Saab Seaeye Selects Acoustics for Sabertooth Hybrid Vehicle
Subsea technology company Sonardyne International Ltd has delivered its latest consignment of AvTrak 6 acoustic communications and navigation hardware to defence and security company Saab’s subsidiary Saab Seaeye.
The unique design of Saab’s Sabertooth vehicle allows it to be configured as a conventional tethered ROV or free-flying AUV depending on the operational requirements of the user. It is depth rated to 3,000 metres, has a long excursion range and is equipped with a control system that affords it six degrees of freedom. This level of manoeuvrability makes the vehicle suitable for a wide range of subsea tasks including light intervention and inspection duties within the offshore oil and gas sector.
AvTrak 6 adds to the versatility of the Saberbooth vehicle by combining the functions of an acoustic tracking transponder, transceiver and wireless modem link in a package that consumes only a small amount of payload space and power. It is available in a variety of configurations including depth ratings to 7,000 metres, electronics-only (OEM) for customer integration and a customisable command language that offers features such as mission abort and ballast jettison.
During missions, Sabertooth pilots use AvTrak 6 for AUV-to-Vessel and AUV-to-AUV communications. This enables mission and status updates on operational vehicle parameters to be sent and received. Often when navigating across the seabed, AvTrak 6 is used to update the vehicle’s inertial navigation system with precise range data gathered from nearby transponders deployed on the seabed in support of oilfield survey and construction activities.
AUVs are generally operated from survey vessels equipped with Ultra-Short BaseLine (USBL) tracking technology. These systems allow the position of the vehicle relative to the vessel to be precisely tracked via a transponder attached to the vehicle. AvTrak 6’s USBL mode replaces the need for a separate transponder saving valuable space and is compatible with both Sonardyne and third-party systems including Kongsberg’s HiPAP®. An internal battery provides power and supports an emergency transponder mode for vehicle relocation.