ROV/Positioning System Combo Offers Tactical Efficiency
Hosted by local partner, Szczecin-based Thesta – a Polish defence electronics provider – iXblue and ECA Group recently successfully demonstrated subsea asset tracking in shallow waters to the Polish Naval Academy.
Using iXblue’s Gaps M7 USBL [ultra-short baseline] positioning system coupled with an ECA R7 ROV [remotely-operated vehicle], the demonstration aimed to illustrate that accurate positioning of underwater targets is possible in a potentially hostile and rapidly changing environment, in coastal regions characterised by shallow waters and often limited access.
The ROV investigated objects and structures submerged in Gdynia harbor with the Gaps M7 being used to geolocate it and correct its trajectory in real time. A fixed transponder was also placed several hundreds of meters away from the vessel, at only 5m depth. The trials were carried out in water depths of 7-10m, surrounded by multiple docks and vessels causing significant acoustic echoes. Despite these challenges, positioning of the ROV and the transponder was stable and accurate. Extremely efficient in shallow waters, the Gaps M7 ensured excellent horizontal tracking capabilities, with omnidirectional coverage and a 200° acoustic aperture. With no calibration required, it was easy to deploy and ready to use, offering considerable time savings.
The ROV inspection was successful, despite low visibility. Such environments make use of traditional cameras impossible, but the HD acoustic inspection camera performed remarkably, providing high-resolution data with superior accuracy. The R7 combines the compactness and manoeuvrability of mini-ROVs with the performance and power of professional observation-class ROVs. It embeds a wide range of fast-equipped payloads and operates well under harsh sea conditions, making it the perfect naval solution for quick and efficient subsea interventions.
“The R7 ROV along with the Gaps M7 USBL acoustic positioning system is able to transmit information accurately, even in noisy and difficult acoustic environments. They both enable fast operation as well as regular and quick position updates, even in very shallow waters, which is a definite asset for the navies, given their need for a fast, clear and concise picture of the battlespace to quickly maneuver naval forces in the field,” commented Cezary Majchrowicz, Technical Director at Thesta.