RCV-150

RCV-150 being recovered for deep water operations inside its steel cage.

The RCV-150 submersible operated by the Hawaii Undersea Research Laboratory was retired in 2011. Other examples of the RCV-150 vehicle (total of six produced) may still be found in use throughout the world.

RCV-150 being deployed for deep water operations inside its steel cage.

RCV-150 being deployed for deep water operations inside its steel cage. Click image for larger view.


Underwater view of RCV-150 as it is deployed from its steel cage.

Underwater view of RCV-150 as it is deployed from its steel cage. Click image for larger view.

The RCV-150 is a tethered remotely operated vehicle with an operating depth of 914 m (3000 ft). The RCV-150 system consists of a dedicated winch/A-frame tether management system (TMS) and vehicle. The TMS/vehicle are deployed from the support ship via a double armored electro-optical umbilical to the desired operating depth. The vehicle is then launched from the TMS and operated on a 90 m (300 ft) tether. Standard vehicle equipment includes a color video camera with zoom and focus controls, 1500 watts of lighting, micro CTD, Tritech imaging sonar, and a simple manipulator with a six inch cutoff wheel. The TMS is equipped with lights and video cameras to aid in vehicle navigation and terrain monitoring from a position above the vehicle.

The RCV-150 is controlled by a single pilot from a control console located in the tracking room of the support ship. The small size of the ROV (in comparison to a submersible) allows it to have high maneuverability. It can get close to the bottom and allow the cameras to peer under ledges and into nooks and crannies. The ROV is much easier to launch and recover than a manned submersible so it can be used at night while the sub is being serviced. The ROV can be launched several times within a night, allowing for a large geographical area to be covered.

The primary data that is collected with the RCV-150 is in the form of video. One of the common uses of the RCV-150 has been to conduct surveys of bottomfish in Hawai'i. All of the fish “seen” by the ROV are counted and recorded and then the video serves as a relatively long-term record of the appearance of the dive site.

In the event of a submersible emergency with one of the Pisces submersibles in water depths less than 3000 ft, the first action after notifying rescue assets would be to deploy the RCV-150 to evaluate the nature of the emergency and if entangled, try to free the sub with the radial cutter.