Some awesome but sad pics found and sent over by Aviationintel reader Nicolae Sinu depict a horrific scene- one of the most fascinating vessels of the Cold War, the Lockheed Skunk Work’s stealthy Sea Shadow, being scrapped while still cocooned inside her mothership, the equally enigmatic and even more historically significant Hughes Mining Barge (HMB-1). Make sure to read the widely circulated Aviationintel special feature on these two clandestine mechanized warriors and their sad fate here: The “symbiotic” relationship between these two vessels has lasted decades and in the end both will be destroyed because the Navy could not find a museum to house them, which is astonishing to me for so many reasons (make sure to read that piece linked above for more!).

*Photos removed at photographer’s request. Just google scrapping the sea shadow and you can see the once modern marvel being cut apart inside the HMB-1.

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  1. Mike Brewer says:

    Is that Chinese watermarks? Interesting. Shame this one didnt end up in a museum.

  2. nico says:

    I found them on a Chinese defense forum, of all places. Once I got over the shock of what I was seeing since I wasn’t aware that USN was going to shred it, I also was amazed that the images were released to the public. I know it’s old and stuff but this surprised me that USN would allow pictures to show the interior and structure of this ship. Pretty sad fate for this ship.

    I rarely read what the Chinese have to say, sorry my Chinese friends!, between their general lack of knowledge of things defense (not their fault considering censorship and it’s still all new for them) and the horrendous Google translations which massacres words and phrase structure, forget it. I just look for pictures which quite often, I might add, our real interesting. There is definitively a lot of what we would call “black world” programs going on in China, I think they are still working out what to show and how to show it…

    For example among many, one thing that I noticed on a schematic in Chinese, just a crude representation so it might not be anything!! but I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Chinese aren’t working on LO wingtip AAMs or some form of way to encase, under wing AAMs or fuel tanks, with a “structure” to reduce their RCS. It would make sense as you would really increase weapons payload if even external weapons are in VLO mode.

  3. Sad to hear about the scrapping of Sea Shadow. Unfortunately, maritime museums cost a lot of money, and in this economy a lot of them are struggling.

    • says:

      Would have been perfect here at OMSI, it comes with its own display building that is also a historical relic of mammoth proportions! Lunacy!

  4. I’m not sure how you found those images on a Chinese defense forum, never the less watermarked with someone else’s watermark, but the images did not originate in China (obviously), they originated by me (insert evil laugh). I’m a San Francisco based amature photographer that happened in to access to the Sea Shadow throughout it’s scrapping. From September to November 2012 I made over 20 visits to the ships, spending hours exploring nearly every compartment of both the HMB-1 and Sea Shadow, yet every night I drove away my mind blown from the amazing tribute to American innovation that I had the privileged of climbing aboard. For those interested in seeing my full set it’s on my Flickr, unwatermarked.

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