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Original Cold War U.S. Navy Submarine Helm Steering Control Attributed to USS Dolphin (AGSS-555) - Deepest Sub Dive Ever

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Item Description

Original Item: One of a Kind. This is a highly valuable historical artifact, particularly for those who have served in the submariner community. The item in question is the Helm Assembly, which is attributed to the prestigious and world-renowned USS Dolphin (AGS-555), also known as the "Triple Nickle" but most importantly, “The Deepest-Diving Submarine Ever”. In November 1968, she set a depth record of over 3,000 feet for operating submarines that still stands. Our organization received this helm from a reputable source who indicated that it was removed from the Control Center and replaced with a new one in 2003 due to water-induced electrical damage. The helm still retinas its lower gears and can be pushed forward to "dive" and pulled back to "rise" which are the instructions on the base plate. The helm is mounted on a base plate with casters, making it easy to roll around and perfect for a office or man cave setting!

Be Sure To Check Dimensions/Weight At Bottom

On May 12, 2002, while off the coast of San Diego, the Dolphin suffered a failure in one of its torpedo shield door gaskets, which caused water to flood into the vessel. The situation was exacerbated by high winds and waves, which allowed between 70 and 85 tons of water to enter the sub. This compromised its ability to float, damaged electrical systems, and caused fires.

To prevent the pump from clogging, Chief Machinist’s Mate John D. Wise, Jr. swam into the cramped, flooded pump room and realigned the valves. Despite his heroic efforts, the crew was unable to repair the sub, and they were evacuated to the research ship McGaw. Fortunately, no major injuries were sustained, and the crew was returned to San Diego.

For his bravery, Wise was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Medal. His actions placed the sub in a stable enough condition to be towed into port the following day. The Dolphin underwent extensive repairs for the next three and a half years, at a cost of $50 million, during which time the helm was also removed and replaced.

The helm of a boat or ship is the device used for steering it, similar to the “steering wheel” in a car. However, on a submarine, the helm acts more like an aircraft control, with not only left and right tilts but also “Dive” and “Rise” controls. The helmsman, who is responsible for steering the vessel, uses the yoke wheel like an airplane. Turning the wheel left or right operates the rudder, while pulling the yoke back applies an up angle on the fair water planes (side of sail) or bow planes, depending on the type of ship. Pushing it forward puts a down angle. Although we cannot guarantee that it is functional, the helm still moves and “functions” as originally intended.

The equipment's steering mechanism is in great condition, exhibiting signs of diligent upkeep over the course of two decades. While the paint on the helm has suffered minor deterioration and the steel components bear some scratches and dents, the equipment remains visually appealing and is more than suitable for display purposes. The helm is marked with several alphanumeric codes denoted by the letters "PNS", which we believe to be part numbers. Despite a thorough search, we were unable to locate a database that matches these codes. This creates an intriguing research opportunity worth exploring further!

This artifact represents a significant piece of US Naval history and is well-maintained, making it an ideal subject for further research and display.

Dimensions: 16 x 18 x 36 Not Including Base
Weight: 190+ Pounds will be delivered via TRUCK FREIGHT with curbside delivery.

Service record
In August 1969, Dolphin launched a torpedo from the deepest depth that one has ever been fired. Other examples of Dolphin's work include:

-first successful submarine-to-aircraft optical communications
-development of a laser imaging system of photographic clarity
-development of an extreme low frequency antenna for Ohio-class submarines
-evaluation of various nonacoustic ASW techniques
-evaluation of various low probability of interception active sonars
-first submarine launch of a mobile submarine simulator system
-first successful submarine test of BQS-15 sonar system
-development of highly accurate (10 cm) towed body position monitoring system
-development of a new obstacle-avoidance sonar system
-development of a highly accurate target management system
-evaluation of a possible "fifth force of nature"
-first successful submarine-to-aircraft two-way laser communication
-deepest submarine (i.e. [non-submersible) dive; more than 3,000 feet (910 m)

Dolphin was overhauled in 1993.[citation needed] In the late 1990s, Dolphin tested a new sonar system. As a result of Dolphin's efforts, this new system will now be retrofitted into the fleet.

USS Dolphin (AGSS-555)
USS Dolphin (AGSS-555) was a United States Navy diesel-electric deep-diving research and development submarine. She was commissioned in 1968 and decommissioned in 2007. Her 38-year career was the longest in history for a US Navy submarine to that point. She was the Navy's last operational conventionally powered submarine.

Dolphin was designed under project SCB 207. Her keel was laid on 9 November 1962 at the Portsmouth Navy Yard, Kittery, Maine. She was launched on 8 June 1968, sponsored by Mrs. Maggie Shinobu Inouye, (née Awamura), wife of U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye, and commissioned on 17 August 1968 with Lieutenant Commander J.R. McDonnell in command.

Dolphin's hull number, "555", is unusual in that it was taken out of sequence. At the time of her 1968 commissioning, the five other new submarines commissioned that year, all of the Sturgeon class, had hull numbers ranging from 638 to 663. Dolphin's hull number was taken from a block of cancelled hull numbers from the World War II-vintage Tench class, the last of which was commissioned in 1951. The reason for the selection of "555" as Dolphin's hull number is not known.

Despite a recent repair and upgrade, Dolphin was decommissioned on 15 January 2007 and stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on the same date. She is now a museum ship in San Diego Bay under the management of the San Diego Maritime Museum.

The single most significant technical achievement in the development of Dolphin is the pressure hull itself. It is a constant-diameter cylinder, closed at its ends with hemispherical heads, and uses deep frames instead of bulkheads. The entire design of the pressure hull was kept as simple as possible to facilitate its use in structural experiments and trials. Hull openings were minimized for structural strength and minimum hull weight, in addition to eliminating possible sources for flooding casualties. The submarine has no snorkel mast; the main hatch had to be open when the diesel engines were running.

Employed in both civilian and Navy activities, Dolphin was equipped with an extensive instrumentation suite that supported missions such as acoustic deep-water and littoral research, near-bottom and ocean surveys, weapons launches, sensor trials, and engineering evaluations. Because she was designed as a test platform, Dolphin could be modified both internally and externally to allow installation of up to 12 tons of special research and test equipment. She has internal and external mounting points, multiple electronic hull connectors, and up to 10 equipment racks for project use.

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