The newly upgraded Alvin submersible, with a redesign that costed $41 million and the R/V Atlantis will leave Woods Hole. Both owned by the U.S. Navy and operated by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI).
Above: Upgraded HOV Alvin was loaded onto R/V Atlantis at the WHOI dockon May 13, 2013. Image © Tom Kleindinst, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
WHOI President and Director Susan Avery, said:
“This is an important moment in the long process of building the sub and bringing it back online. Alvin is a cornerstone of U.S. deep-ocean research, enabling untold scientific discoveries and greater understanding of our ocean. We’re eager to have it back in service.”
The new sphere is rated to depths of 6500 meters, the sub’s dives will be limited to 4500 meters until a second phase of the upgrade can be completed. Phase two hinges on the development of improved lithium ion battery technology and funding.
Improvements made to the submersible during the Phase one upgrade include:
- A new, larger personnel sphere with an ergonomic interior designed to improve comfort on long dives
- 5 viewports (instead of the current 3) to improve visibility
- New syntactic foam providing buoyancy
- New lighting and high-definition imaging systems
- Improved command and control system
WHOI VP for Marine Facilities and Operations Rob Munier, said:
“This upgrade has been painstakingly completed by a one-of-a-kind team of engineers, technicians, and pilots at WHOI. The Institution is very proud of their diligence and hard work in devoting themselves to this important project.”