Gliding into the Coral Sea

This article has photo gallery Published on MIDN Emily Kolokotas (author)

Topic(s): HMAS Melville (A246), Science, Technology & Innovation

The Slocum Glider launch onboard HMAS Melville in the Coral Sea. (photo: )
The Slocum Glider launch onboard HMAS Melville in the Coral Sea.

The Leeuwin Class Hydrographic Survey ship HMAS Melville has deployed three Slocum Gliders in vicinity of the Coral Sea, as part of the SEA2400 trials and Australia’s continued efforts to test new technology to enhance the hydrographic surveying capabilities of the Navy and the Nation.

This was the second time Melville had deployed the autonomous underwater vehicles as part of the Royal Australian Navy’s efforts to provide additional hydrographic support to secondary Government taskings while on deployment.

Deployed from the ship last week, the Navy-owned gliders will collect sustained oceanographic data over a four week survey period in the Australian Exclusive Economic Zone before they’re recovered by Melville.

The three gliders were launched consecutively, allowing for continued observance by lookouts on board as well as the ship’s sea boat.

The gliders were put through configuration, launch and shallow dive tests before beginning their programmed deep dive, supported by the Marine Tech Systems (MTS) remote control headquarters in Western Australia.

Melville’s Maritime Geospatial Officer - Hydrography, Lieutenant Andrew Taylor, said MTS’s contribution couldn’t be understated.

“MTS brings considerable experience in deploying and recovering gliders.

“The quality of the training and documentation provided to Melville reflect this, and significantly contributed to the success of the evolution,” Lieutenant Taylor said.

Melville’s Commanding Officer, Commander Michael Kumpis, said launch day was an exciting morning for all of the ship’s company.

“Particularly for our geospatial officers and sailors, as they engaged with the new technology and procedures.

“The SLOCUM Glider is an innovative and efficient solution to the challenge of oceanographic data collection.

“Acquisition of these gliders represents a significant capability improvement for the Hydrographic Force and the Royal Australian Navy,” Commander Kumpis said.

Melville will rendezvous with HMA Ships Adelaide and Larrakia as part of Defence’s enhanced regional engagement efforts in the area.

Through this mission, the Royal Australian Navy seeks to enhance our capabilities for the future and strengthen relationships across and beyond Navy.