Skip to comments.The FReeper Foxhole Studies Ship Naming in the United States Navy - June 27th, 2003
Posted on 06/27/2003 3:11:23 AM PDT by snippy_about_it
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The Navy traces its ancestry to 13 October 1775, when an act of the Continental Congress authorized the first ship of a new navy for the United Colonies, as they were then known. The ships of the Continental Navy, and of the Navy later established under the Federal Constitution, were not named in any strictly categorical manner.
Ship names in the Continental Navy and the early Federal navy came from a variety of sources. As if to emphasize the ties that many Americans still felt to Britain, the first ship of the new Continental Navy was named Alfred in honor of Alfred the Great, the king of Wessex who is credited with building the first English naval force. Another ship was named Raleigh to commemorate the seagoing exploits of Sir Walter Raleigh. Some ships honored early patriots and heroes (Hancock and General Greene). Others commemorated the young nation's ideals and institutions (Constitution, Independence, Congress). A 74-gun ship-of-the-line, launched in 1782 and donated to the French Navy on completion, was named America. A Revolutionary War frigate named Bourbon saluted the King of France, whose alliance would further the cause of American independence. Other ship names honored American places (Boston, Virginia). Small warships-- brigs and schooners--bore a variety of names. Some were named for positive character traits (Enterprise, Diligent). Others had classical names (Syren, Argus) or names of small creatures with a potent sting (Hornet, Wasp).
On 3 March 1819 an act of Congress formally placed the responsibility for assigning names to the Navy's ships in the hands of the Secretary of the Navy, a prerogative which he still exercises. This act stated that "all of the ships, of the Navy of the United States, now building, or hereafter to be built, shall be named by the Secretary of the Navy, under the direction of the President of the United States, according to the following rule, to wit: those of the first class shall be called after the States of this Union; those of the second class after the rivers; and those of the third class after the principal cities and towns; taking care that no two vessels of the navy shall bear the same name." The last-cited provision remains in the United States Code today.
An act of 12 June 1858 specifically included the word "steamship" in the ship type nomenclature, and officially defined the "classes" of ships in terms of the number of their guns. Ships armed with 40 guns or more were of the "first class"; those carrying fewer than 40, but more than 20, guns were of the "second class." The name source for the second class was expanded to include the principal towns as well as rivers. The unprecedented expansion of the fleet during the Civil War was reflected--as far as ship naming was concerned--in an act of 5 August 1861, which authorized the Secretary of the Navy "to change the names of any vessels purchased for use of the Navy Department..." This provision also remains in current law.
Shortly before the turn of this century the legislation was changed to reflect the remarkable changes taking place in the Navy itself as wooden hulls, sails, and muzzleloading ordnance gave way to steel ships with breechloading rifles. An act of May 4, 1898, specified that "all first-class battleships and monitors [shallow-draft coast-defense ships completed between 1891 and 1903, armed with heavy guns] shall be named for the States, and shall not be named for any city, place, or person, until the names of the States have been exhausted, provided that nothing herein contained shall be construed as to interfere with the names of states already assigned to any such battleship or monitor."
As with many other things, the procedures and practices involved in Navy ship naming are as much, if not more, products of evolution and tradition than of legislation. As we have seen, the names for new ships are personally decided by the Secretary of the Navy. The Secretary can rely on many sources to help him reach his decisions. Each year, the Naval Historical Center compiles primary and alternate ship name recommendations and forwards these to the Chief of Naval Operations by way of the chain of command. These recommendations are the result of research into the history of the Navy and by suggestions submitted by service members, Navy veterans, and the public.
Ship name source records at the Historical Center reflect the wide variety of name sources that have been used in the past, particularly since World War I. Ship name recommendations are conditioned by such factors as the name categories for ship types now being built, as approved by the Secretary of the Navy; the distribution of geographic names of ships of the Fleet; names borne by previous ships which distinguished themselves in service; names recommended by individuals and groups; and names of naval leaders, national figures, and deceased members of the Navy and Marine Corps who have been honored for heroism in war or for extraordinary achievement in peace.
In its final form, after consideration at the various levels of command, the Chief of Naval Operations signs the memorandum recommending names for the current year's building program and sends it to the Secretary of the Navy. The Secretary considers these nominations, along with others he receives as well as his own thoughts in this matter. At appropriate times, he selects names for specific ships and announces them.
While there is no set time for assigning a name, it is customarily done before the ship is christened. The ship's sponsor--the person who will christen the ship--is also selected and invited by the Secretary. In the case of ships named for individuals, an effort is made to identify the eldest living direct female descendant of that individual to perform the role of ship's sponsor. For ships with other name sources, it is customary to honor the wives of senior naval officers or public officials.
While the Navy has attempted to be systematic in naming its ships, like all institutions it has been subject to evolutionary change, and the name sources of the Navy's ships have not been immune to this change. Thus, an historical accounting of this evolution, as it appeared in modern times, may help the reader understand the ship naming process as it exists today.
The Civil War expanded the Navy to an extent undreamed of in prewar times. More than 200 new ships were built, and another 418 were purchased for naval use. Ironclads, including monitors, and shallow-draft river steamers fell into new classification categories, and their naming reflected the abrupt pace of growth. Names like Hartford and Brooklyn, Ticonderoga and Monongahela mingled with Trefoil, Stars and Stripes, Penguin, and Western World. Many ships, including gunboats and monitors, bore names of American Indian origin, such as Owasco, Sagamore, Saugus, and Onondaga.
Photographed circa early 1865.
Nearest ship is USS Saugus, with a mine sweeping "torpedo rake" attached to her bow. Next monitor astern is probably USS Sangamon. Visible just to the right of her is either USS Mahopac or USS Canonicus. Last two ships are USS Atlanta and USS Onondaga.
Photographed by the Matthew Brady organization.
Note the log boom across the river in the foreground and the signal tower atop the hill in the right distance.
Four big monitors, laid down but never completed, were given such tongue-twisters as Shackamaxon and Quinsigamond. A large oceangoing ironclad was, fittingly enough, named New Ironsides. Ships acquired for Navy use were known by such strange names as Hunchback, Midnight, and Switzerland. In 1869 one Secretary of the Navy, who disliked the Indian names borne by so many Navy ships, renamed a large number of them, substituting names from classical antiquity such as Centaur, Medusa, Goliath, and Atlas. A few months later, his successor changed most of the names back again!
As the "new Navy," the generation of steel ships that would mature into the fleet of the 20th century, took form the Navy's new ships were named in accordance with what evolved into a new system, tailored to the new ship types now developing. There came to be--then, as now--some duplication in use of name sources for different ship types. Names of states, for example, were borne by battleships; by armored cruisers (large, fast warships as big as, or bigger than, contemporary battleships but more lightly protected and armed with cruiser-caliber guns), and monitors (small coast-defense ships armed with heavy guns). As battleship construction went on through the early 1900s, state names began to run short. The law stated that battleships had to bear state names; to comply with this, monitors and armored cruisers were renamed for cities within their respective name states to free the names of their states for assignment to new battleships. The monitors Florida and Nevada, for instance, became Tallahassee and Tonopah, while the armored cruisers Maryland and West Virginia became Frederick and Huntington. By 1920, state names were the sole preserve of battleships.
USS Florida (BB-30)
In 1894 the famed Civil War sloop-of-war Kearsarge ran aground in the Caribbean and had to be written off as unsalvageable. There was so much affection for that ship in the Fleet that the Secretary of the Navy asked Congress to permit her name to be perpetuated by a new battleship. This was done, and Kearsarge (Battleship Number 5) became the only American battleship not to be named for a state.
From the 1880s on, cruisers were named for cities while destroyers--evolving from the steam torpedo boats built around the turn of the century--came to be named for American naval leaders and heroes, as today's destroyers are still named. Submarines began to enter the Fleet in 1900. The first was named Holland in honor of John Holland, submarine designer and builder. Later submarines were, at first, given such names as Grampus, Salmon, and Porpoise, but were also named for venomous and stinging creatures, such as Adder, Tarantula, and Viper. Submarines were renamed in 1911, however, and carried alpha- numeric names such as A-1, C-1, H-3, L-7, and the like until 1931, when "fish and denizens of the deep" once more became their name source. In 1931, existing ships were not renamed.
World War I sparked unprecedented naval ship construction, principally in destroyers and submarines, to protect a massive sealift effort--the "bridge of ships"--across the Atlantic to Europe. Additionally, the development of mine warfare necessitated the introduction of a new type of ship, the minesweeper. A new type of ship required a new name source. The then-Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Franklin D. Roosevelt, took a keen interest in amateur ornithology. This led him to select bird names as the name source for these new ships, and "F.D.R." signed the General Order assigning names to the first 36 ships of the Lapwing class. The ships that bore these colorful names served as the backbone of the Navy's mine force for the next quarter century; many earned honors in World War II.
Between the World Wars the Navy's first aircraft carriers came into service. Our first carrier, converted from the collier Jupiter, was Langley (CV 1), named in honor of aviation pioneer Samuel Pierpont Langley. Our next two carriers were built on the unfinished hulls of battle cruisers, two of a canceled class of six fast capital ships which had already been assigned the names of American battles and famous former Navy ships. These new carriers kept their original names, Lexington and Saratoga. The original battle-cruiser name source continued as Ranger, Yorktown, Enterprise, Wasp, and Hornet entered service between 1934 and 1941, and was carried on through World War II and into the postwar years.
As World War II approached, and ship construction programs began to include new types of ships, these required new name sources; others required a modification of existing name sources to meet a perceived shortage of "appropriate" names. Minesweepers were now being built and converted in large numbers. Perhaps fearing an exhaustion of suitable bird names, the Navy also used "general word classification" names such as Adept, Bold, and Agile, for new sweepers. This began a dual naming tradition that extended beyond World War II. Modern mine countermeasures ships are intended to detect and destroy all types of mines; they bear such names as Avenger, Guardian, and Dextrous. Coastal minehunters, similar in concept but designed for use in coastal waters, carry bird names (Osprey, Raven). Some hundreds of small seagoing minesweepers, built during World War II, were at first known only by their hull numbers. After the war, those remaining in the Fleet were reclassified and given bird names; thus, the wartime YMS 311 became Robin (AMS 53).
A new ship type, the destroyer escort (DE), retained the name source of its "parent" ship type, the destroyer. Most of these mass-produced antisubmarine patrol and escort ships were named in honor of members of the naval service killed in action in World War II. Some were named for destroyers lost in the early stages of that war.
USS England was named in honor of Ensign John Charles England, USNR, who was killed in action on board USS Oklahoma (BB-37) during the 7 December 1941 Pearl Harbor air raid.
Ships lost in wartime were normally honored by having their names reassigned to new construction. Names like Lexington, Yorktown, Atlanta, Houston, Triton and Shark were perpetuated in memory of lost ships and gallant crews. Unique among these names bestowed in honor of lost ships was Canberra, assigned to a heavy cruiser in honor of the Australian cruiser Canberra, sunk while operating with American warships during the Battle of Savo Island in August 1942. This was seen to be an appropriate exception to the custom of naming cruisers for American cities.
During World War II the names of individuals were once again assigned to aircraft carriers. A small fleet carrier (CVL 49), converted from a cruiser hull, was named Wright in honor of the Wright brothers, while a large aircraft carrier (CVB 42) of the Midway class was named Franklin D. Roosevelt soon after the President's death in the spring of 1945. That name was suggested to then-President Harry S. Truman by Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal, who would himself later be honored in the naming of our first "supercarrier," Forrestal (CVA 59). Franklin D. Roosevelt was the first aircraft carrier to be named for an American statesman; Franklin and Hancock, wartime Essex-class fleet carriers, honored the former Navy ships of those names and not, as many think, the statesmen themselves. A new Langley (CVL 27) honored our first aircraft carrier, lost in the opening months of war in the Pacific.
Amphibious warfare, long considered a minor function by navies, assumed major importance in World War II. An entirely new "family" of ships and craft was developed for the massive landing operations in Europe and the Pacific. Many types of landing ships did not receive "word" names, but were simply known by their hull numbers (LST 806 and LCI(G) 580). Attack cargo ships and attack transports carried landing craft to put cargo and troops ashore on a beachhead. Many of these were named for American counties (Alamance [AKA 75]; Hinsdale [APA 120]). Some early APAs, converted from conventional troopships, kept their former names (Leonard Wood, President Hayes); many AKAs were named for stars (Achernar) or constellations (Cepheus). Dock landing ships, seagoing ships with a large well deck for landing craft or vehicles, bore names of historic sites (Gunston Hall, Rushmore). Modern LSDs are still part of today's Fleet, and carry on this name source (Fort McHenry, Pearl Harbor). After World War II the remaining tank landing ships (LST) were given names of American counties; thus, the hitherto-unnamed LST 819 now became Hampshire County (LST 819).
USS TARAWA (LHA-1)
As naval technology advanced after World War II, the fleet began to evolve much as it had after the Civil War. Old ship types left the Navy's roster as new types emerged. Nuclear power and guided missiles spurred much of this change. The first nuclear-powered guided-missile cruiser, Long Beach, was the last cruiser to be named for a city in traditional fashion.
The next cruisers, also nuclear-powered missile ships, were given state names and became the California and Virginia classes. We had built no battleships since World War II, and these new ships were seen to be, in a sense, their successors as the most powerful surface warships afloat.
Nuclear-powered fleet ballistic missile submarines, built to carry the Polaris strategic deterrent missile, began to go into commission in the early 1960s. These were rightly regarded as ships without precedent. Thus, a name source of their own was deemed appropriate. Our first ballistic missile submarine was named George Washington, and the rest of the "41 for freedom" bore the names of "famous Americans and others who contributed to the growth of democracy." Some of these submarines were later reclassified as conventional attack submarines under the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT) agreements. Though they lost their missile capability, they continued to bear such names as Patrick Henry and Ethan Allen. The newest Trident missile submarines of the Ohio class bear state names, one of the name sources originally considered for the first Polaris submarines. One of the class, Henry M. Jackson, honors a legislator who had a strong share in shaping American defense programs.
USS Ethan Allen (SSBN-608)
Into the mid-1970s attack submarines continued to be named for sea creatures, though a few were named for such legislators as Richard B. Russell and L. Mendel Rivers. Ships of the more recent Los Angeles class bear the names of American cities. One exception, Hyman G. Rickover, honors the man who has been called "the father of the nuclear Navy." The new Seawolf class has departed from this scheme, with Seawolf representing a "denizen of the deep" and Connecticut named for the state; the third ship of the class has not yet been named.
After World War II aircraft carriers were given a mix of such traditional carrier names as Ranger, Saratoga, and Coral Sea and names of individuals. The first of these, as we have seen, was Franklin D. Roosevelt, later followed by Forrestal and John F. Kennedy. All the ships of the current Nimitz class bear the names of such national figures as Theodore Roosevelt, George Washington, and Ronald Reagan.
The names of American battles have been perpetuated by the newest class of guided missile cruisers. The first of these was Ticonderoga; twenty later ships of this class honor actions fought from the Revolution to World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. One ship is named Thomas S. Gates for a statesman who served as Secretary of the Navy and Secretary of Defense.
Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers continue the tradition of honoring naval leaders and heroes. There are the typical exceptions; Roosevelt (DDG 80) was named in honor of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, while Winston Churchill honors the great war leader of World War II. Some destroyers bear names of recent heroes, while others carry on the traditions of distinguished former ships of the same name.
The Navy is not only made up of combatant ships. Throughout its history it has depended on its auxiliary ships, a generic term used in referring to the many different types of ships used to support the Fleet. Auxiliary ship types are numerous and varied, and display many different name sources. Submarine tenders, for instance, are "mother ships" to submarine squadrons and bear the names of submarine pioneers (Simon Lake, Hunley, Holland). Ammunition ship names are names of volcanoes or words denoting fire and explosives (Suribachi, Pyro). Fleet tugs, big seagoing ships capable of rescue and firefighting as well as towing, bear American Indian names (Powhatan, Navajo), while salvage ships have names indicating salvage (Safeguard, Grasp). Ocean surveying ships have been named for individuals who distinguished themselves in ocean sciences or exploration (Maury, Wilkes, Bowditch); the name of one, Pathfinder, points to its role at sea. Oilers, large tankers fitted to refuel other ships at sea, are named for rivers (Monongahela, Patuxent) or for famous ship designers or builders (Joshua Humphreys, Benjamin Isherwood). Fast combat support ships provide fuel, ammunition, and other supplies to aircraft carrier battle groups. The newest class of these ships honors the names of honored supply ships of former years (Supply, Arctic).
USS Mt. Hood
How will the Navy name its ships in the future? It seems safe to say that the evolutionary process of the past will continue; as the Fleet itself changes, so will the names given to its ships. It seems equally safe, however, to say that future decisions in this area will continue to demonstrate regard for the rich history and valued traditions of the United States Navy.
29 September 1997
This ceremony continues a tradition some three centuries old, observed by navies around the world, and by our own Navy since December 1775, when Alfred, the first ship of the Continental Navy, was commissioned at Philadelphia. Once in commission, the commanding officer and crew are entrusted with the privilege, and the responsibility, of maintaining their ships readiness in peace, and of conducting successful operations at sea in time of war.
No written procedure for commissioning was laid down in our Navys early days, but the act of commissioning was familiar, derived from established British naval custom. Commissionings were simple military ceremonies. The prospective commanding officer came on board, called the crew to quarters, and formally read the orders appointing him to command. He then ordered the ensign and the commissioning pennant hoisted; at that moment the ship went into commission, and the first entry in the ships deck log recorded this. First logs from a sizable number of early Navy ships did not survive and, since commissionings were not surrounded by any public fanfare, they were not written up in the press. We thus cannot know exactly when many of the Navys first ships were first commissioned; all that can sometimes be known is when a particular ship first put to sea.
The commissioning pennant is the distinguishing mark of a commissioned Navy ship. A commissioning pennant is a long streamer in some version of the national colors of the Navy that flies it. The American pennant is blue at the hoist, bearing seven white stars; the rest of the pennant consists of single longitudinal stripes of red and white. The pennant is flown at all times as long as a ship is in commissioned status, except when a flag officer or civilian official is embarked and flies his personal flag in its place.
Ships' commissioning programs often include a story about the origin of the commissioning pennant. As it goes, during the first of three 17th-century Anglo-Dutch naval wars (1652-54) the Dutch Admiral Maarten Tromp put to sea with a broom at his masthead, symbolizing his intention to sweep the English from the sea. His British opponent, Admiral Robert Blake, two-blocked a coachwhip to show his determination to whip the Dutch fleet. Blake won; in commemoration of his victory a streamerlike pennant, called a "coachwhip pennant" from its long, narrow form, became the distinguishing mark of naval ships.
This is an interesting anecdote. As with so many other stories, though, nothing has ever been found to prove it. Researchers in England have tried to verify the tale, but without success. The actual origin of the commissioning pennant appears to be a bit more prosaic.
Narrow pennants of this kind go back several thousand years. They appear in ancient Egyptian art, and were flown from ships' mastheads and yardarms from, at least, the Middle Ages; they appear in medieval manuscript illustrations and Renaissance paintings. Professional national navies began to take form late in the 17th Century. All ships at that time were sailing ships, and it was often difficult to tell a naval ship from a merchantman at any distance. Navies began to adopt long, narrow pennants, to be flown by their ships at the mainmast head to distinguish themselves from merchant ships. This became standard naval practice.
Earlier American commissioning pennants bore 13 white stars in their blue hoist. A smaller 7-star pennant was later introduced for use in the bows of captains' gigs, and was flown by the first small submarines and destroyers. This principle even carried over into the national ensign; bigger ships flew the conventional flag of their time, while small boats used a 13-star "boat flag" which was also flown by early submarines and destroyers since the standard Navy ensigns of that day were too big for them. The 13 stars in boat flags and in earlier pennants doubtless commemorated the original 13 states of the Union. The reason behind the use of 7 stars is less obvious, and was not recorded, though the number 7 has positive connotations in Jewish and Christian symbology. On the other hand, it may simply have been an aesthetic choice on the part of those who specified the smaller number.
Until the early years of this century flags and pennants were quite large, as is seen in period pictures of naval ships. By 1870, for example, the largest Navy pennant had an 0.52-foot hoist (the maximum width) and a 70-foot length, called the fly; the biggest ensign at that time measured 19 by 36 feet.
As warships took on distinctive forms and could no longer be easily mistaken for merchantmen, flags and pennants continued to be flown, but began to shrink to a fraction of their earlier size. This process was accelerated by the proliferation of electronic antennas through the 20th Century. The biggest commissioning pennant now has a 2.5-inch hoist and a 6-foot fly, while the largest shipboard ensign for daily service use is 5 feet by 9 feet 6 inches (larger "holiday ensigns" are flown on special occasions).
10 April 2001
Visiting the Troops
A soldier with the 101st Airborne Division escorts chlidren from the Alquosh Orphanage across the field sight in Mosul, Iraq, June 17. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Luis Lazzara
Children of the Alquosh Orphanage spend a day with 3rd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) in Mosul, Iraq, June 17. During their visit they were given a tour of the field site, and time to meet and play with the soldiers. The soldiers took time to show the children their regular physical training program, and allow them to participate. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Luis Lazzara
Children of the Alquosh Orphanage spend a day with 3rd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) in Mosul, Iraq, June 17. During their visit they were given a tour of the field site, and time to meet and play with the soldiers. Here a soldier plays keep away with the children. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Luis Lazzara
Children of the Alquosh Orphanage spend a day with 3rd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) in Mosul, Iraq, June 17. During their visit they were given a tour of the field site, and time to meet and play with the soldiers. Here a soldier assist one of the children in performing some dips. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Luis Lazzara
Children of the Alquosh Orphanage spend a day with 3rd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) in Mosul, Iraq, June 17. During their visit they were given a tour of the field site, and time to meet and play with the soldiers. Here a soldier plays keep away with the children. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Luis Lazzara
Children of the Alquosh Orphanage spend a day with 3rd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) in Mosul, Iraq, June 17. During their visit they were given a tour of the field site, and time to meet and play with the soldiers. This little boy runs around to all the soldiers, salutes them and thanks them for their time. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Luis Lazzara
Children of the Alquosh Orphanage tour and exercise with troops from the 3rd Battalion 502nd Infantry Regiment 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) June 17 in Mosul, Iraq. This is one of the many ongoing missions of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) during Operation Iraqi Freedom. U.S. Army photo by Spc. Kieran Moore
Children of the Alquosh Orphanage tour a mobile kitchen trailer with troops from the 3rd Battalion 502nd Infantry Regiment 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) June 17 in Mosul, Iraq. This is one of the many ongoing missions of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) during Operation Iraqi Freedom. U.S. Army photo by Spc. Kieran Moore
Wasn't that something! lol. Bureaucracies at work!
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I'm testing out a new idea for the coffee and donuts post. Now when you click on the graphics a list should appear in a new window. You may make your own selections of what you want to hear. Let me know if you like it. Thanks.
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The beginnings of a long, bloody trip
The Tu-95 BEAR was perhaps the most successful bomber produced by the Soviet aviation, enjoying long service in a variety of roles and configurations. It was the only bomber deployed by any country to use turbo-prop engines, which provided extraordinarily long endurance at speeds only slightly less than comparable turbojet-powered heavy bombers.
Development of the TU-95 intercontinental bomber began in the early 1950s after series production of the medium-range TU-4 started.. Initially, several designs were considered, including a modification of the TU-4 and production of a new aircraft with piston engines. Prototypes of these aircraft were developed and tested from 1949 through 1951, it was concluded that bombers with piston engines could not provide adequate performance for the intercontinental attack mission. In March 1951 development of the T-4 intercontinental jet bomber began. However, KB Tupolev did not support the development of a bomber with turbojet engines, believing that the proposed AM-3 jet engines would not provide for the required range of more than 10,000 km. As an alternative, KB Tupolev proposed an aircraft with four turbo-prop engines that would provide a range of more than 13,000 km and speeds of more than 800 km/h at altitudes of 10,000 meters. The aircraft-design was designated as "95".
The design of the wings drew heavily on the experience gathered by Tupolev and the Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute (TSAGI) during the development of the swept wing TU-16. The wings of the "95" were swept back at an angle of 35 degrees, allowing the placement of a large bomb bay behind of the torsion box of the wings' central unit at the aircraft's center of gravity.
The Bear's wings are mid-mounted, swept-back, and tapered with blunt tips. Its engines consist of four turboprops with contrarotating propellers located on the wings. The engine nacelles extend well beyond the wings leading edges. The fuselage of the Bear is tube-shaped with a rounded nose that tapers to the rear. It also has a stepped cockpit and a tail gun compartment. The tail of the aircraft is a fin that is swept-back and tapered with a square tip.
The greatest difficulties during the development were the engines. After studies on different engine combinations and versions, the final design of the aircraft incorporated four turbo-prop engines with a thrust of about 10,000-shp. In the late 1940s, the most powerful turbo-prop engine available was the BK-2 prototype which had significantly less thrust (4800-shp). In the early 1950s OKB-276 N.A. Kuznetsov developed the TV-2 engine and the TV-2F booster engine with a thrust of 6,250-shp. while work on the TV-12 engine with sufficient thrust for the "95" aircraft continued.
After consideration of Tupolev's proposals, on 11 July 1951 the government officially approved the development of the "95" aircraft: Two versions were built, one with eight TV-2F engines coupled through the reduction gearbox in four pusher-tractor tandem pairs, and a second version with four TV-12 engines. N.I. Bazenkov became the chief designer of all subsequent TU-95 versions. When he died in 1975, N.V. Kursanov took over as chief designer, and from the end of the 1980s, D.A. Antonov became head of the program.
In 1952, the first prototype "95/1", equipped with 8 2TV-2F engines, was built at Plant Nr. 156. The reduction gearbox and the four-blade contra-rotating propellers were developed by OKB-120 headed by K.N. Zhdanov. Each pair generated a thrust of 12,000-shp. The first flight of the "95/1" airplane took place on 12 November 1952, but on 11 May 1953 during its' 17th flight the plane crashed and burned due to an engine fire. The second prototype ("95/2"), equipped with TV-12 engines, was completed in June 1954 with a first flight on 16 February 1955. During tests, while carrying a load of 5000 kg, it reached a range of about 15,000 km, a speed of 993 km/h and a ceiling of 11,300 m. Series production of the aircraft -- now designated as TU-95 -- started in January 1956 at Plant Nr. 18 in Kuibyshev, while production tests were still underway.
When the START-1 treaty was signed in 1991, 147 bombers and missile carriers still served in the Russian forces: 84 TU-MS and 63 TU-95K-22, TU-95K and TU-95M. An additional 11 TU-95U were used for training.
After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, one unit of Bear aircraft remained in Ukraine, with twenty three TU-95MS, one TU-95K and one TU-95M aircraft. These aircraft were passed to Ukraine, and were subject to decommissioning under the provisions of the START-1 treaty. A total of 11 strategic bombers and 600 air-launched missiles exchanged by Ukraine to Russia in payment for the gas debt were transfered in mid-February 2000. Two Tu-160 bombers flew from Priluki in the Ukrainian Chernigov region for the Russian air base in Engels. The missiles were sent to Russia by railroad. Three Tu-95MS bombers and six Tu-160 airplanes had already arrived at Engels since October 1999 in fulfilment of the intergovernmental agreements. Before being moved to Russia, 19 Tu-160 airplanes were stationed at the Priluki airfield and 21 Tu-95MS were located in Uzin.
At the time of the breakup of the Soviet Union, thirteen TU-95MS-16 and twenty seven TU- 95MS-6 were based in Kazakhstan. Subsequently, all Bear aircraft located in Kazakhstan were transferred to Russia.
Russian Tu-95 and TU-95MS aircraft are now deployed at two air bases A total of nineteen TU-95MS16 and two TU-MS6, operating in the 121st heavy bomber air regiment, which forms part of the 22nd Air Division that is headquarteed in Engels Air Base in the Moscow region. At the Ukrainka airbase (73th Heavy Bomber Air Division) at Svobodny, there are 16 TU-95MS16 and 26 TU-95MS6 bombers that were redeployed from the Dolon airbase at Semipalatinsk in Kazakhstan. The TU-95K-22 bombers are subject to decommisioning. In early 1997 five TU-95K-22 were decommissioned and re-equipped in Zngyelse, and five at the Ryazan training center. Eight TU-95 are located at the flight-test institute in at Zhukovskiy [Ramenskoye], and one TU-95K aircraft serves as a static display in Ryazan.
The TU-95MS, constructed in in the middle and early 1990s, will be operational until 2010 and 2015. Russia is currently working on a new air-to-surface missile to replace the existing Kh-55.
In late June 1999 two TU-95 Bear bombers flew within striking distance of the United States as part of Moscow's largest military exercises since the end of the Cold War. The bombers were intercepted by four US F-15 fighters and a P-3 patrol plane near Iceland and escorted in a clockwise flight around the island. The Bears, and two Blackjacks, were from the Donbass Red Banner 22nd heavy bomber division based at Engels Air Base east of Moscow. They initially flew acoss the central Norwegian Sea. When they got about halfway across, the Blackjacks split off from the Bears and flew along the Norwegian coastline.
On 16 September 1999 a pair of Russian Tu-95 Bear bombers were detected by the US Air Force headed toward the Alaska coast. U.S. fighter jets were sent to intercept the aircraft which had been caught on radar. Air Force officials said both bombers turned before crossing into US airspace and about 90 miles from the approaching fighters. The Soviet Union regularly tested U.S. air defenses by flying toward Alaska during the Cold War, but this was the first time the Air Force had documented it happening since March 1993
Primary Function: Multi-role strategic aircraft
Contractor: Tupolev Design Bureau
Powerplant: Four Kuznetsov NK-12MV turboprops, 14,795 shp each
Length: 162 ft 5 in (49.5 m)
Wingspan: 167 ft 8 in (51.1 m)
Height: 39 ft 9 in (12.12 m)
Empty: 198,415 lb
Maximum Takeoff: 414,470 lb
Speed: 575 mph (925 km/h)
Ceiling: 39,370 ft (12000 m)
Range: 7,800 miles (12,550 km)
Up to Six Am-23 (23mm) guns in up to 3 installations
Up to 16 cruise missiles
Various conventional and nuclear bombs up to 12.000kg total load.
All photos Copyright of Federation of American Scientists
You got that right, Sam. Pity the poor sailors who would be stationed aboard such a vessel.
'Course they could always use a blue dress on their logo and also as their commissioning pennant. Open channels to all intelligence data. The list could go on and on but that takes away from the theme of this thread so I'll shut up now. :)
Good Morning DD.
LOL! I think that's a great idea!
I served in the USS Piedmont (AD-17), a Destroyer Tender.
AD's were named after geographical regions of the US. The PIEDMONT was a Dixie class tender. There were three AD's operating within out of San Diego during my era. The DIXIE, PRAIRIE, and PIEDMONT. Each took a rotation 6 month WESTPAC cruise, followed by 9 months in our homeport.
A late 60's built AD, the SAMUEL GOMPERS, was I believe the first AD to bear a name of an individual vs. a geographical area.
My former "home"...