The Naval Submarine Base New London (SUBASE) is located on the east of the Thames River near Groton, in Connecticut. It was the first submarine base in the US Navy and is also referred as the “Home of the Submarine Force”.
The SUBASE provides support facilities for the operational attack submarines of the US Navy, naval organisations and tenant commands. The base houses 21,000 personnel including civilian workers, contractors, active-duty members and their families.
Location and layout
The submarine base lies on the east bank of the Thames River, approximately 9.6km north of Long Island Sound. The northern part of the base is in the Town of Ledyard, while the southern portion remains in the Town of Groton.
The submarine base occupies a total area of 1,102 acres. The main base covering 687 acres hosts major base activities. The rest of the land is used for housing and community support.
The State of Connecticut handed over 112 acres of land to the US Navy in 1868. Following the construction of two new buildings and a pier, the facility was formally designated as a Naval Yard in 1872. The Naval Submarine Base built various types of watercrafts for the Navy during this period. The base was also used as a coaling station by the Atlantic Fleet small craft.
The first diesel-powered submarine at the base was commissioned in 1912. Four submarines and a submarine tender arrived at the base in 1915. The facility was officially established as a permanent submarine base in 1916. The base facilities were expanded and a submarine training facility was established in 1917. The submarine medical centre was set up in 1918.
The base was predominantly expanded in terms of area and facilities during World War I and II to support the submarine fleet. The first nuclear powered submarine USS Nautilus was launched there in 1954.
Most of the existing waterfront buildings were constructed between the late 1800s and early 1900s. Buildings 1 and 2, built in 1873, accommodate the headquarters of the Submarine Squadrons (SUBRONs). The base includes over 400 buildings, most of them constructed since World War II.
The Naval Submarine Base New London is a key facility for the US Navy. It is home to 17 attack submarines including Los Angeles Class and Virginia Class.
The base hosts over 70 tenant commands including Commander Submarine Group Two, the Submarine Learning Centre, the Naval Submarine School, the Naval Submarine Medical Research Laboratory and the Naval Undersea Medical Institute.
The main base consists of submarine training facilities, offices, medical facilities, naval housing, and other facilities for the maintenance of submarines.
It currently serves as homeport for the nuclear-powered submarine fleet in the Atlantic Ocean.
The lower SUBASE area within the main base provides berthing and support facilities for submarines.
It has pier spaces sufficient to accommodate 17 submarines.
In July 2009, Richmond was awarded a $35.2m contract to reconstruct Pier 31 at the base. The new pier is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2010.
Other base facilities and services
The base provides training facilities for enlisted submariners and crew members. The Basic Enlisted Sub School (BESS) offers training programmes for enlisted sailors on shoring, patching leaks and ruptured pipes, fire-fighting and submarine handling techniques.
The other schools located at the base include SECF (Submarine Electronics Computer Field), SCERF (Submarine Communications Electronic Rating Field), AUXPAC and TM “A”.
There are permanent and temporary housing facilities available for civilian, active duty workers and their families. Other base facilities include a commissary, a fleet and family support centre, a galley and navy exchange. The recreation area has a playground, volleyball court, basketball court and indoor restrooms.