U.S. Navy Research and Exploration

Bill Lescher

October 4, 2022

The U.S. Navy has a long history of research and exploration. For example, Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, was a naval aviator during the Korean War. Navy personnel are also involved in the space program, from the underwater demolition team to researchers and engineers.

R/V Neil Armstrong

The R/V Neil Armstrong is a single-hulled oceanographic research vessel that can sail over 11,500 nautical miles for 40 days. This makes it an excellent dish for interdisciplinary and integrated oceanographic research. The boat also features a flexible design for the needs of scientists.

R/V Neil Armstrong will carry on the astronaut’s legacy of exploration and discovery and help advance oceanographic science in the future. It is also the first U.S. oceanographic research vessel named after a space explorer. The second U.S. oceanographic research vessel is the R/V Sally Ride, named after the late NASA astronaut Sally Ride.

Nekton submersibles

During the 1960s, the U.S. Navy conducted research using manned Nekton submersibles. This included the Cayman Trough 1976 program, which set a new standard in bathymetric detail. In addition, the Navy used the submersibles for exploration and research in Alaskan waters.

A request for proposals was issued, and seven companies responded to it. General Mills and General Motors sold their divisions to Litton Industries. That company built the Alvin, the first Nekton submersible.

Marine mammal study

The Office of Naval Research conducts marine mammal studies from the surface of the oceans, airborne platforms, and ships. It aims to identify and document any changes in marine mammals related to Navy operations. These findings will be reported to the NMFS. The results will include the date, time, location, species, behaviour, and number of animals. In addition, the researchers’ work will be evaluated for practicality and safety and its impact on military readiness.

The Navy conducts training exercises in Hawaii and other Pacific islands and has undertaken a marine mammal study there. This study used acoustic criteria to estimate the probability of lethal responses in marine mammals. In addition, they looked at physiological and sensory responses. They also classified responses by social and behavioural disturbance, identifying whether they were harassment, injury, or a combination of both.

Projects funded by the Office of Naval Research

The Office of Naval Research (ONR) is an organization within the U.S. Department of the Navy responsible for conducting science and technology research to support the Navy and Marine Corps. Established by Congress in 1946, the ONR promotes scientific research to preserve national security and naval power. The Office oversees the Navy’s Naval Research Laboratory, which conducts a comprehensive science and technology program. The ONR is headquartered in Arlington, Virginia. 

Projects funded by the Office of Naval Research are often multidisciplinary, utilizing various technologies. For example, one of the most recent projects focuses on studying autonomous underwater vehicles and submarines. Another project supports the development of artificial intelligence, ocean-friendly materials, health monitoring, and coastal land-air interactions. The projects also foster educational opportunities for young people interested in pursuing a career in naval technology.

Plans for the vessel

 A new research and exploration vessel for the U.S. The mission is part of the ongoing effort to understand better the sea floor’s role in the Earth’s climate and the health of ecosystems. Scientists are focusing on understanding how these areas are changing and how they can protect them.