17 Mei 2016
Saab SeaEye Falcon, a remotely operated underwater vehicle (photo : Saab)
Personnel from the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) have completed an ROV training course on the Saab Seaeye Falcon, a system regularly used by the Navy for reconnaissance and security duties.
The course, delivered at Devonport Naval Base in New Zealand, ran for nine days and focused on in-water operation training. A number of warships of the RNZN were berthed close-by, allowing the group to work under and around the vessels, carrying out a range of training exercises.
The course was split between classroom lectures and practical/in-water operational training and was specifically tailored by The Underwater Centre for the Navy.
ROV training and operations superintendent, Paul Bury, said that personnel had ‘spent an intensive nine days’ with training personnel who taught them about Seaeye Falcon capabilities.
‘The ROV has been used by the Navy for a variety of operations – from reconnaissance prior to deeper diving and assisting in the recovery of sunken aircraft/helicopter, to helping with marine accident investigations. The ROV can also be utilised for security reconnaissance for harbour inspections, hull inspections, mine location and disposal,’ he said.
‘Throughout the duration of the training the water visibility was poor – less than 1.5m. This added to the challenge, but gave the candidates the best possible training in learning how to navigate in poor or zero visibility conditions. It meant that sonar training became essential and the class were able to fly the Falcon without cameras – using sonar images and sensor readings alone.’
Lt Cdr Benjamin Martin, a mine clearance diving officer with the RNZN, added: ‘Remote technologies are highly valued by the New Zealand Defence Force for the range of options they provide. Since its introduction into service, the RNZN has utilised an observation class ROV to conduct operations ranging from hull inspections to deep recovery of helicopters in the alpine lakes of the South Island.
‘This wide variety of operating environments requires the ROV pilots to have a high standard of training, which The Underwater Centre provided in a very professional, thorough manner. Thanks to The Underwater Centre for the excellent training.’