Thales Australia and Flinders University have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to study the development of an automation system for the launch and recovery process of the General Dynamics Mission Systems Bluefin 9 UUV, procured by the Royal Australian Navy under its Deployable Mine Counter Measures project.

The current launch and recovery processes for AUVs requires human involvement in the deployment of the AUV from a USV, either through direct placement and retrieval from the water or activation from the platform. Through this collaboration, Thales Australia and Flinders University will work together to develop an end-to-end automation process that increases the safety for navy personnel by removing ‘the person from the mission.’

“The concept of Automatic Launch and Recovery Systems from a USV would revolutionize the current method of deployment,” says Thales Underwater Systems Director, Troy Stephen.

“Not only would it completely remove the person from the minefield but it could eliminate many of the current limitations of Unmanned Underwater Vessels (UUV) such as transit time, battery drain, communications and mission risk. The autonomation of this process will provide a significant enhancement to the Navy’s capability.”

During this study, Thales Australia will act as the design authority, working with key stakeholders to ensure that all capability and safety requirements are being met to allow Royal Australian Navy personnel to execute their mission safely. Flinders University will provide subject matter expertise to investigate potential concepts for the Automatic Launch and Recovery System from a USV.