Alvin (DSV-2), 1964-Present
Designed to replace bathyscaphes and cumbersome underwater oceanographic vehicles, the manned deep-ocean research submersible, Alvin (DSV-2), was placed into service by the U.S. Navy on June 5, 1964. Some items recovered following activation were a hydrogen bomb lost by the U.S. Air Force in March 1966 off Palomares, Spain, and a F6F "Hellcat" in September 1968 that was lost whilst training during World War II. In October 1968, the submersible itself was lost in the Atlantic Ocean while being transported when the transportation cables snapped. The submersible was eventually found by equipment utilized by USS Mizar (AGOR-11). In 1973, Alvin received an improved titanium pressure hull. In 1977, Dr. Robert Ballard utilized the submersible to study black smokers around Galapagos Islands. Ballard's team again used Alvin in 1986 to survey the wreck of RMS Titanic, which sank in April 1912. Following this journey, the submersible surveyed the remains of USS Scorpion (SSN-589), which was tragically lost in May 1968. The most recent overhaul was completed in 2013, and Alvin is only the same vessel in name as each part has been replaced overtime due to age and use. Though owned by the U.S. Navy, the submersible is used by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts.
A model of Alvin was located in the Undersea Exploration section at the National Museum of the U.S. Navy.
Image: NUR 07550: Alvin (DSV-2), exploring hydrothermal vents, August 1978. Courtesy of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.