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Compact zero-mass pulsatile jet actuators are proposed for low speed maneuvering and station keeping of small underwater vehicles. The flow field of such jets are initially dominated by vortex ring formation. Prototypes of such actuators are built and tested. The current actuator design has a mechanical plunger system to generate pulsatile jets, whose oscillation frequency is varied between zero and 40 Hz. This actuator is designed so that the cavity dimensions, exit diameter, actuation frequency, and actuation profile can be easily varied in order to find the optimal operation point of the actuator. Thrust measurement data is provided for various formation numbers while the actuation frequency in varied. The empirical thrust profiles were seen to follow the same trend as a model previously developed by our group. It is also observed that the measured thrust has a maximum value for formation numbers between 4 and 5.5, which is in agreement with our model. These optimal parameters will be used as design constraints for future actuators used in underwater propulsion.