In a new age of ultra-quiet undersea acoustics, it’s high time for the U.S. Navy to revitalize a signature Cold War capability.
In early 1981, a ready-alert P-3C Orion launched from Naval Air Station Bermuda with a crew of 12 officers and enlisted men. An hour earlier the crew had been comfortably asleep as their 24-hour-alert shift was winding down. Now they pulled themselves together as their Orion clawed for altitude, arcing northeast toward the vastness of the North Atlantic Ocean. During the scramble to get airborne there had only been time for a hasty briefing, but they understood the sudden urgency: A Soviet submarine was nearby.