Bluefin-21 Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV)
The Bluefin-21 is a highly modular autonomous underwater vehicle able to carry multiple sensors and payloads at once. It boasts a high energy capacity that enables extended operations even at the greatest depths. The Bluefin-21 has immense capability but is also flexible enough to operate from various ships of opportunity worldwide. The Bluefin-21 is ideal for a variety of applications, including:
- Search and Salvage
- Archaeology and Exploration
- Mine Countermeasures (MCM)
- Unexploded Ordnance (UXO)
General Dynamics acquired Bluefin Robotics in February 2016.
The vehicle design includes swappable payload sections and battery modules for in-field mission reconfiguration. Subsystems can be quickly accessed for rapid turnaround between missions and also allow for in-field maintenance, accelerating operational tempo.
The Bluefin-21 is an efficient, deep-rated AUV able to execute surveys with demanding requirements typically addressed by larger, more cumbersome platforms. Its small size and ability to be launched and recovered from a simple A-frame or docking head allow it to take advantage of ships of opportunity.
The Bluefin-21 uses an INS to provide the best possible navigation accuracy. Dead reckoning drift is typically less than 0.1% of distance traveled, yielding higher quality data. USBL aiding further improves navigation accuracy.
The vehicle, batteries and support equipment can be broken down and packaged into easily transportable sections, making the system ideal for time-critical and remote operations.
|Diameter||21 in (53 cm)|
|Length||16.2 ft (493 cm)|
|Weight (Dry)||1,650 lb (750 kg)|
|Buoyancy||~ 16 lb (7.3 kg) net positive|
|Lift Points||1 (located mid-vehicle)|
|Depth Rating||14,763 ft (4,500 m)|
|Endurance||25 hours @ 3 knots with standard payload|
|Speed||Up to 4.5 knots|
|Energy||13.5 kWh of total energy
Nine 1.5 kWh battery packs
|Propulsion||Gimbaled, ducted thruster for
propulsion and control
|Navigation||Real-time accuracy ≤ 0.1% of D.T. CEP 50
INS, DVL, SVS and GPS
USBL tracking with vehicle position updates
|Antenna||Integrated — GPS, RF, Iridium and strobe|
|Communications||RF, Iridium and acoustic;
Ethernet via shore power cable
|Safety Systems||Fault and leak detection, dropweight,
acoustic tracking transponder,
strobe, RDF and Iridium
(all independently powered)
|Software||GUI-based Operator Tool Suite|
|Data Management||4 GB flash drive for vehicle data
Plus additional payload storage
|EdgeTech 2200-M 120/410 kHz side scan sonar
(option: EdgeTech 230/850 kHz dynamically focused)
EdgeTech DW-216 sub-bottom profiler
Reson 7125 400 kHz multibeam echosounder
|For information on the BPAUV configuration, please download the Bluefin-21 BPAUV Product Sheet.|
Operator Tool Suite
Our Operator Tool Suite is a comprehensive AUV software package that provides the interface between the AUV and the operator for all mission phases. The simple user interface maximizes the operator’s effectiveness in AUV operations. This Windows-based tool suite includes everything necessary to run and manage the system, including vehicle check-out and testing, mission planning, vehicle communications, mission monitoring and execution, data management, and post-mission analysis.
Mission Planning and Verification
From within this graphical tool, basic missions are easy to enter and verify, while complex mission plans can be built up from basic survey “widgets.” Mission and safety details are fully accessible, allowing for rapid and accurate mission planning. Planning takes place on top of a chart-based view which accepts raster or digital charts. Operators can specify safety settings, operational constraints, recovery points and return plans. The Mission Planner also allows customer-specific commands to be sent via the Standard Payload Interface.
Vehicle Testing, Checkout and Mission Monitoring
Dashboard tools enable the operator to track vehicles against a chart-based interface which includes ship position indicators, mission plans, and a variety of operator-specified annotations. Vehicle status is readily apparent, including the current behavior as well as details of vehicle status. The Dashboard automatically shifts communications to the highest bandwidth channel available providing you with a dynamic gateway to the vehicle. A variety of specialized diagnostic interfaces aid the preventative and corrective maintenance procedures for each sensor and subsystem.
Display, Analysis and Reporting
Lantern supports post-mission display and analysis including processing vehicle logs and display sensor data. It combines survey tracklines, vehicle data, contact locations, and user-entered annotations in straightforward chart-based windows. The operator can easily access key functions for zooming, contact measurement and height above the ground. Information is geographically referenced and post-mission re-navigation processing maximizes the positional accuracy of detected targets. Lantern can also interface with many stand-alone third-party tools.