The new film sees polar explorer Liv Arnesen and Per Arvid Tellemann, a former navy navigator and member of a commission that investigated Amundsen’s untimely death uncover the mystery on land, whilst the Norwegian Navy, aboard its vessel KNM Tyr, searches for the wreckage of Amundsen’s plane using a Kongsberg Maritime HUGIN 1000 AUV and HISAS 1030 synthetic aperture sonar.
Norwegian Roald Amundsen was one of the great explorers of the early 20th Century, having been the first to reach the South Pole in December 1911 and is also credited with the first verified attempt to cross the arctic in an airship in May 1926. Amundsen vanished along with 6 others when the Latham 47 they were flying crashed during a rescue mission to save the Italian general and aviation engineer Umberto Nobile, whose airship ‘Italia’ had gone down returning from the North Pole.
The hunt for Amundsen’s plane was co-organised by the Norwegian Aviation Museum, the Norwegian Navy and Context TV, a German television production company specialising in documentaries related to scientific-historical expeditions and explorations, with main emphasis on the underwater segment. The expedition started in August 2009, with HUGIN 1000 being used as the primary tool to search for the famous Norwegian arctic explorer’s airplane over an area measuring 34 square nautical miles.
HUGIN 1000 is a state-of-the-art AUV with a depth capacity down to 1000 metres, an operational speed of 4 knots and the ability to stay deployed at sea for 18 hours non-stop with all sensors operating. The Norwegian Navy’s HUGIN 1000 is primarily used for mine hunting so along with a payload that includes the Kongsberg Maritime developed HISAS 1030 synthetic aperture sonar, it is the ideal tool for hunting plane wreckage over such a large area. If the Latham had been in the search area, then the HUGIN would have found it.
“We are proud to have been part of this project,” comments Bjørn Jalving, Vice President of AUVs, Kongsberg Maritime. “The HUGIN 1000 AUV with the HISAS 1030 synthetic aperture sonar has a new level of resolution and range in acoustic imagery and is especially designed to find small, modern mines, efficiently searching large areas. It has therefore been the perfect tool for searching for the Latham airplane.”