SMD will supply its latest generation of Multi-Depth 3m (MD3) Plough to NTT WEM of Japan. The system will be delivered in the fourth quarter of 2008 and will be installed on NTT WEM's cable lay vessel Subaru.
NTT WEM were the customer our first MD3 plough in 1998, and since then thirteen systems have been delivered to telecoms installers all over the world. The MD3 set a new benchmark for cable protection by making it possible to trench a fibre optic telecoms cable to 3m deep using its unique patented depth adjustment mechanism. This meant the compact plough could be handled and towed from existing cable ships and A Frames (originally designed for 1.1m ploughs), and also enabled the plough to trench over a wide range of depths matching the protection to the likely threat. Since then the MD3 has become the most widely used trenching tool in the submarine telecoms industry and has been used to reliably protect many thousands of km's of cables. In particular, the MD3 has been widely used in South East Asia where aggressive fishing techniques require deeper burial to protect the cable.
The third generation MD3 which will be delivered to NTT WEM enjoys a number of improvements including: a wider cable route to accommodate the latest factory joints; the SMD DVECS Control System (developed on our Q Series ROVs) with improved pilot ergonomics and diagnostics; and a 2000m depth rating with a 5300m buoyant umbilical.