New ROV for Improvised Explosive Device Ops

By MarEx 2016-05-17 19:05:51

Saab has provided three U.S. agencies with prototypes of Sea Wasp, the company’s new remotely operated vehicle (ROV) for countering underwater improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

The move was made in partnership with the U.S. Combat Terrorism Technical Support Organization (CTTSO). In January 2016, representatives of the U.S. Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group 2, the FBI Counter-IED Unit and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division's Counter-Terrorist Operations Maritime Response Unit – met with a team of Saab employees from the United States, Sweden and the U.K. for four days of Sea Wasp training in Charleston, South Carolina.

Developed over 18 months with the U.S. Underwater Hazardous Device Team, the Sea Wasp is designed for operation by a two-man team. It is piloted from the surface using a control console on board the support vessel, or from a control vehicle ashore using a power-supplying, fiber optic tether. 

The operator employs Sea Wasp's thrusters to lock into position on a ship's hull or harbor wall. With the aid of the five-function manipulator arm, a disruptor can be positioned beside the target, ready for detonation. The vehicle is then piloted back to the surface for recovery, after which the disruptor is fired from the surface and the target neutralized.

To produce the Sea Wasp, Saab leveraged technology from its Saab Seaeye line of commercial ROVs, and added capabilities previously developed for its military systems portfolio. 

Today, most underwater IED threats are disposed of manually by trained explosive ordnance disposal divers. Sea Wasp is operated remotely by two-person teams, allowing for a safe distance between operators and IEDs.

The three explosive ordinance disposal agencies will carry out testing and evaluation of the Sea Wasp over the next 10 to 12 months.