Phoenix Recovers U.S. Air Force F-16

By MarEx 2013-01-03 13:42:00

Phoenix International Holdings, Inc. (Phoenix) announces the successful underwater search and recovery of a U.S. Air Force F-16 aircraft from over 16,400 feet of sea water (fsw).  In early August 2012, at the direction of the Naval Sea Systems Command’s Director of Ocean Engineering, Supervisor of Salvage and Diving (SUPSALV), Phoenix mobilized the Navy’s ORION deepwater side scan sonar system, the CURV 21 remotely operated vehicle (ROV), and the Navy’s motion compensated, 30,000 pound Fly-Away Deep Ocean Salvage System (FADOSS).  All equipment was transported over land from Phoenix’s facility in Largo, Maryland to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.  From there, military transport aircraft moved the equipment to Hawaii, where the gear was loaded aboard USNS Navajo (T-ATF 169).

After a ten day transit to the crash site, underwater search operations commenced using the Navy’s 20,000 fsw depth search system, ORION.  After searching the initial planned search area spanning a 2 x 4 nautical mile (nm) area, search operations shifted to another high-probability area and the suspected F-16 debris field was quickly identified.  Next, Phoenix personnel deployed the CURV 21 deepwater ROV system and conducted a detailed video survey of the area in which several high priority items, including the Flight Data Recorder and engine, were identified.  Over the next 10 days, the Phoenix team piloted the CURV 21 ROV through 12 dives and recovered all critical items desired by the embarked accident investigating board.  Throughout the operation, Phoenix search and recovery personnel worked tirelessly to overcome a number of significant challenges, including extreme water depths, and adverse weather conditions to include erratic high winds, large waves, and strong currents to successfully complete this operation. 

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