T-AGS 39 Maury
Oceanographic Survey Ship
The mission of the Ocean Survey Ship (T-AGS) was to conduct ocean surveys and provide essential geophysical bathyrretric, gravity and geomagnetic) and other scientific data. No provision was made for survivability features except for water washdown and damage control surveillance in accordance with regulatory and Military Sealift Command (MSC) requirements. To reduce vibration and accoustic interference, the engines are mounted on rafts, isolated from the hull by rubber cushions [as is done on nuclear submarines].
The mission survey system is a highly complex, integrated navigation, bathymetric, and data refinement system that produces high-accuracy charts of bathymetry, gravity, magnetics, and other geophysical parameters in support of the Trident Fleet Ballistic Missile Submarine Program. The system features a multi-beam, wide-angle precision sonar for continuous charting of a broad strip of ocean floor under the ship's track. The system is operational on four deep-ocean survey ships: the USNS Maury (T-AGS 39), USNS Tanner (T-AGS 40), USNS H. H. Hess (T-AGS 38), and USNS Wyman (T-AGS 34). The Ocean Survey Program (OSP) has a BRICKBAT 01 priority, the Navy's highest, and is in a continuous evolutionary phase to maintain the highest state-of-the-art in survey capability and productivity.
T-AGS ships had a regularly scheduled deployment cycle consisting of a mission up to 34 days at sea at a constant speed of 20 knots, followed by a 6 to 7 day period in port. A 45 day biennial yard period with a mid-period 30 day yard period in intervening years is scheduled for maintenance.
The objective of the T-AGS Ship Acquisition Program was to acquire the ocean survey ships for gathering geophysical data. An Initial Operational Capability (IOC) of late FY 87 was desired. A cost target of $262.OM was established for the two ships. The program experienced considerable delays. The keels were laid in 1986, with original delivery dates projected in early 1988. Problems with mounting of the propulsion system, reduced shipbuilder manning and unexpected problems during builders trials combined to result in deliveries in March 1989 and July 1990. In the bill making appropriations for the Department of Defense for the fiscal year ending September 30, 1992, the Congress provided up to $75,000,000 was available for payments pursuant to settlement of Public Law 85-804 claims for T-AGS 39 and T-AGS 40.
USNS Maury (T-AGS 39) was built in 1989 by Bethlehem steel Corporation at Sparrows Point, Maryland. Designed as an oceanographic survey ship for the U.S. Navy, she was named after Lt. Matthew Fontaine Maury the father of American oceanography. At that time, the Maury (hull Number 4667) was the largest and fastest oceanographic ship ever built.