Tracking, Navigation, Positioning and Communication Sensors for AUV, ROV, USV

Multi-Aperture Sonar Integrated into Mine Countermeasures Software

By Mike Ball / 20 Sep 2020
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Bluefin-9 UUV


Sonardyne’s Solstice multi-aperture sonar has been integrated into software used by the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) to process data collected by mine countermeasure UUVs (unmanned underwater vehicles). Partnering with Australian defence software engineering company Solutions from Silicon (SfS), Sonardyne has ensured that this data can now be imported, processed and displayed in the most recent release of MINTACS (Mine Warfare Tactical Command Software).

Solstice is now fitted as standard to General Dynamics Mission Systems’ Bluefin-9 and Bluefin-12 UUVs, and the RAN is due to add seven of these vehicles to its fleet under its SEA 1778 program. They will be based at HMAS Waterhen in Sydney and will be used to search for, classify and identify sea mines.

Sonardyne’s Solstice provides a force multiplier for MCM operations, enabling substantially higher area coverage rates (ACR) using low-cost, low-logistics autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs). It delivers a 200 m wide swath and 0.15° along-track resolution, and with a power consumption of only 18 Watts it allows users to maximise the mission endurance of the vehicle.

In addition to reading and displaying data from the Solstice multi-aperture sonar, MINTACS provides the ability to mark mine-like objects (MLOs) of interest and process the images with its powerful onboard automatic target recognition (ATR) capability. MINTACS is in service with many countries around the world, including the national navies of the UK, Australia, Malaysia, United Arab Emirates, New Zealand and Sweden.

Russell Norman, Technical Director at SfS, commented: “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 neutralization. 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.”

Ioseba Tena, Global Business Manager – Defence & Robotics at Sonardyne, stated: “At Sonardyne we are really proud to be supporting SfS and their efforts to provide additional capability to the Royal Australian Navy. 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.”

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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