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News

BAE Systems - Underwater Vehicle Uses Race Car Technology


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BAE Systems
: 13 April, 2007  (Company News)
BAE Systems has unveiled a revolutionary unmanned autonomous underwater system, known as Talisman M. One of a range of Talisman vehicles in development, the M classification denotes its mine countermeasures (MCM) role.
The size of a small family car, Talisman is known as an Unmanned Underwater Vehicle (UUV) and builds on innovative technology already incorporated in a previous variant in the range of BAE Systems' unmanned aerial vehicles.

Andy Tonge, Talisman project manager at BAE Systems Underwater Systems, says: 'Talisman M can perform the type of dangerous roles currently performed by service men and women throughout the world - locate, identify and neutralise mines in one single mission without the need for human intervention. Using technology from the non-defence industry has enabled us to develop this UUV more swiftly and cost-effectively and to introduce innovative solutions.

'This is part of an overall strategy across BAE Systems to build up an integrated approach to unmanned vehicles and autonomous systems, leading to the development of Intelligent Autonomy, which can be applied across land, sea and air.'

BAE Systems chose to unveil its first production-ready Talisman at Ocean Business 2007 in Southampton, UK, after a series of highly successful trials. Talisman can operate at depths in excess of 150m and is capable of being rapidly reconfigured to carry a variety of payloads, providing a full multi-role capability. In the M configuration, Talisman carries BAE Systems' remotely operated 'Archerfish Single Shot Mine Neutraliser'. A number of mines can be neutralised on a single mission.

Developed in conjunction with Lola cars, the motor racing manufacturer, the new design will reduce hydrodynamic drag, thereby improving overall mission endurance. Fitted with vectorable thruster pods, Talisman can turn through 360 degrees, and maintain precise positioning whenever needed.

The UUV is capable of being deployed from any vessel and, throughout each mission, Talisman communicates with its operators via sophisticated communications equipment. While Talisman's mission parameters are pre-set before its launch, which leaves it to complete its task without human interference, operator intervention is possible throughout to allow tactical flexibility.

While existing unmanned systems operated from onboard surface vessels need their own dedicated console installed on the ship, Talisman's control architecture is designed to be integrated into a ship's own control systems to save space and allow a more efficient operational process.

The Talisman programme was launched by BAE Systems in late 2004. The programme, which has been fully-funded by BAE Systems private venture funding, went from paper to initial trials within less than a year. Although developed by the Underwater Systems business unit of BAE Systems in Waterlooville, UK, the programme draws on expertise from various parts of the company. This includes the Military Air Solutions business group within BAE Systems, which is also developing highly capable unmanned air vehicles.

Earlier in 2007, Adam Ingram, the UK's Minister of State for the Armed Forces, said: 'The primary requirement that the Royal Navy currently has for Unmanned Underwater Vehicles is for Mine Countermeasures. The Navy's Future Mine Countermeasures Strategy sets out our aspiration for a range of fully autonomous UUVs, capable of conducting mine detection, classification and neutralisation while the parent platform remains at a safe distance.'
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