for Submariners

by Hamilton 1:1 Communications, LLC

USS Darter (SS-576)
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USS Darter (SS-576)


USS Darter (SS-576), was a unique submarine based on the Tang Class, but incorporating many improvements, she was the second ship of the United States Navy to be named for the darter, a type of small American fresh-water fish closely related to the perch.

The keel for Darter was laid down on 10 November 1954. She was launched on 28 May 1956 sponsored by Mrs. G.L. Russell, and commissioned on 20 October 1956, with Lieutenant Commander Ralph R. Blaine in command.

Darter was used to experiment with numerous innovations including a three-man helmsman-planesman station using aircraft-style stick controls.

Service history

Designed with sophisticated acoustic, electronic and fire control gear, Darter was intended to serve as a new generation of post-war ASW submarines, similar to Tang (SS-563). Upon commissioning Darter operated on various training exercises in the Atlantic, both locally from her home port of Newport, R.I. and on cruises to the West Indies or to Europe for NATO operations. Following an overhaul at Portsmouth, N.H., in 1959 she changed homeport to Charleston, S.C., on 1 August 1959) and began training missions in support of the newly commissioned fleet ballistic submarines, providing ASW services for surface units in the West Indies and off Key West and serving as a platform for various CNO projects. In between these regular operations, Darter deployed to the Mediterranean for cruises in 1963 and 1967. She also received a major modernization overhaul in 1965, receiving a 16-foot hull extension, new engines, new safety gear and better electronic gear.

In September 1985, Darter was involved in a collision with the merchant ship Kansas Getty which disabled her.

Darter was decommissioned on 1 December 1989 and struck from the Navel Vessel Register on 17 January 1990. On 7 January 1992, ex-Darter was sunk as a target by Tautog off Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

Boats Built:

USS Darter (SS-576)


General Dynamics, Electric Boat Division
Groton, Connecticut
1.650 tons surfaced
2,410 tons submerged
283 feet (86.33 m)
27 feet (8.2 m)
19 feet (5.8 m)
15.5 knots surfaced (28.7 km)
16 knots submerged (30 km)
Diesels Electric
Test Depth:
700 Feet (210 m)
10 Officers 75 men
8 × 21 in (530 m) torpedo tubes
(Six forward, two aft)