The US Navy has awarded a $87m contract to ST Engineering to build an enhanced version of a T-AGS 60 Class oceanographic survey ship.

The 107.6m-long 17.68m-wide survey ship can permanently accommodate a crew of 67.

The dynamic positioning of the ship controls thrust direction and provides unparalleled ship control and manoeuvrability to allow accurate position keeping and track line following.

The T-AGS 66 Class survey ship will be fitted with an 18ft×18ft moonpool for through-hull launch and retrieval of scientific research equipment along with several other enhancements of its equipment and electronics systems.

The survey ship will undergo missions including oceanographic sampling and data collection of surface, midwater and ocean floor parameters; and the launch, recovery, and towing of tethered and autonomous scientific packages.

In addition it will conduct shipboard oceanographic data processing and sample analysis and precise navigation, track line manoeuvring and station keeping to support deep ocean and coastal surveys.

Construction work will be carried out at Halter Moss Point in 2010 and is scheduled to be delivered in 2012.