For Immediate Release: May 19, 2010
The Office of Naval Research (ONR) announced on May 17 the selection of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution of Woods Hole, Mass., and Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego, La Jolla, Calif., as the operators of two new scientific research vessels.
"The pace of technology in science continues to accelerate, and providing scientists with modern equipment and open access to the world's oceans is critical to meeting the Navy and other national and international oceanographic research needs," said Rear Adm. Nevin Carr who, as chief of naval research, leads ONR. "The selected institutions have proven records of excellence in ocean science research and depth of management experience to safely operate large research ships."
The vessels, the Navy's future Ocean Class Auxiliary General Purpose Oceanographic Research (AGOR) 27 and 28, are scheduled for delivery in 2014. The ships currently being designed will boast state-of-the-art oceanographic research technology, modern mono-hull design and global operation capability in deep and shallow water environments.
The recent selections follow a thorough review process managed by ONR, with input from experts in the federal oceanographic research community. The team evaluated qualified submissions from some of the nation's leading oceanographic institutions. Selecting Woods Hole and Scripps prior to construction is intended to identify and actively engage the ship operators early in the design and construction phases of the vessels they will eventually operate.
The management of the design and construction of the vessels will be performed by the Naval Sea Systems Command. Upon delivery to the Navy, the vessels will be leased to the selected institutions via a renewable Charter Party Agreement.
Each institutional operator's expertise in ocean research operations with the new ships is expected to enhance the value to both the Navy and the University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System (UNOLS), a consortium of U.S. academic institutions and national laboratories involved in oceanographic research. UNOLS coordinates and reviews the scheduling and use of research facilities for academic oceanographic programs.
The Navy's current oceanographic research fleet consists of six ships. The future deployment and operation of AGOR 27 and 28 will replace two ships in the current Navy fleet reaching the end of their service life.
About the Office of Naval Research
The Office of Naval Research ONR provides the science and technology necessary to maintain the Navy and Marine Corps' technological advantage. Through its affiliates, ONR is a leader in science and technology with engagement in 50 states, 70 countries, 1,035 institutions of higher learning and 914 industry partners. ONR employs approximately 1,400 people, comprising uniformed, civilian and contract personnel with additional employees at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C.