IMDEX 2011: Singapore proves vigilant in USV strategy
The Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) will receive an undisclosed number of Zyvex Technologies' Vigilant USVs ahead of a proposed year-long evaluation, company officials have revealed.
According to Russell Belden, VP Advanced Composite Solutions at Zyvex, the RSN will kickstart an evaluation of the lightweight patrol vessel in October. However, he was unable to provide additional details due to a disclosure agreement with the navy.
Known as Piranha in the US, Vigilant is being marketed in Singapore by Zyvex's sister company ZyCraft. The 54-ft vessel weighs 8,400lbs, and is capable of carrying a 7.5-ton payload, Belden told Shephard. 'It is the Predator [UAV] on the water,' he said while highlighting potential missions such as counter-piracy, convoy protection, mine warfare and surveillance.
Currently, the RSN operates Rafael's Protector, Singapore Technologies Engineering's Venus and Spartan USVs- the latter comprising a collaboration between the US Naval Undersea Warfare Center, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and Radix Marine.
The USV completed a six-month programme of sea trials earlier in the year and made a debut at the Navy League Sea Air Space exposition in Washington, DC in April. According to Zyvex, the USV can operate for 2.5nm per gallon, allowing it to travel 2,800nm without refuelling.
Built using 'carbon fibre infused with carbon nanotubes', the vessel is capable of travelling up to a maximum speed of some 45kts and has also operated with L-3's Wescam MX-10 EO/IR payload.
Comprising over 16m in length, an 11m variant is also in development which would make it compatible with the US Navy's Littoral Combat Ship programme. In addition, an 18ft version is also be considered for riverine operations, the company said.
However, it is expected that the USV will initially appear as a remotely piloted vehicle before progressing onto becoming a fully autonomous system, complete with obstacle avoidance technology.
To date, Piranha has been shown to various border patrol and customs organisations and the company said it was in discussions with 'market leaders in the USV world' for potential tie-ups in the future.
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