The Royal Netherlands Navy has acquired 7 SEMA Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) training targets by RTsys. The unmanned underwater training targets, which can be launched from a ship or Rigid-Hulled Inflatable Boat (RHIB), are designed to be a substitute for training with real submarines.
Tracking down enemy submarines is an important task for both frigates and helicopters of the Royal Netherlands Navy. However, training staff is expensive, likewise training time with submarines is limited and also expensive. The new ASW training target addresses these problems.
Just over two meters long, the orange SEMA appears underwater as an actual submarine of several tens of meters in length. A submarine fighter gets a lifelike image on sonar equipment and the target responds realistically to broadcast pings.
“It’s fantastic that they are here now,” says Captain-Lieutenant Commander Björn Kerstens, who requested such a practice target four years ago.
The system aims to enable low-cost, realistic and accessible training anywhere in the world for operators of the Low- Frequency Active Passive Sonar (LFAPS) sonar on the Van Amstel and Van Speijk and the Helicopter Long-Range Active Sonar (HELRAS) on the NH90 maritime helicopters.
“The drone simulates a submarine during training,” said Captain-Lieutenant Commander Paul Dröge, Head of the Underwater Combat Technology Bureau. “They are relatively cheap, portable, reusable and give a realistic acoustic response within their peripheral frameworks.”
The sailing period of Zr.Ms. Van Amstel was set as a hard deadline for the project. The Factory Acceptance Test (FAT) and Sea Acceptance Test (SAT) had to be successfully completed, and operators trained in programming, maintenance, deployment and retrieval of the underwater drone. The unmanned training targets had to be delivered operational before departure. Meeting all of the Navy’s requirements RTsys successfully delivered the SEMA targets on time.