Run Silent, Run Deep

A Navy submarine base in landlocked Idaho??  Well, kinda sortof.

As you can read, this is the Acoustic Research Deployment Facility located in Bayview, Idaho.  To get to Bayview I traveled about 20 minutes north of where I’m staying in Coeur d’Alene and got off the highway at the little town of Athol (pronounced… uh…  be careful now… don’t be a potty mouth).  Turning right it was then a short drive past the entrance of Farragut State Park to Bayview, which is at the southernmost point of Lake Pend Oreille (pronounced Pond Array, or Ponderay).  The lake is one of the deepest in the United States and because of the way it has developed over time, is ideal for the type of research the Navy does here.

This is where they test new submarine designs to be as undetectable as possible.  The title of the post refers to a classic 1958 submarine movie with an all star cast (Clark Gable, Burt Lancaster, Jack Warden and in a serious role, Don Rickles).  It is actually a great movie and if you ever get a chance to see it, check it out.  It has a 100% reviewer rating on Rotten Tomatoes!

But I digress…  The Navy uses 1/4 scale models of actual submarines and surface ships to monitor the noise they generate, both from the water’s surface and below.  They are helping design and test both physical and mechanical stealth technology to make the vessels quieter.

They do most of their testing at night, which adds to the mystique of the place.  I presume they do that to reduce the clutter of underwater noise generated by recreational surface craft (boats and jet skis) which are on the lake during the day.  A woman who works at a convenience store right up the street from the entrance gate told me that lately they have also been testing designs of surface ships, like destroyers.

There are no tours, and it is a rather secretive facility.

2 thoughts on “Run Silent, Run Deep”

  1. Pretty cool John – I didn’t realize this particular facility existed. My background was as a submarine sonarman. I served on the USS Batfish which has since been decommissioned and scrapped, but her WWII namesake is a diesel-boat-turned-museum somewhere in Missouri. Really enjoying the posts!


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