SAAB Develops Underwater Anti-IED Robot – Sea Wasp

SAAB Develops Underwater Anti-IED Robot – Sea Wasp

May 18, 2016 @ 21:44 | 

Defense and security company Saab presented its remotely operated vehicle (ROV), Sea Wasp, at the Navy League’s Sea-Air-Space Exposition in National Harbor, Maryland. Sea Wasp, which relocates, identifies and neutralizes underwater improvised explosive devices (IEDs), is designed to combat below-the-surface terrorism.

To produce the Sea Wasp, Saab leveraged technology from its Saab Seaeye line of commercial ROVs, and added capabilities previously developed for its military systems portfolio. The company then worked with the U.S. Underwater Hazardous Device Response Community to adopt it for explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) purposes and procedures.

“Sea Wasp is a hybrid of pre-existing Saab technologies that can now be applied to an urgent worldwide need,” said Bert Johansson, Sales Director for Underwater Systems within Saab’s Dynamics business area. “Underwater EOD is a rapidly growing niche around the world, and Sea Wasp’s capabilities correspond to that niche.”

Today, most underwater IED threats are disposed of manually by trained EOD divers. Sea Wasp is operated remotely by two-person teams, allowing for a safe distance between operators and IEDs.

To test Sea Wasp, Saab has partnered with the Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office (CTTSO) in providing Sea Wasp prototypes to three EOD agencies: the U.S. Navy EOD Group 2, the FBI Counter-IED Unit, and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division’s Counter-Terrorist Operations Maritime Response Unit. All three agencies have received Sea Wasp training; testing and evaluation is being carried out over the next 10 to 12 months.

“The U.S. unmanned underwater vehicle market is very important for Saab,” said Jon Kaufmann, Vice President of Naval Programs with Saab North America. “Our goal with Sea Wasp is to meet U.S. national security needs with an underwater, anti-IED device that keeps EOD teams safe.”

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Sea Wasp Robot:

Designed with mobility in mind, the Sea Wasp is a portable system that includes a vehicle, generator, pilot station, hand winch and power supply unit.

The traditional system carries a high-tech sensor suite that includes wideband sonar, LED lights and video cameras for effective operation and identification capabilities in areas with limited visibility; however additional sensors can be fitted due to its flexibility.

The Sea Wasp’s onboard Doppler Velocity Log (DVL) and Internal Measurement Unit (IMU) deliver navigational capability, allowing it to maneuver between specific way points. The vehicle itself incorporates Saab Seaeye’s unique iCON intelligent control system, and is modelled on Saab’s Double Eagle family of MCM vehicles, to give six degrees of freedom for ultimate maneuverability.

WaspSAAB’s Anti-IED Robot – Sea Wasp (Image: SAAB)

Its six thrusters deliver enough power to be effective in up to 2.5 knots of current, allowing the Sea Wasp to hover when processing a target or to secure itself to structures such as a ship’s hull or harbour walls. Although designed to operate in the difficult shallow conditions and tidal currents of harbours, this flexible ROV has a maximum operating depth of 60 metres.

IEDs vary significantly in form and design, and consequently, tools to counter the threat need to be diverse. The Sea Wasp is fitted with an electrical five-function manipulator arm. It gives the operator the flexibility to deploy a range of tools and techniques for Improvised Explosive Device Disposal (IEDD) and Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD), depending on the scenario.

The modular design of the Sea Wasp allows its basic configuration to be altered to suit each mission. During the mission planning stage, relevant payloads can be integrated to create a tailored system. This efficient interchange of parts ensures easy configuration upgrades. Modularity is at the very heart of the Sea Wasp concept, and Saab is working with its partners to build additional capabilities into the system as the underwater terrorist threat evolves.


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