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Marine Electronics


June 2014 Issue

KVH Doubles VSAT Broadband Capacity Off West Africa
KVH Industries, Inc. (Middletown, Rhode Island) has doubled the capacity of its mini-VSAT Broadband network in the oil- and gas-rich areas off the West African coast, where maritime traffic and customer demands are surging.

This additional Ku-band capacity, which became available in April, addresses demand in an area where offshore supply vessels (OSVs) are the critical link between drilling rigs, cargo ships and operations onshore.

This area includes the international offshore waters of western Africa, where oil industry activity is increasing, and reliable satellite communications are vital to improving the quality of life and safety for crews and ships. The capacity increase in Africa follows a model KVH built successfully in the Gulf of Mexico, where the mini-VSAT Broadband network provides extensive satellite coverage for offshore supply vessels.

US Coast Guard Base Honolulu Hosts Undersea Robot Challenge
Approximately 200 students from 17 area schools participated in an underwater robotics competition at the U.S. Coast Guard Base Honolulu, Hawaii.

The Hawaii State SeaPerch Underwater Robotics Challenge is an innovative underwater robotics competition where students test robots they have constructed. The students, using kits with low-cost parts, built these robots utilizing engineering concepts, problem solving, teamwork and technical applications.

The SeaPerch Challenge is part of the Coast Guard and Department of Defense Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics outreach program for the state of Hawaii. It is sponsored by the Office of Naval Research, Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard, and the Joint Venture in Education Forum, a partnership between the Department of Defense and state Department of Education.

British Antarctic Survey to Drill With MacArtney Ice Core Winch
The MacArtney Group (Esbjerg, Denmark) has supplied an intelligent and rugged ice core drilling winch solution to British Antarctic Survey (BAS). The winch will be used to deploy the new BAS Rapid Access Isotope Drill (RAID), which is able to complete a 600-meter drilling cycle in just one week, before being redeployed at the next drilling location.

The drill will collect ice chippings, which can be used for isotope analysis and climate profiling, and leave an access hole to allow deployment of a temperature sensing cable. Both types of investigation and analysis will be used to identify good sites to find old ice. So far, shallow BAS drills have reached ice between 150,000 and 350,000 years of age, while the oldest ice that has currently been investigated is 800,000 years old. BAS hopes to find sites with ice as old as 1.5 million years.

Operation of the drill system will take place in East Antarctica at sites that are likely to be both cold (-25°C to -35°C) and high (more than 3,000 meters above sea level). Winching under these conditions is difficult and places very high demands on operators and the equipment they use.

Maine Wind Blade Challenge Student Design Competition
More than 200 students competed in the sixth annual Maine Wind Blade Challenge to design the most efficient wind blade systems to generate electricity, with the Baxter team coming out on top.

The Maine Wind Blade Challenge was developed by Maine Composites Alliance (MCA) in partnership with the Maine Ocean & Wind Industry Initiative (MOWII), with support from the University of Maine College of Engineering and the Advanced Structures and Composites Center, to inspire student exploration of alternative energy and advanced materials.

The Wind Blade Challenge partners high school teams with Maine advanced composites manufacturers to research, design and manufacture model wind blades.

Each team must compete against other teams to generate the most energy over a two-minute period, and make presentations illustrating the research, design and engineering processes.

REMUS 100 AUV Surveys D-Day Wreckage
A mission off the coast of South Devon, England, has surveyed two U.S. Landing Ship Tanks (LSTs) that were torpedoed and sunk during the D-Day rehearsal Exercise Tiger on April 28, 1944. Using state-of-the-art AUV technology to collect data from the wreckage, the mission has produced the first high-definition sonar images of this World War II tragedy. This was the first time in history that an AUV had surveyed the area.

The mission, which was executed by Hydroid, Inc. (Pocasset, Massachusetts), with additional data provided by the Royal Navy's Maritime Autonomous System Trials Team (MASTT), commemorates the 70th anniversary of Exercise Tiger.

A tragic but largely unknown military operation, Exercise Tiger was a D-Day rehearsal for the invasion of Normandy's Utah Beach. The exercise took place off the southern English coast and resulted in the loss of nearly 1,000 American servicemen—more than the number of deaths at the actual invasion of Utah Beach.

The REMUS 100, a Hydroid AUV was used to secure close proximity, high-quality side scan and wide-swath interferometric bathymetric multibeam sonar images of the two LST wreck sites.

The data show that both LSTs are about 50 meters below the surface and reach 6 to 8 meters above the seafloor. The REMUS 100 also discovered an object of interest close to the shore which may hold significance in relation to Exercise Tiger. An effort to identify this object is currently underway by the Royal Navy.

While Hydroid operated in the English Channel about 30 miles out to sea, MASTT focused on the waters just off Slapton Sands where the Exercise Tiger beach landing took place. The information collected by MASTT's REMUS 100 was an important supplement to the efforts of the Hydroid team.

To commemorate the 70th anniversary of Exercise Tiger, Hydroid and the Royal Navy will donate images that were obtained from this mission to the U.K. National Archive and local memorials.


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