Spy Sub

By Deane Barker on February 18, 2005

Experts: New submarine can tap fiber-optic cables: This is fascinating — a billion-dollar packet sniffer.

The USS Jimmy Carter, set to join the nation’s submarine fleet Saturday, will have some special capabilities, intelligence experts say: It will be able to tap undersea cables and eavesdrop on the communications passing through them.

[…] Like [its predecessor], the Jimmy Carter was extensively modified from its basic design, given a $923 million hull extension that allows it to house technicians and gear to perform the cable-tapping and other secret missions, experts say. The boat’s hull, at 453 feet, is 100 feet longer than the other two subs in the Seawolf class.

Here’s the Navy’s official page on it, noticeably void of any eavesdropping information — they euphemistically refer to it as “classified research, development, test, and evaluation (RDT&E).”

Finally, you know you’ve tapped into the male psyche when Maxim magazine even has a feature on it in their own unique style:

Made of high-pressure HY-100 steel — first used in deep-sea subs and later in the underwire in Anna Nicole Smith’s bra — the Carter’s hull reportedly lets it operate at a crushing 2,000 feet. It distributes pressure evenly across the body, meaning the only creaking noises in this baby are from the bunk room. Don’t ask, don’t tell!