An important feature of the future MCM systems is the ability to keep the manned mothership well out of the exposed mine area. The AUV is typically slow moving and have 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 critical. The USV has an important role as a relay and positioning system for the AUV during operation, and is a natural host for the AUV during transit. An automated or semi-automated Launch and Recovery operation of the AUV from the USV is critical to make this scenario work. Check out our AUV launch and recovery systems to learn more about existing solutions.
A key feature of making the Launch and Recovery operation work is the use of the Henriksen Stinger, a radio and a AUV controlled hook that is fitted into the nose of the AUV. During the launch operations the Stinger is extended over the stern of the boat while the AUV stays safely put on the stinger. The Stinger is then tilted to position its end just under water. The operator can release the AUV using a radio link that releases the hook and thus the retaining line. This enables 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 still and transported to the mothership by the USV. When the launch boat is alongside the ship, 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.