As the sub-blogosphere reported back in June, USS Dolphin (AGSS 555) will be decommissioned next month. From a really good article in the San Diego Union-Tribune, here's a picture of the old girl:
Check out the whole article in the U-T; here's an excerpt:
Less than a year after completing a $50 million project to repair and upgrade the San Diego-based research vessel, the Navy will decommission it Sept. 22. It is the country's last diesel-electric sub.The article also has a decent analysis on why the Navy is having to try to cut costs.
Axing the Dolphin will save the cash-strapped Navy about $18 million annually, said Capt. John Schwering, director of the Navy Range Office in Washington. The Navy's budget this year is $125 billion...
...The Dolphin had other notable firsts: sending the first successful submarine-to-aircraft laser communication and the first sub-to-surface e-mail and making the deepest launch for a torpedo. It has served as the testing platform for numerous sonar systems. As the Navy gradually retired the rest of its diesel-electric fleet, the Dolphin often played the enemy in anti-submarine warfare exercises – an important role because most of the world's navies still field diesel-electric subs.
Pentagon officials say the Dolphin's age and uniqueness caught up with it, making it expensive to operate and maintain. They say it carries obsolete sonar, is too slow and can't be maneuvered well enough to convincingly simulate a modern diesel-electric sub.
As always, the best source for old stories from the Dolphin is from G-man over at the USS Dolphin blog.