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Hydroid REMUS 6000 AUVs Aid in Discovery of Air France Flight 447 Wreckage

8. April 2011

Deep-water vehicles employed side scan sonar technology and cameras to locate debris.


REMUS 6000 Autonomous Underwater Vehicle similar to the three vehicles being used in the search an discovery operation.

Hydroid, Inc., a subsidiary of Kongsberg Maritime, the leading manufacturer of Autonomous Underwater Vehicles, announced today that three of its REMUS 6000 AUVs aided in the search for and discovery of wreckage from downed Air France Flight 447 nearly two and a half miles below the surface off the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Brazil. The Airbus A330-200, travelling from Rio de Janeiro to Paris, crashed on June 1, 2009, after encountering severe thunder-storms.

Images courtesy of the BEA, France's air accident investigation agency.

The search team, led by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), employed two REMUS 6000 vehicles owned by the Waitt Institute for Discovery and another owned by Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences (IFM-GEOMAR). The vehicles, capable of autonomous operations in up to 6,000 meters of water, can stay below the surface for as long as 20 hours.

One week into the search, on April 3, 2011, through the use of the Hydroid REMUS 6000 vehicles equipped with dual frequency side scan sonar and 4 mega pixel digital cameras, searchers discovered and large pieces of debris, including parts of the aircraft’s wings, engine, landing gear and fuselage. This was the fourth search mission since the 2009 crash.

"Time and again, REMUS vehicles have proven themselves as exceptional tools for the most critical missions," said Christopher von Alt, President and one of the co-founders of Hydroid.

The REMUS 6000 AUV is the deepest member of Hydroid’s growing family of AUVs. It was designed under a cooperative program involving the Naval Oceanographic Office (NAVOCEANO), the Office of Naval Research (ONR) and WHOI in support of deep-water autonomous operations. The vehicle boasts the same proven software and electronic subsystems found in Hydroid’s highly successful REMUS 100 AUV and is capable of carrying a payload to great depths in order to measure ocean water characteristics and map the seabed.

Hydroid's REMUS AUVs are modular and may be fitted with a large number of different types of sensors and have been used to aid in hydrographic surveys, harbor security operations, debris field mapping, scientific sampling and mapping, as well as many basic and applied research programs funded by ONR, DARPA and the United Kingdom Ministry of Defense. With over 200 vehicles in the field, Hydroid is currently the AUV market leader with systems in use by thirteen NATO and other navies around the world.

About Hydroid, Inc.

Hydroid, Inc. was established in 2001, and holds the exclusive license from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution for the manufacture and further development of all REMUS Autonomous Underwater Vehicle technology. In June 2008, Hydroid was acquired by Kongsberg Gruppen ASA, and is now part of a larger company that offers a full complement of AUVs, for operations in any water depth that includes the REMUS and HUGIN family of customizable autonomous underwater vehicles. Hydroid continues to invest private funds in the development of AUV technology and has significantly increased the capabilities of these systems over the past nine years.

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