Saturday, September 05, 2009

REWARD: AUV Overdue 4 Days Before Reported Publicly Missing

Remember the submarine USS San Juan (SSN-751)? On 13 March 2007, a search & rescue mission by elements of the Enterprise Carrier Strike Group were initiated after a red flare was spotted in her expected vicinity, suggesting an emergency. Communications were established by the early hours of the next day (the San Juan had been submerged) and no problems were indicated.[1] A very good ending!

Crew families were notified with dispatch and the public informed by internet news quicker than ever before. The submarine had NOT shot the red flare, however.

The missing AUV was unannounced between 31 August and 4 Sept. No human casualties involved, no military connection, minimal, if any, taxpayer expense. REWARD $500 (call (941) 388-4441 ext. 271). Sarasota's Mote Marine Laboratory claim the $100,000 AUV been missing since Monday. Equipped with a red tide, toxic algae detector the loss would be close to $130,000.

Scientists aren't sure what happened to the robot, which is nicknamed Waldo. It could have had a leak or malfunction and sunk to the bottom. It also could be on the surface, but its communication system isn't working properly to signal its location. - Fla. Boaters Urged to Look out for Missing Robot - ABC News

Was the Slocum Glider insured? Insurance for a vessel like this costs around $6-7,000 per year (with $10,000 deductible), assuming it is in the water for twelve months a year. Deployments are 24 days at a time.

What has been going on for the last 3 days? Well, Mote scientists spent Thursday using side-scan sonar to look for the AUV, which dives through columns of water up to 4,000 meters deep, sending satellite signals each time it surfaces.

Perhaps a boater snagged the strange-looking sub, not knowing what it was. Perhaps the boaters were terrorists gathering satellite transceivers for a new mission without attracting attention. In military applications, AUVs are also known as unmanned undersea vehicles (UUVs).

What is so awesome about the technology? After each dive, the glider dips its nose raising an antenna above the water. It determines GPS position fix, uploads data via Iridium satellite, and downloads a new instruction file. Hmmm!

Submarines are always silent and strange



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