Electric observation class ROV passes seatrials

The Forum XLe Spirit is powerful enough to perform subsea maintenance and repair work The Forum XLe Spirit is powerful enough to perform subsea maintenance and repair work

A compact remotely operated underwater vehicle represents the first of a new generation of electric observation class ROVs.

The Forum XLe Spirit is the smallest in a new range, and powerful enough to perform subsea maintenance and repair work. Forum says it is ideally suited to the aquaculture market and capable of tasks such as net and tank inspection.

Working with its Norwegian partner, Innova AS, Forum recently tested the XLe Spirit at a fjord with a 500m water depth. The standard equipment function testing was confirmed utilising all ancillary equipment, including cameras, lights, altimeters and sonars.

The XLe Spirit benefits from an optional electric or hydraulic five-function manipulator arm. The self-regulating power feature compensates for tether losses ensuring a constant and stable power delivery to the vehicle, regardless of tether length. The trials follow a twelve-week assessment, which took place at Forum’s test tank in Kirbymoorside, Yorkshire, UK.

The vehicle is the first observation class ROV to utilise Forum’s Integrated Control Engine (ICE™) to bring greater functionality commonly only found in larger work-class vehicles. The advanced control electronics pod fitted to all Forum XLe observation class vehicles enables superior connectivity and expansion capabilities compared to other ROVs on the market. Ethernet interfacing allows for seamless integration with other industry sensors.

The XLe Spirit incorporates a number of features to maximise its stability for use as a sensor platform, including regulated propulsion power and a wide range of auto-functions for positioning and flying.

Kevin Taylor, Vice President of Forum Subsea Technologies, commented: “The XLe Spirit’s successful sea trials mark a significant milestone as we continue to bring the latest technology to the industry. The vehicle’s capabilities make it ideally suited to a wide range of operations in the oil and gas and aquaculture markets.

“Our long history in the subsea sector enables us to understand the demands of our clients. Following the comprehensive sea trials, we are already garnering interest in the XLe Spirit and we look forward to delivering these vehicles to the market.”

By Jake Frith

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