In a trial performed by the Israeli Navy, a Helicopter Long-Range Active Sonar (HELRAS) dipping sonar was successfully converted for operation onboard the Seagull, Elbit Systems’ Unmanned Surface Vessel (USV).
NATO forces deployed the Seagull USV during a Joint Anti-Submarine Warfare exercise with the Spanish Navy’s Santa Maria-class frigate Victoria and the Royal Navy’s HMS Duncan.
Operating a dipping sonar onboard a USV significantly increases the operational working time compared to a helicopter, however, in circumstances in which speed is required such a platform may not be entirely suitable.
Elbit Systems say:
“The Seagull autonomous multi-mission USV features switchable, modular mission payload suites and can perform, in addition to ASW, Mine Countermeasure missions (MCM), Electronic Warfare (EW), Maritime Security (MS), Hydrography and other missions using the same vessel, mission control system and data links.
Seagull offers navies a true force multiplier delivering enhanced performance to naval operations, reducing risk to human life and dramatically cutting procurement and operating costs.”
The Seagull USV also participated in a joint Mine Counter Measure exercise between the Royal Navy and the Israeli Navy in which the Seagull USV was tasked with securing a path for HMS Ocean, the former British helicopter carrier.