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History of the Atlantic Cable & Undersea Communications
from the first submarine cable of 1850 to the worldwide fiber optic network

US Underseas Cable Corporation
by Bill Glover

UNITED STATES UNDERSEAS CABLE CORPORATION

Formed in 1959 as a three-way venture between the Phelps-Dobbs Corporation, one of the world's largest producers of copper and a manufacturer of power, electric and communication cables; the Northrop Corporation, manufacturers and suppliers of amongst other things long range communication systems; and Felten and Guilleaume, manufacturers of submarine cables and repeaters.

Prior to this no single company within the United States had the ability to design, manufacture and install submarine cable systems. Felten and Guilleaume supplied the cable and repeaters for the first contract awarded to the company by the US Air Force to lay cables from Grand Turk to Ramey Air Force Base, Puerto Rico. In all 336 nm of cable and 19 repeaters were laid. The second stage was 377 nm of cable and 21 repeaters laid between Ramey and Coolidge Air Force Facility, Antigua. CS Omega laid all the shore ends with CS Neptun (3) laying the main cables in 1963. The system became known as the Eastern Test Range No 1.

Further orders came from the US Air Force as follows:

"Wet Wash A" ran between the Philippines and Vietnam, and was laid in 1964 by CS Neptun (3). 696 nm of cable and 41 repeaters were laid between the US Naval Station at San Miguel, Philippines, and Nha Trang, Vietnam. CS Store Nordiske (2) belonging to the Great Northern Telegraph Company surveyed the route.

Section of Wet Wash A, mounted as a paperweight

Project Wet Wash
System 484 M. Subsystem A
Submarine Communication Cable
engineered and manfactured
by Simplex Wire & Cable Co.
Submarine Cable Division
Newington, New Hampshire

The second cable, laid in 1966 and known as "Wet Wash C", ran between Makua, Oahu, Hawaii and the US Air Force base on Johnston Island. CS Neptun (3) surveyed the route and laid 769 nm of cable and 45 repeaters. These cables were manufactured by the Simplex Wire & Cable Company with the repeaters being supplied by Felten and Guilleaume.

The United States Underseas Cable Corporation was awarded a further contract by the US Air Force to lay a series of cables making up the Vietnam Coastal Network. All these cables were manufactured by the Simplex Wire and Cable Company and laid by CS Neptun (3) during 1967, with CS Omega laying the shore ends. The repeaters were supplied by Underseas Cable, who had taken a lease on the Felten and Guilleaume repeater factory in 1964.

Da Nang - Qui Nhon 202 nm of cable and 12 repeaters
Qui Nhon - Nha Trang 122 nm of cable and 7 repeaters
Qui Nhon - Cam Rahn Bay 144 nm of cable and 8 repeaters
Nha Trang - Vung Tau 290 nm of cable and 17 repeaters
Cam Rahn Bay - Vung Tau 206 nm of cable and 12 repeaters
Vung Tau - Ban Sattahip, Thailand 607 nm of cable and 37 repeaters

The first non-military order awarded to the company was for a cable between Japan and Siberia, known as JASC, for the Great Northern Telegraph Company. The cable, 477 nm in length, was manufactured by the Ocean Cable Co., Japan and transistorised repeaters were supplied by Underseas Cables from the Felten and Guilleaume factory in Cologne. CS KDD Maru laid the cable as CS Neptun (3) was unavailable.

In 1970, together with N.V. Philips Telecommunication, the company supplied the Danish PTT with repeaters which were inserted into previously laid cables; Copenhagen - Esbjerg and Copenhagen - Ormsley.

United States Underseas Cable Corporation
cast bronze plaque showing CS Neptun (3).
Date unknown but probably c. 1970.
The single-sided plaque is 6¼" diameter

1971 saw another US Air Force order, this time for a cable from Taiwan to Okinawa. The Simplex Wire and Cable Company supplied the cable and Underseas Cables the repeaters. The cable, 377 nm in length, was laid by CS Neptun (3).

This was to be the last contract undertaken by the company, as a lack of orders from the Military and increasing competition from the major cable companies led to the company being wound up in 1972. The two cable ships were sold in 1971 to a subsidiary of ITT, International Marine Operations Inc., a Liberian registered company set up by ITT for the purpose.

CABLE SHIPS


OMEGA

See Glassford in the US Army section and Nashawena in the US Navy section

Sold out of the cable world in 1973.


NEPTUN (3)

See Neptun (3) in the Norddeutsche Seekabelwerke section and as CS Cable Venture

Last revised: 23 December, 2011

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—Bill Burns, publisher and webmaster: Atlantic-Cable.com