ISE's Aurora Active Towfish was successfully towed for the first time from existing route survey equipment belonging to the Canadian Navy aboard a Maritime Coastal Defense Vessel (MCDV) off the coast of Vancouver Island. Built in the 90's for coastal defense, the Canadian Navy's MCDVs were equipped with Route Survey System (RSS) payloads consisting of a high performance multibeam sonar built into a variable depth actively controlled towfish, and a shipboard handling system.
However, over the years, the operation of the variable depth active towfish has become problematic. As the Navy's successful Interim Remote Minehunting and Disposal System (IRMDS) currently incorporates ISE's Aurora variable depth towfish, there was an opportunity to integrate the Aurora towfish with the existing RSS handling device and demonstrate the resulting towing performance from an MCDV.
The integration of Aurora with the RSS handling system was extremely straightforward, requiring minimal modifications to the towfish docking mechanism.
This towing trial is part of the Route Survey System Life Extension (RSSLE) project's definition phase. During the three days of towing, over 20 hours of towing was completed in conditions including 25 to 30 knot winds and sea states up to 4. The Aurora towfish provided very stable performance during unfamiliar handling maneuvers, launch and recovery, and operations with both faired and un-faired cabling at a variety of cable scopes, speeds, and depths.
This indicates the Aurora can meet the Navy's towing requirements for the next generation of high performance mine hunting sonars.
The Aurora Towfish is owned by Defense Research and Development Canada (DRDC) Atlantic, and has been a part of a working relationship between DRDC and ISE for over 20 years. It is an integral part of the Canadian Navy's IRMDS program. ISE is extremely pleased to be a part of the RSSLE program and looks forward to future integration.