Bluefin awarded contract to develop mine and IED neutralization variant of HAUV
Bluefin Robotics, a leader in the design and manufacturing of Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs), was awarded a contract to develop a robotic ship hull mine and Improvised Explosive Device (IED) identification and neutralization capability for use in Joint Service Explosive Ordnance Disposal. A manipulator arm will be integrated onto the HAUV, a hovering AUV designed specifically for ship hull inspection. HAUN-N is the name of the new variant of the HAUV.
"We are looking forward to the opportunity to leverage the work done on the HAUV and under our other underwater systems programs for this important US Navy requirement," said David. P. Kelly, President and CEO of Bluefin Robotics.
The current practice for hull mine/IED identification and neutralization involves sending divers to scan the hull for targets and, when found, to mark them and neutralize them manually. The Bluefin Team-consisting of Bluefin Robotics, Oak Ridge National Laboratory of Oak Ridge, Tennessee and Orca Maritime of San Diego, California-proposes to accomplish the task with an HAUV-N equipped with a high-precision manipulator arm and a video camera. The AUV will be capable of maintaining station at the target while a remote operator neutralizes the device, thereby keeping divers out of harm's way and completing the task more expeditiously.
Development of HAUV began in 2002 as an Office of Naval Research (ONR) program to automate hull searches. HAUV's development has undergone a series of developmental steps, culminating with the successful demonstration of 100% non-complex area coverage in 2008. In 2011, Bluefin was awarded a $30 million contract modification exercising the production option for the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Hull Unmanned Underwater Vehicle Localization System (HULS).
The Office of Naval Research is the contracting office for the Joint Service Explosive Ordnance Disposal program.
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