ASW training perfected
With navies around the world upgrading their submarine programs, effective anti-submarine warfare (ASW) measures are also needed. Training for ASW missions can be a costly process, but the innovative AUV62-AT training solution is an effective alternative to a real submarine.
The ability to detect, track and engage submarines is an essential capability for modern navies. However submarines are a rare, expensive commodity and are often on operations and unavailable for training exercises ASW crews in this most perishable of maritime warfare skills of. Without effective training the submarine threat becomes even greater.
Saab has a highly effective solution to meet this training capability gap, an autonomous underwater vehicle designed to replicate a submarine; AUV62 AT. This acoustic target mimics both the passive and active acoustic signatures of a wide range of different submarines, can be easily launched from surface vessels and delivers highly cost-effective, live ASW training from basic level through to advanced.
“The AUV62-AT is the most advanced anti-submarine warfare training system on the market,” says Carl-Marcus Remén, Sales Director at Saab`s business unit Underwater Systems. “It allows crews to do a wide range of training scenarios, including basic training all the way to firing a torpedo at the system and to then conduct extensive evaluation afterwards. This means it is of use to everyone from experienced crews to navies wanting to expand their anti-submarine warfare training capabilities.”
Remén explains that prior to being used the AUV62-AT is programmed for the desired behaviours and characteristics. Once launched, it operates completely autonomously. “It has a variety of transducers covering multiple frequency ranges from hull-mounted sonars to towed sonars, and even homing systems on torpedoes”, Remén says.
The AUV62-AT has a multi-platform capability which allows the system to interact with multiple ASW assets simultaneously, allowing training to be conducted with a complete ASW taskforce. The acoustic transducer tail on the target, which extends up to 75m, delivers a high fidelity acoustic signature which to an operator will appear as a real submarine.
Remén says a key feature of the AUV62-AT is its sophisticated behaviour. “It can be programmed to undertake evasive action if it senses that it has been detected, for example increasing its speed or shifting its active or passive signatures."
After an exercise, the data collected by AUV62-AT can be downloaded and analysed; providing crews with immediate feedback on their performance and helping them to improve their performance in subsequent sessions.
In 2016 AUV62 AT was used by the United Kingdom´s Royal Navy during Exercise Unmanned Warrior. A team from Saab operated the target throughout the exercise in a range of scenarios against autonomous ASW assets. The target operated in a number of exercise serials over a two week period where no other submarine asset or target was available; demonstrating clearly its valuable contribution.
Since then the Royal Navy has become Saab’s latest customer purchasing its own AUV62 AT and conducting rigorous trials and testing in open water exercises and increasingly challenging weather conditions. These trials and specific Royal Navy requirements are now feeding the development of the target’s technical roadmap and will contribute to an even more capable system.
Remén emphasizes that the AUV62-AT is the future of underwater training. "There is a clear trend using unmanned underwater vehicles and also unmanned surface vehicles to complement and enhance the way ASW is performed today and in the future. Saab´s innovative solutions in this field is well positioned for the future needs, "he says.