Friday, 27 June 2014

New Technologies, New Users

Nearly 80 exhibitors have committed to UDT 2014, further enhancing this event’s reputation as the showcase for underwater innovation. Among them, Seebyte (a Bluefin Robotics subsidiary) presented its SeeTrack Military V4 product. Seebyte, a leader in the development of smart software for underwater vehicles, sensors, and systems in both the military and oil & gas sectors, currently has 19 Navies utilising its SeeTrack Military software. The product is classed as a leading technological tool used by Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) and clearance divers around the world to successfully manage their off-board assets in dangerous and demanding missions. According to the company, improved capabilities of Military V4 include the ability to concurrently plan and monitor multiple missions for multiple assets from a single shared user interface. It also allows a user to post-process and store the data in a shared database and visualise it in both GIS and sensor specific displays. The software is built using a Service Orientated Architecture, providing users a simple software development kit. Operators are able to operate and integrate new AUV, diver handheld systems, ROV, and towfish sonars using a common interface.
Royal Netherlands Navy SOF personnel also uses the SeeTrack Military mission planning, monitoring, and post-mission analysis tool from Seebyte, Alastair Cormack said to NAVAL FORCES in Liverpool. This commercially available solution has been developed for rapid on-site analysis and fusion of sensor data and is employed for managing their off-board assets in dangerous mission scenarios. According to Lieutenant Colonel Guido Fretz, Representative of the Netherlands Ministry of Defence, SeeTrack Military is a very effective package available to the service to help run its mine countermeasures and harbor protection missions. Supported platforms include ROV/AUV from Bluefin Robotics, Teledyne Gavia/Teledyne RDI, OceanServer, Shark Marine Technologies, Hydroid Inc. (REMUS), and VideoRay. Employing crypto technology from the banking sector, SeeTrack Military ensures safe data transmission throughout the system.
ATLAS Elektronik Group and Advanced Lithium Systems Europe (ALSE) launched a new lithium ion phosphate rechargeable exercise battery that can be used with all of the company’s electrical torpedo weapons and adapted for use with any other electrically propelled heavyweight torpedo. With this solution, the costs of exercise shots with underwater weapons can be significantly reduced. The new battery offers more than five times the service life and can be recharged 20 times as often as legacy batteries. Both industry partners have succeeded in passing all tests based on the demanding safety standards of the German Navy needed to achieve certification and clearance for use on submarines of their new rechargeable battery. This was achieved by a deliberate choice for the latest lithium ion type battery chemistry available (lithium ion phosphate), and a unique dedicated battery cell design by ALSE. ATLAS Elektronik’s Senior Sales Manager Thorsten Bochentin said that the professionalism of the group helped the lithium ion phosphate rechargeable exercise battery to pass the STANAG and VG qualification tests with official certification to follow.
Copper Alloys showcased its advanced Elite Marine Alloys range of copper-nickel (Cu-Ni) alloys, which offer a unique blend of outstanding resistance to seawater corrosion combined with a spectrum of unparalleled high-mechanical properties to satisfy various demanding applications.
DSIT from Israel announced the addition of the AquaShield Extended Range (ER) Swimmer Detection Sonar (SDS) to its product line. The product was created in response to the technology advances associated with Swimmer Delivery Vehicles (SDV), Diver Propulsion Vehicles (DPV), and Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (UUV). All of the above are much faster than the standard combat diver, significantly reducing the response time available when using conventional diver detection sonar systems.
Saab received orders from the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) over the construction and production plans for the next-generation submarine for the Royal Swedish Navy. Additionally, the company will conduct a mid-live update of two “Gotland” class submarines in service with the Navy. Delivery of the work that will be carried out within Saab’s business area Security and Defence Solutions is expected to be in 2014/2015. Saab and the FMV have also signed a Letter of Intent covering the Swedish Armed Forces’ underwater capability for the period 2015-2024, consisting of support, development, design, and construction of the submarines plus other undersea systems. In Liverpool, Saab also announced that the Polish Navy selected its DOUBLE EAGLE mine-countermeasure underwater vehicle for its KORMORAN II mine-countermeasures vessels. DOUBLE EAGLE, available in MkII, MkIII, and SAROV variants, is employed by naval fleets around the globe on-board many types of surface ships. The new generation of the DOUBLE EAGLE MCM underwater vehicle is able to operate both as a battery powered AUV and a as a conventional tethered ROV. As a completely new feature, the AUV will be able to find and by automatic dock with the tether while still in the water. This will enable download of collected data and recharge of batteries without any risky launch and recovery operations. In Liverpool, Saab also spoke about its MuMNS (Multi-Shot Mine Neutralisation System) next-generation mine disposal vehicle that can be employed against the complete range of underwater threats, including ground, moored, floating, and drifting mines, depth charges, torpedoes, as well as Improvised Explosive Devices (IED). The underwater vehicle can be launched from any surface craft, such as an USV, by means of an appropriate launch and recovery system (LARS), Saab told NAVAL FORCES. If a target is identified as a mine-like object by the vehicle’s on-board camera, a BALLISTA disruptor is moved forward into the engagement position, using an attachment device that is automatically released by the vehicle.
MEDAV GmbH, a Saab Defence and Security subsidiary, promotes COMMS/ESM and COMINT solutions for submarine applications. Representing compact and complete systems through a partnership with Aeromaritime Systembau GmbH, the solutions enable submerged platforms to undertake reconnaissance and surveillance of hostile electromagnetic emissions. Since the latter company’s AT/4125 DF communications antenna can be selected as a COMINT and COMMS/ESM antenna, smart capabilities are available for many types of submarine designs to be upgraded within submarine refit programmes. Wideband technology employed for DF and intercept enables them for the surveillance and interception of many targets/emitters simultaneously. The frequency range varies from 0.1-400MHz (HF/VUHF) in the CE-4125 COMINT antenna and 0.1-3,000MHz (HF/VUHF) in the CRS-8100 COMMS/ESM COMINT antenna. The solutions benefit from a software-orientated architecture, allowing automated and interactive signal analysis and online/offline capabilities.
As there is a strong trend towards smaller, lighter, power-efficient AUV and ROV, engineers at EvoLogics GmbH developed the S2C M series of underwater acoustic modems, offering the full benefits of the company’s patented S2C (Sweep-Spread Carrier) communications technology in a light and compact design. In Liverpool, the Berlin-based company promoted SONOBOT, an autonomous USV providing a smart lightweight solution for hydrographic surveys and other search and recovery, security, and monitoring applications in harbours/ports and inland waters. The vehicle is a small and simple platform equipped with a Deep Vision sidescan sonar that features a resolution of 2cm for geo-referenced seafloor imaging. Additionally, the system comprises a broadband, single-beam (80-120kHz) echosounder utilising S2C broadband communications technology for accurate depth measurements, a camera for geo-referenced images and navigation in blind areas, differential GPS (DGPS) with an accuracy of ±4cm (horizontal) and ±2cm (vertical), as well as WLAN offering a data rate up to 108MB/s. According to EvoLogics, WLAN range is quoted at up to 2,000m. Most of the equipment was pre-selected among COTS products to best fit the platform.

Saab's DOUBLE EAGLE system is a proven, low risk, and extremely efficient mine countermeasures underwater vehicle in service with naval fleets in the Baltic Sea, in the North Sea, and around the world.
(Photo: Courtesy of Saab Group)

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