Thales and Ocius develop unmanned anti-submarine capability

Thales Australia and Ocius Technology have entered a teaming agreement to develop and deploy an Unmanned Surface Vehicle (USV) capability equipped for Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) and surveillance missions.

The Australian designed and manufactured Blue Sentry autonomous system is made up of a team of Ocius Bluebottle USVs integrated with Thales’s new thin line Fibre Optic Towed Array sonars.

In operation the concept is that the unmanned vessels are deployed from shore to autonomously patrol large areas of coastline over extended missions, performing underwater ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance) duties at sea, and in extreme weather conditions.

Missions that would have previously required the deployment of peopled assets for many days to complete will be able to be conducted remotely using the Blue Sentry team of Autonomous Vessels at a significantly reduced cost of coverage.

Ocius Technology CEO Robert Dane said: “If you can imagine a map of Australia with Blue Sentry Bluebottles scattered about the Exclusive Economic Zone where illegal vessels know if they enter our waters, they will get stung.

“This is not only Australian Sovereign capability it is the best. This is the quietest and most capable persistent USV platform combined with the best array.”

Benefitting from Thales’ 35 years of investment in towed array innovation in Australia, the Royal Australian Navy and DST Group, traditional Towed Array capability was first deployed on the Collins class submarine for threat detection.

Thales’s sovereign thin line Fibre Optic Towed Array is a miniaturised version of a submarine Fibre Optic Towed Array, enabling autonomous detection of craft on the surface or below the water that generate acoustic noise.

The Blue Sentry system’s autonomous detection capabilities also enable covert communication to allies below the surface using long-range low frequency underwater communications.

The newly developed thin line Towed Array was designed, developed and manufactured at Thales Australia’s Acoustics Centre of Excellence at Rydalmere in New South Wales.

Thales has been working collaboratively with Ocius since 2013 on the role of the USV in ASW .

Thales Australia and New Zealand CER Chris Jenkins said: “The detection and classification of modern undersea threats at tactically useful ranges requires a highly optimised balance between the sensor and the platform to ensure success in the most challenging of acoustic environments.

“The specialist teams within Ocius and Thales Australia have worked to bring their respective capabilities together into the Australian designed and manufactured Blue Sentry.”

Picture: Thales Australia

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