Sensing and Control Technology to Assist in Vehicle Launch and Recovery
Navy SBIR FY2014.1
||Navy SBIR FY2014.1|
||Sensing and Control Technology to Assist in Vehicle Launch and Recovery|
||Advanced Technology & Research Corp.|
6650 Eli Whitney Drive, Suite 400
Columbia, Maryland 21046-1701
||Launch and recovery (L&R) of manned and unmanned systems from ships is very challenging. The relative motion between the ship and the vessel being recovered is the primary source of the difficulty. It is often difficult and time consuming to match the motion of the capture device with the vessel being recovered. As sea state increases, the reliability of most existing L&R systems deteriorates. ATR proposes a simple, compact mechanical arm with a floating capture device to launch and recover both surface craft, such as RHIBs, and underwater vehicles, such as the RMMV. The L&R system is designed with the initial intention to be used aboard the Afloat Forward Staging Base (AFSB), which has a relatively low freeboard. The system is designed to be portable and to utilize relatively simple sensing and control technology. With the ability to reliably launch and recover in conditions up to sea state 6, the proposed system would have clear benefits for mine warfare and special operations since availability of such craft would be increased. In addition, the L&R technology developed for the AFSB could have applicability to other ships in the Navy and other organizations both in the military and in industry.|
||The US Navy has a significant need for safe and reliable ship-based launch and recovery of manned and unmanned vessels in other than just calm seas. A reliable L&R system that could accommodate a range of mission vehicles, including both surface craft and submersibles, in a range of sea conditions would have clear benefits for mine warfare and special operations since availability of such craft would be increased. While our baseline design is customized to the low freeboard of the Afloat Forward Staging Base (AFSB), many aspects of the design (e.g., the floating capture device) could have broader applicability. We also have new designs, developed under internal funding, for L&R systems for higher freeboard vessels, including designs to modify existing ship cranes to enhance them for launch and recovery.
Beyond the US military, there is obvious potential in the offshore oilfield services industry. Supply boat and small boat operations to drilling rigs and production platforms are everyday occurrences, including in rough seas. Safety is of paramount importance, with efficiency of operations also critical. The less time it takes to conduct off- and on-load operations of crew and materiel, the better.