Home' Defence Technology Review : DTR MAY 2016 Contents INNOVATIONS
DEFENCE TECHNOLOGY REVIEW | ISSUE 20 | MAY 2016
Deakin University and Elbit Systems of Australia (ELSA)
have established a memorandum of understanding that would
facilitate the development of various advanced technologies
of relevance to the future growth of the Sentinel II Combat
Reconnaissance Vehicle (CRV) capability being bid into
Phase 2 of Land 400.
Deakin’s Waurn Ponds campus will become Team
Sentinel’s research and development centre of excellence,
called AFV Works.
One such technology, a remotely-operated mobile target
system (MTS), has already been devised by Deakin’s Institute
for Intelligent Systems Research and Innovation (IISRI).
The IISRI has been supplying technology into the Australian
Defence Force and its suppliers for more than a decade in
the robotics, motion platform, modelling and simulation and
decision support areas.
The MTS, known as Oz Tug, will support ELSA’s Sentinel
II weapon system integration and demonstration activities in
Australia, which will include live fire testing of the vehicle’s
30mm main armament and 7.62mm co-axial machine gun.
DTR understands, however, that existing Department of
Defence (DoD) ranges are able to accommodate firing at
moving targets at ranges of 800-1,500m only, rendering
them unsuitable to support the Land 400 Phase 2 lethality
requirement for firing at moving targets at 2,000m.
Specifically, the requirement calls for a stationary CRV to
fire its cannon main armament at a target moving at 40km/h
at a range of 2,000m from the firing point, and a CRV
travelling at 40km/h to fire at a target also moving at 40km/h,
again at a range of 2,000m.
The joint Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
(DARPA)-Office of Naval Research (ONR) Anti-Submarine
Warfare (ASW) Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel
(ACTUV) program has reached a major milestone with the
commencement of open-water testing set for mid-2016.
DARPA will collaborate with ONR to fully test the
capabilities of the ACTUV prototype and several innovative
payloads during open-water testing off the California coast
after preliminary checkout and movement to San Diego.
A highly autonomous unmanned ship that could
revolutionise US maritime operations, ACTUV is a 40.2m
twin-screw trimaran constructed of carbon-fibre composites
and designed for effective operations in conditions up to Sea
State 5 and to be survivable in Sea State 7.
The ACTUV program seeks to demonstrate the capability
of an unmanned vessel to employ its non-conventional
sensor technologies to achieve continuous tracking of the
quietest diesel-electric submarines over their entire operating
envelope for months at a time across thousands of kilometres
of ocean under a sparse supervisory model and severe
environmental and maritime conditions.
The requirement for ACTUV stems from the US Navy’s
concerns about the proliferation of very quiet diesel-electric
submarines around the world, the procurement of which
is forecast to grow. As DTR has reported previously, even
second-tier navies, particularly in Southeast Asia, are
commissioning small but potent fleets of late-generation
diesel-electric submarines. Many of these, whilst modest in
size and range, are capable of both blue water and shallow
water/littoral operations – waters from which US carrier
and amphibious task groups could be expected to conduct
operations across the globe but particularly in the Asia-
In addition to robust operating autonomy which complies
with international maritime laws and conventions for safe
navigation, autonomous system management for operational
reliability and autonomous interactions with an intelligent
“Team Sentinel had explored other international target
system options but none met the Commonwealth’s unique
requirements,” said ELSA managing director Dan Webster in
a 28 April release.
Oz Tug is essentially a motorised prime mover which tows
a two-wheel lightweight trailer and steel/aluminium square
tubular framework to support the 2.5x2.5m disposable target.
Driven by high-power electric motors, Oz Tug will
incorporate what IISRI senior research fellow Dr James
Mullins describes as a “novel tracking and positioning system
that we don’t believe has been used before”.
The system, Dr Mullins told DTR, is wirelessly connected to
a ground control station to provide real-time platform speed
and performance measurement as well as providing a video
link to the target system for analysis of firing effectiveness.
Battery power is expected to give Oz Tug several
hours of light-duty endurance on the range, with batteries
interchangeable within minutes. Running on 15-20-inch all-
terrain tyres, Oz Tug will achieve speeds over open ground of
Overall system weight is approximately 400kg including
batteries and disposable target.
Two, four and six-wheel Oz Tug configurations are being
assessed, with the final design to be selected following a
range reconnaissance activity in the near future, said Dr
ELSA plans to use the MTS during lethality demonstrations
at the DoD range at Stony Head in northern Tasmania. Dan
Webster sees the MTS “...as potentially a viable export
product in the future”.
– Ian Bostock
adversary, key ACTUV technology includes advanced
software, navigation and piloting sensors, electro-optical
imagers, long and short-range radar, LIDAR (light detection
and ranging) and the Raytheon mid and high-frequency
Modular Scalable Sonar System.
ACTUV’s autonomous navigational capabilities are
also highly advanced, with at-sea testing of a surrogate
vessel equipped with ACTUV’s autonomy suite proving
the capability to operate in compliance with maritime
laws and conventions for safe navigation – including
International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea.
ACTUV accomplishes this through advanced software and
hardware that serve as automated lookouts, enabling the
ship to operate safely near manned vessels in all weather
and traffic conditions, day or night.
ACTUV is designed to normally operate under sparse
remote supervisory control but can also serve as a remotely
piloted vessel should the mission or specific circumstances
require it. As it does not need to accommodate people, the
vessel’s interior spaces are accessible for maintenance but
are not designed to support a permanent crew.
In either case, DARPA claims, ACTUV would operate at
a fraction of the cost of manned vessels that are currently
deployed for similar missions.
– Matthew Mendenhall
Mobile target system developed for Sentinel II testing
LEFT: Conceptual rendering
of the Oz Tug mobile
target system (four-wheel
configuration), showing a
disposable target installed.
MAIN IMAGE: ACTUV is an entirely new class of ocean-going
vessel; one able to traverse thousands of kilometres of open
seas for months at a time, without a single crew member aboard
and while still remaining under human supervision at all times.
INSET: Typical missions for ACTUV would include submarine
tracking and mine countermeasures activities.
trials by mid-year
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