The officers and crew of the USS Cheyenne (SSN-773) knew their proud ship was about to be destroyed. They had sunk four enemy warships and a submarine on the current patrol, but now a helicopter and maritime-patrol aircraft (MPA) were hounding them from above. The Cheyenne couldn’t outrun the aircraft, and because she had sailed into shallow waters, she couldn’t go deep to evade them, either. The MPA prepared to launch a torpedo at the submarine as the hovering helicopter provided guidance with its dipping sonar. The officer of the deck watched helplessly through the periscope as the MPA opened its weapons-bay doors, when suddenly the skipper bellowed, “Launch the Flyswatter!”
‘Launch the Flyswatter!’
Arming U.S. submarines with subsurface-to-air missiles would help mitigate one of the undersea fleet’s last remaining vulnerabilities.
By Lieutenant Jeff Vandenengel, U.S. Navy