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Archaeological Survey of the Ex-USS Bugara (SS/AGSS331)

  • James P. Delgado
  • Frank Cantelas
  • Robert V. Schwemmer
  • Robert S. Neyland
  • Agustin OrtizJr.
  • George Galasso
  • Michael L. Brennan
Original Paper
  • 6 Downloads

Abstract

In August 2017, a multidisciplinary team conducted the first archaeological survey of the deep water (242 m) wreck of the ex-USS Bugara (SS/AGSS331) using the remotely operated vehicles Argus and Hercules. The survey provided 8 h of direct observation with video and still camera documentation of the wreck, which previously had been identified by sonar and a brief ROV survey of portions of the hull in 2001. The 2017 assessment added considerably to an understanding of changes to Bugara after it sank while under tow in 1971. Bugara, a World War II-era submarine, served at the end of that conflict and through the Cold War. The submarine reflects a series of modifications to “modernize” it within the context of the Cold War. The examination of the wreck, along with additional archival research, offers more details not only on the probable cause of the sinking but also on subsequent site formation processes. The characterization of the wreck resulted in a reassessment of the site as more than an obsolete vessel accidentally lost when relegated to target practice. The archival record, now declassified, shows that Bugara’s loss also reflects its ultimate use, within the context of the Cold War, as a target for the Mark 48 torpedo, a newly developed “sub and ship killing” weapon designed in the late 1960s and tested through 1971 to take out Soviet deep-diving nuclear submarines and high-performance surface ships.

Keywords

Submarine Shipwreck Cold War 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • James P. Delgado
    • 1
  • Frank Cantelas
    • 2
  • Robert V. Schwemmer
    • 3
  • Robert S. Neyland
    • 4
  • Agustin OrtizJr.
    • 4
  • George Galasso
    • 3
  • Michael L. Brennan
    • 1
  1. 1.SEARCH Inc.JacksonvilleUSA
  2. 2.NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and ResearchSilver SpringUSA
  3. 3.NOAA Office of National Marine SanctuariesSilver SpringUSA
  4. 4.Naval History and Heritage CommandWashington, DCUSA

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