2018 Surface Navy Association Day 1 (January 9) Conference Report
Mönch US correspondent Marty Kauchak is attending the 2018 Surface Navy Association 30th Annual National Symposium in Arlington, Virginia, USA. He files this end-of-day report with highlights from the exhibition floor and conference rooms.
Chris Lade, Defence Sales Manager at Saab Seaeye Ltd., told MONS at the Saab Defense and Security booth (#214) that his team is featuring its recent advancements in the underwater domain in both the defence and commercial sectors. “Saab for many years has been involved in the underwater domain. As such, it has some ground breaking, and that is a dramatic term, technology, which other companies are working with as well, but we are working a number of projects which are at the forefront of the underwater domain,” he noted.
Saab is particularly focused on four undersea products at this symposium.
The firm’s newest product is the Multi-Shot Mine Neutralization System (MuMNS). The system is on contract with the Royal Navy and French Navy. “This is a development contract, which has gone through the design phase and we are moving into the build phase (in 2018), during which time two systems will be built, one will go to France, the other to the Royal Navy. And then there will be a test and evaluation phase after that,” he explained.
Saab’s SeaWasp is in prototype and, “we’re about to go into finalizing the development stage. This is in service under test and evaluation,” the sector expert said. “This was a contract we won with CTTSO [US Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office] and has been very successful from the point of view of going from nothing to a brand new product in 12 months. We have delivered three of those prototypes, one each, to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (US West Coast), US Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal (Norfolk, Virginia) and the Charleston, South Carolina Police Department.”
SeaWasp is innovative from the perspective it is man-portable and was designed to defeat the underwater or waterborne improvised explosive device threat.
A third product, Seaeye SABERTOOTH is a combination of Saab Seaeye military and commercial remote operated vehicle /autonomous vehicle technology. “This is a hybrid vehicle,” Mr. Lade emphasised, and pointed out there are batteries onboard allowing it to complete a mission autonomously. He continued: “You can then have it come back, and take the data from it, or you can put a fibre-optic tether on it and control it. Or, indeed, we have controlled it through optical underwater communications as well – which is quite groundbreaking.”
And finally, there is Saab’s modular target AUV62-AT, which supports anti-submarine warfare training. The AUV62-AT is flexible, adaptable and can operate in several different modes, enabling it to comply with various sets of training regulations. It can generate realistic submarine noises and echoes, which are transmitted at a precise target strength and over clearly defined distances. Mr. Lade pointed out that while the device is the oldest product at the booth: “It’s in service with a number of nations at the moment. This fills the ASW training void when submarines aren’t available.”