The NATO CRV Leonardo, operated by CMRE and crewed by the Italian Navy under a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with NATO, completed the deep water calibration of the acoustic positioning upgrade, improving once more NATO scientific test capabilities at sea.
The upgraded system is designed for positioning of subsea targets in deep water and in accurate seabed survey applications, such as position reference for towed-sidescan sonar extensively used during CMRE sea trials. This upgrade on the NATO Coastal Research Vessel (CRV) Leonardo, improves capacities in accurate subsea positioning using a Super Short Base Line (SSBL) position technique. It allows tracking of up to 50 submerged targets and also the positioning of the ship in geographical coordinates by deploying a transponder on the sea bed or on an underwater vehicle; the transponder simply communicates with one vessel-mounted transducer, and no installation of calibrated array transponders on the seabed is required. These coordinates can also be sent to external equipment such as the dynamic positioning system on board Leonardo, allowing the ship to automatically track and follow for example a submerged AUV.
The advantage for CMRE testing capabilities is to enhance the effectiveness and the safety while operating at sea with underwater vehicles. Moreover, the updated system will make possible further upgrades to improve the positioning capacities in the future.
This upgrade keeps CRV Leonardo capabilities at sea in line with those of the NATO Research Vessel Alliance in terms of high precision positioning. NRV Alliance, part of CMRE oceanographic fleet, has had this system on board for a number of years.
"This new equipment enables CRV Leonardo to act as a bi-directional emergency acoustic-link with the newly delivered Italian Navy Autonomous Underwater Vehicle. It also allows real-time tracking and monitoring of the AUV mission", says Lieutenant Giampietro Lungarella, CRV Leonardo Commanding Officer.