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AEUK delivers autonomous route survey capability for Project Wilton

Atlas Elektronik UK (AEUK) has completed deliveries to the UK Royal Navy’s (RN’s) new Project Wilton autonomous route survey capability, the company announced on 30 April.

Based at HM Naval Base Clyde, and forming part of the RN’s first Mine Countermeasures (MCM) Squadron, Project Wilton is a peacetime MCM route survey capability assembled from a mix of assets including crewed and uncrewed surface craft, autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs), remotely operated vehicles (ROVs), and side-scan sonar equipment, as well as a portable command centre (PCC) and associated communications.

Project Wilton achieved its initial operating capability in 2020. The autonomous survey capability has initially been based on AEUK’s proprietary ARCIMS 11 m unmanned surface vessel (USV) RNMB Harrier. Delivered in August 2020, Harrier has AEUK’s advanced autonomy controller embedded and can operate in any one of three modes (manual, remote, or autonomous).

Harrier has now been joined at HM Naval Base Clyde by RNMB Hebe: a larger 15 m Project Vahana boat repurposed by AEUK to include an advanced autonomy controller and mission command centre. Operating autonomously from either a land- or sea-based PCC, both Harrier and Hebe are able to launch and recover sonars, AUVs, and ROVs in support of the route survey mission; Hebe can also function as a crewed afloat PCC for Harrier in order to significantly extend the range of operations.

Harrier and Hebe also have the ability to operate in combination with other USVs and AUVs through the use of AEUK’s integrated mission planning software solution. This capability uses AEUK’s autonomy software alongside SeeByte’s Neptune autonomous control architecture while linking into the RN’s own Programme Nelson Route Survey Tasking and Analytics Project.

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