AutoNaut a ‘silent success’ in NATO exercise

15th December 2016

A new 5m AutoNaut bristling with state of the art sensors successfully tracked a submarine target during the Royal Navy’s Unmanned Warrior 2018 (UW16) exercise off the Hebrides in October.  AutoNaut’s silent wave propulsion technology perfectly complemented Seiche’s Passive Acoustic Monitoring (PAM) towed array.

Commander Peter Pipkin, FRO for UW2016, comments: “I would like to congratulate all of you that made UW16 the resounding success that it was.  Your support and commitment enabled us to deliver the largest, most diverse demonstration of its kind and you have made it possible for us to maximise the opportunities throughout and ultimately to exceed all expectations.”

The AutoNaut detected and transmitted a range of useful information to the operational commanders, some of it in real-time, for dissemination into the wider operational picture. Data was obtained by leading defence technology sensors in collaboration with other UK companies:

  • Seiche – Digital Thin Line Array for acoustic monitoring of sub-sea targets.
  • Teledyne Defence – Phobos Radar Threat Warner for detection of electronic signatures.
  • AutoNaut  – 360° still and video camera for live images of surface threats
  • QinetiQ – 5GHz WiFi communications system for real-time data transmission
  • Xylem Analytics UK – YSI EXO2 Sonde for a range of oceanographic data
  • Gill Windsonic – for meteorological data

Recently released data showed the successful application of these sensors by the unique AutoNaut platform. David Maclean, Director at AutoNaut Ltd said: “The Unmanned Warrior exercise was a great opportunity for us to demonstrate our capabilities to NATO Navies in a simulated operational environment; we deployed our state of the art sensor payloads to successfully track targets under and on the surface of the sea.”

The UW16 exercise involved a number of NATO navies in a range of themes over a two week period. AutoNaut ‘Islay’ was deployed off Stornoway as part of the Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) theme which included operating with a submarine ‘target’ autonomous underwater vehicle.  Islay also collected valuable data for the ISTAR (intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance) and GeoInt (geospacial intelligence) themes. Some 66,000 packets of data provided valuable information on meteorological and oceanographic conditions, including: conductivity, temperature, dissolved oxygen, turbidity, crude oil and chlorophyll.

Dan Alldis, AutoNaut’s Operations Lead for UW16 comments: “We were delighted with the quality of data that was delivered and very happy with AutoNaut’s performance. The boat proved to be easy to deploy and robust when at sea.”

Paddy Forrest, Head of Business Development at Teledyne Defence, adds: “Teledyne Defence are very happy to have been part of this successful demonstration at Unmanned Warrior. It’s great to see that an unmanned vessel of this size can deploy sensors to acquire electronic, acoustic and geospatial intelligence data in a Naval operational environment. We look forward to working closely with AutoNaut in the future to develop their ESM capabilities further.”

David Goldsmith, Director of Ocean and Coastal Business at Xylem Analytics, comments: “We are very happy to hear that the deployment of the YSI EXO2 sonde on Autonaut was a success, collecting high quality data at 2 minute intervals. The combination of ease of integration, low power draw and a large number of measured parameters on a compact platform with excellent antifouling capabilities make it ideal for this kind of application. We look forward to working with Autonaut in the near future on other projects to help demonstrate the value of autonomous platforms.”

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