AUV launch and recovery trials

The system can be deployed by any craft capable of supporting its weight and that of the AUV
The system can be deployed by any craft capable of supporting its weight and that of the AUV
Launch operations see the new system’s stinger extended over the stern of the boat
Launch operations see the new system’s stinger extended over the stern of the boat
Industry Database

The launch and recovery of a 780kg Hugin Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) from a RIB has been demonstrated using a new system.

The new LARS (Launch and Recovery System from H. Henriksen AS.  Is capable of being used by a wide range of small manned or un-manned auxiliary craft.

The system can be deployed by any craft capable of supporting its weight and that of the AUV. The Hugin AUV used to test the system was 5.5 metres long and weighed 780kg yet with the Henriksen launch system, it was well within the capabilities of the RIB (Rigid Inflatable Boat) chosen to carry it.

UNMANNED POTENTIAL
The initial test was performed with a modified launch and recovery system designed for bigger ships. H Henriksen is now designing the first-generation system dedicated for use on smaller boats such as an unmanned surface vehicle (USV). The new system will optimise weight, have a lower centre of gravity and reduce hydrodynamic drag when extended into the water. By using the smallest boat capable of carrying the AUV and its launch system the user benefits from lower operating costs combined with the increased manoeuvrability that smaller boats provide.

The key feature of the system is its use of a radio or AUV controlled hook that is fitted into the nose of whatever vehicle is being deployed. The Launch System can be adapted to fit whichever boat the operator decides to use and can be employed to pick-up or launch any AUV that has been equipped with the remotely operated nose hook.

Launch operations see the new system’s stinger extended over the stern of the boat with the AUV carried on its bed. The stinger is then tilted to position its end just under the water. The operator then uses a radio signal to open the AUV’s nose hook which releases the retaining line and enables the AUV to slide down the stinger into the water and start work.

AUV RECOVERY
Recovery of the AUV is possible in active sea conditions regardless of whether it is under power or not. The deployment boat will capture the AUV with its stinger extended into the water. The boat is manoeuvred 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. This is used to pull the AUV out of the water and up onto the stinger bed. The stinger is then raised and retracted bringing the AUV inboard where it is made fast and transported to the mother ship. 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.

The system was designed and built by the Maritime Unmanned Systems Division at the Henriksen factory in Tønsberg, Norway. The system has been developed and tested in close cooperation with Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI).

By Jake Frith

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