The Royal Australian Navy Leeuwin-class hydrographic survey vessel, HMAS Melville (A 246) has deployed three Slocum Gliders in the vicinity of the Coral Sea, as part of the SEA 2400 trials.
This was the second time Melville had deployed the autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) as part of the Navy’s efforts to provide additional hydrographic support to secondary Government taskings while on deployment.
Deployed from the ship last week, the Navy-owned gliders will collect sustained oceanographic data over a four week survey period in the Australian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) before they’re recovered by Melville. The three gliders were launched consecutively, allowing for continued observance by lookouts on board as well as the ship’s sea boat.
The gliders were put through configuration, launch and shallow dive tests before beginning their programmed deep dive, supported by the Marine Tech Systems (MTS) remote control headquarters in Western Australia.
Melville will rendezvous with RAN Canberra-class landing helicopter dock (LHD) ship HMAS Adelaide (L01) and Armidale-class patrol boat HMAS Larrakia (ACPB 84) as part of Australia’s enhanced regional engagement efforts in the area.
Project SEA 2400 Phase 1 (SEA 2400-1) Hydrographic Data Collection Capability seeks to replace and expand the existing Royal Australian Navy (RAN) Hydrographic Survey Capabilities.
The update consists of increasing the Strategic Military Survey Capability of the RAN with the introduction of a new Hydrographic and Oceanographic survey vessel, and complementary systems. The project includes the HydroScheme Industry Partnership Program (HIPP) to address the realisation that there is a need to better understand the maritime domain for both defence and civilian purposes. The HIPP will entail a commercial hydrographic survey program delivered by industry.
The Australian Department of Defence released Request for Tender (RFT) documents relating to the Project SEA 2400 Phase 1 HIPP on Dec. 8, 2017.