Naval Submarines in Idaho?

Posted by Kevin Hughes on Tuesday, October 4th, 2011 at 4:50pm.

Beautiful Lake in IdahoNorthern Idaho probably doesn't come to mind when you consider where the U.S. Navy chooses to hold advanced technology submarine testing.  Yet the lakes in this region offer perfect conditions for underwater submarine noise testing. 

Deep Calm Waters
The Navy’s Acoustic Research Detachment in Bayview, Idaho utilizes the deep, calm waters of Lake Pend Oreille for the noise testing of its large scale model submarines. During defense missions and warfare a submarine’s stealth qualities are of utmost importance, hence the precise and extensive noise testing. The Navy’s priority is to ensure that deployed submarines are as quiet as possible, in order to conduct missions without detection.  

Advanced Technology
These model Navy submarines are tested in a 26 square mile area near the center of Lake Pend Oreille, far from the beautiful shores where many Idaho real estate owners and visitors spend their days on the lake. The model submarines each have a deployment for several weeks at a time and are tracked by highly sensitive, technologically advanced underwater microphones.  The lake depth of over 1,100 feet and a subsurface temperature of 39.5 degrees are critical for receiving accurate noise measurements.  The temperature of the lake is important because it affects the speed of sound, which will also impact the reliability of the measurements.  

Mountain Range in IdahoSaving Money While Gathering Accurate Data
The Navy employs these large scale models for submarine testing primarily to curb excessive costs of testing full size submarines. The model testing is performed at a significantly lower cost then using fully operational submarines currently in the Navy’s fleet. Combining the reduced scale of the model subs and the ideal conditions of the waters of Northern Idaho, the Navy is able to recreate conditions for fleet submarines in the open ocean. This technology allows for highly accurate and reliable data gathered from the testing, protecting Navy submariners and all US citizens when submarines are deployed.

There’s a lot more to Idaho than meets the eye, and Idaho real estate owners have a world of discoveries at their doors.  The Naval submarine testing site is one of the many secrets Idaho holds that residents and visitors alike can discover.  

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