Subsea World news: ECA Group Rolls Out New Mid-Size Mine Warfare AUV
Published in Subsea World News, April 2018.
ECA Group carried out a live demonstration in Toulon area to showcase the performance of this new underwater drone A18-M is the new generation of AUV for mine detection and classification? Operable in all water depths up to 300 meters, the Autonomous Underwater Vehicle is specifically designed to operate in the close vicinity of the smartest mines without triggering them.
“This mid-size AUV is the top trade-off between, size, weight and long endurance. Its payload capacity makes it able to host high performance sonar, such as synthetic aperture sonar (SAS) providing unprecedented detection and classification performances.” says Léonie Delacou, AUVs product manager at ECA Group.
More compact than previous generation of MCM AUV, A18-M is, easy to deploy even from naval platforms such as unmanned surface vehicle (USV).
Advanced embedded processing allows to process the sonar image raw data and extract a list of contacts in real time , and to be relayed back to the command center using an advanced communication network, with an unmanned surface vessel (USV) or an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) acting as gateway. These contacts are then reviewed by sonar operators onboard a mothership or onshore
“The performance gain is due to the very high resolution in both range and cross-range offered by a wideband SAS, of the order of 2.5cm x 3cm constant up to the edges of the swath, which is unachievable, at any practical range, by any other type of sonar on any type of platform. With the only possible exception of buried or concealed mines, all known mines can be detected and high quality classification cues can be extracted from the highlight and shadow structure,” says Dr. Marc Pinto, program director for Systems of Robots and sonar expert at ECA Group.
AUV A18-M can be integrated within a larger unmanned system, such as ECA Group’s UMIS (Unmanned Maritime Integrated System) and benefit from common interfaces, communication network as well as data processing system.
“The A18-M joins now the ECA Group MCM robotic ‘team’ which is composed of the Unmanned Surface Vehicle (USV) INSPECTOR MK2, the identification ROV SEASCAN and the expendable mine disposal vehicle, also called minekiller, the K-STER C. All of these robots can work together in order to accomplish tasks simultaneously or for INSPECTOR USV, to be used a communication relay to send gathered a preprocessed information (ATD – automatic target detection) to a command and control system on a mothership or on shore to deploy the identification and disposal vehicle. This is the first comprehensive unmanned maritime system that includes all types of naval robots: USVs, AUVs, ROVs and EMDS,” says Daniel Scourzic, UMIS (Umanned Maritime Integrated Systems) Marketing Manager at ECA Group.