The Magazine for Underwater Professionals

Nov/Dec 2017


Knifefish contractor trials

The Knifefish mine countermeasure UUV

General Dynamics Mission Systems of the USA reports its Knifefish team has successfully completed contractor trials for the US Navy’s Knifefish programme, a mine countermeasure (MCM) unmanned undersea vehicle.

The company said the Knifefish UUV operated in multiple at-sea mine test target fields using buried, bottom and volume type mine test targets. The Knifefish system successfully demonstrated its ability to detect, classify and identify potential mines, at a variety of depths, each of which would pose a unique threat to naval vessels operating in a mission area, the firm said.

“The Navy is pleased with the Knifefish performance during the recent contractor trials, as the system demonstrated its ability to reliably find mines in different environments,” said Capt. Jonathan Rucker, US Navy PMS 406 programme manager. “Knifefish provides the Navy a critical means to find and identify bottom, buried and volume mines, providing a much-needed capability for the warfighter.”

“This round of contractor testing demonstrated the continued improvement in the performance of the Knifefish UUV,” said Carlo Zaffanella, vice president and general manager of Maritime and Strategic Systems for General Dynamics Mission Systems. “Working closely with the Navy, we look forward to sea acceptance trials in 2018 and continued refinement of the Knifefish system.”

Contractor trials, managed by General Dynamics Mission Systems, took place off the coast of Boston, USA, using submerged Navy mine test targets. These trials differed from previous evaluations of the Knifefish UUV by demonstrating end-to-end performance of the Knifefish system in realistic at-sea mission scenarios over the course of hundreds of hours of at-sea operation and more than a hundred simulated missions.

Knifefish is a medium-class mine countermeasure UUV intended for deployment from the US Navy’s littoral combat ship and other Navy vessels. Knifefish will reduce risk to personnel by operating in the minefield as an off-board sensor while the host ship stays outside the minefield boundaries.

Cellula Robotics announces the release of new hovering AUV

Canada-based subsea robotics specialist Cellula Robotics has introduced its first hovering autonomous underwater vehicle (HAUV), the Imotus-1.

Imotus-1 is designed to operate in confined environments, in a range of fluids. The navigation solution incorporates Cellula’s simultaneous localisation and mapping (SLAM) algorithms, using data from a suite of sensors to calculate its location inside a confined, unknown environment.

The vehicle carries a range of inspection sensors including a high-resolution stills camera, ultrasonic thickness sensors and a light intervention cleaning tool.

Eric Jackson, president of Cellula Robotics, said: “We are excited to be entering the HAUV market with a vehicle designed to solve specific inspection challenges in confined spaces. Over the past 18 months, Cellula has taken the strategic decision to develop this technology, building on our strong control systems experience.

“With the global AUV market expected to grow significantly in the coming years and a drive to reduce costs in the oil and gas sector, we believe the Imotus family of vehicles will provide a new and cost-effective solution to many inspection challenges.”

Non-serviceable cameras and lights suitable for subsea ops

MacArtney reports the launch of the LUXUS compact PUR-moulded camera and LED light. The new products are ideal for a wide range of challenging underwater tasks, according to the Denmark-based company.

“Representing state-of-the-art underwater cameras, lights and accessories for the marine industry, MacArtney’s LUXUS range is designed to offer reliability and excellent performance, while allowing for extensive operational flexibility. Composed to offer appropriate solutions to any underwater purpose, the LUXUS range is made from first-rate electronic components,” said a spokesman.

The spokesman said both compact PUR products are ideal for a multitude of demanding underwater tasks and operations. “The housings of both products are made from PUR, and they are both non-serviceable and represent steady and viable functionality and applicability at low cost. They both provide depth ratings of 200 metres and are applicable for markets like offshore wind and fish farming as well as traditional areas within diving,” he said.

The LUXUS compact PUR camera is a light sensitive camera. Featuring a fixed focal length which can be factory adjusted to capture images at very close range, it is available with different lenses for various angles of view.

The LUXUS compact PUR LED is a wet and dry light, operational to 200 metres depth without having to be switched off.

JFD's COBRA bailout rebreather passes trials to 450m enhancing diver safety at extreme depths

JFD, the submarine rescue and diving equipment company which is part of James Fisher and Sons, UK, reports its new COBRA (compact bailout rebreathing apparatus) system has passed further trials rating it safe for use at depths up to 450 metres.

Released earlier this year, COBRA is a new bailout solution designed to replace conventional scuba bailout methods, providing divers with a greatly extended supply of breathing gas in the event of a primary supply failure. In July 2017, COBRA was granted CE marking status for use at depths up to 300 metres making it the only approved system of its kind to fully comply with NORSOK U101 (diving respiratory equipment) and EN14143 (self-contained rebreathing apparatus) standards at this depth.

“The system has recently been subject to further pressure testing and has undergone rigorous assessments which have ensured it is safe for use at depths up to 450 metres,” said JFD. “This is a huge safety advancement for divers working within the extreme conditions experienced during the world’s deepest diving operations.”

The firm added: “This pioneering technology was developed by JFD in direct response to current equipment performance shortfalls at depths beyond 200 metres. At extreme depths, traditional bailout systems offer divers less than three minutes of emergency breathing gas in the event of disconnected from his primary supply. COBRA marks a step change by providing up to 20 minutes at depths of 300 metres and up to 10 minutes at depths of 450 metres which greatly improves the chances of survival.”

As the only system on the market which provides this level of safety, JFD hopes COBRA will be adopted by diving contractors, improving the safety of their divers by increasing the chance of survival in the event of a catastrophic failure of the primary breathing system.

“COBRA should become standard for saturation diving at all depths, not just for deeper diving, improving industry safety globally,” the company said.





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