Now Standard Equipment for GD BLUEFIN-9 and -12
Sonardyne, in collaboration with Solutions from Silicon (SfS), has now developed its SOLSTICE multi-aperture sonar system to display data collected during mine counter-measures (MCM) missions within the most recent releases of the Mine Warfare Tactical Command Software (MINTACS) in service with the Royal Australian Navy (RAN).
SOLSTICE is widely considered a force multiplier for MCM operations, enabling substantially higher area coverage rates using low-cost, low-logistics, autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV). It provides a 200m-wide swath with an unrivalled 0.15° along-track resolution, consuming just 18W, thus maximising vehicle endurance.
The system is now fitted as standard to GD’s BLUEFIN-9 and -12 UUVs, of which seven will join the RAN under its SEA 1778 programme later this year. Based at HMAS WATERHEN in Sydney, they will search for, classify and identify sea mines.
MINTACS provides operators with the ability not only to read and display SOLSTICE data, but also to mark mine-like objects (MLO) of interest and process the images with its powerful onboard automatic target recognition (ATR) capability. MINTACS is in service with multiple navies, including those of the UK, Australia, Malaysia, the United Arab Emirates, New Zealand and Sweden.
“Naval Mine Warfare is currently experiencing a major generational change that, once complete, will see unmanned and autonomous systems take on virtually all aspects of a traditional crewed mine hunter, including detection, classification, identification, and neutralisation. With the significantly increased sonar ranges provided by SOLSTICE, compared with traditional side-scan sonar, the goal of achieving the required area coverage rates is one step closer,” commented Russell Norman, Technical Director at SfS.
Ioseba Tena, Global Business Manager – Defence & Robotics, at Sonardyne, added “We’re confident that, with SOLSTICE data now within the MINTACS database, the Royal Australian Navy will see tangible gains as part of its ongoing expansion of its deployable mine countermeasures capability in the maritime domain.”