustic data remoted to NAVFAC Whidbey Island, WA.
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.
HMCS Trinity established at
Halifax Nova Scotia; CFS Shelburne, Nova Scotia disestablished.
Readiness Training Facility, Dam Neck disestablished
NAVFAC Argentia, Nfld disestablished; operations turned over to Canadian Forces IUSS Centre (CFIC), Halifax, Nova Scotia.
NAVOCEANPROFAC Ford Island, HI disestablished.
NAVFAC Bermuda acoustic data secured at NOPF Dam Neck.
PD 80 becomes PD 18 and designated
19 April - Advanced
Deployable System officially becomes the newest member of
Integrated Undersea Surveillance System - designated a
NAVFAC Brawdy, Wales, UK ceased operations for equipment transition to JMF St Mawgan, UK.
Joint Maritime Facility, St Mawgan, UK commissioned.
NAVFAC Keflavik Iceland ceases operations after 30 years.
September- Fixed Distributed System Initial Operational Capability
NAVFAC Adak AK plug pulled; Reverts to "Wet Storage."
Following the words of Horace Greeley Brac "Go West SPAWAR" SPAWAR moves to San Diego.
OT Rating disestablished after 27 years; IUSS Watch in the Sea resumed by ST Rating.
ATARFs and RAINFORMs are replaced by SITREPs and GOLDs.
COMUNDEREASURV administrative control realigned under Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet.
CFIC Trinity mission responsibilities transferred to Commander, Maritime Forces Atlantic and Canadian Forces Ocean Operations personnel collocated at NOPF Whidbey Island.
ADS Fleet Evaluation Test successful
Barracks at NAVFAC Argentia taken down in September
Military Detachment (MILDET) stands up at NOPF Dam Neck, Virginia Beach, VA.
USNS Impeccable commissioned. First purpose-built SURTASS LFA SWATH vessel.
In an unprecedented first for both the IUSS Community and the Navy, CDR Katherine M. Donovan, USN assumed command at NOPF Dam Neck, relieving her husband, CDR Jim Donovan, USN.
SOSUS Work Station (SWS) removed from operations (1991-2002)
USNS IMPECCABLE and USNS LOYAL transferred to Pacific Fleet. No permanent SURTASS capability in the Atlantic or Mediterranean.
R/V CORY CHOUEST becomes LFA operational asset.
PMW 181 and PMW 182 combined into PMS 181, CAPT Pat Seidel is the new PMS 181 (PEO/LMW)
Maritime Intelligence Fusion Center Atlantic (MIFCLANT) commissioned at NOPF Dam Neck, VA. IUSS and the United States Coast Guard are co-located and work side-by-side.
Advanced Deployable System (ADS) successfully completes dual array testing.
Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics officially begin working on the new IUSS Integrated Common Processor (ICP).
NAVSEA's PEO LMW combines all IUSS programs into one program office, PMS 485, Maritime Surveillance Systems, under CAPT Pat Seidel.
IOSC Little Creek is decommissioned.
On 18 September, IUSS celebrates its Golden Anniversary.
First delivery of the Integrated Common Processor (ICP) is installed.
First delivery of the new SURTASS towed array, TL-29A, is installed.
ADS system reaches milestone B status.
The final Reduced Diameter Array (RDA) on SURTASS is retired from service.
Realizing a need to restore acoustic analysis skills to peak levels, the Lead Analyst course of instruction is created along with a commensurate watch position.
USNS ABLE brought out of Mobility B status and begins reactivation phase.
ICP installed at NOPF Whidbey Island, WA.
CUS administrative control realigned under Commander, Naval Meterology and Oceanography Command (CNMOC).
ADS System Integration Test successfully completed.
USNS ABLE transfers to the Pacific theater of operations.
R/V CORY CHOUEST is deactivated.
ICP begins installation on operational SURTASS platforms replacing ARCI-I.
Professional Development Detachment (PDD) Dam Neck begins basic sensor operator courses at COMUNDERSEASURV.
CUS administrative control realigned under Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet.
ICP installed at NOPF Dam Neck, Virginia Beach, VA. replacing SSIPS SDS and on USNS IMPECCABLE replacing SURTASS TX-NX0.
JMF St. Mawgan remoted to NOPF Dam Neck and decommissioned after nearly fourteen years of operation. British and US Forces begin joint, combined operations at NOPF Dam Neck, Virginia Beach, VA.
USNS IMPECCABLE makes the news when aggressively shadowed by Chinese vessels.
CAPT Jim Donovan USN (RET) gives unclassified brief of IUSS at ASW Seminar hosted by the Submarine League and Naval Historical Foundation.