By Shannon Breland, Naval Oceanographic Office Public Affairs
Fleet Survey Team (FST) took delivery of two 9-m SAFE Boat Defender-class survey boats on March 4. This delivery triples FST's organic boat inventory of C 130-deployable platforms.
"These boats usher in a new and exciting era of FST surveying that will undoubtedly provide critical hydrographic information to the fleet for many years to come," said FST Commanding Officer Cmdr. Brian Connon.
Prior to the delivery of the two Defender-class boats, FST primarily relied on its current lone FST 7-m rigid hull inflatable boat (RHIB) or boats of opportunity for conducting hydrographic surveys using single-beam sonar from Africa to .
The Defender-class boats offer many advantages over previous survey boats and vessels of opportunity used in overseas surveys.
Unlike the RHIB, the Defenders have climate-controlled cabins to allow surveying in a broader range of sea state and weather conditions, keeping equipment and surveyors cool in hot conditions and dry in wet conditions.
They also offer increased versatility and survey capability, readily supporting multibeam and single-beam echosounder operations, as well as side-scan sonar deployment via an onboard electric winch and A-frame system.
With the boat's capability to conduct multibeam surveys, comes increased ability in the field. FST already has operational schedules for the boats beginning this month in .
The two boats were purchased from SAFE Boats International through Naval Sea Systems Command.
Engaged in all facets of expeditionary hydrography, Fleet Survey Team is a rapid-response command capable providing timely, self-contained hydrographic surveys in response to combatant commanders' requests. These requests frequently are for areas where Navy operations will take place or where charting accuracy is uncertain.