Unmanned Sea Surface Vehicle (USSV) Motion Data and Refueling Equipment Design
NAVAL SURFACE WARFARE CENTER CARDEROCK DIV SUFFOLK VA DETACHMENT NORFOLK
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A key design challenge in at-sea refueling and recovery of Unmanned Sea Surface Vehicles USSVs is making a connection with the USSV to the towed sled, in view of relative motions between the two. To enable a reliable connection, the USSV must be capable of positioning its bow within the sleds docking aperture. The level of confidence is traded off against size and acceptable sea state operating range for recovery and refueling equipment. NSWC Carderock Division Detachment Norfolk performed at-sea experiments designed to acquire real world, statistically significant data to determine the ability of an autonomous USSV to hit a target under a variety of operational conditions including sea state, heading relative to the sea, and USSV speed. The resulting extensive set of motion and positional data will be useful for future system designers for years to come. This work was funded by the Office of Naval Research, Sea Platforms and Weapons Division. NSWC Carderock Division Detachment Norfolk has developed a system to enable underway refueling of USSVs in open ocean conditions that does not require recovering the USSV. This concept relies on a two-part connection, the initial latching of the USSV to a towed sled, and a fluid seal. The capture and fueling system consists of an extendable probe in the USSVs bow that engages a receiving mechanism mounted in the vertex of a V-shaped sled. The sled is towed by a host vessel and intended to act as a deployable refueling station from a mother ship. In use, the USSV will approach the sled from astern and autonomously navigate into the sleds notch, make a mechanical connection, verify the fluid path and seal integrity, receive fuel, and then disconnect, steer clear, and then continue with its mission. The probe is fully retractable, fits inside a removable section of the USSVs bow, and has minimal hydrodynamic impact on the USSV performance.
- Marine Engineering
- Logistics, Military Facilities and Supplies