A christening ceremony for the 238’x50′ oceanographic research vessel AGOR 27, named in honor of Neil Armstrong, was held at Dakota Creek Industries (DCI) in Anacortes, Wash., on March 29, 2014. The Neil Armstrong is mono-hull research vessel designed by Guido Perla & Associates that will be capable of integrated, interdisciplinary, general purpose oceanographic research in coastal and deep ocean areas.
Kali Armstrong, granddaughter of the late astronaut and the Maid of Honor, sang the National Anthem and Carol Knight Armstrong, Neil Armstrong’s wife, served as the ship’s sponsor, performing the honor of breaking the traditional bottle of champagne across the ship’s bow.
“I can’t think of a better name to go on the side of a ship designed for exploration and discovery,” said Rear Adm. Mathew Klunder. “Neil Armstrong will play a pivotal role in teaching the Navy about the ocean so we can more effectively plan our operations around the world.”
The Neil Armstrong provides unprecedented opportunities for larger, interdisciplinary science teams of up to 25 members, utilizing highly developed research equipment and will replace aging intermediate class ships. Both the Neil Armstrong and sister vessel AGOR 28 Sally Ride, also under way at DCI, have the capability of carrying sufficient supplies and support systems to stay at sea for up to 40 days, covering up to 10,000 nautical miles and withstanding high sea and wind conditions. Some advanced features include acoustic navigation and tracking systems that operate at various depths, a specially designed hull diverting bubbles from the sonar area, a state of the art suite of over the side handling systems with enhance remote operation capability and dual controllable propellers with variable speed motors for increased efficiency.
“Ships are not a mere mode of transportation for many people in the industry. People dedicate their lives to ships, from the design through construction but especially the seafarers who spend a significant amount of time on these vessels. With those crew members and scientists in mind, we are confident that we have created an exceptional ship,” said Guido Perla, chairman of Guido Perla & Associates.
The Neil Armstrong continues to undergo outfitting and testing at DCI. Upon delivery in late 2014, the vessel will be operated by WHOI, supporting scientists with ongoing research worldwide, including in the Atlantic, Western Pacific and Indian Ocean regions in a wide variety of missions. AGOR 28 Sally Ride, to be managed by Scripps Institute of Oceanography under charter party agreements with ONR, will soon follow after with an expected delivery in early 2015.