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Development Overview of a Launch and Recovery System Standardization

AuthorsKremer, F.G.J., Takken, E.H.
Conference/Journal12th International Naval Engineering Conference and Exhibition (INEC), Amsterdam, The Netherlands
DateMay 19, 2014
Naval operations rely increasingly on flexibility by deploying small craft from large platforms, which is done for a number of reasons. Firstly, a large platform features more favourable motions in a seaway. Secondly, specialist performance, e.g. a high interception speed, is only required for the craft, with obvious cost benefits. Thirdly, replacing the legacy craft with a state-of-the-art craft enables easy upgrading. And fourthly, providing a relevant combination of craft allows tailoring of the capabilities the platform needs for its mission. Operations impacted by these developments include maritime security operations, often involving deploying small fast manned or unmanned boats for interception operations, and mine hunting operations, already today involving a combination of autonomous and remotely controlled (sub-)surface vehicles. In the future, more launch and recovery movements are likely to be needed in less time and with greater required availability.
The most important challenge to be faced is the modularity needed on the mother platform. A wide variety of craft shapes, sizes and weights exist, and naval vessels are expected to outlast several generations of craft. And although it is often unclear what the system needs to be capable of handling during its life-time, ship designers, launch and recovery system builders, and craft manufacturers need to convince clients that their system is the best value for money. Resolving this challenge can only be achieved by defining standards in launch and recovery systems to allow for flexibility in both the short and long term.
The LAURA Joint Industry Project (JIP) is a research and development project conjoining parties with a mix of backgrounds, such as navies, system constructors, shipyards and hydrodynamics institutes. The objective of this group is to investigate the feasibility of systems for the launch and recovery of small craft and vehicles from larger vessels and outline a standardization on this basis.
This paper gives a concise overview of results from the first phase, in which a trade-off study between different launch and recovery systems was carried out. Furthermore, initial results from the current second phase, in which promising concepts (use of a cradle, extension of a davit system to unmanned craft, and use of planers for zero craft speed recovery) are further developed, will be discussed. Results from model tests performed on critical aspects will be presented. And finally, an outline of expected standardization aspects will be given.

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