Navy research sub operated by Woods Hole to undergo testing after upgrades

By on May 28, 2013
Upgraded HOV Alvin was loaded onto R/V Atlantis at the WHOI dock on May 13, 2013. (Tom Kleindinst/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

Upgraded HOV Alvin was loaded onto R/V Atlantis (Tom Kleindinst/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

A Navy-owned research submersible operated by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is headed west for testing after an extensive refurbishment, according to a WHOI press release.

The submersible Alvin and the R/V Atlantis, which carries the sub, received about $41 million in upgrades.

Updates for the submersible included a new titanium internal sphere, which houses a pilot and two riders. The new sphere has three inch thick walls, five view ports and took 40,000 pounds of titanium to build.  It should withstand depths up to 6500 meters, or about 4 miles.

Other improvements include an upgraded imaging system, improved controls and new synthetic buoyancy foam.

The R/V Atlantis was updated to accommodate the now-heavier sub. The ships A-frame deployment system was strengthened to handle the refurbished Alvin.

The sub will be tested at progressively deeper depths in Monterey, Calif.  Then it will be taken on a test cruise in November. If all goes to plan it will be back in service in December.

Image: Upgraded HOV Alvin was loaded onto R/V Atlantis at the WHOI dock on May 13, 2013. (Tom Kleindinst/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

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