a1 (Arctic Submarine Laboratory, San Diego)
In September 1931 Sir Hubert Wilkins and Harald Sverdrup made the first attempt to explore the Arctic Ocean by submarine in Wilkins's Nautilus. The Nautilus was the ex-Navy submarine O-12 modified with topside runners to slide against the underside of the sea ice. Seventeen years later the US Navy developed the sonar system necessary for safely piloting a diesel-battery submarine underneath the ice pack and began exploration of ice covered areas.
In 1957, with the nuclear-powered Nautilus, the US Navy began exploration far into the Arctic Ocean. Problems were found concerning determination of ship's position, ice avoidance manoeuvres, and surfacing up through ice. Sonar and inertial navigation equipments and operating techniques were developed to solve these problems. Submarines have since sailed to all parts of the Arctic Ocean during all seasons — more than twenty explorations since 1957. The history, problems and interrelationships of the many explorations are described.
Dr Lyon's paper was presented at a colloquium on the conquest of the North Pole held in Paris, 7–1 1 November 1983, and organized by the Centre d'Etudes Arctiques by whose permission it is here published. (Throughout the paper miles means nautical miles.)