KATFISH Completes Successful Phase One Sea Trials
ST. JOHN’S, NEWFOUNDLAND — Kraken Sonar Inc. has successfully completed phase one sea trials of its KATFISH towed Synthetic Aperture Sonar system, the company announced in a March 8 release.
“These are exciting times in the underwater robotics industry,” said Karl Kenny, Kraken’s president and chief executive officer. “Customers are starting to fully understand the cost and risk mitigation benefits of unmanned systems. Both military and commercial markets are showing encouraging growth as they are now incorporating unmanned vehicles and intelligent sensors in their procurement plans and budgets.”
The goals of the initial sea trials were to validate KATFISH towing performance at various speeds and sea states; to operate and validate the system’s hydrodynamic flight sensors; and to operate onboard sonars including the AquaPix MINSAS 180 Synthetic Aperture Sonar. Other system sensors that were tested included a high-accuracy Ultra Short Base Line positioning system utilizing both topside and underwater inertial navigation; and platform sensors for velocity, current, temperature and depth measurements. The manually operated KATFISH Launch and Recovery System, designed by Kraken’s Handling Systems Group based in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, also was tested and evaluated.
To date, tow speeds up to 8 knots have been successfully demonstrated in shallow water depths up to 50 meters and in sea state conditions up to Beaufort 5 scale. In all sea states and towing conditions, the hydrodynamic stability of the KATFISH exceeded expectations.
“We are very pleased with the positive results from the initial sea trials of KATFISH,” said Dr. Tom Tureaud, Kraken’s vice president for Underwater Systems. “We are confident that the KATFISH system will provide a considerable advancement in seabed survey missions for military and commercial applications.”
Phase Two testing has several operational objectives. The operational depth will be increased to 200 meters, resulting in significantly higher drag forces and a corresponding larger vertical maneuvering envelope. Operators also will be evaluating the first version of Kraken’s new SASView 3D visualization software.
At the same time, target detection performance of the first commercially available MINSAS 180 sonar will be evaluated, using known targets of opportunity for detailed resolution and range measurements. Finally, Kraken’s Fault Detection and Fault Response system will be integrated into the KATFISH and exercised through the complete operating envelope, helping to ensure safe and efficient operations.
KATFISH is an actively controlled, intelligent towfish used to generate real-time, ultra-high resolution seabed images and 3D maps for a variety of military and commercial applications. The system’s primary sensors are based on Kraken’s AquaPix Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Sonar technology. KATFISH produces ultra-high resolution seabed images to very long ranges. The KATFISH system is designed to be deployed from either manned or unmanned surface vessels for both military and commercial seabed survey applications.