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Navy deploys unmanned submersibles in Argentine submarine search

NAVAL STATION MAYPORT, FL, Nov. 21, 2017 — The Navy has deployed unmanned underwater vehicles to join in the search for the Argentine navy submarine A.R.A. San Juan, which is missing in South Atlantic waters.

navy umanned submersibles
Operators aboard the Australian navy vessel ADF Ocean Shield move a U.S. Navy Bluefin-21 unmanned underwater vehicle into position for deployment in the Indian Ocean, April 14, 2014, during the search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. The Navy is employing a smaller, deep water version of this UUV -- a Bluefin-12D -- in the search for missing Argentinian navy submarine A.R.A. San Juan. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Peter D. Blair

The equipment consists of one Bluefin-12D (Deep) UUV and three Iver 580 UUVs, which are operated by the Navy's recently established Unmanned Undersea Vehicle Squadron 1, based in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

The UUVs are uniquely capable to help in the search. Both types are capable of deploying quickly and searching wide areas of the ocean using side scan sonar, a system that is used to efficiently create an image of large areas of the . The Bluefin-12D is capable of conducting search operations at 3 knots [3.5 mph] at a maximum depth of almost 5,000 feet for 30 hours, while the Iver 580s can operate at a depth of 325 feet, traveling at 2.5 knots [2.8 mph] for up to 14 hours.

The U.S. is providing rapid response capabilities, including aircraft, and personnel to assist Argentina in its search for the missing submarine.

In addition to the UUVs, the U.S. has deployed aircraft to assist in the search, as well as underwater equipment specifically designed for submarine search and rescue.

One Navy P-8A Poseidon aircraft is already in Argentina, where it joined a NASA P-3 research aircraft supporting the ongoing search efforts over the submarine's last known location.

U.S. Southern Command directed the deployment of this equipment and personnel to Argentina to support the country's request for international assistance aimed at locating the missing submarine and crew.

Southcom is one of the nation's six geographically-focused unified commands, with responsibility for U.S. military operations in the Caribbean and Central and South America

Source: U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command

Published November 21, 2017

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