US Navy deploys UUVs to help in search for Argentine navy's submarine
Following a request for international assistance to locate the Argentine navy's missing submarine, the A.R.A. San Juan, and its crew, the U.S. Navy has deployed one Bluefin 12D (Deep) UUV and three Iver 580 UUVs to assist in the search, which is taking place in South Atlantic waters.
The UUVs are operated by the U.S. Navy's Unmanned Undersea Vehicle Squadron 1 (UUVRON), which was established back in September, and is based in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
Capable of deploying quickly, the UUVs use a system called Side Scan Sonar, which is used to “efficiently create an image of large areas of the sea floor,” to search wide areas of the ocean.
The Bluefin 12D can conduct 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 travel at 2.5 knots (2.8 mph), while operating at a depth of 325 feet for up to 14 hours.
Besides the UUVs, the U.S. government has also deployed aircraft to help in the search, along with underwater equipment specifically designed for submarine search and rescue, and personnel.
One Navy P-8A aircraft is currently in Argentina, and it joined a NASA P-3 research aircraft currently supporting the search efforts over the submarine's last known location.
The deployment of this equipment and personnel to Argentina was directed by U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), which is one of the United States’ six geographically-focused unified commands with responsibility for U.S. military operations in the Caribbean, Central America, and South America.