Remote Operated Salvage System is Rising Star
By Edward Lundquist
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Anteon Corporation’s Remote Operated Salvage System (ROSS) is a compact, portable positive-control lifting device that can lift underwater objects up to 2,500 pounds at depths of up to 300 feet.
Anteon built the systems, which are called MK 7 Mod 0 Deepwater Lifting System (DWLS), for use by U.S. Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) divers. Divers working to clear a shallow-water zone of mines can manually connect mines or other objects to the DWLS, which can then raise the object off the ocean floor to a shallow depth. The DWLS can then be towed with the object still suspended to a safe area for disposal. The system can be towed into position at speeds up to 12 knots, and towed away, laden with a mine or other suspended load, at 3 knots.
ROSS features a 9.8-foot diameter donut-shaped inflatable bladder that provides 5,600 pounds of positive buoyancy. According to Anteon’s Dave Junker, the flotation collar is manufactured of Hypalon coated fabric (vulcanized) and made by Demaree Inflatable Boats, Inc of <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />Friendsville, MD.
The unit has a winch system that is remotely controlled. Once the divers have attached the lifting pendent to the object of interest and left the water, the support boat stands off at a safe distance and the object is brought to a shallow depth by remote control.
The DWLS can also be used to place underwater objects, including bottom mines, or sensor packages by own forces
A pair of 12-volt Gel-cell batteries, delivering 96 amp hours each, provides power. Electric motors drive the hydraulic winch. The system’s bladder, winch system and platform weigh about 850 pounds, which allows for a net buoyancy of about 4,500 pounds. The DWLS electrical and mechanical systems are housed in a non-magnetic waterproof (and bulletproof) Spectra-Kevlar housing.
All military EOD specialists train at the joint school at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. Navy EOD personnel receive additional training in underwater tools and methods, including use of the DWLS.
The units are transportable about a trailer, equipped with a battery charger, that can be towed by a utility truck or HUMVEE.
Maintenance is simple, basically limited to general cleaning, charging batteries, and inspecting lifting pendent. An inoperative system is repaired at the depot by Anteon, according to Junker.
Matt Miller, vice president of Anteon’s Coastal Technologies Division says the ROSS system has other military and numerous civil applications.
“There is obvious utility as a lightweight, portable salvage system to support Navy or commercial divers. In many respects it is a safer system because the diver controls the winch and can begin raising an object when he or she is certain that it is ready and safe to do so,” Miller says.
A pair of ROSS units can be used to lift objects in tandem, as long as the attachment points are separated by at least the diameter of the flotation collar.
“There are many civil uses for raising, or lowering objects into place on the seafloor or in the water column. The system could be used to verify insurance claims of sunken boats or retrieve objects that have fallen overboard. It can also be used to lower salvage materials and tools to support larger salvage efforts, Miller says.
Miller adds that costs could be reduced for civil versions that did not need to meet a Navy requirement for low-magnetic signature materials for use around influence mines.
Edward H. Lundquist is the communications director for the Center for Security Strategies and Operations with the Anteon Corporation, Arlington, Va.