Thales has completed initial sea trials of a new 6 m unmanned maritime platform known as the AUSS (Autonomous Underwater and Surface System), and is now preparing to verify specific mission capabilities of the platform.
The matter was revealed by a Thales spokesperson, during an interview with Jane's at the IMDEX 2017 maritime and defence exhibition in Singapore. The company is showcasing the AUSS for the first time in the Asia-Pacific region at the exhibition, although it was first revealed at the Euronaval 2016 exhibition in Paris.
Payloads that will now undergo verification are namely the mine countermeasures (MCM), information, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR), and anti-submarine warfare (ASW) packages, said the spokesperson, adding that for each of these missions, there can be a different combination of sensors that can be used to achieve the respective objectives. "The specific payload trials will allow us to determine what will be the best configuration that can best address each of these missions", the spokesperson added.
The AUSS can carry a total payload of up to 600 kg and can deploy a 3 m mast fitted with a variety of sensors including optronic systems. The platform is propelled by a combination of two propellers that allows it to stop in less than 10 m when faced with an obstacle in the water. The AUSS can operate at a maximum speed of up to 17 kt in order to autonomously avoid these obstacles, but the company is working to increase this speed.
The system can be launched either from a surface vessel or from submarines via torpedo tubes, and features an endurance of up to two weeks at 50 n miles from the launching point. To conserve energy, the platform has the ability to go into 'sleep mode' on the sea bed during its operations, and re-initiate autonomously according to mission parameters.
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