Sea Platforms

China’s latest Haiyi underwater gliders complete Indian Ocean deployment

22 March 2020

A full-sized Haiyi underwater glider displayed at an ocean science and technology in Qingdao. Source: Jane's/Kelvin Wong

Upgraded Haiyi (Sea Wing) underwater gliders deployed from a Chinese government scientific research vessel on 11 December 2019 have successfully conducted an underwater survey expedition in the East Indian Ocean, the company responsible for manufacturing the gliders announced in late March.

The Tianjin-based Deepfar Ocean Technology Company (Deepfar) claimed that all 12 of its second-generation Haiyi long-range gliders deployed as part of the Ministry of Natural Resources’ (MNR’s) Joint Advanced Marine and Ecological Studies (JAMES) expedition were recovered by the state-owned survey/research ship Xiang Yang Hong 06 on 30 January, representing a cumulative 550 days of continuous operations at sea and a completed navigational distance of more than 6,479 n miles.

“The 12 Haiyi gliders – equipped with a variety of biological, hydrological, and chemical sensors – performed a co-operative survey within a 300×300 n mile observation area,” the company said in a statement. “[The gliders also] logged more than 3,400 survey profiles and obtained large amounts of hydrological data including temperature, salinity, turbidity, and oxygen content.”

According to Sublue, marine observation data collected by the gliders was transmitted by Xiang Yang Hong 06 to shore-based command centres via satellite communications (satcom), enabling scientists to examine the dynamic interactions and processes of underwater phenomena in real-time.

The research vessel subsequently returned to port in the eastern city of Zhoushan on 12 March, marking the conclusion of the JAMES expedition.

Comparable in physical form to the US-made Teledyne Webb Slocum gliding autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV), the Haiyi features a torpedo-shaped main body constructed from aluminium alloy or carbon fibre composite material and features a pair of swept wings.

The nose of the pressure hull contains the underwater glider’s buoyancy engine and depth control systems, with the mission payload and control unit located in the middle.

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