The Royal Canadian Navy’s interim remote mine-sweeper Dorado is currently performing sea trials in Belcarra, British Columbia in preparation for a new role in its service.
The purpose built semi-submersible autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV), built and housed by International Submarine Engineering, has been equipped with environmental / water quality monitoring gear by a team of researchers from the Dalhousie University. A comprehensive suite of measurements housed on the AUV will allow scientists to remotely survey near-surface/sea-surface conditions.
Funded by the Marine Environmental Observation Prediction and Response (MEOPAR) Network, Principal investigators, Dr. Douglas Wallace and Dr. Mae Seto saw the opportunity to employ Dorado as a way to rapidly survey large areas of the surface ocean.
Chris L’Esperance, a PhD student at Dalhousie University’s Department of Oceanography, supported by a team from the Canada Excellence Research Chair in Ocean Science and Technology Laboratory, is leading the design, integration and testing of the system. On loan from Defence Research Development Canada (Dorado’s Owner/Operator), L’Esperance and ISE’s Operations Team are in Belcarra until June 17.
Dorado is capable of towing a sonar towfish at speeds up to 12 knots and depths to 200 meters. It is powered by a 315 kW marine diesel engine. Air is drawn through the mast and exhausted through the stabilizer above the contra-rotating propeller. The engine also provides power for the hydraulically operated control planes and the keel-mounted winch for the sonar towfish.
The 8.23 meter long vehicle has a dry weight (with fuel) of 5900 kg and reaches speeds of 18 knots with no tow and between 10 and 15 knots with tow.