SEAFARER Extremely Low Frequency (ELF) Submarine Command and Control Communications System records
MSS-249

Summary Information

Repository
Central Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan University Archives
Title
SEAFARER Extremely Low Frequency (ELF) Submarine Command and Control Communications System records
ID
MSS-249
Date [inclusive]
1971-1989
Extent
3.5 Cubic feet
Language
Location [Box]
2-1-5
Location [Box]
2-1-4

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], in the SEAFARER Extremely Low Frequency (ELF) Submarine Command and Control Communications System records, MSS-249, Central Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan University Archives, Northern Michigan University.

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Biographical/Historical

ELF (Extremely Low Frequency) communications systems were considered by the Department of the Navy during the 1950s through the 1980s. Due to the technical difficulty of building an ELF transmitter, only the U.S. and the Russian Navy owned such systems. The ELF system had three separate programs that were under consideration during this period: SEAFARER (Surface ELF Antenna for Addressing Remotely Employed Receivers), SANGUINE, and SHELF (Super Hard ELF). All three communications systems used the same ELF frequency band. ELF systems transmitted command and control messages to Fleet Ballistic Missile (FBM) Submarines and to other U.S. forces. Message transmission in the ELF frequency range provided for virtually worldwide coverage from a single Continental United States (CONUS) based transmitter by taking advantage of the low atmospheric and seawater attentuations at these frequencies. Extremely Low Frequency radio signal in the 3-300Hz range are considered useful for one-way communications between a ground based location and submarines at sea around the world. These submarine forces could be submersed in several hundred feet of water, whether on patrol or cruising, and still receive the signal generated by the ELF communications system. ELF could penetrate the seawater and thus eliminate the previously dangerous need for the submarines to surface in order to receive vital communications.

SANGUINE was the initial project proposal to be built in support of the ELF communications system. According to the 5 May 1972 report written by Dr. Bodo Kruger for the Special Communications Project Office, Project Sanguine was the result of more than 15 years of research which places the start of the ELF developemental research as early as 1957. Sanguine operated in the 30-100Hz frequency band and was designed to deliver High Priority Operational Messages in a required delivery time after an attack of nuclear weapons. Sanguine was oversized, more than a hundred buried transmitters and 6,000 miles of underground cable covering 6,500 square mile, so that pre-attack messages could be delivered in a shorter time frame. Sanguine was designed so that if it was to be under direct attack, suffered damage, a decrease in power, or jammed messages would still be sent the only effect being it would increasing the message delivery time. The research showed that Sanguine could not be jammed completely, only the message delivery time would be increased. The budget needed to build, maintain, and operate the originally proposed project resulted in Sanguine not being approved.

SEAFARER, which would consist of three terrestrial transmitters and 2,400 miles of buried cable that would cover 4,700 square miles, was approved. After years of research and environmental impact studies there were two ELF facilities constructed along the Great Lakes Region. In 1977, a test facility referred to as Wisconsin Test Facility (WTF) was built in Clam Lake, Wisconsin. This facility would be upgraded to an active transmitter station and work in conjuction with the facility built in Republic, Michigan in 1980. The system was controversial, and was the target of public attacks, lawsuits, and protests throughout its operation. There were instances where protesters cut down transmission line poles which resulted in brief interruptions in operation. These protest were unsuccessful and in 1981, Seafarer was upgraded with the installation of new wiring at K. I. Sawyer Air Force Base, Michigan, which incorporated operational VLF (Very Low Frequency) into the Command, Control and Communications system. These upgrades allowed for combined communications efforts with the facilities located at Clam Lake, Republic, and K. I. Sawyer AFB.

In 2004, the Navy shut down the transmitters at Clam Lake, Wisconsin, and Republic, Michigan, with the explanation that VLF communication systems had improved to the point that the ELF system was unnecessary.

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Scope and Contents

This collection consists of materials relating to the Department of the Navy's Project ELF program, Seafarer Program, and Project Sanguine (1971-1989). SEAFARER was a Department of the Navy communications system designed to provide highly reliable command and control communications that were principally for use by the Submarine Forces.

Series 1 - Correspondence (1977-1989). 1 folder. Arranged in chronological order. This series consists of correspondence relating to the ELF Program and copies of Distribution/Mailing Lists for materials.

Series 2 - ELF Project Reports (1973-1981). 14 folders. Arranged by Subject. This series contains reports explaining the development, design, and need for the ELF project. It also contains materials relating to the research performed to identify and measure environmental effects, biological effects, and ecological effects of the areas under review for the ELF system.

Series 3 - Ecological Monitoring Program Reports (1982-1985, 1988). 18 folders. Arranged in chronological order. This series consists of compilations of annual reports of the Ecological Monitoring Program covering the years 1982 through 1985 and 1988.

Series 4 - House of Representatives/Senate Reports (1976-1979). 7 folders. Arranged in numerical order. This series consists of copies of reports generated by the U. S. House of Representatives and the U. S. Senate in regards to funding appropriations and construction of the ELF system.

Series 5 - Project Sanguine Reports (1972-1975). 12 folders. Arranged in chronological order. This series consists of reports generated as part of the ELF systems Project Sanguine. These reports include information on telephone intereference, environmental impact, voltage interference, and a copy of a presentation given by Karl Mess in 1974. Also included in this series are reports produced during the analysis and research of the area under review for Project Sanguine. These reports contain historical and cultural data of the area, soil, surface geologic, surface water, and vegetation data that was gathered during the research period.

Series 6 - Seafarer Program Reports (1975-1977, 1983-1984). 40 folders. Arranged by subject. This series consists of nine files and two sub-series. The subseries "Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for Site Selection and Test Operations" contains a twelve volume Draft EIS report dated February 1977 and supporting materials and a seven volume Final EIS report dated December 1977. The subseries "Site Survey Final Reports" contains copies of site surveys which include data maps for the Seafarer Construction and referencing K. I. Sawyer AFB, Upper Michigan, and the Michigan Region dated April and July 1976. The remaining items in this series cover the biologic effects of electric and magnetic fields associated with Seafarer, a corridor analysis report, and reports on the electromagnetic field intensity near Clear Lake, WI and Republic, MI. Also included in this series are three volumes of reports on public hearings held in Lansing and Marquette, Michigan in 1977.

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Arrangement

This collection is arranged into six series.

Series 1 - Correspondence is arranged in chronological order.

Series 2 - ELF Project Reports is arranged by subject.

Series 3 - Ecological Monitoring Program Reports is arranged in chronological order.

Series 4 - House of Representatives/Senate Reports is arranged in numerical order.

Series 5 - Project Sanguine Reports is arranged in chronological order.

Series 6 - Seafarer Program Reports is arranged by subject.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Central Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan University Archives July 19, 2013

Harden Learning Resources Center 126
1401 Presque Isle Ave
Marquette, Michigan, 49855
906-227-1225
archives@nmu.edu

Conditions Governing Access

No restrictions. Open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish material from the SEAFARER Extremely Low Frequency (ELF) Submarine Command and Control Communications System records must be obtained from the Michigan Technological University Archives.

Custodial History

The materials in this collection were transferred to the Central Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan University Archives by the Michigan Technological University Archives in Houghton, Michigan in 2012.

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Project ELF..
  • Project Sanguine.
  • Project Seafarer.
  • United States. Navy. Electronics Systems Command.
  • United States. Navy.

Geographic Name(s)

  • Clam Lake (Ashland County, Wis.)--History.
  • Republic (Mich.)--History.

Subject(s)

  • ELF electromagnetic fields.
  • Military telecommunication.
  • Submarines (Ships).
  • Telecommunication systems.
  • Transmitting antennas--Michigan--Republic.
  • Transmitting antennas--Wisconsin--Clam Lake (Ashland County).

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Collection Inventory

Correspondence (Box 1 of 4) 

Box
2-1-5

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ELF Project Reports 

ELF Communications – A Perspective (no date) 

ELF System Site Development Outline (no date) 

Environmental Effects in Michigan and Wisconsin (March 10, 1978) 

Interdepartmental Environmental Review Committee: Subcommittee Analysis of Draft EIS Report (April 20, 1977) 

Navy Sponsored ELF Environmental Research Reports and Papers (November 1975) 

Navy Sponsored Biological and Ecological Research Summary Reports (March 1975) 

Navy Sponsored Biological and Ecological Research Summary Reports (February 1977) 

NMRDC Report: Compilation of Navy Sponsored ELF Biomedical and Ecological Research Reports: Volume III (January 1977) (Pages: Cover-Tab B1) 

NMRDC Report: Compilation of Navy Sponsored ELF Biomedical and Ecological Research Reports: Volume III (January 1977) (Pages: Tabs B2-B7) 

NMRDC Report: Compilation of Navy Sponsored ELF Biomedical and Ecological Research Reports: Volume III (January 1977) (Pages: Tabs B8-C7) 

Proceedings of the Ad Hoc Committee for the Review of Biomedical and Ecological Effects of ELF Radiation (December 1973) 

Project Sanguine/Seafarer Funding Report (February 4, 1976) 

Review of Department of Defense (DOD) Command, Control and Communications Systems and Facilities Report by the Command, Control and Communications Panel (February 18, 1977) 

System and Site Definition, Program Plans, Environmental Summary, and Supplemental Information (December 1981) 

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Ecological Monitoring Program Reports 

Compilation of 1982 Annual Reports (May 1983) (Pages: Cover-Tab F) 

Compilation of 1982 Annual Reports (May 1983) (Pages: Tabs G-H) 

Plan and Summary of 1982 Progress (August 1983) 

Compilation of 1983 Annual Reports, Volume 2 of 2 (July 1984) (Pages: Index and Tabs F-G) 

Compilation of 1983 Annual Reports, Volume 2 of 2 (July 1984) (Pages: Tabs H-J) 

Summary of 1983 Progress (July 1984) 

Compilation of 1984 Annual Reports, Volume 2 of 2 (June 1985) (Pages: Index and Tabs F-G) 

Compilation of 1984 Annual Reports, Volume 2 of 2 (June 1985) (Pages: Tabs G-K) 

Compilation of 1985 Annual Reports, Volume 1 of 3 (July 1986) (Pages: Cover-Tab A) 

Compilation of 1985 Annual Reports, Volume 1 of 3 (July 1986) (Pages: Tabs B-C) 

Compilation of 1985 Annual Reports, Volume 2 of 3 (July 1986) (Pages: Cover-Tab E) 

Compilation of 1985 Annual Reports, Volume 2 of 3 (July 1986) (Pages: Tabs F-G) 

Compilation of 1985 Annual Reports, Volume 3 of 3 (July 1986) (Pages: Cover-Tab H) 

Compilation of 1985 Annual Reports, Volume 3 of 3 (July 1986) (Pages: Tabs I-J) 

Box

Compilation of 1988 Annual Reports, Volume 1 of 3 (August 1989) (Pages: Cover-Tab A) (Box 2 of 4) 

2-1-5

Compilation of 1988 Annual Reports, Volume 1 of 3 (August 1989) (Pages: Tab B) 

Compilation of 1988 Annual Reports, Volume 2 of 3 (August 1989) (Pages: Tabs C-F) 

Compilation of 1988 Annual Reports, Volume 3 of 3 (August 1989) (Pages: Tabs G-H) 

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House of Representatives/Senate Reports 

House of Representatives Report No. 94-964 --To Authorize Certain Construction at Military Installations and for Other Purposes (March 25, 1976) 

House of Representatives Report No. 94-967 -- Authorizing Appropriations, Fiscal Year 1977, for Military Procurement; Research and Development; Strengths for Active-Duty Military Components, Reserve Components and Civilian Personnel of the Defense Establishment; Military Training Student Loads; and for Other Purposes (March 26, 1976) 

House of Representatives Report No. 94-1475 -- Department of Defense Appropriations, 1977 (September 3, 1976) 

Senate Report No. 95-826 -- Authorizing Appropriations for Fiscal year 1979 for Military Procurement, Research and Development, Active Duty, Selected Reserve, and Civilian Personnel Strengths, Civil Defense, and for Other Purposes (May 15, 1978) 

House of Representatives Report No. 95-1118 -- Department of Defense Appropriation Authorization Act, 1979 (May 6, 1978) 

House of Representatives Report No. 95-1398 -- Department of Defense Appropriation Bill, 1979 (July 27, 1978) 

House of Representatives Report No. 95-1402 -- Department of Defense Appropriation Authorization Act, 1979 (July 31, 1978) 

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Project Sanguine Reports 

Telephone Interference Program Final Report (September 11, 1971) 

Fact Sheet for the Sanguine System Final Environmental Impact Statement for Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation (April 1972) 

Project Sanguine: FBM Command and Control Communications, Special Communications Project Office PME-117 (May 5, 1972) 

Summary Statement of the Ad Hoc Panel on Sanguine (May 1972) 

Interference Voltage Thresholds for Pipeline Systems (October 1972) 

Project Sanguine Briefing Meeting Presentation by Karl Mess (January 21, 1974) 

Historical and Cultural Data (February 1974) 

Soil Data (February 1974) 

Surface Geologic Data, (February 1974) 

Surface Water Data (February 1974) 

Vegetation Data (February 1974) 

Supplement to the Sanguine System: Final Environmental Impact Statement for Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation (February 1975) 

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Seafarer Program Reports 

Biologic Effects of Electric and Magnetic Fields Associated with Proposed Project Seafarer (1977) (this copy contains handwritten notes within the text) 

Biologic Effects of Electric and Magnetic Fields Associated with Proposed Project Seafarer (1977) 

Project Seafarer: Submarine Command and Control Communications System, Special Communications Project Office PME-117 Report (June 1975) 

Public Hearing Reports: Michigan (25 April through 6 May 1977) 

Public Hearing Reports: Lansing, Michigan (16 May 1977) 

Public Hearing Reports: Marquette, Michigan (24 May 1977) 

Seafarer Corridor Analysis Report (January 1977) 

Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for Site Selection and Test Operations (Box 3 of 4) 

Box
2-1-5

Volume 1: Draft EIS-Summary Statement (February 1977) 

Volume 2: Draft EIS: Summary (February 1977) 

Volume 2: Draft EIS Summary: Illustrations and Tables (February 1977) 

Volume 3: Nevada Environmental Analysis: Summary (February 1977) 

Volume 3: Nevada Environmental Analysis: Illustrations and Tables (February 1977) 

Volume 4: New Mexico Environmental Analysis: Summary (February 1977) 

Volume 4: New Mexico Environmental Analysis: Illustrations and Tables (February 1977) 

Volume 5: Michigan Environmental Analysis: Summary (February 1977) 

Volume 5: Michigan Environmental Analysis: Illustrations and Tables (February 1977) 

Volume 6: Appendix A-Site Independent Information (February 1977) 

Volume 7: Appendix B-Information for the Nevada Area of Interest (February 1977) 

Volume 8: Appendix C-Informaiton for the New Mexico Area of Interest (February 1977) 

Volume 9: Appendix D-Information for the Michigan Area of Information (February 1977) 

Volume 10: Appendix E-Biological and Ecological Information (February 1977) 

Volume 11: Appendix F-Public Interest (February 1977) 

Volume 12: Appendix G-Coordination (February 1977) 

Draft EIS: Supplement for Synchronous Experimental Operations (September 1977) 

Draft EIS: Notes 

Box

Final EIS: Environmental Impacts of the Nevada Geographic Alternative (December 1977) 

2-1-5

Final EIS: Environmental Impacts of the New Mexico Geographic Alternative (December 1977) 

Final EIS: Environmental Impacts in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (December 1977): Cover-209 

Final EIS: Environmental Impacts in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (December 1977): Appendix A-C 

Final EIS: Environmental Impacts in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (December 1977): Illustrations and Tables 

Final EIS: Public Interest (December 1977) 

Final EIS: Summary Statement and Distribution List (December 1977) 

Representative Electromagnetic Field Intensities Near the Clam Lake ELF Facility (February 1983) (Box 4 of 4) 

2-1-4

Representative Electromagnetic Field Intensities Near the Clam Lake (WI) and Republic (MI) ELF Facilities (January 1984) 

Site Survey Final Reports 

K. I. Sawyer AFB Support Potential and Operational Interface (April 1976) 

Upper Michigan Region: Book 2 Socioeconomic Data (April 1976) 

Michigan Region: Appendix to Summary (Data Maps) (April 1976) 

Michigan Region: Appendix to Summary (Data Maps Color) (April 1976) 

Michigan Region: Antenna Construction Cost Factors and Installation Plan (19 July 1976) 

Michigan Region: Summary (July 1976) 

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