AUV A9-M surveys seabed for mines
ECA Group's A9-M autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) has successfully demonstrated its ability to remotely survey the seabed for mines from the Belgian Navy's Pollux coastal patrol vessel (CPV), the company announced on 3 November.
The demonstration was carried out as part of the navy’s evaluation of unmanned maritime systems off the Zeebruge Naval base in mid-September 2016. The navy was looking to compare available unmanned systems to its legacy mine countermeasure equipment, and evaluate capabilities in specific North Sea conditions.
The 2m, 70kg A9-M is designed to be deployed and operated from rigid hull inflatable boats (RHIBs) by two operators, or directly from larger vessels such as CPVs. With an endurance of ten hours, the AUV can operate in strong currents and high tide environments without degradation of its side scan sonar image quality.
During the demo, the AUV carried out a five hour mission, covering a square kilometre area to detect and classify more than one hundred mine-like objects on the seabed. According to ECA the AUV performed successfully, demonstrating its reliable navigation and precision capabilities, high seabed picture data recording quality, and showed that it can be operated from an RHIB and CPV. The system also performed simultaneously with a UUV, showing that it can operate as part of a mixed asset team.
Further trials are planned by the Belgian Navy in the spring of 2017.
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