The Los Angeles-class attack submarine Norfolk, left, will leave service shortly after returning from its deployment, switching places on the inactivation schedule with the Dallas, right, which will serve until 2017. (US Navy photos)
The US Navy attack submarine Dallas is getting a reprieve and the Norfolk, currently on deployment, is headed to early retirement.
Submarine Group 2 announced Friday that the Dallas, which was scheduled to be inactivated next year, will serve two more years in the fleet and be inactivated in 2017. The boat, famous for its starring role in Tom Clancy’s best-selling novel “The Hunt for Red October,” was commissioned in 1981.
The Norfolk, which deployed in February, is expected to return from deployment later this summer and will transfer to Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine, in 2015 for stripping down.
Lt. Timothy Hawkins, spokesman for the sub group, said the swap will save the Navy $10 million and there were no concerns with the Norfolk to prompt the switch.
The Norfolk is two years younger than the Dallas; it was commissioned in 1983.
Hawkins said the whole crew will accompany the ship to Portsmouth and be gradually drawn down as requirements dictate.
The Los Angeles-class attack boats are being phased out of the fleet and replaced by Virginia-class submarines, though they still represent the bulk of the Navy’s attack subs. The Navy built 62 of the boats, and there are still 41 in active service.
The Navy recently awarded a $17.6 billion contract for 10 more Virginia-class boats to General Dynamics and Huntington Ingalls Industries.
Naval Sea Systems Command spokeswoman Colleen O’Rourke said in an email that the Navy is looking at Block V designs that will include berthing space for women. That construction contract is scheduled to be awarded in 2019, O’Rourke said. Missile boats that are now in the design phase under the Ohio Replacement Program will be planned from the outset to include both men and women in the crew, O’Rourke said.