ECA Group has announced that it has successfully tested its new TOWSCA Towed Side Scan Sonar system on board one of the company’s Inspector mk. 2 unmanned surface vehicles (USVs). The TOWSCA provides vessels with a deep water survey capability.
Installed on the aft deck of the USV, the mid-size towed side scan sonar was deployed by means of a LARS (launch and recovery system) at depths of up to 100m. The system was tested at various speeds and depths and in harsh environments including sea state 3.
The TOWSCA is designed to be remotely monitored from a ground workstation through the USV radio link, providing highly accurate seafloor images. The LARS includes an auto altitude mode and automatic obstacle avoidance. Using internal sensors coupled with an Ultra Short Base Line (USBL) positioning system, the Towed Side Scan Sonar can be 3D positioned in real time, and can geolocalize and time-stamped sonar data.
The Inspector mk. 2 is a compact USV that is able to gather and transmit in real time 2D or 3D images from the seafloor while travelling at speeds of over 10 knots. Thanks to its small size, it can be easily shipped and deployed.
Equipped with the TOWSCA system, it can be utilised in many applications such as seafloor mine detection in Mine Counter Measure (MCM) missions, or wreck or debris location in Search and Rescue (SAR) operations.