AUVs, Acoustics, and Manned Submarines Ops

From the July 10 to 13 and 17 to 18 operations with autonomous vehicles and acoustics gateways were conducted. Operations were supported by PT Navy’s NRP Hidra and submarine NRP Arpão along with divers from DMS3-MW division.

The first period was dedicated to acoustic experiments with the participation of NATO CMRE (Centre for Maritime Research and Experimentation). The objectives were to collect and experiment on underwater acoustics with message passing between manned submarine, AUVs, and surface buoys and vessels. The systems used were:

  • LAUV-Arpão, equipped with acoustic modem
  • LAUV-Noptilus-2, equipped with acoustic modem, a Sidescan Sonar, and a front looking Echo Sounder
  • ·Surface buoy from CMRE with acoustic modems

The new NATO STANAG 4748 defining JANUS, a simple, robust signaling method for underwater communications was also used in the experiments. Sending and receiving possible distress signals from manned submarines was tested, triggering automatic dispatching of the AUV on search patterns for inspection. Integration issues were resolved and initial results are promising.

During REP17, AIS information was being broadcasted acoustically to the sub-surface domain using JANUS. This contributes to the safety of maritime operations, offering a surface situational picture to a submarine at depth.

Additionally, a breakthrough functionality was successful tested: the JANUS chat. It allowed real-time digital messaging between surface vessel and submarine used to coordinate operations and improve safety of surfacing maneuvers. It's almost like an underwater version of the ubiquitous messaging services we use every day with our cell phones.

On the second time period LSTS made tests on board NRP Arpão on controlling and monitoring the AUVs while underwater. Promising results were accomplished.