High Sea State Automated Deployment and Retrieval of Towed Bodies from a Small Surface Platform
Navy SBIR FY2014.1

Sol No.: Navy SBIR FY2014.1
Topic No.: N141-058
Topic Title: High Sea State Automated Deployment and Retrieval of Towed Bodies from a Small Surface Platform
Proposal No.: N141-058-0256
Firm: Advanced Technology & Research Corp.
6650 Eli Whitney Drive, Suite 400
Columbia, Maryland 21046-1701
Contact: David Hart
Phone: (443) 766-7967
Web Site: www.atrcorp.com
Abstract: An innovative system for deploying and retrieving towed bodies from a small surface platform is proposed which builds on previous work in the field. The Deploy and Retrieval System (DRS) employs a semi-active approach to accommodate high sea state conditions. Active sensing of relative motion is coupled with passive, compliant mechanisms to ensure safe operations in the presence of significant wave induced motion of the host vessel. A method to standardize the interface between the tow body and handling system is proposed to minimize the reconfiguration required to adapt the system to different tow bodies. The system can be readily installed on different host vessels, with minimal mechanical and control system integration required.
Benefits: The DRS, if successful, will significantly improve the flexibility and capability of the US Navy to conduct mine countermeasure (MCM) operations. The DRS can be readily integrated on a variety of host platforms, expanding the number of potential MCM assets. Minimal tow boy modifications will be required and the system will integrate smoothly with existing tow winches. ATR anticipates the DRS will enable MCM operations in high sea states to be achieved safely and effectively, improving the Navy's capacity to respond to these threats. Beyond the military, there is commercialization potential in the suggested marine survey and bathymetry fields. The likely disadvantages of these markets are the limited unit demand and price sensitivity. In addition, this type of work is usually not conducted in time-critical situations; scientists can wait until the seas calm down. Another potential market is the offshore services industry. Tethered ROV operations around drilling rigs, production platforms and from boats are everyday occurrences, including in rough seas. There are technical similarities in handling large tethered ROVs and tow bodies, particularly at the critical wave-zone D&R stages.