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The Talisman Autonomous Underwater System

March 24, 2006 We hear a lot about Unmanned Aerial vehicles from the size of a butterfly to a full blown jet, and unmanned ground vehicles have been getting their share of the limelight recently too. So it figures that Unmanned Underwater Vehicles would soon become commercially available too. BAE Systems launched an autonomous unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) Talisman at Oceanology International 2006 earlier this week and like its cousins, the latest-generation modular multi-role UUV Talisman is equally omnipotent and capable of a wide range of maritime littoral operations. Talisman comprises the vehicle and a remote control console. The vehicle is based on an innovatively-shaped carbon fiber composite hull, equipped with internal carbon fiber composite pressure vessels containing the electronics systems and payload. The hull is fitted with commercial-off-the-shelf vectorable thruster pods, which allow it to maneuver very accurately, hover and turn 360 within its own length. The hull has been designed and manufactured by stealth aircraft technology experts at the BAE Systems military aircraft sites at Warton and Samlesbury, U.K.  Read More

Ocean treasure hunting Dream Team gets celeb Captain

March 5, 2006 Exploration and treasure recovery team Deep Blue Marine had all the pieces to make a treasure hunting "dream team," except one. They needed a familiar face to launch and lend credibility to their brand. The company has solved that problem by inking a deal with celebrity James Brolin to be the spokesperson and face of DPBM  Read More

Volvo Penta’s new IPS joystick controller for boats

February 26, 2006 Old school thinking has a distinct ring to it. “If it aint broke, don’t fix it” and “It’s always been done that way for a very good reason” are the catchcries of an era long-since-past. Once upon a time, ships and boats were pushed through the water by a fixed screw propeller and steered by a rudder. Now Volvo Penta has released a new system it has dubbed the Inboard Performance System (IPS) system and turned the whole industry on its ear. With double forward-facing propellers and steerable drive units, boats equipped with the Volvo Penta IPS are significantly better than boats with traditional inboard shafts in virtually all respects: comfort, performance, environmental features and driving characteristics. Since its introduction last year, the Volvo Penta IPS has received prizes and awards throughout the world but time stands still for no man and now there’s a new enhancement that will look strangely familiar to computer gamers - a joystick. Even the most experienced boat-owners can sometimes feel uncomfortable about the prospect of docking a large boat in a congested harbour, especially if the dockside is filled with spectators! Volvo Penta’s new IPS Joystick eliminates that problem. With just a few simple hand movements, you can place your boat elegantly against the dock.  Read More

Royal Rendezvous: Queen Mary 2 meets namesake Queen Mary

February 25, 2006 Maritime history was made Thursday as two legendary ocean liners, the Queen Mary 2 and the Queen Mary, met for the first time in Long Beach harbour for a royal rendezvous. The commemorative festivities were part of the Cunard Lines' Queen Mary 2's highly anticipated maiden call to Los Angeles on Wednesday, where more than 25,000 spectators turned out. As she entered Long Beach harbour on February 23, the Queen Mary 2 was met by a flotilla of 800 boats, 14 helicopters, and three blimps, as well as 6000 spectators lining the shore to view the festivities. A first-time whistle salutation between the famed ocean liners had even more meaning as the QM2 carries one of her namesake's original whistles, the tone of whose deep bass "A" can be heard ten miles away. When the original Queen Mary was built, it was the world’s largest ever ship, being significantly larger than the Titanic. It still holds the record for the most people carried aboard a floating vessel. The Queen Mary 2 is longer, taller and nearly twice as large as the Queen Mary.  Read More

Stiletto Experimental ship with carbon fiber M-hull design tops 50 knots (60mph)

The M80 Stiletto Experimental Vessel was launched this week offering a sneak peak at the next generation of military vessels. The Stiletto is an operational experiment by the Pentagon’s Office of Force Transformation (OFT) and its revolutionary carbon fibre structure and hull enable it to operate in shallow water, with 50 knot speeds, stability and great stealth as part of its armoury. Costing US$12.5 million to develop and build, the 88ft vessel is capable of carrying 37 tonnes at speed over a range of 500 nautical miles. The patented M-hull design transitions automatically and efficiently through hydrostatic, hydrodynamic and aerostatic lift modes with increasing speeds effectively creating a cushion of air and providing a comfortable high speed ride with great stability, and has enormous promise for a wide range of nautical applications for boats from 8 through 200 feet (see these stunning concepts). The Stiletto is powered by four 1,650-horsepower Caterpillar engines, and can cruise comfortably near its top speed of more than 50 knots (60 miles per hour). With a shallow draft of less than 3 feet, Stiletto has a three man crew, and will carry a complement of 12 US Navy Sea, Air and Land (SEAL) commandos, an11 metre rigid hull inflatable boat (RHIB) and either Manta and Silver Wing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV).  Read More

Likeafish extracts air from water to enable a new paradigm in underwater exploration and l...

February 3, 2006 Air and water are two of life's staples - interestingly, two of the best ideas we've ever written up involve both. Airwater machines extract water from the air and now there's a machine which can extract air from water, on-the-fly. Isreali company LikeAFish has developed a new technology which will enable a new paradigm in underwater exploration and living. Likeafish’s tankless diving technology is able to extract air from water and could revolutionise scuba diving, offering unlimited dive time and no need for expensive and inconvenient refills. The appropriately-named company uses a method similar to a fish’s gills to extract the dissolved air present in all seawater to offer an indefinitely sustainable supply of oxygen to scuba divers, submarines and underwater habitats. The device uses a battery-powered centrifuge to lower the pressure of seawater in a sealed chamber, enabling the air to escape, in a similar manner to opening a bottle of lemonade. After separation in the centrifuge, the air is transferred to an air bag for use by the diver. The first unit will be installed in Lloyd Godson’s BioSUB this year – the BioSUB is the world’s first self-sufficient, self-sustaining underwater habitat.  Read More

The Landing Helicopter Assault (LHA-R) amphibious assault ship

January 24, 2006 The United States Defense Acquisition Board has approved the Landing Helicopter Assault (LHA)-Replacement amphibious assault ship program to enter system development and demonstration (SDD) phase. The Northrop Grumman LHA(R) will be the U.S. Navy's newest multifunctional and most versatile, amphibious assault ship, incorporating enhanced aviation capabilities centred around the STOVL F-35B Joint Strike Fighter and the V-22 tilt-rotor Osprey. The LHA(R) will be a variant of the gas-turbine powered LHD 8. This longer and wider ship will provide increased aviation capability, vehicle lift, cargo magazine capacity, better survivability, increased habitability standards and greater service life margins.  Read More

Winner takes all in Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race

January 1, 2006 When Wild Oats XI crossed the finish line on December 27, it became just the sixth boat in the 61 year history of the Sydney to Hobart yacht race to take the line honours and handicap double. It also became only the second boat in history to win the magical treble (the first boat to do it was Rani under Captain John Illingworth in the inaugural race) by setting a new race record too, eclipsing Nokia's 1999 race record by more than an hour for the 628 nautical mile race. It is an enormous irony though, that the boat which was the last in contention to beat the US$10 million super maxi was the oldest boat in the race. The 41-footer Ray White Koomooloo won the race on IRC in 1968 with an elapsed time 4 days, 10 hours, 26 min and 52sec – in her time she was at the very forefront of boating technology with her lightweight four-skin, cold moulded wooden construction. This year she bettered that time by more than eleven hours to finish in 3 days, 22hours, 51min and 39sec but light winds in the final stages cost her any chance of repeating her IRC victory of 37 years ago. The mahogany-constructed Sparkman-Stephens-designed Koomooloo was lovingly restored over seven years and for the last twelve months has been heavily and successfully campaigned by Queenslander Don Freebairn. That's Wild Oats XI on the left and Koomooloo on the right.  Read More

Photo: Carlo Borlenghi

December 26, 2005 Ocean racing is one of the most exciting and dangerous sports yet conceived by man, and with one of the sport’s flagship events now 21 hours old, we are witnessing one of the most public yacht races ever staged. Normally, ocean racing is not a spectator event, but thanks to an array of technologies, the entire world can watch the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race via the Internet. In addition to the official race web site’s yacht tracker functionality, this year it is possible to watch via Google’s new 3D interface to the planet, Google Earth (Google Earth combines satellite imagery with a model that can be zoomed, spun and tilted - instructions here), with yacht positions and standings updated every ten minutes. Though weather forecasts suggested perfect weather for the 90-plus-foot maxis, the race record of 1 day, 19 hours and 48 minutes now appears safe as light overnight winds have seen the leading supermaxis fall more than 50 km behind schedule to take the record. As expected, the two new Reichel/Pugh 98-footers, Alfa Romeo and Wild Oats XI are leading the race with Wild Oats now 12 nautical miles clear of Alfa Romeo after 21 hours of sailing. Live odds for the race can be found here.  Read More

smart amphibious vehicle

December 23, 2005 While this vehicle was conceived by Mercedes-Benz Advanced Design of North America as yet another ingenious adaptation of the smart as a rescue vehicle for the adventures of BayWatch Southern California lifeguard types, we can’t help but think it’s the ideal vehicle for any water-side dweller anywhere in the world. Amphibious vehicles make loads of sense, particularly when the vehicle can carry five people to the beach AND happily entertain everyone in the surf when you get there. The concept is mid-engined and has an 800cc turbo smart engine that sits between the front and rear foam seats and powers the jet pump when in amphibious mode.  Read More

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