fighting ships of the world



SKIPJACK nuclear powered submarines (1959 - 1961)

Skipjack 1963

Scamp 1976

Skipjack 1990

No Name Yard No Builder Laid down Launched Comm Fate
SSN585 Skipjack 148 Electric Boat, Groton 29/5/1956 26/5/1958 15/4/1959 stricken 4/1990
SSN588 Scamp   Mare Island N Yd, Vallejo 23/1/1959 8/10/1960 5/6/1961 stricken 4/1988
SSN589 Scorpion 150 Electric Boat, Groton 20/8/1958 19/12/1959 29/7/1960 lost 21-27/5/1968
SSN590 Sculpin 1064 Ingalls, Pascagoula 3/2/1958 31/3/1960 1/6/1961 stricken 3/1990
SSN591 Shark 545 Newport News SB 24/2/1958 16/3/1960 9/2/1961 stricken 9/1990
SSN592 Snook 1065 Ingalls, Pascagoula 7/4/1958 31/10/1960 24/10/1961 stricken 11/1986


Displacement standard, t


Displacement normal, t

3070 / 3500

Length, m

75.0 wl 76.8 oa

Breadth, m


Draught, m


No of shafts



SSN585: 2 sets Westinghouse geared steam turbines, 1 Westinghouse S5W nuclear reactor

SSN588 - 592: 2 sets General Electric geared steam turbines, 1 Westinghouse S5W nuclear reactor

Power, h. p.


Max speed, kts

15 / 29

Fuel, t


Endurance, nm (kts) practically unlimited


6 - 533 Mk 59 TT (bow, 24)


BPS-12 radar, BQS-4A, BQR-2B, SQS-49 sonars, WLR-1 ECM suite



Diving depth operational, m



Ship project history: These six ships were essentially nuclear equivalents of the Barbels, benefitting from the Albacore hull form and also introducing the S5W reactor and single-hull construction to US SSNs. They were the fastest submarines in the US service until the appearance of the Los Angeles class, and they formed the basis of the George Washington class SSBNs. A single propeller shaft precluded the installation of stern torpedo tubes, so that they are limited to six bow tubes. Although they do not have the bow sonar or SUBROC of later US submarines, they continue to be highly regarded, and projects for Skipjack sonar improvement were considered during the 1960s.

    Scorpion was laid down twice: at first her keel was laid down 1/11/1957 but later she was renumbered SSBN598 and became the ballistic missile submarine George Washington. The second SSN589 was laid down 20/8/1958 and became Scorpion.

Modernizations: None.

Naval service: Scorpion was lost with all hands in May 1968 in 400nm SW of the Azores while en route from the Mediterranean to Norfolk. Her last reported position was ~50nm S of Azores 21/5/1968. Six days later she was reported overdue at Norfolk and declared 'presumed lost' 5/6/1968.

Sculpin 1965

Scamp 1976

Ivan Gogin, 2015