WINCH EQUIPMENT FOR SURGE SUPPRESSION (WESS)
The objective for Phase I of WESS is to investigate a constant force winch system for use on an unmanned surface vehicle (USV) as part of the Unmanned Influence Sweep System (UISS). The UISS provides a semi-autonomous minesweeping function with both stand-off and long endurance. The AN/AWS-10A sonar system has been targeted by the Navy to provide additional minehunting functionality from an unmanned surface vehicle (USV). Sea use of this sensor brings additional stability issues that must be dealt with to effectively use the sensor for minehunting operations. Tow cables can induce towed body motions on the sonar sensor resulting in degraded sonar imagery and issues in classifying detected mines. In Phase I, we will evaluate the proposed constant force winch, WESS, for feasibility of the system. WESS will be a hydraulic based winch system capable of exerting a constant force on the tow body from the winch, thereby reducing surge reactions on the platform and allowing for better area coverage rates while maintaining acceptable minehunting system performance requirements. Additionally, the need for adaptive control of the USV will also be investigated to determine if it is needed to meet the surge suppression requirements of the program.
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