A Mid-life Refit for the Roger Revelle

  • Clients:
    Scripps Institution of Oceanography
  • Completion Date:
    Summer 2020
  • Key Collaborators:
    Office of Naval Research
  • Project Type:
    Vessel Design & Modification
  • Service Categories:
    Marine Engineering
    Marine Electrical & Controls Engineering
    Marine Consulting
  • Vessel Overview:
    277-foot (84-meter) AGOR-23 class research vessel
  • Challenge:
    Midlife refit for research vessel in the US Academic Fleet.


The R/V Roger Revelle is an auxiliary general-purpose oceanographic research vessel operated by Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Glosten was selected by Scripps with approval from the Office of Naval Research to design the mid-life refits of the vessel and its AGOR-class sisterships. The Revelle is one of the largest ships in the US Academic Research Fleet and was the second to undergo its refit, which was completed at Vigor‘s Portland shipyard in 2020.

Much like its sisterships, the Atlantis and the Thompson, the overhaul package for the Revelle included a repower, replacement or refurbishment of aging shipboard equipment, modifications for environmental and regulatory compliance, and the replacement of technically obsolete shipboard machinery. Glosten provided the client with a design basis, general specifications, stability evaluation, weight change integration, cost estimates, bow thruster noise/vibration study, regulatory liaison, and a contract package which included diagrams and arrangement drawings based on a 3D model of the modifications.



The Revelle’s midlife refit was designed to enhance its mission capabilities where they matter most: range, payload, duration, and ability to operate safely around the world. As a result, nearly all its major systems underwent some sort of replacement or upgrade. The ship’s six generators were replaced with four new ones and an integrated bus, which involved replacing major electrical components. A retractable ZF bow thruster was installed and new cranes and other overboard handling systems were added, along with a gondola containing scientific transducers.

The new bow thruster and propulsion motor significantly reduce related noise and vibration, which not only improves quality of life for those on board, it allows for better science. The quieter the ship, the more accurate the data the sonars collect. The addition of the gondola also helps improve data collection, as it positions the transducers below the hull, mitigating interference from bubbles. Where possible, features were added to the Revelle that would not only extend the life of the ship and improve its performance, but help it more effectively conduct oceanographic research at sea.

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