VESSEL REVIEW | UHSI32 – French-US partnership develops autonomous interceptor concept

VESSEL REVIEW | UHSI32 – French-US partnership develops autonomous interceptor concept

Best Interceptor USV – UHSI32 (Photo: Sea Machines Robotics)

French shipbuilder and defence contractor CMN Naval and US-based unmanned systems company Sea Machines Robotics have unveiled a new type of interceptor demonstrator vessel fitted with advanced autonomous navigation and remote operation technologies.

The demonstrator craft utilises an existing Bureau Veritas-classed CMN interceptor design that was originally developed to be operated by onboard human crews. The vessel is built entirely of aluminium and was designed with the ability to execute autonomous transit missions and dynamic collision avoidance while being operated via over-the-horizon network connectivity almost anywhere in the world. Fadi S. Pataq of CMN said it is the first high-speed interceptor in its class to incorporate autonomous technology.

The unmanned craft has an LOA of 32.2 metres, a beam of seven metres, and a maximum draught of 1.6 metres. It can reach speeds of over 45 knots and can conduct patrols lasting up to three days or sail for up to 2,200 kilometres at a cruising speed of 12 knots. Operations are possible even when experiencing strong winds and rough seas. The deep V hull form is optimised for high-speed navigation at planing mode.

The craft is being developed to perform a broad range of duties including maritime law enforcement, search and rescue (SAR), counter-piracy missions, insertion of special operations forces, surveillance, protection of assets at sea, and even missions to defend against unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

Recent trials showed that the Sea Machines helm control system, which consists of a joystick and multiple sensors and actuators, allows the vessel to be operated remotely from a shore station as far as 6,000 kilometres away.

The system also features Raytheon Anschütz’s proprietary command-and-control software that can integrate data from multiple onboard sensors and systems, compile the situational picture and provide a dashboard for tactical navigation, planning, and mission execution. The software can analyse data contacts and targets received through the craft’s data links – including mission planning, tools for tactical manoeuvres, and the interfaces to sensors, actuators and effectors – and then compile these to the situational picture in real time.

Click here for more news stories, feature articles, and vessel reviews as part of this month’s focus on unmanned craft.

Type of vessel: ASV – Interceptor demonstrator
Classification: Bureau Veritas
Owner: CMN Naval, France
Builder: CMN Naval, France
Hull construction material: Aluminium
Superstructure construction material: Aluminium
Deck construction material: Aluminium
Length overall: 32.2 metres
Beam: 7.0 metres
Draught: 1.6 metres
Maximum speed: 45 knots
Cruising speed: 12 knots
Range: 2,200 kilometres
Other electronics: Sea Machines Robotics remote helm control system; Raytheon Anschütz

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