US Navy’s FLIP ship was the world’s most unique vessel that could stand vertically

  • The ship launched in 1962 and stayed in service for 60 years
  • It was primarily used for scientific research
  • The ship retired in 2021 and was scrapped in 2023

Published on Mar 17, 2024 at 12:56 PM (UTC+4)
by Nalin Rawat

Last updated on Mar 18, 2024 at 5:14 PM (UTC+4)
Edited by Amelia Jean Hershman-Jones

Some might mistake this US Navy FLIP ship for a capsized vessel, but it was designed to stand vertically in the ocean without any support.

The R/P FLIP (floating instrument platform) was an open ocean research platform owned by the U.S. Office of Naval Research.

It was designed to partially flood and stand vertically with only the front 17 meters pointing out of water.

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While it may be the last ship you ever want to step foot in, the vessel was actually used for research.

And don’t worry, the crew is completely safe during the flipping procedure.

Unfortunately, the R/P FLIP ship or Floating Instrument Platform was retired in 2021 and scrapped as of 2023.

It was the first-of-a-kind ship that remained in service for 60 years, before being retired.

Weird ship concepts like these have been around for a while.

While it can’t be considered a ship, Saudi Arabia is also an $8 billion turtle-shaped yacht that would be a floating city.

Back to the US Navy FLIP ship, the vessel could float and operate in both normal horizontal and vertical orientation.

The way the ship flips is by partially flooding the back section of the ship, and then pitching backward 90°.

At the end of the mission, compressed air is pumped into the flooded section of the ship, to make it surface again.

After that, the US Navy FLIP ship was towed to another location by other ships.

The vessel was 108 meters (355 ft) long and capable of being moored to 5000 ft depths.

Although, when kept horizontal the ship was quite long, it still couldn’t hold a candle to the world’s largest cruise ship.

The US Navy FLIP ship was a remarkable human engineering feat that helped in many kinds of scientific research, just like the Earth 300 ‘science yacht’.

# Tags - Ships, US Navy


Nalin Rawat

Nalin started his career by working with various national newspapers in India. He has also worked as a writer/editor for many popular websites, while still pursuing his journalism and mass communication degree. Working as a digital nomad has allowed him to inform and educate through his work. When he is not writing, you can find him playing video games or travelling the mountains on his bike.