Full Scale Trials Conducted with Unmanned RHIB
Joint Industry Project (JIP) Laura has performed full scale trials with an unmanned rigid-hulled inflatable boat (RHIB). The tests took place near Den Helder, the Netherlands, using a 66-metre mothership and a modified RHIB from the Dutch Navy.
Several concepts were successfully tested. These included the cradle concept, the FCD (Floating Capture Device) and a planar, for retrieving non-sailing unmanned craft such as an unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV).
For cradle and FCD concepts a full cycle was performed: recovering the unmanned RHIB from the water, placing it on board and then launching it again. For the planar, only catching and capturing the device on board was demonstrated. Tests were done in weather conditions with waves of up to 1.5 metres.
Setting a Standard
An international team of industry, knowledge institutes and Ministries of Defence conducted the trials. The goal was to set a standard for such operations. The JIP Laura (LAUnch and Recovery of Any small navy craft) aims at the development of a standard for a common launch and recovery system for a wide variety of small (unmanned) craft, and which can be operated in a wide environmental regime. The Maritime Research Institute Netherlands (Marin) acts as JIP manager.