ECA Group equips French Navy AUVs A9-M with long range communication capabilities
Following three years of operational use, the six Autonomous Underwater Vehicles AUV A9-M delivered in 2013 to the French Navy mine disposal divers (GPD) of Toulon and Brest, will be improved through the integration of new long range communication capabilities.
The advantage of these stand-alone systems lies in their ease of use and their ability to be deployed on any operational theater where they perform sonar imagery missions to perform low level REA and assess the mine threat (or conduct exploratory OPS).
The vehicle can be deployed from different platforms (RHIB, larger vessel) or even from the land. Large distances between launch position and assigned mission pattern are not an issue, thanks to the impressive autonomy of the vehicle. While it is not essential to know the position of the vehicle and its status at all times, the new function of the long range communication will allow to exchange messages from the vehicle even when NLOS (Non Line Of Sight). It will then be possible to send basic order and mission modifications, such as a return to the launching point.
This new function which is the result of operational RETEX (Return of Experience) will be proposed in the future on all ECA Group AUVs (A9, A18, A27) and will increase even more the operational capabilities of these unmanned vehicles, whose benefit is no longer to be demonstrated.
AUV A9-M operated from a RHIB
Transit of the vehicle to the survey area
Mine detection mission carried out by AUV A9-M
Wreck detection mission carried out by AUV 9-M