Application: Vessel conversion for military applications
Vehicle: Pacific 950 RIB
Customer: BAE Systems
Payload: Navigation radar, an electro-imaging pan-tilt-zoom camera with standard optical and thermal displays. 360 degree panoramic infrared camera.
Summary: ASV Global designed, manufactured and fitted a bespoke on-board system supplied with the full ASView® suite of remote equipment.
Benefit: Providing the Royal Navy the option to unman its existing small craft – reducing risk and saving lives by keeping crew safely out of harm’s way.
ASV Global integrated its proprietary control system ASView® onto the BAE Systems Pacific 950 RIB to turn the standard vessel into a craft that has the ability to operate unmanned, autonomously and by direct remote control.
The modified P950 is capable of operating autonomously for up to 12 hours at a time on either a pre-planned route or via remote control. It can operate up to 40km away from its parent ship and reach speeds in excess of 38 knots (44 miles per hour), providing unique ship-launched manoeuvrability and enhanced situational awareness to support the decision-making of its operators.
Underpinning the system’s ability to operate autonomously is its complex array of sensors, all of which were fitted, integrated and tested at ASV Global’s facility in Portchester. The sensor suite comprised a navigation radar, an electro-imaging pan-tilt-zoom camera with standard optical and thermal displays, and a 360 degree panoramic infrared camera array which offers operators a detailed picture within a significant range of the vessel.
The next stage of the project was to develop and integrate software algorithms to allow the boat to perform complex missions autonomously and navigate through waters avoiding collisions, and provide a seamless integration with the MAPLE open architecture combat system. This in turn gives the flexibility and sophistication to operate in a number of different tactical roles, such as patrolling areas of interest, providing surveillance and reconnaissance ahead of manned missions, or protecting larger ships in the fleet.
As well as being controlled autonomously, P950 can also be remote-controlled by crew on the ship using the ASView-Helm™ remote control unit. The P950 has the ability to quickly switch between its manned and unmanned configurations.
The P950 has acted as a demonstrator platform to prove the concept of converting existing RIBs for Naval use. The vessel took part in the Royal Navy’s Unmanned Warrior exercise in October 2016 demonstrating various scenarios including anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance (ISTAR).
Images credit: BAE Systems
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