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The T-AGS 60 Pathfinder class ships are multi-mission oceanographic vessels capable of effectively performing operations satisfying a broad spectrum of oceanographic requirements. The T-AGS 60 class is designed and constructed to commercial standards and coplies with American Bureau of Shipping, U.S. Coast Guard, other regulatory body requirements for unrestricted ocean service. The ships are manned and operated for the Oceanographer of the Navy by a civilian crew provided by the Military Sealift Command (MSC). Mission scientists and technicians are supplied by the Naval Oceanographic Office (NAVOCEANO). The Pathfinder class of survey ships have three multipurpose cranes and five winches plus a variety of oceanographic equipment including multibeam echo-sounders, towed sonars and expendable sensors.
Survey Ships gather data which provides much of the military's information on the ocean environment. Oceanographic and hydrographic survey ships are used to study the world's oceans. The collected data helps to improve technology in undersea warfare and enemy ship detection. The oceanographic and hydrographic survey ships' multibeam, wide-angle precision sonar systems make it possible to continuously chart a broad strip of ocean floor. Military Sealift Command's Special Missions program supports worldwide oceanographic programs with ships which perform acoustical, biological, physical and geophysical surveys.
The T-AGS 60 class ships are designed and constructed to provide multi-purpose oceanographic capabilities in coastal and deep ocean areas including; physical, chemical, and biological oceanography; multi-discipline environmental investigations; ocean engineering and marine acoustics; marine geology and geophysics; and bathymetric, gravimetric, and magnetometric surveying.