New Launch & Recovery Systems for USVs Developed

By Mike Ball / 21 Jan 2020

RC Dock Europe ASV launch and recovery system

RC Dock Europe, a developer of support systems for unmanned surface vessels (USVs), has announced that it has delivered two fully automated launch and recovery systems (LARS) for Fugro’s new Autonomous Surface Vessels (ASVs).

The LARS are designed to operate in challenging offshore environments from a moving support vessel, and are capable of working with ASVs of up to six tons with a variety of keel-mounted payloads. RC Dock Europe designed a novel lock and release system for the LARS, consisting of a series of specially designed magnets activated by sensors and controlled by inhouse-developed software. A modular storage cradle allows for the LARS to be fitted without requiring expensive deck modifications or large fastenings, and the entire system including the ASV can be transported in a standard 40 foot shipping container.

The launch and recovery processes can be controlled via a handheld remote-control unit, which displays real-time information on the LARS process cycle and locking status. Two pneumatic movable arms provide a wider point of entry when in an open position and an additional lock when closed. High-pressure air is used in the system instead of hydraulic fluids, to avoid hazardous spillages in the event of damage or leakage.

The LARS is manufactured from lightweight marine-grade aluminium, complying with classification body DNV’s regulations for offshore use. The 10 meter long and 800 kg system is load-tested at 13 Tons. Flotation and fender modules are constructed from closed cell high-density foam, with a special spray-on coating that aids in absorbing and withstanding high-impact loads from the mother vessel during launch and recovery operations in rough weather conditions.

Ronald Kraft, Sales and Marketing Director at RC Dock Europe, commented: “Fugro’s design requirements has forced us to think outside the box resulting in a lightweight open LARS construction with a unique magnetic lock and release system, making it one of the most challenging projects to date.”

Posted by Mike Ball Mike Ball is our resident technical editor here at Unmanned Systems Technology. Combining his passion for teaching, advanced engineering and all things unmanned, Mike keeps a watchful eye over everything related to the unmanned technical sector. With over 10 years’ experience in the unmanned field and a degree in engineering, Mike’s been heading up our technical team here for the last 8 years. Connect & Contact