KATFISH Completes Phase One Sea Trials

KATFISH undergoing sea trials in Conception Bay South, Newfoundland in February 2017 (Photo: Kraken Sonar)

Posted by Eric Haun

Kraken Sonar Inc. said it has successfully completed phase one
sea trials of its KATFISH towed Synthetic Aperture Sonar system.

Karl Kenny, Kraken's President and CEO, said, "These are exciting
times in the underwater robotics industry. Customers are starting
to fully understand the cost and risk mitigation benefits of
unmanned systems. Both military and commercial markets are
showing encouraging growth as they are now incorporating unmanned
vehicles and intelligent sensors in their procurement plans and
budgets. In fact, industry analysts Market Info Group estimates
that the global unmanned maritime systems market will reach $2
billion by 2020."

The goals of the initial sea trials were to validate KATFISH
towing performance at various speeds and sea states; to operate
and validate the system's hydrodynamic flight sensors; and to
operate onboard sonars including the AquaPix MINSAS 180 Synthetic
Aperture Sonar. Other system sensors that were tested included a
high accuracy Ultra Short Base Line positioning system utilizing
both topside and underwater inertial navigation; and platform
sensors for velocity, current, temperature and depth
measurements. The manually operated KATFISH Launch and Recovery
System, designed by Kraken's Handling Systems Group based in
Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, was also tested and evaluated.

To date, tow speeds up to 8 knots have been successfully
demonstrated in shallow water depths up to 50 meters and in sea
state conditions up to Beaufort 5 scale. In all sea states and
towing conditions, the hydrodynamic stability of the KATFISH
exceeded expectations.

Dr. Tom Tureaud, Kraken's Vice President for Underwater Systems
said, "We are very pleased with the positive results from the
initial sea trials of KATFISH. We are confident that the KATFISH
system will provide a considerable advancement in seabed survey
missions for military and commercial applications."

Phase Two testing has several operational objectives. The
operational depth will be increased to 200 meters, resulting in
significantly higher drag forces and a corresponding larger
vertical maneuvering envelope. Operators will also be evaluating
the first version of Kraken's new SASView 3D visualization
software.

At the same time, target detection performance of the first
commercially available MINSAS 180 sonar will be evaluated, using
known targets of opportunity for detailed resolution and range
measurements. Finally, Kraken's innovative Fault Detection and
Fault Response (FDFR) system will be integrated into the KATFISH
and exercised through the complete operating envelope, helping to
ensure safe and efficient operations.

Upon completion of Phase Two sea trials, the KATFISH system will
undergo final Factory Acceptance Testing. Shipment to the
customer is planned for April 2017 followed by integration of the
system onboard the customer's Unmanned Surface Vessel.

KATFISH is an actively controlled, intelligent towfish used to
generate real-time, ultra-high resolution seabed images and 3D
maps for a variety of military and commercial applications. The
system's primary sensors are based on Kraken's AquaPix
Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Sonar technology.

The KATFISH system is designed to be deployed from either manned
or unmanned surface vessels for both military and commercial
seabed survey applications, and produces ultra-high resolution
seabed images to very long ranges.

Mar 8, 2017

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