Friday, June 15, 2012

Meggitt Hammerhead - Live Target Training

Continuing our mini-theme of training, one of the things I mentioned in a previous post was the use of unmanned small craft for use as drones in live fire exercises.  Well,  this is the small craft I had in mind – the Meggitt Hammerhead.

Meggitt Hammerhead - Unmanned Expendable Drone
The Hammerhead is a small, remote controlled, unmanned boat capable of speeds up to 40 kts.  These craft are designed to be expended in exercises thus providing as realistic training as possible.  Data collection and telemetry, including Miss Distance Indication (MDI) scoring, video telemetry, and radar augmentation allows the exercise to be recorded for later review.  Boats can be transported by ship and deployed as needed or launched from land and proceed to the training area in a unique “follow me” mode.

Here's a YouTube video of the Hammerhead in action.

One notable feature is that the boats can be operated in a swarm.  In a public demonstration, Meggitt operated 16 Hammerheads (Hammerhead USV-T) in a swarm over a seven hour period at the Esquimault Canadian Navy Base on 18-May-2010.  A company spokesman indicated that up to 40 boats can be operated at a time.

For the U.S. Navy, Hammerheads, individually or in a swarm, would be an ideal training exercise especially for the LCS which was designed for exactly this scenario.  The unmanned boats would allow the Navy to validate the LCS design and develop anti-swarm tactics under as realistic conditions as possible.

Hammerhead Swarm Trainer

Meggitt offers a range of surface and aerial training targets and is the world’s largest producer of unmanned target vehicles.  While declining to provide specifics of which Navies they’ve sold to and how many, a spokesman noted that over 200 Hammerheads have been sold.  The cost is comparable to a low-cost BMW automobile.

Disclaimer:  I have no connection whatsoever with Meggitt Training Systems. 

Meggitt Training Systems – Canada
Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada

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