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Tethered Unmanned Work Vehicle System (TUWVS)
Super Scorpio ROV

The Unmanned Vehicles Detachment (UMV) was initially organized in the mid 1970s from personnel in the various departments of Submarine Development Squadron 5 and Deep Submergence Unit. UMV was first assigned a Side Looking Sonar (SILOS) system and a precision navigation system. These systems allowed UMV to begin search and survey operations, mostly in shallow water and near land.

As deep ocean ROV technology continued to develop, UMV continued as well. In August of 1987, the unit's recovery capability was further extended with the delivery of the Super Scorpio/Tethered Unmanned Work Vehicle System (TUWVS). The Scorpio system, of which UMV had two vehicles, was an extremely advanced vehicle, capable of lifting far more payload than the RCV. UMV's final system was delivered in 1992, the Advanced Tethered Vehicle (ATV). ATV was similar in design to Scorpio, but has a greater depth capacity and a fiber optic tether for more efficient data transfer between the ROV and its surface operators.

The ROVs of Unmanned Vehicles Detachment have been responsible for the recovery of over 100 million dollars worth of military and civilian hardware over the years. Also, the unit was instrumental in the successful completion of various research endeavors by the United States' scientific community. UMV remains a flexible and potent asset, continuing to evolve as equipment becomes available.

The Super Scorpio remote operated vehicle (ROV) is equipped with remotely operated video cameras and robotic manipulators. Deep Submergence Unit (DSU) Unmanned Vehicle Detachment (UMA Det) personnel operate the vehicle from Naval Air Station North Island, California. The US Navy has two Super Scorpio ROVs, each equipped with two heavy-lift hydraulic manipulators: one five-function and one seven-function position-feedback. Super Scorpios have a maximum operating depth of about 5,000 feet (1,524 meters).

In February 2001 Navy personnel employed the remotely operated vehicle (ROV) Super Scorpio at Pearl Harbor following the tragic February 9 collision at sea involving the Japanese fishing vessel Ehime Maru and USS Greeneville (SSN 772) approximately nine miles off the coast of Diamond Head.

In May 2004 a Navy salvage team aboard the Military Sealift Command (MSC) special missions ship M/V Kellie Chouest recovered an F-14D Tomcat assigned to the "Tomcatters" of Fighter Squadron Thirty One (VF-31). The F-14D crashed into the ocean approximately two miles west of Point Loma, California, during a routine training mission from USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) after experiencing engine trouble. The aircraft was diverted to land at Naval Air Station North Island, but crashed while trying to reach the air station.

On 5 August 2005 the US Navy announced plans to send the "Super Scorpio" remotely operated submersible vehicles to assist in rescue efforts for sailors aboard a Russian submarine reportedly caught in a fish net off the eastern Russian coast. The two "Super Scorpios" were dispatched via an Air Force C-5 aircraft from the US Navy's Deep Submergence Unit located in San Diego. The C-5 and an Air Force C-17 carrying other equipment and crew, including another remotely controlled submersible craft for clearing debris and two pressurized deep-sea diving suits arrived in the rescue area on 6 August 2005.

The United States and Russia have participate in the International Submarine Escape and Rescue Liaison Office (ISMERLO), based in Norfolk, Virginia. The office has an international team of submarine escape-and-rescue experts that coordinate rescue efforts during submarine disasters. Both countries participated in submarine rescue exercise Sorbet Royal off the coast of Italy in June 2005.




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