The Pathfinder-class oceanographic survey vessels are crewed by commercial sailors under contract with Military Sealift Command. MSC’s Oceanographic Survey Vessel Program consists of six vessels that conduct acoustic, biological, physical and geophysical surveys.
“To succeed on land, in the air and at sea, you have to know the environment,” said Cmdr. Cassandra Sisti, oceanographer in the US 7th Fleet. “We work with our nation’s top scientists at the Naval Oceanographic Office (NAVOCEANO), as well as our allies and partners, to bring this battlespace awareness to our warfighters. This environmental team helps ensure the safety of our sailors and ships and enables them to excel in their operations across the theatre.”
Margaret Pike, NAVOCEANO’s Senior Representative, and Captain Scott Spears, the ship’s captain, led tours of the ship and answered questions about the ship and its capabilities.
“It was a great opportunity for us to meet the operators and for them to see what our platform is capable of,” Spears said. “We pride ourselves on providing the warfighter with the best information available – bathymetric, hydrographic, oceanographic, geophysical and acoustic products and services – to aid in effective mission planning.”
Oceanographic survey vessels collect data that provides much of the military’s information about the ocean environment. The data collected contributes to improving the technology of underwater warfare and the detection of enemy ships. Multi-beam, wide-angle precision sonar systems on oceanographic and hydrographic survey vessels provide continuous mapping of a wide swath of ocean floor. Hydrographic vessels have charted three-quarters of the world’s coastlines, making it easier for navigators to find their way along busy and less familiar sea routes.
These vessels are capable of carrying 34 foot Hydrographic Survey Launches (HSL) for data collection in coastal areas at depths between 10 and 600 meters and in deep water up to 4,000 meters.
Submarine Group 7 leads forward deployed, combat-capable forces across the full spectrum of submarine warfare in the Western Pacific, Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea.
For more information on the Commander of Submarine Group 7, visit www.csp.navy.mil/csg7/.