UOPV – A Military and Civilian solution by TecnoVeritas
As the old sailors say, “Lobsters change their shell not because they like but because they feel too tight and uncomfortable inside of their actual one!”.
Focussing on maritime safety and being this a contemporary discussion topic, TecnoVeritas is developing a new project – UOPV – Unmanned Oceanic Patrol Vessel – an unmanned patrol vessel, wave propelled performing equally well on all headings including against wind and waves. It has zero emissions and can roam the oceans for very long periods, transmitting data via satellite to shore.
Figure 1 – UOPV’s first prototype.
Making one such project development was pushed TecnoVeritas itself to be involved with the newest shipping demands, therefore looking for technical and scientific solutions related with multi-processing of data, sensors fusion, communications, data management and transmission, artificial intelligence, COLREGS (collision avoidance) and much more.
With the acquired and novel knowledge, TecnoVeritas was “forced” to enter into the newest marine engineering knowledge areas, making it a possible partner and role player for most of the future shipping and surveillance requirements to come.
As the UOPV hull is to withstand very harsh conditions in operation, it is made of particularly strong fibres. Therefore, TecnoVeritas has formed a consortium with Nautiber Shipyards at Algarve Vila Real de Santo Antonio to build the hulls.
Nautiber has a huge track record of fibre construction, from luxury yachts to tuna fishing boats and patrol vessels. Nautiber will also benefit from the project, as they will be using novel construction technologies, like infusion and conformable moulds.
Figure 2 – UOPV Applications’
- Military Applications
The UOPV aims to become the most affordable way of patrolling vast areas of sea, in a consistent way, while spending the minimum of human and monetary resources without environmental impact. The UOPV was designed to ensure the deployment of a large patrolling capability at sea.
Due to its exceptional payload, and depending on the missions required, the UOPV may be equipped with different sensors and or armament if required.
The vessel was designed to stand the heavy weather of the North Atlantic seas, capable of developing a patrolling action in all conditions, having an outstanding stealth behaviour on its surface and submerged mode.
- Civilian Applications
The UOPV is also an outstanding platform for civilian research (marine biology as well as oceanography), due to its space, power and payload availabilities, as well as to its silent operation. For example, the searching sensors (for rescue and identification missions), can detect a man in the water at 800 m or a vessel at 2000 m, can recognise a man in the water at 200 m or a vessel at 550 m or identify a man in water at 100m or a vessel at 300 m.
- Science, Commerce and Defence applications
UOPV is wave propelled and performs equally well on all headings including against wind and waves. It has zero emissions and can roam the oceans for very long periods, transmitting data via satellite to shore, or via other data transmissions technologies. Its extreme endurance coupled with a unique solution to reach considerable speed, its payload, and dissuasive power for unmanned surface vessels (USVs) offers great new potential to all engaged in oceanic monitoring and surveillance.
Hull motions in waves are converted directly, silently, into propulsive thrust. This gives speeds of up to 6 knots of the vessel. UOPV’s wave propulsion technology is completely scalable. Its internal volume is in excess of 3 m3 allowing an outstanding payload in equipment like sensors or other. The deck space is covered by last generation marine PV panels converting sunlight into power. UOPV energy concept, its improvements regarding the market existing offers, allow UOPV to perform new operations not previously considered as being possible like the oceanic patrolling. The UOPV is also easy to deploy and recover either from a support boat, a slipway or a marina like a boat.
- Station keeping: UOPV will keep the station on a 35-metre radius. This allows it to act as an untethered buoy, offering great economies.
- Waypoint: can be set or varied at any time from shore. This also means that UOPV knows the “way back home” to the rendezvous point or close to a harbour to be picked up. In this mode, an area of 500 square miles, can be properly patrolled in approximately one week.
- Remote Operation: UOPV can be navigated from a remote location, on board of a vessel or from shore, using satellite communication.
- Autonomous Operation: UOPV operated autonomously, i.e. it can make “decisions” based on an identification of context and artificial intelligence.
- UOPV had its design-oriented to operate during long periods without using fuels, therefore it is adequate for patrolling missions of vast ocean areas without fuel costs and restrictions.
- UOPV is between 6 and 8 m long and 2 to 2.5 m of breath, with a draft between 1 m and 2 m.
- Endurance: >6 months at sea.
- The UOPV is equipped with an integrated hybrid energy and propulsion system, using the waves energy for patrolling operations, and in case of need, it can use accumulated energy on board for auxiliaries as well as for attack and defence purposes including sprinting. Typically, the UPOV has two operation modes, the patrolling with a speed up to 6 knots and the sprint mode reaching 12 knots. Its unique hybrid system allows an exceptional endurance at sea. Despite its minimal visual silhouette, UOPV has an enhanced stealth mode, achieved by its submergence to a maximum depth of 5.0 m. The same capability may be used also when UOPV is facing heavy weather.