In­dian Navy hy­dro­g­ra­phers want new AUV


The In­dian Navy’s Hy­drog­ra­phy Depart­ment has de­cided to up­grade its sur­vey­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties by ac­quir­ing a new au­ton­o­mous un­der­wa­ter ve­hi­cle (AUV) that can be de­ployed off its ex­ist­ing and new hy­drog­ra­phy sur­vey ves­sels. The AUV will be used to un­der­take hy­dro­graphic sur­veys at medium and deep depths away from the op­er­at­ing ship us­ing hy­dro­graphic pay­loads.

The Navy has set down that the AUV needs to be ca­pa­ble of hy­dro­graphic and oceano­graphic sur­veys and re­con­nais­sance, col­lec­tion of bathy­met­ric data, spe­cialised map­ping, con­duct of route sur­veys, col­lec­tion of high-res­o­lu­tion, high pre­ci­sion seabed and sub-bot­tom data and col­lec­tion of tac­ti­cal in­tel­li­gence. The sys­tem needs to also come equipped with var­i­ous hy­dro­graphic sen­sor pay­loads ca­pa­ble of map­ping the seabed through swath ba­thym­e­try and seabed im­agery by means of con­tin­u­ous ac­qui­si­tion of seafloor sonar im­ages. The Navy wants an AUV with a com­plete in­er­tial nav­i­ga­tion sys­tem ca­pa­ble of guid­ing the ve­hi­cle in au­ton­o­mous, semi-au­ton­o­mous and su­per­vised mode of op­er­a­tion. The AUV unit needs to be not more than seven-me­tres long and weigh­ing no more than 1,000 kg, with a max­i­mum op­er­at­ing depth of 1,000 me­tres and a speed of seven knots in upto Sea State 3. It also needs to be ca­pa­ble of 24-hour en­durance with pay­loads on at nom­i­nal power. The DRDO is cur­rently sea-testing its own flat­fish con­fig­u­ra­tion AUV in the Bay of Ben­gal, though this is un­likely to meet the per­for­mance re­quire­ments of the Hy­dro­graphic Depart­ment in terms of depth and en­durance. The In­dian Navy in 2010 also floated a re­quire­ment for an un­spec­i­fied num­ber of AUVs, though it had spec­i­fied that it wanted only an In­dian-built sys­tem. The In­dian Navy is now work­ing closely with DRDO.

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