The U.S. Navy has deployed unmanned underwater vehicles (UUV) to join in the search for the Argentine navy’s submarine, A.R.A. San Juan, in South Atlantic waters.
The equipment consists of one Bluefin 12D (Deep) UUV and three Iver 580 UUVs, which are operated by the U.S. 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 sea floor. 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. government is providing rapid response capabilities, including aircraft, equipment and personnel to assist the government of 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 aircraft is already in Argentina, where it joined a NASA P-3 research aircraft currently supporting the ongoing search efforts over the submarine’s last known location.
U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) 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, Central America, and South America.