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U.S. Navy submarine base is right next to state park campground

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A top secret U.S. navy submarine base in Northern Idaho
The U.S. Navy Acoustic Research Detachment (ARD) facility. Farragut State Park is in the background. (U.S. Navy photo)

So, where, might you think, is a likely place for the U.S. Navy to set up a submarine base? Seattle? San Diego? Norfolk? Nope. North Idaho!

You’ll find (if you look hard enough) the Navy’s Acoustic Research Detachment (ARD) facilities just outside the boundaries of Farragut State Park in Bayview, ID. The military research and testing operations take unique advantage of Lake Pend Oreille, which is the largest and deepest lake in Idaho, with depths of 1,200 feet. Its large mass and remote location make it a quiet place to conduct research on the noise footprints of naval vessels, including those of our adversaries. The ARD states on its website that Lake Pend Oreille is the region’s “quietest body of water, providing an ideal environment for acoustic testing without the attendant problems and costs of open ocean operations.”

Fun with model submarines

A large-scale submarine model deployed in Lake Pend Oreille, ID (U.S. Navy photo)

The ARD operates a large-scale model submarine in Lake Pend Oreille and has established underwater test ranges and acoustic test facilities for its Research, Development, Test & Evaluation (RDT&E) of submarine acoustic stealth technology. Project scientists, engineers, and Navy technicians work at the facility on operations and experiments.

Read more about the fascinating story of Farragut State Park here

##RVT1073

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David
2 months ago

Also partially explains frequent presence of Navy P-3s and P-8s submarine chasers over the Spokane, Washington/Fairchild AFB area. Hasn’t been a secret for years.1999 LATines article is just one of innumerable articles.

https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1998-aug-23-me-15711-story.html

WrkrBee
2 months ago

Too many people these days have never served this country and do not understand how much information can be gleaned and compiled from articles like this and “comments”.

Wayne Caldwell
2 months ago

I heard some time back that the U.S. Navy was going to build a submarine repair center in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Simple sail them from the Texas Gulf Coast up the Rio (not very) Grande in the middle of summer. 😁😁😁😁😁

ARB
2 months ago
Reply to  Wayne Caldwell

I lived in Albuquerque for 10 years, I agree it would be something to see the submarines coming up any time of year. Could make a festival out of it like the balloon festival every October.

Eric Meslin
2 months ago

I thought you had to be talking about Georgia’s Crooked River State Park which is right next to Kingsbay Naval Submarine Base.

Jeff Craig
2 months ago
Reply to  Eric Meslin

So did I. Had a friend of mine who was staying at the nearby FamCamp when a tornado rolled through there a few years ago.

John Guy
1 month ago
Reply to  Eric Meslin

Located less than 25 miles as the crow flies from me. Several times we have seen subs deploying over the years. Makes you feel alright about $2B subs. 🙄

Ralf
2 months ago

Never have quite understood how the Naval SURFACE Warfare Center ended up running this and not the Naval Undersea Warfare Center.

Tommy Molnar
2 months ago

Nevada has its own ‘secret naval base’ as well. It’s called the “Naval Undersea Warfare Center” and it’s just outside the town of Hawthorne. Tons of rumors abound, of course. Like how nearby Walker Lake has an underwater tunnel leading to Point Dume near Malibu that submarines can go in the water under land all the way, approximately 395 miles. The fact that the naval base sits about 4300 feet above sea level means nothing – ha.

Ralf
2 months ago
Reply to  Tommy Molnar

Yup…. (it’s actually an munitions storage facility)

Tommy Molnar
2 months ago
Reply to  Ralf

Actually, the munitions storage area is attached to the Army base.

Scott
2 months ago

Well it ain’t secret anymore!!

Ralf
2 months ago
Reply to  Scott

Security By Obscurity.

Crowman
2 months ago

My Dad trained there in the Navy along with 100,000’s more during WW2.

Ralf
2 months ago
Reply to  Crowman

Farragut Naval Training became Farragut State Park, with the Navy only retaining the above mentioned research center

Cal Sherman
1 month ago
Reply to  Crowman

So did one of my uncles, he can be seen in a picture on a wall there.

LCandreva
1 month ago
Reply to  Crowman

My father did also. They also had a reunion every year they went to at the state park.

Richard
2 months ago

Navy has a similar facility in one of the Finger Lakes, outside of Watkins Glen, NY. A land-based acoustic facility, operated by a civilian university under contract, is the last operating remnant of the otherwise closed Warminster (PA) Naval Air Developmental Center.

Ralf
2 months ago
Reply to  Richard

Last time I was there is was run by the Naval Undersea Warfare Center.

Micheal Whelan
2 months ago

I thought you were going to say Georgia State Park Crooked River. From it’s hiking trails you can see Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base. Great campground with a lot of trails and things to do.