Underwater robots used for exercise mapping

Published on LEUT Tony White (author), CPL Jake Sims (photographer)

Topic(s): Unmanned/Remote Systems

Defence Science and Technology Organisation engineers James Gourley (left) and Phil Jackson retrieve a Slocum Glider off the coast of Yeppoon, Queensland, as part of the buildup to Exercise TALISMAN SABRE 2013. (photo: CPL Jake Sims)
Defence Science and Technology Organisation engineers James Gourley (left) and Phil Jackson retrieve a Slocum Glider off the coast of Yeppoon, Queensland, as part of the buildup to Exercise TALISMAN SABRE 2013.

A Defence Science Technology Organisation (DSTO) team was deployed to the Exercise TALISMAN SABRE 2013 exercise area in early July to demonstrate and evaluate the potential Defence benefits of autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) for long duration remote sensing of the under sea environment.

Two Slocum Glider AUVs scanned the waters off Shoalwater Bay training area north of Rockhampton, acquiring oceanographic and other data before transmitting it to the US Naval Oceanographic Office (NAVO) in San Diego, California, to assimilate within their numerical ocean models. NAVO analysed and forwarded the results to the ADF to inform naval vessels participating in TALISMAN SABRE and special forces about predicted ocean conditions in the exercise area.

The Slocum Gliders can be deployed for a period of 15 to 30 days at a 600- to 1500-km range and with a flexible payload that can carry a range of different sensors.

DSTO is the Australian Government’s lead agency charged with applying science and technology to protect and defend Australia and its national interests.