A $21 Million Navy Ship Sits Abandoned in Washington

A $21 Million Navy Ship Sits Abandoned in Washington

During its time, the USS Plainview (AGEH-1) held the title of the world’s largest hydrofoil ship. It was named after the cities of Plainview, New York, and Plainview, Texas, and was the United States Navy’s first hydrofoil research vessel. Construction of the Plainview cost $21 million. On May 8, 1964, under project SCB 219, construction was started on the ship by the Lockheed Shipbuilding and Construction Company in Seattle, Washington. The ship was completed on June 28, 1965. On March 3, 1969, the ship was placed in service and was sponsored by Mrs. John T. Hayward.

The Plainview used two General Electric LM1500 free-turbine turbo-shaft engines for foil-borne propulsion, similar to those found in F-4 Phantom aircraft. During conventional hull-borne operations, the ship relied on two diesel engines. The ship’s home port was Bremerton, Washington. It conducted long-range experimental programs to evaluate the design principles of hydrofoils, develop and assess tactics and doctrines for hydrofoils, particularly in anti-submarine warfare, and determine the feasibility of hydrofoil operations in high seas.

On September 22, 1978, at Pier 7 of Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, the Plainview was decommissioned. It was later struck from the Naval Vessel Register on September 30, 1978, and sold for scrapping by the Defense Re-utilization and Marketing Service (DRMS) to General Metals (now Schnitzer Metals) on the Hylebos Waterway in Tacoma, Washington on July 1, 1979. Partial scrapping of the vessel began in 2004. As of April 10, 2019, the Plainview remained abandoned on mudflats on private property near Astoria, Oregon. In 2019, the Washington Department of Natural Resources expressed concerns about the vessel’s derelict hull potentially leaking pollutants into the environment.

Over its lifetime, the Plainview spent a total of 268 hours traveling on its foils.

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