Royal Navy Boosts Autonomous Vessel Capabilities

Credit: L3 ASV
Credit: L3 ASV

By The Maritime Executive 02-05-2019 07:50:50

L3 ASV has delivered a long-endurance autonomous vessel known as the C-Enduro to the Royal Navy. The C-Enduro will be used for military data gathering trials by the Mine countermeasures and Hydrographic Capability program, as the Navy seeks to exploit autonomous technology.

The 4.8-meter (16-foot) vessel is equipped with 10 sensors combining scientific and hydrographic survey equipment. The vessel operates using L3 ASV’s proprietary control system and is fitted with the company's advanced autonomy package which has a range of autonomous control modes, including line following, station-keeping and geofencing.

Last year, the Royal Navy tested its first autonomous system to deal with 21st-century mines. Motor boat Hussar can be sent off on missions, using a series of small, hi-tech boats trailed behind it to detonate the latest underwater explosive devices – potentially clearing minefields en masse.

The Royal Navy last conducted real-world sweeps off Iraq in 2003 using remote-controlled boats, while HMS Ledbury conducted the final run out of traditional sweeping gear off the Isle of Wight in 2005.

Modern mines can be sophisticated enough to take out a specific ship or class of ship if they know its signature. Hussar is an 11-meter mother ship which is followed by a series of small boats designed to replicate ship signatures to trigger the mines and use lessons learned from IED blasts on vehicles in Iraq and Afghanistan to deflect and dissipate any resultant blast so that damage is minimal.

C-Enduro Details

Length: 4.75m
Beam: 2.22m
Height: 3.43m
Draft: 0.52m keel up
Weight: 910kg lightship
Propulsion: 2 x DC brushless motors
Speed: Up to 6.5 knots
Endurance: 30+ days depending on power configuration
Control: ASView for direct, semi-autonomous or autonomous control
Communications: Radio/satellite
Solar panel system: 10 high efficiency panels generating a peak electrical power of 1100W
Diesel generator system: Electric start diesel generator providing a peak charging power of 4.0kW. Can be run continuously for higher speed and payload missions
Wind turbine system: Lightweight three blade system generating a peak output power of 500W
Sensor options: ASV 360 VIR camera, Keel mounted sensors, CTD lowered by winch, meteorological sensors, ADCP, MBES, side-scan sonar, PAM, acoustic modem, ASW (towed array or dipping), electronic warfare.