The US Navy has awarded five delivery orders to Bluefin Robotics for vehicles that will increase the Navy’s capability to remotely inspect ship hulls.
The robots can also search and investigate harbor sea floors, and other underwater infrastructure for limpet mines, Improvised Explosive Devices and other objects of interest.
The delivery orders, valued at $5 million, are to be used in the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Hull Unmanned Underwater Vehicle Localization System (EOD HULS) Program of Record.
The EOD HULS System, known as MK19, consists of two vehicles and associated support equipment. Bluefin’s third-generation Hovering Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (HAUV-3), used in the MK19 system, was initially developed under Office of Naval Research and transitioned to the EOD Program Office.
Bluefin’s work will include engineering support, operator training, on-board repair parts, depot spares, retrofit, addition of new capabilities, and the manufacturing of systems 6 and 7.
New capabilities include the integration of a GPS receiver and magnetic compass for geo-referenced navigation during searches; integration with the Common Operator Interface Navy EOD; addition of video enhancement; an update of SeeByte’s Automatic Target Recognition software to the ARIS imaging sonar and other new features.
After delivery of Systems 6 and 7 scheduled in spring 2016, the Navy will own 14 vehicles and a spare.