C & C Technologies Inc. of Lafayette, Louisiana announced the discovery of the wreckage from the HMS Ark Royal which was recently located in the Mediterranean Sea. The discovery was made as part of a British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) project investigating archaeology associated with historical Royal Navy battles. C & C, an international survey company, used a “state of the art” Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) to collect high-resolution data that revealed the exact location of this historic aircraft carrier in 3,500 feet of water.
The HMS Ark Royal, a 22,000-ton aircraft carrier, played an important role in World War II. The aircraft carrier became famous when its torpedo planes, along with other British warships, sank the German Battleship Bismarck. On November 13, 1941, having transferred Hurricane aircraft fighter crews to the beleaguered island of Malta, the HMS Ark Royal was struck and sunk by a torpedo from the German submarine, U-81.
Mike Rossiter, BBC film producer and director said, “ This project would not have been possible without C & C Technologies’ AUV and deepwater surveying expertise. The results from the search were astonishing; the high-resolution sonar imagery enabled us to clearly identify details on the Ark Royal wreckage and detect the Swordfish aircraft that sank with the carrier. C & C Technologies are at the cutting edge of research in deepwater surveying and maritime history, this discovery coming just one year after C & C used the same technology to discovered the remains of the U-166, German U boat in the Gulf of Mexico.”
C & C’s AUV is a small free-swimming vehicle deployed from the mother ship and operates without any umbilical cables. An onboard inertial navigation system precisely controls the vehicles path and altitude above the seabed. In real time, the high-resolution sonar, depth and positioning data is transmitted acoustically through the water column back to the mother ship.