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IMDEX Asia: ST Engineering pushes new unmanned tech

18th May 2017 - 9:00 by Gordon Arthur in Singapore

IMDEX Asia: ST Engineering pushes new unmanned tech

ST Engineering is highlighting three unmanned products at IMDEX Asia 2017: the Mercury AUV, the Venus family of USVs and a conceptual long-endurance USV.

The latter is new. Called the Long Endurance Unmanned Surface Vessel (LEUSV), it is a 45m-long craft ‘equipped with advanced autonomy technologies’.

Boasting an intelligent power management system to give a 28-day endurance, it also employs computational fluid dynamic techniques for greater speed, higher manoeuvrability and better seakeeping. 

An ST Engineering image depicts the LEUSV acting as a mothership for a rigid-hulled inflatable boat.

ST Electronics, in conjunction with DSO National Laboratories, has also just completed R&D on its Mercury AUV, Jay Poh of info-comm systems revealed. Weighing less than 1t to enable lifting by ship crane, this system is able to swim 300m underwater and move at 6kt, and can perform mine countermeasures missions without endangering personnel.

It can also be configured for harbour security, search and salvage, environmental monitoring and scientific research.

The Mercury consists of a nose cone module (with collision avoidance sensor), payload section (Thales SAMDIS high-frequency synthetic aperture sonar), mission module (for communications and navigation, etc), battery module and propulsion module.

Poh said the batteries give a 14-hour endurance. This project commenced in 2008 and, given the fact that the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) does not currently own such an AUV, it would seem a logical end user. 

In other ST Electronics news, Ng Tee Guan, VP of marketing, noted that its Venus 16 mine countermeasures combo has moved into full-scale development. 

This team consists of two 16.5m-long USVs – one with a Thales towed sonar array system to detect and classify mines, and one with an expendable mine detection system for detection and neutralisation.

The RSN is already trialling one system as it explores the capabilities the new USVs bring, while ST Electronics will deliver a second Venus 16 pair before the end of 2017. Command is achieved via a containerised module that can be embarked aboard a ship or placed on land.

ST Electronics continues to develop different payloads for its Venus family, including a dipping sonar and one featuring a high-power microwave that can disable outboard motors of vessels needing to be interdicted.

Based on a scale model  with 'police' markings displayed at IMDEX, Shephard understands that Singapore’s Police Coast Guard is evaluating a 9m-long Venus fitted with camera and radar for patrolling sea corridors around the island state. It is believed that the police plans to acquire a larger 16m-hulled USV as well.

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