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Author: Subject: Unmanned Surface Vessels
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[*] posted on 11-9-2019 at 08:09 PM


DSEI 2019: UK MoD Unveils Next-Generation Unmanned Surface Vessel

British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace unveiled a new unmanned surface vessel (USV) at DSEI 2019 in London on 10 September. The next-generation unmanned system could be used to protect the UK’s future warships.

The 13m remote controlled system could be used to identify and locate threats such as mines, or to procure intelligence on hostile vessels. The kit was put through its paces at DSEI, where it protected HMS ARGYLL in a harbour force protection scenario. The system, attached to PAC24 rigid inflatable boat, navigated the river bed, detected possible threats and fed information back to HMS ARGYLL.

“MAST 13 is pioneering the future of unmanned surface vehicles […] The development of unmanned technology is vital for success in modern warfare, going beyond the capability of traditional ships to attack and defend in uncertain environments […] As more advanced technology and new threats continue to evolve, collaborative technology development ensures we are constantly pushing the boundaries to give our armed forces the best capabilities possible,” Secretary Wallace observed.

The new system has been unveiled as part of the Maritime Autonomy Surface Testbed (MAST) 13, a programme developed by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) in collaboration with L3Harris. The purpose of MAST 13 is to further understanding of how USVs can best be used. MAST-13 will be demonstrating its capabilities alongside PAC24 – an unmanned autonomous vessel funded by NavyX, the Royal Navy’s innovation fund announced earlier this year.

USVs potentially offer significant capability for the naval fleet, increasing protection and information for individual vessels or groups by detecting threats and operating beyond line of sight.

“I am extremely excited about the technology developed for MAST-13 and its potential to enhance naval capability. This builds on our existing autonomy capabilities, including the state-of-the-art Maritime Autonomous Platform Exploitation (MAPLE) software integration system developed by Dstl and industry partners […] I look forward to seeing the further developments in sensor and countermeasure technologies that this could enable, and the increased reach and lethality this will bring to our ships,” commented First Sea Lord and Chief of the Naval Staff, Adm Tony Radakin, CB ADC.

“This has never been more relevant thanks to a global technology trend towards systems with higher levels of autonomy. This could buy us increased ‘sea control’. Harnessing autonomy will help us increase capability at affordable cost and in a faster time frame,” explained Dstl Programme Lead for MAST, Alasdair Gilchrist.


MAST-13 promises to be a significant step on an increasingly well-travelled road towards ever higher levels of system autonomy. (Photo: Crown copyright)

Published: 11 September 2019
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[*] posted on 11-9-2019 at 08:38 PM


Wave glider [DSEI19D2]

11 September 2019



Liquid Robotics (Stand S8-232) has unveiled the newest version of its Wave Glider unmanned surface vehicle that boasts better power management and a more rugged design that allows it to operate in more extreme sea states.

Adding to an overall increase in efficiency, this latest version has six times the computing power as a result of a new NVIDIA Tegra chip, which will benefit processing-intensive payloads and missions. It also features higher-power solar panels, which provide more power generation while simultaneously consuming less.

The operation of the Wave Glider has been simplified and a new rapid stand and crate have been introduced that streamline storage, transport and mobilisation.

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[*] posted on 12-9-2019 at 09:45 AM


Rolls-Royce Launches Innovative Technology to Support Naval Autonomy

(Source: Rolls-Royce plc; issued Sept 10, 2019)

Rolls-Royce is developing an autonomous machinery control system which allows Naval vessels to undertake long endurance missions with less human interaction.

Developed by Rolls-Royce, Artificial Chief Engineer® is a critical enabler for autonomous missions by acting as the equivalent of the engineering department responsible for the health and the operation of an unmanned vessel’s machinery. Navies intend to increase their use of optionally-manned and unmanned vessels to project power further for less cost by reducing reliance on manpower, by allowing higher-risk or longer-endurance missions and by lowering the procurement and operating costs of future platforms.

Artificial Chief Engineer is an on-board, secure, decision-making control system designed to intelligently operate the machinery of lean-manned and unmanned naval vessels. The technology makes condition-based decisions about how best to operate the machinery – including the engines, propulsion system, electrical network and fuel system – using algorithms to optimise the ship for maximum efficiency, lowest noise, top speed or to preserve damaged equipment as required by the ship’s mission. This reduces the workload of remote operators and allows increased mission and system complexity in future unmanned ship designs.

Colin Field, Naval Autonomous Systems Engineer at Rolls-Royce, said: “This project combines our experience with naval ship automation, Rolls-Royce’s knowledge of designing and operating warship power and propulsion systems and our complementary work developing similar autonomous power systems for aircraft.”

“Now that we have a live Artificial Chief Engineer demonstrator, we want to share and refine our vision of how we believe unmanned vessels should be designed and operated – we want to connect with potential collaborators and help our naval customers realise the benefits of autonomy.”

Officially launched at DSEI 2019, Artificial Chief Engineer is currently in the demonstration phase allowing Rolls-Royce engineers to showcase its capabilities using a sample mission that includes fleet escort, open water transit, conducting anti-submarine warfare, managing a complex set of power and propulsion and auxiliary systems and reacting to machinery system degradation.

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[*] posted on 4-12-2019 at 12:24 PM


USV operates with offboard ECM payload in NATO NEMO trial

Richard Scott, London - Jane's International Defence Review

03 December 2019


USV Halcyon docked prior to the NEMO 19 demonstration. Source: Thales

Thales UK has demonstrated the operation of an offboard electronic countermeasures (ECM) payload from an unmanned surface vessel (USV) testbed as part of a NATO electronic warfare trial.

Although self-funded by the company, the trial outputs are intended to inform research being undertaken by the UK's Defence Science and Research Laboratory (Dstl) to explore the concept of a recoverable offboard decoy system for anti-ship missile defence (ASMD).

The NATO Naval Electro Magnetic Operations (NEMO) trial, sponsored by NATO's Above Water Warfare Capability Group, is an annual event for NATO partners to perform electronic warfare trials and data gathering. This year's NEMO event was hosted by the UK and ran off Portland, Dorset, from 1-5 November.

As a contribution to this year's NEMO event, Thales demonstrated the use of an offboard radio frequency (RF) decoy payload mounted on board the company-owned 12 m USV Halcyon. The full offboard system was controlled through a tactical picture and trials co-ordination station running Dstl's MAPLE [Maritime Autonomous Platform Exploitation] software.

The active RF payload was originally developed by Thales for the joint French/UK ACCOLADE Technology Demonstrator Programme (TDP), which completed in February 2016. Although the original ACCOLADE concept of a manoeuvring expendable airborne carrier vehicle was not fully matured, the programme de-risked a number of enabling technologies for future ASMD countermeasures, including a miniaturised RF payload featuring an advanced techniques generator derived from Thales' Scorpion shipborne jammer.

"What we developed [through ACCOLADE] was a compact, high performance yet affordable ECM payload at a high TRL [Technology Readiness Level]," said Phil Ventress, Head of Electronic Warfare Marketing and Product Strategy for Thales.

"We saw with NEMO 19 an opportunity to put the ACCOLADE payload onto a different platform offering increased persistence.

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[*] posted on 6-12-2019 at 10:56 AM


ExpoDefensa 2019: iXBlue DRIX modern Unmanned Surface Vessel USV for Naval Forces

Posted On Thursday, 05 December 2019 21:51

At ExpoDefensa 2019, International Defense and Security Exhibition in Colombia, French Company IXblue presents its DriX autonomous Unmanned Surface Vessel (USV) for Naval Forces that can be used to perform Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) and Mine Warfare (MW) missions.


Ixblue DRIX Unmanned Surface Vessel (Picture source iXblue)

Launched over a year ago on the civilian market, iXblue’s Unmanned Surface Vessel (USV), DriX, proved to be a real game-changer and already conducted many successful operations ranging from subsea positioning to bathymetry missions. The Defense community soon identified DriX as a real asset which would bring added value on the battlefield while keeping crews out of harm’s way.

The USV can be deployed beyond the horizon by naval forces to perform a range of maritime operations in both coastal and shallow waters by keeping the crew in safer environments. It can operate independently or as part of a group.

The DriX unmanned surface vessel is built with Kevlar-reinforced composite resins using a vacuum infusion technique. It has an overall length of 7.7 m, a beam of 0.7 m, and a displacement of 1.4 t. A 250 l fuel tank is carried at the stern. The DRIX can be launched from patrol boats or frigates. Its launch, recovery, refueling, and sensor data collection are performed using a dedicated launch and recovery system (LARS) developed by DriX.

The DriX unmanned surface vessel is equipped with FLS Series mine obstacle and avoidance sonar to detect, track and classify underwater objects such as unmanned underwater vessels, submarines, torpedoes, patrol boats, and mines. Side-Scan sonar is also fitted to search a large area of the seafloor and produce images of objects in shallow waters, while the physical characteristics of the ocean floor are determined using a sub-bottom profiler.

The towed array light sonar onboard the vessel can communicate with other submerged autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) and submarines.

DriX USV is in a unique position to provide the most needed edge to address the submarines’ technological evolution and proliferation everywhere on the planet, but also the reduction in the number of specialized frigates and destroyers. Discreet, it can detect or deter potential submarines thanks to its abilities to tow new generation passive arrays, to carry active sources or to be part of a multi-static organization.

Thanks to iXblue’s knowledge in underwater detection and navigation, DriX is also in a position to conduct Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) tracking, subsea positioning and detection. As a surface asset, DriX has no communication nor positioning issue. By being geographically close, it can communicate with submerged AUVs and provide them with the accuracy they miss, while also sending back the gathered data to the mine warfare commander.
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[*] posted on 14-12-2019 at 01:54 PM


Aister delivers with Navantia the first drone ship that will start operating in Spain

11 December 2019


The vessel will do surveillance and rescue work for Ceuta Port Authority

Navantia has successfully delivered a drone ship commissioned by the Ceuta Port Authority. The 10.23-meter boat is designed to act in surveillance and rescue work, which can be carried out either autonomously, remotely or with crew on board. The construction of the Aister Aluminium Shipyard was key in its construction, which was responsible for the aluminium fabrication of the ship, as well as the design and installation of all the automatisms that interact with the software designed and installed by Navantia at its facilities in San Fernando (Cádiz). According to its creators, the drone boat, named USV Vendaval, will be the first to start operating in Spain.

The contract, published by FARO during the last edition of Navalia exhibition, was awarded to the state shipyard at the end of 2017. Specifically, the Port of Ceuta ordered the supply of an environmental monitoring and control system (SVCM) in the waters near the docks, which included both technologies to install on land and this autonomous unmanned ship. He received about twenty score, but Navantia won with a budget of 954,545.45 euros.

The ship was completed and delivered by Aister a year ago, prior sea trials of the shipyard at Vigo’s Bay. It was taken to Cádiz, to Navantia facilities, where the necessary equipment and software were installed to turn it into an autonomous ship.

Since the beginning of the month the USV Vendaval is already in Ceuta sailing around the port, where it has its own mooring area also developed by Aister. "It is a pier system with automatic docking," said the shipyard representatives. As explained by the Spanish autonomous city media, the intention of the Port Authority is to start operating from February.

The same representative points out in addition to surveillance, the ship will also carry out rescues of people who throw themselves into the water trying to get on the ferries that leave Ceuta towards the Peninsula. It has speakers and rescue systems that can be launched automatically in order to avoid it.

Orders

The USV Vendaval is the second drone vessel in which the factory from Meira has worked. The first one was submitted during that edition of Navalia (in 2018) and belongs to Ocean Master project. In this case it was an R&D system of an unmanned multipurpose marine vehicle capable of performing ocean missions in complex environments. Three other companies from Galicia, Andalusia and Murcia participated in the project.

These two unmanned vessels add to other projects of drone boats with Vigo’s seal such as those devised by Ferri, Narwhal, Marine Instruments or Seadrone Industries (with Indra).

Furthermore, Aister continues to manufacture other working boats. The dockyard delivered in the last weeks three high-speed interceptor patrols for the Maritime Service of the Civil Guard (for work and operations of search and intervention in the south of the Peninsula waters and the Balearic Islands) and will do the same with the fire engine destined to the Coast Guard service of Mauritius. Similarly, the shipyard continues to manufacture aluminium blocks for the main factories of Vigo’s Bay.

(Source: Faro de Vigo)
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[*] posted on 21-1-2020 at 03:16 PM


China’s New Killer Robot Ship Goes Through Its First Sea Trial (excerpt)

(Source: South China Morning Post; published Jan 18, 2020)

By Liu Zhen


The JARI advanced unmanned surface vehicle is transported during its first sea trial at an undisclosed location. (Chinese Internet photo)

BEIJING --- China’s new killer robot ship that can carry out anti-submarine and anti-ship missions has undergone its first sea trial, according to a Chinese defence industry magazine.

Called the JARI, the unmanned surface vessel is said to be the world’s first USV with multiple roles – anti-submarine, air defence and surface combat – and powerful weaponry.

The prototype was launched in August and was recently photographed during a sea trial, according to a report in the latest issue of Ordnance Industry Science Technology. It did not give details of when or where the trial took place.

Equipped with an active phased array radar and other advanced electronic systems – similar to those on the US Arleigh Burke-class Aegis destroyer or China’s Type 052D guided-missile destroyer – it has been dubbed the “mini Aegis destroyer”. Its sonar system can track underwater targets 7km (4 miles) away.

The 15-metre (49-foot), 20-tonne (22-short ton) ship is being developed by China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC) and has a range of 500 nautical miles and a top speed of 42 knots. (end of excerpt)

Click here for the full story, on the SCMP website.

https://www.scmp.com/news/china/military/article/3046601/chi...

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[*] posted on 4-2-2020 at 09:19 AM


UK MoD acquires MANTAS T12 USV for further study

Kelvin Wong, Singapore - Jane's International Defence Review

03 February 2020


A MANTAS T12 unmanned surface vehicle seen with a SeaFLIR sensor. Source: MARTAC

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has awarded Maritime Tactical Systems (MARTAC), a Florida-based developer of modular unmanned surface vessels (USVs), a GBP1.8 million (USD2.4 million) contract to deliver five Man-Portable Tactical Autonomous Systems (MANTAS) T12 USVs to the Royal Navy and Joint Forces Command (JFC, now Strategic Command) for further experimentation.

The contract includes the provision of integrated sensors, spares and ancillary equipment, training, and technical support.

According to the MoD, the MARTAC T12 was selected following a study on commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) products that would validate the use of low observable USVs for distributed maritime operations. The study - which began in February 2019 and utilised two leased MANTAS T12 USVs - was led by jHUB, the London-based innovation centre for JFC.

The MoD noted that the MANTAS T12 has a low observable design with minimal radar cross section, thermal, and noise signature. It added that the USV also has the unique ability to partially submerge at will, enabling the sea vehicle to reduce its visual detectability.

"[The USV] is integrated with payloads and a ground control station making it capable of operation as a complete system without further development," the MoD stated. "Everything else on the market at the time of survey either failed one of the low observable characteristics or was available only as a development project."

The Strategic Command and Royal Navy will receive two and three USVs, respectively.

According to Jane's Unmanned Maritime Vehicles , the catamaran hulled MANTAS T12 measures 3.6 m long, 0.9 m wide, and 0.35 m tall. It has a fully laden weight of 95 kg and can cruise and sprint at speeds of up to 20 and 50 kt, respectively.

When in its semi-submersible state, the USV's only visible sections are its antennas and top-mounted sensors.

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[*] posted on 11-2-2020 at 09:52 AM


US Navy Selects Vendors for USV Family of Systems Contracts

(Source: US Naval Sea Systems Command; issued Feb 07, 2020)

WASHINGTON --- Naval Sea Systems Command selected 40 vendors for Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity - Multiple Award Contracts to support the Unmanned Surface Vehicle Family of Systems Feb. 5.

With a contract ceiling for all orders under this IDIQ-MAC at $982.1 million, the government intends to support, maintain and modernize Unmanned Surface Vehicle (USV) systems and subsystems to meet current and future operational requirements for Unmanned Maritime Systems under Program Executive Office Unmanned and Small Combatants.

NAVSEA issued a request for proposals for the IDIQ-MAC in April 2019. The selected respondents will comprise a pool of vendors eligible to compete for individual task and/or delivery orders under the IDIQ-MAC from within six USV Family of Systems Functional Areas: Payloads, Non-Payload Sensors, Mission Support Systems, Autonomy and Vehicle Control Systems, Ashore and Host Platform Elements, Logistics and Sustainment.

The USV Family of Systems includes the platforms and systems that comprise the U.S. Navy’s future unmanned surface fleet. Platforms include the Mine Countermeasures USV and Minehunting USVs, experimentation platforms such as the Sea Hunter USV, as well as the Medium and Large USVs that will be part of the Future Surface Combatant Force concept.

Current and planned systems include the Unmanned Influence Sweep System, surface towed sonar systems, and a mine neutralizing system that is still under development, along with their related subsystems and delivery systems.

The government intends to award Large USV, Medium USV and Mine Countermeasures USV platforms under separate contracts, and these are not included in this IDIQ-MAC.

The IDIQ-MAC will serve as the primary contractual method to procure supplies and services used to design, develop, fabricate, prototype, integrate, test, maintain, and support multiple variants of USV systems and subsystems within the USV Family of Systems. The IDIQ-MAC is intended to increase marketplace participation in these USV programs and ensure faster and more efficient turn-around time for task and delivery order deliveries.

The government intends to release multiple draft RFPs under the USV Family of Systems IDIQ-MAC in the second quarter of fiscal 2020. Final RFPs are expected to follow shortly thereafter following the incorporation of industry feedback. The USV Family of Systems IDIQ-MAC base contracting vehicle has an initial ordering period of 60 months after date of contract award. If options are exercised, the IDIQ-MAC base contracting vehicle will extend to an ordering period of 120 months.

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[*] posted on 18-2-2020 at 05:05 PM


Can a robot ship protect Norfolk from terrorists?

Brock Vergakis, The Virginian-Pilot

1 day ago


A developmental and early variant of the Common Unmanned Surface Vehicle (CUSV) autonomously conducted maneuvers on the Elizabeth River during Citadel Shield-Solid Curtain 2020 at Naval Station Norfolk. (Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Grant G. Grady/Navy)

NORFOLK, Va. — Large cargo ships, small fishing boats and other watercraft sail safely past Naval Station Norfolk every day, but there’s always a possibility that terrorists could use any one to attack the world’s largest naval base.

While Navy security keeps a close eye on every vessel that passes, there’s an inherent risk for the sailors on board small patrol boats who are tasked with helping keep aircraft carriers, submarines and guided-missile destroyers safe from waterborne attacks.

So the Navy experimented on Feb. 12 to test whether an unmanned vessel could stop a small boat threatening the base from the Elizabeth River.

The Navy used what it calls a Common Unmanned Surface Vehicle, or CUSV, to patrol back and forth on the north end of the base near the destroyer Arleigh Burke and the aircraft carrier John C. Stennis.


The Common Unmanned Surface Vehicle (CUSV) autonomously conducts maneuvers on the Elizabeth River during Citadel Shield-Solid Curtain 2020 at Naval Station Norfolk. (Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Rebekah M. Rinckey/Navy)

The CUSV is about 39 feet long, was armed with a .50 caliber machine gun and came equipped with cameras and sensors controlled from a portable command center on shore with video game controllers.

The vessel also has speakers on it that can be used to loudly warn nearby boats to stay away or change course.

During the experiment, which was part of a nationwide anti-terrorism and force protection exercise, CUSV operators in a portable trailer without windows detected a threatening vessel on a screen and quickly dispatched their vessel to change course and find out what its intent was.

The CUSV intercepted the threatening vessel, used its loud speaker system to warn it and eventually fired simulated shots to disable the boat and then went in for a closer look to inspect damage with its cameras.


The Common Unmanned Surface Vehicle (CUSV) autonomously conducts maneuvers on the Elizabeth River during Citadel Shield-Solid Curtain 2020 at Naval Station Norfolk. (Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Rebekah M. Rinckey/Navy)

A team of officials from the Navy and the CUSV’s manufacturer, Textron Systems, will review its performance to see what may need to be improved before it can be used to guard bases.

Some of the questions being explored include whether the drone would allow sailors to stay out of harm's way, whether commanders could use its current capabilities with the understanding they'd improve over time, and whether it provides a better intercept than traditional manned watercraft.

Capt. Monty G. Ashliman, director of operations and public safety for Navy Region Mid-Atlantic, said the CUSV is "extremely close" to being ready for operational use.

Ashliman said the deployment of CUSVs depends on factors such as cost and the ability to train operators. But he said the concept of using an unmanned vessel is a strong one, because it could keep vessels out on the water longer and keep crew members at a safe distance.

“It’s ultimately providing the installation commanding officer and that professional Navy security force with all the tools that they can possibly have to best protect the waterfront,” he said.
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[*] posted on 25-2-2020 at 02:08 PM


UMEX 2020: LIG Nex1 from South Korea unveils its Sea Sword USV Unmanned Surface Vessel

Posted On Monday, 24 February 2020 15:51

At UMEX 2020, International Unmanned Defense Systems Exhibition in Abu Dhabi, UAE, the South Korean Company LIG Nex1 unveils its latest generation of SUV (Surface Unmanned Vessel) called "Haegeom" or "Sea Sword" in English.


Scale model of Sea Sword at UMEX 2020, International Unmanned Defense Systems Exhibition in Abu Dhabi, UAE. (Picture source Army Recognition)

The Sea Sword USV (Unmanned Surface Vessel) was developed and designed for coastal defense. It can be remotely operated or perform an autonomous operation. It is also equipped with state-of-the-art detection equipment and can perform coastal surveillance, marine disaster response, and surveillance missions in a dangerous coastal environment.

The Sea Sword Multi-purpose USVs can be deployed to near-enemy sea areas for surveillance, reconnaissance and underwater search to contribute and conduct sea search operation. It can be also used to survey illegal fishing, life-saving operations, oceanographic investigation, and other maritime operations.

For combat operations, the Sea Sword USV can be fitted with a remotely operated weapon station that can be armed with a 12.7mm heavy machine gun. The rear deck can be also fitted with a two-axis eight-cell guided-rocket launcher for 70 mm Poniard rockets.

The Sea Sword USV has a weight of 11 tones and an overall length of 12 m, a 3.5 m beam, and is based on a low RCS (radar cross-section) monohull made of fiber-reinforced plastic. It is powered by two diesel engines driving two Kamewa waterjets to a speed of more than 35 knots, or a maximum range of 180 n miles at a cruising speed of 20 knots.
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[*] posted on 3-3-2020 at 09:28 AM


Zycraft introduces modified Dolphin USV

Kelvin Wong, Singapore - Jane's International Defence Review

02 March 2020


The Dolphin USV seen with a prototype BacPac sea transfer module during recent trials. Source: Zycraft

Singapore-based unmanned maritime systems developer Zycraft has produced a logistics-optimised variant of the Dolphin rescue unmanned surface vessel (USV), the company told Jane's.

According to Zycraft president James Soon, the company has developed the BacPac sea transfer module to carry payloads of up to 10 kg between ships that are unable to manoeuvre alongside each other due to sea conditions or security concerns.

The baseline Dolphin rescue USV measures 1,150 mm long, 800 mm wide, and 250 mm tall, and has a displacement of 13 kg. It can operate for up to 30 minutes between charges and is powered by a pair of electric waterjets that propel it at speeds of up to 8 kt.

"The Dolphin is a product created by OceanAlpha in January 2019 for man overboard or distress person situations at sea," said Soon, adding that the USV has been designed to be operated by one person - with minimal training - via a handheld controller.

The USV can be deployed off the stern or sides of a vessel and recovered using a grapnel hook or line lift, although it can also be extracted from the water by hand if conditions permit. A weight transfer device enables the sea vehicle to be lifted out of the water without excessive induced motion.

"It can be radio controlled to 500 m range and is usable under most sea conditions and has been proven in at least Sea State 3," Soon added. "It can be dropped from a height of 20 m from the deck of a merchant ship or a bridge over a river."

Soon highlighted that the BacPac module enhances the command radius of the Dolphin USV beyond 500 m by exploiting commercially available communication 4G or LTE networks, enabling the USV to be controlled from a shore-based control station.

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[*] posted on 8-3-2020 at 01:48 PM


ECA Group has demonstrated naval drone systems during OCEAN 2020 EU-funded project

Posted On Saturday, 07 March 2020 13:49

At OCEAN 2020 (Open Cooperation for European mAritime awareNess), the Company ECA Group has demonstrated during sea trials the combined use of drones for situational awareness and threat response at sea. The Company has demonstrated its capability to use ECA Group naval drones system (AUV, ROV, and USV) from a control centre on board a warship.


During OCEAN 2020, ECA GROUP has deployed its INSPECTOR 90 unmanned surface vehicle (USV), fitted to launch and recover the Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) SEASCAN. (Picture source ECA Group)

OCEAN 2020 (Open Cooperation for European mAritime awareNess) is an EU-funded project implemented by the European Defence Agency (EDA) aiming at enhancing maritime surveillance and situational awareness, through the successful integration of manned and unmanned systems. Coordinated by Leonardo, the project is bringing together the technical excellence and wide operational experience from 42 partners from 15 countries, all involved in the Maritime Defence domain, to identify operational needs and scenarios to collaborate at the European level.

As part of this project, a demonstration was conducted in the Mediterranean Sea in late November 2019 hosted by the Italian Navy in Taranto. The purpose was to demonstrate how heterogeneous unmanned assets could provide in real-time a maritime picture of the theatre of operations to a command centre located in a stand-off distance on land.

During the demonstration, ECA GROUP has deployed its INSPECTOR 90 unmanned surface vehicle (USV), fitted to launch and recover the Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) SEASCAN.

Moreover, the USV acted as a communication relay between the autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) A9 and the control and command center.

The joint and cooperative use of manned and unmanned vehicles were integrated into a naval unit command and control system, allowing real time data exchange via satellite to the European Maritime Operations Centre (MOC) located in the European Defence Agency in Brussels.

The demonstration confirmed the successful exchange of the information collected from the different vehicles deployed in the area of operations, to create a comprehensive maritime picture.
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[*] posted on 9-3-2020 at 09:21 PM


British Navy has conducted trials of unmanned naval equipment in Norway

Posted On Sunday, 08 March 2020 17:56

In Norway, the British Royal Navy has conducted ‘Groundbreaking’ trials of unmanned naval equipment in an operational setting for the first time, in a number of milestones for the naval service’s autonomous future. British Royal Marines small boat specialists 47 Commando have been in Norway working alongside HMS Albion, the Royal Navy’s autonomous accelerator NavyX and the Office for the Chief Technology Officer to see how the kit could work during operations.


Unmanned Surface Vessel MAST Maritime Autonomy Surface Testbed 13 during trails by British Royal Navy in Norway. (Picture source British Royal Navy)

Exercise Autonomous Advance Force put unmanned boat Mast 13, heavy lift drone from Malloy, remotely-piloted air system Puma and the Remus unmanned sub-surface drone through their paces in the harsh conditions of the Arctic.

An artificial intelligence system to control all of this tech was integrated in amphibious ship Albion, with industry partners welcomed on board to implement and oversee the system trials. The successful four-day exercise saw these technologies make their debut in an operational setting.

It was the first time an unmanned surface vessel has been operated from the dock in HMS Albion and the first time 700X Naval Air Squadron have flown Puma from a Royal Marines landing craft.

During these trials, British Royal Navy has used a brand-new class of Autonomous Surface Vehicle (ASV) jointly designed an manufactured by L3 Harris and British DSTL (Defence Science and Technology Laboratory). The Maritime Autonomy Surface Testbed (MAST) 13 is a 13-meter (41-foot) long high-speed system capable of fully autonomous navigation. The ASV uses L3Harris’ ASView proprietary autonomous control system and advanced algorithms developed for the U.K.’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl).

The Autonomous Advance Force trials started last year in Cornwall and have since progressed to include more of the latest technology and more naval service units. Integration of autonomous equipment is a key strand in the development of Future Commando Force and the Littoral Strike concept. The future vision is of this type of system being used to control multiple assets in different environments.
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