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Unmanned Vehicles

France explores use of USVs for future hydographic requirements

10th March 2021 - 16:30 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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Future Hydrographic and Oceanographic Capacity programme could employ fusiform and lean-hulled USVs.

French defence procurement agency DGA has awarded iXblue a €366,000 ($436,000) contract to experiment with the acoustic measurement, speed and range performance of fusiform-hulled (tapering at bow and stern) and lean-hulled USVs.

These experiments will feed into the definition phase of the Future Hydrographic and Oceanographic Capacity (CHOF) programme for the French Navy.

In November 2020, with CHOF in mind, iXblue provided its DriX USV and associated launch and recovery system for tests by the French Navy Hydrographic and Oceanographic Service off the coast of Brittany (pictured).

DriX has a drop keel with gondola which can accommodate a payload of up to 600 kg; a mast with a crows nest and Rafale crown; and a 37.5hp diesel engine. 

Payloads for the platform include a towed array light sonar, side scan sonar, sub bottom profiler, lidar, cameras and optical sensors, notes Shephard Defence Insight.

CHOF will result in the replacement of three French hydrographic vessels (La Pérouse, Borda, and Laplace), with a specific requirement to make use of USV technology.

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