in Defence / Security

L3Harris, Voyis and Wavefront collaborate to enhance NATO AUV Capabilities

Posted 13 December 2023

Yeovil based Wavefront Systems, L3Harris and Voyis are collaborating to deliver advanced technology to enhance NATO’s autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV) capabilities.

Image courtesy L3Harris / Voyis / Wavefront

L3Harris’ area of expertise is the development of AUVs for a variety of maritime applications. AUVs are designed to operate in harsh environments, including deep water and can be used for a range of missions, including search and rescue, surveillance, mine countermeasures and oceanography and L3Harris continuously advances its technology to meet critical evolving defence mission needs.

To further improve L3Harris’ Iver4 900 AUV capabilities, the global defence company integrated a Voyis Recon LS and the Wavefront Solstice 3000 multiple-aperture sonar (MAS) Combined AUV payload onto the Iver4 900 platform to support defence missions.

The Voyis team, in collaboration with Wavefront Systems (based in Sparkford, near Yeovil in Somerset) has gained a successful factory acceptance test result of the Recon LS/3000MAS AUV payload with L3Harris, to be delivered to a NATO Navy, further improving the IVER4 900 capabilities.

It consists of a single, integrated forward payload section housing Voyis’ compact dynamic laser scanner, which captures high-resolution 3D point-cloud data, the Voyis’ 4K imaging system with appropriate lighting, which delivers crisp, evenly illuminated still images with its edge-computed image enhancement feature and finally, the Wavefront Systems’ Solstice multiaperture side-scan sonar that delivers 200m-wide swath coverage and bathymetry at high resolution.

The Voyis Recon LS/WaveFront Solstice Combined AUV payload offers a solution for autonomous underwater vehicles to covertly detect, classify and identify mine-like objects (MLOs), reducing risk to divers. The system uses the multiaperture side-scan sonar, 4K digital still-camera and high-resolution laser scanner to carry out this task.

The L3Harris’ Iver4 900 vehicle provides the payload with both stability and endurance to make the most of the payload.

MCM operations involve four stages: detection, classification, identification and disposal/neutralisation. Currently, side-scan sonar is used for mine detection and sometimes for classification. However, visual identification requires a clearance diver or remotely operated vehicles to enter the minefield, which is time-consuming and risky, especially in areas with complex seabed. This requires multiple resources to be deployed into a potentially hazardous environment to complete a successful operation, which is inefficient when relying on lower-quality sensor data and dangerous if humans are mobilising the assets.

The Recon LS/WaveFront Solstice MAS Combined AUV payload is designed to rethink how mine countermeasure (MCM) operations are conducted today and enable single assets to complete complex missions without deploying additional resources within the minefield.

By enabling search and classify mapping using Wavefront’s leading multiaperture sonar Solstice, the vessel can re-acquire and identify MLOs using Voyis’ laser and camera, improving the probability of detection, reducing false alarms and sustaining a high op tempo.
Voyis and Wavefront have partnered with Forcys, a global maritime defence company and a sister company in Covelya Group, to market the system to allied nations.





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