US Navy Reopens Undersea Laboratory Pier in Bahamas

The US Navy has inaugurated a refitted small-craft pier on the Bahamas to further support deep water innovations and simulations for the agency.

Pier 1902 is located at the Atlantic Undersea Test and Evaluation Center (AUTEC), a Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) Division Newport laboratory built in the late 1950s for research, development, and evaluation of capabilities used in subsurface warfare.

AUTEC incorporates an Acoustic Range, a Weapons Range, and a Fleet Operational Readiness Accuracy Check Site situated in an oceanic basin 15 nautical miles (17 miles/28 kilometers) wide, 100 nautical miles (115 miles/185 kilometers) long, and a depth of 6,000 feet (1,800 meters).

Work to revamp Pier 1902 began in December 2021 to repair its advanced structural deterioration.

The navy wrote that the $28.7-million effort was completed ahead of schedule in July 2024.

“It’s always nice to see a project finish efficiently and ahead of schedule so the people here can continue their important work to help maintain the mission of the Navy,” NUWC Division Newport Commanding Officer Capt. Chad Hennings remarked during the ceremony.

“The research, development, test and evaluation conducted at AUTEC are critical to warfighter readiness in support of the full spectrum of maritime warfare.”

Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division Newport Commanding Officer Capt. Chad Hennings (second from left) is joined by Cmdr. Jeremy Reed (from left), officer in charge at the Atlantic Undersea Test and Evaluation Center (AUTEC), Rear Adm. Lore Aguayo, commander of the Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command Atlantic, and Rick Quade, deputy for Test and Evaluation for the Department of the Navy, for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the reopening of Pier 1902 at AUTEC, a Division Newport detachment, on May 8, 2024. AUTEC recently completed two other projects — upgrades to the Entry Control Facility at the main gate and construction of a $30.2 million two-story housing complex for 174 military personnel.
Officers celebrate during the reopening of a pier at a US Navy undersea laboratory in the Bahamas. Photo: David Stoehr/US Navy

Control Facility, Accommodation Construction

Alongside Pier 1902, the US Navy recently concluded a $5.5-million infrastructure upgrade to the AUTEC main gate’s Entry Control Facility to bolster the site’s Antiterrorism Force Protection and other security measures.

Another $30 million was spent on a two-story housing complex for approximately 170 military personnel.

“The new pier is a critical component to our ability to support the test and evaluation and fleet training required for our Navy to deploy with the most capable warfighting readiness and systems to defeat our adversaries,” Division Newport Ranges, Engineering and Analysis Department Head Eric Spigel stated.

“The new housing quarters allow swarms of Sailors to rest well before preparing to conduct wartime exercises to enhance readiness, and the new security gate will help ensure that only the required personnel can obtain access to the base and all the sensitive information about our Navy’s testing and readiness.”

Recent AUTEC Projects

The US Navy awarded Virginia-based company PAE Applied Technologies a $12.47-million contract in 2018 to repair AUTEC facilities after Hurricane Matthew.

This initiative was followed by a $32.96-million deal in 2020 to extend works and another $430 million for additional operations and maintenance services on the island.

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