Bluefin-21 UUV set this week to make another deep dive in efforts to locate missing Malaysia 370

ORLANDO, Fla., 14 May 2014. A deep-diving unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) designed by a Massachusetts company is set to make another attempt to locate the disappeared Malaysia Flight 370 Boeing 777 jumbo jet that disappeared in early March with 239 people on board and presumed lost.

A modified Bluefin-21 unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV), built by Bluefin Robotics in Quincy, Mass., was scheduled to make another dive this week to locate the missing Malaysia 370, which is presumed to have crashed and submerged somewhere in the Indian Ocean about 1,000 miles west of Australia.

Jeff Smith, chief operating officer of Bluefin Robotics, says his company's Bluefin-21 UUVs has undergone upgrades for deeper dives and is heading to the presumed crash site in the Indian Ocean this week for another attempt to locate the wreckage of Malaysia 370. Smith made his comments at the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International conference and trade show in Orlando, Fla., where the company is exhibiting.

Operating the Bluefin-21 are underwater search experts at Phoenix International Holdings Inc. in Largo, Md., who purchased the Bluefin-21 from Bluefin Robotics for difficult underwater survey missions like the search for Malaysia 370. Phoenix International was the company that located the sunken wreckage of Air France Flight 470 in the Atlantic Ocean in 2011.

Smith says Bluefin Robotics originally received some negative press last month on the Bluefin-21's first dive when the UUV had to surface after reaching its specified depth limit of about 15,000 feet. The ocean floor in the search area is deeper than 15,000 feet, and was out of reach of the Bluefin-21 before the upgrades that enabled it to go deeper.

Related: Undersea company that found Air France 447 black boxes buys unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) from Bluefin Robotics

Bluefin's Smith says research ships with echo-ranging equipment have surveyed the area to get precise readings of the area to get precise depths readings. Until now scientists did not have a precise idea of the actual depths in the Indian Ocean search area, which is extremely remote.

story continues below

With precise depth information in hand, Phoenix International experts were able to dive the Bluefin-21 deeply enough to conduct a thorough search of the area in attempts to locate the missing passenger jet.

Smith says it takes the Bluefin-21 about two hours to dive to depths below 15,000 feet, and another two hours for the UUV to reach the surface after finishing its work. The UUV can remain submerged for about 24 hours, he says, before its battery power begins to run low.

Related: Navy recommends Bluefin 21 underwater drone for next-generation Black Pearl research

The Bluefin-21 has sophisticated imaging sonar equipment that would enable the UUV to detect and identify undersea wreckage from the disappeared Malaysia 370 jumbo jet. The plane reportedly had a black box aboard able to transmit a sonar ping for about a month, but it's unlikely the black box is still able to transmit. The battery that powers its sonar ping likely has been long exhausted.

The Bluefin-21 is a modular autonomous underwater vehicle able to carry several sensors and payloads at once. The UUV is 16.2 feet long, 21 inches in diameter, and weighs 1,650 pounds. It has endurance of 25 hours.

The UUV design includes swappable payload sections and battery modules that allow for in-field maintenance. The craft can be launched and recovered from a simple A-frame or docking head on a variety of surface ships.

Related: Bluefin-21 unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) to be heart Littoral Combat Ship's mine-warfare system

The Bluefin-21 uses an inertial navigation system (INS) for navigation, and it has dead reckoning drift typically of less than 0.1 percent of distance traveled, company officials say.

The UUV is designed for applications like offshore survey; search and salvage; archaeology and exploration; oceanography; mine countermeasures; and unexploded ordnance.

Malaysia 370 disappeared from air traffic control screens on 8 March 2014 while en-route from Malaysia to China. The plane has been missing for more than two months.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Bluefin's Smith said he had not received any progress reports from the Bluefin-21's latest dive to locate the missing jetliner.

For more information contact Bluefin Robotics online at www.bluefinrobotics.com.


Get All the Military Aerospace Electronics News Delivered to Your Inbox or Your Mailbox

Subscribe to Military Aerospace Electronics Magazine or email newsletter today at no cost and receive the latest information on:


  • C4ISR
  • Cyber Security
  • Embedded Computing
  • Unmanned Vehicles

Military & Aerospace Photos

Most Popular Articles

Related Products

Rigid Printed Circuit Boards

Rigid printed circuit boards can only meet diverse industrial applications if the best materials ...

Printed Circuit Board Assembly

Printed Circuit Board Assembly (PCB ASSY) is as critical a process as circuit board manufacturing.

XPand6020 | Small Form Factor (SFF) System Featuring XPedite5205 Running Cisco IOS® and XPedite7450

The XPand6020 is a Small Form Factor (SFF) system that features an XPedite5205, which runs Cisco ...

XCalibur4500 | 5th Generation Intel® Core™ i7 Broadwell-H Processor-Based Conduction- or Air-Cooled 6U CompactPCI Module

The XCalibur4500 is a high-performance 6U CompactPCI single board computer that is ideal for rugg...

XPand3200 Series | Sub-½ ATR, Conduction-Cooled Systems Supporting Conduction-Cooled Modules

The XPand3200 Series redefines the limits of power, performance, and functionality in a sub-½ ATR...

XCalibur4444 | Intel® Core™ i7 Processor-Based Conduction-Cooled 6U VPX Module

The XCalibur4444 is a high-performance, multiprocessing, 6U VPX, single board computer that is id...

XPedite6100 | Freescale Quad-Core, T1042 Processor-Based, Air-Cooled XMC/PrPMC with Four Gigabit Ethernet Ports

The XPedite6100 is a high-performance, XMC/PrPMC, single board computer supporting a Freescale Qo...

XChange3018 | 3U VPX 10 Gigabit Ethernet Switch with Optional Layer 2 Switching and Layer 3 Routing Management Support

The XChange3018 is a conduction- or air-cooled, 3U VPX, 10 Gigabit Ethernet switch module. The XC...

XPedite7470 | Intel® Core™ i7 Processor-Based Conduction- or Air-Cooled 3U VPX-REDI SBC

The XPedite7470 is a high-performance, low-power, 3U VPX-REDI, single board computer based on the...

XPedite7501 | 5th Generation Intel® Core™ i7 Broadwell-H Processor-Based Conduction- or Air-Cooled XMC Module

The XPedite7501 is a high-performance, low-power, XMC module based on the 5th generation Intel® C...

Related Companies

Uniforce Sales and Engineering

Provides solutions to machine vision and image acquisition in many applications, including in the fields of medical, ...

TASC Technical & Assembly Services Corporation Electronic Equipment Manufacturing

Electronic Manufacturing sub-contractor. Circuit Board assembly, Cable Assembly, Wire Harness Assembly, Box Build Ass...

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc

GA-ASI is a leading manufacturer of proven, reliable Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) systems, radars, and electro-opt...

DDC-I Inc

Offers complete solutions for embedded software developers with a focus on mission- and safety-critical applications....

Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions

About Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions (CWDS) is a long established techno...

Harris Corporation

Harris provides advanced, technology-based solutions that solve government and commercial customers' mission critical...

United Electronic Industries Inc

UEI is a leader in the PC/Ethernet data acquisition and control, Data Logger/Recorder and Programmable Automation Con...

Crane Aerospace & Electronics

When failure is NOT an option...rely on Crane Aerospace & Electronics. We supply high-density, high-reliability c...

MERITEC

Signal integrity leaders and preferred vertically integrated manufacturer of high-performance electrical and electron...

AcQ Inducom

Develops and produces non-certified and certified high-tech modular hardware- and software solutions for on-board and...
Wire News provided by   

Press Releases

Calibration services

Bonding and adhesives

PELORUS NAVAL SYSTEMS Inc

Pelorus Naval Systems is a specialist naval defense engineering and support services company with headquarters in Rancho Santa Margarita, California, USA, in the greater Lo...

Webcasts

New Design Tools That Help You Develop Radar That Sees the Un-seeable and Detects the Undetectable

Xilinx EW/ISR System Architect, Luke Miller, has new tricks and he’s going to tell you all about them in a new Xilinx Webinar—for free. His Webinar will cover new ways to implement Radar functions including ...
Sponsored by:

All Access Sponsors


Mil & Aero Magazine

June 2015
Volume 26, Issue 6
file

Download Our Apps



iPhone

iPad

Android

Follow Us On...



Newsletters

Military & Aerospace Electronics

Weekly newsletter covering technical content, breaking news and product information
SUBSCRIBE

Cyber Security

Monthly newsletter covering cyber warfare, cyber security, information warfare, and information security technologies, products, contracts, and procurement opportunities
SUBSCRIBE

Defense Executive

Monthly newsletter covering business news and strategic insights for executive managers
SUBSCRIBE

Electronic Warfare

Quarterly newsletter covering technologies and applications in electronic warfare, cyber warfare, optical warfare, and spectrum warfare.
SUBSCRIBE

Embedded Computing Report

Monthly newsletter covering news on embedded computing in aerospace, defense and industrial-rugged applications
SUBSCRIBE

Unmanned Vehicles

Monthly newsletter covering news updates for designers of unmanned vehicles
SUBSCRIBE