• Project Recover

Project Recover is a collaborative effort to enlist twenty-first-century science and technology in a quest to find the final underwater resting places of Americans missing in action since World War II.



Project RECOVER is a public-private partnership to enlist 21st century science and technology combined with in-depth archival and historical research in a quest to transform the approaches to underwater search to locate aircraft associated with American servicemen still unaccounted for during wartime.

Established in 2012 with sponsorship from private and public entities, Project RECOVER is a partnership among researchers at the University of Delaware’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment, Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego, and the BentProp Project.

The work blends historical data from many different sources to optimize underwater search areas with scanning sonars, high definition and thermal cameras, advanced diving, and unmanned aerial and underwater robotic technologies. These new methods are now being applied globally where servicemen are still missing.  Information on finds by Project RECOVER are then transmitted to the U.S. Government Defense MIA/POW Accounting Agency (DPAA), for formal identification, family notification and ultimately repatriation.  Project RECOVER has an expanding footprint, with cases developing for global search and discover



Technologies include various scanning sonars, high definition and thermal cameras, unmanned aerial systems, compressed gas diving, diver propulsion systems, and tethered and freely swimming underwater robots.


Historical data obtained from the National Archives and veteran interviews are fused with survey data, modern satellite imagery, and flight trajectory analyses to narrow the underwater search regions.

scripps oceanography uc san diego