Sonardyne International, UK, has been awarded the contract to supply Britain’s new polar research vessel, RRS Sir David Attenborough, with subsea acoustic tracking and position reference equipment.
The Ranger 2 Ultra-Short BaseLine (USBL) system will be used by scientists to precisely track the position of, and communicate with, scientific instruments and robotic vehicles deployed from the vessel, including the Boaty McBoatface AUV.
Ranger 2 will also be interfaced with the vessel’s dynamic positioning (DP) system for precise station keeping during science operations, the company explained.
Commissioned by British Antarctic Survey, an institute of the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), and being built by Cammell Laird in Birkenhead to a Rolls Royce design, the RRS David Attenborough will be one of the most advanced vessels of its type when it enters service in 2019.
Measuring 128 meters long and 24 meters wide, the new ship will have a range of 19,000 nautical miles and be able to accommodate up to 60 scientists engaged in ocean, seafloor and atmospheric research.
Sonardyne’s Ranger 2 will support the RRS Sir David Attenborough’s work by enabling science teams to precisely monitor the position of underwater systems deployed from the vessel.
Alongside design and engineering services, Rolls Royce is supplying a comprehensive package of control systems and equipment for the vessel, including the DP system. This will utilize data from Ranger 2 to maintain a stable vessel position as equipment and vehicles are deployed and recovered.
Sonardyne’s contract includes the supply of two through-hull deployment machines, seafloor and vehicle-mounted tracking transponders, and topside control hardware and software. The first equipment deliveries to Cammell Laird for integration into the vessel have already began, Sonardyne noted.
Mark Carter, global business manager for Sonardyne said, “As a privately-owned British engineering company, it’s a great honour for our technology to have been selected for Britain’s next polar research vessel.
“The work now begins to deliver Ranger 2 and support Rolls Royce, Cammell Laird and British Antarctic Survey through the installation and commissioning phases of the project.”