Lightweight Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) performing coastal survey operations in REP 10A

Incze, Michael
November 2011
Ocean Dynamics;Nov2011, Vol. 61 Issue 11, p1955
Academic Journal
Lightweight Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) were developed for Naval Special Warfare (NSW) Group 4 search and survey missions from a commercial AUV baseline (Iver 2) through integration of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware components, and through software development for enhanced on-board Command and Control functions. The development period was 1 year under a project sponsored by the Office of Naval Research TechSolutions Program Office. Hardware integration was completed by the commercial AUV vendor, OceanServer Technology, Inc., and software development was conducted by the Naval Undersea Warfare Center, Naval Oceanographic Office, and U MASS Dartmouth, with support from hardware and software application providers (YSI, Inc., Imagenex Technology Corp., and CARIS). At the conclusion of the integration and development period, an at-sea performance evaluation was scheduled for the Lightweight NSW AUVs with NSWG-4 personnel. The venue for this evaluation was the NATO exercise Recognized Environmental Picture 10A (REP 10A), hosted by Marinha Portuguesa, and coordinated by the Faculdade de Engenharia-Universidade do Porto. REP 10A offered an opportunity to evaluate the performance of the new AUVs and to explore the Concept of Operations (CONOPS) for employing them in military survey operations in shallow coastal waters. Shore- and ship-launched scenarios with launch/recovery by a single operator in a one-to-many coordinated survey, on-scene data product generation and visualization, data push to Reach Back Cells for product integration and enhancement, and survey optimization to streamline survey effort and timelines were included in the CONOPS review. Opportunities to explore employment of hybrid AUV fleets in Combined Force scenarios were also utilized. The Naval Undersea Warfare Center, Marinha Portuguesa, the Faculdade de Engenharia-Universidade do Porto, and OceanServer Technology, Inc., were the primary participants bringing in-water resources to REP 10A. Technical support and products were provided by the Naval Research Laboratory-Stennis Space Center, Naval Oceanographic Office, NATO Undersea Research Centre, University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth, and YSI, Inc. REP 10A proved to be a very effective exercise in meeting each of the critical goals. Results of the performance evaluation guided final development and Independent Verification and Validation (IV&V) for the Lightweight NSW AUV, leading to on-time, successful Factory Acceptance Testing and delivery of the three contracted vehicles to NSWG-4 in September, 2010.


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