The firms have combined to showcase undersea tracking technology before naval representatives in Europe.
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iXblue and ECA Group have demonstrated subsea asset tracking in shallow waters to representatives from the Polish Naval Academy.
The demonstration, hosted by local Polish maritime navigation services firm THESTA, leveraged iXblue Gaps M7 USBL (ultra-short baseline) positioning system and ECA Group’s new R7 ROV (remotely operated vehicle).
This aimed to prove accurate positioning of underwater targets is possible in a hostile and fast-approaching environment, particularly in coastal regions characterised by shallow waters of seven to 10 metres in depth, surrounded by docks and vessels.
ECA Group’s R7 ROV was tasked with investigating objects and structures submerged in the shallow waters of the Baltic Sea in Gdynia harbour, while iXblue Gaps M7 USBL acoustic positioning system was deployed to geolocate the R7 ROV and correct its trajectory in real time.
A fixed transponder was also positioned several hundreds of metres away from the vessel at a depth of five metres.
According to the firms, Gaps M7 provided horizontal tracking capabilities with omnidirectional coverage and 200 degrees acoustic aperture.
The ROV inspection was also reportedly successful despite the low visibility.
“The R7 ROV along with the Gaps M7 USBL acoustic positioning system is able to transmit information accurately, even in noisy and difficult acoustic environments,” Cezary Majchrowicz, technical director at THESTA, said.
“They both enable fast operation as well as regular and quick position updates, even in very shallow waters, which is a definite asset for the navies, given their need for a fast, clear and concise picture of the battlespace to quickly manoeuvre naval forces in the field.”
In addition to its work in Europe, ECA Group is bidding for the Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN) SEA 1905 Tranche 1 – Maritime Mine Countermeasures Survey program, which is seeking an autonomous solution to be deployed from the Arafura Class offshore patrol vessels (OPVs).
The company has partnered with a number of local firms, including Western Australia-based Total Marine Technology (TMT).
The ECA-led team is competing against Saab Australia, which recently launched its bid alongside Leidos Australia, SeeByte and Sonartech Atlas.
[Related: ECA Group opens new MCM facility]