Australian Navy’s HMAS Sirius is currently providing replenishment support as part of Exercise TALISMAN SABRE on the back of successful trials of a new high-speed inflatable towed target system with an unmanned boat.
The system was developed to meet the Navy’s need for a low-cost expendable towed target for maritime training on the high seas.
The design allows for long-term un-attended operation, capable of being deployed and recovered from a warship using the standard ship’s crane, or pushed overboard manually. It can be deployed and recovered in wind and sea conditions in a mid-range sea state by four or five people.
It also has the ability to be deployed right at the wharf and towed to the operational area. While the system has previously been employed in surface-to surface naval gun training as well as in air-to-sea weapon training, this is the first time system has been trialled with the Barracuda Unmanned Surface Vehicle.
The Barracuda is a rigid-hulled inflatable boat, powered by a 225 hp marine diesel engine, capable of operating at speeds of up to 36 knots. It is remote controlled and can be equipped with visual, radar and laser signature enhancements to present a convincing likeness to many contemporary naval threats or, as in this case, can be fitted to tow a target.
TALISMAN SABRE is held every two years and incorporates activities at sea, on land and in the air to test and improve interoperability between Australia and the United States. Several dozen ships are participating across an exercise region that encompasses the Coral, Timor and Arafura Seas.
Image: Australian Navy