ECA Group secures two customers for Inspector Mk2 multi-mission naval drone
The French unmanned vehicles specialist ECA Group promoted its Inspector Mk2 autonomous multi-mission surface vehicle at the EURONAVAL 2016 international naval technologies show, which was held in Paris-Le Bourget, France, last week. The system has now been purchased by Kazakhstan and one other unnamed nation. The system designed to perform detection and identification operations in very shallow areas such as harbours and amphibious landing areas, was jointly developed and built with French firm Orion Naval Engineering.
The Inspector Mk2 is comprised of an aluminium-built shallow-draft rigid mono-hull with distinctive chimes that curve up from the waterline beside the cockpit all the way to the bow, a flat, overhanging stern and a full-length fender along either side. It measure 9 m in length, 2.9 m in beam and 0.7 m draught, displaces 4300 kg and offers 12 H endurance and achieve 35 kts maximum speed.
The boat is powered by two Doen Pacific DJ100G hydro jets and two Steyr Motors SE236 diesels, and is fitted with hull-mounted EdgeTech 4600 side scan sonar system mounted to a retractable mast and providing simultaneously imagery and bathymetry data for water depth between 2 m and 25 m. Mounted to the aft deck is the mast structure that mounts datalink antennas, navigation radar by Simrad Marine Electronics, two long-range cameras from front and rear view, four smaller cameras to assist maneuvering operation and Maretron WSO100 ultrasonic wind/weather station anemometer, and lighting system.
Also, the Inspector Mk2 is fitted with a dedicated remotely controlled launch and recovery system installed on the aft deck aimed at to deploy company’s remotely operated underwater mission vehicles such as the SEASCAN Mk2 long-range inspection vehicle and K-STER C expendable mine disposal vehicle.
Optionally manned, the vessel can be driven conventionally or autonomously with the onboard crew of up to six acting in supervisory mode. It is suited for operation at up to sea state 4 in unmanned configuration and at up to sea state 5 when in manned configuration.
It is capable of operating a wide range of equipment including underwater mission drones, electro-optical payload, towed mine sweep, towed side scan sonar, synthetic aperture sonar, interferometric sonar, long-range acoustic device, non-lethal weapon, long-range searchlight and 12.7 mm remote-controlled weapon station. It can be customized according to the client-specific requirement.
For its command and control, ECA Group developed an integrated mission and data management system. The sonar data is exploited by complete software solution from Triton Imaging, a U.S. based operation of ECA Group.
The Inspector Mk2 can also work with much larger autonomous underwater vehicles that would be launched and recovered separately by mother ship, including the company’s new A9-M man portable light-weight detection and identification drone featuring low level of acoustic and magnetic signatures.
The A9-M weighing 70 kg and measuring 23 cm in diameter and 198 cm in length and offering endurance of up to 20 h, maximum depth of 200 m and 5 kts top speed, includes energy section, communications payload, inertial navigation unit, side scan sonar, video system, emergency pinger, strobe light, fault and leak detection unit and stand-alone surface control unit. Optionally, it can be equipped with other systems including obstacle avoidance system, satellite communications terminal and additional energy section.