A good aviation photographer and military aficionado friend of mine sent this over to me wondering what the heck this relatively small, but still fairly large, submarine’s identity is. First appearing on Google Earth in May of 2010 at Naval Base Kitsap in Bremerton Washington, this little submarine does spark my curiosity. My answer- I have no idea! Is this a long retired boat that is awaiting a museum to display it or is it something entirely new that is in testing or was in testing within the last decade? I am not aware of a sub in the 150′ category operating with the USN in recent decades, although the Swedish Gotland class diesel electric boats were used by the USN for aggressor duties less than a decade ago. These elusive little attack subs were sent back to Sweden to the best of my knowledge, and they were about 200′ in length, a full 50′ longer than the sub in question. Could a SSGN/SSBN “wear” a sub this big on its back for special operations? Such a machine could deliver a sizable clandestine force into combat or even be forward deployed off a “boomer” to push into the littorals for surveillance, infiltration and attack. This would be a massive capability improvement over the current mini-sub “swimmer delivery vehicles” used by the US Navy SEALs today.

Thoughts, remarks and answers would be greatly appreciated here guys, especially from the “silent service” nerds who send me emails from time to time (you guys rock BTW!)…

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  1. Tom Meyer says:

    Could it be NR-1?

    From Wikipedia…

    The NR-1 was deactivated on 21 November 2008 at the US Navy submarine base at Groton, Connecticut, defuelled at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine, then sent to Puget Sound Naval Shipyard to be scrapped.[1]

  2. Lurker says:

    I think its the NR-1. 1) Its drydocked up along other nuke boats which implies same logistics – doubt a WWII resto would rank that company. 2) It has very small conning tower forward of amidships and a multi screw multi fin tail which are known traits of NR-1 which btw was 135ft long, 3) USN wouldnt have to leave a classified boat this small in open in a place like Bremerton where everyone is looking for such things, 4) known modern small/midget subs like the Iranian Ghadir and NorK Sang-O/K-300 have conning tower almost exactly amidships and have single screws. I guess it could take 2 years to defuel and scrap – but maybe someone changed their minds. NR-1 had many interesting capabilities that still seem very relevant to the USN. Maybe it was defueld then refueled. Point of trivia is that Bob Ballard spent a month on it during the cold war.

  3. Sam says:

    It appears on Google Maps with aerial (45º) photography as well. What is visible of the sub in those photographs appears to confirm that it is NR-1 with her dorsal deck (not part of the pressure hull) removed. The tent aft appears to be about the location of where her reactor would have been – consistent with the theory that she’s there being defueled.

  4. Nicky says:

    What’s really sad is that we could have sold some of the older Los Angels class SSN’s to our most trusted Allies, Australia and Canada.

  5. nico says:

    Looks like NR1. If you guys are interested in subs, I recommend Google Earth or checking out, you can spot an SSBN with its hatches open and loading up a Trident. Pretty cool stuff.

    If you check out Al Dhafra Air Base, UAE, you can spot 5 F22s out of 6 that were/still? deployed in the region.

  6. Will Neumayer says:

    I just have to say that I LOVE this site and the people who frequent the place!

  7. Lurker says:

    Sam thats a good catch. It appears Googlemaps has better views and resolution than Googleearth – go figure.

  8. Robert Kunze says:

    I believe it is NR-1. I worked at NSSF for a couple of years and the NR-1 was moored behind my shop, and did some work on it from time to time. I could be wrong but I don’t think so.

  9. Tomme says:

    It doesn’t look anything like the NR-1 to me. Why would they paint it before scrapping it?

  10. 727B XO says:

    It is definitely the NR-1. It has not been painted, it’s just all black because the distinctive orange conning tower was removed and is on display somewhere (NAUTILUS Museum in Groton, I think?). While we were in drydock at PSNS back at the start of 2010 the sail-less NR-1 hull was sitting on that barge in the berth next to the dock (alongside the hull of the USS LONG BEACH).

  11. Sam says:

    Tomme: Lacking the conning tower is only one of the changes to the NR-1’s silhouette. They also appear to have removed the decking that was affixed behind the conning tower – usually the only other part of NR-1 visible in photos.

  12. Steve says:

    It is NR-1. It is moored with the other mothballed submarines at Pudget Sound Naval Shipyard. One of my CO’s was the last OIC of the NR-1. He showed me a similar pic almost 2 years ago and said “look my last boat is on a barge at PSNSY”

  13. says:

    You guys ARE THE BEST!!! Yes, that looks like NR1 and I have gotten a few emails from people directly in the loop confirming it, even an old CO of that boat.

    Here is the greater story- I HAD NO IDEA THIS THING EXISTED! Am I wrong or is there much larger military applications for a boat like this than a research vessel especially in this day and age of littoral and special operations? Following up with a post on this today. Once again, I have gotten so many emails and these comments here from my viewers it reminded me of why I spend so many hours keeping this site up. Thank you all again for your help!


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