for Submariners

by Hamilton 1:1 Communications, LLC

USS Scorpion Loss Analysis
This Documentation and Analysis has been authored by:
Bruce Rule. The scientist who submitted the acoustic sound analysis report to the USN.
Cover letter submitted by Bruce Rule

12 August 2010

ADM Gary Roughead
Chief of Naval Operations
2000 Navy Pentagon
Washington, DC 20350-2000

ADM Roughead:

Thank you for your response to my letter. Your letter stated: (quote)..... OPNAV N87 is currently working on declassifying, redacting and the release of as much of the (SCORPION) record as possible..... (end quote).

With respect to the release of that record, it is suggested that because of the often self-contradictory and/or now disproven content of many of the component documents of that record, OPNAV N87 should preface the release with a concise, non-technical official Navy statement about why the SCORPION was lost. All information needed for such a statement is UNCLASSIFIED. A draft is attached.

Such a statement would be useful because the SCORPION Court Of Inquiry (COI) Findings released in 1993 provided misinformation that was exploited by the conspiracy theorists as the basis for their published conjectures that SCORPION was sunk by a Soviet torpedo. Specifically, COI Opinion 12 states: (quote) That (SCORPION) acoustic event one was most probably an explosion of (a) large charge weight external to the pressure-hull (end quote). As determined in 1970 from analyses of both the acoustic data and imagery of the wreck, the first high-amplitude acoustic event was SCORPION pressure-hull collapse.

The attached letter of 6 August 2010 to the Director of Naval Intelligence identifies, for the first time, the initiating events responsible for the loss of SCORPION.

If you consider these suggestions and this information useful, your office should contact OPNAV N87.

Bruce Rule

3931 Brookfield Ave.
Louisville, KY 40207-2001

Analysis as Synopsized by Bruce Rule


When the US nuclear submarine SCORPION (SSN-589) was lost in the east central Atlantic on May 22, 1968, the event produced a series of acoustic signals detected by underwater sensors on both sides of the Atlantic.

By comparing the detection times of these signals, the position of the SCORPION was determined. That position provided the basis for the search that identified the SCORPION wreckage.

The first reanalysis of these acoustic signals in 40-years, in combination with conclusions drawn in 1970 by the SCORPION Structural Analysis Group (SAG), has provided the following new information:

- The initiating events that caused the loss of SCORPION were two explosions with an energy yield of not more than 20-lbs of TNT each. These explosions, which occurred one-half second apart at 18:20:44 Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) on the May 22, 1968, were contained within the SCORPION pressure-hull,

- Based on the examination and microscopic, spectrographic and X-ray diffraction analysis of a section of the SCORPION TLX-53-A main storage battery cover recovered by the U.S. submersible, TRIESTE-II, the SAG determined the battery exploded before flooding of the battery well occurred.

- Collectively, the acoustic data and the physical evidence confirm SCORPION was lost because of two explosions that involved the ignition of hydrogen outgassed by the battery, i.e., these explosions were the initiating events responsible for the loss of SCORPION.

- These explosive events prevented the crew from maintaining depth control. The SCORPION pressure-hull collapsed in less than one-tenth of a second at 18:42:34 GMT on 22 May 1968 at a depth of 1530-feet.

- The more than 15 acoustic events that occurred during the 200-second period following pressure-hull collapse were produced by the collapse of more pressure-resistant structures, such as the six torpedo tubes, within the wreckage.

- Reanalysis of the acoustic data also confirmed: (1) SCORPION did not reverse course to deal with a torpedo conjectured to have become active in its launch tube; (2), there were no acoustic detections of either a torpedo or any other naval surface ship or submarine when SCORPION was lost, and (3), there were no explosive events external to the SCORPION pressure-hull.

In summary, SCORPION was lost because two battery-associated explosions created onboard problems the crew could not overcome.