Military


Southeast Alaska Acoustic Measurement Facility (SEAFAC)
Ketchikan, Alaska

As the Navy's primary acoustic engineering measurement facility in the Pacific, the Southeast Alaska Measurement Facility (SEAFAC) provides the capability to perform RDT&E evaluations to determine the sources of radiated acoustic noise, to assess vulnerability, and to develop quieting measures.

Located in Behm Canal near Ketchikan, Alaska, the facility provides an ideal ship acoustic measurement site characterized by low ambient noise and minimal noise interference. SEAFAC supports submarine operations over a full range of speeds and depths required for underway tests during acoustic trials. SEAFAC is also capable of supporting submarine target strength measurements.

The facility consists of a site to collect acoustic signatures of submerged submarines underway, and a unique site to measure acoustic signatures of motionless (static) submerged submarines with various onboard machinery secured or under unloaded operation. Acoustic signatures can be collected for a variety of speeds and operating conditions as the submarine transits back and forth between the dual bottom-mounted acoustic arrays. At the static site, suspension barges lower the submarine on cables and position it between measurement arrays to evaluate acoustic signatures of individual machinery components.

The Static Site can test vessels of all sizes and types moored or suspended between surface barges. Submarines for example are suspended at various depths from the surface barges between two underwater arrays and the ship's propulsion systems are secured. Surface ships could be put on shore power with ship power and propulsion systems secured. Test personnel then obtain unique measurements on individual pieces of equipment and machinery. The signal processing and in-water hardware were designed to easily accommodate a variety of sponsors and requirements.

Ketchikan is located on the southwestern coast of Revillagigedo Island, opposite Gravina Island, near the southern boundary of Alaska. It is 679 miles north of Seattle and 235 miles south of Juneau. The 2.2 million acre Misty Fiords National Monument lies 22 air miles east of Ketchikan. It is the first Alaska port of call for northbound cruise ships and State ferries. It lies at approximately 55d 20m N Latitude, 131d 38m W Longitude. Ketchikan is located in the Ketchikan Recording District. The area encompasses 3.4 sq. miles of land and .8 sq. miles of water. The area lies in the maritime climate zone noted for its warm winters, cool summers, and heavy precipitation. Summer temperatures range from 51 to 65; winter temperatures range from 29 to 39. Ketchikan averages 162 inches (13.5 feet) of precipitation annually, including 32 inches of snowfall.

Tongass and Cape Fox Tlingits have used Ketchikan Creek as a fish camp which they called "kitschk-hin," meaning creek of the "thundering wings of an eagle." The abundant fish and timber resources attracted non-Natives to Ketchikan. In 1885, Mike Martin bought 160 acres from Chief Kyan, which later became the township. The first cannery opened in 1886 near the mouth of Ketchikan Creek and four more were built by 1912. The Ketchikan Post Office was established in 1892, and the City was incorporated in 1900. By this time, nearby gold and copper discoveries briefly brought activity to Ketchikan as a mining supply center. During 1936, seven canneries were in operation, producing 1.5 million cases of salmon. The need for lumber for new construction and packing boxes spawned the Ketchikan Spruce Mills in 1903, which operated for over 70 years. Spruce was in high demand during World War II, and Ketchikan became a supply center for area logging. A $55 million pulp mill was constructed at Ward Cove near Ketchikan in 1954. Its operation fueled the growth of the community. The mill's 50-year contract with the U.S. Forest service for timber was canceled, and the pulp mill closed in March 1997.

Ketchikan is an industrial center and a major port of entry in Southeast Alaska, with a diverse economy. Ketchikan is supported by a large fishing fleet, fish processing facilities, timber and wood products manufacturing, and tourism. Ketchikan Pulp Corporation's pulp mill closed in March 1997, forcing 400 residents into unemployment. To ease the affects of the shut-down, the U.S. Forest Service is allocating timber for the sawmill to continue operations for three additional years. Several smaller timber companies are also based in Ketchikan. Gateway Forest Products started production of wood veneer in November. The company employs 149, and expects to be up to 175 workers by the end of 2000. The state operates the Deer Mountain Hatchery which produces over 450,000 King, Coho, Steelhead and Rainbow Trout annually. 418 area residents hold commercial fishing permits. Four canneries, three cold storage facilities and a fish processing plant support the fishing industry in summer months. Cruise ships bring over 500,000 annual visitors. A new Ketchikan Visitors Assoc. office building was completed in 1998, with a visitors' center and retail sales space for 20 tourism operators. Mining may play a role in the future, as U.S. Borax is studying construction of a molybdenum mine at Quartz Hill.

Regularly-scheduled jet services offer three northbound and three southbound departures daily. The State-owned Ketchikan International Airport offers a paved, lighted 7,500' runway. The airport lies on Gravina Island, a 10-minute ferry ride to the waterfront. Ketchikan is a regional transportation hub, with numerous air taxi services to surrounding communities. There are four float plane landing facilities: Tongass Narrows, Peninsula Point, Ketchikan Harbor, and Murphy's. Ketchikan is the first port of call in Alaska for cruise ships and Alaska Marine Highway vessels. Harbor and docking facilities include a breakwater, a deep draft dock, five small boat harbors, a dry dock and ship repair yard, boat launch, and a State ferry terminal. The shipyard is privately-owned, and is used for repairs to the Alaska Ferry and offshore fish processors.

 



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