HMS Enterprise tested unmanned underwater gliders recently.
The survey ship used a Slocum Glider to study areas of interest in the seas north of Scotland, say the Royal Navy.
The glider can be programmed to patrol for weeks at a time and automatically surfaces to transmit data while downloading new instructions for missions ahead.
In a release, the Royal Navy say that Enterprise deployed the glider between the Outer Hebrides and the Faroe Islands and, during its ten-day outing, it studied the water column around the Wyville Thomson Ridge, a rocky plateau on the sea floor.
“Throughout its submerged sorties, the glider was controlled remotely – through its online piloting technology – from nearly 700 hundred miles away by a team at the National Oceanographic Centre in Southampton. The glider complemented Enterprise’s work while she conducted military data gathering tasks in the Atlantic.
The idea is to use the data gathered by the glider and compare it to that collected by Enterprise herself. Eventually the aim will be to deploy several gliders at once to enhance the work Enterprise and fellow Royal Navy survey vessel, HMS Echo, do.”
A big advantage of the glider is that it is able to collect data in difficult conditions at range and over a long period of time, say the Royal Navy.