World Navies Today: US Navy Research & Survey Vessels

Revised 10 March 2003
Version 2.17
Compiled and Maintained by: Andrew Toppan
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This list includes research ships engaged in general oceanographic research and survey work. Ships under 500 tons and non-self propelled ships are not included. Other military research/trials vessels, supporting specific USN R&D activities, are listed separately.

Ships not yet commissioned, or in long-term overhaul/conversion, are listed in italics. Navigation and surface-search radars are not listed. All classifications are purely unofficial and are based on an attempt to use standard classifications throughout all navies; they may or may not correspond to "official" designations. Where two dates are given (i.e. 1965/82), the first is the date of initial completion, and the second is the date of acquisition, conversion, or transfer. Designations given in (parentheses) are assigned but not displayed on the ship's hull.

MSC-manned ships carry prefix USNS, all others carry prefix R/V.

Note: AGORs are assigned to academic institutions for operation; they are not under USN control, although USN may fund specific research activities to be carried out aboard these ships.

Note: The ocean survey ship Waters has been converted to serve in navigation research and missile tracking roles, and is listed with Special Mission Auxiliaries.

Pathfinder class oceanographic research/survey ships (6 ships)

Displacement: 4,762 tons full load
Dimensions: 328 x 58 x 19 feet/100 x 17.6 x 5.8 meters
Propulsion: diesel-electric, 4 diesels, 2 shafts, 8,000 shp, 16 knots
Crew: 25 civilian + 27 mission crew + 3 transients

Concept/Program: Large multirole research/survey ships, intended for MSC operation and capable of very long-range operations.

Builders: Halter Marine, Moss Point, MS.

Number Name Year FLT Homeport Group Notes
(T-AGS 60) Pathfinder 1994 ATL (none) MSC Atlantic
(T-AGS 61) Sumner 1995 PAC (none) MSC Far East
(T-AGS 62) Bowditch 1996 PAC (none) MSC Far East
(T-AGS 63) Henson 1999 ATL (none) MSC
(T-AGS 64) Bruce C. Heezen 2000 ATL (none) MSC
(T-AGS 65) Mary Sears 2001 (none) MSC
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Thomas G. Thompson class oceanographic research/survey ships (3 ships)

Displacement: 3,250 tons full load
Dimensions: 274 x 52 x 17 feet/83.5 x 15.8 x 5.2 meters
Propulsion: 6 diesels, diesel-electric, 6,000 shp, 2 shafts, 15 knots
Crew: 20 civilian + 35-40 mission crew

Concept/Program: Multirole research/survey ships built for academic/research organizations. This is a class of four ships; the first two (AGOR 23, 24) are configured for general research/survey duties. Atlantis (AGOR 25) was built as a submersible support ship. The fourth ship (often incorrectly identified as AGOR 26) was built for and transferred to NOAA.

Builders: Trinity/Halter Marine, Moss Point, MS.

Number Name Year FLT Homeport Group Notes
(AGOR 23) Thomas G. Thompson 1991 PAC Seattle UofWashington
(AGOR 24) Roger Revelle 1996 PAC LaJolla, CA Scripps
(AGOR 25) Atlantis 1997 ATL Woods Hole, MA Woods Hole Oceanographic / NDSF
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Melville class oceanographic research/survey ships (2 ships)

Displacement: 2,670 tons full load
Dimensions: 279 x 46 x 15 feet/85 x 14 x 4.6 meters
Propulsion: 4 diesels, diesel-electric, 3,000 shp, 3 shafts, 14 knots
Crew: 24 civilian + 34 mission crew

Concept/Program: Large, highly capable multimission ships built for operation by academic institutions. Both underwent major modernizations 1988-1991, including all new propulsion, lengthened hull, complete refit of oceanographic gear.

Builders: Defoe SB, Bay City, MI.

Number Name Year FLT Homeport Group Notes
(AGOR 14) Melville 1969 PAC LaJolla, CA Scripps
(AGOR 15) Knorr 1970 ATL Woods Hole, MA Woods Hole Oceanographic (WHOI)
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Kilo Moana oceanographic research/survey ship

Displacement: 2,542 tons full load
Dimensions: 177.5 x 78.6 feet/55.47 x 24.58 meters
Propulsion: Diesel-electric, 4 diesels, 2 shafts, 4,024 hp, 12 knots
Crew: 17 + 31 mission crew

Concept/Program: A SWATH research ship for the University of Hawaii, funded by Congress with no Navy request. Replaced ex-Navy Moana Wave.

Builders: Lockheed Martin; construction subcontracted to Atlantic Marine, Jacksonville, FL.

Number Name Year FLT Homeport Group Notes
(AGOR 26) Kilo Moana 2002 PAC Honolulu UofHawaii
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John McDonnell class coastal survey ships (2 ships)

Displacement: 2,054 tons full load
Dimensions: 208 x 45 x 14 feet/63.4 x 13.7 x 4.3 meters
Propulsion: 1 diesel, 1 shaft, 12 knots
Crew: 23 civilan + 10 mission crew

Concept/Program: A pair of ships intended coastal work.

Builders: Halter Marine, Moss Point, MS.

Number Name Year FLT Homeport Group Notes
(T-AGS 51) John McDonnell 1992 (none) (none) MSC Central
(T-AGS 52) Littlehales 1992 (none) (none) MSC Central
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Disposal Note: All Conrad and Gyre class ships have been discarded (except Gosport, listed separately); Mizar has been discarded; both Maury class ships have become maritime academy training ships; both Chauvenet class ships have been discarded (one became a maritme academy training ship); H.H. Hess has been discarded, and the last "Victory" type ships have been discarded. Hayes has been converted to an acoustic trials ship.

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Compiled and maintained by Andrew Toppan.
Copyright © 1997-2003, Andrew Toppan. All Rights Reserved.
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