AUV Deployment by the U.S. Navy 5th Fleet

By Tom Reynolds
Monday, November 11, 2013
U.S. Navy MK 18 Mod 2 (Hydroid REMUS 600) Vehicle Recovery During Mine Countermeasure Mission.

The U.S. Navy has made significant changes to its mine countermeasures (MCM) operations over the past decade as its Avenger-class MCM ships and Sea Stallion helicopters approach the end of their service life. One of the most significant developments has been the introduction of autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) into regular deployment by the Navy. The MK 18 Mod 2, a specialized version of the REMUS 600 AUV built by Hydroid, Inc. in Pocasset, Mass., is currently used for MCM operations by the U.S. Navy 5th Fleet in their area of responsibility, the Arabian Gulf. Using this technology to its full effect has had significant benefits.
The deployment of AUVs for mine countermeasures has allowed the U.S. Navy 5th Fleet to more safely and effectively ensure the security of our seal lanes of communication. The MK 18 Mod 2, like all REMUS 600s, has a maximum mission duration capability of 20 hours and top speed of five knots, allowing a single vehicle to survey significant portions of narrow and shallow straits in a single deployment. After the MK 18 Mod 2 has surfaced, its depleted battery can be quickly recharged and the vehicle redeployed.
The ability of the MK 18 Mod 2 to operate without being tethered to a ship makes it difficult for enemy forces to detect. In current 5th Fleet MCM operations, the AUV is launched from an 11 meter rigid-hulled inflatable boat (RHIB) deployed from an amphibious transport dock, such as the former USS Ponce. Deploying the vehicle from a small RHIB makes its launch more difficult to detect and its area of operation harder to determine.
The MK 18 Mod 2 can remain submerged for its entire mission duration, making it nearly impossible for the enemy to counter without advanced technology. This is especially important for combating non-state actors – similar to IEDs, naval mines are inexpensive and easy to deploy, making them an attractive option for terrorist groups.
For shallow water mine countermeasures and hydrographic reconnaissance, the MK 18 Mod 2 uses two primary instruments: side scan sonar and a downward looking camera. On its first deployment to a new area, the vehicle collects high-resolution bathymetric data and images that allow it to establish a baseline map of the seafloor. During subsequent deployments, the AUV looks for any changes in the terrain of the seafloor which may represent a mine. Once a mine has been positively identified and its location fixed, a Remotely Operated Vehicle or diver can be sent in to destroy it. Data collected by vehicle can then be integrated with other intelligence to identify to help determine the mine’s origin.
In addition to the MK 18 Mod 2, the U.S. Navy also uses another modified Hydroid vehicle for MCM operations. The MK 18 Mod 1, an AUV based on the Hydroid REMUS 100 vehicle, is a smaller, man-portable vehicle designed for rapid deployment to very shallow water (VSW) regions. Ideal for fast moving expeditionary forces, the Swordfish can be launched from nearly anywhere and can be flown by helicopter directly to the point of need.  Though it lacks the deeper water capabilities of larger AUVs, the MK 18 Mod 1 is very effective at quickly clearing harbors and ports where mines are suspected.
Currently operated by civilian contractors, the Hydroid AUVs in use by the U.S. Navy 5th Fleet are expected to come under full Navy control in 2015. As the newer littoral combat ship (LCS) enters broad deployment over the coming decade, the MK 18 Mod 2 can continue to serve a role in MCM operations. The LCS will have the capability to deploy several types of AUVs depending on the needs of the mission – the mid-depth MK 18 Mod 2 and the ultra-portable MK 18 Mod 1 can complement the capabilities of other AUVs on-board the LCS, allowing the ship to conduct effective mine countermeasures in any marine environment.
 

The Author
CDR Tom Reynolds USN (ret.) is a retired Explosive Ordnance Disposal Officer and U.S. Navy Deep Sea Diver who joined Hydroid, Inc. in Fall 2012 as Business Development Manager - Defense. Email: sales@hydroid.com



(As published in the October 2013 edition of Marine Technology Reporter - www.seadiscovery.com)

  • Tom Reynolds

    Tom Reynolds

Maritime Reporter July 2014 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Technology

TMT CEO Files $100m IP Suit Over Vessel Sale

Hsin-Chi Su, Chairman and CEO of Today Makes Tomorrow Group (TMT) launched a suit in Texas federal court on July 28, 2014, alleging that a planned bankruptcy sale of three company ships, including M.

MN 100: Dometic Marine

2000 N. Andrews Ave. Ext. Pompano Beach, Florida 33069 Tel: (954) 973-2477    Email: ned.trigg@dometic.com Website: www.dometic.com CEO: Roger Johansson President:

Harris Secures Certification for its Multi-channel Manpack Radio

Harris Corporation (NYSE:HRS) has received Type-1 National Security Agency (NSA) certification for its Falcon III® RF-340M multi-channel manpack radio. The certification

Navy

MN 100: Brunswick Commercial and Government Products

420 Megan Z. Ave Edgewater, FL 32132 Telephone: 386 423 2934 E-mail: kelsey.nemeth@whaler.com Website: www.brunswickcgp.com CEO/President: Huw Bower Number

MN 100: BAE Systems Ship Repair

750 W. Berkley Avenue Norfolk, VA 23523 Tel: (757) 494-4674  Email: john.measell@baesystems.com Website: www.baesystems.com/shiprepair President: William Clifford The Company: BAE Systems,

Signet Tows Aircraft Carrier on Final Voyage

The final voyage of aircraft carrier USS Saratoga begins today. From the Eastern Hemisphere to the Western Hemisphere, the USS Saratoga has made her mark around the globe,

News

Ecuador Coastguard Orders Damen Patrol Boats

Damen announced it has recently signed a contract with AstillerosNavalesEcuatorianos (Astinave) to construct two Damen Stan Patrols (Spa) 5009 for the Ecuadorian Coastguard.

TMT CEO Files $100m IP Suit Over Vessel Sale

Hsin-Chi Su, Chairman and CEO of Today Makes Tomorrow Group (TMT) launched a suit in Texas federal court on July 28, 2014, alleging that a planned bankruptcy sale of three company ships, including M.

LNG America Selects Topside Designer for LNG Bunker Barge

LNG America has selected Taylor-Wharton to commence the front-end engineering and design work for the cryogenic topside of the company’s 3,000 cubic meter Gemini

Eye on the Navy

Harris Secures Certification for its Multi-channel Manpack Radio

Harris Corporation (NYSE:HRS) has received Type-1 National Security Agency (NSA) certification for its Falcon III® RF-340M multi-channel manpack radio. The certification

Update to Fire Damage to Australian Patrol Boat

Armidale Class Patrol Boat HMAS Bundaberg suffered significant damage due to a fire which occurred on Monday, August 11, 2014 in Brisbane. The boat was undergoing

Aircraft Carrier Hull Ready for Delivery

A large section of HMS Prince of Wales has been loaded out of its dock hall in Portsmouth ready for delivery to Rosyth for final assembly of the second Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carrier to begin.

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Security Naval Architecture Pipelines Salvage Ship Electronics Ship Repair Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Sonar
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | terms and conditions | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.2954 sec (3 req/sec)