USNS Pathfinder Kicks off Capabilities Demonstration

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Military Sealift Command oceanographic survey ship USNS Pathfinder kicked off its scheduled at-sea capabilities demonstration Sept. 7 after departing .

During the at-sea demonstration, Pathfinder is searching for Soviet-flagged hospital ship SS Armenia which was sunk during World War II.

Civilian surveyors from the U.S. Naval Oceanographic Office, Ukrainian sailors, surveyors and historians and a team of civilian oceanographers from the U.S.-based Institution for Exploration are conducting the search in Ukrainian territorial waters.

Since the exact position of the wreckage is unknown, the Naval Oceanographic Office surveyors expect to use oceanographic tools such as a side-scan sonar and multi-beam sonar. This equipment uses sound pulses to locate possible shipwreck targets. If the sonars indicate a possible wreck, a remotely operated vehicle with video capabilities will be launched to verify findings.

Ship visits and military-to-military exchanges like Pathfinder’s joint, at-sea demonstration and search for are important partnership-building opportunities.

Oceanographic survey ships like Pathfinder are an important asset in understanding the earth’s hydrosphere. They make it possible to better understand, manage and interact with undersea landmasses, global waterways and the creatures that inhabit them.

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