C & C Technologies, Inc. (C & C) is set to sea trial its new Unmanned Semi-Submersible (USS) this June in the Gulf of Mexico. The 6-meter (20 feet) vehicle was designed and built over the last three years as a substitute for the standard hydrographic survey launch. Powered by a 30 horsepower diesel engine, the vehicle will be ideal for large nautical charting surveys and mine defense efforts.
The USS operates just below the water's surface with a mast extending above the waterline. Payload sensors include a keel-mounted side scan sonar, multibeam echosounder, and CTD. The mast includes a video camera, C-Nav DGPS, and wireless antenna for high-speed telemetry of data.
"Like an AUV, the vehicle will be able to operate autonomously in a wide range of sea conditions, yet with the exposed mast, data can be reliably positioned with DGPS and relayed back in real time," said Thomas Chance, CEO of C & C Technologies. "Unlike an AUV or a launch, the USS will be able to operate for four days at four knots, or two days at eight knots."
Through a contract with the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, C & C engineers have designed the system for multiple unit deployment and payload flexibility. The company intends to build additional vehicles for use worldwide through survey service contracts or system sales.