Bluefin Robotics has successfully completed the preliminary design review for its Knifefish surface mine counter-measure unmanned underwater vehicle (SMCM UUV). This will form a critical part of the littoral combat ship mine warfare mission package. Knifefish will address the Navy’s need to reliably detect and identify proud and buried mines in high-clutter environments. The SMCM UUV system will include two Knifefish UUVs in addition to launch and recovery equipment, a support container, spare parts and other equipment. The UUV will feature Bluefin’s field-swappable batteries, an integrated navigation system and low-noise propulsion technology. Bluefin’s intuitive user software interface, the Operator Tool Suite, will also be provided for mission planning and monitoring. In addition, the vehicle will carry an advanced sonar payload provided by the GDAIS Team. The subcontract includes an option for the production of up to five low rate initial production systems (ten UUVs) and various other options.
l Bluefin’s HAUV-3 hovering underwater robot has completed government acceptance testing as the production system for the explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) hull unmanned underwater vehicle localisation systems (HULS).
camera, which provides vital supplemental visual information to divers tasked with re-locating contacts.
The HAUV-3 is designed to autonomously perform ship hull inspection and obtain 100% sonar coverage-a demanding task typically performed by divers to secure ports and harbours. In testing, the system demonstrated increased operational speeds and nearly twice as much endurance as its predecessor-the prototype HAUV-2. In addition to its standard DIDSON imaging sonar, it is equipped with a
UT2 August 2012
The Navy also conducted a series of environmental tests consisting of freezing, shaking, and baking one of the vehicles and its support equipment. Testing highlighted specific areas for ruggedisation in order to optimise the system for very harsh conditions. Even after the tortuous testing, operators were still able to power up all of the vehicle subsystems successfully. In 2011, Bluefin Robotics was awarded a contract modification from Naval Surface Warfare Center, Indian Head to move the system design into production. Since then, Bluefin has delivered one system, which constitutes two vehicles and support equipment. An additional two systems are now in production.
The August edition of UT3, the magazine of the SUT