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Project AZORIAN 40th Anniversary

glomarimageAugust marks the 40th anniversary of one of the greatest intel coups of the Cold War: Project AZORIAN, also known as #Glomar.

The story began in 1968 when K-129, a Soviet Golf II-class submarine carrying three SS-N-4 nuclear-armed ballistic missiles, sailed from the naval base at Petropavlovsk on Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula to take up its peacetime patrol station in the Pacific Ocean northeast of Hawaii. Soon after leaving port, the submarine and its entire crew were lost.  After the Soviets abandoned their extensive search efforts, the U.S. located the submarine about 1,500 miles northwest of Hawaii on the ocean floor 16,500 feet below. Recognizing the immense value of the intelligence on Soviet strategic capabilities that would be gained if the submarine were recovered, the CIA agreed to lead the recovery effort with support from the Department of Defense. CIA engineers faced a daunting task: lift the huge 1,750-ton, 132-foot-long wrecked submarine intact from an unknown ocean abyss more than three miles below—under total secrecy.

In 1970, after careful study, a team of CIA engineers and contractors determined that the only technically feasible approach was to use a large mechanical claw to grasp the hull and heavy-duty winches mounted on a surface ship to lift it.

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Posted: Aug 15, 2014 06:14 AM
Last Updated: Aug 28, 2014 11:16 AM