Moebius 1/72 USS Skipjack Submarine Kit
Item #: MOE-1400
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USS Skipjack (SSN-585), the lead ship of her class of nuclear-powered attack submarines, was the third ship of the United States Navy to be named after the Skipjack tuna fish.
On the Skipjack, there were many design changes that were products of new scientific insight into submarine design. The submarine industry, now with nuclear power, had wanted to make a "true" submarine. This required a design in its element underwater, not solely one theoretically able to remain submerged indefinitely. The greatest alteration was the new tear-drop hull, pioneered by the conventionally-powered USS Albacore (AGSS-569), and designed for optimum performance underwater. The new hull's only protrusions were the sail and diving planes. The twenty-three-foot sail, resembling a shark's dorsal fin, rose at a point midway in the hull to keep the ship stable. The diving planes, similar in function to the wings of an airplane, were moved from the hull to this new sail, with the periscopes and antenna masts. Thus, they could only be useful when the submarine is in its natural environment—like the control surfaces on an airplane. Also, a single propeller behind the rudder now propelled Skipjack, making it more maneuverable.
Other experiments in design also benefited Skipjack by allowing the vessel to be built with improved steel. Even the controls and the anchor were changed in the development of the new submarine. In the core, a "second generation" S5W reactor advance of the USS Nautilus (SSN-571) reactor was installed, allowing the ship to travel at full power for 90,000 to 100,000 miles (161,000 km). Nuclear power had already been discovered, but the reactor was such an advance on Nautilus's reactor that it entirely changed its magnitude and capability. Furthermore, although the S5W reactor was thirty percent bigger than Nautilus's reactor, the reactor compartment on Skipjack only occupied twenty feet of the ship's 252 feet (77 m) total length. (This reactor proved so efficient the Navy began to mass-order them). Finally, the design of the core was such that there became new standards of accessibility.
Skipjack had such advanced underwater capabilities her path could be compared to an airplane in flight. As earlier private inventors like John P. Holland had envisioned, the submarine was designed as having its natural environment underwater, and became capable of things never before seen.