Both USNI News and TheWarzone reported that the damaged U.S. Navy’s nuclear- powered attack submarine USS Connecticut (SSN 22) arrived at San Diego, California, on Sunday, December 12, 2021, after a surface transit of 6,182 miles (9,950 kilometers or 5,372 nautical miles) from Guam.
Based on pictures by famous ship spotter Twitter account WarshipCam, the streamlined sonar bow of the Seawolf-class submarine appears heavily damaged, perhaps even sheared off, preventing the submarine from diving and sailing underwater. Naval News reported on the USS Connecticut being inspected for preliminary repairs in Guam.
At the time, the U.S. Navy Public Affairs of the 7th Fleet and Submarine Forces, U.S. Pacific Fleet would not comment to Naval News on where SSN 22 would transit to, citing security reasons for submarine operations, but the USS Connecticut will definitely need additional extensive repairs back in the United States since Guam lacked the facilities and the manufacturing industry to repair such extensive bow damage. According to France-Metallurgie the three Seawolf submarines use HY-100 steel on hulls two inches thick that is 20% stronger than HY-80 steel on the Los Angeles-class attack submarines. Also unknown is if and how the U.S. Navy would repair the USS Connecticut as a new sonar dome would be a custom repair job if the U.S. Navy deems the submarine worthy and cost-effective of repairs.
Naval News Comments
According to the weather satellite images and weather forecasts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Naval News speculates that the damaged USS Connecticut (SSN 22) sailed to San Diego to avoid the “Atmospheric River” of heavy rain and gusty winds in the Pacific Ocean that will hit Northern California starting Sunday, December 12, 2021, or the day that the damaged USS Connecticut arrived at Naval Base, San Diego. Hazardous weather conditions of rain and wind with high Surf Advisory are expected in the San Francisco Bay Area from Sunday through Wednesday whereas showers and chances of rain and snow are expected in Seattle, Washington, further north. However, San Diego has relatively calm weather with clear skies when the USS Connecticut pulled into port. To sail on the sea’s surface to Seattle, Washington, might mean traversing through the “Atmospheric River” as depicted on the National Weather Service satellite views, and the rough seas could have been hazardous to the damaged submarine and its crew.
An aerial view of San Diego Naval Base does show ship repair drydocks and a Berthing Barge; however, it remains unclear when and where the repairs to the USS Connecticut will take place, or if the USS Connecticut will be transported to its homeport in Bremerton, Washington, via a heavy-lift open deck submersible ship to prevent the damaged submarine from making the final journey under its own hull and power. Ultimately, Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) along with Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet have authority on determining the USS Connecticut’s final destination and its fate regarding future repairs.