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Watch: The Tech Behind How The US Navy Kept Soviet Subs Under Surveillance

“ASW: Tracking The Threat” Just Confirms That We Really Used “F*cking Magic” To Track Ivan

VP-5 Mad Foxes Lockheed P-3C Orion. Official US Navy Photograph

When Centron Films produced the training film “ASW:  Tracking The Threat” for the United States Navy (USN) in 1982 the threat of Soviet submarine attack, either against surface ships via torpedoes or against the country and the world via ballistic missiles, was not only ever-present but constantly changing and evolving. The film goes into details about the support structure required for effective target prosecution that few outside the military knew or would likely have even understood. Uploaded by YouTuber ZenosWarbirds the film is a look at the serious business of keeping tabs on Soviet subs and the shadowy methods used to do so.

VP-19 Big Red Lockheed P-3C Orion. Official US Navy Photograph

The hodge-podge of early-1980s footage used in the film includes Patrol Squadron FIVE (VP-5) Mad Foxes, VP-23 Seahawks, and VP-19 Big Red P-3C Orions and several shots of the sensor stations and other features inside “the tube” of the Orion. The carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69), guided missile destroyer USS Wainwright (CG-28), and the destroyer USS Spruance (DD-963) also make appearances in the film.

VS-21 Fighting Redtails Lockheed S-3A Viking. Official US Navy Photograph

Sea Control Squadron TWO ONE (VS-21) Fighting Redtails S-3A Vikings wearing CVW-1 tailcodes are shown on the deck and launching from the carrier USS John F. Kennedy (CVA-67). Then a VS-29 Dragonfires S-3A is then shown in flight. Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron NINE (HS-9) Sea Griffins Sikorsky SH-3H Sea King helicopters and Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron (Light) THREE FOUR (HSL-34) Green Checkers Kaman SH-2F Seasprite Light Airborne Multi-Purpose System (LAMPS Mark I) helicopters also appear in the film.

Kaman SH-2F Seasprite. Official US Navy Photograph

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Written by Bill Walton

Bill Walton

Bill Walton is a life-long aviation enthusiast and expert in aircraft recognition. As a teenager Bill helped his engineer father build an award-winning T-18 homebuilt airplane in their Wisconsin basement. Bill is a freelance writer, an avid sailor, engineer, announcer, husband, father, uncle, mentor, coach, and Navy veteran. Bill lives north of Houston TX with his wife and son under the approach path to KDWH runway 17R, which means they get to look up at a lot of airplanes. A very good thing.

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