AGEH [Experimental Auxiliary (Hydrofoil)] Plainview (AGEH-1) was laid down 8 May 1964 by the Lockheed Shipbuilding and Construction Co., Seattle, Wash.; launched 28 June 1965; sponsored by Mrs. John T. Hayward; and placed in service 3 March 1969. At 320 metric tons Plainview was the world's largest hydrofoil, though subsequently surpassed by the Soviet BABUCHKA hydrofoil [at about 400 tons]. She was powered by two jet engines of the same type used in the F-4 Phantom aircraft, but during conventional operations she is driven by two diesel engines. Her homeport was Bremerton, Wash.
Like most other hydrofoil craft, PLAINVIEW is a weight-critical structure. Therefore, all heavy equipment had to be placed in optimum locations. For this reason, the main engines were located on the lower deck adjacent to drive shaft housings which are in the main struts. This is very near the center of gravity of the ship. Because of the operational requirements of the two engines, air intakes and exhaust openings are in juxtaposition at midship. These four large openings must penetrate the three levels of the ship above the engine, including the highly stressed 0-1 level.
The prototype hull plating and decking are comprised of four basic extruded aluminum plate configurations. A typical plating section is extruded with its stiffeners in place. These panels are then welded into place and the extruded stiffeners become the ship "stringers" which run continuously in the longitudinal direction. The AGEH-1 prototype utilizes 71 transverse frames spaced typically at 3-ft intervals over its 212-ft overall length. During foilborne operations, the main structural support is provided by Frame 27.
The Navy's first hydrofoil research ship, Plainview carried out long range experimental programs to evaluate the design principles of hydrofoils and to develop and evaluate tactics and doctrine for hydrofoils, particularly in antisubmarine warfare and is helping to determine the feasibility of hydrofoil operations in high seas.
The U.S. Navy Advanced Development Program gathered information on platform performance and operational demonstrations from the HIGH POINT (PCH-1). PLAINVIEW (AGEH-1), FLAGSTAFF (PGH-1) and TUCUMCARI (PGH-2). Developments in hydrofoil platform technologies covered automatic control systems, propulsion and auxiliary machinery, strut-foil, and hull subsystems. Operations covered total operational and foilborne times, transit distances, debris collisions, mission equipment demonstrations, and underway transfer operations. Plainview was stricken from the Navy list on 30 September 1978.
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