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Declassified: Recovery of the K-129

If you happen to be a member of Amazon Prime, be sure to catch a documentary named Azorian: The Raising Of The K-129. You will not be disappointed. I promise. It’s a most interesting true story about the Soviet submarine K-129: Sank on March 8, 1968, approximately 1,560 nautical miles northwest of Oahu in the Pacific Ocean with all hands. All 98 crewmen perished.

The United States has done a magnificent job of keeping the incident quiet for decades, and this is probably one of the best kept secrets of the century.

The Day She Sank: The Soviet K-129

Carrying the hull number 722 on her final deployment, she sank on March 8, 1968. The K-129 sank about 3 miles in the deep blue ocean, situated northwest of Hawaii.

“It was one of four mysterious submarine disappearances in 1968; the others being the Israeli submarine INS Dakar, the French submarine Minerve (S647) and the US submarine USS Scorpion (SSN-589).”

Project Azorian: The United States Intelligence Agency Secretly Wants To Recover The K-129

Here’s the kicker. The sub was carrying a nuclear missile (R-21, also known as NATO SS-N-5 Serb), and the CIA wanted to extract the details, including cryptological documents and equipment.

Project Azorian was one of the most complex, expensive, and secretive intelligence operations during the the Cold War era with a price tag of about $800 million ($3.8 billion in 2016 dollars).” Some have claimed that the project was a waste of taxpayer dollars.

GSF Explorer — a deep-sea drillship platform initially built to recover the sunken Soviet submarine K-129

The Hunt for Red October was based on this story. “Hughes Glomar Explorer (HGE), as the ship was called at the time, was built between 1973 and 1974, by Sun Shipbuilding and Drydock Co.” On June 20, 1974 she set sail.

Spoiler Alert

In July of 1974, the ship did recover a portion of K-129, a mechanical failure was the reason for losing the main section of the sub.

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