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CBRNE & EOD Defence

DSEI Japan 2019: IHI unveils autonomous underwater mine-detection system

18 November 2019
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The AUV prototype unveiled by Japanese company IHI at DSEI Japan 2019 is designed to detect ‘mine-like’ objects and others at various depths and transmit data in real time via a semi-submersible ASV. Source: IHS Markit/Gabriel Dominguez

Japanese company IHI unveiled an autonomous underwater mine-detection system at the 18-20 November DSEI Japan 2019 defence exhibition in Chiba.

The system, which comprises two different unmanned vehicles, is designed to acquire, process, classify, and relay information about "mine-like objects, among other things, to the mother ship.

One of the elements comprising the system is a 5 m-long autonomus underwater vehicle (AUV) that can reach a top speed of 4 kt, has an endurance of up to 24 hours, and can operate at maximum depth of 200 m, 600 m or 3,000 m, depending on the configuration.

In its standard configuration the AUV, which weighs 990 kg and is 690 mm in diameter, is equipped with a side scan sonar, a multi-beam sonar, and a digital video camera, but additional systems and sensors are also available depending on the requirement, a company official told Jane's . Navigation is enabled by a combination of GPS/INS and Doppler Velocity Log (DVL) as well as by ultra-short baseline and "sea-floor acoustic lighthouse" systems, added the official.

After detecting a potential mine, the AUV automatically transmits the collected data - including images of the object as well as its exact location - via an acoustic modem to the second component of the system, a semi-submersible autonomous surface vehicle (ASV) featuring a periscope antenna, which then relays the data to the "mother vessel" through wireless LAN.

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