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Survey: Radio modem at Haslar

Posted on 23.01.2008 - 10:00 EST in SURVEY NEWS by Rons_ROV_Links

Wireless Fibre Systems (WFS) has developed a Radio Modem incorporating Tritech's acoustic modem technology. Tritech are pushing forward with research into subsea Radio Frequencies (RF) Technology and hope to be able to promote a range of hybrid Acoustic/RF Modems (RAM300), a broadband high data rate/short range RF modem and a contactless data/power transfer solution.

More news and developments to follow over the next 12-18 months.

The WFS S1510 Radio Modem is now operational at QinetiQ's Ocean Basin facility, Haslar at the core of the instrumentation/control system.

Ocean Basin is an internationally recognised underwater test facility, located at QinetiQ, Haslar, in the south of England. Hydrodynamic trials of representative above water and underwater vehicles, such as Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) and submarines, are undertaken there.

QinetiQ wished to undertake a major update of the data gathering and control part of the instrumentation. For operational reasons it was essential that a wireless control system be installed that would operate in the challenging environment of the relatively shallow water (5.5m) concrete basin, within an enclosed structure, complete with facilities such as rotating arm and wave making machinery.

WFS was approached as it was recognised that an electromagnetic solution would operate in an enclosed environment, immune from the presence of acoustic noise. In addition it could handle the required data rate with no systemic delay in transmission and with a high degree of reliability. It would also have the key benefit of control data seamlessly crossing the water/ air boundary in both directions. The WFS S1510 Radio Modem, optimised for the Ocean Basin application, was proposed, selected, and is currently being commissioned.

The above surface Radio Modem is now being integrated with the facility Control Desk and the control software for the model under test. The underwater Modem, with its loop antenna is being integrated into the test model submarine. The system will be used to control the Model underwater with comprehensive error correction checks. Speed and depth information will also be telemetered back to the Controller.

WFS Chairman, Brendan Hyland, commented: "This is a great example of using WFS's Radio Modem to enhance the capability of QinetiQ's facilities and reduce operating costs. Using the RF link AUV and submarine trials can be completed more quickly and with greater precision. We are very pleased with the results".

QinetiQ Ocean Basin, Haslar

QinetiQ is a world class provider of defence and security innovation, research and evaluation services. It is a leader in the creation, application and exploitation of defence and security technology. In the maritime environment QinetiQ delivers this capability through innovative, cost effective solutions for clients by extracting value from defence research, de-risking technologies and integrating them into platforms.

Ocean Basin Ocean Tank facility is 120m x 60m x 5.5m deep and is one of the largest fresh water test basins in the world. Its large size enables models, typically about 5m in length, to be assessed in terms of manoeuvrability, seakeeping, stability and controllability in calm water and waves generated by the 5-element Wavemaker. A rotating arm is used to determine stability data for submarines and other underwater vehicles.

The ability to manoeuvre large, autonomous models has been invaluable in the development of designs for Royal Navy submarines, most recently for the Astute Class, and for surface ships such as the Type 23 Frigate and the Type 45 Destroyer. Behavioural studies and investigations into large commercial vessels ranging from fishing vessels through container ships to offshore applications can also be undertaken.

WFS Ltd is the world leader in underwater and underground RF technology and current holder of the UK MoD's top innovation award. The company has filed over 20 patent applications and won major contracts in the Defence, Offshore and Environmental industries. WFS is privately owned with head offices in Scotland.

For more information about WFS visit

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