Interceptor unmanned patrol craft on display
Mar 28, 2008
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We’ve seen unmanned aircraft, remotely operated from great distances during the current military operations in Iraq, and unmanned underwater systems are hardly new, but now the concept has been applied to surface patrol work. A fourth-generation 6.5m craft which has been specifically designed for security and public service applications, was unveiled at this year’s IDEX industry show.
First revealed at the 2007 IDEX show, the Interceptor Unmanned Surface Vessel, or USV is under development by AAI Corporation and Marine Robotic Vessels International (MRVI) who believe they have the ideal craft for a variety of patrol work in diverse conditions including the Middle East region.
While still undergoing trials they are confident that the USV is meeting all expectations and criteria and see their brainchild operating security patrols around oil rig installations, in harbours and on anti-piracy patrols.
“USVs provide a very efficient method of patrolling coastal and offshore waters,” MRVI president Robert Murphy told the International Defence Exhibition (IDEX) Show Daily, where the Interceptor is being exhibited. “Providing effective patrolling 24/7 using a manned operation is expensive in terms of the vessels themselves, crews, infrastructure, maintenance and fuel. An unmanned solution using USVs offers a more effective solution for considerable less capital and running costs.”
Murphy said that with 60 percent of the world’s oil moving through the Arabian Gulf and Indian Ocean, the Gulf presents a prime market for such marine surveillance and detection systems.
“The Middle East has two very important waterways – the Suez Canal and Straits of Hormuz – both of which require constant patrolling,” he said. “There are also very high-profile waterfront developments that require security solutions, in addition to the ‘normal’ assets requiring protection such as oil platforms, harbours, desalination plants and power stations.”
He pointed out that USVs can loiter indefinitely and are less affected by the state of the weather or sea conditions.
The Interceptor is designed to operate under the command of an on-board mission computer and navigation system, using a pre-determined course and prescribed tasks, with on-board sensors to alter the programme due to unexpected circumstances. Alternatively the Interceptor can be operated by remote radio control.
The vessel is powered by a multi-fuel engine coupled to a waterjet propulsor and can achieve speeds of 55 mph.
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