Navy’s Maritime Geospatial Warfare Unit has deployed a new type of small survey craft from HMAS Adelaide for the first time.
Called ‘Polaris’, the survey craft was first launched and recovered from Adelaide during amphibious training off the coast of Queensland near Townsville during Exercise SEA WADER.
The vessel is part of a range of new capabilities, including a Fly Away Survey Kit and the Remus 100S Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV), that aim to modernise the collection and processing of geospatial data by Navy Hydrographers.
Operations Officer Maritime Geospatial Warfare Unit, Lieutenant Commander Paul Clark, said the team in Adelaide had been able to develop and test the procedures for launching the survey vessel from the LHD platform.
“Our priority was to test our ability to deploy the survey craft from an LHD,” he said.
“We can now train members of our Deployable Geospatial Support team so that they can familiarise themselves with the new survey craft system.”
Navy’s Hydrographic, Meteorological and Oceanographic Group has four Deployable Geospatial Survey teams that have been undergoing training for the past 12 months on the various capabilities that will be delivered under the SEA 1770 project.
The new survey vessel will provide the geospatial survey teams a new approach to Rapid Environmental Assessment and allow them to provide products to support military operations, including Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Response (HADR).
The vessel is equipped with a range of geospatial technologies including a multi-beam echo sounder, side-scan sonar, sub-bottom profiler and the ability to deploy its own AUV.
Lieutenant Commander Clark said the survey craft would give Navy teams improved capability in a number of areas.
“The survey craft will eventually allow the deployable teams to complete task such as surveying shipping lanes, beaches, anchorage areas and areas effected by natural disasters in which navigational accuracy is not guaranteed,” he said.
“It will also allow the geospatial survey teams to collect and process much higher quality data than what has been previously available.”