Aptly named, the control room is the brains of any submarine. In this relatively large, well-lit room are the controls for nearly all the sub's vital operations. In the center of the room are two periscopes, the windows to the world above. Navigation is calculated and plotted in the control room using GPS (Global Positioning System) and large plotting tables.
How do you steer a sub? In the forward portside corner of the control room are three seats that comprise the ship's control station. The front two seats belong to the helmsman and planesman, who use the aircraft-style controls to adjust the rudder and diving planes, respectively. Behind these two sits the diving officer who oversees their every action. A fourth watch-stander, the Chief of the Watch, sits outboard and operates the Ballast Control Panel (BCP), which submerges and surfaces the boat as well as maintains the buoyancy and trim when submerged. The row of consoles on the starboard side control the weapons of the boat.
The aft-most console is the "Weapons Control Panel," which houses the "fire" button. Once the prerequisites for firing have been met, this ominous red button will launch a torpedo or Tomahawk missile from the sub.
Diagrams reprinted from Tom Clancy's Submarine: A Guided Tour Inside a Nuclear Warship, Laura Deninno, Series Illustrator.
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