Alternative to Project Seafarer

LCD-77-360: Published: Oct 7, 1977. Publicly Released: Oct 7, 1977.

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The Navy is considering as an alternative to the proposed Michigan Seafarer a combined system of the present Wisconsin Test Facility and the proposed test facility for the Michigan Seafarer. The full-scale Michigan Seafarer as presently planned would use 2,400 miles of cable in a 4,000 square-mile area and would include the proposed K. I. Sawyer test facility. The Wisconsin Test Facility, at Clam Lake in northern Wisconsin, consists of a control center, a transmission station, two 14-mile cables aboveground, and one 14-mile cable underground. In present operations, only the aboveground cables are used in transmissions. The test facility proposed for the Michigan Seafarer consists of a control center and a transmission station, with an antenna of one 54-mile east-west cable and two north-south underground cables.

The alternative under consideration would not require expanding this facility, but the Navy would improve its quality and reliability by replacing the cables and operating with all three cables. All but about 5 miles of these cables would be located either on public lands or along existing rights-of-way. In comparison with the proposed full-scale Michigan Seafarer, the performance potential of the alternative is not as effective; however, the Navy considers it adequate for its basic needs. The estimated range of the alternative is less than the Michigan Seafarer's but would cover areas that the Navy considers vital. The Navy estimates the costs of the alternative to be between $250-$300 million, compared to about $590 million for the Michigan Seafarer. Of this amount, about $110 million is for further research and development required wherever an extremely low frequency system is located, about $56 million for receivers, and the remainder is for building the system.

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