Bluefin Robotics has received five orders from the US Navy to deliver ship hull inspection vehicles to boost harbour and force protection.
The Bluefin Robotics vehicles will increase the navy's capability to autonomously search and investigate ship hulls, harbour sea floors, and other underwater infrastructure for limpet mines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
Under the $5m contract, Bluefin will perform engineering support, operator training, on-board repair parts, depot spares, retrofit, and the manufacturing of Systems 6 and 7.
The company will also add new capabilities that include the integration of a GPS receiver and a magnetic compass for geo-referenced navigation during searches, and integration with the Common Operator Interface Navy EOD (COIN).
Additional capabilities include video enhancement; an update of SeeByte's Automatic Target Recognition software to the ARIS imaging sonar, and other new features.
The vehicles will be used in the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Hull Unmanned Underwater Vehicle Localization System (EOD HULS) Program of Record.
Also known as MK19, the EOD HULS system consists of two of Bluefin's third-generation hovering autonomous underwater vehicles (HAUV-3) and associated support equipment.
HAUV-3 was initially developed under the Office of Naval Research, and was later transitioned to the EOD Program Office.
With the delivery of Systems 6 and 7, which are scheduled to take place in the first quarter of 2016, the US Navy will own a total of 14 vehicles and a spare.
Image: EOD HULS MK19 System. Photo: courtesy of Bluefin Robotics.