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YoI.-e 9 Issue 100

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Q Aerospace Publishing Ltd 1985 Weapons Wu II
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From the tranquil calm of a Meditenanean summer to the
awesome force of an Atlantic winte4 NATO mariners are
accustomed, to tuinvited gtests joining their exercises. One requisite for any sailor aboard a
Soviet AGI is not to sufter from sea-
Whether in smaLl trawler-derived vessels or in large space sicknesg as lfi is Moma demonsfra les
research ships, the gathering of naval intelligence has as shewatches thewarships HMS
Tiger and theRFA Tidepool durmg
become a major preoccupation of the Soviet narry, the I 974 NATO exercise'Northern
recfutrocated to a certain extent by a number of other nauies. Merger'.

Although thrs rs the age of satellite-based reconnatssance systems, there They now rely on this type of work to be performed by the Project
is still a need for the rntelligence-gathering ship to ply its trade off foreign Holystone nuclear submarines and by aircraft, However, they do remain
shores. Such shrps are now divided into-two categories: the authentic interested rn the research type vessel as shown by the recent conver-
'spyship', or rntelhgence-qathering auxiliary (AGI) to give the type its sion of the USNS Obsewation 1s/and to carry the 'Cobra Judy' suweili-
correct name, which is covered wrth various aerials and antennae to ance radar. One exception to this has been the buildrng of the SURTASS-
gather signal and electronic intelligence data; and the more respectable equipped ships of the 'Stalwart' class to complement the SOSUS network
civilian research vessels of the space event type, which although tasked around the coasts of the USA.
with genuine peaceful missions are in fact .engaged on occasion in Those other countries which operate these vessels (such as France,
obtaining useful information on foreigm military misslle tests. China and some of the Warsaw Pact nations) tend to use either one or
in the Soviet Union there is no real distinctron between the two other of the categories but not both. Surprisingly, of the NATO nations
categories as all military and civilian shlps of whatever class are oper- only West Germany uses AGIs, the others relying on warships, sub-
ated as part of the Soviet Ocean Surveillance System (SOSS) while the marrnes and speciaily configmred aircraft to do the job.
space event units also perform additional military tasks such as relaying
Originally converted from a tanker design, ffie US/V,S Redstone ilrsf seryed as a
communlcations, The Americans in contrast have lost interest in the AGi tracking and communication vessel for the Apollo moon programme. Sfteiras
following the attack on the USStrlberly durlng the 1967 Arab-lsraeli war since been assrgn e d to the U SA.F E as ter n S pace M is sile C en ter atPa tr ick AFB
and the seizinq ol the USSPueblo by the North Koreans a lew years later, inFlorida.

198 I
'Henri Poincar6' class
Tne Henri Poincar6 is the sole ship of ri Poincare's chief mission is to monitor the flagr officer-in-charge rn controlling tasks she has a hangar and fliqhtdeck
her type and the flagship of Force M, and measure the trajectory ofthe SSBS the naval and air elements in the test aft for either tvro A6rospatiale SA321
the French naval test and measure- (lRBMs) and MSBS (SLBMS) fired from zone, particularly in the final descent Super Frelon heavylift or up to five
ment group, which takes measure- the experimental station at Landes (or and recovery phases, A6rospatiale Alouette IIl light com-
ments and conducts expedments as from missile-carryinq submarines) in Built origrnally as an ltalian tanker, municationVtransport hellcopters.
requested by the nalry or any other order to compute their fliqht charac- lhe Henri Poincar6 was reconstructed
organization, civil or military, The Hen- teristics, especially in the re-entry and at Brest between 1964 and 1967, a Specification
rnpact stages. Durtng such tests the second major reflt following between 'Henri Poincar6'class
The Henri Poincarel's Henri Poincar5 also acts as the ranqte 1979 and 1980 to update her electronic Displacement: 19, 500 tons standard
theflagshipof Group safety and command ship by assisting systems. These include one Savoie and 24,000 tons full load
M, the Frenchnavy's and two Gascogne tracking radars, a Dimensions: lenqth 180,0 m (590.6 ft);
fesf andmeasurement fully automatic tracking station, celes- beam22,2m(72.8 ft); draught9,4 m
unif, and ri responsible tial position-ixing equipment, a cine- (30.8 ft)
formonitoring the camera-equipped theodolite, infra- Propulsion: one geared steam tubine
FrenclrSSBSandMSBS red tracking systems, Trarsit naviga- delivering 7457 kW (10,000 hp) to one
stra tegicmr'ssile tesfs tional and Syracuse satellite com- shaft
so that parameters municatrons systems, meteorologncal Speed: 15 kts
suchasCEPand and oceanogrraphic equipment, a data Aircraft: tvrio A6rospatiale SA32 1
warhead collection and collation system, and Super Frelon or up to five A6rospatiale
characteristics can be hull-mounted sonar. For the vertical Alouette lll helicopters
determined. replenishment and communications Armament:none
M* __ Electronics: navigation radars plus
itemsmentioned in the text
Complement: 223

il ii)u"r, wang' class

Fust seen during the May 1980 ICBM periodic HF antennae (fore and aft) Chinese Academy ofSciences also has Specification
test series in the central Pacific, the shaped like 'flsh-sprnes', two small mis- a fleet of research ships sailing under 'YuanWang'class
Yuan Wang' class of satellite- and mis- sile{racking radars and several preci- the name'Xiang Yang Hong' (East rs Displacement: 17, 100 tons standard
siie-trackrng ships rs an important part sion theodolite optical trackinq direc- Red) and individual numbers, These and 21,000 tons fu1l]oad
cf China's space technologry and mis- tor stations. There are also several vessels are capable of a wrde variety Dimensions: lengrth 190.0 m (623.4 ft);
sile-testing programme, The two ves- additional positions avarlable for the of duties including general oceano- beam 22,6 m (74. I ft); drausht 7,5 m
sels, the Yuan Wang I andYuanWang later installation of eguipment, For ver- graphic, upper atmosphere, missile (24,6 ft)
2. were built by the Jiangnan Shipyard tical replenishment and personnel and satellite research, and also hyd- Propulsion: one diesel poweri ng one
at Shanghai and commissioned in 1979. transfer there is a large helicopter rometeorolog-y, Further vessels of an shaft
For their tracking and monttoring deck located aft, but thrs lacks hangar 'lmproved Yuan Wang'class are ex- Speed:20 kts
duties they carry a large parabolic facilities. A helicopter type known to pected to be built in the near future as Aircraft: helicopter landing deck only
tracking antenna amtdships, two log- use the deck rs the heavyJift A6rospa- the Chinese space proetramme Armament:none
tiale SA32 1 Super Frelon, A bow thrus- gathers momentum towards the even- Electronics: navigation radars plus
Tlre Yuan Wang clas s was fir st ter and retractable fin stabrlizers are tual launch of a manned spacecraft. items mentioned rn the text
obsewed during the I 980 Chinese fitted for station-keepinqr and stability Such vessels will then assume the com- Complement:300-400
ICBM tests in the central Pacific. They in rouqh seas. mulications relay role as well as the
have a large helicopter landing To support these vessels the curent tasks. I

' I "

E :it5Hi("ndor I' class

T-wo of a number of 'Kondor I' inshore offshore near highly sensitive West airspace in order to triqger air- 320 tons full load
mnesweeper class conversions, the German and Danish military rnstalla- defence systems into revealing oper- Dimensions: Ienqth 52,0 m (170.6 ft);
pair of 'Mod Kondor I' class vessels tions to gather classified signal data ating frequencies and procedures. beam 7.0 m (23,0 ft); draught 2.0 m
produced between 1968 and 1970 are and electronic order-of-battle informa- The ships waiting offshore can thus re- (6 6 ft)
':\e Komet (D42) and Meteor (D43). tion, They have also been known on a cord all the communications and srgnal Propulsion: two dLesels deltvenng
These had ther armament and mrne- number of occasions to appear near trafflc qenerated by the defending sys- 3729 kW (5,000 hp) to two shafts
srieeping qear removed and various neutral Swedish installations and tems, The material gathered is then Speed: l7 kts
sgmal intelhqence (Sigint) and electro- warships on simrlar missions, Very fed into the Soviet intellgence net- Aircraft: none
::rc intelligrence (E[nt) antenna added, often the trips near NATO bases are work for evaluation and companson Armament: SA-7'Grarl' SAMs,
:cgether with a deckhouse aft to co-ordinated wirh East German atr with existing data, and any deviations maclune-gnurs ald small arms
accommodate the associated tecord- force intelligence-gathertng missions or new material are logged for future Electronics: one TSR333 navigation
.rg equipment, The vessels are used by Mikoyan-Gurevtch MiG-21 'Fish- use in an all-out war. radar plus vanous umdentifled Eltnl
',';rth a trawler{ype unit, the Hydro- bed-H' vrsual and electrontc recon- and Siqint systems
:raph (D4I) of the Sovret 'Okean' de- naissance fiqhters and Ilyushin 1l-14 Specification Complement:40
.:Tn to monitor NATO naval exe.rctses 'Crate' Elint platforms; these stmulate 'ModKondor I'class
-: the Baltic, and regularly patrol penetration flight profiles into NATO Displacement: 245 tons standard and

Mod Kondor I'class (continued)

The East Germans converted two of

ffi err'Kondor I' coasfaJ
minesweepers (shown here) into
inte lligence- g athering units by
removing all the sweeping gear and
arm amen t, fi tting various antennad
and m aking sever al sm all changes to
the superstructure. The'Kondor I'
Elint ships work in conjunction with
East German air force aircraft as

f iilIawigator','Baltyk' and'Piast'.
ThePolish navy uses twomodified
'Moma'class survey ships, the
Hydrogrraf and Nawigator, rn tfte
intelligence role in the Baltic to
monitor W es t G erm an, D anish and
Norwegian nava/ exercr'ses and
shore installations for theWarsaw ...---.-.i---
Pact. l..--.-

The two vessels that comprise the posrtrons for four twin 25-mm AA guns, 'Nawigator class unrts are quoted as Armament:fitted for four twin 25-mm
'Nawigator' class, namely the Nawiga- two forward and two aft. Both the masts navigational training ships, but lke AA (not shipped), otherwise SA-7
tor (262) andHydrogra[ (263), and the are fltted with a variety of DF and srg- others are betrayed as to their real role 'Grail' SAMs, machine-gnrns and small
'Piast' class salvage vessels are all nal-intercept antennae, but it is be- by the enormous amount of electronic AIINS
based on the Soviet-desiqned 'Moma' lieved that no real{ime analysis capa- gear fltted, Electronics: trivo RN23 1 navigation
class survey ships. 'Nawigator' and bility is carried. Thus all the data radars plus various unidentified Elint
Prast blass vessels mounl a conspi- obtained have to be recorded for Specification and Sigint systems
cuous lattice mainmast, the 'Nawiga- eventual analysis at a shore siation 'Nawigator'class Complement:60
tors' berng distingn.iished by the addi- fitted with the necessary equipment Displacement: 1,260 tons standard and
rion of two large radomes. one im- and computer systems, AII the in- 1,540 tons full load Like the'Nawigator' class of AGI, the
mediately aft of the bridge atop the Iormation receLved ailer processing is Dimensions: length 6?. 0 m (2 I9.B ft ); 'Piast' class salvagre resse,lrs based
main superstructure and the other atop then fed into the Sovret intelliqence beam 10,5 m (34,4 ft); drausht 4,0 m on the Soviet'Moma' class suwey
the aft superstructure, The Hydrograf network for future use, (13 I ft) ship. Note, however, the absenceof
differs slightly from her sister in havingt There is a third vessel, the 1,200{on Propulsion: two diesels delivering radomes, the one lattice mast and the
a much longer forecastle that is one 'B10' class Baltyk (264), a converted 2685 kW (3,600 hp) to two shafts conspicuous diving bell together
deck higher, Although no armament is trawler which also setves in the AGI Speed: 17 kts with its launching apparatus on the
openly carried at present, there are role with the Polish narry. Both the Aircraft: none port side.
WatchOuf -There's
a5pgAboul weapon capabllittes and tactics. They were
responsible lor flndrng out anything that worild
make the USSR more secure and :he Soviet
naly more e{fec rve. So rhey would observe
how the Britrsh refuelled af sea or how the
Americans handled night carrier landings in
In spiteof the much-vaunted abilities of modern satellite surveillance, thebest bad weather Bul gradually, as Lhe tlinr pro,
method ol obtaining information is actually by seeing something ar by carrying out cess became more sophisricaled, a new breed
close-rangeeavesdropping.Thisisparticularlytrueaf sea, whereeverydetailof of ship wrth greater capabr,.Lres was deman
NATA and US operational procedure is observed by a Soviet navy eager tobypass ded. The modern Soviet AGI is likely io be of
the long and tedious process of working it outforthemsetrves. the 'Balzam' class, oi4,000 tons and with a crew
of 180, Not thai the 'Okean' class AGI is no
It is a fact of miliiarv life that whenever NATO talists on its very borders, The fact remains that longer with us: there is one based permanently
shrps exercise ai sea they are ctose.Ly sha- it is considerablv easier for the USA to mn off the coast of Northern ]reland, where it moni-
dowed by Soviel spy trawlers: iand-based Jisrening srdL-ons ctose ro rhe USSR tors Royal Ulster Constabulary and British army
small, rather friendly-lookingr shrps, festooned than the reverse, It is also true lhat the USSR radio transmissions, It can also monitor the
with an array olantennae and directlon-f,nding and its satellite countries are, by and large, Royal Artrllery rocket range in the Outer Heb
(DF) equipment, it is unlikely that the averaQre geographicaJiy lumpeJ togelher whereias rides
person tdKes rhem seriousiy when rhey llash up countrles hostile to therr dreams of world re-
on the TV screen durrnq the eveningt news, for volution are scattered throuqhout that same Maintasks
after all how can Lhey poss.bly compare wtth v, or-o. lrue the Sov,els rry'o mainLain listening The main tasks of the Soviet AGIs (of all sizes)
Lhe incrediblv soohrsLrcared elecLronLc l"sten posis in client states like Vietnam, Angola and today can be said to be anti-submarine warfare
ing shrps and suomarines used by 'he Amer- Cuba but with very few exceptions they have (ASW); satellite communications (SATCOM)
rcans? in fac'.
Lhey compare exttemely ',rel- drscovered that al1 too often one revolution can which may have an ASW rote; mrlitary intelh-
Mosl olthose chunky li'tie rrawlers have ne v^r be qurckly iollowed by another, and that it is gencei and political and economrc intelli-
neen used lor commerc-a] hshrng Ln their ir res enbarrassing, even danqerous, io be sudden gence. ASW Elint rs regarded as being particu
and are potentially one of the most Lethal 1r- rhrown out olan emergrng nation. Thrs prob- JarlT .mcor .art Decd.use oI the threaL posed by
weapons that the USSR has at its drsposal. Anc 1em has been hiqhhghted iremendously over NATO nuclpar submarines, both those firrng
there are literaily hundreds of them in use bl; the past few years wrth the advent of the 'spy' baltistrc or cruise mrssiles and hunter/killers
itie USSR, together with their bigger srsler saielLte the USSR simply does not have the tarqeted aqainst the Soviets' own nuclear sub-
rc hr
shrps. ranging {ro-n friqtotes converLed iani-based tracking and communications sta- marines. To understand how these tasks are
electronrc-intelligence (Elint) role to the :icns ic remain in constant touch wilh its 'spies carried out, it is important to understand that
15,000-ton Kosmonavt Yuriy Gagarin The .:. '.ne sky as can Lhe Americans, modern f,rnt qoes lar beyond the srmpLe rn
Scvrers have an ever-increas-ng appetire 1-- Sc, r,vrth typical logic, the USSR made the :erceplrcn ol radro srgnals
nlormatron abour the Wesl and therr E-L:,. iecrsion in the late 1950s 1o deveion a sea- There are very few objects in the world that
gathering ships prcvide almost more data ;har ci:;l trLnr-qaLhenng progranme,
"vhrch as do not produce some form of recognizable
:hey can handle, Certainly these ships play a r-u:h as anyrhing else accounts lor :he con- electro-magnetrc radiation. This radiation (not
naior role in the Sovrets search lor m-lit.n '.:--:d rrse ol rhe Soviet navy 'o be con.*sed rvLth nuclear rad-al,ont is ol
economrc ancl pohtrcal intellrgence 'o under -:.-:-a.,y -he USSR used converLed lrawLcrs
stand why, we should lake a bnef look at ihe .---:"J.y--rhe. Okean class.ol 720 ron_s wrtn a The naval missile range instrumentatlon sfiip Sibir
,:ovier Unrorr s geograpny ::*..
-"3ssei-i 32. These
rawlers (or AGIs Au-xiliary monitorsAmericar mrssrJe lests southof the island
Depending on ones vrewpoin rhe USSF --- Miscellaneous Type lntelligence to of Midway in the Pacific.she normally embarks a
=:ther an unfriendJy na Iion surrounded ov c- . --- j.::'.': them thelr NATO designation), were Kamov Ka-25 'Hormone-C' utility helicopter on the
--ed counrries. or the Ione outpost of h;m::..--.' -.r+c .r'rrh spying on NATO warships. Therr aft flight deck. although no hangar facitities are
::1.-nually threatened oy wdrmonger jnr : -: - .:.::. :. ruenL oeyond drscoverlng ship and fitted.


:r -.1 +l

l",-atch Out - There's a Spy About
,. =:: question is too lar from a Soviet-based
--i siaticn, it ,ryill transmit its informatron vra an
.:-li as witl a spy plane The AGI wrll send on
.-= :nformation received by retransmiiting it to
=:::her satelllte nearer the Soviet Union, or by
:-::--ng it ro an overflyrng aircrail ljke the
- -: -ev lu 95 Bear-D', Lailerly, though the
S-:'-iets have shorm a drstinct prefereice for
,.rg sa.el|te links.
Satellite launch
The USSR has also mastered the art ol laun ,r*d&,,]*uir*tk
:r,ng surveillance satelhtes lo cover spectfic
:rents. For example, shortly alter the stari of
f-e Falklands war in 1982 a sateltite was laun-
ched and piaced in orbit over the islands. lt is
:rardiy likely that any informatton was passed to
eiiher the British or the Argentines; this lar-inch
irn May 1982) was purely to gain information
about British offensive capabilities and Argen- AGIs that do exist are 1tkely to be standard NATO carrier activity over the years has always
--ne weapon syslems. warships converted to an AGI roie but main- attracted Soviet AGIs, as this I974 exercise with
taLning their armament. HMSHermes a ndher attendant Mayak
Similarly, a Soviet satellite was launched (foreground) and Mama (background) shows. I t is
shortly after the outbreak of the Iran-Iraq war, The Britrsh Admlrally is more close-mouthed painstaking recording on film of aircralt activity
lis hfra-red sensingr abitrty helped pinpoint about its operations than any other branch of aboard carriers that has helped the Saviets to
Iraqi troop positrons, information that was pas- the armed forces, so very little is known about construct their new nuclear-powered 'Kremlin
sed onto the Iranians wrth intttal devastating Brltish AGIs, There have been rumours for class carrier.
effect. Shortly afler thal the iranians moved some [rme aboul British commerc,al lraw]ers
against the Tldeh (the pro-Soviet Iranian Com- being temporarily adapred for the AGI roie
m-'unist party), and the ilow of rnformation from When the Hu1l trawler Gaul, 1,106 tons, drs- man 7 SovieL AGIs have suddenly and myster
Moscow ceased. appeared off the north coast of Norway (no iously drsappeared, victims of a lreak wave, a
AGIs undoubtediy provide the backbone ol survivors from her 36-man crew, no wreckage giaai octopus, or simply by berng in the wrong
ihe Soviet Eiint-qath-eiing process. As has been and not even a solitary life bell to mourn her place at the rvrong timel In the field of electro-
seen, the modern AGI is considerably larger passrng), the rumours that swept her home port nic warfare genuine accldents do happen, as
and (presumably) more comfortable than ils suooested that she had been used for Ehnt- witness the case of the American submarine
ruqqed little predecessor, and also constder- carhering and had been carrying Royal Navai that acrually managed 'o scrape the boitom of a
ably more veisatile, The deployment and task- personnel at the time oi her disappearance. Sovlet submarine while moniioring a Soviei
ing ol AGIs is tigthtly controlled: they are not \Atraiever the lrulh ol lhe matler (and Thames lleel exercrse.
simply let loose on the world's oceans to qather Television did take it seriouslyenough to trans- People rend ro iorget lharwhiLe tew sholsare
whatever Ehnt they can flnd, but rather are mrt an hour-long documentary on the subject a ever fired, today's elecironic warlare is as vital
jt as any major battle rn the last war, That siubby
djrected al specific targets. be rt HoJy Loch 1-ear 1a er, -n 1974). can be sard that the Brjlrsh
(which will probably mean an AGI on more or qcvernment would have to have a very good littie 'Okean' class AGI may look harmless
less permanent sLatron) or a lesl flrtng of rhe ieason not to take advantage on occasions of (perhaps even shghtly comic with its bewilder-
latest submarine-launched ballistic m,ssile ;s opporruniry presenred by innocuous legtLi- ing array of antennae), but rt is part of a
was undertaken by the oceanographic re- mais trawlers sailtng close to the Soviet coast. weapons sysiem that is potentially as iethal as
search ship Khanlon Laptev oll Flor-oa tn ]l And lor that matter, no one rea11y knows hov'r any nuc.ear mrsstle.
luly 1970) Their presence cannot simply i:e
ignored; a Poseidon test flring was delayed icr
several days in 1982 for an AGI that would nc:
.- awav.
It is extremeiv common for the same AGI lc
appeal wilh a iotatly driferent anLenna arro-,-
ihan when previously sighted, since the Scvle:
technique is to adapt the AGI to the specinc

Other navies
(J1 course, tne uSA possesseo lne n- j:
iamous AGi of all time in the USSPueblo, seizei
by the North Koreans on 23 January i968 anc
whose crew was not released for a further 1l
months, About seven months prevrously, ihe
telecommunicalions research ship llberfl, was
badly damaQted by the Israelis while monitor-
ing the Six Day War, These experiences
h-rned the US NAvy away from AGls, with the
result that today the Americans rely iar more
ry,gr- 1

heavrly on sateilites and land-based hstemng i1*9@#w

stations; American satellites are lar more effec- &ffi
tive than their Soviet counterparts, and as a
ffitt lewer are requrred ro provlde coverage
ol areas of pariicular interest, Any US Navy w; :; 'i
The' Okean' class intelligence lrader Gidrofon
shadows the IIS carrierCoral Sea in the Gulf of ';'3F:,;ii&.,1;t::':)
: ..''
iu"*n a"ing 1 969 . The rote of the AGI here was aa':ty.);:.....:....

iiioif"i iialiportwhenever a caruier launched a 'a,.,.,V.:,:.).1:Y'/\,:t;;t..1

' :) .::: '.::...): :. .)- :), : ' I

strike intoNorthVietnam or Laos so as to give the

air defences plenty of time to warm up their radars tf:?t:;:',,:r;::l

I i6k""n'class Spyships
Built in East Germany from 1959 to the Western nuclear submarine bases Repiter, Teodolit, Traverz and Zond. Specification
mid-I960s, the'Okean'class of l5 con- monitoring the cominq and going of The Barograf also has two tvuin 14.5- 'Okean'class
verted side trawlers rs the largest and SSBNs in transit. There are many varia- mm (0,57-in) heavy machine-gun Displacement: 650 tons standard and
hence the most observed class of tions withrn the class, One modified mountings to supplement the small 760 tons tul]]oad
Soviet AGI, They are designated gig- subgnoup of four (IheLinza, Lotlin, Re- arms carried by the crew, It is likely Dimensions: lenqith 51.0 m (167,3 ft);
rograficheskoye sudno (GS, or survey duklor and Zond) has the port side that the 'Okean' class wiil eventually be beam B.B m (28.9 ft); draught 3.7 m
ship) in the Soviet navy, and retain superstructure enclosed and the star- replaced by conversions of the'Al'pin- (12, I ft)
their trawler tripod mast forward and a board srde open; these ships also have ist'class stern trawlers which are cur- Propulsion: one diesel delivering
pole mast wel1aft, These are festooned additional accommodation on the well- rently being built at the Lemnskaya 403 kW (540 hp) to one shaft
with the various aerials and antennae deck, The Reduktor, Alidada, Kuznitsa Shipyard at Krev and at the Speed: 13 kts
that characterize their role. It is vessels Barometr, Ampermetr and Gidrofon Volgognad Shipyard, At present there Aircraft: none
of this class (together with the eight have no installation for shoulder- are five such umts in service, with the Armament: see text
larger trawler uruts of the'Mayak' class Iaunched SA-7 SAMs, whrle such has former f,sh hold converted to allow ex- Electronics: one or two 'Don Kay'
and the four ex-whalers of the 'Mirnyy' been added to the Earograf, DeIlek- tensive space for electronics and/or navigation radars, and various Elint
class) that are reqularly seen off the tor, Ekholot, Krenometr, Linza, Lotlin, addrtional accommodation for special- and Srgintsystems
ist personnel, Complement: 70

TheLitvaof the 'Okean'class AGls,with the antennaoutfits The'Okean' classAGl Gidrofon. Mosl has alsobeenfittedwith two twin
shadowstheamphibiouswarfare varyingconsiderablybetweenthe of the class have now beenfittedwith 14.5-mm heavy machine-guns for use
ship HMS Fearless. ?fte 'Okeans'are units of the class so that they can two positions for quadruple SA-N-S off such unfriendly areas such as the
the most numerous of the perform different roles. 'Grail' SAM launchers. Tft e Barogrraf African coast and China.

'Okean'class intelligence collection ships Gutaway drawing key

1 Aftwheel '13 540-bhpdiesel engine 23 Air search 31 Deck light 36 Waterline
2 Searchlight 14 Exhaustuptake 24 Folded dipole for HF 32 Chartroom 37 FoMard hold
3 Derrick 15 Doublebottom receptlon 33 Navlgatjon light 38 Trlpodforemast
4 Steering compartment 16 Fuel 25 Coaxial feedertowire 34 Radarroom 39 Bowlight
5 Rudderpost 1 7 Officers'/crew quarters dipole antenna .35 Extendedspacefor 40 Dlrection-findinq loopwlth
6 Rudder 18 Funnel 26 Vertical rodantenna rntormatron processrng earthplane
27 Don2navigation 41 Raised foredeck
7 Singlescrew 19 Mainmast radar
Hull guard
8 Bulkhead/framing 20 Discconeomnidirectional 28 Radarreceiver 42
I receiver antenna 29 Ventilator 43 Anchor
10 Auxiliaryengine
'1 Dynamo
2l Radarreceiver 30 Bridge 44
1 22 Direction-finding loop
12 Engineroom

,\.. \

\ /\\ \\

I 987
t 'fiLt'r"*'ctass
Designated by the Soviets as sudno
styazyy (SSV, or communications ves-
sels) the tsal'zam'class vessels are the
f,rst military ships purpose-built for in-
ielligence collection and processing.
Three are currently in sewice, with a
iourth due to jorn the fleet ln 1986 fol-
lowing completion at the Kaliningrad
Shipyard. The ships carry an array of
ntercept and direction-finding anten-
nae that feed raw intelligence informa-
tion into the onboard data analysis and
processinq equrpment located withrn
the extensrve superstructure, The pro-
duct can then be sent via the two satel-
llte transmitting and receiving anten-
nae located beneath the spherical
radomes, either to shore stations or to
the flagships of swface action battle
grroups for rmmediate action. For the
extended sea perrods whrch they
sewe, the ships are equipped to refuel
underway and to transfer solid carqo
and personnel via constant-tension mote 'Kolonka' pedestal director. The SS75J6rs tlrelead shipof anew class Specification
transfer rigs on each side of the aJt 'Bal'zams' are now commonly seen at of very large AGI s given the NATO 'Bal'zam'class
mast. The class was also the flrst Soviet sea monitorlng major NATO naval ex- codename 'Bal'zam' . Armed with two Displacement: 4,000 tons standard and
AGI type to be defensrvely armed, the ercises in the North Atlantic, and also quadrup Ie S A-N - 5' G rail' SAM 5,000 tons fu]] load
lead ship appearing in sewice during American carder battle grroups, Sur- launchers and a 30-mmCIWS, the Dimensions:lenqth 105.0 m (344.5 ft);
1980 with two quadruple SA-N-S 'Grail' prisingly, the class is one of the few class alsolas elaborate at-sea beam 15.5 m (50.9 ft); draught 5.0 m
SAM iaunchers and a 30-mm six-barrel modern ship desrgns fitted wrth major underway replenishment facilities (16.4 ft)
ADG6-30 CIWS. However, no radar masts. and real- time satellite transmitter Propulsion: two dresels delive r r ng
fire-control systems are fitted (pre- and receiver installations beneath 671 I kW (9,000 hp) to two shafts
sumably to prevent interference with the two dome installations. Speed:22 ks
the electronic equrpment already car- Aircraft: none
ried) so the weapons instead use a re- Armament: two quadruple SA-N-S
'Grail' SAM launchers with 16 mrssiles,
There are three' Bal' zam' andone ADG6-30 30-mm CIWS
class AGIs in service with Electronics: two'Don Kay' navigation
the S oviet n avy at present, radars, various Elint and Srgint
with a fourthunit building. systems, tvvo sateliite transmitter/
Desrgnafeda Sudno receiver systems, and one real-time
Svyazw(SS7or intelligence-analysis centre
c ommu n ic a tions yessel,) Complement: 200
they are theworld's best
equippe d inte lligence -
gathering ships.

L firi*or'ye'class
Although its units resemble small pas- Soviet naval infantry.
senqer liners in appearance, the'Pri- The 'Primor'ye' class ships have
mor'ye' class of AGI was the flrst com- often been seen off both coasts of the
mercially-based intelligence- USA, especially during the missile
gathering design to have an onboard tests held off Florida by British and
analysis capability. Based on the hull of American SSBNs. They also regnrlarly
the highly successful'Mayakovskyy' accompany major NATO exercises itr
series of stem trawler-factory ships, and American aucraji-carriers, but do
the six vessels are the Kavkaz not have the modem real-time data
Krrm (SSV590), Primor'ye
(SSV591), transmission facilities possessed by
(SSV465), Zabaykatye (SSV464), the later 'Bal'zam class.
Zakarpatye and Z aporozhye
(SSV50l). They have a distinctive su-
perstructure wrth boxlike structures Specification
fore and afl (lo house eleclronlc pro- 'Primot'ye'class
cessing equipment) and three marn Displacement: 2,600 tons standard and
masts (for the associated aerials and 3,700 tons full load
antennae). T\mo of the units, the Krym Dimensions: Ienqrth 83.6 m (274.3 ft);
andKavkaz, retain the trawler kingpost beam 13.7 m (44.9 ft); draught 7.0 m
aft, while all six vessels differ among (23,0 ft)
themselves in minor details of super- Propulsion: one dresel deLvertng
structure and antennae outfits. Most 1491 kW (2,000 hp) to one shaft Tfte Zakarpatye of the 'Primor'ye' on the foremast are primarily of the
have now been refitted with platforms Speed: 13 kts c,lass shows fhemultitude of arrays direction-finding Vpe so as to
to carry one or two quadruple SA-N-S Aircraft:none and antenna that are required by an pinpoint the origin of an electronic
'Grail' SAM launchers for local atr de- Armament: one (SSV 590) or two (SSVs intelligence-gathering ship. Those fransmission.
fence, while as an interim measure 464, 501 and 59l) cjuadruple SA-N-5
they previously carrred the Soviet 'Grail' SAM launchers with eiqht or 16 andsmallarms Sigint systems, and one real-time
army's shoulder-launched SAM-7 missiles respectively (other ships to be Electronics: two 'Don Kay'or'Don 2' intelligence-analysrs centre
'Grail' SAM that had been issued to the fitted with launchers), machine-gmns navigation radars, various Elint and Complement: 160

Frimot'ye' class (continued) :-i: Spyships
The'Primor'ye' class of AGI
comprises six units, and is regularly
seen attending NATO naval
exercises and American space *r)
events and missile tests to gather :l
e lectronic an d p hotogr ap hic i
intelligence {or use by Soviet
designers on their own


m Tnai"'class
Although said to be designed for the
underwater-rescue role, with two
small deep submergence recovery
vessels (DSRVs) semi-recessed in
wells on the deck abaft the sail struc-
ture, the tvvo units of the 'India' class
diesel-electric submarine would in
wartime or for certain clandestine in-
telligence-gathering operations prob-
ably operate with the Soviet navy's
Spetsnaz special forces brigades to
carry combat minrsubs and frogrman
units. The DSRVs normally carried are
about I I m (36. I ft) long and are fitted
out to lock onto the rescue hatches of
submarines lying disabled on the sea-
bed. For under-ice and covert opera-
tions direct access to and exit from the
DRSVs rn their wells is possible while
the submarrne is submerged.
Although no torpedo armament is be-
lieved to be carried, the hull of the
submarine has been desiQned for high
swface speed operation in order to cut
down on transit times to possible res-
cue areas, For operatlons in the ex-
treme north, where ice-floes are likely
to be encountered, the bow can be
specially strenqthened by the fitting of
an ice gmard. For convenience (and new IPR tracked amphibtous 4,800 tons dived Photographed in transitfrom the
better underwater manoeuvrlng in armoured engineer vehicle with diver Dimensions: lenqrth 106.0 m (347.8 ft); Pacific to the Northern Fleet, this
certain circumstances) the hydro- lock-out facilities; this vehicle is cap- beam 10,0 m(32.8 ft); draughtnot 'lndia' class boat has landed both
planes are fltted on the sides ofthe saii, able of travelling along the seabed on known DSft 7s and lras been fitted with a
Only lwo 'lndia' class boats are in tracks as well as using the more con- Propulsion: three diesels delivenng built-up bow to cope with the rough
service, one with the Northern Fleet ventional swimminq mode, It is possi- B94B kW (12,000 hp) to two electric conditions of the northern coast.
and the other with the Pacilic Fleet, ble that a further pafu of more modern motors powering two shafts
The former may have been detached SSAGs (rescue submarines) has either Speed: 15 ktssurfacedand 12.5 kts
to the Baltic Fleet on occasions for use been built or is in the flnal stages of dled Electronics: one 'Snoop Plate' sudace-
in the various incursions that have construction, These vr'tll supplement Diving depth: mother craft 300 m search radar, one ESM system, one
been made into Swedish territorialwa- and not replace the 'lndia' class units. (984 ft) operational and 500 m ( 1,640 ft) medium-fo equency bow sonar,
ters over the past few years, It ts be- maxrmum; DSRVs 1000 m(3,281 ft) several types of underwater telepho:e
lieved that on this type ofoperation the Specification operatlonal and homing systems
'lndia' class submartne carries two 'India'class Armament: demolition charges, small Complement: 70 crew plus 120
modified versions of the Sovret army's Displacement: 3,900 tons surfaced and arms etc passengerVdivers

The'lndia' class rescue submarines are eguipped to carry and operate two
deep submergence rescue vessels, and are believed to operate in support of
the navalspetsnaz special operations brigades when not being used in their
prim ary role. O f the two' I ndias' one is in the N orthern F leet and the other in
I idagrarir,'class
particular task, bow and stern thrus-
-:-e Kosmonavt Yuriy Gagarin, sole
':--:i of the 'Gagarin' class, is a space ters are fitted. The ship is capable of
tr:ntrol monitoring ship based at the staying at sea for 120 consecutive days
ilack Sea port of Odessa, She is the without resupply, and for her crew's
';crld's largest vessel fitted for scien- comfort she has three swimming pools,
---:c studies and is also the largest ship a theatre and a sports hall. The ship is
-r,-lih turbo-electric propulsion, Origi- named after the first man to travel in
:ally a 'Sofiya' class steam tanker, she Earth orbit, and who was subsequently
-,'rasadapted before flnal completion to killed in an air crash in the Soviet Union
mlfil the research role, Built at Lenin- during 1968,
gnad by the Baltic Shipbuildinq and
Engineering Works, she was com-
pleted in 197I and is enqaged in re- Specification
search into the conditrons in the upper 'Gagarin'class
armosphere and the problems assoct- Displacement: 37,500 tons standard
ated with lonq-rangte communication, and 45,000 tons full load
as well as undertaking space control Dimensions: Ienqth 235.9 m (774.0 ft);
and spacecraft commumcations activi- beam 31.0 m (10i.7 ft); draught 9,2 m 1
ties, For this work the ship is fitted with (30 2 ft)
two 27-m (88,6-ft) diameter'Ship Shell' Propulsion: one geared steam turbine
and two 12,5-m (4l-ft) drameter 'Ship deliverins 14168 kW (19 000 hp) to an J
Bowl stabilized communications and electnc drive turning one shaft
trackrng dish antennae, two 'Vee Tube Speed: 17,5 kts
HF communications systems and four Aircraft:none
'Quad Ring' yagi arrays. With all the Armament: none The 45,000-ton Kosmonavt Yuriy communication and detection
antennae deployed forward, the ves- Electronics: two'Don Kay navtgation Gagarin is tlre Ia rgest Soviet research equipm ent enable S oviet space
sei suffers a loss in speed of 2 kts. To radars plus items mentioned in the text vessel adapfed from the unfinished missjons fo be con troilled far Ircm
maintarn the ship on station during a Complement:320 hull of a tanker. Her powertul conven ient ground stations.




?fte Kosmonavt Yuriy Gagarin rs the largest of the.Soviet space event ships and
is subordinated to theAcademy of Sciencefor assr'gnmenfs. Adaptedfrom a
tanker hullwhilststillon thestocks, sheis homeported atOdessain the Black
Sea but operates in many parts of the world. The four huge dish antennae can
act as brakes, and when in the correct orientation actually reduce the speed oI
theshipby up to two l<nots.For the crew's comforton longvoyagesshelas
three swimming pools, a gymnasium and a 300-seat theatre aboard.

Soviet Spcce Tracking Ships
The increasing military use of space has seen the necessity for the accurate control naval radars. The two 14,065-ton'Desna' class
of spacemissionsandthetrackingof ICBM andSLBM fesfs..Lessfavouredthanthe ships are the oniy vessels of the Soviet navy to
USA with ground station locations, the Soviets have developed a series of large
carry a 'Head Nei-B' air-search radar. They
also have a large 'Ship Globe' tracking radar
space-assocr'a ted yesse/s, some of which have the purely military task of monitoring plus three smaller unidentifled radars as part of
USrnr'ssile fesfs. their outfit, The fow 7,800{on'Sibrr' class ships
each have either a 'Big Net' or 'Head Net-C'
The Soviet space tracking shtps are nominally 17,500-ton Kosmonavt Vladimir Komarov, three-dimensional military radar (for tracking
civilian-manned and subordinated to the whlch is also homeported at Odessa, The wrthin the final splash-down phase of a test)
Academy of Sciences. Therr role is primarily to Komarov ts a converted bulk cargo shtp that is wlth two or three ol the smaller unidentifled
provide communicatlons relay services to fitted with two huge 'Ship Globe' and one smal- tracking radars from lhe 'Desna' class fitted
manned spaceflights and space stations, and to ler 'Ship Wheel' antennae in spherical forward. The electronic outfits can also be
conduct basic research into the upper atmos- radomes, two 'Quad Ring'arrays, a large multi- varred rf required to suit the misslon,
phere and the effect it has on long- and short- ple yagi antenna and two 'Vee Cone' HF com- The navai vesseis are usually found de-
ranqe communications systems. Apart irom the munications aerials carrled at the mastheads. ployed in the Soviet Pacific Ocean SLBM and
civrlian fleet, the Soviet navy also contributes In the Soviet Far East operates the 21,250 ton ICBM missile-testingt areas, where they moni-
the eight naval-manned'Vytegrales' ciass car- Akademtk Sergey Korolev, which was com- tor closely the re-entry and impact phases in
go ships, several 'Moma' and 'Samara' class pleted rn 1971 and has 80 laboratories of va order to compute missile and warhead flight
survey and buoy-tender ships, and the sx de- rious types for research work. For her primary characteristics. One or more such ships are
dicated missile range instrumentation vessels space tracking role she carries two 'Ship Bowl' also believed to be involved in the Soviets'
of the 'Desna' and 'Sibir' classes to support the dish antennae, a smaller version of the 'Ship space shuttle programme (wtth several other
missile and space proqrammes, Globe' antenna in a radome housing, and four ships) in order to evaluate the shuttle's fligtht
The first ofa new Soviet navy class for space 'Quad Ring' arrays with extensive HF com- performance details during the re-entry and
tracking and communications, the 24,000{on munications systems. final atmosphere glide phases. Their iask wtll
Marshal Nedelin, entered service in i983 A probably be taken over by Ihe Marshal Nede-
second unit is building at the Admiralty Ship-
Timber-carrier conversions 1-rn in due course.
yard at Lemngrad, which normally constructs Conversions of 'Vytegrales' class timber car It is not known for certatn if the navy ships
submarines. These are the largest purpose- riers provide the remaining two classes of operate off the coasts of the USA during the test
desisned vessels of their type yet butlt, but the space event support ships, The less elaborate- firing of missiles, but it rs likely that this task is
exact role for which they were produced is not ly converted group is the four-vessel 7,600{on left to the larger AGIs such as the 'Prlmor'ye'
yet clear, although a link with the Soviets' space 'Borovichi' class. Homeported in the Baltic, they class, which can monitor the US signal and
shuttle programme may be possible. Like the retain the forward cargo hold of the merchant- telemetry data output, Where they are known
other Soviet navy space event ships that serve men and carry one 'Quint Ring' and four'Quad to have appeared, however, is around the
in the Paciflc Fleet, they carry a Kamov Ka-25 Ring'yagi arrays together with a 'Vee Cone' HF Amerlcan missile test range near Kwajalein
'Hormone-C' utility helicopter, a fact which dis- communications antenna. The remaining ato1l rn the Paciflc Ocean when ICBMs fired
tinguishes them immedlately irom civil vessels. group, the four 5,970-ton 'Kosmonavt Pavel Be- from Vandenburg Arr Force Base impact their
The largest ofthese vessels is the 45,000 ton lyayev' class ships, have extensively modifled payloads. it rs from the data gained by these
Kosmonavt Yuny Gagarin, which is based in superstructures and are fitted with a large ships that the Soviets can plan their defence
the Black Sea. Built on a tanker hull, she is fitted trainable quadruple-dish stabrhzed'Quad networks and improve their own ICBM lbrces
wrth two massive 27-m (88.6-ft) diameter 'Ship Spring' communications array amldships as
Shell' and two 12.5-m (41-ft) diameter 'Ship well as three smaller systems and a modified Originaily the dry cargo vessel Genicheslg lft e
Bowl' stabrlized communications and tracking naval 'Kite Screech' fire-control radar. Kosmonavt Vladimir Komarov was converted at
dish antennae. if these are all turned forward The naval rangte instrumentation vessels Leningrad in 1967, and was named after the Soviet
they act as brakes and reduce the ship's overall already mentioned differ from the crvil vessels astronautwho died in a re-entry accident in that
speed by 2 kts. The Gagarin is backed by the in havinq dfferent electronic systems based on year.
The sphericalradomes on ffie Komarov cover two
'Ship Globe' and a smaller 'ShipWheel' satellite-
and missile-tracking antennae. The 'Vee Cone' HF
communications aerials at the mastheads show
c learly why that particular NATO codename w as

cy altering such parameters as the re entry

',-ehicle shape and deployment pattern. The
:lose mohitoring of flight characterlstics during
re entry grves a good idea of the system's
accuracy, and measurement of a body's size
rnd probable welght indicates the warhead's
...-De and estimated yield, Such informatron can
l-.e used by the Sovlets to upgrade the over-
pressure that their missrle silos can take during
ar attack in order to increase their survivability
actor. Also, by studyrng the missile trajectory
-nd its diflerent phases of stage separation, bus
ieployment and warhead MIRVing, the best
-rterceptlon points for endo- and exo-
amospheric ABMs can be predicted, as can
rose for the more exotic 'star wars' laser and
rarticle-beam systems whrch the Soviets are
-.flown to be researching,
For the crvilian ships the major projects of future must be the planned Soviet space
s:ation of gtreater size lhan the current Salyut
series, and the probable rnterplanetary man-
led flights that are believed to be scheduled
-cr the late I990s. In both cases the space con
:oL and communications relay tasks become oi
-.-ital importance when the craft are out of con-
:act with their normal control centres, especial-
--,,if things Qio wrong, as the ships can man-
reuvre to new statlons whereas ground based
:-.alions are tied [o one iocaLron

Right: Atop the bridgehouse two 'Quad Ring'

arrays (looking rather like capslans.) can be seen,
while in contrast the futuristic shape of the large
multiple yagi communications antenna can be
seen on ifsbandstand af fhe starboard side of the

Below: The size of fhe Gagarin a llows much larger

and more powertul equipment to be fitted than in
simj/ar " The smaller of the pairs of dishes
c arried on the superstructure are I 2.5 m (4 I tt) in
Ciameter, while the larger pair are amassive 27 m
(88.6 ft) across.
i&onvened Compass Island' class

The USNS Observation /sland (T-
AGM23) is a former ballistic missile
fiais ship that was modified as a'Con-
verted Compass Island'class range in-
strumentation ship during 1979-81,
This was specifically for the purpose of
carrying SPQ-I I'Cobra Judy' phased-
array missile-tracking radar aft to col-
lect data on Sovtet and Chinese ballls-
tic missile tests. Operated for the USAF
Eastern Space Missile Center in the
Pacific area by the Military Sealift
Command, she is painted white, T\ttro
larqe parabolic signal-coilection
antennae are fltted beneath the pair of
geodesic radomes atop the brtdge, An
extensive communications fit, which
includes satellite receivers and trans-
mrtters, ailows for the real-time trans-
mission of raw and analysed data to
distant shore stations if required. Dur-
ing her orignnal career as a missile
trials ship she fired the first ship-
launched Polaris missile at sea on 27
Augnrst 1959 and then, follovnng a refit
in 1969, the first Poseidon missile on 16
December 1969. The massive 'Cobra Soecification Propulsion: geared steam turbmes The large phased-array radar turret
'ionverted Compass Island' class deliveringr 14355 kW (19,250 hp) to one mounled on USiVS Observation Island
Judy' radar carried is very similar in
operational aspects to the even iarger Displacement: 13,060 tons light and shaft when working in concert with the
land-ba3ed'Cobra Dane' radar, the load
17,015 tons full Speed:20 kts similar system based on land in
phased transmrssions allowing the sys- Dimensions: lenqth 171.9 m (564,0 ft); Aircraft: none Alaska is capable of simultaneously
tem to detect and track obiects at a beam23.2 m(76.0 ft); drauqhtT.6 m Armament:none tracking up to 200 missile targets.
very fast rate, The tnstallation aboard (25 ft) Electronics: one Raytheon TMl650/9X
the Obseruation lsJand weighs about navigation radar and one Raytheon
250 tons, and the radar itself is located TM 1660/12S navigation radar, plus
in a mechanically-rotated pyramid- items mentioned in the text
like steel structure, with the data Complement: 153
analysis and storage computers (plus
the display consoles) in compartments
on the decks beneath it.

USjVS Observation Island is

operated by MSC with a
civilian crew and watches
Soviet space and mr'ssrJe
launches with her 'Cobra
J udy' ph ased- array r adar.

€ '$talwart'class
The 18 vessels of the 'Stalwart' class
are to provide the gap-filling role for
the American Sound Surveiilance
Under Sea (SOSUS) sYstem in areas
where there is no or only poor cover-
aqe, The sonar used by the 'Stalwads'
is the Surveillance Towed furay Sen-
sor (SURTASS): thrs rs a i829-m (6,000-
ft) long linear passive hydrophone
array which is deployed over the
ship's stern in a flexible, neutrally
buoyant cable housing. The data pick-
ed up by the array is then instan-
taneousiy relayed to a shore monitor-
ing station for processing and evaiua-
tion via a WSC-6 satellite communica-
tions link, The first seven ships are the
USNS ,Sfalwart (T-AGOSI), Conten-
der (T-AGOSZ), Vindicator (T-
AGOS3), TriumPh (T-AGOS4), Assur-

IJnEke many ASW suweillance

vesse/s, the 'Stalwart' class ftas no
capacity for analysing data on boatd.
I nlormation picked up by the 1'8- kn
(1.2-mile) towed sonar arraY is
transmittedvia satellite to a giround
station for further processing and

Sialwart' class (continued) Spyships
ance (T-AGOSS), Persislent (T- Specification
AGOSO) and I ndomitable (T-AGOSZ), 'Stalwart'class
ald all have been completed; the Displacement: I,650 tons light and
USNS Prevail (T-AGOSB), Assertive 2,285 tons full load
(T-AGOS9) Invincible (T-ACOSI0), Dimensions: lenqth 68,3 m (224.0 ft); The'Stalwart' classisbemg used by the US Navy to carry and tow a long-range
Daunfless (T-AGOSI 1) and Vigorous beam 13. I m (43.0 ft); drauqht 4,6 m passire sonarsystem that is designed to help fill the gapsm t/re,SO^SU.S
(T-AGOSI2) are burlding, and the re- (rs. l ft) underwater monitoring network around the coasts of the USA and tellow
marmng six are projected in batches of Propulsion: four diesels delivering NATOnations.
three under the Fiscal Years l9B5 and 23BC kW (3,200 hp) to electdc drives
1986 naval burlding prognammes. The turningtwo shafts
shrps are manned by Military Sea1ift Speed: 11 kts
Command civilian personnel, but car- Aircraft:none
ry a small six-man naval detachment to Armament:none
maintain the SURTASS and satellite Elestronics: two navigation radars plits ,
communications link equipment. The itemsmentioned in the text
class members are expected to con- Complement:30 :

duct 90-day patrois at a time, with a

total of300 days per year at sea on such
pafuois or on trials. I

iBonverted Haskell' class

The USNS.Range Sentinel (T-AGMzz)
is a 'Converted Haskell' class attack
lansport developed for specific use as
a range instrumentation ship, to moni-
:or first the Poseidon and then the TYi-
Cent VII SLBM development progrram-
nes. Converted from October 1969 to
Cctober 1971, the Range Sentinel
lperates as a unit of the US Narry's
Military Sealift Command (MSC) fleet,
She is fitted with an SPQ-7 and three
:iher radar trachng systems on a sing-
re-deck superstructure laid over the
::rward cargo hold area. Since com-
nissioning for this role the RanEre Sen-
:le,/ has had several electronic equip-
rent updates, and these have resulted
-:: changes of appearance over the
There was also a second vessel of
srmilar design converted from a'Vic-
tor/ class merchant ship, the USNS
Wheeling, which has now been struck
:f the naval register, The reason for
-ee srmilarity is that the Range SettrneJ Specification shaft Originally commissioned in 1944, the
ias the VC2-S-APS 'Victory' type hull 'Converted Haskell' class Speed: 15.5 kts converted attack fransporf Range
:esign and propulsion plant, Under Displacement: 8,853 tors light and Aircraft: none Sentinel is based upon a T'ictorf ship
:lrrent planning, the US Navy intends 12, 170 tons flrll load Armament:none hull, and is used in the SLBM test
-:: the Fiscai Year 1987 budget alloca- Dimensions:length 138.7 m (455,0 ft); Electronics: one Raytheon TMI650/9X progr ammes. The forward radome
:on to convert another large vessel to beam 18,9 m (62.0 ft); draught 7.9 m navigation radar and one Raytheon has recently been lost following
re range instrumentation role to re- (26.0 ft) TM I660/I25 navigation radar, plus transfer from the Poseidon to the
piace one or more ofthe older vessels Propulsion: geared steam turbines items mentioned in the text latest Trident range instrumentation
:cw used, deliverinq 6338 kW (8,500 hp) to one Complement: 124 sftrb.

Converted from a former US Navy atnphibious transport,

tfte Rangre Sentinel(T-AGM 22) now operates in support of
S5BJVmr'ssi/ellrm g in the Atlantic as a mr'ssile rangre
ins trumentation ve sse l.
TheAttack on fhe Libertg
Superpower involvement in the Middle East has never been particularly rcwarding,
old enmities far outweighing any transient economic dependence. Such is the
volatility of the region that a careful watch must be kept, and itwas at the heightof
the Six DayWar that the US Navy had an eavesdropper in the easternMediterranean
in the sh ap e of U.SiVS Liberty.

One of the bitterest attacks since World War II routing them to convince the Jordanians in par- initially identifying the ship as a destroyer, She
that the Americans have had to take without ticular that the war was gotng well for the was then correctly identifled as a US Navy
any possrbility of retaliation occurred rn 1967 Arabs, This would then enable the lsraelis to auxiliary ship. It is then that the possible in-
durrng the thtrd Arab-lsraelt war. The USNS continue therr military operations to defeat tervention of the Israeli high command occur-
Liberty, a converted freighter built rn the early each of the adjoining Arab countries in turn, red, as later during the mornlng further
1940s, was diverted from her Sigint operations without havinq to fight offensively on more than attempts were made to identifu the ship posi-
off the western coast of Africa to appear in the one front at a time. These offensive operations tively, the vessel finally being reported as a
eastern Mediterranean to monitor the com- were apparently in vlolation of a secret plan carqo vessei around mid-morning. According
munications network of the combatants. With a worked out previously wrth the Americans, to Americans aboard the Liberty she was car-
hold full of specialized codebreaking equip- whereby the Israelis would fight only a defen- rying correct identificatton codes and panell-
ment and her crew augtmented by National sive war and not seek to extend their physical ings at all trmes while she was in the combat
Security Agency personnel well versed in its boundaries by conquest. Thus the scene was zone, and also flying the American flag clearly.
use, the Liberty rapidly began to break the set for the Israeii requirement to take out the By midday the israelis were again at a high
Israeli secret codes, which told the Americans threat ofthe Liberty and her electronic eaves- state of alert about the shrp as it was reported
ihat Israel had herself begun intercepting mes- dropprng. that troops ashore had come under fire from the
saqtes passing between the various Arab coun- sea, and unidentrfied intelligence sources indi-
tries, changing the text of some and then re- Libertysighted cated that the Egyptians were about to attempt
The opportunity to do thrs presented itselion a possible seaborne landing behind the Israeli
Thursday 8 June, the fourth day of the war. The llnes, To counter this threat a group of three
Liberty was steaming north eastwards some 62-ton French-built fast attack craft (Ayah,
25,9 km (16, I mrles) off the Sinal coast near El Daya andBaz) were ordered from near Ashdod
Ansh. During the early morning of 8 June an to a patrol area near El Arish, The group subse-
Israeli air force arrcraft had noted her position, quently detected Ihe Liberty at around 13,40
and determined that she was a combat ship
steaming at 30 kts, somewhat diff,cult for the
Liberty asher top speed was some 10 kts slow-
er than this,



In I 967, France was the main supplier of arms to

I srael's air force. The aircraft which made the
attack on the all butdefenceless Liberty (main '.\ i I
armament being two 0.5}-calibre Browning
m achine- wns) were D as s ault- supplied My stdre 1
IVAs and Mirage IIls, armed with 30-mm cannon l{ tI
and unguided rockek. j

+Crlis Spyships
t4 E:

j.:i +
L'r,! *
.:. :;

f f,1=y
-.; :a

# I

The group commander then called for air 547 yards) respectively, Luckily both torpe- Converted from a wartime'Victory' carg o ve s s e l.
:upport and at 14,00 thefuberlywas strafed and does missed, butlhe Ltberty was then struck in ffie Libertyrefained much of herformer profile.
::cketed by two Dassault Mystere IVAs and the hold area a minute later by one of two with the addition o{ extra antennae being the only
ren by two Dassault Mirage III fighters two torpedoes from the Ayai. These had been indication of her new clandestine role. It is difficult
to imagine such avessel being mistaken {or any
rrnutes later. After six mrnutes of air attack the launched directly at the ship, at an angle ol90', kind of warship, but this is what the Israelis
srip was on flre rn several places and accord- from a distance of 1800m (1 969 yards), The claimed to have done.
rg to the Israelis slowed down sufficiently for explosion of the weapon blew a hole some l2 m
re 42-kt fast attack craft to catch her. By 14.23 (40 ft) wide rn the hull, causing most ol the
:]ey were only 6.4 km (4 miles) from the target, fatalitres aboard lhe Ltberty. The Daya then However, the Israelis had achieved lhe-:-
,-. rth the burning vessel transmittrng 'AAA' on attacked with a fifth torpedo but also missed purpose in removrng the Liberty from -:::
,re radio, requesting the Israeli craft to rdentrfy from a range of 1400 m (l 531 yards), Because scene, albeit at a cost of 34 officers and mer- :
remselves. Manoeuvrrng even closer to the of the very poor torpedo launches the lsraeli Ihe Liberty's crew dead wrth a further l6+ .:-
.lp, the Israeli commander decided that she commander ordered one of the boats to out- jured to varying degrees. The Israehs subs:-
as the Egyptran mrlltary cargo shtp El Katzir a flank the lrberly and attack from the other side. guently blamed the Americans for not telli:,:
iecision somewhat diffrcult to understand as Durrnq this manoeuvre the Israeli craft saw the them about the hberty's ope-ratron and I ..--
:ven allowing for obscuration of some of the identificatron letters on the bow of the badly tion, but they did express regret and pay sci:-''=
superstructure by smoke, the size and profile listinq ship, and shortly afterwards a rubber compensation for the 'accident', It rs worth n:.-
: :htch Ltberty presented was completely diffe- liferaft with the letters US Navy on it was sight- ing, however, that rn the remaining two da1,'s :
:ent from that of the Egyptian vessel, At 14.00 ed by the Ayai. The attack was then broken ofl the June war the Israelis managed successfu-.'
reIsraeli craft closed to about 900 m (984 What is more likely to have caused the attack to invade the Golan Heights regron of Syrra a::
'. ards)
and opened fire with therr 4O-mm to be abandoned was an order from the Israeli to complete the occupation of the west barrk -
3ofors, 20-mm cannon and 12.7 mm (0,5 in) high command, whose Sigint services were the Jordan river before any United Na:l::.s
reavy machine guns into the Liberty's hull and monitoring the signals from the Ltberty. They ceasefire was brought rnto being.
superstructure, raking it repeatedly, This was had heard Ihe Liberty's SOS to the nearest ln subsequent years thellberfy inciden: -,-, :.
:llowed with a torpedo attack by the Baz, American carrier battle group requesting air played down considerably ln the USA by oc::
launched two 457-mm ( l8 in) weapons at support and the reply sayrng it was on the way the mrirtary and the poiiticians, so ard to Isra:
-rc Liberty's bows from 900 and 500 m (984 and together with the cruiser USS ljttle.Rock. The was affected very litt1e. But the lessons for :::
two vessels met as Ihe Ltberty, wrth her fires US Navy and lhe rntelligence communrty oL - -
then extinguished, was limprng towards Malta
and the drydock lacrilres rhere

israel has always insisted that the attack on the

.ibertywasa case otmistaken identity. First
:Centified as a destroyer travelling at30 kts (some
- 0 kts faster than tfie Liberty's m aximum), she was
.ater correctly identified as a cargo ship and US
:aval auxiliary. For some reason thatidentification
'.,tas later ignored and an attackwas ordered.
/liasbeen sugrgested that, farfrom being a
mistake, the attack on the Liberty was a deliberale
efforton Israel's part to keep their own clandestine
S i g i n t o p er a t i on s s ec r e t. C e r t a inly t he lJib erty
looked nothing like the EWptian,transportEl
Kalzit, for which she was allegedlyr mistaken. I n an1,
case, the prominent US naval identification on the
bow and the'starc and stripes'would havebeen
visible throughout the action.
The Attack on the.L iberty
using vessels so close to a sensttive area were
not immediately learned, as the incident with
the USS Pueblo in the foltowing year revealed.
The Pueblo was a relatively small Sigint auxili-
ary tasked with sailing close to North Korean
territorial waters to monitor communications
ashore. On 22 January 1968 she was sur-
rounded by North Korean patrol boats and ai-
ter a short exchange of fire was boarded and
iaken to Wonsan harbour as the first US ship of
war to be boarded and surrendered since the
Anglo-American War of 1812. In contrast with
Ihet Liberty response, the Americans mobil-
ized six Naval Air Reserve squadrons and cre-
ated Task Force 7l with the nuclear carrier
USS Enlerpnse as its flagship (the Enterpnse
was aiready heading for her thrrd combat
cruise off Vietnam), A retaliatory air strike by
lhe Enterprise's carrier air group was thought
likely, but the idea was abandoned when the
Pueb/o was towed lnto Wonsan, The task force
was ordered to remain in the area until the
situation had been resolved, although the En-
terprise was relieved by the USSKittyHawkon
6 February. The Pueblo and her crew were
eventually released, but this and the previous
Liberty incident spelled the end of the AGI in
the US Navy inventory, AGI missions being
taken over by regular warships and sub-

Be\ow : After attacking with gunfire, the three Above: The first strafing pass was made at 14.00 by Below: After the attack,lsrael sent helicopters to
Israeli patrol boats closed in with torpedoes. This two Mystdres, followed two minutes later by two offer assistance, but not surprisingly they were not
is probably theBaz at about I 4 .42 , when she Mirages. As the photograph demonstrates, the well received. This Frelon is circling lfie Liberty
launched a torpedo [rom 500 m (and missed). attacks were atvery low level. after offering help.

Below: Commander William McGonagle, skipper Below:Lberty under attack.Whenthewounded McGonaglewas_gskedpy thelsraelis if herequired
of tlre Liberty a fter receiving theMedal of Honor. issjstance,lris lessthanpolite(butunderstandable)replywas'Gotohell,youbastard!'.
l: ;!: : -rberty as she appeared before the attack.
Ike ra::ld have appeared much the same to the
...:::t: ai force pilots making the initia] sighting on
-: :, :::o:ning of Thursday, I June.

Left: After the attacks, #re Liberty was holed like a Below : Liberty took B 2 I separate machine- gun,
sieve. Holes had been punched by 12.7-mm, 20- cannon and rocket hits, but most serious was the
mm, 30-mm and 40-mm cannon as well as by the massive hole blown by a torpedo strike below the
68-mm air launched rockets. waterline.

Lett: A wounded crewman is evacuated . The ship Below: The battered Liberty, /im ping towards
suffered 34 dead including the executive officer, Malta, was met by the cruiser USS Little Rockand
and 164 wounded, including the captain. Most of elements of the 6th FfieeL Shewas so badly
the deadwere due to the torpedo hit. damaged that she was scrapped.
[= V*q,t"rd'class
-h: -El'Sfiedstone (T-AGM2O) is the support the radars and communtca-
--f . :--:=:-i:
-:-irllTtentation mem- tions antennae; most of thrs is below
:ri: :i ::==-s-p Vangnrard' class decks ln converted hold areas, It is
::::m;:;r --:: sriiang of Ihe Mercury likely that theRedslone will be the first
:: - -:: ,. ,.:st ald the conversion of
- ship to be replaced by the new ranqe
-:= ,-::1;-=r: :nto the US Navy's test instrumentation ship conversion to be
:r : j::'*=:: ballistic mlssile gnridance procued in the Fiscal Year 1987 proq-
=-: .''i :aviqation systems, Con- ramme,
:€:,Teen 1964 and 1966 from a
--;:e tanker (by lnserting a Specification
-l--- -2 2-ft extension amidships) to 'Vangnrard'class
-<::-.': 3s t-le traclcng and communica- Displacement: l6,882 tons light and
-:::-s sip for the NASA Apollo lunar
24,7 l0 tons firll load
spaceflight progiramme, she Dimensions:length 180.7 m (593.0 ft);
::;r 3perates in support ofthe US Air beam22.9 m (75.0 ft); drausht 7,6 m
: :::e s Eastern Space Mssile Center (25.0 ft)
=: ?atrck Ar Force Base, Florida To Propulsion: ggared steam turbines
her curent mlssions she is fltted delivering 6488 kW (8,700 hp) to an
-.-,- electric dnve turning one shaft
i1:--: |..ffo large communications
and two trackrng radars, plus Speed: 16 kts
- :::rnber of HF communications sys- Aircraft: none
:=:::s. To monitor upper-atmosphere Amament:none
l:r.iilrons which miqht affect her work Electronics: one Raytheon TM I 650/9X
s:e has a high-altitude meteorological nangation radar and one Ray'theon Above; USIVSMerctry is the only one after early US missileprogrammes,
I llcon hanqar and launch platform lo- TM I 660/I2S navigration radar, plus of the three converted 'Mission' class and were used during the manned
:a-ed aft. Approximately 450 tons of items mentioned rn the text tankers to have been struck from the space programme for tracking and
:i:ctroruc equipment are installed to Complement: l9B navy list. The vessels were named com munic ations r e lay tas ks.

Above : The Y angrlard (T -AG I 94 ) has Belorar.' Vangnrard (T-AG I 94, formerly
taken part in a number of T-AGM19) supported the USAF
inte r na tion al u p per a tm o s p he r e mrsile-tesfing range in the AUantic
research exercises, including the for a number ofyears, and is now
Above.' USNS Redstone opera tes rh Sfie a/so fiassom e upper GATE programme. Her sister ship temporarily laid up after conversion
support of theTrident fleet ballistic atmosphere meteorology capability, Redstone(T-AGM2)) now serves as to ballistic missile guidance and ship
missile programme, serving as a essential for the analysis of missile the US Navy's navigation research navigation test ship in I 980.
tracking and communication ship. performance. ship, testing new systems.