The Stinger - A Versatile AUV Launch and Recovery System

We make single and dual-stage systems which can launch and recover AUVs up to 5 meters freeboard and in very rough seas.

Launch and Recovery Stingers

With more than 25 years’ experience in delivering world class solutions for defense, commercial and scientific missions, Kongsberg provides the most successful and capable AUV available today. HUGIN has covered more line kilometers of commercial survey than any other system, and HUGIN Superior is the newest and most capable AUV on the market. The Henriksen designed L&R systems enable the launch and recovery of HUGIN from ships with up to 5 meters freeboard, and in very rough seas. As of today we at Henriksen have delivered more than 60 similar systems which are daily used by customers around the world, both in civilian and Naval markets.

AUV handling from small boats and USVs 

The AUV is typically slow moving and has a limited battery and thus limited speed and range. This means that the ability to launch and then transit the AUV at a relatively high speed to the critical area piggybacked on the USV is paramount. An automated or semiautomated Launch and Recovery operation of the AUV from the USV is therefore critical to make this scenario work. The system can be adopted to and deployed by any craft capable of supporting the weight of the stinger and that of the AUV, including everything from RIBs to larger manned or unmanned (USV) auxiliary crafts. The system optimizes weight, has a low center of gravity, and reduces hydrodynamic drag when extended into the water.


A key feature of the system is its use of a radio or AUV controlled hook fitted into the nose of the AUV. During the launch operation the Stinger is extended over the stern of the boat with the AUV safely put on the Stinger. The Stinger is then tilted to position its end just under water. The operator releases the AUV using a radio link to the AUV which then releases the hook and thus the retaining line. This will enable the AUV to slide down the Stinger and into the water, and then start to work.

The deployment boat will capture the AUV with its Stinger extended into the water. The USV/boat is maneuvered so that the nose of the AUV moves onto the Stinger bed where the hook on its nose automatically captures a self-tensioned winch line. The winch is used to pull the AUV out of the water and up onto the Stinger bed. The Stinger is then raised bringing the AUV onboard where it is kept fast and transported to the mothership by the USV. When the launch boat is alongside, the ship’s davit is then used in conjunction with a fitted Henriksen Dual Point Lifting Hook so that it can be hoisted back onto the ship along with its launch and recovery system and the AUV.