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Buoy-Based Mine Nuetralization Mooring

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Buoy-Based Mine Neutralization Mooring

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A buoy-based system for launching, tracking, and controlling an Archerfish Mine Neutralizer (AMN) vehicle without a hard-wired link to the command console.  This involves advancement towards two major goals:

Buoy-based acoustic tracking platform
Develop a free-floating system having adequate dynamic stability, in conditions up to sea state 3, to allow for acoustic tracking of an AMN vehicle with sufficient accuracy for completion of a successful mission. 

Vehicle launcher mechanism
Develop a system that can securely hold, arm and launch an AMN vehicle, and provide a clear exit path for the AMN vehicle fiber optic tether.  A future goal is to make the system deployable from an MH-60 helicopter.  This goal imposes size and weight restrictions on the prototype design under the current effort.


Archfish Mine Neutralization System (AMNS)
The Archerfish Mine Neutralization System (AMNS) is a system that uses a tethered vehicle to approach, identify, and neutralize previously located mines. An existing system has been developed to deliver and control the system from a hovering helicopter. That system consists of a Launch and Handling System (LHS) body lowered on an electromechanical (EM) cable from the aircraft. The LHS contains four Archerfish vehicles, a vehicle launch system, vehicle tracking system, and fiber tether. The vehicle is operated from a control station in the aircraft. The vehicle position relative to the LHS is determined using COTS acoustic tracking system. The operator commands the vehicle toward the vicinity of the target and uses the vehicle's sonar and video signals to approach and identify the target before commanding the neutralization. This system has the disadvantage of requiring that the aircraft remain in undesirable proximity to the mine being targeted. Also, this system is limited to deployment by helicopter.

An approach has been identified whereby an AMNS is delivered in a buoy-based system with a radio link between the buoy and the operator's station, rather than an EM cable. Such a system could be delivered by helicopter, surface vessel, or fixed-wing aircraft, and allow the system to be operated while the delivery craft stands off at a safe distance. We propose to investigate key technical questions regarding this new approach, and develop systems to address these issues.

Last updated: June 22, 2009

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