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Thread: Unmanned Surface Vessels

  1. #21

    More on this............

    AUVSI: AAI's CUSVs team up against mines

    By: Brett Davis Las Vegas

    2 hours ago


    AAI Corp (booth 3054) recently completed an exercise off the coast of Camp Pendleton, California, showing that its Common Unmanned Surface Vehicle (CUSV) could be effective in anti-mine operations, including by towing side-scanning sonar and deploying mine neutralization vehicles.

    The 9-20 July demonstration involved two vehicles: CUSV-1 carrying an L-3 Klein 5000 Victor 2 side-scanning sonar and CUSV-2 carrying an Atlas Seafox mine neutralization vehicle. The systems found mines with the sonar and then autonomously maneuvered CUSV-2 to dispatch the Seafox to inspect it further.

    "We're saying that a whole new era in mine warfare has arrived," said Stan DeGeus, the company's senior business solutions director. "There were a lot of naysayers out there saying this can't be done, and we're saying it can be done... we can do it faster, we can do it safer."

    The USV has a low acoustic and magnetic signature and can be operated with a variety of control systems, including a Panasonic Toughbook, using software derived from Textron/AAI's control systems from the Shadow unmanned aircraft.

    DeGeus said the company is awaiting a request for proposals from the US Navy for the Unmanned Influence Sweep System, which will call for some of the same operational capability the CUSV has demonstrated.

  2. #22

    More on the Wave Glider which comprises two separate platforms, floating and submerged, coupled by an umbilical cable. The photo shows the submerged element with keel and wave-propulsive wings. Photo: Liquid Robotics

    Uploaded by NOAAPMEL on Nov 9, 2011

    NOAA PMEL wave gliders are a simple and cost-effective platform for collecting ocean data that does not rely on expensive ships or buoys. See http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/edd/wave_gliders.html

  3. #23


    August 16, 2012

    DARPA autonomous surface vessel to track and follow enemy subs for months

    The growing number of adversaries able to build and operate quiet diesel electric submarines is a national security threat that affects U.S. and friendly naval operations around the world. To address this emerging threat, DARPA recently awarded a contract for Phases 2-4 of its Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel (ACTUV) program to Science Applications International Corporation, McLean, Va.

    During Phases 2-4 the ACTUV program will attempt to design, construct and demonstrate an unmanned vessel that tracks quiet diesel electric submarines for months at a time spanning thousands of kilometers of ocean with minimal human input.

    “Key features and technology for the vessel include advanced software, robust autonomy for safe operations in accordance with maritime laws, and innovative sensors to continuously track the quietest of submarine targets,” said Scott Littlefield, DARPA program manager.

    If successful, ACTUV would create a technological strategic advantage against the burgeoning quiet submarine threat and reduce manpower and other costs associated with current ASW trail operations.

    “Our goal is to transition an operational game-changer to the Navy,” said Littlefield. “This should create an asymmetry to our advantage, negating a challenging submarine threat at one-tenth their cost of building subs. The program also establishes foundational technologies for future unmanned naval systems.”

    During Phase 1 the program refined and validated the system concept, completing risk reduction testing associated with submarine tracking sensors and maritime autonomy. Operational prototype at-sea testing is expected in mid-2015.

  4. #24

    Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel (ACTUV)

    The Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel (ACTUV) is developing an unmanned vessel optimized to robustly track quiet diesel electric submarines. The program is structured around three primary goals:
    ◦Explore the performance potential of a surface platform conceived from concept to field demonstration under the premise that a human is never intended to step aboard at any point in its operating cycle. As a result, a new design paradigm emerges with reduced constraints on conventional naval architecture elements such as layout, accessibility, crew support systems, reserve buoyancy and dynamic stability. The objective is to generate a vessel design that exceeds state-of-the art platform performance to provide complete propulsive overmatch against diesel electric submarines at a fraction of their size and cost.

    ◦Advance unmanned maritime system autonomy to enable independently deploying systems capable of missions spanning thousands of kilometers of range and months of endurance under a sparse remote supervisory control model. This includes autonomous compliance with maritime laws and conventions for safe navigation, autonomous system management for operational reliability, and autonomous interactions with an intelligent adversary.

    ◦Demonstrate the capability of the ACTUV system to use its unique characteristics to employ non-conventional sensor technologies that achieve robust continuous track of the quietest submarine targets over their entire operating envelope.

    While the ACTUV program is focused on demonstrating the ASW tracking capability in this configuration, the core platform and autonomy technologies are broadly extendable to underpin a wide range of missions and configurations for future unmanned naval vessels.

    The program has four phases. During phase 1, the program refined and validated the system concept and associated performance metrics, completing risk reduction testing to inform program risks associated with submarine tracking sensors and maritime autonomy. In August 2012, DARPA awarded a contract for phases 2-4. The program plans the following in upcoming phases: Design a vessel (Phase 2); Build a vessel (Phase 3) and test the vessel (Phase 4). Operational prototype at-sea testing is expected in mid-2015.

  5. #25

    Autonomous Sea Platforms Emerge At Euronaval

    By Christina Mackenzie, David Eshel, Michael Fabey, Graham Warwick

    Source: Aviation Week & Space Technology

    October 15, 2012

    Christina Mackenzie Paris, David Eshel Tel Aviv andMichael Fabey and Graham Warwick Washington

    Unmanned systems at sea offer advantages and face challenges that are often different from those associated with airborne and ground-based systems. For example, in a patrol mission that calls for long endurance at low speed, the size of a manned ship is largely driven by the need to provide tolerable accommodation and stability for the crew—a limit that does not apply to an unmanned surface vessel (USV).

    On the other hand, manned craft have long range and payload because of their size, and nobody is interested in a USV weighing several hundred tons. That means that USVs either need a mothership (launch and recovery techniques are still in the works) or may be confined to coastal roles. Also, sensor and communications line-of-sight distances are subject to the unbreakable laws of mast height and horizon distances.

    Consequently, fielding USVs and autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) may be more a question of matching basic technology to the concept of operations (conops), while applying new technology selectively.

    A major French effort, to be unveiled at the Euronaval show in Paris later this month, pulls together USV and AUV technology to create a unique minehunting system including three world-first technologies. The Espadon (Swordfish) project, launched by the DGA French procurement agency in July 2009, is being run by a team comprising naval systems group DCNS, robotics company ECA and Thales.

    The centerpiece of Espadon is a 17-meter (58-ft.)-long, 25-ton, boxy-looking catamaran USV named Sterenn Du (“black star” in Breton). Because current French legislation forbids surface vessels from navigating without human beings aboard, Sterenn Du has a small pilot's cabin, set to one side much like an aircraft carrier's island. But the Sterenn Du can also be teleoperated or be completely autonomous.

    Sterenn Du's role is to deploy AUVs. It would be brought close to the mission zone by a dedicated mothership of 2,500—3,000 tons, which would remain a safe distance from the minefield. Aboard the Sterenn Du are three AUVs developed by ECA, which constitute its actual mine-hunting and destroying tools.

    The biggest technological difficulty was the design of the launch and recovery system, Stephane Meltzheim, head of the Espadon project at ECA, told Aviation Week. It is harder to get two autonomous machines to connect in high seas than in outer space. There are currents, winds and waves to contend with and the DGA specified that the vessels must be operational in Sea State 5. A traditional minehunter cannot operate beyond Sea State 3.

    The solution resembles the drogue and hose used in inflight refueling: using one of its world-first features, the Sterenn Du unwinds a cable that the AUV clamps onto and the cable then draws the AUV inside a cage between the two hulls of the catamaran, another first. Meltzheim adds with some pride that there has been close to a 100% success rate in tests with the system, which ECA has patented.

    The third innovation is active and passive shock-absorbing systems in the cage, which means the AUV stays as stable as possible despite any movements of the ship. Once the AUV is in its cage, it is brought up inside the Sterenn Du.

    Each of the three AUVs has a specific role. The first to be launched would be the DCL (detection, classification and localization) AUV. It is 5 meters long, weighs between 800-1,000 kg (1,764-2,200 lb.), has a range of 40 km (25 mi.) and an endurance of between 10 to 20 hr., depending on the type of battery installed. The DCL vehicle carries a sonar to detect and classify underwater objects. “This vessel has the intelligence to work by itself and overcome any unexpected problems it may come across,” says Meltzheim. The vessel was developed in 2006-09 but the automatic recovery system was added for the Espadon program.

    Data collected by the DCL AUV is transmitted back to the mothership, where operators decide what objects need to be observed more closely, then program the second AUV and send it out. “This catamaran AUV, specifically developed for this project, is extremely maneuverable, with two propellers at the front and two at the rear, four cameras, lighting and a small sonar,” Meltzheim explains. “It is programmed with all the [mine-like contacts], which were identified by the DCL, and it observes them one by one,” acquiring still and moving imagery. It goes over each contact at least once and when it has completed its mission, it returns to the Sterenn Du.

    At this point, the third AUV comes into play. Until now, the project has used a reusable vehicle which is wire-guided to the mine, drops an explosive charge next to it and retreats before detonating the charge to destroy the mine. “However, the tendency today is toward using expendable and much cheaper kamikaze-style robots, guided to the mine by an operator,” says Meltzheim.

    Once sea trials are completed in the next few months, the next step will be to launch a second prototype, which will be co-financed by France and the U.K. in the framework of the November 2010 Lancaster House treaties.

    Another major USV development appearing at Euronaval also reflects the use of new and mature technology to match a developing conops: a new and larger version of the Protector USV from Israel's Rafael. Work on the 11- meter craft started about three years ago. After evaluating smaller craft, the developers saw a need for a vessel that could operate in higher sea states, as well as provide better speed and endurance—up to 48 hr. in some conditions—and a bigger payload.

    With a larger and more costly USV performing longer and more distant missions, a dual, fully redundant diesel-and-waterjet drive system became a priority to ensure that no single failure would prevent the operator from returning the vessel to base. Redundancy extends to the electrical and control systems, and new features have been added to enhance damage control capabilities and system health monitoring.

    The new boat is based on a patented design, optimized for unmanned operation with increased buoyancy and survivability. The aluminum hull is a heavy-duty, rigid, deep-V planning design with sealed bulkheads and a foamed D-collar, designed for performance and high survivability in high seas. The Protector has a crew of two to manage sensors and control the boat, and carries radar and electro-optical sensors and a communications/data link suite that can interface with wide-area systems like those used for maritime surveillance and border patrol.

    With its immediate range of vision limited by mast height, the Protector is an interceptor. Once a potential threat is detected, the Protector is sent to intercept the target and identify it using the Toplite stabilized electro-optical turret. The onboard loudhailer system is used to approach the target and determine its intentions. A water cannon can be used for non-lethal engagement, but the Protector also carries the Mini-Typhoon stabilized gun system, and can be fitted with a strike module that includes Spike missiles for long-range precision engagement. The Protector can also be used as an electronic warfare platform to a degree.

    The U.S. Navy is looking for a USV in the same size class as the new Protector, as a way of bolstering its mine warfare capability. The service has been criticized for downplaying the importance of mine warfare and is now playing catch-up. But the Navy wants a vessel that can quickly survey a large area to hunt and counter mines at all times, notes Stanley DeGues, senior business development director for Textron subsidiary AAI Advanced Systems, which is developing a common, unmanned surface vessel (Cus-V).

    “Only mine ships can do it at night,” DeGues says. “Helicopters can't do that.”

    AAI is offering the Cus-V for the Navy's proposed unmanned influence sweep system (UISS), meant to provide Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) with a stand-off, long-endurance, semi-autonomous minesweeping capability to counter acoustic or magnetic influence mine threats in the littorals. The Navy plans to test UISS platforms starting in fiscal 2014 and hopes to have them ready for initial operational capability in fiscal 2016.

    For the cost of a single minehunting helicopter, DeGues says, the Navy could buy 8-12 Cus-Vs. A Cus-V is 39 ft. long, has a draft of slightly more than 2 ft. and reaches a top speed of 28 kt. It has a cruising range of about 1,200 nm, can tow up to 5,000 lb. while traveling at about 10 kt., and features a 14-ft. payload bay, as well as an autonomous launch, tow and recovery system to deploy a sweeper.

    While being developed with the LCS fleet in mind, the Cus-V is land-transportable, air-transportable in a C-17 and C-5, and can be ferried by ship—even commercial vessels, DeGues says. The Cus-V also could be launched out of the well decks of large-deck Navy amphibian assault ships, he notes. There also are some global queries about the ship, too, for missions like harbor security, he adds. “Internationally, folks are very interested.”

    In the AUV world, the Office of Naval Research (ONR) is pressing forward with work on the Large Displacement Unmanned Undersea Vehicle (LDUUV).

    A variety of AUVs of various shapes and sizes are in service and in development around the Navy, ranging from the Naval Oceanographic Office's Littoral Battlespace Sensing gliders to the Knifefish mine countermeasures AUV planned for use on the LCS, but these are basically single-mission vehicles. LDUUV is planned to have long endurance and operationally useful speed, autonomy and payload capacity, enabling independent, clandestine operations in forward areas.

    Though the Navy has not yet specified which missions the vehicle will perform—an analysis of alternatives (AoA) now being conducted by Naval Sea Systems Command is slated for completion next March—a few possibilities present themselves. The stealth and persistence of a long-endurance AUV will be especially useful for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) or preparation of operational environment (IPOE) missions, such as bottom mapping. But it is not hard to envision the LDUUV carrying mines, bomblets or miniature torpedoes, and performing missions previously in the domain of manned submarines like the tracking of enemy submarines.

    LDUUV could also be uniquely suited to address emerging missions like defense of the pipelines and telecommunications cables that are increasingly vital to the global economy, or attack on an adversary's undersea sensor networks. Simply put, LDUUV will fulfill a persistent ISR and battlespace preparation role, but will also expand the reach of the U.S. submarine force and perform missions that are impossible for anything in the current arsenal. Moreover, it will enter just in time to mitigate the slump in force structure that will hit in the 2020s, as the large Cold War fleet of Los Angeles- class subs retires.

    The new craft is different in important ways from failed predecessors like the Mission Reconfigurable UUV (MR-UUV). Released from “the tyranny of the 21-inch tube,” it has more room for energy storage and payloads. It is designed for launch and recovery from a variety of platforms: SSGNs and Virginias via their large-diameter tubes, the Littoral Combat Ship, piers, or contracted merchant ships. Energy technology has advanced since the MR-UUV as well, allowing for greater energy density and longer endurance—though much work remains to be done in this area to produce an operationally useful vehicle. And perhaps most importantly, it has support at the highest levels of the Navy. In February, the chief of naval operations, Adm. Jonathan Greenert, told reporters “I'm very much desirous of that end-state, cross-ocean, as feasible . . . 30-day, 45-day.”

    After the LDUUV AoA is completed in 2013, the Navy is likely to issue a formal request for proposals in fiscal 2014, according to a February statement from the LCS program office, its sponsor. In the meantime, ONR plans to produce 10 Innovative Naval Prototype (INP) vehicles, focusing on technologies that will improve energy density, autonomy and reliability. These prototypes will be transitioned from ONR to the fleet after completion of the INP program, and the Navy intends to have a squadron of 10 operational LDUUVs by 2020.

    Even more ambitious than LDUUV is a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa) project for an unmanned vessel that can shadow a manned sub throughout its patrol. Darpa recently chose Science Applications International Corp. to lead the design and construction of an operational prototype Anti-Submarine Warfare Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel (Actuv). The aim is to demonstrate a non-stealthy autonomous vessel that can track a quiet diesel-electric submarine overtly for months, over thousands of kilometers, with minimal human input. At-sea testing is planned for mid-2015.

    Actuv has a clean-sheet design, to take advantage of its crewless concept by relaxing normal warship requirements such as buoyancy reserve, dynamic stability and platform orientation. In addition to autonomy and reliability, a key goal of the program is to achieve “propulsive overmatch” and demonstrate “disproportionate” speed, endurance, maneuverability and sea-keeping to enable unconventional tactics in response to target behavior.

    Actuv would not detect the submarine, but would relieve ASW forces of the task of keeping tabs on the boat once it has been picked up. It is intended to use acoustic, electro-optical, radar and lidar sensors to acquire and follow its sub targets through high seas and periods of lost communications, while navigating in compliance with international maritime regulations, autonomously avoiding other surface craft. With an unrefueled range of 6,200 km and an endurance of 80 days, the vessel will be under “sparse remote supervisory control” from the shore via beyond-line-of-sight data link.

    But as advanced as Actuv and LDUUV may be in concept, they are years away from hitting the water, let alone becoming operational. For the time being, Europe and Israel appear to be well ahead in terms of making autonomous sea systems a reality.

  6. #26

    Rolls-Royce to Develop Mini Water Jet for Unmanned Craft

    (Source: Rolls-Royce; issued Oct. 24, 2012)

    Rolls-Royce, the global power systems company, is to develop a new, highly efficient water jet to propel unmanned surface craft for the US Navy.

    The new water jet will be the smallest Rolls-Royce design to date, with a diameter of just 100 millimetres, and will quietly propel the craft through the water on remotely controlled missions that include intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance.

    Rolls-Royce will develop the water jet part of the innovative small propulsion system, part of a US Government funded Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) project led by Candent Technologies Inc.

    Dennis Duke, Rolls-Royce, Advanced Programs Director - Naval Marine Inc. added: “We are developing and adapting our world-leading water jet technologies as part of a highly efficient propulsion system which will enable these advanced craft to go about their duties criss-crossing waterways and oceans, often for months at a time. "Unmanned craft are a fast growing and exciting part of naval marine technology and we’re delighted to be working with Candent and the US Navy in developing this groundbreaking propulsion system."

    Known as MUSCL, the US Navy’s Modular Unmanned Surface Craft Littoral, is an X class unmanned surface vessel, designed to reduce risk to manned forces and perform tedious and repetitive surveillance tasks. The water jets will provide thrust to move the craft at speeds in excess of 25 knots as well as sustaining a cruise speed of 15 knots.

    Rolls-Royce manufactures a wide range of water jets that power craft ranging from small patrol boats, to naval ships and the world’s largest high speed ferries. Water jets provide high levels of manoeuvrability and efficiency and are particularly suited to vessels operating in shallow waters.


  7. #27

    Euronaval 2012: Rafael unveils Protector variant

    24 October 2012 - 13:40 by Beth Stevenson in Paris

    Rafael has displayed the 11m variant of its Protector USV for the first time at the Euronaval exhibition in Paris, France.

    The USV is operational with an undisclosed customer, and follows from the success of the 9m variant developed in 2004 that is on contract with several customers.

    'Over this period since 2004 we've progressed into different variants,' a Rafael representative told Shephard.

    He explained that there are redundancy options on the platform, including a dual engine, double the electronics and double the control system.

    As well as the difference in size, this variant of the platform also includes a water cannon, as well as the Spotlight-N multi-sensor EO image system, and Spike LR missiles on the weapon station, which were all displayed on the Protector at the exhibition for the first time.

    With regards to the water cannon addition, which can fire 4,000 litres per minute, the representative said: 'Many navies don't want to go to the lethal option straight away, if at all.

    'In the other direction, however, we added the missile system to make it even more lethal.'

    Rafael started developing the 11m variant some two and a half years ago as a result of a requirement form a specific customer, and it has been operational for some 12 months.

    Talking about the possibility of developing an even bigger Protector the representative said there are 'all kinds of talks about it', although 'going above 11m already isn't an ideal option for a ship launch'. However for coastal patrol there is the option there to increase the size, he said.

    Ten of the 11m platforms have been built, and ten of the 9m are operational.

    'We've mainly focused so far on force protection,' the representative explained. 'As the market grows [for USVs] we'll get more and more ideas for applications.'

  8. #28

    More on the above, including test firings of the SPIKE missiles........

    Watch a Robotic Navy Boat Shoot Missiles for the First Time Ever

    By Spencer Ackerman, WIRED.com, October 26, 2012 | 4:21 pm

    Video Here: http://bcove.me/pdpyqtfl

    Killer robots have officially gone out to sea. For the first time, the Navy has fired missiles from a remote-controlled boat, as shown in the video above.

    The firing came as part of a test off the Maryland coast on Wednesday. Six of Rafael’s anti-armor Spike missiles got fired off a moving inflatable hulled watercraft, aiming for a floating target about two miles away. The missile firings and the boat’s controls were all handled remotely by Navy personnel on shore at the Navy’s Patuxent River base.

    It’s the “first significant step forward in weaponizing surface unmanned combat capability,” Mark Moses, the Navy’s program manager for the armed drone boat project, tells Danger Room. Sure, the U.S. military has no shortage of armed robotic planes and — soon — helicopters. But it doesn’t have weaponized drones that patrol the seas, either above it or below it. The Navy’s early experiments with robotic submarines are for spying and mine clearance, not for attack. Until this week’s tests at Pax River, the Navy didn’t have a robotic surface vessel capable of firing a weapon — the fulfillment of a goal the Navy set for itself in 2007.

    The Navy’s been tricking out this 11-meter inflatable boat for the past several years at its base in Newport, Rhode Island, to do just that. Mounted on the boat is a dual-pod missile launcher and an Mk-49 mounting system, all made by Rafael and fully automated, which the Navy’s calling a “Precision Engagement Module.” The Navy seems the module as the sort of thing that could protect U.S. coastline without danger to sailors or coastguardsmen, or prevent pirates or Iranian sailors from maneuvering their small, fast boats between targets that Navy Destroyers can’t risk hitting.

    The Precision Engagement Module “could be used in a number of applications including harbor security, defensive operations against fast attach craft and swam scenarios, which is of primary concern for the Navy,” says Moses. “However, it is probably most effective when targets try and hide among commercial vessels –for example, congested waterways.”

    In three days’ worth of tests at Pax River this week, the Navy shot off the long-range version variant of the Spike, a 30-pound missile with an effective range of about 2 and a half miles. The video above shows six of the remote firings — and while they looked to our untrained eyes like near misses, the Navy says that’s a trick of the camera angle, and they actually hit their targets.

    All this is just a demonstration; it’ll be years and many more tests before the Navy decides if it wants to purchase a fleet of remote-controlled, missile-packing boats. But “the increase in attention and effort for water borne technological advancements coincides with the drawing down of U.S. military resources in the land locked campaign in Afghanistan,” Mark notes, “and a strategic refocusing to problem regions where unconventional maritime threats must be accounted for.” In other words: put the robo-boat off Iranian or Somali waters, and let sailors at a safe distance aim and fire its missiles, much like the Air Forces drone pilots do.

  9. #29

    Wave Glider monitors Hurricane Sandy

    06 November 2012 - 13:03 by Beth Stevenson in London

    Liquid Robotics used one of its Wave Glider USVs to monitor the weather data during Hurricane Sandy, which hit the east coast of the US at the end of October.

    The company is working with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in a project to help understand how USVs can aid the prediction of extreme weather, which involves one Wave Glider surveying the oceans.

    The particular USV used during Hurricane Sandy was not involved in the project, but was redirected to the area in order to carry out the data collection.

    ‘We’ve been working on a project to work out how to improve our ability to forecast how strong hurricanes are either going to get or not get,’ Edward Lu, chief of innovative applications for Liquid Robotics, told Shephard on 5 November.

    He explained that some 72 hours is needed ahead of a hurricane hitting to ensure that airports and ports are closed and that people are evacuated, and although hurricane prediction has got better over the past few years, not enough knowledge was known prior to Sandy to determine what weather state it would be.

    ‘Seventy two days ahead of time, we couldn’t even say if that thing was going to be a hurricane or not when it came ashore,’ Lu said. ‘If you look at the predictions we had ahead for Hurricane Sandy, 72 hours before it made land fall the prediction was that it would be anything between heavy wind and rain to a category three hurricane, and anything in between.

    ‘It’s difficult to make a really good decision that way, but that’s what they had, and that’s what we’re trying to change because one of the key things we cannot measure is the thing that drives hurricanes. This is the water temperature in the upper 20-50 feet of water, because hurricanes are driven by warm water.’

    From spacecraft and satellites it is possible to measure the temperature of the top layer of water, but as soon as a storm hits it stirs up the warm water and therefore the temperature of the whole body of water is important.

    The Wave Gliders are dispatchable self-fuelling USVs that can be steered into hurricanes and take data in real time in the middle of hurricanes and measure the water temperature.

    The Wave Glider is designed to provide persistent performance for some 12 months, with an average speed of approximately a knot and a half. It can be re-tasked at any time, can monitor 20m below the surface, and the longest mission to date was 2.5 years.

    ‘We were able to show how we could measure things like the winds, the barometric pressure, and the waves, all in the middle of a hurricane. We have now released some of that data.’

    Through the NOAA project the Wave Glider was used during Hurricane Isaac to transmit data which is now being incorporated into a research study in how to improve the forecast of hurricanes.

    ‘From Hurricane Sandy, because it [the glider] wasn’t purpose built for this, and because it is now after and won’t affect the forecast, what we’re hoping is that in the future we’ll be able to scale this up to much larger coverage so that we can improve the forecast of these things, because hurricanes do hit every year,’ Lu concluded. ‘With the increasing numbers of people and properties on the coastline it’s an increasing concern.’

  10. #30

    SAIC to develop ACTUV prototype

    13 November 2012 - 12:42 by the Shephard News Team

    Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) has been awarded a contract by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to design, build and test a new prototype unmanned autonomous surface vessel. The award, with a value of $58 million, was issued under the Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel (ACTUV) programme.

    The DARPA ACTUV programme aims to develop an unmanned autonomous surface vessel with the ability to track a quiet diesel-electric submarine overtly for months over thousands of kilometres, with minimal human input.

    SAIC provided conceptual design services in phase one of the programme, creating an innovative wave piercing trimaran solution, and this contract pushes the development of the vessel through phases two through four.

    The award will see SAIC provide a final design and production plan for the ACTUV prototype in phase two, construction of the prototype is scheduled to be completed in phase three, and government testing in phase four.

    According to the company, SAIC will build on the phase one concept and design, build, and demonstrate an experimental vessel capable of independently deploying under sparse remote supervisory control, to achieve ‘a game-changing ASW operational capability, with the ultimate objective to facilitate rapid transition of that capability to the navy in response to critical operational demand’.

    Pete Mikhalevsky, SAIC senior vice president and operations manager, said: ‘Drawing on SAIC's technical depth in marine hydrodynamics, ship design, sensors, and advanced autonomy, we're confident that the SAIC team will meet or exceed DARPA's requirements for ACTUV, a revolutionary autonomous maritime vessel. This exemplifies the kind of technical innovation that is the hallmark of SAIC solving our customers' toughest problems.’

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