ROV drives quality in-water surveying

Images showing the ROUV capability trials undertaken by Babcock staff. The ROUV was remotely controled to take a route into a HM submarine balast tank.

This year, Babcock’s Innovation team has continued to push the boundaries for deployment of underwater Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs).

With a clear drive from our customer to do more work in the water, the Innovation team has been using its VideoRay Pro4 ROV to conduct pre-docking inspection trials of underwater spaces on submarines.  Working closely with staff from the MOD Submarine Delivery Agency, the Innovation team has conducted two separate trials at Devonport and Clyde respectively to understand the capability of our ROVs to navigate around and conduct surveys in flooded underwater spaces.

These trials started earlier this year with a survey of a platform while alongside in Devonport 5 Basin. Buoyed by the quality of the imagery from this trial, the customer requested a further trial on an alongside submarine at Clyde.  In this instance, the ROV was successfully ‘flown’ around one of the vessel’s flooded ballast tanks.

Many lessons were learned from these trials with the ROV proving itself very capable of capturing clear visual imagery within the flooded spaces on both vessels, providing a good general understanding of material condition. 

It is hoped that this approach will become the norm for in service submarines, with a pre-docking ROV survey used to permit more accurate planning of the docking work package and to subsequently reduce the volume of emergent work.