Kongsberg adapts AUV launcher for midships deployment

March 31, 2020
Kongsberg Maritime has developed a new launch and recovery system for its HUGIN range of autonomous underwater vehicles.

Offshore staff

KONGSBERG, Norway – Kongsberg Maritime has developed a new LARS (launch and recovery system) for its HUGIN range of autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs).

The new system is designed to operate from midships, with the release and capture of HUGIN marine robots occurring beneath the sea surface.

Launching and recovering AUVs under water, away from the splash zone, the company said, reduces the chances of damage, while a midships deployment prevents them being run over by the launch vessel.

In addition, launch and recovery can be performed in much higher sea states, lessening the risk of weather damage to marine robots.

For the crew, operating the new LARS from midships should free up aft deck space, with no personnel required to work over the stern in potentially challenging conditions.

The AUVs can be deployed from a hangar or container, and multiple robots can be managed from a single LARS, Kongsberg said. Although midships is optimal, the LARS can be operated from anywhere on board, including the stern, or higher than on the main deck, to accommodate the vessel layout.

For deployment and recovery, the LARS cradle is lowered into the water to a pre-determined depth then positioned safely below the splash zone and propeller wash. It is heave-compensated to stabilize the effect of waves and ship movement.

Once in the water, HUGIN is released to start its mission and during recovery finds its way home to the cradle using its onboard navigation system and a KONGSBERG MicroPAP. Once nearby, the HUGIN drives itself into the cradle and is locked in before being lifted out of the water.

According to the company, the system could also be installed in an AUV hangar on a platform supply vessel, facilitating a broad range of subsea tasks related to offshore oil and gas infrastructure, or retrofitted in a containerized solution.