Pioneering underwater survey technology leads to discovery of USS Harder
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Pioneering underwater survey technology leads to discovery of USS Harder

Nearly 80 years after the sinking of the USS Harder, a US Navy submarine, its wreckage has been discovered in the South China Sea. The submarine, renowned for sinking the most Japanese warships during World War II, was found by Tiburon Subsea CEO Tim Taylor and his team, in collaboration with the Lost 52 Project.

The USS Harder lies 3,000 feet (914 metres) underwater off the Philippine island of Luzon,. The submarine, along with its 79-man crew, was sunk on 29 August 1944. Before its demise, the USS Harder had managed to sink three Japanese destroyers and severely damage two other ships, as reported by the Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC).

Lost 52 Project

The discovery was made as part of the Lost 52 Project, an initiative dedicated to locating the 52 American submarines lost during World War II. The USS Harder, though submerged for decades, remains relatively intact according to the US Navy. The NHHC confirmed the wreck through data provided by the Lost 52 Project, led by Tim Taylor.

Taylor stated: “Working with pioneering underwater robotic technology has allowed me and my team to document each gravesite with advanced 4D modelling photogrammetry, resulting in the most comprehensive historical archaeological records available today.”

The Lost 52 Project has garnered international recognition from both the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) and the Philippines National Museum. It is hailed as the most pioneering and exhaustive offshore underwater archaeological expedition in Pacific waters. Tim Taylor is renowned for his expertise in developing autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) technology, driving innovation in oceanic data collection solutions.

Tim Taylor detailed the process of the discovery in an exclusive interview with NBC News’ Tom Llamas.

A 4D photogrammetry model of the USS Harder wreck site, precisely crafted by The Lost 52 Project. This comprehensive model showcases the entire boat, stitched together from detailed images, offering a multi-dimensional view of the submerged wreckage. (Image courtesy: Tim Taylor, Lost 52 Project)
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