Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announces that the first Armstrong-class Auxiliary General Oceanographic Research (AGOR) ship will be named 'Neil Armstrong'.
Mabus named the future R/V Neil Armstrong (AGOR 27) to honor the memory of Neil Armstrong, best known for being the first man to walk on the moon. Armstrong was an aeronautics pioneer and explorer for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) serving as an engineer, test pilot, astronaut and administrator. Armstrong also served as a naval aviator flying nearly 80 combat missions during the Korean War.
The Armstrong-class AGOR ship will be a modern oceanographic research platform equipped with acoustic equipment capable of mapping the deepest parts of the oceans, and modular on-board laboratories that will provide the flexibility to meet a wide variety of oceanographic research challenges. These make them capable of supporting a wide range of oceanographic research activities conducted by academic institutions and national laboratories. Additionally, the research vessel will be outfitted with multi-drive, low-voltage diesel electric propulsion systems. This upgraded system will maintain engine efficiency while lowering maintenance and fuel costs.
Armstrong-class AGOR ships will be 238 feet in length, have a beam length of 50 feet, and operate at more than 12 knots. AGOR 27 is currently under construction by Dakota Creek Industries, Inc. in Anacortes, Wash.
"Neil Armstrong rightly belongs to the ages as the man who first walked on the moon. While he was a true pioneer of space exploration and science, he was also a combat-proven naval aviator," said Mabus. "Naming this class of ships and this vessel after Neil Armstrong honors the memory of an extraordinary individual, but more importantly, it reminds us all to embrace the challenges of exploration and to never stop discovering."
Armstrong's widow, Carol, will serve as the ship's sponsor.
Photo: Dr. Susan K. Avery, president and director of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, makes the inscription.