Florida Atlantic University
(FAU) and Lockheed Martin (LMT)
have entered into an exclusive license agreement to develop and produce a rapidly-deployable and autonomous mooring buoy system for military and scientific uses.
The new autonomous mooring buoy system -- which incorporates an anchor,
a combination anchor/air brake and a flotation buoy -- will allow sensors
mounted on a floating buoy to be more successfully deployed on a station
after being launched from either aircraft, submarines or ships. The buoy's
missions could include: submarine detection and location; meteorological
and oceanographic measurements; autonomous underwater vehicle
communication; and underwater navigation and positioning.
The system was designed by researchers from FAU and the Naval Sea
Systems Command (NAVSEA), supported by grants from the Office of Naval
Research (ONR) Ocean Engineering Program, managed by Dr. Tom Swean, ONR
program manager for Ocean Engineering & Marine Systems. FAU and NAVSEA have
filed a joint patent application. FAU and Lockheed Martin will work closely
with key U.S. Navy offices and government laboratories to further develop
the system and to identify other potential applications.
Previous buoy deployment and mooring technologies have had significant
limitations, including non-conformity to Navy buoy size standards,
parachute entanglements during air deployment, short periods of operation,
and anchors that only work well in specific sea bed conditions. The
lightweight, compact FAU/Navy-developed module conforms to U.S. Government
size standards and is capable of air deployment, as well as autonomous
self-mooring in depths between 30 and 650 feet. The system also can anchor
in various bottom types (including sand, mud or rock), operate for over
three months, and support different types of mooring lines.