T-AGOS 19 Victorious
Swath-S (Small) Ocean Surveillance Ship
Victorious class ocean surveillance ships are built on a Small Waterplane Twin Hull, or SWATH, design for greater stability at slow speeds in high latitudes under adverse weather conditions. The SWATH design provides greater stability at slow speeds in high latitudes under adverse weather conditions.
T-AGOS ships are operated by the Military Sealift Command and are under the administrative command of Commander, Undersea Surveillance. They are deployed under the Operational Control (OPCON) of the Theater ASW Commanders, CTF 84 and CTF 12. Civilian technicians who operate and maintain the mission equipment man the SURTASS Operations Center (SOC), the nerve center of the ship. When operating with tactical forces, military detachments are embarked for onboard analysis and direct reporting to fleet units. A SURTASS mission consists of 60 days on station while towing an array of hydrophones that collect acoustic data.
The ships are homeported at Little Creek, Virginia; Anacortes [Whidbey Island], Washington; and Port Hueneme, California. When operating independently as in a deep ocean surveillance mission, acoustic data is transmitted to shore via satellite for analysis and reporting. SURTASS ships have proudly operated throughout the world supporting the Undersea Warfare/Anti-Submarine-Warfare mission of all five numbered fleets of the U.S. Navy.
A contract for the first SWATH ship, T-AGOS 19, was awarded in November 1986, and options for the next three were exercised in October 1988.
The Small Waterplane Twin Hull (SWATH) T-AGOS is the second generation class of T-AGOS ships. There are currently four ships in this class. The key feature of the SWATH design is the pair of large submerged hulls. These provide good stability and sea-keeping capability, a more stable tow point, and a more hospitable platform for extended missions.
Comparisons of characteristics show the first SWATHs of the T-AGOS 19 class to be slightly longer than the monohulls, but with much larger effective beams. The "box" atop the hull struts has a breadth of 80 ft compared to a beam of 43 ft for the monohulls. Displacement is greater but transit speed (sustained speed) at 9.6 knots is comparable to the monohulls (11 kts). The draft at 24 ft 9 inches is considerably deeper than the monohulls.
Other features of the SWATH include a "stinger" projection from the fantail for a towpoint, and the location of the aft winch/ship control station. The winch house is mounted over the water, aft of the backdeck work area. This location as well as the towpoint stinger are required because of the position of the twin propellers at the ends of the submerged hulls and well aft of the fantail. This arrangement requires a great deal of care in deployment and retrieval to avoid fouling of the propellers and damage to the array or tow cable.
T-AGOS 20 has conducted trials with a Reduced Diameter Array (RDA) with an enhanced signal processor. The Low Frequency Active component is producing both mono and bistatic performance against submerged diesel submarines in shallow water. Short thin-line twin arrays are also being developed.
The USNS Loyal T-AGOS 22 surveillance ship monitored the final radio transmission of the Kursk, the doomed Russian nuclear submarine. Loyal was positioned about 300 kilometers west-northwest of the Kursk in the Barents Sea when it intercepted the radio request for permission to continue the sub's torpedo-firing run during Russian naval exercises. The Loyal also monitored the commander's response: "Permission granted." But instead of the sound of torpedoes, US submarines working with the Loyal heard two explosions that tore open the Kursk and killed the 118 men on board.
On 16 August 2000 the Military Sealift Command awarded a three-year contract for more than $108 million to Maersk Line, Limited of Norfolk, VA, to operate and maintain all 14 MSC-owned Auxiliary General Ocean Surveillance T-AGOS class ships. The fourteen ships support four Department of Defense programs: the Navy's Surveillance Towed Array Sensor System (SURTASS) operations; Navy, Atlantic Fleet and U.S. Coast Guard counter drug initiatives; and the Air Force Electronic Systems Command's radar missile tracking system.
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