On 6 July 1962, Bill Tilley, then a watch supervisor at NAVFAC Barbados must have
looked in disbelief at grams that displayed coverage of bearing 027, already notorious
for very long range detections of US nucs operating at high speed in the far North
What Bill Tilley saw was the signature of a Soviet nuclear submarine detected operating
at speeds between 20 and 24 knots for several hours. That detection was reported to the
Evaluation Center as target 27103 and called a Soviet nuclear submarine. No other
SOSUS station held contact.
The Evaluation Center in Norfolk concurred wih Bill's call and sent the data to the then
existing final assessment center in Brooklyn, NY who called the source of 27103 twin
propulsion turbines from a US oiler.
Not until 1964 when the chance review of a UK submarine patrol report identified detection
of a Soviet nuclear submarine operating at high speed northwest of the UK for several hours
after Barbados lost contact was target 27103 officially acknowledged to have been the first
recognized Atlantic SOSUS detection of a Soviet nuclear submarine, and at a range of 3,000
And so, we should remember Bill Tilley's remarkable analysis capabilities. It is suggested that
those who may still have contact with any of Bill's family tell them that he is remembered with
affection and the greatest professional respect nearly 60 years after one of the most remarkable
analytical assessment in the long history of SOSUS/IUSS.
I will forward your tribute of remembrance of Bill Tilley to his children Bill Jr., Nora, and Charlie. - Ed Smock
I have forwarded the following message to Bill's family:
Hi Nora, Bill and Charlie,
I hope this short message finds you and your families well. It has been a while since we last met.
Mr. Bruce Rule world renowned acoustic analyst and a senior member of the SOSUS community that he along with your father and I served with has posted a Remembrance Tribute on the IUSS Alumni Association web site regarding one of your father’s accomplishments (attached).
I am proud to have the opportunity to forward Bruce’s article to you and your families.
My warmest regards.
"Take care - be safe".
"67 Years of Protecting Freedom through Undersea Surveillance".
"Stay the course" - "Don't let the old man in".
Freedom is not free.
Thank a Vet
All gave some
Some gave all.