Kraken demos KATFISH sonar system during Royal Navy’s WISEX

Kraken Robotics has teamed up with Elbit Systems UK to demonstrate the KATFISH high speed towed synthetic aperture sonar system during Royal Navy’s WILTON Industry Show and Experiment (WISEX).

The demonstration took place on the ranges in Kilbrannan Sound off Campbeltown, Scotland. The system was integrated into the Seagull 12-meter uncrewed surface vessel (USV). 

The goal of the trials was to survey two distinct ranges with dimensions of 600 m x 4 nm where the Royal Navy placed several mine-like objects (MLO) to be searched for by WISEX attendees. 

The ranges were selected to replicate real-world search areas of complex bathymetry and strong currents. 

During the trials, the Kraken KATFISH was launched, operated, and recovered in varying surface conditions including Sea State 4.  Live, high-resolution SAS data was wirelessly transmitted to a shore-based operators station over several kilometers, where operators found all MLO targets in real time during the missions, according to the company.

“The Royal Navy has established WISEX to all industry to demonstrate their autonomous mine countermeasures systems, in the challenging naval exercise areas of the west coast of Scotland,” said Commander Ben Stait.

“This demonstration is part of the Mine Hunting Capability programme, which is at the forefront of next generation maritime autonomous systems. The Royal Navy is grateful for Kraken Robotics participation and excited by the capability they demonstrated as the programme develops into its next phase.”

KATFISH is a high-speed, actively stabilized synthetic aperture sonar (SAS) towfish that operates at speeds up to 10 knots.

The high-speed capability and constant resolution greatly increase area coverage rates (ACR) by providing more useable data for MCM missions than traditional side scan sonars, the company noted.

Along with increased ACR, the ability to transmit high resolution data wirelessly enables operators in remote stations to identify targets as the USV mission is underway, therefore reducing the overall MCM timeline.

Kraken has recently delivered KATFISH systems to the Danish and Polish navies and expects them to be operational in the first quarter of 2023.